There is no time during an
“It is a challenge,” Lakers Coach
"You do your best, I know it's a cliche, but literally trying to take it one game at a time. As coaches we'll look bigger picture than that as far as minutes and how much certain guys are playing. But the message to the players is we got New Orleans to start it off, let's try and start with a win."
The Lakers (9-9) will face the
That the Lakers are 9-9 so far this season is unexpected. And while they have had some anticipated losses — a blowout loss on the second night of a back-to-back against the Warriors, another lopsided loss to the Warriors while missing three starters, a loss to the San Antonio Spurs — they've continually offered small surprises.
Five of the Lakers’ nine wins have come over teams with winning records — the Warriors,
"Atlanta's been a top-three seed in the East for four, five years now," Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. said. "That's an awesome win. That's a great team. They're going to be in the playoffs this year. To get the season sweep of them was really big for us."
Walton is hoping the Lakers will get healthier as the trip progresses. Power forward Julius Randle is questionable for Tuesday's game against the Pelicans because of a hip pointer injury, but Walton is hoping that Randle will become available at some point during the trip.
He has both a bone bruise and an injury to his oblique muscles. The muscle has been experiencing spasms that have hampered Randle.
"I don't have to be pain-free, I'm just trying to figure out a way around it," Randle said. "But the biggest thing is I don't want it to get worse. You know, it's easy to play through an injury, but I don't want it to get worse and then it affect us down the long run. We're trying to fight for the playoffs or we're trying to fight for seeding, and I'm not there because I didn't take care of a nagging injury 20 games into the season."
Point guard D'Angelo Russell made the trip with the team, but isn't expecting to play during it. Russell said he wants to be with the team, rehabbing on the road as they play.
Since beating the
On this trip, New Orleans (6-12) is the Lakers’ only foe that hasn’t yet reached 10 wins. Even that team, though, is likely to pose a bigger challenge than in the Lakers’ 126-99 win on their last trip to New Orleans. Guard
"Having Jrue Holiday back has been a huge difference for them," Walton said. "But we're a very capable team, so we got to go in there with the mind-set of we worry about tonight, and worry about the rest of the trip afterwards."
AT NEW ORLEANS
When: Tuesday, 5 p.m. PST.
Where: Smoothie King Center.
On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet, Spectrum Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.
Records: Lakers 9-9; Pelicans 6-12.
Record vs. Pelicans: 1-0.