Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni admitted his team is still struggling to find its "identity" eight games into the new NBA season, and a day before they face the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Lakers suffered an embarrassing 113-90 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who on their way to scoring a franchise-high 47 points in the first quarter, snapped a 22-game losing streak to the team from LA, in their last game.
It has been a disappointing season so far for the Lakers (3-5) and D'Antoni said this side was still trying to figure things out. "We got to find our identity," D'Antoni said after practice on Monday. "We don't play slow or fast. We don't do anything with a purpose. We're trying to get that.
"We're trying to clarify what playing hard means because sometimes I think it's misconstrued in the press by me, not by you guys. But being able to anticipate what's happening, being mentally alert, they're all trying, but a lot of times, we're like one or two steps behind because we didn't anticipate or get to a spot we needed to, to be able to benefit from playing hard, if that makes sense. So, it's not a character issue. It's just a matter of execution."
With Kobe Bryant's return still uncertain, the Lakers were dealt a further blow after it was confirmed Steve Nash would miss at least two weeks due to nerve root irritation in his back and hamstring.
"It's just slowly getting worse and worse," Nash said about the injury. "A little bit of rest might help, but you have to be more proactive with it, I think. I need to rehab, continue to work through it."
The Pelicans have already beaten the Lakers this season, a 96-85 result on Friday, which saw them end an 11-game winless streak in the series.
Anthony Davis was the star for that game, with an impressive 32 points, a career-high, 12 rebounds and six blocks.
There is little doubt the Lakers will have to keep the Pelicans big man quiet, similar to the Phoenix Suns, who restricted Davis to just 14 points and 12 rebounds on Sunday as the Pelicans lost 101-94.
"We broke down defensively a little bit, a couple back doors, they made some tough shots," Davis said after the defeat. "It's tough for us. ... But it's early in the season. We're going to come in tomorrow, figure it out and be ready to play next game."
Where to watch
The game is scheduled for a 9 am IST start with live coverage on Sony Six. You can also catch the game live online by clicking HERE.