Sometimes timing can be fortuitous.
Tonight, the Lakers have a tough game against an opponent that has been playing well this season. That means they don’t have much time to dwell on their disheartening loss to the Spurs on Friday night.
Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ 133-120 loss:
1. The Lakers have lost 10 games this season, half of them to the Spurs and Magic. Not what you’d expect given the way those teams have been playing this year, but it shows two things. First, it shows that during the course of an 82-game season, most teams will have a shot at beating you. Second, it shows that the Lakers have been able to secure wins against some of their better opponents.
2. Not having Brandon Ingram makes a big impact on the Lakers. All three of their Spurs losses have come without Ingram available. In the first two, Ingram was serving his four-game suspension for a fight against the Houston Rockets. Of course, last night he was out with an ankle injury, the severity of which the Lakers have yet to update.
3. Four of the Lakers’ five starters played at least 36 minutes in the game, with the exception being JaVale McGee who traded minutes with Tyson Chandler as he usually does. The heaviest loads went to Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Still, it didn’t seem as if the minutes fatigued the Lakers, though they did struggle in the fourth quarter.
4. Lakers coach Luke Walton spoke earlier this week about how some of the Lakers’ turnover problems have come from their abundance of players who like to make home-run passes.
“We’re a team that we’re young, and we’re a new group together; we’re still learning to play together,” Walton said. “You get in these environments, San Antonio and their crowd gets going, and we’re down bodies, I think we as a group, that’s what we’re trying to become is a team that’s mentally tough enough to win these type of road games, and we’ve gotten a lot better from the start of the season. But like I said before the game, we’re not there yet.”
5. The free throw disparity has been a point of contention for the Lakers all season. When LeBron James passed Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list, his coach and some teammates mentioned that James’ scoring numbers would probably be much higher if all of the fouls committed against him were called. Last night, Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan attempted just three fewer free throws than the entire Lakers team.
Said McGee: “It’s a challenge to not say anything or get down on yourself and say anything to the refs rather than just staying locked in and focusing on the task at hand and worry about the next play.”
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli