Lakers are losing and their offense ranks last in the bubble. Is the problem mental?

Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

A month in the NBA bubble has presented the Los Angeles Lakers with some mental hurdles, causing them to get what center JaVale McGee described as "a little cabin fever."

But that is a small price to pay, McGee said, because the goal is to win the Lakers' 17th NBA championship even while going through some unique circumstances.

"It definitely adds up over time. You get a little cabin fever," McGee said on a videoconference call Sunday. "I feel like just being in the same place doing the same things every day with no variation ... But it's necessary for the goal in hand, which is to win an NBA championship. We all knew what we were getting ourselves into.

"It's actually more things to do than we actually anticipated, so it's not horrible. Of course, we'd rather be playing our games in front of our fans and our crowd and in our own homes, but it just is what it is right now."

The most important thing for the Lakers is to get out of their funk and to regain the mojo they had before the season was halted. They had won 11 of 13 games before play was shut down in March because of the coronavirus outbreak.

They have lost three consecutive games, their longest such streak since dropping four straight from Dec. 17 to 25.


In six games in the bubble, the Lakers are last in scoring (100.8), field-goal percentage (41.1%), three-point shooting (25.4%), assists (19.3), and next-to-last in free-throw shooting (73%) and plus-minus (-7.5).

Though they have clinched the best record in the Western Conference for the top seed, things have gone awry.

"I don't think mentally anyone figured out we had the one seed and then was like, 'OK, I'm going to lighten up a little bit,' " McGee said. "I just feel like we've had a lot of dinks ... I mean, not injuries, but people just getting hurt a little bit, so the lineups have been different and different guys been playing with different guys. So, it's just slightly different. I think that once everybody's 100% and hopefully we'll have that for the first game of the playoffs, we should be good."

The Lakers will not be whole for Monday night's game against Denver. Starting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is out because of an ankle injury.


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