The Los Angeles Lakers have found their rhythm after a four-game losing streak, winning their last two against the Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors convincingly. In the two wins, defense has been the defining feature, holding two of the better offenses in basketball to 93 and 91 points, respectively.
Kyle Kuzma has been one of the players to step up defensively in those games. While his scoring faded somewhat, he grabbed 11 rebounds in both games as he continued to evolve into an active hustle player.
LeBron James and Dennis Schroder also stepped their game up, swarming opponents on defense and helping to create some scoring that had been severely lacking in the four-game losing streak.
Kuzma credited the champions on the roster and what they’ve all been through together for helping find rhythm amid struggles. “We’ve just got champions on this team. We’ve got people that have been in the foxhole with each other, we’ve been together the past two years a lot, we know each others’ games and we know how to play off each other.”
Winning a championship almost always leads to teams being able to fight through adversity. Teams have to get through a lot together to win it all, which is especially true for the 2019-20 Lakers.
Even though they made plenty of changes to the roster in the offseason, the championship mentality still is present in the locker room. Even Schroder, who has not won yet, has shown that he can fight through slumps and other issues to help contribute on the court.
If the Lakers can continue this good play for the final two games of the season’s first half, they’ll have significant momentum getting Anthony Davis back when play resumes in the middle of March. L.A. will then have a chance to get their offense jump started again before the postseason begins in May.
Lakers settling into roles without Davis
The Lakers desperately want Davis back in the starting lineup, as they’re currently just 7-5 this season when he doesn’t play. However, James believes that they are finally starting to settle into their roles without him. “Listen, when you lose a mega piece like A.D., it’s going to take some time, both offensively and defensively of how we want to play. And what’s going to be our rhythm and how we get into our rhythm,” James noted.
“I think over the last few games we’ve done a good job of, this is where we’re going to have the ball, this is how we’re going to be effective, this is where we need to run and how we’re going to benefit from one another.”
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