Beyond splitting their first two scrimmage games, the Los Angeles Lakers have faced more pressing concerns on the injury front.
In their scrimmage opener, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope rolled an ankle and had to ask to come out of the game. He was checked on the locker room but only said to have suffered a minor tweak. Caldwell-Pope was back in the starting lineup for the Lakers’ second scrimmage.
That was against the Orlando Magic over the weekend, which was a game Anthony Davis dominated in early before being ruled out. He was poked in the eye with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter and immediately taken to the locker room.
The Lakers ruled Davis out for the remainder of the afternoon, finishing with 9 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 blocked shot. Following his team’s win, head coach Frank Vogel said the All-Star was day-to-day. Davis was due to be re-evaluated Sunday — an off day for the Lakers.
Vogel said prior to tipoff on Monday that Davis was ruled out for the team’s final scrimmage, which may have been likely even without the eye injury. “He’s still dealing with some discomfort. Basically all they’re reporting to me is it’s in terms of light and whatnot,” Vogel explained.
“He should be fine, probably would be available to play, but I was going to hold him out anyway. With the eye injury we decided to follow through with that.”
LeBron James (rest), Dwight Howard (knee soreness) and Kyle Kuzma (mild ankle sprain) also were ruled out for the Lakers’ final scrimmage.
Focus on transition defense
Davis has been among the several players to offer positive reviews of how the Lakers have fared during practices in Orlando. Though, there has been acknowledgement from Davis and Vogel that transition defense remains a work in progress.
“We were one of the worst teams in transition defense, so we’ve been going over that and watching a ton of film,” Davis recently said. I think everybody came back in shape, you could tell guys were working during the break. Now it’s just about putting it all back together.”
Vogel added: “I feel like our guys are working really hard at it and I feel like for the most part this season we’ve tried to be better at it. I do think because of our size and how good we are defensively in the half court, we’ve faced teams that have more of an intent to run against us than maybe other teams. We know that’s the way teams are going to attack us.
“To me, your transition defense is probably the most difficult area of your defense to get guys on the same page. There’s a lot of fundamentals we want to adhere to, but just the communication, working together to get matched up, to communicate, those things take a lot of reps for players to get comfortable with each other.”
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