LeBron James Laments Lakers' 22 Turnovers in Grizzlies Loss: 'Been Our Achilles Heel'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 10, 2021

MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 9: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers stands during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies on December 9, 2021 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers turned the ball over 22 times in a 108-95 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night, a result that dropped the team to 13-13 on the year. 

And superstar LeBron James was not happy about it.

"Tonight turnovers killed us," he told reporters after the contest. "... That's been our Achilles' heel before the last seven games."

Head coach Frank Vogel agreed:

Spectrum SportsNet @SpectrumSN

"We're going to continue to have disappointing losses as long as we turn the ball over like that." Frank Vogel on the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LakeShow?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LakeShow</a>'s 22 turnovers vs. Memphis. <a href="https://twitter.com/LakersReporter?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LakersReporter</a> <a href="https://t.co/R0qnYH5Wdz">pic.twitter.com/R0qnYH5Wdz</a>

James was responsible for five of those turnovers, though he'll be forgiven after posting a 20-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double. 

Very little beyond that went well for the Lakers on Thursday.

Russell Westbrook continued to look like a poor fit next to James and Davis, posting just nine points on 3-of-9 shooting with six turnovers and seven assists. They gave up 14 offensive rebounds. The bench was outscored 32-24, and three players—Carmelo Anthony (-16), Malik Monk (-16) and Wayne Ellington (-14)—got hammered in their minutes. 

Jovan Buha @jovanbuha

Frank Vogel said there was too much “casualness” to the Lakers’ approach tonight.

One probable contributing factor to Los Angeles' struggles is simply that the roster construction is poor. The Lakers don't have great shooting next to James and Davis. Westbrook never made any sense alongside James as a ball-dominant lead guard who offers no perimeter threat. Players like Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan aren't the sort of floor-stretching centers that the modern game favors. 

That roster construction may cost Vogel his job, with rumblings that Vogel might find himself on the hot seat this season. Don't expect Lakers governor Jeanie Buss to make any decisions in that regard any time soon, however.

"We're as connected as any organization can be," she said Tuesday during halftime of the team's matchup with the Boston Celtics. "I really don't know what you're looking for me to say. I would say until we're 100 percent healthy, I won't make any judgments about anything."

The rest of Los Angeles won't promise the same.