After Wednesday's loss to the Pelicans, the Lakers slipped another rung down the Western Conference standings.
Still, for NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony, there is a noticeable difference in the energy and body language of the team. Something has changed for them.
In a post-game chat with the media, he explained why:
"I think maybe understanding the stakes made me understand what we’re up against. I want to say desperation, but I think a deep understanding of where we [are] at in the position that we’re in right now.”
Anthony joined the Lakers last summer with hopes of finally adding a Championship to his collection of accolades. Instead, he has found only mayhem that comes when a team like the Lakers struggles to win games.
“If had the answer, I would have answered that a long time ago. I don’t have the answer to that," said Melo on why it took so long for his team to get it together. “The only thing I can speak on is how we’ve been playing as of late, how we’ve been competing as of late and how we just been preparing ourselves for this last stretch.”
These next few weeks for the Lakers will make or break their season.
At 10th in the West, they are not yet out of the playoff picture and they could even move up a couple of spots if they finish out strong. As Anthony Davis gets closer to his return, we could see a different Lakers team in April.
Sadly, that "conclusion" is more like wishful thinking than anything else at this point. So far, the evidence isn't strong that a team as bad as the Lakers are can make such a dramatic turnaround.
But it does mean something that the guys haven't given up. Maybe better days really are ahead for the Purple and Gold.
If not, you can bet they'll be doing whatever they can to make amends and come back stronger than ever next year.