It is in the DNA of Phoenix Suns fans to root against the Los Angeles Lakers at all times - and that passion to wish failure upon their most despised rivals has only become stronger and more ingrained now that LeBron James has entered the picture. Despite making a comeback in the fourth quarter, this is a disgusting loss for the team, as we're finally beginning to see this team crumble straight in front of our eyes.
James' team are 10th in the Western Conference, 5.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the eighth and final playoff spot, but the 34-year-old - who missed 18 games with a groin injury earlier this season, the longest absence of his career - insisted his instinct is not to bring 2018-19 to an early end.
"We need to be better", Walton said afterward.
Numerous same issues that have plagued the team all season converged in Saturday's calamity.
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center on February 27, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. At times, we played well.
The Suns got off to a much better start in the season series finale against the Lakers, leading by 10 and making 13 of 19 shots in the first quarter. "If we want to get to the goal that we've set for ourselves in the season, we have to believe in each other".
Midway through the fourth quarter, James led a push, but the Suns shoved back. This season, Walton's Lakers are 30-33, on top of a 35-47 record last season and a 26-56 record in 2016-17.
"For me personally, I can [only] speak for myself, [the motivation is] continue to be a professional, and be as great as you can be every single night, no matter the circumstances, 'cause someone is always watching". He made 10 against the Suns, giving him 11,726. G Rajon Rondo had four assists and passed Deron Williams (6,819) for 20th on the NBA's all-time assists list.
Notes Phoenix won despite hitting only six 3-pointers on 23.1 percent shooting. The Suns are 1-9 on the second game of a back-to-back.