I’m going to keep this short and sweet. The Lakers need to beat the Kings today. For one, the Lakers have lost 3 of 4 games and getting back on track is important. Two, the Kings are down De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes, two of their better players. Three, LeBron James could very well come back tonight after being upgraded to questionable from being out indefinitely. In fact, per Shams Charania, if Bron goes through warmups and feels okay, he will play, making him a true gametime decision.
When you add up all those factors, this is a game the Lakers need to nab. I know they don’t care about the standings. I know that wherever they end up and whoever their 1st round opponent is, the team is going to feel confident in their ability to win. I also know the standings are so bunched and are so fluid, jockeying for position or worrying about who you might or might not play or which teams end up on your side of the bracket is a pretty useless endeavor at this point. These things could come down to the final day of the season, after all.
What I also know, however, is that it’s time for the Lakers to start to play better basketball. Whether that’s because they start to shorten their rotation or not, play better fitting lineups or not, or start to build better chemistry or not all matter towards this goal, but I’m not going to dwell on any of those things too much. The coaches of this team know what they’re doing; they surely have a plan and will work towards it.
But, if they’re going to continue to play bad defensive lineups or groupings that don’t quite fit, those dudes need to find a way to execute the plan in front of them and simply play better. After all, it’s not the gameplan that has Keef missing wide open 3’s or AD not quite getting to his defensive spots or Drummond missing a point blank shot or McLemore deciding he’s going to shoot early in the clock regardless of how good a shot it is.
Some of the things we’re seeing are basically just about guys being better and making better decisions. Which, coincidentally, is what the playoffs will require. I understand there’s a process to getting to the point where this team is playoff ready. I get that there’s steps to this stuff and that you cannot skip them. In saying that, though, it’s time to start seeing some of those steps. Including tonight’s game vs. the Kings, the Lakers have 10 games left in the year. Incrementally playing better is a real goal. And that can start tonight. So, let’s see it.
Where you can watch: 7:00pm start time on Spectrum SportsNet and NBA TV.