Lakers reflect on how to ‘ship correctly’ after latest loss to Heat

LOS ANGELES – Finally back at Arena after a brutal December in which they were seemingly perpetually away from home and fell in the standings, the Los Angeles Lakers looked like strangers in their own home in Wednesday night’s 110 loss. -96 against the Miami Heat.

The schedule was supposed to be favorable for the Lakers entering the new year, with 11 of their first 12 January games in Los Angeles, but the Heat, with their star, Jimmy Butler, out for the second consecutive game due to a soreness in his The right foot. — were the team that seemed comfortable.

“It’s a little bit of everything right now,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said afterward, explaining how his team has gone 2-8 in its last 10 games to fall to 10th place in the Western Conference. “We’re not executing. That team played harder than us tonight, executed better than us tonight, more physically than us tonight. We worked harder than us tonight, so now it’s a little bit of everything.

“If we continue on this train, it will not be good for us.”

He was especially bad early against the Heat. Miami led by as many as 11 in the first quarter, with Los Angeles committing 10 first-quarter turnovers while hitting 6 of 18 field goals (0 of 7 on three-pointers), looking lost against the Heat’s zone. defending.

“They ran a zone and just challenged us to make shots, and we didn’t,” said Anthony Davis, who led Los Angeles with 29 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks, but also had a career-high five turnovers. equipment. “It kind of got us out of it, but 10 turnovers in the first quarter was kind of a recipe for disaster.”

Playing with a starting lineup of Davis, LeBron James, Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince and Austin Reaves for the first time, LA seemed disjointed on the offensive end and disconnected on defense, particularly in the fourth quarter when Miami scored 38 points with a 58, 3% shots. while hitting 6 of 11 from 3.

The Lakers, meanwhile, were 4 of 30 (13.3%) from deep during the game. Ham said a revolving door of injuries has hampered his group. Reddish returned from a groin injury at the same time Rui Hachimura missed his first game due to a Grade 1 left calf strain and D’Angelo Russell missed a second straight game due to a tailbone bruise.

“We can’t find consistency until we’re healthy. It’s as simple as that. We have to bounce back,” Ham said. “When you’re dealing with different guys coming in and out of the lineup so frequently, it’s almost impossible to find a rhythm. That’s just being real.”

Los Angeles’ dramatic drop in the standings since winning the league’s season-opening tournament has made it difficult to determine what this team is capable of. But it’s clear that frustration is starting to grow.

James, after scoring a season-low 12 points on 6-of-18 shooting, left the arena without speaking to reporters, a rarity for the 21-year-old veteran.

Reaves said the team’s mood was “s—ty.”

“We’re losing,” Reaves said after his 24 points and eight assists went in vain. “Every time you lose, the vibe should go off, you know? If I came in [the locker room] and the vibe wasn’t bad after the difficult stretch we’ve had, so I would be worried. That’s really all. You know, I don’t expect us to be happy with how we played. So until we figure that out, you know, the vibe should be off. “We have to win games.”

Reaves later clarified his comments, adding, “When I say the vibe is bad, it’s not that we don’t like each other. It’s that we’re losing… But I don’t want to get fooled.” like each other. “Everyone in the locker room gets along well.”

The question of clarification was important. After all, last year’s team (which needed to improve both its on-court performance and off-court chemistry) was completely overhauled in a series of trades at the deadline.

These Lakers don’t ask for outside help. At least not yet.

“We have to attack and be more competitive, but we need guys to step up and play better,” Ham said. “The reason we signed them is because we know what they can do. And that’s why you have to come with that confidence each and every night and you have to fight through it. Things don’t go your way, you can’t go broke on “He corners himself somewhere and starts crying about it. “You have to step up and try to see how you can best help your team be successful.”

Ham added that he will consider returning to the starting lineup of James, Davis, Reaves, Vanderbilt and Russell that LA used down the stretch of last season and in the first two rounds of the playoffs once Russell recovers.

“I think everything that makes sense is on the table,” Ham said. “No stone will be left unturned. We are here to explore everything we can to right the ship.”

Davis said Los Angeles will try to find its footing Friday at home against the Memphis Grizzlies, the team they beat in the first round of last postseason.

“We just have to compete, play hard and come out with the mentality that we have to win, and hopefully that can propel us to get back to .500 on Friday and then make a run at home,” he said. saying. “I mean, we’ve been a very good home team so far and we have the opportunity to continue to build on that.

“But if we play like we played tonight, then things will go very badly for us.”

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