It took a complete team effort for the Los Angeles Lakers to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. While Dennis Schroder, Troy Brown Jr. and Austin Reaves led the scoring push, it was Rui Hachimura who provided a boost by doing the dirty work.
Despite being more known for his offensive skillset, Hachimura provided nine rebounds and three blocks to go along with nine points in the Lakers’ six-point win over the Thunder. Hachimura’s role has changed since the trade deadline, going from a starter to a bench role and his scoring will not always be needed.
As such, Hachimura revealed that he recently talked with the Lakers coaching staff and they called for him to be more aggressive on the glass, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I talked to the coaches a couple days ago and they told me they want me to be more aggressive on the defensive rebounding side. So today I was trying to be more involved with the defensive rebounds, even the offensive rebounds too. I think I did a pretty good job on that and I think it helped the team win.”
The Lakers need everyone bought in and willing to do whatever is necessary to get wins. Hachimura turning his focus to rebounding and defense shows he is capable of doing just that, and it was especially important against a Thunder team that is one of the better in the league at crashing the offensive glass:
“They were making a lot of shots. They’re also a pretty good team with offensive rebounding so we had to box them out and come up with the rebounds. And if I get a rebound I can push the ball too so it’s a good transition for us. I was just trying to be that guy.”
The Lakers have a number of players capable of contributing in different ways and they are still learning where they all fit. With his size and athleticism, Hachimura will be a big piece for this team on both ends of the court and will be key during this playoff push.
Darvin Ham praises Lakers’ new additions for commitment to buying in
Hachimura is one of many new additions the Lakers brought in during this season and head coach Darvin Ham and the players are still in an ongoing process of coming together to make everything work. One thing that helps the process is everyone being on the same page, which Ham is thankful for.
The Lakers head coach spoke after the Thunder win, praising the team’s new additions for buying in and desire to improve as players. Ham added that communication has been great and everyone is focused on pushing this team to the playoffs.
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