Lakers fans were not happy with the team’s loss at home to the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, and, well, neither were the Lakers. It’s kind of hard to see any silver linings when your team has just blown a 19-point lead to hand one of the worst teams in the NBA their second win of the season — a week after the Lakers handed the Thunder their first win of the season in the exact same fashion.
That was especially humiliating for proud veterans like Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook made his annoyance clear after a question from longtime Los Angeles Times reporter Brad Turner about his turnover in the game’s closing seconds...
... while Davis appeared to take a thinly veiled shot at Frank Vogel and the coaching staff when he said that the Thunder seemed to be perfectly anticipating the Lakers’ defensive coverages. Anthony also said the Lakers had no excuse for losing that game even without LeBron James, who will be sidelined for a couple of weeks with an abdominal strain.
A day later, Vogel himself waved off the comments from those veteran stars after Friday’s practice, chalking it up to the frustration that comes with failing to meet your own standards.
“We do have high expectations,” Vogel said. “We’re going to be a little edgy when we lose. I hope we’re edgy when we lose... When we fail, failure is just fertilizer for growth. That’s the mindset that you have to have, and if you play the way we’re playing and you win by one, maybe you’re not as focused or locked in on correcting things or improving. So (we’re) just taking the silver lining in it.”
Vogel said the Lakers had a good, productive film session on Saturday, and said the team has what it takes to fix this.
“We have a good process with our coaching staff, we have a good system in place, and the mindset is to stay positive, stay together and grow each day,” Vogel said.
Still, the Lakers had better hope that “good system” sees results soon, with the team sitting at just 5-4 on the year and James just the biggest among many injuries the team has already suffered. And for whatever issues do exist, a win against Dame Lillard and the struggling Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night could go a long way to diffusing some of them, and simmering down the tensions for a team that has had a tough start to the year.