The understaffed Los Angeles Lakers faced the L.A. Clippers without three playmakers — and then lost Anthony Davis before halftime for the remainder of the game. With the problems mounting, the reigning NBA champions lost 118-94, suffering their seventh loss in the last 10 games.
The Lakers finished the first half with a 23-point deficit, appearing out of their depth on both ends of the floor. They shot just 37.9% from the field while the Clippers made 53.2% of their field goal attempts including 41.9% from behind the 3-point line.
Short on playmaking talent, head coach Frank Vogel said L.A. couldn’t catch their flow throughout the night. “We didn’t have a great rhythm to start the game, I thought that would’ve worked itself out if we stayed whole but just one of those nights,” he said.
Vogel added the Lakers made a cardinal mistake failing to make stops around the perimeter against the Clippers, the most prolific 3-point shooting team in the NBA. “They made 11 threes [in the first half], some that we were there, guarded ones, and some that we just got too much into our rotations,” the head coach said.
“Our scheme is predicated on trying to minimize rotations as much as possible but they got some elite players over there that require double teams and we have to be sooner to get to the 3-point shooters, sooner than we were tonight. That’s the top of the scouting report when you play the Clippers, they’re probably the best 3-point shooting team in the league and we didn’t get that under control in the first half.”
Vogel: Every remaining game matters for Lakers
The Lakers are playing one of the most important games of the season on Friday, facing the seventh-placed Portland Trail Blazers.
Portland is approaching the game with an identical to L.A.’s 37-29 record, staying behind the Purple and Gold in the standings only due to a worse won-lost percentage against teams in the West. The team occupying the sixth seed in each conference will be the last one to avoid the play-in tournament.
But Vogel said every remaining game is equally important for the Lakers. “Obviously the head-to-head implications matter in the standings but they mattered tonight too and they’re also gonna matter the game after Portland as well,” he said.
“So we don’t really try to highlight big games, we compete and give everything we got every game.”
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