Turnovers have been a consistent problem for the Los Angeles Lakers this season. The team ranks second-to-last in the league in turnovers per game and turnover percentage.
The box score from the team’s win against the Phoenix Suns wouldn’t paint much of a different picture, as the Lakers still turned the ball over 16 times. However, Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton liked the ball security he saw from his young team down the stretch.
“I thought we did a great job of taking care of the ball and I thought we did a great number defensively as well. It’s big. Obviously we wanted to end the road trip on the right note,” Walton said. “There’s no doubt it was a team effort. Whichever group we had in had all five fully committed to what we were trying to do and we had great energy and kept to our game plan as well.”
The numbers back up Walton’s observation. The Lakers showcased far more care for the ball in the fourth quarter, only turning it over twice while outscoring the Suns 26-20 to close out the game.
The Lakers did sacrifice some passing to get to that total, only dishing four assists in the fourth, but that’s probably a tradeoff the team is happy to make as long as they can score efficiently. Against the Suns they managed to, with Jordan Clarkson continuing the isolation efficiency he showed while leading the Lakers with 25 points overall with six of his points on 50 percent shooting in the final period.
That’s not a strategy the Lakers will be able to ride against every team this season, and eventually they will have to learn to pass carefully while avoiding turnovers. But for now it’s a start, and coming off of a three-game losing streak, the Lakers will surely take a win where they can get it.
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