The Los Angeles Lakers dropped their third straight game in the bubble, this time falling to the Indiana Pacers 116-111.
Though the outcomes of the seeding games mean little as the Lakers have already clinched the top seed in the Western Conference, the performance of the team has left a lot to be desired, and superstar Anthony Davis is chief among them.
The Lakers overall looked much better, and especially offensively as they eclipsed the 100-point mark for the first time in three games and hit 13 3-pointers, but Davis struggled mightily. He scored in single-digits for the second time in three games, finishing with just eight points on 3-of-14 shooting.
But despite his own personal struggles, Davis was encouraged by how his team looked. “I think I made some great plays, some great passes out of the double-team. We made shots, everyone except myself,” he said.
“I think I just have to be better individually. My performance over the last three (games) is not going to help the team win. I’ve just got to get myself back in a rhythm and try to do my part to help the team win. When a double-team is coming we’re making some right reads, we still mess up on the spacing a little bit but I think LeBron and myself have done a great job trying to beat those double-teams and find guys.
“I think we’re close. We took steps in the right direction tonight. We saw shots fall from the perimeter, which we haven’t seen since we’ve been here. Guys had great looks and just missed. The more and more we play, take the shots with confidence, we’ll be fine.”
Getting their rhythm is the most important thing for the Lakers in the remaining games. Offensively they have struggled mightily through seeding play, and while some of that can be attributed to head coach Frank Vogel experimenting with different lineups to figure out his playoff rotation, much of it has been on the players themselves and their energy on the floor.
Defensively, the Lakers have been pretty solid and that was again the case against the Pacers. Of course, that still was not enough to slow bubble standout TJ Warren.
The Lakers forced 20 Pacers turnovers, collecting 13 steals overall to go along with six blocks as the energy and effort was far better on that end and, at points, suffocating. Without a doubt the Lakers looked far more the part of a potential championship contender than in their last couple of games.
LeBron focused on process of improving during seeding games
There have been some concerns surrounding the Lakers as the team has not looked the part of a championship contender during the NBA restart. At just 2-4 and with serious offensive struggles, many have wondered whether the Lakers can make a run.
But James remains unconcerned and is far more focused on the team steadily improving. “We want to continue to get better and better, use these games to try and gear up for the postseason,” he recently said.
“But this is a different situation and circumstance. We’ve been out four and a half months, and you hope we can pick it right back up, but obviously it’s going to take some time.”
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