The Los Angeles Lakers were shut down by the Utah Jazz for the second time in less than a week. After shooting just 32.6% from the field against the Jazz last Sunday, the Lakers made some adjustments and improved... to 34.4% shooting. According to Lakers head coach Byron Scott, however, the root of the team's struggles ran deeper than poor shooting or turning the ball over 9 times in a sloppy first half.
"I think most of [our errors] were mental mistakes," Scott told reporters after the game. "The one thing I said before we started the game when we get into our huddle was 'look, we've got to come out tonight with a very focused, a very aggressive, a very intensive, and a very energized game tonight,' and I don't think we did any of those. So right from the start I could see that we just weren't there mentally as well as physically and we got what we deserved."
Scott also expanded upon why the Lakers had such difficulties against the Jazz in particular, as was evident by having two of their ugliest games of the season in a six-day span against the same opponent.
"I think we just get so impatient offensively against this team because they kind of slow the pace down and they kind of lull you into that type of game," explained Scott. "Tonight I just thought we were impatient and didn't set screens and didn't run our offense. Guys tried to do it on their own, and we're not good enough to do that, and once we went in that direction they were able to build a lead."
Scott told his players as much when the team trailed 60-36 after two quarters. "Lack of energy, still turning the ball over, we've got to take care of the ball better, they played desperate, and we played like we've been on a winning streak," said D'Angelo Russell when asked what Scott told the team their issues were during halftime, so at least his message was consistent.
The Lakers additionally faced issues with ball security against Utah, something all of the team's young trio of Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Russell cited as a problem following the team's 33rd loss of the year. For a team that struggles to score and defend, giving up 18 points off of turnovers is a death blow.
The Jazz's defense likely had as much or more to do with those struggles than any "impatience" on the part of the Lakers, but once again the team's head coach completely abdicated himself of responsibility for the team's struggles and placed blame for the loss solely on the shoulders of his players. Whether that will begin to wear thin in the locker room as the second half of the season goes on remains to be seen, but is something to watch going forward.
All quotes transcribed via Time Warner Cable Sportsnet. All stats per NBA.com. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.