The Los Angeles Lakers have not carried over the momentum from winning the In-Season Tournament. Even on the night they returned home and hung the banner for their accomplishment LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers couldn’t overcome the New York Knicks.
Monday’s loss to the Knicks was only the Lakers’ second home game since November 22, with the other being the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals meeting against the Phoenix Suns. LeBron believes the constant traveling is beginning to catch up to the Lakers.
“I feel like our energy was up and down throughout the course of the game,” James said after the five-point loss. “We’ve been feeling it, definitely, like you said, first time being home since Dec. 5 and now we hit the road against tomorrow. But I feel like even through that, we still competed. We competed and gave ourselves a chance to stay in the game throughout the game. But it was just a tough one for us.”
The Lakers certainly competed to the end, as has been the case most nights, but they have now lost three of four games since the tournament concluded and are set to hit the road once again for a three-game trip. The latest one starts in Chicago before stops in Minnesota and Oklahoma City, the two top teams in the Western Conference.
If the Lakers are going to be successful and begin turning things around, James said they simply need to get some rest and lock in. “Get some rest. Get health. Try to finish out December the right way obviously,” he added.
“It’s been a killer for us with the travel and games and things of that nature. But no rest for the weary, we just got to mentally stay locked in and get ready for Chicago first, who had a big win tonight. Big win for them against Philly in Philly. So looking forward to the matchup.”
Some have also wondered whether the Lakers are suffering from a bit of a hangover after their tournament victory in Las Vegas. LeBron didn’t rule that out either, even bringing up the struggles of their championship game opponents. “It can be a little bit of everything, I don’t know. Have you seen Indiana’s record since Vegas?”
After a win over the lowly Pistons, the Pacers have lost four straight games, giving up at least 127 points in each loss. While the Lakers haven’t quite been that bad, they are on the brink themselves and LeBron knows his team needs to get right immediately before things spiral completely out of control.
LeBron James: Lakers can compete with anybody when healthy
One thing that has been an issue for the Lakers all season long has been health, though the team is beginning to move beyond that. And James feels that the Lakers are as good as anyone in the league when they have everyone available.
LeBron recently reiterated that point, proclaiming that the Lakers, when healthy, can compete with any team in the league.
Jarred Vanderbilt has finally returned, though he admittedly still isn’t quite 100 percent, which leaves point guard Gabe Vincent as the only player out for the Lakers and he is nearing a return soon as well.
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