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Recap: Lakers Battle But Suffer Tough Loss To Timberwolves At Home
The tide turned on the Los Angeles Lakers season when they acquired the combination of D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Mo Bamba at the trade deadline. Now the Lakers, led largely by Dennis Schroder amid injuries, have a real chance to climb into the Western Conference postseason standings.
After starting 2-10 and falling to 13th place in the conference prior to the deadline, L.A. has climbed their way up to 11th in just seven games. With 19 games left, the Lakers are one game back of the No. 10 and No. 9 seed, 1.5 games back of No. 8, two games back of No. 7, and 2.5 games back of No. 6.
None of these seem insurmountable, even with the injuries that have sidelined LeBron James for at least the next three weeks
Following the team’s most recent win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Schroder spoke about his confidence level iun the Lakers given where they’ve been all season, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“The goal from the beginning of the season was to make the playoffs. And I think everybody in this locker room believes it. I believe it, 200%. And I mean, we’re going to make the playoffs.”
Schroder has never been a player to lack in confidence, but this is easily the surest he or anyone within the Lakers organization has been all season. For the first time since midway through the 2020-21 season, it feels as though there’s real hope and confidence within the locker room.
Even with injuries, the Lakers are now managing to find ways to win games as opposed to finding ways to lose them. This week alone, they made the biggest comeback of the NBA season against the Dallas Mavericks, put up a hard fight against the Memphis Grizzlies without James or Russell and defeated the Thunder without James, Russell or Anthony Davis.
And in the next 10 days, they have some more vital matchups with regard to standings. They face the No. 8-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, the Golden State Warriors — fifth place — on Sunday and the 10th-seeded New Orleans Pelicans on March 14.
It would have been easy for the Lakers to drop some games after the deadline and blame a lack of chemistry or lineup consistency. Instead, while adding multiple new rotation players, L.A. has found impressive ways to win games, leading to praise from Darvin Ham.
Ham said that the success comes from the passion that he feels in the locker room, similar to what Schroder said after the Thunder win.
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