After an exciting and inspiring comeback victory to end their road trip, there was hope that the Los Angeles Lakers could build on that performance in their first game back at Staples Center against a struggling Sacramento Kings team. Unfortunately for Frank Vogel’s team, they again were unable to hold a lead against a team they should’ve been able to defeat.
Despite an uninspiring effort in the first half, the Lakers seemed to turn things around in the second half and built a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter. But the Lakers were unable to finish the job as the Kings would fight back beat the Lakers in triple overtime.
Following the game, Vogel was simple and to the point with his disappointment in the outcome and the Lakers’ failure to come out on top.
“There was a lot of possessions there. Some good, some bad. I thought we tried to- we did a good job letting LeBron orchestrate for a lot of the action. When it seemed like he was getting gassed we diversified by Melo, by AD and Russ in the pick-and-roll. We just tried to diversify. I thought we were pretty good on that side of the ball but just didn’t get enough stops. They hit a lot of tough shots, a lot of tough twos, mid-range shots contested- you tip your cap in those situations.
“But you know, you’re up 13 in the fourth quarter you got to get that W,” Vogel said after the loss, echoing the feeling surely permeating throughout the entire Lakers locker room.
The inability to hold on to leads has become a staple of this Lakers team this season. Most notably, the team blew 20-point leads in both of their losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and even in some victories such as the one over the Charlotte Hornets ehrn Vogel’s team saw a double-digit fourth-quarter lead diminish and had to hold on down the stretch.
Needless to say, Vogel realizes that the Lakers continue to allow teams to hang around and believes there are a variety of issues that have led to that.
“All of the above. When we get an opportunity to knock a team out, we just allow them to stick around. You know a handful of plays, a turnover here, can’t get a rebound there, defensive breakdown, tough shot- just haven’t been able to pull away but we’ll continue to work on it.”
Because of the Lakers’ regularly giving up double-digit leads this season, teams no longer fear them or feel they are out of the game when they fall behind. Additionally, the Lakers have yet to show that killer instinct to just take a team’s heart when they are on the brink of giving up.
The fact that the Lakers can build big leads is proof of what the team is capable of, but their continual relinquishing of them shows that there is still a long road to go and Vogel must figure out the solution very soon.
“We want to win every game that we play,” Vogel concluded. “We want to build cohesion and chemistry every game that we play. But we all know it’s gonna take time and we have to understand that and those guys in the locker room are competing their tails off and they’re staying together, believing in what we can be.”
‘Rising buzz’ that Frank Vogel’s job with Lakers may not be safe
One reason Vogel may need to figure this issue out soon is that the Lakers are far away from their expectations coming into the season. This latest loss to the Kings dropped the team below .500 and now there is reportedly some belief that Vogel’s seat could be warming up.
While the Lakers’ issues run deeper than Vogel, it is normal for the first big move to be a head coaching change. Vogel did sign an extension through the 2022-23 season, but if things stay down this road, it wouldn’t be surprising if a move were to be made.
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