LeBron James called on the depleted Los Angeles Lakers to remain confident despite suffering a fourth straight loss, this time against an in-form Utah Jazz team who set an NBA record.
The Jazz hit 22 three-pointers as they shot 46 per cent from deep in a resounding 114-89 triumph on Wednesday, in the process improving to 26-5 for the season.
While Utah lead the way in the Western Conference, the Lakers are suffering a dip that has coincided with the absences of key duo Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder through injury.
James acknowledged it is a "tough stretch" for the reigning champions, though even with the poor recent run they still boast a 22-11 record.
"It's challenging for all of us, especially some of our young guys and some of our guys who haven't been in the position before where they need to do a little bit more than what they are asked to in a normal situation," James said.
"Everyone is speaking about AD [Davis], and that's obviously a big hit, but we also haven't had Dennis down this stretch too. He's a big piece of our puzzle as well.
"But it's always about staying confident, continuing to give my team-mates the courage and confidence out there on the floor, and make plays.
"It's a tough stretch for us, but this won't define who we will be for the rest of the season."
As for the Jazz, they are the first team in NBA history to make 50 threes over a two-game span, having finished with a franchise-record 28 in a blowout triumph over the Charlotte Hornets.
They have now won 14 straight home games by double digits, the second-longest streak posted in the NBA, behind only the Phoenix Suns (15) in the 1989-90 season.
"They came back with the same roster, but what I noticed, more than anything, is that those guys are fully healthy," James told the media.
"Mike Conley is back to himself; you can see that with the way he's moving on the floor and it's trickled down to everyone else. They are playing some really good ball and are a really good team."
Rudy Gobert did not attempt a three but still contributed 18 points, as well as nine rebounds. Conley, meanwhile, landed four of his six attempts from beyond the arc, as well as eight rebounds and eight assists.
"It's all about getting better," Gobert said. "We did a great job sharing the ball offensively. When we defend and we share the ball, it's hard to beat us."