‘More frustrating than concerning’ – Orange County Register


LOS ANGELES — The Lakers have been faced with a similar question multiple times just a little over halfway through the 2023-24 regular season.

And it came up again after Friday night’s 130-112 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets: How will they prevent a tough loss from impacting future performances? Especially when it seemed like they were starting to turn a corner in their season?

“You show it on film,” Coach Darvin Ham said. “You look at it. You address it with the group. We’ve had a few of those this year and we normally respond well from it. And this is no different. You take all the good, the bad, the ugly and you show it to them and try to get better from it.”

And when the Lakers go back and watch the film from the loss, they’ll likely notice an offense that wasn’t as organized or deliberate with their attack as it was in Wednesday’s home win against the Dallas Mavericks. Or even Monday’s victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

And a defense that allowed the Nets to get rolling and find their momentum in the second half because of miscommunications – something D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Davis both mentioned postgame.

The Lakers led 37-28 at the end of the first quarter and 68-62 going into halftime but allowed the Nets to outscore them 68-44 in the second half. Brooklyn scored 102 points in the final three quarters.

“They throw a lineup out there that’s very versatile,” Russell said. “If you don’t communicate, they’ll take advantage of it from slips and screens and obviously [Nets coach] Jacque Vaughn’s a hell of a coach. He’s drawing up sets and putting them in position to take advantage of any miscommunication or mishap on our end. That’s what they did [Friday], they took advantage of it.”

Added Davis: “Just a lot of miscommunication. When we’re supposed to go over screens, we went under some. We score and then they come right back and get a wide-open layup in transition, which doesn’t make sense. Some miscommunication where we’re helping probably when we shouldn’t, the coverage is kind of messed up and they’re swinging the ball and guys are getting wide-open threes. Just things like that we’ve been able to control the past couple of games and we just didn’t do in the third quarter.”

After impressive victories over the Thunder and Mavericks, Friday could have been the Lakers’ third consecutive win – a winning streak they haven’t experienced since winning the In-Season Tournament last month. The Lakers (21-22) have yet to win three consecutive regular-season games that weren’t tied into the tournament and are 14-22 in non-tournament games.

But Friday turned into yet another step back. It remains just one game at the end of the day, but the yo-yoing between quality performances and disappointing ones has left the Lakers at the edge of the play-in standings (seeds 7-10) in the Western Conference.

“Kind of been like a constant thing for us, but like I said, when you get two, you’re trying to find a rhythm and you have two great games on both sides of the floor,” Davis said. “And then you kind of just revert back in the second half of this game and practically play no defense against these guys.

“Guys are getting wide-open shots, wide-open layups, wide-open dunks, we’re fouling, wasn’t rebounding. Everything on the defensive end we just didn’t do. And allowed them guys to get into rhythm and now you’re playing with confidence and the rims are a lot bigger for those guys.”

Is it concerning that the Lakers haven’t consistently strung together strong performances? To Davis, it’s more frustrating than concerning that the positive carryover hasn’t been there.



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