The Los Angeles Lakers’ second consecutive contest to the Dallas Mavericks stung a bit more than the first one. After leading by as many as 17 points in the first half, and 12 at halftime, Frank Vogel’s team scored just 35 points in the second half and 14 in the final quarter of a 108-93 loss.
In Anthony Davis’ second game back, the Lakers as a team shot just 38.4% from the field and 26.7% from 3-point range. More than half of the Lakers’ shots from the field came from behind the arc, which Vogel believes was the main issue, especially in the second half.
“Just too perimeter-oriented,” Vogel said after the game. “We didn’t attack the rim, put enough pressure on the rim. That’s what we were talking about in our timeouts. They make it difficult. They put five in the paint to try to take that away and make you beat them over the top.
“We got some clean looks out there, we just shot the ball horrifically. 0-for-10 in that fourth quarter, 4-for-24 overall. You have to take what the defense gives you, but we didn’t put enough pressure on the rim.”
Missing the red-hot Kentavious Caldwell-Pope certainly didn’t help the Lakers’ outside shooting on this night. Nonetheless, controlling the paint is expected to be a major advantage for the Lakers going forward, but they failed to do so in Dallas.
But just as important was their failure on the defensive end as Dwight Powell finished with 25 points on 11-of-12 shooting, most of which seemed to be easy dunks and layups. Vogel attributed that to the team’s efforts in trying to contain All-NBA guard Luka Doncic.
“Yeah, it was how we were guarding Luka,” Vogel added. “We double-teamed him the whole night with the mindset to make the other guys beat us. We had coverages in place, but we were late. Not tough enough with those rotations and Powell had a great night.”
The Lakers coach continued on, crediting the Mavericks offense while bemoaning the Lakers’ effort. “We’re late with the rotations. They did some creative things with cutting and spacing, and when we didn’t make the rotation, we didn’t make the stop.
“It’s one thing to be there and you get to make a play when you’re there as you saw [Dwight] Powell going 11-for-12. We didn’t do a good enough job when we rotated of getting stops in those situations.”
Offensive issues are going to be there for the Lakers with the team still without LeBron James. Even the return of Davis only helps so much, especially as he continues to get his legs under him. But the defensive end of the floor is where the Lakers can never afford to let up as this trip to Dallas proved in a big way.
FVogel believes Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond will be ‘dynamic duo’
Davis moved well in his second game back with the Lakers and played 28 minutes, but was still clearly rusty. He shot just 5-of-19, including 0-of-6 from deep and finished with 17 points. His frontcourt partner Andre Drummond offered little offensively with just six points but did add 12 rebounds and three steals.
Despite the slow start, Vogel still has a ton of belief in his big man pairing. “We have great size and should be able to protect the paint,” the Lakers head coach said. “Create perimeter versatility defensively and when AD gets his legs under him, we think that’s going to be a dynamic duo.”
Davis is continuing to get back in rhythm, but once he does it should make things much easier for Drummond as well. The potential of this duo, especially defensively, is great and Vogel believes they will reach that soon.
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