With Wednesday night’s loss to the Utah Jazz, the Los Angeles Lakers have lost four straight games. They’ve now dropped to the third seed in the Western Conference and could easily fall to the fourth if their skid continues. While losing to the Jazz and Brooklyn Nets are nothing to be ashamed of, the losses to struggling Miami Heat and Washington Wizards teams are slightly concerning.
The Lakers have been considered championship favorites for much of the season. However, the winds are beginning to change. The Jazz are the hottest team in the NBA right now and could end up as the top seed in the playoffs. They are certainly a championship threat if they keep playing at a high level but Lakers forward Markieff Morris isn’t too scared about them.
“We see the Jazz, we know they beat our ass tonight,” Morris said, via ESPN. “But in the playoffs it’s a different story.”
The playoffs are obviously a different story, especially for the Lakers. Right now, they’re playing without two starters in Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder. Once those guys get back, Los Angeles will look very different. Also, LeBron James hits another level in the playoffs. The Jazz can dominate the regular season all they want but it doesn’t matter if they can’t compete in the playoffs.
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Morris Believes Lakers Need Challenging Times
The Lakers started off the season looking really good. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, the team went on a seven-game winning streak. No team likes to lose but Morris believes it will help the team in the long run.
“[I] think early on we won with talent a lot and we got a lot of role players that know their roles. Now with those guys out – with AD out, in particular – we need guys to do different things,” Morris said. “This is new for all of us. But we need it. If you ask me, we need it. Because you never know with injuries. You never know in the playoffs. You never know. We need these challenging times to really find who we really are.”
Davis wasn’t having his best season but he’s still an elite player who was the Lakers’ best man on defense. It’s obvious, at this point, that they the All-Star big man if they hope to finish the season higher than the fourth seed.
Morris Addresses Grueling Season
Along with the Heat, the Lakers only had 71 days off between the end of last season and the start of this season. That was the shortest offseason for any sports team in recorded history. The effects of the shortened offseason are becoming apparent and it doesn’t help that this season is unorthodox.
“This is the most basketball that I’ve ever played in my life – this season and last season combined,” Morris said. “It’s an unbelievable amount of basketball that we all are playing. Mentally it gets draining. Especially when you lose.”
This season is definitely a grind and the Lakers are fortunate that the All-Star break is nearing. They obviously need a few days off.