In a season full of disappointing lows, the Los Angeles Lakers may have once again hit a new one in Sunday night’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Frank Vogel’s team trailed by as many as 32 points and was completely embarrassed by a much hungrier New Orleans squad.
The Lakers shot just 41.7% from the field and 20.4% from 3-point land. They also had 23 turnovers on the night, which surely played a factor in the 26 transition points the Pelicans had as well. Quite simply there were no positives on this night for the Lakers and Vogel said as much after the contest in explaining what went wrong.
“Well, we didn’t play well,” Vogel said. “We’re not shooting the ball well from the perimeter and the paint is clogged and we’re trying to force inside with the pass, with the bounce. It’s leading to a lot of turnovers and we’re not moving that well defensively, but we weren’t really good on either end tonight.”
Coming out of the All-Star break the Lakers still had a chance to potentially turn things around and salvage this season. But after a close loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, it looked as if the team wasn’t even trying against the Pelicans.
The biggest issue was undoubtedly the turnovers with many of them being a product of just laziness on the part of the Lakers and Vogel didn’t sugarcoat the impact that had.
“It was huge. With 23 turnovers, you are not going to win. So it was a huge part of it,” Vogel added. “Like I said, some of it is carelessness. I’ll have to look at all the turnovers, but some of it is carelessness and some it is we’re ice-cold from the perimeter right now. We’re trying to attack the paint and there’s five guys in there, so we’re trying to execute through that, but we definitely got to be better.”
Vogel is right in that teams are simply packing the paint against the Lakers, knowing they don’t have the shooting to beat them consistently from the perimeter. This makes it very difficult for LeBron James and Russell Westbrook to attack and create inside as there is too much traffic. Both James and Westbrook had seven turnovers apiece and as the team’s primary creators that is a recipe for disaster.
The Lakers are quickly running out of time and teams are happy to take advantage of this team’s struggles. Vogel will continue to try everything to help the Lakers get out of this funk, but this team is on the verge of making a disappointing season even worse if they can’t figure something out soon.
Vogel discusses Lakers’ goals post All-Star break
The two straight losses since returning from the All-Star break are extremely disappointing to Vogel and the Lakers as they hoped a strong start could lead to some positives in this stretch run. Vogel made clear what the team’s goals were ahead of the return to play, which now seems like even more of a longshot.
“We know that the goal will be to get to the top six, that’s a longshot but still within reach if we come out strong,” Vogel noted. “And if we’re not able to get that then getting in that first Play-In Game, first Play-In Game is double elimination while the 9-10 game is single elimination. So every game is gonna matter, we want to move up as much as we can in the standings, but more importantly than all of that, we want to play our best basketball down the stretch and peak going into the postseason for playoff series’ or games.”
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