When the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, the defeat marked their third straight. Prior to that the Lakers only had one such streak this season when they dropped four in a row in late December, which wrapped up with a Christmas Day loss to the L.A. Clippers.
Following the loss to the Pacers, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, JR Smith, and Quinn Cook went to the team’s practice area to put up shots and try to remedy a struggling offense. Davis scored 42 points against the Utah Jazz but combined for just 34 during the losing streak.
“I just wanted to see the ball go through the rim,” Davis said after bouncing back against the Denver Nuggets.
“That’s really it. I haven’t been shooting well, been kind of tough on myself, and I just wanted to see the ball go through the rim a couple times. That’s really it. I’m my biggest critic. [LeBron] kind of gets on me about that, knowing it’s a marathon, but I don’t like the way I’ve been performing as of late, so I had to just get back in the gym and tighten the screws back up a bit.”
The Lakers didn’t shoot horribly against Indiana, 33% from behind the arc, but it was still slightly below their season average of 34%. It came after two setbacks against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets when they shot 13% and 10% respectively from the three-point.
In their penultimate seeding game against the Nuggets, the Lakers returned to the mean as head coach Frank Vogel predicted, and even overshot it by a reasonable distance. The Lakers connected on 48% from behind the arc, which was capped off with a game-winning go-ahead 3-pointer by Kyle Kuzma.
James, Kuzma and Danny Green showcased their improved perimeter shooting, but Davis established his aggressiveness and got to the free throw line 12 times. Davis was a +13 on the night.
“I felt really good and felt good coming into [Monday],” Davis said. “I was able to make some shots. It felt good to see the ball go through the rim.”
Kuzma not afraid to shoot over anyone
Kuzma’s game-winner against the Nuggets came on clever play call drawn up by Vogel. James inbounded the ball to Davis, who Kuzma wrapped around after setting a backsreen for James, which caused confusion on the defense.
The 7’2″ Bol Bol attempted to close out, but Kuzma was undeterred from taking the final shot.
“I think Jesus could be in front of me, and I’d probably still shoot,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter to me.” Got an open look, it’s a play we ran in practice a few times prior to the restart, and coach had faith me.”
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