After a promising first quarter, the Los Angeles Lakers’ defense completely fell apart allowing back-to-back 40-point quarters to the Sacramento Kings in a 14-point loss. Even when their offense began to get going, it didn’t matter as the defense was completely unable to get consistent stops all night long.
Obviously the Lakers’ defense was gonna suffer with Anthony Davis injured, but there were issues all across the court that even Davis wouldn’t have been able to fix. And Lonnie Walker IV is accepting his part of the blame for the problems.
After the loss, Walker was extremely critical of his performance on the defensive end, saying that he was upset with himself and not doing what he should be doing on that side of the ball, via NBA.com:
“Rebounding and off-ball, especially for me. I think I was very detrimental in the third quarter as far as just off-ball awareness and paying attention during the defensive schemes. I’m pretty upset about today. I feel like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing on the defensive side so I gotta improve on that. I kinda let them alone on myself, get on like an 8-0 run, going under threes, backdoor cuts, not being the mid guy. Just gotta be more prepared, play a lot harder, play a lot stronger, play a lot tougher.”
But despite the struggles of himself and the team, Walker continues to have full belief in the Lakers as long as they keep fighting and trusting in each other:
“Absolutely. It’s part of the game, they really started making a ton of threes, a ton of shots in the third and the fourth that really made it hard to get back. They were playing great basketball offensively and defensively. I think we just gotta, sometimes when we’re on our heels, we just gotta continue to fight back and not let go of the gas pedal. Overall we just gotta keep fighting. Trust in each other, trust in the system, trust in our teammates and have each others back. Even when things aren’t going too well that’s when we gotta come together even stronger. Like I said since Day 1, we’re still building and growing. We’re only gonna get better.”
With Davis out for some time, and even the likes of Russell Westbrook and Austin Reaves out currently, the Lakers have very little room for error, especially defensively without Davis there to erase their mistakes. For Walker and the rest of the Lakers, the energy and fight can not afford to waver in any way.
It is promising that Walker immediately recognizes his shortcomings and sounds determined to fix them. If the Lakers as a whole are adopting this mindset, it definitely inspires hope that they will continue to improve moving forward.
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