At the beginning of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers were were a historically bad shooting team but were able to stay in games due to some excellent defense. With Anthony Davis as the centerpiece, the Lakers were able to lock down teams for long stretches, allowing them to hang around even when they struggled offensively.
In the last handful of games, the Lakers’ shooting has improved to a bit more of a respectable level, but now it’s the other end of the court that is lagging behind. The team shot over 37 percent from three in both of their losses to the Utah Jazz but gave up more than 130 points in each of those contests as well.
Getting both the offense and defense clicking at the same time has been an issue for the Lakers, but Davis still believes this team can turn things around. Following the Lakers’ latest loss to the Jazz, Davis mentioned the New Orleans Pelicans of last year as an example but added that the team must find it’s defensive mojo once again, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“S—, 2-8 is a hard pill for me to swallow,” Davis said. “Obviously, it can change around. I think New Orleans was 1-12 or something last year, come back and go on a run. We’ve got to put it together. Offense has found its rhythm. It seems like we’ve lost all our defensive intensity. And that’s what’s killing us.”
As it currently stands, the Lakers have fallen outside of the top 10 in defensive rating while they still rank dead last on offense. As Davis noted, the team has begun finding a bit more of a rhythm on offense but it still isn’t good enough to where the defense can afford to take a step back.
The defensive side of the ball is what this team is expected to hang their hat on, but that hasn’t been the case recently and that is surely eating away at head coach Darvin Ham. If the Lakers can regain that intensity on the defensive end that they had to start the season that Davis feels like they lost, they will at least find themselves in more games down the stretch.
Ham gives Davis green light to call his own number
When it does come to the offense, one concern has been the fact that Davis has seemed to disappear in the second half and fourth quarters of games. Ham has spoken about Davis being the focal point of the offense and the head coach made it clear that Davis has his blessing to call his own number when he isn’t being featured enough.
“I mean, you say getting looks it’s like, I mean, he’s definitely a focal point but these guys are not rookies,” Ham said. “You understand what I’m saying? We have a playbook, we have a menu and a bunch of sets where AD can be featured and you have to just be organized, slow down, be organized and get what you want. And we didn’t do such a good job of that in the second half, but we’ll continue to get better at it. And he’s got my blessing to scream out, call his own number.”
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