L.A. Notes: Lakers, LaVine, Kawhi, Coffey, Westbrook

The Lakers have slumped badly since winning the in-season tournament earlier this month, losing five of their past six games, including the last four in a row, to slip to 15-14 on the season. Following a 118-111 defeat at the hands of Minnesota on Thursday night, star big man Anthony Davis called for more urgency, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.

“It’s the NBA season. There’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs. Right now we’re in that down period,” Davis said. “We just got to continue to fight and continue to play hard. Play with some effort, some energy and we’re treating Saturday (in Oklahoma City) as a must win.”

As Jovan Buha of The Athletic notes, Davis also spoke about the team’s recent struggles after Wednesday’s loss to Chicago, pointing out that there’s “no break coming” and no “cavalry” the team is waiting on. While LeBron James (left ankle) and Gabe Vincent (left knee) did miss Thursday’s contest, the second end of a back-to-back set, they’re expected to be available going forward.

“We’ve got everyone back now,” Davis said. “We just got to find a way to get into the win column.”

The Lakers have dealt with injuries to rotation players for most of the season, but now that they’re as healthy as they’ve been all year, Darvin Ham and his coaching staff hope to set a depth chart and rotation and stick with it “for the foreseeable future,” sources tell McMenamin.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles teams:

  • Within his latest roundup of trade-related rumors from around the NBA, Kurt Helin of NBC Sports says the sources he has spoken to believe that a deal sending Bulls guard Zach LaVine to the Lakers is unlikely, at best. As Buha suggested at The Athletic earlier this week, Los Angeles would probably only consider a deal if the outgoing package consists of D’Angelo Russell, salary filler, and limited assets beyond that, such as Jalen Hood-Schifino and a protected first-round pick.
  • Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard missed his first game of the season on Thursday night, as the team ruled out him due to a left hip contusion, which head coach Tyronn Lue referred to as a “day-to-day thing,” per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). Amir Coffey drew the start at Oklahoma City in what turned out to be the team’s first loss this month — the Clippers have a 9-1 record in December.
  • Clippers guard Russell Westbrook has seen his role reduced since James Harden‘s arrival in Los Angeles, but Westbrook remains supremely confident in his abilities, as Greif details for The L.A. Times. After a strong defensive performance against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks on Wednesday, Westbrook said he can “do anything on the floor at all times” and suggested he wants his due as a defender. “Ain’t too many people defending better than me at this point if we keeping it honest,” he said. “But I’ll let the numbers speak for that and let y’all talk about it. But we just keeping it a buck, ain’t too many people defending better than me at this position all around the league, honestly.”
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