Any positive momentum the Los Angeles Lakers built up the past week was instantly erased after they were thoroughly beaten down by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
The Lakers actually held a five-point lead at halftime but the wheels came off in the second half as they could not buy a basket for most of the third quarter. Los Angeles failed to convert on a field goal for nearly eight minutes while Minnesota caught fire from the field and never looked back.
It was a frustrating and embarrassing showing from the Lakers, who looked like they might have turned a corner and Anthony Davis summed up the night and specifically their third-quarter woes in a few words.
“We sucked. No defense. Can’t score,” Davis said. “It’s not this third quarter. Every third quarter that we’ve played this season we come out slow, lackadaisical – offensively and defensively. We got to get it together. Why? I can’t tell you. We got to do a better job. We scored 12 points in the third quarter. They scored 40. That’s the game right there. We have to do a better job coming out in the third.”
The rollercoaster of L.A.’s season has been marred by injuries, but Davis did not use that as an excuse. He emphasized after the game that the team has to stay together and learn from a game like this to be better moving forward.
“Well, what we can’t do is, one, point the finger. It was you, it was you, it was you, this play was you. We got to stay together. And we stay together, but also we got to learn from the film. Film tomorrow is going to be big for us to have another heart-to-heart about these types of games. We hate feeling this way. Obviously, we’re going to lose games. Everyone loses games but doing it the right way.
“Having a team actually beat us and not beating ourselves. Those are the frustrating ones – when we beat ourselves. Tonight was energy and effort in the third quarter in the second half, just how Portland was from the tip. Our energy and effort weren’t there. We hate losing games like that, but we got to learn from it, but most importantly, we got to stay together. We’re going to continue to stay together. It’s still fairly early. It’s game 12 or game 13 or something like that.
“We still don’t have all our guys back, but we got enough guys to win basketball games. We got to continue to do what we do: play Laker basketball. Some games we see it, some games we don’t. We see it for a half, other half we don’t see it. We have three quarters and then not one quarter. We got to put a stretch of games where we’re playing our style of basketball for 48 minutes and live with that result.”
Even though the Lakers are missing several key players, there is no excuse for completely failing to show up in the second half against a Timberwolves team that came into the game losers of six straight. That kind of effort will not cut it if they want to be considered contenders and they have a lot of work to do if they want to turn things around.
The good news for the team is that reinforcements should be on the way soon as LeBron James seems to be progressing through his rehab, as is Talen Horton-Tucker. With two key members of the rotation back in the fold, the Purple and Gold should look better on the floor but losses like the one against Minnesota are going to sting in the short term.
Vogel says Lakers are not feeling sorry for themselves
While it sounds like an excuse, injuries have played a large factor as to why the Lakers have been inconsistent so far. Head coach Frank Vogel has had to create makeshift lineups nearly on a nightly basis, though he and the rest of the team are not feeling sorry for themselves despite the situation.
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