Despite Recent Slump, Los Angeles Lakers Are Right Where They Want to Be

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers pulled out a short-handed win on the road over the Chicago Bulls, 96-90, on the final day of November. Despite playing without starting guards D'Angelo Russell and Nick Young (both injured), the Lakers improved to a respectable 10-10.

The team hasn't won since.

"We're not quite good enough to endure injuries and still win on a consistent basis," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Sunday at a season-ticket-holder event at Staples Center.

"The last 10 days have been tough. We're in every game. We fight until the very, very end," Kupchak continued. "We're hopeful we can get back some of the guys who have been injured and get back to winning games on a consistent basis."

Russell (knee) and Young (calf) returned, with minute restrictions Sunday, but the Lakers still fell to the New York Knicks, 118-112—followed by their seventh straight defeat Monday, getting blitzed by the Sacramento Kings on the road, 116-92.

It's not too late for L.A. to make a playoff run, but that possibility has dimmed since November. The Lakers will play their next six games away from Staples Center. 

"We're about 20-something games into the season; we're a little beat-up," Kupchak said of the 10-17 Lakers. "It's been a tough couple of weeks, but I think we're fun to watch. The young players are playing, and you're going to watch them get better and better. We're very hopeful that some of our young players will turn into really, really good NBA players."

The Lakers were a disaster on the court the last few years, but the reward was high draft positions.

"Our scouts have done a wonderful job," Kupchak said. "Beginning with Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle two years ago, D'Angelo and Larry Nance [Jr.] and then this year with Brandon Ingram and a player that will play ... Ivica Zubac. You haven't seen too much of...

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