The Los Angeles Lakers can't catch a break this 2021/22 NBA season. As soon as they start winning games and showing a better level, they face a reality check that tells them they're not on a solid level yet.
Following a commanding victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, the Lakers hoped to keep their good streak and defeat the Ja Morant-less Memphis Grizzlies, but that didn't happen. After their star point guard went down with an injury and entered the league's health and safety protocol, Memphis has gotten better.
Still, one would have thought the Lakers wouldn't have had too much trouble handling them. Instead, the game ended with a 108-95 win for the Bears, with Anthony Davis receiving plenty of criticism for his performance.
It's AD himself who urged the Lakers to change their mentality and play with a sense of urgency, embracing an underdog role whenever they play.
"[Opponents] feel like they're the underdogs when they're coming in, especially when they're without their star players, and we got to play like we're the underdogs," Davis told reporters. "Which now, at this point of the season, the way we're playing, a lot of games, we probably are."
The Brow also stated that teams aren't scared of the Lakers anymore, and even without their biggest name on the court, rival teams are fearless when facing the Purple and Gold.
"I think when their star players are out, we have to lock in even more because these guys have no conscience," Davis said. "They want to come in and beat the Lakers, beat LeBron, beat AD, beat whoever, beat Melo. Like, they want to say, 'I gave the Lakers 30, 25, whatever.'"
I can't recall how many times I've said this, but something must change for the Lakers if they want to compete for the championship next year. AD is the one getting a lot of criticism recently, and he's vowed to get better on both ends of the ball.
He's the perfect reflection of how the Lakers have performed this campaign. We'll see how this unfolds for the Californians, but it's hard to imagine them making a substantial improvement in the next couple of weeks.