The Los Angeles Lakers found themselves in overtime Wednesday night for a third consecutive game, and second straight time against the Oklahoma City Thunder. L.A. pulled another victory, extending their winning streak to six games.
The Thunder were even more shorthanded in the rematch as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sat out, but took it to the Lakers in the first half as they caught fire from the perimeter and found little resistance in the paint.
Los Angeles went down by as many as 20 points, but rallied back in the second half and got the job done in overtime. Head coach Frank Vogel credited Oklahoma City for their tenacity, especially in the first halves of both games.
“These are the toughest games to play. When you have a sub-.500 team that comes in with guys out, everybody on their team is getting extra opportunities. They get an opportunity to be the go-to guy,” Vogel said.
“I think we’ve seen that with both Detroit and these two OKC games. We’ve certainly got to be better. We’re not making things easy on ourselves, but at the end of the day we’re doing enough to grind things out in the second half and do what we need to do to get that W.
“We’re happy to get three wins, but certainly we’ve got to be better.”
The Lakers coach’s postgame comments echoed his sentiments prior to tipoff, noting that playing against teams twice in a row makes for a difficult challenge in of itself. “Obviously when you play a team second time in a row like this, there’s adjustments to be made on both sides,” Vogel explained.
“Most of it — when you’re not in a playoff environment and in a regular season environment — is really about doing what you’re supposed to do better. That’s sort of our approach with this game.”
Los Angeles has been in a rut in recent weeks as it looks like the grind of the regular season is getting to them. Wesley Matthews and Markieff Morris have been able to get extended run with Anthony Davis and Alex Caruso out, but the team as a whole has been going through the motions until late in games.
Whatever the reason for their lackluster performances, they are fortunate to still be winning games.
Vogel not using fatigue as an excuse for Lakers’ poor play
Three consecutive overtime games will wear out any team, but more so the Lakers whose rotation comprises several older players, including LeBron James. However, Vogel refused to acknowledge that factor as a reason for their recent sloppiness.
“We’re not going to worry about being tired,” Vogel said. “We’re a no-excuse team.”
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