LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers finally returned to Crypto.com Arena after a rough December in which they seemed to be always on the road and slid down the standings, looking like strangers in their own home in a 110-96 loss on Wednesday night to Los Angeles. Miami Heat.
The schedule was supposed to be favorable for the Lakers heading into the new year, with 11 of their first 12 games in January in Los Angeles, but the Heat – with their star player, Jimmy Butler, out for the second straight game with right foot irritation. – It was a team that looked comfortable.
“It's a little part of everything right now,” Lakers coach Darvin Hamm said afterward, explaining how his team went 2-8 in its last 10 games to fall to 10th place in the Western Conference. “We're not executing. This team played harder than us tonight, played better than us tonight, more physical than us tonight. We gave a lot of effort tonight, so it's all about it now.”
“If we keep riding this train, it's not going to work for us.”
It was especially bad early against the Heat. Miami led by as many as 11 in the first quarter, with Los Angeles committing 10 turnovers in the opening frame while shooting 6-for-18 from the field (0-for-7 on 3-pointers), and looking lost against the Heat's zone. defense.
“They threw zone inside, just challenged us to make shots, but we didn't do it,” said Anthony Davis, who led Los Angeles with 29 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks, but also had a team-high five turnovers. “It kind of put us out of our business, but 10 turnovers in the first quarter was a recipe for disaster.”
Playing with a starting lineup of Davis, LeBron James, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Austin Reeves for the first time, Los Angeles looked disjointed offensively and disconnected on defense, especially in the fourth quarter when Miami scored 38 points on 58.3% shooting. While moving to 6 for 11 from 3.
Meanwhile, the Lakers shot 4-for-30 (13.3%) from deep for the game. Hamm said the revolving door of injuries has hampered his group. Reddish returned from a hip injury at the same time Rui Hachimura missed his first game with a grade 1 left calf strain and D'Angelo Russell missed his second straight game with a tailbone bruise.
“We can't find any consistency until we get healthy,” Hamm said. “It's that simple. We have to get healthy.” “When you're dealing with different players coming in and out of the lineup frequently, it's almost impossible to find a rhythm. That's just a fact.”
Los Angeles' dramatic drop in the standings since winning the season-opening championship has made it difficult to determine what this team is capable of. But it's clear that frustration is starting to build.
James, after scoring a season-low 12 points on 6-of-18 shooting, left the court without speaking to reporters, a rarity for the 21-year-old veteran.
Reeves said the team's mood was “s—ty.”
“We're losing,” Reeves said after tallying 24 points and eight assists. “Any time you lose, the atmosphere has to stop, you know? If you get in.” [the locker room] If the atmosphere does not stop after the difficult period we went through, I will feel worried. That's really it. You know, I don't expect us to be happy with the way we played. So, until we figure that out, you know, the atmosphere has to be off. We have to win games.”
Reeves later clarified his comments, adding: “When I say it's off, it's not like we don't like each other. It's like we're losing. … But I don't want to let this turn on us.” “They love each other. Everyone in the locker room gets along with each other.”
The point of clarification was important. After all, last year's team — which needed to overhaul its on-court performance and off-court chemistry — was completely overhauled in a series of trades at the deadline.
These Lakers are not asking for outside help. At least not yet.
“We have to attack and be more competitive, but we need players to step up and play better,” Hamm said. “The reason we signed them is because we know what they can do. So you have to come with that confidence every night and you have to fight for it. Things don't go your way, you can't play on the field.” “Park somewhere and cry about it. You have to step up and try to see how you can best help your team succeed.”
Hamm added that he would consider returning to the starting lineup of James, Davis, Reaves, Vanderbilt and Russell that Los Angeles used throughout last season and in the first two rounds of the playoffs, once Russell is healthy.
“I think everything is on the table and it makes sense,” Hamm said. “No stone will remain unturned. We are here to explore everything we can to right the ship.”
Davis said Los Angeles will try to regain its footing on Friday at home against the Memphis Grizzlies, the team it beat in the first round after last season.
“We just have to compete, play hard and come out with a winning mentality, and hopefully that will push us back to .500 on Friday and then put the streak together at home.” He said. “I mean we've been a good home team so far, and we've got a chance to continue to build on that.
“But if we play the way we played tonight, things will be very bad for us.”
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