For one half of Wednesday’s contest in Detroit, the Lakers looked like a competent NBA team (save for a myriad of turnovers). In one quarter, that was all undone.
Being outscored 36-20 in the third period, the Lakers come unraveled and were quickly blown out by the Pistons, falling 121-102.
Here’s our takeaways from the game:
The effort was visibly not there tonight for most of the Lakers
From the onset, the Lakers looked sloppy, disinterested and, as a result, terrible. The team turned the ball over 12 times in the first half alone after just seven turnovers in New York in their last game.
The focus will fall on D’Angelo Russell, who played just 22 minutes, but he was one of many who looked bad tonight. Russell had just two shot attempts in his time on the court, similar to Ivica Zubac, who had a lackluster performance.
It’s an excuse fans hate to hear, but young players don’t bring it every night, especially a random Wednesday night in February on the road in Detroit.
For some reason, fans expect 19- and 20-year olds to play their best every game and it’s simply not a realistic expectation.
Brandon Ingram looked great for the second-straight game
After some up-and-down moments in the opening months, Ingram seems to be hitting his stride. After a strong game against the Knicks, Ingram scored eight points in the opening minutes tonight and looked aggressive once again.
The rookie finished 6-of-10 from the field and 3-of-4 from behind the arc for 15 points and to go along with five assists and four rebounds.
On a night when many of the Lakers seemed unfocused, Ingram was one of the few exceptions (along with Julius Randle) and were one of the reasons the game was even close in the first half.
Every loss is not an indictment on the coaching staff
Many times, Lakers fans immediately race to blame the coaching staff for the losses and credit the players for the win. While that’s not unexpected, it’s also not fair.
On top of Luke Walton being a first-year head coach that is still learning the ropes, not every loss is a direct indictment on the coaching staff. Sometimes, the players simply don’t bring a level of effort good enough to win a game, especially when the team is comprised of many young players like the Lakers.
These are part of the growing paints. The Lakers remain both young and inconsistent. Walton has made it clear from day one that when a player isn’t bringing the effort, they won’t be played. Playing time must be earned. In the short term, it might be frustrating but it’s the right thing to do for the long term.