Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony tried their best to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a revenge victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, even without the injured LeBron James.
But the Thunder chalked up their second win of the season, and second over L.A., beating the Lakers 107-104 in a fashion similar to their last week’s triumph.
Anthony continued his red-hot shooting streak, drilling five threes and ending the night with 21 points. The 37-year-old forward took on some of James’ offensive responsibilities, staying on the floor for 32 minutes — nearly five more than his season average.
However, the Lakers still squandered a large lead and gave up plenty of open looks on the perimeter, allowing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and other Thunder shooters to flood them with a barrage of threes. Anthony owned up to the team’s lingering flaws, saying L.A. has no excuse for dropping another game against Oklahoma City regardless of the available personnel.
“We’re still a work in progress. We’ve been playing some good basketball past couple of games but anytime you missing a guy like LeBron, you still have to make those adjustments,” he said.
“Guys got to do things that maybe it’s not called upon them to do when we have a guy like LeBron out there. But for the most part it’s, we shouldn’t have lost this one. It ain’t come down to LeBron not being here. We let this one go again.”
Having played at the fabled Madison Square Garden as a member of the New York Knicks, Anthony knows well that there are arenas where NBA teams play with extra determination. Staples Center features among them which, the 10-time All-Star said, the Lakers are aware of but need to do a better job at containing the extra-motivated teams before they become difficult to stop.
“We talk about it all the time, just understanding and owning the fact that teams will play differently when they play against us,” Anthony said.
“That’s the elephant in the room. … We know that, we talk about it, we discuss it. You look at like tonight, for example, [Darius] Bazley. I don’t want to say his stats and something, you know, we go over that stuff, we scout that. But he come against us and he made most of his threes against us.
“So it’s going to happen. We just have to own that. We got to accept that and just make sure we can cut people’s water off when that time comes.”
Frank Vogel wants more urgency from Lakers
Despite a rough start to the season, coach Frank Vogel and his stars have repeatedly said they remain patient and confident the Lakers will come together and start playing at the expected level.
But after the second disappointing loss to the Thunder, Vogel said he wants L.A. to show more urgency if they are to take care of the team’s short-term goals.
“We don’t worry about stuff that we can’t control,” he said. “We all want to win every game, badly. We want to be perfect right now. We have big-picture patience, but small-picture sense of urgency to get this right away and to win these games in the short term.
“We fell short tonight, it’s disappointing but we’ll get back to work tomorrow, look at the film and get better from it.”
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