The Los Angeles Lakers are officially at the halfway mark of their season after playing their 41st game of the 2022-23 campaign on Monday. They lost to the Denver Nuggets to fall to a 19-22 record, but in spite of the defeat, the Lakers players have had plenty of reasons to smile in recent weeks—the team had been on a roll before the Nuggets matchup to rise in the Western Conference standings.
Starting center Thomas Bryant was asked to assess how Los Angeles fared in the season's first half and gave an optimistic response.
"I believe we're trending in the right direction," Bryant said. "The start of the season was a little bit tough for us. But as of right now, I think we're in the right direction of just trying to get to what we're trying to accomplish. So, I'm happy where we're at right now."
Turning things around
For a time earlier this season, the Lakers looked like they were on the way to another humiliating campaign. At one point, they were 2-10, with the roster looking as dysfunctional as ever.
But a few strings of consecutive victories had allowed L.A. to almost climb to the .500 mark several times. A five-win streak prior to the road game versus Denver got the team two games short of reaching an even win-loss record. However, not having its two best players proved tough to overcome for the Purple and Gold.
Anthony Davis has been out since the middle of December. As for LeBron James, he missed Monday's game with a sore ankle. It was too bad for the Lakers as the "King" had been having a superb stretch of games an ordinary 38-year-old player couldn't possibly pull off.
Plenty of work to do
Bryant also said L.A. still has a lot of work to do to get where the team wants to be. That also probably includes finding ways to eke out victories without the stars.
The sixth-year center is certainly doing his part. He was a beast during the Lakers' win streak.
Against the Nuggets, Bryant showed that he could still perform well without James to feed him the ball. The 6-foot-10 big man finished the night with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
It remains to be seen if Bryant can keep up his strong performance and help the Lakers salvage their season.