Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham wasn't happy after his team lost 134-120 to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, their sixth defeat in nine games.
"We have to be more competitive and give more effort," Ham told reporters. "We will figure it out. That's why we have put together a great staff like we have done."
Los Angeles led 26-25 after the first quarter but slowly unraveled and trailed by as many as 23 points before getting the score a little closer in the fourth quarter.
Los Angeles couldn't slow down Domantas Sabonis, who finished with 13 ponts, 21 rebounds and 12 assists. The Kings' other four starters all scored at least 20 points as well.
At 13-18, the Lakers are 13th in the Western Conference but just 2.5 games out of the final play-in tournament spot. The sixth-place Kings (17-13) widened their lead to 4.5 games over L.A.
Effort—or a lack thereof—might have played a level in Ham's squad committing 15 turnovers and allowing Sacramento to shoot 50.5 percent from the floor. Working harder on the floor probably won't remedy the Lakers' biggest issue, though.
Prior to his foot injury, Anthony Davis was elevating himself into the MVP conversation. He's averaging 27.4 points and on pace to set career highs in field-goal percentage (59.4) and rebounds (12.1 per game).
This is the version of Davis that's required to make Los Angeles a serious title contender.
But now the eight-time All-Star is out for at least a month. Ham is without one of his best players, and there isn't a lot the front office can do to strengthen the squad in the interim.
That leaves the coaching staff and the Lakers players having to look for solutions from within.