Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are sidelined for the long term. Pau Gasol, who is battling a respiratory infection, is a shell of his former self when he plays. Even Steve Blake, who guided the Los Angeles Lakers to respectability for the first 21 games of the season, is out at least another four weeks.
Through it all, though, Nick Young thinks the Lakers still deserve respect around the league, and he doesn’t think they are getting any.
“It’s just the respect factor,” Young told reporters after L.A.’s 105-103 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday. “I feel like we don’t get the proper respect that everybody else gets when it comes to certain things out there on the court. It plays a major role. I’m not going to call no names. I’m not going to say it was the refs’ fault or nothing, but just watch the game over and see what happened out there.”
Young fouled out in the middle of the fourth quarter with a team-high 21 points, so he wasn’t on the court when Utah’s Derrick Favors scored the winning basket on a putback dunk of a Gordon Hayward miss. It’s not clear if “respect” would have boxed out Favors on the Jazz’s final play or if Favors was simply showing the Lakers a lack of respect by crashing the offensive glass.
The Lakers have lost four straight games and fallen four games below the Golden State Warriors in the loss column in the Pacific Division standings. On Sunday, they begin a homestand consisting of four winnable games against Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Utah and Denver. Those opponents are a combined 43 games below .500; their respect factors haven’t been calculated.