One constant for the Los Angeles Lakers so far this season, whether they are winning or losing, has been their propensity to get off to slow starts. Though they have been able to come back on a number of occasions, too often the Lakers have dug themselves a hole at the outset of a game only to be brought back by the outstanding bench unit led by Lou Williams, Larry Nance Jr., and Jordan Clarkson.
With the Lakers’ roster being cut down due to injuries, it has made their margin for error much smaller and those slow starts have been even more pronounced.
After the Lakers’ most recent loss, this one to the Phoenix Suns, Nance spoke about the Lakers’ slow starts, saying the team continues to let their opponent dictate things in the beginning of games:
“We keep saying the same things over and over again. We let the other teams dictate the pace. They come out and throw the first punch and at that point we are just back pedaling trying to catch up. It obviously hasn’t gone well for us so we have to go back to the drawing board on that one.”
Clarkson added that he believes things can turn around if they lock in on the defensive end:
“We just have to figure out how to get easy baskets. Stop rattling on the defensive end, start from there and just hold our hand on that.”
The good news for the Lakers is that it looks as if they’ll be gaining some reinforcements soon. Nick Young is targeting Monday’s game against the Kings for his return and while Russell could potentially return Sunday against the Knicks.
The Lakers’ starting backcourt returning will certainly help things, but players coming back won’t matter if the team doesn’t heed Nance and Clarkson’s words. The Lakers must hit first, play defense, and get themselves some easy baskets.
It can be easy for a young team to lose confidence when things don’t go their way. But with veterans like Lou Williams leading the way, guys like Clarkson and Nance understanding the issues, and players returning, the Lakers could be on the verge of turning things around.
**All quotes obtained by Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters