The Los Angeles Lakers are currently mired in what has arguably been their most disappointing stretch of the season, having dropped three consecutive games and five of their last six.
The losing skid coincides with the absence of superstar forward LeBron James, who has been sidelined since Christmas Day after suffering a significant groin strain. Another key veteran in point guard Rajon Rondo is additionally on the shelf after undergoing finger surgery.
Temporarily without the services of their two most vocal leaders, the Lakers’ young core has struggled to pick up the load. Head coach Luke Walton specifically singled out Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram as two players he wants to see more passion from.
Veteran center Tyson Chandler, a natural leader himself, echoed similar sentiments and believes the team as a whole needs to show more urgency during games, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“I think we’ve got to have a little more sense of urgency when we step on the floor and just compete, to be quite honest,” Chandler said. “I think with the other guys out, things are different clearly, but that being said, we’ve got to fight, because if we fight more, then when those guys come back, it makes the transition a lot easier. …
“Competing. Competing in every spot, competing for every minute. Competing at every possession, we can’t afford to take possessions off at this point. We’ve got to make it a dire situation. We’ve got to play that way.”
Chandler’s comments come in the wake of two dismal losses against the sub-.500 New York Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers sunk to early double-digit deficits in each contest, lacking any sort of rhythm on the offensive and defensive ends.
Despite the rough stretch, Los Angeles should soon receive a major reinforcement in the form of Kyle Kuzma. The second-year forward has missed the last two games due to a lower back contusion, but could return to the court for Monday’s matchup with the Dallas Mavericks.
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