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Lakers, Clippers hope old NBA habits translate into wins when season resumes

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

"There will be a carryover. I don't think we've ever had a chance after 60 games to take a three-month break, evaluate what we were doing well, what we were doing poorly, what we should've done more or less and then put it back together," Rivers said. "I think that's to every team's advantage. I think those games matter because it gives you a window of who you were."

One Western Conference scout is not sure play before the layoff will carry over.

"After a three- to four-month hiatus, I'm not sure if the previous games matter," said the scout, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. "This is basically a new and much abbreviated season in which anything can happen."

The scout said he's fearful that the tightened training camps and fewer scrimmages won't be enough to get players physically up to speed, and injuries to key players could be a likelihood because of it.

"And then what happens if someone catches COVID?" the scout wondered.

The uncertainties about how players will react physically to the time off, how they'll react mentally to the isolation in Orlando and how they'll perform in a foreign environment without fans and home-court advantages make it hard to count on much of anything.

"It's going to be a challenge for everyone, from the top-seeded teams that have had amazing 60-game regular seasons so far to the teams like us who are trying to get into that playoff scenario. The challenge is going to be finding that rhythm again," Walton said. "... It doesn't carry over. ... For every team, it's starting over, really. We're further along because now we know each other, but that continuity needs to be found again. And you've got a limited window."

 

For top-seeded teams like the Lakers, Clippers and the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks, that isn't great news if it's true. Those teams in the old version of the 2019-20 season had firmly established themselves as the best, the most worthy of an NBA title. But on a day when players and coaches around the NBA sat in front of cameras for virtual news conferences, it's easy to remember that the ways we thought this season could end are going to change.

The Lakers and the Clippers still might be best equipped to handle it.

"I loved where we were at, so I definitely hope there will be some continuity and carryover," Vogel said. "How quickly that takes place is a great question mark."

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