Poor defense and injury plagued: Takeaways from Lakers’ loss to Spurs

Lakers guard Malik Monk drives to the basket against San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson.
Lakers guard Malik Monk drives to the basket against San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson during the first half on Monday in San Antonio.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

Malik Monk shook his head and forced a smile, the question about the Lakers an all-too-familiar theme during this turbulent season.

Why can’t the Lakers ever turn the corner and get their season on track?

They had an inspiring win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night at Arena behind LeBron James’ sensational 56 points.

But then word came that James wasn’t playing against the Spurs in San Antonio on Monday night because of left knee soreness, leaving the Lakers short-handed yet again with Anthony Davis (right mid-foot sprain) still sidelined.


The Lakers did not give in to their unfortunate circumstances, but they still dropped a 117-110 game to the Spurs.

Monk then tried to explain what this season has been like for the Lakers.

The San Antonio Spurs gained a game on the Lakers, playing without injured LeBron James, in the race for a play-in tournament spot with a 117-110 victory.

March 7, 2022

“One step forward, one step back, one step forward, one step back,” he said. “Five steps back, a couple steps forward. Keep doing the same thing man and, yeah, man, we just got to do a better job, man, as a team to play together and not get down on ourself. We almost in every game, we almost in every single game and we just let a couple calls go the wrong way. We get down on ourselves, then we let it affect the defensive, then the defense affect our offense and it just trickle down from there man. But, yeah, we just gotta do a better job.”

The Lakers have not won two consecutive games since winning four straight, from Dec. 31 to Jan. 7.

Since then, the Lakers have posted a 7-17 record.

But, according to Lakers coach Frank Vogel, his team’s spirit is not broken.

“Yeah, there’s definitely still fight in us and we’re definitely still growing,” Vogel said. “I don’t think that part has changed. Obviously, you want to get to two wins in a row. So, no moral victories with that, but our guys did fight.”

Takeaways from the Lakers’ loss:

Monk took some of the blame for the loss to the Spurs.

He felt as if he had to do more, to score more, to be more of a threat with James not playing.


But after going eight for 22 from the field and one for seven from three-point range to finish with 17 points, Monk was not happy.

“Yeah, I got to hit a couple more shots, man,” Monk said. “I can’t go one for seven. Or eight for 22. Yeah, what you just said, man, I take full responsibility on that. Not being LeBron, but taking a little load, a little more of a load than I do when he’s there. But, yeah, I can’t go one for seven.”

Russell Westbrook spoke at length about the criticism he and his family are getting from fans as the Lakers continue to struggle.

March 7, 2022

The Lakers were poor on defense again.

They allowed the Spurs to score 31 points in the first quarter, 31 in the second and 33 in the third. The Lakers held the Spurs to 22 points in the fourth, but still gave up 64 points in the paint and allowed the Spurs to make 54.8% of their shots.

“We didn’t get enough stops,” Vogel said. “...They scored too many times on one-on-one situations. We fouled too much in the third quarter. I thought that was as big factor in the game. Gave them 14 free-throw attempts. And we just didn’t get enough one-on-one stops. I thought the switching for the most part was executed pretty well. A few breakdowns here and there. But didn’t guard well enough one on one.”