It was another rough night for the Los Angeles Lakers as they fell to the Phoenix Suns, 115-105, to drop to 0-2 on the season.
The final score was not indicative of how poorly the Lakers played as they were thoroughly beaten on both ends of the court for most of the game and fell behind by as many as 32 at one point. Even though the team was able mount a furious comeback late in the fourth quarter, it was frustrating to see them play with a lack of effort and energy for prolonged stretches.
It is easy to forget because of how bad they looked, but the Lakers actually had a lead to begin the game, so even though head coach Frank Vogel was pleased with how they started and finished the night, he was critical of their overall defense.
“We’re a step slow on our coverages,” Vogel said after the game. “We’re working to get our guys up to speed, but we’re not there yet. I’m disappointed in that and we’ll be better. Offensively, we’re learning about our team on what it’s going to take and what’s going to be required to be the necessary basket-attacking team that I think we can be.
“Each game that we play we’ll learn a little bit more, but we have to finish at the rim. Usually when you get toward the basket the whistle blows, but it didn’t tonight in a lot of situations. We missed over 12 layups, so we have to finish better and do what we can to correct that and be a basket-attacking team.”
Frustration mounted all throughout the second and third quarters for Los Angeles and there was even a heated debate between Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard on the bench during a timeout. However, Vogel did not attribute any drama to losing and explained the root of their frustrations.
“We’re just not winning. We played two tough teams to guard that are connected with their systems. We started pretty strong tonight, but we didn’t finish at the basket in the second quarter. That led to run outs and that led them to get easy buckets. They’re a super sharp, executing team and we knew the margin for error was going to be slim. We’re just disappointed we’re not winning, that’s all.
“We still have a strong belief of who we can be and the moves we can make. I think it’s going in the right direction, but frustration is not winning. These are some of the greatest players to ever play because of their competitive spirit, so if you don’t win there’s going to be frustration.”
Even though it is a process for the players and coaching staff, losing all six preseason games and now the first two games of the 2021-22 season has to be disappointing when considering what is at stake and expected of this roster. However, it is important to remember that there are already several factors working against them, and playing two great teams in the Golden State Warriors and Suns exacerbates any issues they are currently working through.
The bright side for the Purple and Gold is that time is on their side to figure things out and reinforcements will eventually be on the way as players like Talen Horton-Tucker work themselves back from injury. It would be easy for the Lakers and the fans to panic, but it is still very early in the season and they have the talent and experience to turn things around.
Frank Vogel discusses technical foul
Even though the Lakers are mostly to blame for their loss, it did seem like they got the short end of the stick when it came to whistles. There were several instances where L.A. should have received a favorable call and the lack of them was enough for Vogel to earn a technical foul.
The Lakers head coach did not mince words postgame when it comes to why he received a technical after Malik Monk wasn’t called for a charging foul when Chris Paul barreled over him for a layup.
“I got a tech because, well, the reasons were obvious why I got a tech. I’ll just leave it at that.”
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