Los Angeles Lakers Can’t Win Fans with Moral Victories as Losses Keep Mounting

LOS ANGELES — What we’ve found regularly in recent years from the Los Angeles Lakers are lessons for life through their behavior, relationships and growth backstage...made into meaningful teaching points because of their competitive success on stage.

So what happens when you do the right things and put forth the admirable efforts but don’t find the success?

It’s not inspirational, it can’t foster greater understanding, and it just doesn’t feel good. That’s the reality the Lakers are discovering as they’ve hit 11 losses out of 12 games without the injured Kobe Bryant.

Look at Pau Gasol, for example. He was taken to task for his soft commitment to the team earlier this season, letting up when it got too hard to fight through his upper respiratory infection, the Lakers’ lack of loyalty to him and all the on-court battles he was losing to younger, fresher players.

But just as he bounced back into full practice the morning after he was criticized for skipping the Lakers’ Dec. 29 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Gasol stepped up for the team Tuesday night. Despite a moderate strain of the flexor tendon of his left big toe, Gasol accepted a heavy tape job from Lakers trainer Gary Vitti to lessen the pain and gave it a shot.

By doing so, he gave the Lakers a shot in what was their only home game in this brutal stretch, with seven straight road games upcoming.

The offense moved properly early on because of Gasol’s presence, and the Lakers wound up with a chance to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers despite his being severely limited on defense and not scoring for 16 consecutive minutes in the second half. Gasol still finished with 20 points (9-of-13 shooting), 12 rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks.

Yet the Lakers lost. So there was no message of redemption, no uplifting story in this space about Gasol’s...

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