Injury issues and constant trade deadline rumors took the Los Angeles Lakers from a top-4 seed in the Western Conference to outside the playoffs at the All-Star break. Josh Hart dealt with both of these issues, and knee tendinitis while also being part of the Anthony Davis fiasco.
Now with the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, and the All-Star break giving Hart and the team some much needed time off, pressure is on the Lakers to make that push to the playoffs, and Hart believes they’re ready to do so.
“I think we’re ready to make a push,” he said. “No one has their head down, no one is regretting anything. We’re all focused on making a push for these playoffs. We think it’s something that we’re able to do and something we’re definitely capable of doing. We’re ready to take it one game at a time.”
Of course, the road to the playoffs won’t be easy, but Hart is embracing that challenge. “If we’re fortunate enough to make it to the playoffs this year, I think it would mean more, battling to get the seventh or eighth seed, than if we were the three seed,” Hart noted.
“If you’re a three seed, you don’t have that much adversity. When you’re two or three games — whatever we are out of the playoff race — with 25 games left, being able to put together wins, put together a push and get into the playoffs, all the adversity that’s against us, I think that would be huge. Obviously for myself and the younger guys but the organization moving forward.”
If the Lakers do plan on turning things around it will have to start on the defensive end. After being a top-10 unit earlier in the season, the team was one of the worst in the league over the last month.
“Injuries definitely didn’t help. But we just slipped a little bit in our values,” Hart added. “When that happens, we’ve got to regroup and re-dedicate ourselves to those things. I think the All-Star break was amazing for us to kind of get away mentally and rebuild, and now come in fresh.”
Regardless of all the issues the team has gone through, it can all turn around in these last 25 games. Hart’s feelings remain the same.
“Like I said, I think we’re ready to make a push.”
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