The Los Angeles Lakers dropped Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers and the story coming out of the contest remained poor shooting.
Though Anthony Davis did lead the Lakers with 28 points, he shot just 8-of-24 from the field, part of a team-wide struggle with shooting the ball on this night. The Lakers as a whole shot just 35.1% from the field and 15.6% from three-point range.
The defense was solid as it held an explosive Blazers offense to just 100 points on 39.1% shooting from the field, but the Lakers just couldn’t knock down open shots.
This has been an issue for the Lakers for most of the season and it got worse once they arrived in Orlando for the NBA restart. But despite the struggles, Davis remains confident the team will turn it around.
“Just got to take our time at the rim. Go up strong and finish, knowing that their rim protector is going to come to try and block the shot. Jump into the big guy or kick it out for 3s,” he said.
“We’ve just got to make shots, be confident in our process and work. When we kick it out to our shooters, be comfortable, take our time and knock down shots. That’s the difference in the game.”
The Lakers have had some games within the bubble where they showed how hot they can get from deep, but right now it feels more like an aberration than the norm. Shooting hasn’t been one of the team’s strengths and it gets heightened even more against a team like Portland who can be unconscious from deep at times.
But shooting problems for the Lakers weren’t just limited to three-point range. The team struggled to finish at the rim with the Blazers bigs challenging every shot and when the Lakers got to the free throw line they struggled as well, missing 11 of 31 attempts. Most damaging was a stretch late in the game where Davis and LeBron James each missed a pair of free throws with the game in the balance.
Elsewhere, Davis said the Lakers need to play in the open court like they did during a successful second quarter. “As long as we continue to play with a lot of pace, it’s definitely tough to beat us. It’s when we slow down and we’re not running, where we kind of get in trouble,” he explained.
Expecting the Lakers to outshoot Portland from deep regularly is too much to ask, and Game 1 was far worse than anyone could imagine. Despite that the Lakers had a lead late in the fourth quarter and had a chance to win the game. With improvement just to league norms the Lakers could take back control of the series, but the team will be depending on Davis and James to set that tone and lead the way.
Frank Vogel believes Lakers had a great ‘offensive flow’
The Lakers couldn’t buy a basket in their Game 1 loss to the Trail Blazers. The shooting percentages were abysmal and the team just couldn’t get a shot to fall down the stretch when they needed it most.
But that isn’t discouraging head coach Frank Vogel who believes the Lakers got the looks they wanted overall and must continue to focus on shot quality.
“We had a great offensive flow. I liked a lot of the looks that we got,” Vogel said after the loss. “Obviously we shot a really poor percentage from the 3-point line. We’ve got to continue to focus on shot quality, but not just at the 3-point line, at the rim as well.
“We passed up paint to great opportunities and didn’t have great shot selection inside, but I loved the competitive spirit of our team.”
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