With Play-In Tournament implications at the forefront, the Los Angeles Lakers somehow found a way to blow a 20-point lead against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night.
With LeBron James looking rejuvenated and the defense flying around, the Lakers took a commanding lead into halftime before letting the wheels fall off in the second half. New Orleans, to their credit, played with a renewed sense of urgency and a hot shooting night from rookie Trey Murphy III was enough to sink Los Angeles and push them back down to the No. 10 seed.
Head coach Frank Vogel was predictably upset with how things unfolded but noted that they can not dwell on it too long as they get another tough challenge on Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks.
“It’s over. This game is over. We got to turn the page to the next one,” Vogel said. “It’s not good, it hurts. This game hurts, it was a big game but we have to regroup and find a way to beat Dallas and get some wins down the stretch here. Time is running out on us. We came out with the proper urgency for this game but weren’t able to close it.”
Vogel then again emphasized that with eight regular-season games remaining, the Lakers are running out of town to turn things around.
“Time is running out. We got to get some wins, we got to put some wins together and turn the page to Dallas. Whatever it takes to beat Dallas, that’s what we got to do.”
Vogel has had to endure the same sort of questions all throughout the 2021-22 season, so he did not have much to offer when asked about this recent loss.
“We’re not happy we lost this game. I don’t know what other adjectives you want me to use. It’s a tough loss,” Vogel concluded.
With only a handful games left in the season, the Lakers find themselves only one game up on the San Antonio Spurs for the last spot in the Play-In Tournament. Unfortunately, L.A. has the tougher remaining schedule which puts them at real risk of missing the tournament altogether.
The rollercoaster ride for the Purple and Gold has been frustrating, to say the least, and they always seem to erase the progress they make with a brutal loss. Hopefully they can right things again starting with the Mavericks, but like Vogel said they do not have many opportunities left.
Jay Williams predicts Pelicans will beat Lakers in Play-In Tournament
With how poorly the Lakers have looked this year, it makes sense why analysts would be down on them to make any sort of playoff noise. For example, ESPN’s Jay Williams predicted that New Orleans would beat Los Angeles in the Play-In Tournament, and after their loss, it is hard to argue with him.
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