The NBA had to make a number of adjustments to its schedule this season in order to reduce travel and the potential to spread the coronavirus (COVID-19) amongst players, coaches and everyone else involved in the league.
One of the ways the NBA has strived to accomplish as much is by having teams play back-to-back games against each other as opposed to returning for a second trip to the city. The Los Angeles Lakers experienced their first taste of this as they traveled to San Antonio for a pair of games against the Spurs.
Head coach Frank Vogel’s team was able to come out with victories in both contests, but it did not come easy despite the Spurs being without one of their best players in LaMarcus Aldridge.
Throughout both contests the Lakers had major ups and downs, particularly on the defensive end. “We just stayed with it. I think we persisted through our struggles. That’s going to happen from time to time throughout a long regular season,” Vogel said.
“You’re going to have some wins that are a little uglier than others. We knew coming into this season with the nature of the offseason and whatnot, that there were going to be some ugly nights.
“The key is can you find a way to win when you’re not at your best? We were able to do that. Proud of that type of effort and perseverance through a tough night down the stretch to make enough plays to get the W.”
Back-to-back games against the same team in the same arena is something that rarely happens in a normal season. In fact, for the Lakers it was the first time it has occurred since 1965. It is always difficult to defeat a team in consecutive games as they can make adjustments and come out with different looks, not to mention the extra motivation after suffering a loss.
Vogel believes his team struggled to find the necessary energy, but got a boost from some of the role players. “Dennis hit a big 3 in the fourth. Wes didn’t score but really impacted the game with his energy and in our defense,” he said.
“We were struggling to find the proper energy to win a basketball game, and I thought guys like Wes, Kuz, Talen coming in and filling in for KCP when he went down, really gave us a lift from an energy standpoint.”
It might take some getting used to, but Vogel and the Lakers better figure out how to adjust is this is the first of many situations like this that the Lakers will face this season.
Vogel unsure when Alex Caruso can re-join team
When it comes to giving the Lakers an energy boost off the bench, Alex Caruso has been doing that for the past couple of seasons, but unfortunately the team is without him due to the league’s health and safety protocols, and Vogel isn’t sure when he’ll be able to re-join the team.
“I’m not sure the exact date that he’s going to be able to re-join us,” Vogel said. “He will not be available [Friday], obviously, and for the first game in Memphis. I know that for sure.”
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