Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis says the team will have to play like underdogs after losing to the Grizzlies
MEMPHIS – After the Los Angeles Lakers lost an early lead to an understaffed Grizzlies team in Thursday’s 108-95 loss, Anthony Davis said LA’s identity is far from the title contender it should be.
“These guys feel like underdogs as soon as they step in, especially when they’re without their star players,” Davis said of a Memphis team playing without their top two scorers, Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks, because of health and safety protocols. “And we have to play like we’re the underdogs. Which many games we are likely to be at this point in the season, the way we play, many games.”
It’s been a recurring theme for the Lakers lately, with recent defeats including a Kawhi Leonard-less LA Clippers team and a Sacramento Kings team missing two starters in Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes.
Davis said opponents are circling the Lakers on their calendar in hopes of shaping their season by dumping LA’s collection of star power in themselves, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.
“I think if their star players are out we have to step in even more because these guys have no conscience,” said Davis. “They want to come in and beat the Lakers, beat LeBron, beat AD, whoever defeat, beat Melo. They want to say, ‘I gave the Lakers 30, 25 whatever.'”
Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 25 points for Memphis, nearly nine points more than his season average, and Desmond Banehad 23, seven points more than his average. But as much as they rose, the Lakers also shot themselves in the foot with 22 ball losses, adding up to 27 points for Memphis.
“Our sales have risen sharply, we haven’t bounced back on the basketball, we’ve been slow with every loose ball and our approach was just too casual after taking that early lead,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “It wasn’t even a big head start, but we just loosened up.”
In fact, LA’s nine-point lead quickly evaporated in the first quarter before half-time. The Lakers had nine ball losses in the second quarter, adding up to 15 points for the Grizzlies, who were leading 59:53 at half time. Westbrook (six turnovers) and James (five) were the main culprits.
James, seeing his 100th career triple-double lost in defeat, detailed all five of his post-game mistakes.
“All controlled. All terrible. All in the first half. And I knew that, ”said James. “I had zero in the second half, so I made the adjustment.”
Westbrook, who is second in the league in terms of sales just behind James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets, had recently cut its sales, as had the Lakers as a team, but that wasn’t the case against the Grizzlies.
“Some we can take with us, others just happen,” he said. “Someone stepped out of bounds, some loose ball envelopes, some that, when you actually watch the game, happen to the best of us. Live balls are the ones we worry about, that they may be able to To bring points from our sales. “
The loss dropped the Lakers to 13-13, 7th in the Western Conference rankings.
LA has been the understaffed team for most of the season so far, with injuries decimating the line-up, but the Lakers have been nearly complete for a while, missing only Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn.
Vogel said ahead of the game that he would continue to tinker with different line-up combinations “as long as it takes” before he feels he has found the right formula, a decision that sounds like it will affect James.
“Of course it was a challenge,” said James after the game. “Inconsistent statements and logs that you log with certain types. Whenever you’re out on the floor with whoever you are, you have to try to be positive and do what the guy could before. If he’s been able to build a lead, or if he’s not playing well, you try to pick him up. But it was sure to be a challenge. “
James finished plus-minus of plus-two in 38 minutes, meaning the Lakers were outperformed by 15 in the 10 minutes he was rested. Westbrook, Anthony and Malik Monk all ended the night with a minus 16.
“We have to take up the challenge better because when everyone plays against the Los Angeles Lakers we will do our best,” said Westbrook. “We’ve known that since the beginning of the year. We understand that. But we have to be able to own our s. That easy.”
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