With the Los Angeles Lakers atop the Western Conference, head coach Frank Vogel has more than deserved some praise with how he has managed his team.
Vogel has gotten the Lakers to buy in on the defensive end and they have rewarded him with one of the league’s stingiest defensive units. Los Angeles has said all 2019-20 NBA season that their success will come because of their defense and they have backed that up, a testament to Vogel and his ability to get through to his players.
Against the New York Knicks, Los Angeles held them to only 97 points en route to a 30-point win, an impressive sign given they experienced a few offensive lulls throughout the night.
However, Anthony Davis had to exit the game after suffering a back injury, sapping some of the energy out of the Lakers. Vogel later discussed how he approaches getting his team to refocus after moments like that.
“Just gotta play. There’s still time on the clock, we gotta play the game out at that point,” Vogel said.
“Once he leaves the floor, you just get everybody’s attention locked back in the game. The play we’re gonna run, the action that they’re gonna attack us with, get our defense set, and get ready to compete.”
Vogel believed his team did well in responding the right way and closing the game out on a high note.
“I thought they locked back in and got focused and finished the job.”
It was a scary sight to see as Davis landed right on his lower back and did not immediately get up. Although he was eventually able to walk off the court under his own power, the Lakers seemed flat when they resumed play, allowing the Knicks to slightly cut into their lead.
However, this version of the purple and gold is full of veterans who understand that injuries are simply part of the game and the team came out strong to start the fourth quarter. LeBron James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope both found success from beyond the arc and the rest of the Lakers eventually helped put the game away late in the quarter.
While seeing Los Angeles bounce back and finish the contest strong, the most concerning thing for them is Davis’ health as he is listed as questionable but will travel with the team for their two-game road trip against the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder.