Ever since LeBron James went down with a groin strain last month, the Los Angeles Lakers have slowly fallen in the Western Conference standings. They went from being as high as the No. 4 seed to now being the No. 8 seed.
Their fall from grace without James has caused quite the stir among the fans in Los Angeles, but not so much in the locker room. Following the Lakers’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, JaVale McGee said the team doesn’t feel added pressure to with James out.
“There’s no pressure,” McGee said. “We know what we have, we know we have great players and great team camaraderie, and we have a great team. So the way we play together, it doesn’t matter who is out there, we’re going to play as hard as we can. As long as we follow the game plan the coaches put together, we usually do pretty well.”
However, that doesn’t mean the Lakers aren’t concerned about winning.
Lonzo Ball, for example, understands how important every game is in the wild, wild Western Conference and he told reporters that they can’t afford to keep falling down the standings.
“You’ve got to play every game to win in the west,” Ball said. “I think we were fourth, and we keep slipping the more we lose. We’ve got to turn it around.”
Ball, though, is coming from the place of a second-year player who hasn’t seen all of the highs and lows throughout an NBA season. McGee, on the other hand, has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows on a team with legitimate championship aspirations.
While fans might lean more to how Ball is feeling, perhaps they should take the same approach that McGee is taking for their well-being. After all, there are still 44 games left in the season.