Head coach Frank Vogel’s concerns about the break before beginning a series against the Houston Rockets was well-founded as the Los Angeles Lakers dropped Game 1.
Despite the loss, there was some good news as the player guests and family members in the bubble cleared quarantine and were in attendance for the game. The players have not seen their families for over 60 days, a toll that seemed to weighing heavy on them.
While players were able to bring guests, coaches were surprisingly not granted the same perk. Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone gave an impassioned speech about how unfair it was. “Today is day 60 for the guys that came down here on July 7,” expressed a frustrated Malone.
“There weren’t many of us, because we were ravaged with COVID. For the original crew, this is day No. 60, and the reason I bring that up is because the players have their families here, which they deserve. It’s the right thing to do. The referees are allowed to bring one guest, which is great for the referees. The coaches are not allowed to bring anybody.
“I say shame on you, NBA. This is crazy. I miss my family, and I think I speak for me, I speak for my coaches and probably all the coaches down here. Sixty days and not having access and not being granted the privilege to have my family come here, to me, is criminal in nature and that shouldn’t be at all, so I wanted to get that off my chest.”
Vogel agreed with Malone, but did not seem interested in commenting further. “I support Mike’s comments,” Vogel said. “All I’ll really say is it’s sort of stating the obvious that we would all like the ability to see our families. I won’t say anything more than that.”
Being away from loved ones for so long would be difficult for anyone, and coaches are no different. The NBA is reportedly working on a solution, so hopefully this issue is resolved sooner rather than later.
Vogel focused on how to beat Rockets, not style of play
Houston was going to present a more difficult challenge for Los Angeles given their all-in approach on their small-ball lineups.
It is the complete opposite of how Vogel and the Lakers like to operate, but the head coach’s interest is only in trying to solve their style of play. “I kind of look at it like I think it’s really interesting from a fan’s perspective,” Vogel said.
“My mind has been completely immersed in how do we win? I don’t really spend a lot of time measuring the interest level in the contrast in styles. I’m just focused on the execution details and what we have to do to win games.”
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