Long trips for one game don't sit well with Los Angeles Lakers Coach Luke Walton

Long trips for one game don't sit well with Los Angeles Lakers Coach Luke Walton
Lakers Coach Luke Walton is unsure what the NBA is accomplishing with one-game trips more than one time zone away from L.A. (Harry How / Getty Images)

In the NBA's attempt to reduce games on consecutive nights and stretches of four games in five nights, the league has created a schedule quirk that annoys Lakers Coach Luke Walton:

One-game trips several time zones away.


The Lakers this season have played the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder in separate one-game trips. And they've got upcoming one-game trips to San Antonio and Minnesota.

"A one-day trip to Minnesota is, I don't get it," Walton said. "It doesn't make sense. We've flown over Minnesota probably nine times already this season. One of those times let's stop and play there and not sacrifice that much travel for one game."

The Lakers have struggled during those games, losing to the Rockets, Mavericks, Warriors and Spurs by an average of more than 40 points a game. It didn't help that the Warriors, Spurs and Rockets are the top three teams in the Western Conference.

To try to counteract the effect of the travel on the short trips, Walton has altered his team's schedule. Where they used to practice at home before flying to their destination, Walton now flies earlier and holds a practice on the road the night before the game.

As for reducing games on consecutive nights, if this is the solution Walton doesn't like it.

"All road games are tough in the league," he said. "You prefer not to have to fly two times zones in three hours to do it for one game. They're trying it out hopefully this year. I've talked to other coaches. They're not happy with them either. Obviously the NBA's not trying to do anything that's bad for the players. It's something new they tried."


Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram sat out the tail end of practice Thursday because of tendinitis in his right patella tendon. The patella is a tendon in the knee. The Lakers listed Ingram as probable for Friday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. … Timofey Mozgov suffered a sprained ankle during Wednesday's practice and is questionable for Friday's game. The Lakers didn't intend to utilize Mozgov anyway, preferring to take a longer look at their younger players at this point in the season. … Larry Nance Jr. remains on the injury report because of a right wrist sprain but is listed as probable. Nance has played several games with the injury. He has admitted to avoiding dunks in order to not aggravate the injury.



When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet, Spectrum Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 20-51; Timberwolves 28-42.


Record vs. Timberwolves: 0-1.

Update: Karl Anthony Towns has been playing excellently lately. He is a threat inside and outside for Minnesota. He has made 53% of his shots, 35% from three-point range. Ivica Zubac will be asked to check Towns, as will Julius Randle.

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli