"I think the entire game we didn't shoot the ball really well from three", said Damian Lillard. It's eye-opening for a coach who was highly touted as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors, but most believed the LeBron James-led Lakers would hit the ground running. With the slow start to the season so far, Luke Walton may be under pressure from the front office to perform sooner rather than later.
Earlier in the week, it was reported that Magic Johnson and Walton engaged in a serious one-on-one meeting, the message being: results are expected now that LeBron James has joined the purple and gold.
The Los Angeles Lakers returned home from a two-game road trip with a pair of losses to add to their record, falling to the Spurs 110-106 on Saturday and the Timberwolves 124-120 on Monday. He added that he "has a great relationship with management", and that he doesn't "feel like I am going anywhere". Unsurprisingly, the Lakers have struggled to win games this season despite being competitive in all of them.
"It just shows that what we're doing is working", Walton said of beating the Blazers for the first time since March 3, 2014.
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"One of our strengths is we have Rondo and LeBron who are two of the best floor generals in our game", he said. JaVale McGee, who continues to be a revelation for the Lakers, came up with a big offensive rebound and then a reverse layup to push the lead to seven before the Lakers held on.
"LeBron closed them out over the final three minutes", Walton said of James. "It's our choice either to hang on to those, or it's our choice to stay present and focus our energy and time on what we can do to get better". "We love the fact that we're going to get another veteran". Everyone wants to play but for us to be successful this year, we need everyone at different times int he season stepping up to help us win games. Finally, in a hostile environment, this young Lakers group knows how that feels. So none of that stuff matters to me. Every time we go on a losing streak, there's going to be stories out there and distractions out there.
"Magic and I talk a lot about basketball and our team and his opinions and my opinions", Walton said.
"I don't like to assume that people know what I'm thinking".