We all expected the Lakers to fall off a bit with LeBron being sidelined from injury. Nobody expected them to fall off this much, though, and after falling to 1-5 in their 6 games without The King, some fans are urging for some major changes.
Luke Walton has a much simpler solution, and it involves their two main young stars giving a little more than they have.
They’re trying, but they’re young,” Walton said of Ball and Ingram, both just 21 years old. “At some point, we need more passion. We need more fight. And that’s not scoring more. That’s more diving for loose balls, communicating loudly, grabbing [rebounds]
“Brandon had some really nice crack-back rebounds tonight that we can get out and run [from]. We need that all the time from him. So, it’s not just them, but until we get healthy again, you got to play in this league with some passion and fire. It’s hard to win in this league when you are healthy. So you need to double that effort when guys are down.”
“We’re down a lot of scorers right now,” he said. “I’ve got to pick up that load. Obviously I didn’t do it tonight. I got to pick it up tomorrow.”
The Lakers finish off the second night of a back-to-back on the road against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. Again, they will be without James and [Rajon] Rondo, while [Kyle] Kuzma’s availability is considered to be a game-time decision.
“I always feel like I can do so more, so if that is my frustration then I’m frustrated,” Ingram said. “But I’ll just go back and watch film and get prepared for the next game.”
These latest injuries have put these young Lakers to the test. Can they adjust their game to accommodate for missing guys? Can they pick up the slack? So far the answer has been no.
And unfortunately for the Lakers, it has resulted in a pretty rough stretch of basketball. In the West, where every game counts, it’s exactly these types of rough stretches that keep teams from making the postseason.
No doubt, Ingram and Lonzo have a lot to figure out. More passion, like Luke says, is a good way to start.