All was fun and games at the end of Wednesday’s Lakers practice, with head coach Luke Walton’s impromptu decision to challenge the bigs one-on-one defensively. As rookie Brandon Ingram put it, Walton was looking to shut down the bigs, but that didn’t quite work out as Walton might have planned.
“I had to bust the old man, one time,” third year forward Julius Randle laughed. “It’s fun. It’s all about energy and vibe and the team spirit and everything. It just brings everything up. Makes it a fun environment.”
The Lakers lost to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, blemishing their perfect 3-0 record at home to start the season, but the upside was their attentiveness at practice. Walton said everyone came out incredibly sharp, focused on improving the little details the coaching staff has been harping about since the start of training camp.
“Yes, 100 percent,” Walton said about it being easier to correct mistakes after losses than wins. “No matter if you’re on a championship team, or if you’re on a young team that’s learning their way. After wins, it’s always more difficult to focus in and do those little grind out things…After losses everyone is more sharp, as coaches as players, that’s everybody, winning covers up a lot of mistakes so there’s natural slippage after wins.”
Those little ‘grind out things’ that Walton mentioned are things like transition defense, over-fouling, turnovers and making that extra pass.
“We looked at the total pass numbers,” Walton said critiquing the ball movement. “It was a season low for us at 266 and I thought there was times, I didn’t feel like we were playing selfish last night, but we got away from the swing swing extra pass that really makes it hard on defenses.”
Randle agreed that players seemed extra sharp at Wednesday’s practice.
“We’re playing for something, we’re not just going out there playing, so losses hurt, and we don’t want to go on losing streaks we want to be on winning streaks.”
The Lakers are back on the road on Thursday as they take on the Sacramento Kings followed by stops in New Orleans on Saturday and Minnesota on Sunday.
“We always look forward to the next game,” Ingram said. “This is going to be a long season, there’s going to be little slips like that, so we just came in knowing that the next game is more important.”