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Kyle Kuzma and Luke Walton think the Lakers are making progress

Coming off a couple very disappointing losses, Luke Walton and Kyle Kuzma still think things are improving.

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers need every single win they can come by. They have to show more urgency than they have. Surely after such a frustrating loss, anyone even remotely associated would have the fire of a thousand suns in their eyes as they show accountability for whatever might’ve led to this two-game losing streak.

At the very least, they won’t appear pleased with hardly any aspect of the game, right? Well...

Let’s start with Kyle Kuzma (via Spectrum SportsNet):

“I thought the energy was a lot better tonight than it was in New Orleans, 100 percent. It all just goes down to that we made little mistakes down the stretch, Conley got hot… They outplayed us.”


“At the end of the day, a loss is a loss. No matter how you spin it, you still put an L in that column.”

That’s a little better, I guess. Kind of.

Now let’s hear from Luke Walton. Surely he’ll rain down fire being the leader he is:

“I was pleased with the effort and togetherness of the group tonight. I thought we got back to what we were doing earlier in the season, unfortunately we didn’t make enough plays. We didn’t make enough plays when we needed to. We started getting the stops we needed, we were covering for each other, but then offensively we weren’t coming down and making the plays that we had to to win on the road. Tough loss, but I’m pleased with the togetherness of the group tonight.”

“We made it a little harder for ourselves for sure… We’ve got to go out and win games. I thought we played a much better game tonight than we did two nights ago in New Orleans, but we still didn’t go out there and win it. We’ve got to take these games in this league. But I think we’re on the right track to start putting some wins together again.”

“I feel like if we play that way on most nights we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win games. I think we’ll get more guys hitting shots, more guys making plays on the offensive ends when our defense is getting stops like that in the second half we can get out and run. I like our chances of winning games if we’re playing like that.”

It really says something about how pathetic that New Orleans loss was that anyone would be complimenting a team’s energy for merely [checks notes] ... not getting blown out by the powerhouse that is the Memphis Grizzlies? Combine this with Walton’s quotes about this playoff race maybe being a distraction and it’s becoming painfully evident this team has a desperate need for a leader to step up.

To be fair, both Kuzma and Walton impressed upon everyone the importance of actually winning, but come on. There are no moral victories in playoff races. There is no point system to grade caliber of losses. This should go without asking, but where the hell is the urgency here? Where’s the outward annoyance at dropping two crucial games against opponents they should have beaten? This kind of response is what people point to when they define a loser’s mentality.

No one is asking any of the Lakers to appear destitute after a loss like Monday night’s. That doesn’t really serve anyone. But to pat themselves on the back just for trying given this current situation isn’t great to see.

The Lakers have to start winning games. If they hope to start doing that, it’ll have to start with some urgency with each other in analyzing their own performances. Without that, it’s hard to see things actually getting sustainably better than they currently are.

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