Instead of starting another winning run, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered a second straight defeat after a poor defensive showing in Wednesday’s clash with the Sacramento Kings.
Playing without a nominal center for over two-thirds of the game, the Lakers gave up season-high 70 points in the paint. They let Sacramento shoot 79.4% from within five feet and 55.1% overall – allowing the highest opponent field goal percentage of the season.
After the loss, head coach Frank Vogel previously said “the defense let us down” in a second straight game. Vogel has now added the team’s practice turned into “a spirited session” in an effort to fix the shortcomings on the defensive end.
“Hopefully, we can have an improved defensive performance,” the head coach said. “Our defense has been terrible the last two games. That more than anything else is the reason we didn’t win the last two games. We had a spirited session in the film and on the court because of being better on that side of the ball.”
Asked for more details, Vogel said: “All the breakdowns of the Kings game. Giving up 70 points in the paint. You are not going to win if you do that. We called every single one of them out and all the ways that we can be better.”
L.A.’s defense took a hit when Anthony Davis sprained his knee in mid-December, ruling him out for at least four weeks. But Vogel thinks the Lakers can fare better defensively event without the 28-year-old All-Star if they fully commit to their responsibilities on that end.
“Extra effort at this position. That’s the biggest thing,” he said.
“There’s a lot of details going into our coverages, but five guys being really locked in bringing great focus and intensity isn’t happening enough on enough possessions. Without getting into all the details of our coverages, there’s a lot of areas that we are poor at.”
Davis could return to game action by end of January
Recent reports claim Davis could make his comeback during the upcoming, long road trip, starting on Jan. 21 in Orlando.
The 28-year-old All-Star should be reevaluated by the medical team early next week.
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