Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel usually appears to keep his poise regardless of circumstances. But Vogel seemed to have run out of patience after another underwhelming performance in the first half of the 117-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
The head coach benched DeAndre Jordan just over four minutes into the game and then engaged in a heated exchange with the center on the sidelines.
Jordan never returned onto the floor with Dwight Howard taking his place in the starting lineup for the second half — even though Vogel had told Howard he would sit the game out earlier during the day.
Howard and other Lakers then said the head coach have a passionate halftime speech that galvanized L.A. into playing with more effort after the break. The Lakers trailed the Kings 59-50 after the first two quarters.
Vogel said he reminded his players about the goals for the game which they had been talking about ahead of the Tuesday clash.
“Every now and then, a coach has to light a fire under his team and today was one of those games,” he said. “We weren’t giving the necessary effort in transition defense and with our pick-and-roll coverages. We talked specifically about tightening the screws on all day throughout our pregame and it wasn’t there in the first half, so sometimes you have to let them hear about it and it was the spirit at halftime and those guys responded.”
Vogel added the coaching staff has looked at many different ways to adjust the team’s play to the personnel they have at their disposal. He also praised the Lakers for the way they responded in the second half. L.A. outscored Sacramento 67-33 over the third and fourth quarter, turning a 14-point deficit into a 25-point win.
“There’s lessons in every game,” Vogel said. “Every time your group has small successes, those are opportunities to build confidence in what we’re doing and each other on the floor and your teammates and all those types of things. That second half is something that will definitely help us going forward.
“Our process is strong with what we’re doing in particular on the defensive end. We’re looking at our personnel, we’re trying a lot of different things that are a little outside of what we’re used to doing and some of it’s good and some of it’s bad and we’re taking the good pieces and locking it in, but at the end of the day, we got a great scheme and we’ve got personnel that can execute it and we’ve simplified it and got down to the bones the last few games and just said, ‘Come on. Let’s just stay with our base coverages and get it right and do it better. Do it harder, do it tougher, do it stronger.
“I challenged them and it wasn’t there in the first half. That’s why the halftime talk was what it was, but it was terrific in the third quarter and it shows that these guys that we have on the roster right now are capable doing it at a super high level. Hopefully, something that our group can draw a lot of confidence from.”
Howard: Vogel was upset at halftime but he was right
Asked about Vogel’s message to the Lakers during the halftime break, Howard said he agreed with the coach’s criticism.
“Coach was pretty upset, but I think his whole point was ‘Stop talking about winning a championship and not giving the correct effort,’ and he’s right. Spot on,” the center said.
“You can’t keep saying we want to win, we want to accomplish these different things if we’re not willing to put in the work and the effort and play together.”
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