The Los Angeles Lakers had to work harder than expected, but they were able to get the job done as they recently defeated the Atlanta Hawks to earn their 14th consecutive road win of the 2019-20 NBA season.
It was a disjointed contest as both the Lakers and Hawks struggled to hold onto the basketball, constantly turning it over and allowing transition buckets for extended stretches at a time. However, Los Angeles was able to eventually come away with the win thanks to some timely defensive possessions down the stretch.
The turnovers have been a problem in recent games as the Lakers have been careless taking care of the basketball and in turn, they are allowing opponents to get out and run for easy baskets.
When discussing the issue, head coach Frank Vogel attributed it to opposing teams getting after them defensively and a lack of focus from his roster, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I think the defenses have been… you gotta credit the other team sometimes. Teams are coming after us, we always get the other team’s best shot. That was true in Miami and here tonight. Obviously we gotta space better, it’s not always the ball handler’s decision-making with the turnovers. Our execution just has to be a little better.”
LeBron James was the primary culprit in the game against the Miami Heat as he committed eight turnovers in the game — with seven of them coming in the first half. Los Angeles has heavily relied on James to carry the offense so it is completely feasible there would be an uptick in his turnover rate, but recently the rest of the roster has also been caught throwing the basketball away.
The Lakers played a much cleaner second half against the Heat to win that game, but they were sloppy on the offensive end for most of the night against the Hawks. Good teams will occasionally play down to the level of their competition and that seems to have been the case against an Atlanta team that has expectedly struggled as they continue to rebuild and develop their young players.
With an NBA-best 24-3 record, the purple and gold likely have a target on their back and should receive every other team’s best effort going forward. With James and Anthony Davis meshing and playing well together, the Lakers are well-equipped to handle that, but it remains to be seen how they will look when they finally hit adversity.