Even though the Lakers don’t currently have Anthony Davis, these same problems popped up while he played. And now it’s in the spotlight again.
After the loss, Russell Westbrook, who was a factor in this matter, said the team needs to decide if they will be the ones that put in the energy instead of opponents.
“We got to make a decision on if we’re gonna play hard. Sometimes the schemes and how you play doesn’t really matter, you got to just play hard,” Westbrook said. “Sometimes teams are just playing harder than us, simple as that. Even when we’re winning, we give up a lot of points. But now it’s showing, especially when we lost games and teams are just putting their head down and going, and we got to do a better job of defending.”
Westbrook said these issues are easy to resolve; the players just have to do it, as they’ve accomplished in spurts this season.
“Playing harder to me is not like something you got to go work out to figure out how to do. To me, it’s a simple fix,” the former MVP said. “Either you play hard or you don’t, and in order for us to win games, we got to play harder. And it’s a simple as that.
“We know that. We’ve seen it. We have put ourselves in position when we had a good stretch of games where we were defending and our defense was trending in the right direction as a kind of overall defensive rating or how they calculate that. But we know now and we understand that when we don’t do it, our chances of winning goes down.”
The schedule only gets more difficult from here for L.A., starting with a contest against the Utah Jazz Monday. If the Lakers want to put their words into action and make a run for the playoffs, the effort has to start showing sooner rather than later.