After a thrilling overtime win on Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to replicate their performance and were thoroughly beaten by the Utah Jazz in their rematch on Monday night.
The Jazz opted to rest several of their main rotation players in their first bout, but Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley and Derrick Favors returned to the lineup and gave the Lakers issues on both ends all night. Gobert and Conley both finished with double-doubles, while Favors was solid manning the paint and protecting the rim.
Los Angeles’ struggles did not come as too much of a surprise as a healthier Utah team has been cruising through the 2020-21 season thanks to their high-potent offense and stifling defense. However, the effort and energy in the game was nowhere near the level it was in their previous game and head coach Frank Vogel believes his team could have definitely done better.
“Pretty poorly,” Vogel said of his team’s effort. “Particularly on the offensive end, but defensively not good enough either. It’s just one of those games where we played really well the other night in a difficult situation not knowing who was going to be in the lineup and whatnot and didn’t play as well tonight.”
Vogel also gave credit to the Jazz for their offensive efficiency not only in this game, but all season.
“These guys are as good as anyone in the league. … They’re patient, they look for shots at the rim or shots at the perimeter. If they don’t have it, they work the possession until they get it. That’s why their record is what it is. Obviously, we weren’t good enough tonight.”
Life without LeBron James and Anthony Davis has not been easy for the Lakers, but they have looked like a team that has gotten accustomed to playing without their stars. The rest of Los Angeles’ roster has played with a competitive fire and spirit that has allowed them to eke out wins, but that was not the case against a Utah team that systemically outplayed them throughout the night.
It is hard to glean too much from losses like these with star players out, but Vogel has emphasized that the Lakers are a no-excuse team and therefore should still be playing hard no matter the circumstances. The Purple and Gold have done a good job of responding after a loss, and they will get a good chance to get back on track when they take on the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.
Vogel thinks Gasol could play a role as a floor-stretching big in Jazz matchup
Marc Gasol was available to play for the Lakers, but Vogel once again decided to sit the big man. However, the Lakers could have probably used him as a way to loosen up the Jazz defense and get Gobert away from the painted area.
Vogel admitted he thinks Gasol could help against a team like Utah down the road but was being cautious as the center is still nursing a hamstring injury.
“I do think Marc could have an impact in a matchup like this, yes,” Vogel concluded.
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