The Los Angeles Lakers were a perfect 4-0 out of the All-Star break, even without Anthony Davis. However, since losing LeBron James early in their loss to the Atlanta Hawks, they are 0-3 including that game.
With no James, Davis or Marc Gasol, Lakers coach Frank Vogel has needed to get creative with his rotations.
In the near three full games without any of these three players, L.A.’s defense hasn’t been necessarily bad. They did allow a staggering number of points in the paint against the New Orleans Pelicans, but they had no way of stopping it without any big men in their rotation, starting 6’7″ Devontae Cacok at center.
It’s their offense that has been abysmal. In three games, they’re averaging 99.7 points per game. Over a whole season, that would rank dead last in the NBA by a significant margin.
Until his stars come back, Vogel is focused on getting the team organized offensively. “I think we’ve put a lot of emphasis on the offensive side of the ball the last couple of days since losing LeBron [James] and Anthony [Davis] being out. I thought we had some real growth. Some real positives about what we did offensively.
“We had a stretch in that second quarter where we had a big drop and it really hurt us in this game, but with all the emphasis on the offensive end and seeing that type of growth, we didn’t play well enough defensively. Particularly that third quarter. So we’re going to miss guys like Bron and AD on both sides of the ball. Getting us organized offensively is really my top priority right now and I know we can tighten the screws defensively, but we got to be better on that end.”
Davis is being re-evaluated on Friday of this week, so his return could be coming up in the near future. However, the Lakers have some winnable games before that would happen, meaning they need to figure out ways to score.
Right now, L.A.’s offense is extremely stagnant, with Dennis Schroder drives, Montrezl Harrell post-ups or contested threes being their only source of points. This needs to change fast, and they’ll have an immensely hard test to do so against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.
Lakers staying positive amid losses
Even though things are not going well for the Lakers, Vogel is confident in the group he has and their ability to win games. Because of that belief, everyone is remaining positive.
“We’re staying positive,” Vogel said. “We’ve got a great belief in this group. Even with AD and Bron out, that we can win games during this stretch and there’s going to be a silver lining at the end of it.
“The growth that we exhibit over the next X amount of games where we’re shorthanded will pay dividends for us down the stretch. We’re going to remain positive, we’re going to keep playing super hard like we did tonight. We’ve just got to execute better and collect as many wins along the way as we can, but our group is going to remain positive.”
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