LOS ANGELES -- As the Los Angeles Lakers embark on their longest road trip of the season -- a seven-game, 13-day trek through the Midwest and eastern seaboard -- head coach Frank Vogel will be looking to move on from one of the worst defeats for his team so far this season.
Leading by as many as 19 points, the Lakers imploded in the second half, allowing Stephen Curry and Draymond Green to lead the Golden State Warriors to a comeback win at the Staple Center on Monday.
It was the first time both LeBron James and Anthony Davis failed to score 20 points in a game this season.
After taking a day off, the Lakers returned to practice on Wednesday ready to put that loss behind them and refocus with a long trip on the road ahead. That starts with facing one of the best teams in the NBA on Thursday in the Milwaukee Bucks at 4:30 p.m. local time.
Vogel was asked if Monday’s loss the Warriors served as a galvanizing moment for his team.
“I don’t think it’s ever good to lose a game where you have a 14-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter,” Vogel said. “That’s never good. If you’re looking at it as a silver lining that maybe it will get us nice and edgy going into that Milwaukee game, maybe there is something there. But I think when you’re playing against one of the best teams in the league, you’re going to play edgy anyway.”
The first game of the road trip is someone guard Wesley Matthews is very familiar with, facing his former team in the Bucks in home state of Wisconsin.
“We have a tough trip coming up, starting with Milwaukee,” Matthews said. “They have great players across the board. They’re a great team and we’re going to have our hands full.”
The Bucks are 9-5 overall and second in the Eastern Conference, winning four of their last five games. Last season’s MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, leads Milwaukee, averaging 27.2 points and 10.2 rebounds a game.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said there was a lesson to take from Monday’s loss to Golden State.
“We try and remove the result from all of our film sessions,” Vogel said. “These are teachable moments, whether we won the game or lost the game. We really focus on the execution pieces, and in this instance it was a lesson on what has to go into closing out a big lead. It’s not easy to play with a lead in this league, especially a team with firepower. And you know the factors that go into it.
“The other team is going to pick up their defensive pressure. The whistle is going to swing. You have to fight against losing focus and make sure you’re staying aggressive. And within all of that, you have to execute all of your assignments defensively and offensively. There’s a lot of areas we didn’t do that well enough the other night.”
While the road trip appears daunting, the Lakers are 7-0 on the road this season and 4-4 at home. Those losses at home include setbacks against the Clippers, Spurs, Warriors and Blazers -- all with winning records.
“We know we are a good team,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said. “We know that teams are going to come and play their best against us. But the way we lost, we didn’t like. Obviously, we have to look back at the film and see what we can do better. But we always bounce back. We don’t like losing two in a row, so that next game, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to win that game.”