Lakers coach Luke Walton emphasizes continuing to work as a group during ‘tough times’
EL SEGUNDO – Following a third straight loss, the Los Angeles Lakers went through practice on Tuesday with only eight active bodies available. Kyle Kuzma (ankle), Brandon Ingram (shoulder), LeBron James, and Rajon Rondo all sat out of practice leaving head coach Luke Walton to answer questions from the media.
Although the Lakers were shorthanded on Tuesday, Walton claims his players came in with good energy and with a chip on their shoulder due to the team’s struggles as of late. The Lakers also emphasized the need for this quad to work as a group as they battle through these tough times during the final stretch of what is turning out to be a very disappointing 2018-19 campaign.
“We had good energy,” Walton said after practice. “Guys are upset about losing and where we’re at. As we continue to try and build things you have to be resilient with who you are and who we are as a group. It’s tough times right now. We can’t let that get us down. We got to continue to develop our habits, continue to work as a group, and define how we handle ourselves in tough times.”
On Wednesday, the Lakers will host the Denver Nuggets who are currently in second place in the Western Conference behind the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. This will continue a brutal stretch for the Lakers as they hold out hope of clinching a playoff spot and ending the franchise’s postseason drought.
Out of the 18 games left on their regular-season schedule, the Lakers will face 12 teams either in playoff contention or who have more or less secured spot like the Nuggets, Warriors, Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, and Portland Trail Blazers.
Unless there’s a drastic turn of events in Los Angeles, Walton and company are headed for a sixth straight season without a playoff berth and potentially finishing the season under .500.