We should be feeling good about the Lakers. They most recently went into Oklahoma City and took care of business, winning 116-95, which would seem like a roaring success no matter who the opponent is, even if it’s a Thunder team that recorded the worst loss in NBA history only a little over a week ago when they lost 152-79 against the Grizzlies.
So like I said, we shouldn’t be feeling (much) of our previous disgust towards the Lakers, at least right now. However, being elated about the team’s win against the Thunder would ignore their previous loss to a Ja Morant-less Grizzlies team. It would also be ignoring the “two steps forward, two steps back” pattern the team has exhibited all season, whether they have their Big Three on the court or not.
All of that leads to an uneasy feeling when looking at the next game on the schedule. The Lakers will be returning home to face the Orlando Magic on Sunday night should feel like an easy win. But the team’s previous results can only leave anyone watching this team with any regularity with one prevailing sentiment...
Just get the win, PLEASE
Because let’s be honest: Even with all their stars, no game can be called an “easy win” for these Lakers. They’ve proven that time and time again.
Whether it’s the fact that two of the Thunder’s eight wins are against the Lakers, or that the shorthanded Kings beat L.A. in three overtimes the same week that they fired their head coach... we’re past the point of expecting anything to be easy for the purple-and-gold. All of those losses don’t even cover all of the wins against poor teams that were secured by comebacks that never should have been necessary in the first place.
“Our biggest battle, our biggest problem this year is consistency,” head coach Frank Vogel said following the loss against the Grizzlies on Thursday. “Once we take one step forward, we fall back and have a disappointing performance. We got to find a way to catch ourselves from that.”
And now, the Lakers will face the Magic. They come into the L.A. with a record of 5-22 with only the 4-21 Detroit Pistons keeping them company near the deep bottom of the NBA’s standings.
So after a 1-1, two-game road trip that perfectly encapsulated how this up-and-down season has gone for the 14-13 Lakers, can they at least prove to fans and the world that they’re not so pathetic that they’ll drop one at home against the Magic after their latest “turnaround?”
Do LeBron, Westbrook, or any of the role players really want to get up to the podium and answer the same depressing questions they’ve had to answer again, and again, and again?
Because sure, like our own Alex Regla pointed out today there are little things the Lakers can improve on to make them more successful such as boxing out and taking care of the basketball on offense, but let’s just keep it real here: The Magic are dead last in the entire NBA with a net rating of -10.7. To put it in perspective, that’s just a shade under being two-times as worse as the 8-20 New Orleans Pelicans, who have a net rating of -5.4. They’re a special kind of bad, even compared to some of the worst teams in the NBA.
So in short, the Lakers could play their worst game of the season and honestly, they should still come out with a win against this Magic team. It should really only come down to if they want to win or not. With or without Anthony Davis, who will be listed as questionable.
Now, of course we all want to see some improvements in this one, but what’s really important against these bottom-of-the-barrel teams is that the Lakers just get the win. If they really want to win a championship, they’re going to have to get further above .500 than just one measly game at some point.
So please, Lakers. I think I speak for all fans when I say... just win this damn game. Please. Just give us one easy victory over a bad team. For all of our sakes.
Notes and Updates:
- As previously stated, Davis will be questionable to play in this one with left knee soreness. Frank Vogel has stated that the medical team wants to find out exactly what’s causing the soreness before he gets back out there.
- Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza will remain out, while LeBron James will be probable with the same ab strain he’s been listed with for weeks.
- The Orlando Magic have had players such as Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, E’Twaun Moore, and Michael Carter-Williams out all season. Fultz is the closest one to making his debut, although he will probably remain out for the Lakers game, as he only returned to the practice floor on Friday.
- Jalen Suggs, the 5th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, will also be out for this one as he’s been out since Dec. 1 with a sprained thumb.
- Elsewhere around the league, the Warriors’ Stephen Curry continues to near the all-time made 3-pointers record set by Ray Allen. He currently needs 10 3-pointers to break the record with a game tonight against the 76ers and one on Monday against the Pacers, but reportedly may be aiming to break the record on Tuesday against the Knicks.
- LeBron James himself brought up how you never know if Curry could get all of those in one game, while also calling him a “once-in-a-lifetime basketball player” following the win against the Thunder.
The Lakers and Magic will tip-off at 6:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, with the game being televised on Spectrum SportsNet.