The Los Angeles Lakers managed to sweep their road trip and extend their current winning streak to four games.
On a night where the bench struggled, LeBron James and Anthony Davis carried the load as the star duo combined for 52 points, 21 rebounds and 11 assists. Los Angeles was sloppy with the basketball, committing 17 turnovers, but their execution in the fourth quarter allowed them to pull out a close victory.
Both James and Davis played 34 minutes apiece and saw extended run in the final period. Lakers coach Frank Vogel acknowledged that he is willing to let the two play more down the stretch of close games. “I think it’s in some ways how it turns out,” he said.
“I think we’re managing their minutes more early in the game and willing to extend them a little bit in the fourth quarter. I think that’s why you’re seeing us separate in the fourth, but certainly we’ve got to play better than we did. In particular closing that game once we had that lead.”
Although the Lakers nearly squandered multiple leads down the stretch, Vogel was content with the silver lining of the road trip. “But overall, 4-0 on a trip, can’t be unhappy about that,” he said.
So far during the 2020-21 campaign, James’ and Davis’ minutes have been down from last season and that can be attributed to the shorter offseason and talent on the roster. The formula seems to be working as Los Angeles has been able to weather opposing teams’ runs and put themselves in position to close games with James and Davis.
When it comes to James specifically, Vogel previously revealed that there is no minutes restriction for him, but hopefully the purple and gold can close games out sooner so the 36-year-old can get more rest.
Vogel highlight differences with new schedule format
The 2020-21 NBA schedule is akin to the playoffs where teams are afforded less travel time and are able to key in on their opponents. Vogel admitted that he and the team can feel the difference during games, but expressed how pleased he has been so far with their performance.
“It’s definitely a different dynamic being in the same city for as long as we were in San Antonio and here in Memphis,” Vogel said. And it’s a different dynamic playing the same team two times in a row.
“I just want to credit our guys, because it’s easy to have a letdown when you’re playing a team that wasn’t in the playoffs last year and is missing key guys. Credit the Grizzlies for playing two really hard games and the Spurs as well, but also credit our guys for playing through all that stuff and continuing to work to get Ws.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!