After a busy offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2021-22 campaign, fully aware of the massive adjustment period their revamped roster needs. It’s led the Lakers to stumble due to a lack of consistent performance. After Monday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls, Anthony Davis blasted the team over their most discouraging trend.
Lakers’ struggles with consistency continue
After edging out the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, the Lakers fell to an all-too-familiar disappointing performance against the upstart Bulls.
Los Angeles looked nothing like the team that put forth a strong collective offensive showing against the Spurs. They struggled to adjust to the Bulls’ defensive game plan of consistently double-teaming Anthony Davis.
Meanwhile, Chicago dominated from beyond the arc, shooting 44.1% (15-of-34), whereas Los Angeles hit at an 18.8% clip (6-of-32). The Lakers also had no answer defensively for star guard DeMar DeRozan as he shined with a game-high 38 points.
Beyond that, the loss highlighted a disturbing trend that Davis has had enough seeing it transpire nightly.
Anthony Davis scorches the Lakers over their most disturbing trend: ‘We’re not winning a championship the way we’re playing’
The discouraging loss to the Bulls again spotlighted a concerning trend regarding the Lakers’ persistent porous play in the third quarter.
As the frustration mounts, star forward Anthony Davis blasted his team’s effort in the period after Chicago outscored them 40-12.
“We suck,” Davis said. “No defense, can’t score. That’s not this third quarter. Every third quarter that we’ve played this season we come out slow, lackadaisical offensively and defensively. We got to get it together. Why? I can’t tell you. But we have to do a better job. We scored 12 points in the third quarter. They scored 40. That’s the game right there. We got to do a better job coming out in the third. Championship team?
“That’s not us right now. We’re not winning a championship the way we’re playing. We got to be better, and we got to care more for our wins at home, wins in general. That was embarrassing.”
Davis’ blunt comments are entirely on-point as the Lakers continue to come out flat to start the second half of games. As Spectrum Sportsnet noted after Monday’s loss, opponents have outscored Los Angeles by 89 points in the period through the first 15 games.
The third-quarter woes consistently shift games out of their favor, as was the case in Friday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves after being outscored 40-12 in the frame. It’s a problem that head coach Frank Vogel recently voiced that he had no set solution to improve that area.
“We’re talking about it and challenging our guys to be better,” Vogel said via Sports Illustrated. “I don’t know what it was. We get control early in the game, we play well, and then just aren’t executing the plan.
If Los Angeles doesn’t fix these issues, more of the same frustrating shortcomings lie ahead.
LeBron James is nearing his return
As the Lakers work through their struggles, James appears to be nearing his return.
Since an abdominal strain sidelined him, Los Angeles holds a 3-4 record. His absence looms large as the team can’t put forth any stable play behind inconsistent performances.
Although the Lakers have strayed away from placing an exact timetable for James’ return, ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that there is growing optimism James could play in Friday’s road game against the Boston Celtics. The update corroborates with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin voicing on Monday that he expected the star forward to return during the team’s upcoming five-game road trip.
James has struggled to stay healthy, as the abdominal injury forced him to miss the last two weeks. His return will provide the Lakers with a much-needed boost. James has performed at a high level when healthy, averaging 24.8 points, 7.0 assists, and 5.5 rebounds on 46.7% shooting from the floor.
Los Angeles needs a shot in the gut, and the four-time NBA champion is ready to provide that lift.