Lakers try to tune out noise amid playoff push

first_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img When the Lakers first signed Chandler in November after he was bought out by the Phoenix Suns, he was a shot in the arm for a struggling defense. He helped make two game-winning plays in the first three contests he played for the team.But at 36, Chandler’s body isn’t what it was: Walton said he’s been going in for treatment “all day” for games in an effort to be physically prepared. When asked to describe his health, Walton said “18 years in” (Chandler is playing the 18th season of his career).From Walton’s tone, the Lakers are willing to take what they can get from the veteran center.“He gives everything he has to this game. He’s an absolutely great teammate. He’s a pleasure to coach. He’s in there getting treatment on his body all day long and giving everything he has.”BIG-MONEY BUCKETBetween the third and fourth quarters of Wednesday’s game, Dean Tran of Camarillo hit a half-court shot to win the $100,000 Park MGM Big Shot Jackpot promotion.The 40-year-old becomes the eighth winner, aside from former Laker Vlade Divac, to win the jackpot, a promotion the Lakers started during the 2006-07 season.Tran is the second winner of the season, joining Ali Sabbouri of Anaheim, who won $30,000 on Oct. 22. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersWalton’s sentiment seemed to echo the James quote that has circulated since they lost to the Grizzlies – that the Lakers can’t let distractions get in their way. Lately, some of the distraction element has been James, or at least how his postgame comments have been interpreted.James said he doesn’t think about how his words trickle down to teammates through the press – he said he concentrates on communicating with them in practice.“It’s hard to kind of (know) what I say to you guys that filters back to my guys,” he said. “For those guys, I think we try to prepare every day. … We prepare every day for our next challenge and we did that today. And I love the positive mindset that we have, even with the struggle that we’ve had the last 10 games.”CHANDLER FEELING HIS AGE AS MINUTES DWINDLEAs the Lakers continue to struggle against opposing big men in the last few games, it sheds light on a backburner issue: Tyson Chandler’s minutes have been dropping.In five of the last nine games he’s played entering Wednesday night, Chandler hasn’t exceeded 10 minutes in any game, and he’s missed four other games completely in that stretch. Walton seemed to acknowledge that Chandler’s health is as much a factor in that decision as his play. LOS ANGELES — The Lakers are the hot topic on sports talk shows nationwide as they continue their playoff chase, but Luke Walton would rather have his players tune it all out.In the wake of two frustrating losses on the road, media coverage has been concentrated on a few choice quotes from LeBron James – him asking the rhetorical question about whether his teammates were focused on basketball after the loss in New Orleans, then saying in Memphis that anyone who is distracted by the playoff push chatter is playing for “the wrong franchise.”Walton, who has played with and coached superstars for much of his career, said the best way to handle it is by not paying attention.“A lot of it will get twisted and headlines will read something totally different than what was said,” Walton said. “So it’s no different than anything else we’ve been preaching all year from the get, and that’s ‘Let’s worry about our group.’ We’re the ones that are going to make things happen or not, so we can’t let outside distractions get in our way?” “Like anybody who has been in this league a long time will tell you, there’s just days when you feel better and you can’t explain why, then there’s others,” Walton said. “No matter what he has, he’ll give it all to this group.”Related Articleslast_img read more