The Los Angeles Lakers defense was solid in a loss to the Toronto Raptors, but their offense just couldn’t get it clicking against one of the NBA’s best defenses.
The main target of that defense was Anthony Davis, who struggled mightily, finishing with just 14 points on only 2-for-7 shooting. Coming off a 34-point showing against the L.A. Clippers where he looked completely unstoppable, the game was a major dropoff for Davis, as he could never get it going.
Only taking seven shots would lead many to believe that Davis was just not aggressive enough, but head coach Frank Vogel pointed to the Raptors’ defense as making it difficult on the Lakers’ superstar.
“The Raptors double-teamed him every time he touched the all,” Vogel noted. “He’s a willing passer, he’s going to make the right play.” The Raptors were extremely aggressive in their double-teaming of Davis, and Vogel is right in that he was attempting to make the right play.
The Lakers were ice cold shooting the ball, knocking down just 10-of-40 3-point attempts.
But even with the tough Raptors defense, Vogel believes they have to do better in getting Davis going. “When a team is double-teaming as much as they are, we still want to get him involved more than we did,” Vogel said.
Davis didn’t necessarily shoot the ball well in the Lakers’ first game against the Clippers either, but his aggression in getting to the free throw line made up for it. There was a stretch of the game, where Davis looked as if he would get back to that.
“He asserted himself during that stretch. Like I said, they’re great at flooding the paint and not fouling, so you have to play extra pass basketball. We did and didn’t knock down the shots. It wasn’t our night,” Vogel added.
Davis echoed that sentiment, noting his focus on doing what was in the team’s best interest. “I’m just trying to find the open guy. We knew they were probably going to double, and I was just making the right reads. Unfortunately we didn’t shoot the ball well at all, from the field or three,” Davis said.
“It kind of let them continue with their gameplan of doubling me. I think if we made a couple shots, they would’ve definitely changed a little bit. They had a good game plan coming in, double-teaming to get the ball out of my hands and live with us making shots.”
Davis is the Lakers’ matchup problem for basically every team, but the Raptors seemed to have the right plan to limit him. If the Lakers plan on bringing home a championship, Davis will have to be much better than he was in the loss, but the rest of the team will have to step up as well to make teams pay for aggressive double-teams.
LeBron James stresses defense amidst Lakers’ offensive struggles
As the games begin to get going in the season restart, the Lakers have had their ups and downs so far, but particularly on the offensive end. In order for offense to be at its best, the chemistry between all the players has to be up to par, but that is going to take some time.
The other end of the floor, while also needing chemistry to be at its best, is much more about effort and intensity and that has been there for the Lakers so far. LeBron James also stressed communication on that end of the floor and believes that should always be there, regardless of what’s happening on offense.
“The one thing you can do is defend,” James said. “You can always communicate, you can communicate through a mistake that may happen, you have teammates that back you up if you do make a mistake or whatever the case may be. That communication on the defensive side should always be on point.”
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