Following yet another late-game comeback that fell just short, Harrison Faigen stepped into this week’s episode of “The Lakers Lounge” seeing red. How much this had to do with him being on recap duty for this latest series of clutch-minutes gaffes is obviously debatable, but the idea of him putting me in charge of positivity is certainly a choice.
All that said, we really did try to start with some positivity. Sure, the Lakers lost a winnable game in large part because of mistakes they simply refuse to learn from (Frank, we’re concerned — would it literally kill you to rely less on Avery Bradley?) and gave up their chance at winning an important tiebreaker with a team who they’re competing with for seeding, but there was undeniably one other part of the game that seriously matters moving forward: Anthony Davis.
Since he’s returned, Davis has been absolutely fantastic. He’s looked more fluid, more dynamic athletically and is affecting the game all over the court. The Lakers need to continue to make the game easier for him, but all things considered, him looking like his Orlando Bubble self is incredibly promising.
Alright, now to the negative.
It’s certainly easy to say, “well, without LeBron James, the Lakers even being competitive is a step in the right direction.” To this we say, stop. This was a championship favorite to start the year and, if we were to tell you at that point that we’d reach a moment where we’re talking about “good” losses, we’d have considered this a lost season, flat out.
Cool, the Lakers made another comeback playing the style of basketball anyone watching has known they should’ve been playing all along. They also went right back to the approach that put them down in the first place once the game became winnable again.
Until Frank Vogel changes some of his worst habits and the Lakers as a whole start consistently abiding by the strategies that would’ve made them a better team before injuries derailed the season, they’re simply not an actual contender. And these late game rallies once the game is mostly decided otherwise should be seen more as pre-mortal surges than a preview of what the team could be.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.