The day after a demoralizing loss to the Utah Jazz, the Los Angeles Lakers met for a Saturday practice at their team facility in El Segundo. After losing to the worst team in the Western Conference, the logical next step was to forget yesterday and focus on tomorrow.
On Sunday, the Philadelphia 76ers make their annual pilgrimage to Staples Center, but the Lakers had some questions to answer on Saturday.
First of all, the Lakers needed to address the health of Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman. The Lakers’ Spanish center missed the flight to Utah with a lingering upper respiratory infection, and his replacement suffered an ankle injury in Friday’s loss.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told the media that both big men were “game-time decisions.” However, the coach was “hopeful” he would have both available.
As has been a recurring theme this season, the Lakers failed to execute down the stretch. However, LA received positive offensive contributions from Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry and Chris Kaman in Utah. However, the Lakers were unable to get defensive stops late in the game.
On a positive note, Farmar’s seven assists were steps in the right direction, and the point guard looked significantly sharper than he had in Wednesday’s loss to Miami. Farmar missed over three weeks with a torn hamstring before returning to the team earlier in the week.
“I think he’s getting a little bit used to getting back,” D’Antoni said on Saturday. “I thought he played pretty well.”
After Farmar, Young was the Lakers’ top passer with three assists against the Jazz. Young talked about how he had been consciously making an effort to share the ball.
“Shawne (Williams)and Jordan (Farmar) were talking about ‘I can’t pass,’” Young said on Saturday. “I’m trying to teach them a lesson out there.”
In the aftermath of Friday’s loss, Young was also vocal about a lack of respect. Young fouled out with six minutes remaining, and the Lakers’ guard was asked if he still felt his team was not getting respect with regards to calls.
“I still feel the same, but I can’t do nothing about it,” Young said. “Like I said, I need to keep all my money in my pocket.”