The Los Angeles Lakers came out with a ton of energy at practice on Tuesday, in preparation for the reigning champ Golden State Warriors on Wednesday at Staples Center. After their tough loss to the L.A. Clippers, which included eight missed free throws and crucial turnovers down the stretch, Lonzo Ball felt there was an extra motivation at practice.
Head coach Luke Walton explained some of his rotational choices down the stretch, which left Kyle Kuzma on the bench during crunch time in the fourth, as well as how he wants his players channeling their frustrations with playing time.
Walton also talked about what the Lakers have been working on with Jordan Clarkson and why he was so impressed with his performance against the Clippers.
Larry Nance Jr. admitted that he often looks at the playoff standings and uses that as motivation. With the Utah Jazz (9-11) currently in the eighth slot, the Lakers aren’t too far behind (8-12).
Quotes, notes and videos from practice all below.
Walton on Kuzma not playing heavy minutes (or in crunch time): “Last night I told him, I thought his individual defense was not up to par to what we’ve become accustomed to with him…Offensively, he was great he was hitting shots, but we needed to get stops and individually he wasn’t doing what he normally does on the defensive end to help us get those stops.”
Lonzo on Steph Curry: “As a fan he’s great to watch, one of the most exciting players in the league. In my opinion, the best shooter of all-time, can shoot it off the catch or the dribble, one of the best point guards in the NBA.”
Larry Nance Jr. on the Warriors: “You try to go into it like a normal game, but it’s the Warriors…I think everybody in here is kind of bouncing off the walls chomping at the bit to get at ‘em.”
Nance on chasing that No. 8 seed: “Definitely something I keep track of for sure…very realistic especially with how things are shaping up right now. It kind of keeps us refocused after a tough last game, it’s easy to be upset about it, but the second we’re like there’s a bigger plan here, we’ve got to focus on the eighth seed, we can still get it, kind of brings you back down to earth and refocuses you a little bit.”
– Walton was extremely happy with the play of the second unit, and said that Jordan Clarkson set the tone with his ‘unselfishness.’
– The Lakers have been working with Clarkson on moving the ball and attacking (not over-dribbling or letting the ball stick), and Walton said he really embraced that last game.
– Walton talked to the Lakers as a group about being frustrated/angry about playing time, or not playing down the stretch, wants them to channel that energy to the guys that are out on the court.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB