Once again the Los Angeles Lakers failed to stretch a four-game winning streak to five as they fell to the Dallas Mavericks. Julius Randle had an outstanding night, as did Isaiah Thomas in his Lakers debut, but the defense failed the team on Saturday.
After giving up less than 100 points in three of their four wins during their winning streak, the Lakers allowed the Mavericks to reach that mark after three quarters, ultimately surrendering 130 points to a Dallas team that is far from an offensive juggernaut.
After the loss, Randle spoke about the Lakers’ defensive failures and put the blame on himself for the team’s lack of communication, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I think it was pretty much a lack of communication. We didn’t talk out our switches and stuff like that. We were in scramble mode the whole night and we didn’t do enough consistently. … No, that’s not on IT. That’s on all of us. We didn’t all bring it on the defensive end, and it started with me and Josh, I think. We didn’t talk out communication on reads. I’ll definitely take responsibility on that. I think it had a trickle down effect the rest of the game. Just have to be better from the start of the game.”
One of the biggest losses the Lakers took in trading away Larry Nance Jr. was his ability to be the quarterback on defense. He was an excellent communicator and with him now gone, that responsibility will fall even further on the likes of Randle, Brook Lopez, and Kyle Kuzma.
Randle did have a great night offensively, finishing with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. However, a main reason for the Lakers’ recent improvement has been because of their work on defense.
While this doesn’t fall solely on Randle, the team as a whole will have to make sure the effort doesn’t dip on that end.
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