The 2020 NBA Playoffs are well underway and the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves well-rested after closing out the Portland Trail Blazers in five games.
With nearly a week off between games, the Lakers have had ample opportunities to recover from playing every other day and also get more practices under their belts until the second round. The Houston Rockets will present another challenge for the Lakers and have the potential to upset them should they not be ready to go from the jump.
Head coach Frank Vogel has been busy getting the team ready for their upcoming series and with it comes polishing go-to plays to use against their opponent. The postseason is when coaches can finally reveal what they have been working on, and Vogel admitted to saving some of the playbook for the playoffs.
“For sure. We’ve had more meetings about those things than actually working on them in practice,” expressed Vogel. “For instance, in the Portland series there were things we didn’t do in the regular season that we did in all the Portland practices leading up to that. But we haven’t done any of that. The last couple of practices have been a focus on ourselves.”
Los Angeles played Houston and Oklahoma City during their seeding game schedule, but Vogel said there was not much gamesmanship in regards to them being potential playoff opponents. “A little bit,” he said.
“We were still competing to win those games, but you get into a seven-game playoff series, there are so many more things you can be creative with on both sides of the ball that you wouldn’t see in a regular season game or seeding game. For the most part we played them pretty straight up and the creativity comes now.”
Playing the Rockets will be a challenge, but with the ability to play both big and small, L.A. has to feel good about their changes of advancing.
Vogel on what Lakers learned playing against Rockets, Thunder in bubble
After clinching the No. 1 seed, the Lakers seemed to coast through the rest of their seeding games.
Their poor performances against the Rockets and Thunder prompted many to suggest they could be sent home earlier than expected and Vogel is not taking those teams lightly ahead of the second round.
“We lost both of them, so we learned either one of these teams can beat us,” Vogel said. “That’s the No. 1 lesson. I think anytime you play against a team, you further your understanding of that opponent, so yes, we certainly did in both of those games.”
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