The heat is being turned up on Los Angeles Lakers (22-10) headcoach Frank Vogel. Last night’s 124-127 overtime loss to the Washington Wizards (11-17) was enough to raise the ire of a number of Lakers’ fans.
Without two star men in Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder, the latter sat out due to a seven-day quarantine, the Lakers originally stormed into a 14-point half time lead against the struggling Wizards.
All appeared to be on course for a much-needed victory, but in the second half the Wizards pulled the game level at 115-115 in regular time, before adding a further 12 in overtime to the Laker’s nine to land an unexpected win.
Both LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma missed potential tying field goals at the end of overtime to hand the victory to the Wizards.
The Lakers are 1-3 since Anthony Davis’ injury.
1-4 if you include the game when he got hurt in the 2nd quarter. pic.twitter.com/8iSAMAGJOy
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 23, 2021
The defeat was the third loss in a row for the Lakers which has heaped the pressure on coach Vogel. Especially with the Western Conference leaders, Utah Jazz (25-6) winning again 132-110 over the Charlotte Hornets.
They now drop to third in the Conference behind their rivals the LA Clippers (22-10), while the Phoenix Suns (20-10) could also overtake them if they were to win either of their two games in hand.
Harrell Sits Out For Gasol
Vogel is also facing flack for his decision to bench Montrezl Harrell in overtime for starting center Marc Gasol. In his 27 minutes of action, Gasol hit seven points, five rebounds and four assists, while Harrell hit 26 points, nine rebounds and two assists in just 23 minutes of action.
when u have 26pts in 21mins but Vogel sits u in OT for Marc Gasol 😭 pic.twitter.com/7F4lh90SPv
— LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) February 23, 2021
It was a decision which certainly disappointed some Lakers fans.
LeBron James top scored with 31 points, 13 assists and 9 rebounds in the game, Harrell was next with his 26 points and Anthony Davis replacement Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit 21 points.
For the Wizards, it was no surprise that Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook were their key men once again. Combining for 65 points in total, Beal hit 33 with six assists and seven rebounds, while Westbrook hit 32 points, nine assists and fourteen rebounds.
The victory didn’t improve the Wizards position any in the Eastern Conference, they remain 13th in the table, but it does mean that they continue their excellent run of recent form by securing their fifth win in successive games.
Only the Brooklyn Nets (20-12), who have won their last six, have a better record in the Eastern Conference.
Washington Face A New L.A Challenge Tonight
After their surprise win last night, the Wizards are back in action tonight against the other Los Angeles team, the Clippers. A number of teams with genuine playoff aspirations from both conferences are also in action too.
The Philadelphia 76ers take on the Toronto Raptors trying to find a bit more consistency after a 5-5 record in their last ten games. The 76ers still remain top of the Eastern Conference, but the in form Brooklyn Nets, who have won their last six, are closing in fast.
The Milwaukee Bucks (18-13) are also not too far behind and could close the gap further if the 76ers lose and they can beat the Minnesota Timberwolves this evening.
Other key games include the Brooklyn Nets facing the Sacramento Kings, The Denver Nuggets against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks against the Boston Celtics.