While there have been losses to worse teams this season, it always hurts more when it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers’ greatest rival, the Boston Celtics. Despite a strong first quarter led by Anthony Davis, things went downhill for the Lakers after that and they would fall below .500 after a 22-point loss in Boston.
The main culprit for the Lakers on this night was their defense, which was non-existent for much of the night. The Lakers allowed at least 30 points in each quarter and 70 in the second half as things ultimately got out of hand down the stretch.
After the game, Davis pointed to the first quarter as proof of what can work for the Lakers on that end of the floor, and what they failed to do afterward.
“They weren’t making shots, so we got down there running. We were playing defense, which led to, in that first quarter, a lot of fastbreak opportunities. We were getting out in transition.
“We just got to find a way to score in the third quarter. That’s been our kryptonite the whole season. Can’t score that’s putting us in the deficit. We come out and miss a couple shots. They get transitions, they get some good looks that goes in. We fouled way too much tonight as well. They had 31 free-throw attempts. 38, I’m sorry. 38 free-throw attempts, so we got to do a better job of playing without fouling as well, which is slowing the game down. We can’t get out in transition. We’re a team that wants to play with pace and we can’t do that… But we got to find ways to score in the third quarter.”
Davis went on to name the two things the Lakers could do better in order to improve defensively.
“A little bit of both. Effort is No. 1. Communication I think is No. 2. Just talking. Everybody just doing their job. Bigs doing what we’re supposed to do on pick-and-roll coverages. Guards doing what they’re supposed to do with guard-guard screens. Everyone just has to do their job and follow the game plan.
“We can be an elite defensive team. We got great defenders, but we got to be able to do it as a collective. That’s where we’re lacking, especially in the third quarter and I think a lot of it is just you miss a couple shots, guys get down, and now it kind of affects our defense. When shots go in, obviously defense kind of rises, but when you miss a couple shots, the defense kind of fades away. And then, Jayson Tatum got it going off that low block, so we got to do a better job with that, but we can be an elite defensive team if we want to. Just got to do a better job of bringing that energy and effort and communication.”
With the talent the Lakers have they should eventually be able to carve out a decent offense, but that won’t matter if the team can’t get back to defending at the elite level they had been in previous years and that should be the main focus of the team and coaching staff moving forward.
Davis believes Lakers need to box out better
Another major issue for the Lakers on defense is their inability to end a possession by collecting the rebound. The Lakers allowed 12 Boston offensive rebounds as even when they were able to force a miss, they often gave the Celtics another chance.
Davis believes that issue is a simple one to solve. “Boxing out. That’s really it,” he said. “Just got to find bodies. A lot of times we turn and look for the basketball and then the perimeter crashers come in and get the rebounds. When the shot goes up, we got to turn around and find bodies and hit guys and then go pursue the basketball.”
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