The Los Angeles Lakers lost their eighth straight game on Wednesday night when they fell 107-97 to the Brooklyn Nets, tying their worst losing skid from last season. The team has a winnable game with the Philadelphia 76ers coming up on Friday, but according to Luke Walton, the team will have to toughen if they want to end the losing.
“He raised his voice, he got his point across today,” said Lakers guard Nick Young of Walton’s postgame address. But what exactly was his message to the team after the game?
“Just mentally being soft, and calling us out,” Young said. “We got to step up to the plate. I know I’m not soft, my teammates aren’t soft, so we got to show him, and prove ourselves.”
The Lakers’ defense has certainly been soft over the last eight games. The team has surrendered 115.5 points per 100 possessions over their losing streak, the worst mark in the NBA during that period.
Their offense hasn’t been much better, scoring just 97.9 points per 100 possessions, also the worst rate in the NBA during that eight game sample size.
"I think we're getting the shots we can make,” said bench guard Jordan Clarkson. “We're just missing right now."
Walton himself is just frustrated with how the Lakers have “blown opportunities” to take winnable games.
"As a team we’ve got a lot to learn about winning and how hard it is,” Walton said. It's frustrating, but it’s where we’re at. It’s like I told our guys, we’re gonna find a way out. When that is, time will tell.”
If time doesn’t tell the Lakers to win the next game against the Sixers, their next two against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Hornets don’t look a whole lot more winnable.
Regardless of the opponent in front of them though, Young thinks the solution for the Lakers’ woes isn’t that complicated.
“We need to go out there and play a little bit harder,” Young said. “It’s all mental, once we get over this hump it’s going to be brighter days, but the first win [to break the losing streak] is always the toughest.”
All quotes transcribed via Spectrum Sportsnet. All stats per NBA.com. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.