The Lakers are missing a noticeable member of their team with the absence of LeBron James, who is expected to miss at least four more games with a groin injury, and it’s starting to show as Los Angeles has now fallen to 1-4 without the four-time MVP after losing to the Knicks.
Guard Lonzo Ball had a fairly simple explanation for Friday’s (Saturday, Manila time) 119-112 loss: The Lakers didn’t come ready to play.
“They came out ready to play. We didn’t,” Ball said. “They got out to an early lead, and any time you do that, you got to waste a lot of energy to get back into the game. That’s not necessary if you come out ready to go.
“We got off to a slow start. Obviously guys want to win. Guys come here to do their job, but they got off to a faster start than us.”
🎥 Lonzo Ball talks about preventing fouls and moving the ball better at the end of games. pic.twitter.com/Nbc2RMAAlZ
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 5, 2019
Ball pointed to the Los Angeles’ offense as an area of concern, adding it “definitely needs improvement.” Ball also believes the Lakers keep losing games by allowing a lead in the fourth quarter to get away from them. The Lakers came back after being down 17 and built a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter but crumbled on their home court down the stretch.
“Every game is big in the West, plus we keep losing the same way,” Ball said. “We get up in the fourth and keep giving it away. We got to change that.”
When asked if there’s pressure to do more because James and Kyle Kuzma (back) have been sidelined with injuries, Ball indicated it has been the same regardless of whether or not they are missing key players.
“There’s been pressure since we got here whether we have guys or not,” Ball said. “We’re a big part of this team, and we’ve got to bring it every night.”
The Lakers fell to 21-18. The Knicks snapped an eight-game losing streak to improve to 10-29.