Since going on a nine-game winning streak in late December and early January, the Los Angeles Lakers are 7-5 in their last 12 games. The team is still winning more than they’re losing, but they’ve definitely slowed down a bit. While there are a number of reasons for that fact, head coach Frank Vogel is hoping to keep the team’s eye on the prize.
With All-Star weekend nearing, teams will sometimes take their foot off the gas. Vogel knows this and doesn’t want his team to fall into the trap.
“We’ve talked about that,” Vogel said on Monday.
“This is a time in the season when teams take losses that they shouldn’t take. We’re playing for something bigger and it’s more important than us. We’re not going to be one of those teams. We’re going to take care of our business.”
It’s clear the Lakers are on a mission this season. It’s definitely a championship or bust type of year. Los Angeles doesn’t seem keen on slowing things down anytime soon. While the fact that LeBron James and Anthony Davis play significant minutes almost every game is concerning, the team doesn’t seem to think that “load management” will be necessary.
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It’ll be especially interesting to see if the Lakers can keep their mind off the All-Star break considering LeBron James and Anthony Davis will both be playing and Vogel will be coaching. LeBron will be the captain of one of the teams. Plus, big Kobe Bryant tributes are expected. It’s going to an especially purple and gold affair.
Obviously, the All-Star game isn’t something that the Lakers are going to take very seriously, but it’s probably on their mind. The team has one more game before the break against the Denver Nuggets and then they can enjoy their break.
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Vogel has been pretty consistent with the players he trots out from game to game, but he decided to switch things up against the Phoenix Suns on Monday. He shortened his rotation to nine men and explained the decision after the game.
“It was not my intent to go with a nine-man rotation,” Vogel said. “We were going to just tweak the rotation a little bit to bring Bron back in the first quarter and the third quarter with that unit. We’ve been struggling to close out those quarters and get Anthony out a little bit sooner and bring him back sooner, but bring LeBron back sooner.”
“There was a plan for Alex to get in there but Rondo was playing at such a high level I extended his minutes which just pushed Alex’s minutes out. But I still intend to use a 10-man rotation.”
Based on Vogel’s comments, it looks like the nine-man rotation was an exception to the rule. Rondo had one of his better games on Monday, so it makes sense why Vogel would switch things up to keep in the game.