The Los Angeles Lakers ended their seven game road trip with a 110-103 loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday. The Lakers may have gone 2-5 on the trip, but they certainly exceeded expectations while away.road trip, L.A. was competitive in every game they played, and never lost by double digits. That says a lot about their effort level in a league where many teams have off nights and pack it in on the road leading to huge blowouts. The NBA is an effort league. The season is a long, strenuous one, and often wins don’t always go to the most talented team, but rather the one giving the most energy. This team is showing that level of energy, and the wins may be waiting for them back at the Staples Center.
The key to this team is their youth. A team that certainly has less talent than most others in the NBA, makes up for it with energy and will. Some of the young players on the Lakers roster haven’t been in the league long, and are playing their tails off to continue living their dream. Guys like Kendall Marshall and Manny Harris have only recently been signed, and are enjoying their time at the highest level.
Coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t have a team of diva veterans, or quitters. He has a lineup of young, hungry athletes that can’t afford to quit. This is their time to shine, and they are working to making the most of it.
Over the course of the road trip, the Lakers listened to Coach D’Antoni well, and it is easy to see his imprint on the team. The Lakers get up and down the court quickly, with the style D’Antoni has pioneered over his time as a coach in the league. They scored at least 100 points in every game of the trip, something that shows their offense is starting to click. The problem is on the defensive side, where they simply don’t exert the same amount of energy that they do on offense. If the Lakers can focus, and work a little harder on the defensive end they will have a much better chance to start winning more games.
Hopefully the reinforcements are on the way. Xavier Henry was having a fine start to the year before he went down, and with a little luck he will be able to return the lineup in the next 10 days or so. Jordan Farmar was also having a very solid start to the season before he was sidelined with multiple hamstring issues. The Lakers are hoping to get Farmar back on the court in the next 2 to 3 weeks. The ultimate question mark comes in the form of Kobe Bryant. When will he be ready? Should he return to a team ultimately going nowhere? Those are decisions best left to Kobe and the team. One thing is certain though, if the Lakers continue the effort they gave over this past road trip, more wins will be on the horizon.
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