The Los Angeles Lakers picked up their second-straight victory on Tuesday night, defeating the Sacramento Kings in an entertaining, but ugly game. Luke Walton’s team had it’s share of ups and downs, quickly blowing an early 18-point lead and posting a season-high in turnovers.
Getting the win is clearly the most important thing for the Lakers, but Walton understands that they can’t continue playing that way and expect to keep winning. “We’re happy to win that, obviously, but I told them afterwards that’s why it’s not always about winning and losing,” he said.
“We’re trying to play a certain way and have a certain standard. We have 26 turnovers, we shoot 61 percent from the free throw line, that’s BS to me.”
Walton continued: “I still thought we gave an incredible effort for most of the night, but once we mentally relaxed, they got right back in the game. And then it can go either way. And that’s one of the things we talked about. If you have a chance to keep someone down, keep them down. Don’t give them life and confidence in what they’re doing.”
Turnovers and poor free-throw shooting have been issues for the Lakers all season. The team still ranks last in the league in free-throw shooting percentage and 29th in turnovers.
Nonetheless, the Lakers were able to come out on top due in large part to the play of Lonzo Ball and Brook Lopez, and both were on the same page with Walton.
“Obviously, we’re glad we got the win. But we definitely felt we could’ve been better,” Lopez said following the victory. “We didn’t really give a full 48 minute and we all agree there’s a lot we can learn from this game.”
Ball, meanwhile, was focused specifically on fixing the turnover issue. “Just have to be smarter. I haven’t seen the tape but being on the court, it looked like a lot of dumb stuff was happening,” he said. “Especially on the breaks, four-on-ones, three-on-ones, just making careless passes. Doing that can eliminate probably, like, 10 of them.”
To Ball’s credit, he turned the ball over just one time, while notching a double-double with 11 rebounds and 11 assists. He’s the first Lakers player with a double-double that didn’t include points since Lamar Odom in 2008.
Overall, it’s a positive sign that the team isn’t resting on its laurels after a couple of wins. Identifying issues and working to improve them is key to the Lakers continuing to grow and develop as individuals and a group.
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