Through 26 games, the Los Angeles Lakers are 13-13. And while it was well known that this brand new roster was going to need time to adjust, their record doesn’t even begin to describe the frustrating performances they’ve put together, even in games where LeBron James and Anthony Davis are healthy.
This week has served as a perfect example of that frustration. On Tuesday, the Lakers came out and easily handled the Boston Celtics, winning their second straight and third out of four. Then, against the Memphis Grizzlies — without Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks — they faltered.
Consistency, or a lack thereof, is a team-wide issue, but the stars have to take some level of responsibility. That’s what James tried to do following another bad loss.
“Frank said it. Obviously it’s been challenging with just inconsistent lineups and minutes that you log with certain guys,” James said. “So just whenever you’re on the floor or whoever you’re on the floor with, you got to try to be a plus and then do what the guy before you is able to do. If he’s able to build up a lead or if he was not playing so well, you try to pick him up. But it’s been challenging for sure.”
Davis went straight to the point when trying to break down what the Lakers’ issues have been. “Some games we have, so games we haven’t. Tonight we didn’t, against Boston we did. So it’s just got to be a more consistent thing,” Davis said of the Lakers play.
“That’s our biggest problem right now, consistency. We come out certain games and don’t play how we’re supposed to play and games like Boston we come out and play great. So we got to be a more consistent team if we want to truly compete for a championship.
“It’s a mindset thing. We understand that we’re gonna get everyone’s best shot… We can’t control misses or makes, but what we can control is our effort defensively. We try to hold our hats on being a top five, top three defensive team and we haven’t been. So we got to change that quickly. Tonight was Game 26 and we just can’t, even though I think we’re in sixth right now, a game-and-a-half, two games out of fourth or whatever, but we can’t keep taking a step forward and two steps backwards. So we got to fix it quickly.”
Davis and James have struggled with consistency in their own way. James has played in just 14 of the team’s 26 games, while Davis has often been criticized this season for a lack of effort. To make complete changes to the Lakers’ mindset, it has to start with the stars at the top of the roster.
L.A. has a chance to quickly turn things around as they face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. They are 0-2 against the Thunder this season, but a convincing win would show that they are making strides despite the ongoing .500 record.
Frank Vogel criticizes Lakers for playing casually
Effort has been a major issue for L.A. at various points this season. Vogel took note of this after their loss to the Grizzlies. “Our turnovers went way up, we didn’t rebound the basketball,” Vogel said.
“We were slow to every loose ball and there was just too much of a casualness to our approach after we got that early lead. It wasn’t even a huge lead, but we just got casual.”
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