Lakers ponder how to 39act right39 after another loss

Lakers ponder how to 'act right' after another loss – ESPN

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    Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer January 4, 2024, 3:24 a.m. ET


    • Lakers and NBA reporter for ESPN.
    • He covered the Lakers and the NBA for from 2009 to 2014, the Cavaliers for from 2014 to 2018, and the NBA for from 2005 to 2009.

LOS ANGELES – Finally back at Arena after a brutal December that saw them seemingly constantly on the move and slipping in the standings, the Los Angeles Lakers looked impressive in their 110-96 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night their own home like strangers. Strong heat.

The schedule was supposed to be favorable for the Lakers early in the new year, having played 11 of their first games on January 12 in LA, but the Heat – with their star Jimmy Butler – forced out for the second time due to right foot irritation episode was canceled – was the team that seemed to feel comfortable.

“It's a little bit of everything right now,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said afterward, explaining how his team has fallen to 2-8 in its last 10 games, falling to 10th place in the Western Conference. “We are not efficient. This team played harder than us tonight, performed better than us tonight and is more physical than us tonight. We were overloaded tonight so it’s a little bit of everything right now.”

“If we continue on this train, it won’t be good for us.”

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Things were particularly bad at the beginning against the Heat. Miami led by as many as 11 in the first quarter, with LA committing 10 turnovers in the first frame and shooting 6 of 18 from the field (0 of 7 on 3-pointers), which looked lost against the Heat's zone defense.

“They threw a zone in, and they just dared us to make shots and we didn't,” said Anthony Davis, who led LA with 29 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks but also had a team-high five turnovers . “It kind of rattled us, but 10 turnovers in the first quarter was a recipe for disaster.”

Playing for the first time with a starting lineup of Davis, LeBron James, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Austin Reaves, LA looked disjointed on offense and disjointed on defense, particularly in the fourth quarter when Miami scored 38 points on 58.3 shooting % scored while going from 3 to 6 against 11.

The Lakers, meanwhile, shot 4 of 30 (13.3%) from distance for the game. Ham said a revolving door of injuries has hampered his group. Reddish returned from a groin injury, while Rui Hachimura missed his first game with a Grade 1 left calf strain and D'Angelo Russell missed a second straight game with a tailbone bruise.

“We can’t find consistency until we get healthy. It’s that simple. We have to get healthy,” Ham said. “When you're dealing with so many different players coming out of the lineup, it's almost impossible to find a rhythm. This is just real.”

LA's dramatic drop in the standings since winning the league's first tournament of the season has made it difficult to determine what this team is capable of. But it's clear that frustration is growing.

James left the arena without speaking to reporters after scoring a low of 12 points on 6 of 18 shooting, a rarity for the 21-year veteran.

Reaves said the mood on the team was “s—ty.”

“We’re losing,” Reaves said after his 24 points and eight assists went for nothing. “Every time you lose, the mood should go away, you know? When I go in [the locker room] And the mood wasn't bad after the tough stretch we had, then I would be worried. That's it really. You know, I don't expect us to be happy with our performance. So until we figure that out, the mood should be off. We have to win games.

Reaves later clarified his comments, adding: “When I say the vibe isn’t right, it doesn’t mean we don’t like each other. Rather, we lose. …But I don't want this to get twisted for us, don't I.” “I like each other. Everyone in the locker room gets along.”

The point of clarification was important. Finally, last year's team, needing to improve both its on-field performance and off-field chemistry, was completely overhauled in a series of changes at the deadline.

These Lakers are not asking for outside help. At least not yet.

“We need to attack and be more competitive, but we need guys to get stronger and play better,” Ham said. “The reason we signed them is because we know what they can do. And so every night you had to come with that confidence and fight through it. When something doesn't go your way, you can't pull yourself together. If you're standing in the corner crying about it, you have to push yourself and try to figure out the best way to help your team succeed.”

Ham added that he would consider returning to the starting lineup of James, Davis, Reaves, Vanderbilt and Russell that LA used last season and in the first few rounds of the playoffs once Russell is healthy again.

“I think everything that makes sense is on the table,” Ham said. “No stone should be left unturned. We are here to explore everything we can to right the ship.”

Davis said L.A. will try to gain a foothold Friday at home against the Memphis Grizzlies, the team it defeated in the first round last postseason.

“We just have to compete, play hard and come in with a must-win mentality and hopefully that can get us back to .500 on Friday and then put together a series at home,” said he said. “I mean, we've been a really good home team so far and we've had the opportunity to continue to build on that.”

“But if we play like we did tonight, things will turn out really badly for us.”