The Los Angeles Lakers — in keeping with tradition from last season — failed to secure Game 1 of their first-round series against the Phoenix Suns. Nobody, with the exception of maybe Alex Caruso, had a game that they can look back and be happy with. This is especially true on offense, where L.A. simply couldn’t buy a basket.
The Lakers put up horrible shooting splits on the afternoon, hitting 43.4% from the field, 26.9% from three and 60.7% from the free-throw line. These numbers will rarely ever result in regular-season wins against lottery teams let alone the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed. And in a 99-90 loss, just a few more makes could have been the difference.
Caruso spoke about Sunday’s offensive woes and how he thinks things can improve. “The easiest thing we can do and control is make more shots,” Caruso said. “We had uncharacteristic misses tonight, open threes, free throws, that’s partially why we only got to 90 points and really 87 because I threw up one late in the game that really didn’t count.
“So just missed some shots that we normally make, but they made it difficult on us. They did a good job of taking away some transition opportunities, taking away the paint and forcing us to take outside shots. I think a majority of the shots that we took tonight I think are shots that we want to take, we just got to make a couple more. Some of that might be just us being a little bit more aggressive.”
Caruso also credited the Suns’ defense as being unappreciated given where they ended up in the standings. “I mean, they’re second in the West for a reason, right? Second in the West, second-best record in the league maybe, something like that, they’re up there. You don’t do that without having a complete basketball team.”
“They have their schemes and they execute them well. They did a good job of being physical and forcing some of our bigs outside and like I said, their scheme is set up for us to take outside shots, or at least those were the ones we created and we just didn’t convert enough.”
The Lakers guard didn’t dwell on it, however, as they simply didn’t do enough to win.
“Yeah, I don’t even know if mistake is the right word for it. You just miss some shots. That’s part of it, games like that you like to rely on your defense and work your way out of it but unfortunately for us we didn’t do that and now we’re down 1-0.”
Heading into Game 2, the Lakers must completely put this game out of memory and focus on ways they can be better. Certain things, like making shots and getting Anthony Davis more involved, are obvious factors that would go a long way.
In terms of importance, there may not be a game more vital to the Lakers’ championship efforts than Game 2. Another poor performance would be a huge sign of danger, while a win would put them in the driver’s seat for the rest of the series.
Davis takes responsibility for Game 1 loss
While it was more than just Davis, the perennial All-Star certainly didn’t do anything to help his case. After one of his worst performances in recent memory, Davis took full responsibility.
“There’s no way we’re winning a game, let alone a series, with me playing the way I played. This one was on me. I take full responsibility for sure. We’ll be better Game 2.”
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