The Los Angeles Lakers got a bit of revenge on the rival Boston Celtics with a 15-point win on Tuesday night. Much to the delight of head coach Frank Vogel, this was due in large part to the team’s defensive performance.
The Lakers held Boston to just 42 points combined in the second and third quarters and 102 points total, which is their fourth-lowest amount allowed this season. Defense had been the calling card for the Lakers under Vogel, but things have not gone well this season so far. But Vogel was happy with his team’s performance on that end against the Celtics.
“Much better than it’s been,” Vogel said of the defense after the 117-102 victory. “We learn about our group a little bit every game. We make our adjustments. Our group has a great way of talking things out and having group intelligence. Our coaching staff really evaluates what we’re doing on a game-by-game basis and we’re very proud of our defensive performance tonight.”
In the first meeting between these teams, the Lakers gave up 130 points to Boston, and Vogel pointed to a number of reasons why this performance was different. “We rebounded the ball better and we contained the ball better,” Vogel noted. “We had a much stronger presence in our gaps, which are the guys behind the guy and the ball. We had a strong emphasis to double-team less, to put more demand on one guy on the ball to man up and guard his own.
“If our help is in place early and we’re talking, you give the guy on the ball confidence to pressure up. We had a lot of good sequences with Russell, with Talen [Horton-Tucker], with Avery [Bradley]. Those guys are gaining confidence because of the help behind them.”
Surprisingly, it was the third quarter in which the Lakers pulled away from the Celtics as they have often come out of the locker room terribly. In fact, the Celtics outscored them by 12 in the first meeting.
Vogel is adamant that everyone is doing everything possible to turn things around and expressed belief in his team.
“It’s bigger than just challenging. We’re evaluating around the clock, every game that we play, and making adjustments. We got a strong belief in what this group can accomplish, we knew there were gonna be some bumps in the road early, this was expected to our group, and we’re staying locked in, staying together and improving. We’re seeing growth each game. Sometimes there’s wins, sometimes there’s losses, but we’re seeing growth each game.”
The Lakers have shown flashes of the team they can become at different points this season, but for success to come, those flashes must become more consistent and Vogel is working to make that the case.
Vogel not concerned with Lakers’ job security
Vogel focusing on the job at hand is important as the rumblings over his job security have begun getting louder, but the Lakers head coach insists he isn’t focused on his job security.
“No, we haven’t discussed it. We’re focused on the job. We stay in the moment and focus on the task at hand, trying to win the next game, trying to get some momentum around our season.”
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