Following a loss to the Heat on Wednesday, who were without Jimmy Butler due to a foot injury, the Los Angeles Lakers have only won three out of their last twelve games since their In-Season Tournament (IST) victory.
There are certainly valid physical and mental reasons to go into a slump following the high intensity of that tournament — the other finalist of the IST, the Indiana Pacers, can speak to that — but the Pacers have now leveled off that initial hangover.
The same obviously can’t be said for the Lakers. In fact, their struggles only look to be growing as the team had multiple days off to get ready for a home game against an opponent without one of their superstars yet still came out completely flat and disengaged.
Postgame, there was a distinct discrepancy between Coach Darvin Ham’s message and key players' message and outlook — and the ringing silence of LeBron James not speaking to reporters at all. It all pointed to there being a disconnect behind the scenes and Shams Charania of The Athletic cemented that with a report on Thursday.
The situation reminded me vividly of a game two seasons ago under Frank Vogel that loudly said the team was finished for that season, and obviously Vogel was not brought back after the season. I explained more in this video:
Only time will tell how the Lakers respond moving forward and if this is either a wake-up call for Coach Ham and his staff or it’s one of the final nails in the proverbial coffin.
Either way, as Anthony Davis said postgame, if the team keeps playing like this, they are headed down a very bad path.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training. Prior to entering into the physiotherapy field, Brar graduated from Cal-Berkeley in Business Administration and spent multiple years in the corporate marketing and strategy field, culminating in managing his own business unit in New York City and being a direct liaison for client management.
Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), has a background in youth basketball coaching and analyzes the Lakers from a medical, skills, and leadership/organizational culture perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.