After losing consecutive games to two of the worst teams in the league, Coach Jackson said that the losses have begun to take their toll on team morale.
“It caused some erratic sleep for two or three nights this week. You think that you really have everything going for you…we have home court advantage, we have most of the games at home…we have a home stand and we can’t take advantage of it.”
However, according to Jackson, all is not lost just yet for L.A.
“…We still have destiny in our hands,” Jackson said. “Basically, we play San Antonio and New Orleans, teams we need to play at home. If we beat those teams, we still have the ability to finish ahead of all these teams. We have to put a streak together…”
Jackson said that he expects his team to come out against the Wizards with a greater sense of urgency, although he has yet to see a shift in attitude from some players.
“Losing hurts and when you’re a competitor, there’s no ands if about it, you suffer because of it,” said Jackson. “And if you don’t, you shouldn’t be in this business because this is what it’s about. It’s about wins and losses and how you do it as a group.”
Once again, the Lakers will be without injured forward-center Pau Gasol, with the team hopeful that he’ll be able to make his return this Wednesday against Portland.
“He went on the court yesterday and did some things,” Jackson said. “I could see that he just wasn’t capable of pushing his way through with the type of energy you have to play this game. He couldn’t push off to take the type of shots he wants to take. But, he was out there, it was good, there’s was no worse for wear because of what he did today.”
The Lakers will, however, have the services of center Chris Mihm, although Jackson acknowledged that he is still playing with certain limitations.
“He looks OK,” Jackson said. “He’s been gone for so much time, it’s almost like it’s back to training camp for him because he’s sore and stiff just because of activity level. But, he’s there, he’s being active, he’s playing pain free…as pain free as he can be at this time without pain and stiffness where he’s now in a position where he’s starting to play the game.”