The Los Angeles Lakers had little to play for in their final seeding game against the Sacramento Kings and it showed. Head coach Frank Vogel decided to sit Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, while both LeBron James and Danny Green played only in the first half of a 136-122 loss.
Though the result of the game was insignificant, Vogel still wanted to see some good things from the team and they didn’t exactly deliver. “I wasn’t really happy with how we played overall,” he began.
“It was good to see Talen Horton-Tucker play big minutes, Markieff Morris got going a little bit. Dion and JR got a little more comfortable, LeBron was able to get a little bit of a rhythm so he doesn’t have such a long layoff between games. There were plenty of positives but we certainly need to play better than we did.”
Talen Horton-Tucker played a team-high 34 minutes and had another solid performance with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals as he continues to fight for a playoff rotation spot.
JR Smith had easily his best game as a Laker, scoring 11 points. Dion Waiters led the team with 19 points and five assists, and Markieff Morris hit 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
The Lakers had hoped to use the seeding games to get everyone on one accord. It was a bit disjointed throughout the eight games, but Vogel ultimately believes the Lakers had the time to do that despite the circumstances surrounding the team.
“As a coach you always want more time to get more of your stuff tightened up and more guys to get opportunities to get familiar with the system and each other,” he said. There’s a continuity element with a core group that’s been together with a coaching staff, you have a little bit of an advantage.
“For us, we’re all new to each other this year. I always feel like there’s more we can get accomplished and improve upon, but with the circumstances of the pandemic and restarting in a bubble and all those types of things, I think this was an appropriate amount of games to get ready.”
Although the playoffs are around the corner, the Lakers must wait and see who comes out of the Western Conference play-in.
Sitting Anthony Davis was a precaution
Davis was one of four players sitting out of the Lakers’ final seeding game against the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers superstar was ruled out due to a sore right knee, which raised some eyebrows as Davis has had a history of lingering knee issues throughout his career.
Ahead of the biggest playoff run of his career, any potential issues regarding Davis are a huge deal, but Frank Vogel made it clear that there is nothing wrong. “It’s precaution, no concern,” he said ahead of the Lakers’ loss to the Kings, undoubtedly easing the concerns of some.
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