The Los Angeles Lakers were able to build upon their win against the Detroit Pistons as they blew out the Sacramento Kings in convincing fashion on the road on Tuesday night.
It seemed like the Lakers were headed toward another disappointing result when they fell behind double-digits early in the night, though they turned the game on its head in the second half. Russell Westbrook was everywhere on both ends of the floor making plays, while Malik Monk’s hot shooting ultimately led to Los Angeles cruising to their first easy victory of the 2021-22 season.
Anthony Davis led the team in scoring with 25 points, but was also a defensive force that stifled plenty of Sacramento offensive possessions. The Lakers outscored the Kings 37-15 in the third and Davis explained the keys to their large run.
“Getting back in transition and building a defensive presence,” Davis said. “We knew it was tougher for them to score on us in the half-court, a lot of their stuff came in transition, cross-matchups, leaving guys open, fouling, things like that. So at halftime, we had a conversation about the team that we want to be.
“We got to buckle down on the defensive end and we were able to do that, holding them to 15 and 18 [in the third and fourth quarters]. Those were great defensive quarters, great defensive dominance. That’s the way we got to start the games though. If we start the games with that defensive presence, we’ll be a very good team.”
However, Davis’ most interesting comments came when asked about the team’s talk at halftime. Head coach Frank Vogel sounded like he tried to light a fire under the players, though Davis believes it should not have been needed considering the experience on the roster.
“We came out slow, but we were able to play with a lead which was a good sign. We’ve let teams get back in it, but we kept the pressure on on both ends of the floor. We continued to score the basketball, we continued to get stops defensively and we’ve struggled with that this year. So that was a good sign for us. But like I said, we shouldn’t need those pow-wows at halftime or in timeouts, we got a veteran group so we should be able to come out with that type of energy.
“I know you’re gonna have slow starts and things like that, but to be the team that we want to be, we can’t continue to dig ourselves a hole. So we come out the first half, especially in the next game, like the way we come out in the second half in games going forward then we should be in a great place.”
While Davis might be right that he and the team should not need any extra motivation to get up for opponents, the truth of the matter is they have not shown they can play consistently for 48 minutes yet. The Lakers have more than enough talent and experience to play better, but it felt like it was the first time they really put things together in their win against Sacramento.
Their second-half showing was an encouraging glimpse into how dominant they can be when they are locked in, and could be the momentum they need to make Davis’ win streak prediction come true. However, they get a much tougher test on Friday when they take on a feisty L.A. Clippers squad.
Davis emphasized scoring and running as keys to maintaining large lead against Kings
The Lakers have suffered some embarrassing meltdowns when they have double-digit leads, though they fortunately were able hold on against the Kings. Davis emphasized the team needed to do a better job of continuing to score and get out in transition.
“Just saying we had to keep scoring, not to mess with the game, not to stop pushing the pace. No three, this team can get hot, they shoot 47 threes a game and I think that presence of coming in and getting stops and just continuing to run kept our pace high and then when Russ came back in, we did the same thing. Just keep running, keep playing our style of basketball. We can’t, just because we have a lead, try to slow it down and things like that.
“That’s when we usually get in low clock situations and shoot bad shots, leading to transitions the other way and getting threes and things like that. We continued to play our style of basketball tonight in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter when we had the lead and we were able to continue to put pressure on them.”
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