The Los Angeles Lakers are ending the first half of the 2020-21 season with a 3-7 record in the last 10 games.
LeBron James and Alex Caruso joined the injury list ahead of the 123-120 loss to the Sacramento Kings while health and safety protocols ruled out Marc Gasol from the clash. And after a tight contest, L.A. suffered another defeat despite an arduous effort from the players.
Head coach Frank Vogel said the loss visibly upset the team, even if they were shorthanded and expected to lose.
“Guys are hurt, they’re hurting,” he said. “They competed their tails off. They fought hard enough to get a win and the ball bounces on the rim three times, with the game on the line we have a couple putbacks that were there, just weren’t able to close it out.
“Our guys wanted to win this game very badly and they’re disappointed.”
Vogel recognized some positives despite another loss adding to the tough stretch. He lauded the tenacity and ball movement of the team although admitted that defensive vulnerability held L.A. back. “I was proud of our team’s effort and fight in a game we had three starters out, second night of a back-to-back against a team that’s been off for two days,” he said.
“I think we came out of the gates really strong, weren’t able to sustain our defensive proficiency throughout most of the game, in particular getting stops down the stretch. But I thought our effort and willingness to play for each other with 26 assists, trying to play team-first basketball was really at a high-level tonight.”
As Vogel alluded to, the Lakers jumped out to a hot start but were not able to slow down the Kings from the 3-point line. The fourth quarter had many lead changes, with Kyle Kuzma ultimately missing a 3-point heave at the buzzer, resulting in the loss.
Vogel: Lakers ‘welcoming’ All-Star break
The Lakers are now facing an eight-day break before the start of the second part of the NBA season, which promises to be a grueling run. And even though the possibility of deconditioning concerns Vogel, he thinks L.A. is looking forward to some extra rest.
“Eight days does feel like a long time, for me in particular it feels that way, but I think our group is welcoming this break,” the coach said.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!