Before the Los Angeles Lakers went into their matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center on Friday, Frank Vogel sounded confident: confident that his team would win, but also confident that they would be fine if they lost and fell into a play-in spot.
“For me, I’m unafraid of the play-in tournament with this team,” Vogel said. “But we definitely want to finish in the top-six. There’s just too many things that can happen in a one-game series: foul trouble, a rolled ankle, anything like that could pop up. We definitely want to finish in the top-six, it’s high priority for us, but at the same time, I’m confident in our group.”
After the game, Vogel’s confidence didn’t wane despite the fact that his team lost 106-101 and lost their tiebreaker with the Trail Blazers. For him, Friday’s result only served as an important reminder as to how important these last few games are to their place in the Western Conference playoff picture.
“We’re just going to compete and win as many games as we can, and wherever we land, we’re confident,” Vogel said. “Obviously, we want to finish in the top-six. We still have five games to make up some ground if that’s possible and we’ll continue to try and win as many games as we can.”
The Lakers are currently a game back of the No. 6 seed with five games left on their schedule. Vogel is hopeful that his team will be whole again soon, but he said he has complete faith in the guys that he has available to him at the moment.
“We’re in adjustment phase like we’ve been in all year,” Vogel said. “We don’t have either of our two primary quarterbacks and even Talen. The odds are stacked against us in a situation like this and I’m very proud of how our guys competed. We had an opportunity to pull off a very difficult win.
“If we compete like we did tonight against Phoenix, I feel confident that we’ll win that game and that’s all we can control.”
The Lakers and Suns will tip-off at 7 p.m. on Sunday.