They were down three guards, and though forward Larry Nance Jr. would have been able to play in an emergency, Lakers Coach Luke Walton preferred not to use him.
They were facing a team that had won five of its last six games.
Their starting lineup included four forwards, one at point guard.
They lost another player, backup center Tarik Black to an ankle injury, during the game.
They faced deficits in the teens, as high as 19 at one point, but still had a chance at the end of the game.
Here are five takeaways from the 107-101 loss at Staples Center:
1. This was the kind of game in which there were such things as moral victories. The Lakers were dependent on their depth as they surprised the league in the early part of the season. They weren’t a team that played anyone 35 or 40 minutes a night. Now the rotations that worked so well for them are becoming impossible given their injury situations. When three guards are lost to injury, that’s going to impact things. To top it off, the Lakers didn’t use Nance and lost Black late in the third quarter.
2. Black was on crutches in the post-game locker room, but insisted he was better off than it appeared. He sprained his ankle, but the X-rays showed no fracture. Walton seemed to think it would be unlikely that Black would be able to play against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. Black seemed more optimistic.
3. The Jordan Clarkson/Lou Williams tandem has been endangered by the Lakers’ spate of injuries. “We’re getting close to that,” Walton said, when asked about separating Clarkson and Williams in favor of starting one. “That’s been the most consistent, successful group we’ve had all season. We would hate to break it up, but with the amount of people going down, it just might be time to roll in that direction and see how we do.”
4. Brandon Ingram’s start at point guard drew a lot of attention, but it’s something he has been doing all season with the Lakers’ second unit. He had the help of Williams and Clarkson when he was with that group, so more of the onus fell on him to handle the ball with Monday night’s first unit, which also included Luol Deng, Julius Randle, Timofey Mozgov and Metta World Peace.
5. While the Lakers were fighting through this game, Walton’s former team, the Golden State Warriors, did something a bit special. Klay Thompson scored 60 points in 29 minutes on 33 shots. Told of this, Walton’s responded: “That’s like a video game.”