Lakers Focused On ‘Habits’ During Wait For Western Conference Semis
Kyle Kuzma, Frank Vogel
Joe Murphy-NBAE

With the Los Angeles Lakers having ended their first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers last Saturday, it has amounted to nearly a full week off.

That was in part related to the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder playing to a Game 7 in their matchup. With that, the Lakers only had hypotheticals to work with over the past few days, and it allowed them to focus on themselves.

“Just going in the film room, looking at film and doing work there. Just doing work in the film room and executing in practice, developing habits and being ready,” Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said.

L.A. also is taking some of their planning from defending Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. “I think our first round was great. Portland is a great team and Dame and CJ are a great backcourt in this league,” Caldwell-pope said.

“They gave us a good test of what it’s going to be like in the playoffs.”

*James Harden and Russell Westbrook are certainly different than Lillard and McCollum in the way they each attack the game. However, both duos are equally dominant when they need to be.

Just like it has been all season, the Lakers used their chemistry to their advantage, organizing a team dinner to watch Game 7 on Wednesday night. “We haven’t played in a couple days, so just trying to keep that chemistry the same,” Caldwell-Pope said.

There, they were able to see exactly what schemes their matchups were leaning on when the stakes were the highest.

Perhaps the Lakers found something throughout the course of the game – and during their week of practice – that will help them gain a competitive advantage when the second round series begins on Friday.

Vogel juggled rest, level of activity

With several days between playoff games, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel worked a balancing act between allowing a veteran roster to rest and recover with keeping sharp.

“I just try to manage time the best that we can,” he said. “We try to stay on a schedule of every other day, like we’ve been on with the games. Monday was a live practice, Tuesday was off, [Wednesday] was a live practice, [Thursday] will be a light practice with probably no contact.

“Just try to keep those guys in that kind of rhythm.”

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