The Los Angeles Lakers had another chance to prove they can hang with the NBA’s elite when healthy as they hosted the defending NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks, but instead, it was another disappointment. Frank Vogel’s team was dominated from the beginning as they fell by 15 to the Bucks on Tuesday night.
The Lakers found themselves down double-digits early and never came close again, especially in the first half as they gave up 78 points and allowed the Bucks to shoot nearly 70% from the field. And following another listless performance, Vogel lamented his team’s lack of energy overall.
“It wasn’t good, but I also said before the game, you can’t measure much with one regular-season game. But our energy as a group isn’t good right now and we fought, tried to get back in the game, like we did against New York,” Vogel said.
“Again, to our guys’ credit. We didn’t give up on either game, we came back and won last game, came back, and made it a game this game. We got to push through whatever it is we’re in right now and we just got to come up with better starts. When you get off to a better start, the energy of the group comes along.”
The Bucks were able to get anything they wanted offensively all night long. Giannis Antetokounmpo missed just three of his 20 shots on his way to 44 points, the Bucks hit 15 3-pointers on the night, and they had 31 assists as a team as well.
The defense that Frank Vogel teams are known to have has completely disappeared this season and while some of it can be contributed to injuries all season long and constant lineup shuffling, the most consistent issue has been a lack of energy and focus. The Lakers coach was disappointed with the effort of his team and pointed to a number of issues.
“Disposition, competition, level of competitive spirit we showed for a big game was very disappointing. Containment, blow bys, broken coverages, not getting back on defense, not hitting people on the glass well enough, not being physical enough overall. Two straight games we start with a terrible defensive half, we got to get that right.”
Even if the Lakers can figure out some things offensively with their roster, the team will never become the championship contender they want to be as long as their effort on defense remains at this level. Vogel and the players themselves have consistently spoken on the things that need to change, but the players have yet to put those changes into action.
Vogel concluded that while he and the team are frustrated, they much now turn around and focus on Thursday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
“It’s frustrating losing, and losing big like we did tonight in the big game, that’s frustrating. Obviously, I take a great deal of pride in getting our guys to defend at a high level and I’m disappointed at where we’re at, but we’re going to keep working. We’ll watch the tape and look at it tomorrow and see ways we can get better and try to beat Portland.”
Vogel discusses potential moves for Lakers ahead of trade deadline
With the NBA trade deadline quickly approaching, the rumors surrounding the Lakers and potential moves they might make are sure to grow even louder. While Frank Vogel won’t delve into the conversations he’s had with the front office, he made it clear that the Lakers will explore any option to improve.
“I keep those conversations private,” the Lakers head coach said. “If there’s ways we can improve our team, we’re going to do it.”
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