In their first game after the All-Star break, the Los Angeles Lakers secured an impressive victory against the James Harden-led Houston Rockets, making most people believe that the Purple and Gold will be finishing the 2018-19 NBA season taking a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, their recent game showed that the Lakers are yet to figure out how to consistently win games.
After beating the Rockets, the Lakers suffered an embarrassing defeat from the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans, who played the game without the face of the franchise, Anthony Davis. In a post-game interview with ESPN, Lakers’ leaders LeBron James and Rajon Rondo voiced out their frustrations over their poor performance against the Pelicans. James questioned the Lakers’ experience and “sense of urgency,” saying that they all need to go out of their comfort zone and give everything they got on both ends of the floor.
When LeBron James suffered a groin injury, the Lakers lost plenty of games, resulting in them to drop from the Western Conference standings. As of now, the Lakers are in the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference with a 29-30 record. They are two games behind the Sacramento Kings and 3.5 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers.
The “biggest issue” Rajon Rondo is currently seeing with the Lakers is their defense which currently ranks 12th in NBA’s defensive efficiency, allowing 106.7 points per 100 possessions, per ESPN. Even if they manage to earn a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference, Rondo expects the Lakers to be easily swept if they won’t show a massive improvement with their performance on the defensive end of the floor. The veteran point guard also urged his teammates to start playing for each other.
“We have no other choice,” Rondo said of the defense.
“It’s either we do or we don’t. We do, we make the playoffs, and still with that mindset, if we do, if we get in the playoffs we can easily get swept in four games. So we have to start buying into the scouting report and start buying into each other and start to play for each other a lot more.”
The Lakers may have the best basketball player on the planet, but a 34-year-old LeBron James can’t do it all alone, especially now that he’s on a more competitive conference. All of the Lakers’ players, whether the young core or veterans, need to step up in order to accomplish their main goal in the 2018-19 NBA season.
The Lakers’ next game will be against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night at FedExForum.