Head coach Frank Vogel was unhappy with the Los Angeles Lakers after not being able to bring good energy in a bad loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Lack of energy, fouling and an inability to shoot the ball made it very difficult for L.A. to climb back from a large deficit and it resulted in a 105-86 loss. Only three Lakers were in double figures, with LeBron James leading the way with 19.
This was a vast difference from Monday night, when the Lakers played a complete and solid game in a win over the Utah Jazz. They clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference in the process, which was another factor that may have come into play against OKC.
“You want to continue to prove each game and build your rhythm,” Vogel said. “I thought we took a step back tonight in terms of our overall energy and execution. We’ll get back to the drawing board.”
Missing open shots was one thing Vogel felt was a contributing factor to the fouls and poor execution. “We’ve just got to continue to work for better shot quality. We’re continuing to miss open looks, which is leading to some frustration and maybe a shorter fuse in terms of the patience necessary to work for great shots,” he added.
“It’s just a matter of time before the shots will start going in, but the biggest focus for us is to play with pace, because we’re fouling too much, and then continue to work for shot quality.”
Some of this can be attributed to the Lakers getting off to yet another slow start, something that has been a recurring theme in almost every single one of their games within the bubble. A lineup change may be in order, though Vogel sees a larger issue.
“We’ll see,” he said. “We’re looking at everything, but it’s bigger than that.”
The Lakers won’t have much time to recoup, as they take on the Houston Rockets on Thursday night in their lone back-to-back of the seeding games.
Vogel prepared to ‘win ugly’ in seeding games
With such a long gap between the season being suspended in March and now, Vogel expected that the Lakers may be slow out of the gate. Because of this, he anticipated they would have to win games that rely more heavily on defense.
“This is going to be an imperfect way to go into the playoffs and play playoff basketball, but the whole league is dealing with the same set of rules,” he recently said. “There is going to be an element of we’ve got to gut something out. If that means winning ugly, we’ve got to win ugly.”
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