After the game, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton said his goals for his young team going into their 95-92 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back were relatively simple.
“Going in, I told the guys, ‘Look, we’ve got to be ready. We’ve got to be professionals. We’re going to have different lineups tonight. Different people are going to get chances to play. A lot of these guys played 35 to 40 minutes [Friday] night. We’re going to be tired, and it’s our job to be ready,'” he said.
Despite the Lakers taking a superior team down to the wire for the second night in a row, Walton wasn’t happy with what he saw.
“I didn’t think we did a good job of that. I thought guys on our bench were pouting. I thought there was too much feeling sorry for ourselves as opposed to being professionals,” Walton explained.
Walton’s comments would seem to imply that some members of the Lakers might be dissatisfied with their role in the rotation, but veteran center Andrew Bogut says that isn’t something the team should be focusing on.
“Pouting? Yeah, possibly. I mean, guys are frustrated. There’s some injuries right now, different rotations, so guys are a frustrated, obviously,” Bogut conceded.
“You’d be lying if you said there’s guys who are not frustrated on this team. Everyone knows what’s going on with the salary cap situation next season and all that.” Bogut has certainly been around long enough to know teams that dwell on those things can’t succeed.
“That’s just distractions we can’t let affect us. That’s part of this league,” he added.
Walton was willing to give his team the benefit of the doubt while expressing hope the ‘pouting’ he saw wouldn’t become a habit.
“The main thing that we do is always about our team, what’s best for the team and how do we win as a team. And our guys have been great at that all year long,” Walton said.
“I just didn’t think we were in character tonight. Maybe it was fatigue from this tough stretch we went through, I don’t know. We just didn’t seem to be ourselves.”
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