The Lakers had been playing their best basketball of the season — and perhaps the best of any team in the NBA — having won 11 of their last 13 games before the league was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
They had defeated two of the league’s other heavyweights in the Milwaukee Bucks and rival Clippers over the March 6-8 weekend, raising their expectations as serious championship contenders in the process.
Now more than four months since the Lakers last played a game, they are seeking to reclaim and, hopefully, exceed the magic they had in March when the NBA restarts its season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.
Despite playing in an arena with no fans, it shouldn’t be hard for the Lakers to have a level of excitement for the restart because they open Thursday night against the Clippers.
“The goal is to be better," Lakers guard Danny Green said during a video conference call Thursday. "We were good. We weren’t where we wanted to be then either still.”
The Lakers played three scrimmages before the lead-up to the eight “seeding” games, winning two of them.
Lakers guard Danny Green acknowledged how well the Lakers had been playing before the stoppage, but he still expects more out of his teammates as they move forward.
“We played good basketball," Green said. "We lost to Brooklyn before the hiatus so we need to have that same focus like are playing Milwaukee or the Clippers and continue to get better.
“We know we have to do better than that to win it, to be the last team standing. We know the Clippers are going to get better. Milwaukee is going to get better. Any of those teams that are here are going to get better. So we have to continue to be as good as that or better to be the last team standing.”