The Los Angeles Lakers’ season came to a disappointing end after falling to the Phoenix Suns, 113-100, in Game 6 on Thursday night. Their 4-2 series loss to Phoenix in the first round of the playoffs brought a conclusion to a season that has been anything but easy for head coach Frank Vogel and the Lakers.
Facing a quick turnaround after the end of last season the Lakers were decimated by injuries, namely to their two superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Nearly all of the team’s role players also missed time at different points throughout the season, never allowing for the team to develop the necessary chemistry to defend their championship.
The season coming to an end in the first round was not what anyone had hoped for, but despite the pain in the immediate aftermath of the loss, Vogel still had positive things to say to his team.
“I don’t want to divulge too much of what was said to our guys, but basically that I’m proud of them,” Vogel said after the game. “We’ve been through a lot. We had a lot to overcome and I was proud of them for fighting all the way to the end and staying together throughout.”
The camaraderie on the team was still high despite the constant lineup shuffling and everyone pushed each other whether they were playing regularly or not. But ultimately Vogel believes the all of the obstacles caught up to the Lakers in the end.
“I just think the whole thing was a challenge to play all the way into October and to start the season as quickly as we did. It’s just going to be an uphill battle. None of our guys were prepared for training camp. We tried to grind through it and get our legs under us and get them conditioned the right way. We made moves, the front office made moves. We tried to manage and navigate through injuries as a coaching staff. Just trying to strike that right balance of keeping guys in there and building them up the right way.
“Ultimately, the injuries that we faced were just too much with AD and Bron being out for as long as they were and trying to strike that cohesiveness against a great team, quite frankly. Phoenix Suns with the second-best record in the NBA for a reason. This is a matchup where if we’re whole, it should probably take place in the conference finals, but obviously, the season was what it was with injuries and we slipped, so we have to take it in the first round and I would like to see what our group could’ve done if we were at full strength, but we weren’t and that sports and we just got to do the best we can to make the best of it. Like I said, I was proud of how our guys fought through injuries.”
It is said every season that the most important thing for a team’s success is health. Regardless of all of the moves made, it can be impossible to overcome injuries especially to star players. Vogel and the Lakers did everything to fight through it, but it just wasn’t enough.
Now all attention will turn to the front office as they look to make the right moves in the offseason to return back to championship glory.
Vogel believes Lakers could’ve repeated if healthy
Though he did everything in his power to fight through it, Davis was ultimately unable to push through his groin strain in Game 6, which was a big factor in the Lakers’ season coming to an end prematurely and them not being able to defend their title.
While Vogel is unsure of what will happen this offseason, he believes the roster was good enough this season to repeat as champions is they stayed healthy.
“What happens next and what I think needs to happen next will be discussed over the coming weeks, but I do think we had a good group to repeat here had it not been for the injuries. We’re 21-6 when Anthony Davis goes down and then LeBron [James] goes down shortly after that. It basically derailed our run. We did everything we can to fight through that, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough.”
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