Lakers Hornets at Crypto.Com Arena.
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Despite making the conference finals last season and winning the inaugural In-Season Tournament last month, the Los Angeles Lakers appear to be a thoroughly mediocre team. After a 110-96 loss at home on Wednesday against a Miami Heat team missing Jimmy Butler, the Lakers are 17-18 on the season, with the No. 24-ranked offense in the NBA.

Los Angeles has lost eight of its last 10 games. It is 10th in the Western Conference, with the Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz on its heels for the last spot in the play-in. This is not what the Lakers envisioned coming into the season.

"They threw a zone in, and they kind of just dared us to make shots, which we didn't, and kind of took us out of a lot of things," Anthony Davis told reporters after the Miami game. Davis then noted that they turned the ball over 10 times in the first quarter. "Kind of a recipe for disaster."

The Lakers started Austin Reaves for the first time since Nov. 8, and they were without D'Angelo Russell (bruised tailbone), Rui Hachimura (calf strain) and Gabe Vincent (knee surgery). It was their third consecutive game with a new starting lineup, and there is "currently a deepening disconnect between [coach] Darvin Ham and the Lakers locker room," according to The Athletic's Shams Charania and Jovan Buha, citing six sources. Players have been frustrated with Ham's lineup changes -- most notably his decision on Dec. 23 to bring both Reaves and Russell off the bench -- and are losing patience with the coach, per The Athletic.

Los Angeles' 4-for-30 performance from 3-point range was the primary reason for Wednesday's loss, but that's not the whole story. 

"It's a little bit of everything right now," Davis told reporters. "We're not executing. That team played harder than us tonight, executed better than us tonight, more physical than us tonight. We got outworked tonight, so it's a little bit of everything right now. If we keep on this trend, it's not going to be good for us. So it's kind of obvious that we gotta figure it out sooner than later."

Los Angeles is tied for the 10th-highest turnover rate in the league through 35 games. It ranks 24th in 3-point percentage and, more worryingly, 29th in 3-pointers attempted per 100 possessions -- only the Detroit Pistons take 3s at a lower volume. The spacing is bad, and it's not like the Lakers are making up for it by getting extra possessions. They rank 28th in offensive rebounding percentage and have only been average when it comes to forcing turnovers.  

The good news for Los Angeles is that 10 of its next 11 games are at Arena, including a "road" game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Next up are the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

"Every game for us, especially on this homestand, should be like a must-win for us," Davis said. 

Asked what the vibe is like in the locker room, Reaves told reporters, "Shitty. We're losing. Anytime you lose, the vibe should be off. If I went in there and the vibe wasn't off after the rough stretch that we've had, then I'd be concerned. That's really it. I don't expect for us to be happy with how we've played, so, until we've figured that out, the vibe should be off."

LeBron James is having another All-NBA-caliber season, but scored a season-low 12 points on 6-for-18 shooting and missed all six of his 3-point attempts against the Heat. James left the arena without speaking to reporters.