Having played more than half their seeding games of the NBA restart, the Los Angeles Lakers are 2-3 and hit rock bottom in their last two games in particular, both of which produced a loss.
L.A. shot 13% from the 3-point line against the Oklahoma City Thunder, then followed it up with worse performance against the Houston Rockets, shooting just 10% behind the arc. The Lakers were never an elite shooting team (35%) before the hiatus, but fared well enough to punish teams for overcommitting to the drive.
The presence of Danny green and Avery Bradley in the corners allowed LeBron James and Anthony Davis to encounter less traffic in the paint and contributed heavily to James’ league-leading 10.3 assists per game.
Confidence permeates throughout the roster even as the Lakers continue to be saddled by poor shooting. “We’ve got to be patient, it is a challenge, we know we’re going to struggle. It’s early in the season for us. It’s a restart, so we have to kind of figure out and find it again, but we know we do have time,” Green said.
“We want to try and gear it up, get back to it day by day and get better as best we can by watching film and with each game that we have. We’re not in panic mode. We can still figure it out and have the talent to do so. It comes with learning from each one of these games and practices that we have while we’re here.
“All shooters, all players are going to have slumps. You’re going to have nights where you’re not going to be in rhythm, and there’s no real secret to it. You’ve got to continue to shoot the ball and be confident. Confidence is the biggest thing in this league.
“It can make or break many guys. Having that from our coaching staff and teammates behind us, I definitely have full confidence all of us will turn around and shoot a better clip moving forward.”
The Lakers have played five games in the past eight days, and Green added that fatigue has likely contributed to the slump.
“Hopefully we get our legs back under us, we’ve had a front-loaded list of games with no breaks in between really,” he added. “It’s a good sign our defense did pretty well [Thursday]. Could’ve been better, but we’ve got to get our pace back, get our legs back under us. We know we have a lot of work to do to get back to where we were chemistry-wise on both ends of the floor. We’re talking, we’re figuring it out and trying to get back to having fun.”
L.A. faces Indiana Pacers on Saturday before they close out their seeding schedule with matchups against the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings next week.
Davis prioritizing defense over offense
Davis has stalled a bit since his 42-point explosion against the Utah Jazz, but overall is shooting well in the bubble. He is averaging 36% from behind the arc (better than his season average) and is another who isn’t overly concerned with the team’s shooting slump.
“I think we’re fine,” Davis said. “I don’t think anything is eye-opening or something we need to be afraid of. Offense is going to come around. “If we continue to do the things we’ve been doing defensively, we’ll be fine.
If our defense was bad, then we’d be a little more in shock with our team and where we are. But I think our defense is where we want it to be. We clinched first, so we’re fine. Obviously we want to win games and continue to improve, but we just want to make sure we continue to sharpen our tools going into the postseason.”
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