The Los Angeles Lakers have thought they reached a turning point in 2021-22 on multiple occasions, only to suffer from severe disappointment soon after.
L.A. got notable victories over the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and Utah Jazz earlier in the season. Also, the Purple and Gold started 2022 with a four-win streak. But none of those potential momentum-swingers kickstarted the Lakers’ winning run they hoped to go on throughout the year.
The Lakers’ injury woes played a part in the team’s failed attempts to gain traction after important wins. Most recently, L.A. lost LeBron James to knee swelling after a 124-116 win over the Golden State Warriors, leading to a seven-point defeat by the San Antoni Spurs a couple of days after.
However, head coach Frank Vogel said the Lakers have to keep grinding until the end of the season, hoping they will eventually stay healthy for a longer stretch.
“It is hard losing,” Vogel said. “Pouring everything that you have into trying to get some traction for this group. It’s definitely hard, but we’ve got resolve and we know this is a tough stretch that we got to fight through until we can get healthy. Try to win as many games as we can.
“Obviously, we thought that the Golden State game was going to be one that could swing some momentum for us. We didn’t win the next-man-up game in San Antonio. I thought we could capture it again tonight, but we fell short.”
The Lakers have 17 games left to secure their spot in the Play-In Tournament. They currently have a 1.5-game advantage over the 10th-placed New Orleans Pelicans and are 2.5 games ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers in 11th.
James points out Lakers’ inconsistency in 2021-22
The Lakers put up a fight in many of the losses they have suffered during the current campaign — but paid a hefty price for their errors in the end. James recently emphasized L.A.’s inconsistency as one of the main culprits behind the team’s disappointing results.
“We play some good basketball and then we don’t play good basketball,” James said after the overtime 139-130 loss to the Houston Rockets.
“We have good quarters and we don’t have good quarters. Tonight it just seemed like we couldn’t get a two-possession lead. … We couldn’t get two stops in a row to extend the lead. They made big shots, tough shots. Jalen Green was excellent tonight with his shot-making ability. All those guys made shot after shot after shot.
“We just haven’t been able to close out games and make enough plays to win. It definitely plays a part and it starts sinking into your mind a little bit for sure.”
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