The Los Angeles finished their recent road trip losing three of the four games, allowing the Dallas Mavericks to make up ground behind them in the standings.
L.A. fared poorly despite Anthony Davis’ return and the extra minutes Andre Drummond and Ben McLemore have spent playing alongside new teammates. The 27-year-old center led the Lakers in rebounds in nine of the 11 games he wore the Purple and Gold. And McLemore has been shooting 37.5% from downtown since moving to Los Angeles, sinking more than five threes against the Brooklyn Nets and in the second loss to Dallas.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said he liked the way Drummond and McLemore have been adjusting despite the recent defeats. “We lost three of the last four so obviously you want it to happen right away and go 4-0 on this trip but that didn’t happen,” he said.
“But those guys are integrating fine and we’ll continue to grow each game.”
Davis recently said he and Drummond continued to learn each other’s game, expressing confidence they would still be able to create a fearsome frontcourt pairing for the Lakers. But the clock is ticking as L.A. has just ten games left in the regular season.
The reigning NBA champions have fallen too far behind the Denver Nuggets to stay in the race for the fourth seed in the West. However, they only have a 1.0-game advantage over the Mavericks and a 2.0-game lead over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers are currently occupying the seventh spot, which will take place in the play-in tournament before the playoffs.
Davis: Lakers need to play with ‘desperation’
Davis hasn’t been on top of his game since returning from a two-month layoff. However, his 26 points in the 116-107 loss to the Washington Wizards suggest he’s getting back his rhythm.
The 28-year-old All-Star knows amassing further losses could make title defense even more difficult for the Lakers. Hence, he hopes they will gear up in the remaining weeks of the regular season. “We control our own destiny so we have to start playing with a sense of desperation even though we are in the playoffs as of right now,” he said.
“But we’re not that far off from being in the play-in game. So we got to play with a sense of desperation as well.”
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