In no world ought to thirteenth place really feel this good. But contained in the Lakers’ apply facility on Saturday, there was an comprehensible sense of optimism from the Western Convention’s third-worst staff.
Whereas the Lakers have stumbled and stalled all through the primary half of the season, only a few groups have discovered a constant stride.
“We like the position we’re in,” Austin Reaves mentioned Saturday. “We’re never content with where we’re at because you want to win every game, but that was really the message at the end of practice. Let’s go make a run and get a good spot.”
The Lakers have an opportunity to construct some momentum, albeit in opposition to some good groups, with six of their subsequent seven video games at house. Extra importantly, issues appear to be enhancing for the injured Lakers, a gaggle together with Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV, and headlined by Anthony Davis.
“Lonnie is trending in the right direction, Austin is trending in the right direction, AD looked really good. He was out on the floor a little bit today,” coach Darvin Ham mentioned. “So we’re right on course of what we want to get done in terms of getting them back in the lineup.”
It gained’t be Sunday when the Lakers host Philadelphia and it virtually definitely gained’t occur Monday after they have the Rockets within the second recreation on back-to-back nights. But when the Lakers can proceed to tread water, the center pack of the convention continues to be so tight they’ll be in respectable sufficient place.
By the point the Lakers left apply on Saturday, they had been solely two video games out of the No. 6 spot within the convention. They had been one recreation out of the play-in match, and with upcoming dates in opposition to Portland, Sacramento and the Clippers, there are actual probabilities to make a transfer.
“If we can string a couple wins together — and I think we’ve been playing good basketball, even with some of the Ls that we’ve had,” LeBron James mentioned. “As of late, over the last couple months. I feel like if we can continue to play the game like we’ve been playing it and then we get healthy, it will put us in a good position to see what the standings hold.”
The getting wholesome half isn’t as sophisticated because it sounded every week in the past.
Ham mentioned Davis was capable of do “minimal half-court” exercises as he continues to ramp up from a trio of foot accidents.
“Again, he’s moving well. He’s feeling well. And we’re excited,” Ham mentioned. “He’s right where he should be according to the plan that was put down.”
Reaves has been doing particular person on-court work with assistant Phil Useful as he nears a return.
“Multiple people I’ve talked to say hamstrings are tricky — it’s getting it to 100%,” Reaves mentioned. “I want to play every game obviously. Sitting out isn’t fun. I was going absolutely nuts in the back of the Dallas game. But, it is what it is. It’s part of the sport, injuries are. Just trying to get it back to 100 and get back as soon as I can.”
Reaves final performed Jan. 4 and is scheduled to be reexamined subsequent week. Walker, who’s been out since Dec. 28, can also be scheduled quickly for reevaluation.
Patrick Beverley, who missed the final recreation due to an sickness, is questionable Sunday in opposition to the 76ers.
“I mean, I always feel like we got a chance when we’re healthy. But that’s just … health is wealth. And that’s always been our thing,” James mentioned. “So, I feel like if we can get fully healthy and we can get our guys back and then we can start playing in the games, logging minutes, doing what we’ve been doing over — I mean, since before Christmas break — I think we can string some wins together and be competitive against anybody.”
Within the meantime, there’s nonetheless a rising religion within the fill-in gamers’ talents to make a distinction.
“I think the biggest thing that we’ve been doing is that I think we just no matter who’s been in the lineup the next guys have been absolutely ready,” James mentioned. “No matter what game it’s been, no matter who’s been in and out. Injuries or illnesses or sicknesses, suspensions or whatever, next man has been ready to go. …
“Just think guys just have been locked in to a point where it doesn’t matter if you’re playing or not, whenever your number is called you’re ready to go.”
And the popular vacation spot — transferring up the standings — may not be as inconceivable because it as soon as appeared.