It took Ben McLemore two games in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey to show off his shooting prowess. The 28-year-old forward scored 17 points in the 126-101 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, most of which came from behind the 3-point line.
L.A.’s outside shooting has been inconsistent throughout the season. The reigning NBA champions would launch a barrage of threes in one game only to go completely cold in another, resulting in a 20th field goal percentage (35.7%) from downtown in the NBA.
The Lakers seemingly hoped signing McLemore would ameliorate the erratic shooting. In the past two seasons, the Kansas product boasted a 3-point percentage in the low 40s. And the blowout victory over the Nets showed L.A. might have indeed added a dangerous shooting option to the roster.
After a scoreless first half, McLemore sank Brooklyn with four treys in the fourth quarter to seal the win. “Obviously didn’t shoot it well in the first half but all I kept hearing is ‘keep shooting, keep shooting!’ so that was just what I had to continue to do and I did,” he said.
“I told them all I needed was one to go in and obviously, you saw the results.”
McLemore finished the game shooting 5-for-10 from deep even though his attempts didn’t always come from open looks. But the guard said he doesn’t need perfect passes to inflict damage on the opponent. “Obviously over the course of my career I’ve worked on things like that with bad passes, workouts with bad passes to my foot, high passes, quick passes, whatever, I worked on them a lot,” he said.
“So like I said earlier, once I see one go in, it’s a wrap from there. And then I start making a few more and then I start rolling. It’s doesn’t take much for me to get hot, especially when I see one go in that was sweet.”
However, McLemore admitted the thought of LeBron James serving him with sweet dimes upon his return from the ankle injury did cross his mind. “Absolutely,” he said. “I know he’s thought about it, I’ve thought about it, we thought about it together. That’s gonna make it easy for him and easy for me. So it’s gonna get the same result.”
Frank Vogel impressed by McLemore’s aim from difficult shooting positions
Head coach Frank Vogel knew the Lakers brought in an elite shooter in McLemore earlier this week. L.A had faced the guard and his Houston Rockets in the second round of last year’s playoffs when he shot 37.5% from downtown against the soon-to-be NBA champions.
And McLemore’s performance against Brooklyn showed Vogel the decision to reach out to the guard after he hit the buyout market could pay off down the stretch. “What impressed me about Ben’s night the most was the bad-pass threes he made,” he said before cracking up.
“He made a three where he had to jump just to catch it and rose up. That’s a hard shot, and he made another three where he had to reach down to his shoelaces and rise up and he made that one. He’s here for a reason. We’re excited to have him and what a great night for him tonight.”
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