Under normal circumstances, Sunday's 112-108 loss to the Knicks wouldn't be a major source of concern. The Lakers played hard, they didn't underestimate their opponent.
They just weren't sharp. It happens.
Except right now, the Lakers simply can't afford to have games where they're not sharp, and can't execute well enough to win games there for the taking.
With the loss, the Lakers drop into a statistical tie with the Thunder for the 10th spot in the West. Still only a game out of 7th, and two out of 6th, but obviously a much shakier spot than they were 24 hours ago. It was a few things - Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Troy Brown provided absolutely nothing for the Lakers in support of Anthony Davis and D'Angelo Russell (who was again excellent on Sunday, with 33 points on 13-19 shooting. As a team, the Lakers didn't get to the line enough, and when they did, they - and Davis more specifically - didn't hit enough of them.
Darvin Ham erred it seemed in not keeping either Russell or Davis on the floor on a night where the supporting cast wasn't elevating the team (Davis was a +9, Russell +14 on a night the Lakers lost by four).
But the person who put the blame on himself first and foremost was Davis. He took responsibility for the loss, which while not totally accurate - AD wasn't dominant, but he wasn't awful, and it certainly wasn't one of those games where Davis sort of floats through 48 minutes - was still a good sign of leadership, of understanding what the Lakers need from him night to night, and a reason to be encouraged about Tuesday's game in New Orleans. Davis has, for the most part, responded well to games in which he felt he underperformed.
We'll see. And we'll see as well if Davis plays in both ends of this week's back-to-back, Tuesday against the Pelicans, Wednesday in Houston.
HOSTS: Andy and Brian Kamenetzky
SEGMENT 1: The Lakers don't execute, and they lose.
SEGMENT 2: Anthony Davis puts the loss on his shoulders. Is he being fair to himself?
SEGMENT 3: The standings are tight, and the Lakers need to keep Davis on the floor for every game now, right?
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