As is the theme for the 2021-22 season for the Los Angeles Lakers, they once again somehow laid a dud after an impressive win. The Lakers followed up their blowout victory against the Boston Celtics with a disappointing loss to a shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies team.
Los Angeles actually looked like the more energetic team in the first quarter as they were flying around the floor and getting out on the run, but Memphis battled back behind their young stable of players and took control of the game in the second. From that point on, the Lakers found themselves climbing uphill and were unable to get over the hump.
The most glaring issue throughout the game for Los Angeles was their carelessness with the basketball as they committed 22 turnovers. LeBron James acknowledged that the team had been doing a better job as of late cleaning up mistakes but admitted that it came back to bite them against the Grizzlies.
“Well tonight turnovers killed us. We’ve been doing a hell of a job over the last seven games averaging only 12.5 turnovers, and tonight we had 22 for 27 points. That’s been like our Achilles heel before the last seven games and tonight it bit us in the butt.”
James put the onus on himself to be better at taking care of the ball, although he did point out that all five of his turnovers were in the first half so he was able to adjust.
“Two of my turnovers were passes that I make all throughout the year. It was over the top passes, one to AD, threw it short, one was to Melo, threw it short. Tried to cross-court passes to two of my shooters that got deflected and then one of them was a cross-court pass, just a swing pass to Russ that got picked off for a pick-six. All of them controlled, all of them terrible, all in the first half and I knew that. I had zero in the second half, so I made the adjustment.”
James did add that he felt like L.A.’s defense was solid against Memphis as a good chunk of their points were scored off turnovers.
“Toughness played no role in this game. Both teams got gritty at times, played good ball. Like I said, we had careless turnovers, they had some second-chance points. But defensively, I thought we were really good defensively. We just turned the ball over. You hold a team to 108 points and 27 of those are off turnovers. Defensively we were really good, offensively we were not good at all.”
Even though James thinks the defense was not the reason for the loss, the truth of the matter is this was a game the Lakers could have won had they not beat themselves. The nature of the turnovers was mind-boggling at certain points as it looked like they lacked any focus or discipline with some of their passes. Of their 22 turnovers, 18 were recorded as steals for the Grizzlies, which is unacceptable.
Inconsistency plaging Lakers
After a quarter of the season, it is hard to tell what version of the Lakers will show up on any given night. The inconsistency and poor showings do not provide a very bright outlook, and it is hard to say if they can turn it around on the second end of their back-to-back set against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.
“It’s fresh from the game. We hate losing, frustrated from the loss and how we played at times throughout the game,” James said. “We had an opportunity to beat a good team that’s been playing extremely well, especially at home over the last couple of weeks and we didn’t do that. We got to do a better job. We’re playing a team tomorrow that beat us twice and we got to take that challenge and be ready for that.”
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