The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to keep their preseason momentum going as they lost to the L.A. Clippers on Opening Night of the 2020-21 season.
The Lakers dug themselves into a 20-point hole after the first quarter, committing several turnovers and allowing the Clippers to score nearly at will. Although the Lakers managed to climb back, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George proved to be too much as they combined for 59 of the Clippers’ 116 points.
However, there were a few bright spots for the Lakers, namely Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell. Schroder finished the night with a near triple-double (14 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists), while Harrell recorded a double-double off the bench (17 points, 10 rebounds) to go along with three assists and a block.
“Those guys are going to be big-time players for us this year. I was very encouraged with what both of them bring to the table,” Lakers head coach said of Schroder and Harrell. “Trezz just being that junkyard dog, going in and rebounding, making plays in the paint and doing all the dirty work.
“And Dennis is a dynamic player. He almost had a triple-double in 27 minutes, just with his ability to score and get in the paint. Defensively, he’s really strong as well. Both of them are winning players are going to be big contributors for us this year.”
Schroder and Harrell were highly touted acquisitions in the offseason and they showed why as each player made a few highlight plays throughout the loss. Schroder displayed his three-level scoring ability while Harrell’s energy and effort on the offensive glass provided the Lakers a boost when they needed it.
However, there were also several instances where they were clearly trying to do too much on the floor and it resulted in a few turnovers and sloppy play. Still, Vogel previously acknowledged that the Lakers would have moments where they struggled during the early stages of season, and this happened to be one of them.
Vogel takes responsibility for Marc Gasol’s poor debut
While Schroder and Harrell shined in their official debuts with the Lakers, Marc Gasol struggled as he failed to score and committed five fouls in just 12 minutes of action.
Gasol looked a step slow trying to defend the Clippers’ five-out lineups, and the foul trouble prevented him from even taking a shot attempt. However, Vogel stood by Gasol and took accountability for the performance.
“He’s going to be fine. Obviously he was matched up with a 3-point shooter, which was a challenge for all bigs,” Vogel noted. “We had coverages in place that we weren’t sharp enough covering for him.
“And I’m disappointed in myself I didn’t put the ball in his hands more at the top of the key like we did in the preseason to take advantage of his passing ability. Part of learning new players and guys getting comfortable and acclimated, and the foul trouble really limited him as well.”
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