The Lakers’ urgency and performance in this one will speak volumes about their current state
The previous two games were the perfect encapsulation of the 2022-2023 Los Angeles Lakers. When they have the golden opportunity to finally get over the hump, it seems they have this horrible habit of taking two steps backward instead. It’s been a theme throughout the season and once again, it was on full display with the way they handled matters on and off the basketball court in this past week.
After winning arguably their most impressive game of the season against the New Orleans Pelicans
But here they are now, currently in the middle of a two-game losing streak in the most crucial and final stretch of the season. Friday’s loss to the Mavericks in particular was significantly brutal not only because the Lakers lost by a Maxi Kleber’s game-winning 3-pointer (which again, could’ve been avoided) but their self-inflicted mistakes might have just cost them a seat in the Playoffs.
Los Angeles missed 12 (!!) free throws, 15 3-pointers and turned the ball over 12 times on a night when they lost by one point to the Mavericks. It also didn’t help that the team’s backcourt pairing of D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley combined for 0-9 from the 3-point arch and on top of that, the purple and gold attacked the game with an energy of a team that looked ready to go on vacation. The worst part of all of these is that Davis cost the Lakers seven points in the dying minutes of the game, which all could’ve been avoided as well.
So once again, we circle back to what we’ve been saying all season: Where do the Lakers go from here?
With exactly 11 games to go, the Lakers not only have to win most — if not all — of their games, but also hope (like they have been over the past couple of weeks) that the teams above and below them in the standings falter to grant them yet another opportunity to capitalize. And even if the opportunity once again comes their way, it won’t matter unless the Lakers take care of their own business, which leads us to their next matchup against the Orlando Magic
The Lakers’ next 11 games will take place at home six times and on the road five times. Despite their schedule being considered one of the easiest per Tankathon.com’s standards, it’s worth noting that the majority of their opponents in this stretch are as desperate as them to win games, too. So the Lakers’ situation is only going to get even more difficult in the next few weeks, and it’s really up to them to make things a little easier for themselves.
After a gut-wrenching loss to the Mavericks that may or may not have possibly sealed the Lakers’ season (we’ll know in the next few weeks if this is the case eventually), it’s going to be interesting to see how this team responds against the Orlando Magic. Will they let this losing streak cloud over their heads? Or will they play with the same urgency as they did against the Pelicans last Tuesday? Their body language, mentality and performance in this one will speak volumes in terms of the team’s current state.
Note that this Magic team, who will be on the backend of a back-to-back against the Lakers on Sunday, is not a pushover. They’re a lot better than what their record (28-42) suggests so the Lakers will have to get over what happened in the last 24 hours quickly and bring it. We’ll see how this Lakers team responds then and whether or not they’re going to continue to fight to save their season on Sunday.
The Lakers and Magic will tip off at 6:30 p.m. PT. The game will be only televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet.
You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani.
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