The Los Angeles Lakers have commenced the second-half schedule with the best start possible, winning three straight games. With crucial players like Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol and Alex Caruso missing games during the stretch, L.A. has seen a collective effort replace the production those players left behind and are seeing the results manifest.
During the three-game win streak — which has seen wins come against the Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves — the ball movement has jumped to another level. The Lakers are averaging 31 assists a game, and they’ve garnered 93 in total; they had 36 assists against Golden State and 37 against Minnesota.
To put that into context, Golden State leads the league in assists per game at 27.7, so if the Lakers kept their current pace, they’d find themselves at the top in that category. Hitting open shots and sharing the ball have played pivotal parts in the offensive success, but they’ve been locked in defensively, too.
Besides allowing Minnesota to score 121 points in a game where defense was optional, the Lakers have held Indiana and Golden State to 100 points and below. Lakers guard Dennis Schroder explained how the team is finding a rhythm on both ends of the floor.
“I think it starts with the defense for us,” Schroder said. “I think we’re doing a great job just competing on the offensive end, playing with pace, sharing the ball. I think the last couple of games everybody was sharing it, everybody was in double digits almost.
“Trezz doing a great job putting pressure on the rim with his rolls. We’re finding him there a lot of times, LeBron is doing a great job of finding him as well. It’s just playing on both ends of the court, defense and offense. Just trying to execute and play with pace.”
Schroder added how if everyone stays focused, they’ll only improve as a unit.
“We’re doing a better job now. I think everybody has got to just take individual pride. Everybody’s just got to stay locked in individually, take pride in that and I think then we’re gonna be good as a team. We’ve got to help each other out, but I think day by day, game by game we just want to get better and we’re going in the right direction and I’m excited.”
Lakers among teams inquiring about Pacers’ Myles Turner
With the March 25 trade deadline fast approaching, the Lakers are still browsing for potential upgrades to their frontcourt rotation. A recent player L.A. has inquired about is Pacers center Myles Turner.
The Pacers are slowly descending in the Eastern Conference standings and though it’s unclear if they’d want to part ways with Turner, the league’s leading shot blocker, it’s promising that the Lakers are poking around for younger players with plenty of untapped potential.
The problem, however, is Turner’s contract. He makes $17.5 million this year, so negotiating would be difficult since the Lakers are devoid of future picks, young players and intriguing players on palatable contracts that Indiana would seek in return.
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