This past week is when the Los Angeles Lakers reached their lowest point of the season, but the end of the week saw some positives. The week started with a tough loss to the Knicks at home. The Lakers allowed Kristaps Porzingis score 26 points and pull down 13 rebounds and allowed Derrick Rose to go off for 25 points.
The next game was the beginning of the Lakers seven game road-trip in Sacramento. This game was rough for the Lakers, who saw their Coach Luke Walton ejected within the first eight minutes of the game. The Lakers lost the game 116-92, and DeMarcus Cousins had 31 points, 17 rebounds and five assists.
Next, the Lakers traveled to Brooklyn to take on the Nets. This game was supposed to be one of the easiest of the trip, and it was a tough game to lose. Los Angeles had a horrid shooting night against the Nets shooting 38.5 percent from the field, 22.2 percent from behind the three-point line and 61.8% on free throws.
The next game was a much-needed win for the Lakers, who just lost eight straight games. D’Angelo Russell was able to spark his team to a 13-0 run to open up the game vs. the 76ers. Philadelphia was not able to contain Julius Randle, who scored a career-high 25 points and brought down nine rebounds. The Lakers stretched their lead out to 22 points, before letting the Sixers bring the lead down to seven points. In the end, the Lakers left the Wells Fargo Arena with a win.
In the last game of the week, the Lakers visited the defending NBA champions. At the start of the game, Timofey Mozgov was mobbed by his former teammates as he received his championship ring from last season. While this game turned out to be a loss, it can be seen as a positive moving forward. Brandon Ingram was able to show he all-around game versus the Cavs recording ten rebounds, nine points, and nine assists.
The Lakers finally got their starting point guard back this past week, and although it didn’t translate to wins immediately, the Lakers seem to be back on the right track. Russell was on a minutes restriction but was still able to show that his passing ability and three ball is a very vital part of the Lakers’ offense. Russell is only shooting 32.5 percent from the field but is shooting 45 percent from behind the three-point line, which is excellent. Russell had to sit out against the Cavaliers and the Hornets because his knee is feeling sore.
This past week Luol Deng has shown that he can help the Lakers instead of being a detriment. The former Duke Star averaged 31.2 minutes this past week while scoring 14.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Deng was able to shoot 52.7 percent from the field and shot 44.4 percent from behind the arc. Also, he was able to show that he can be a better defender than he was earlier in the season. While it might not bode well that Deng has had his best stretch in the Lakers worst stretch in the season, if Deng can contribute at the rate he is right now the Lakers will be an even more dangerous team than they were earlier in the year.
Jordan Clarkson has had some rough shooting nights so far this season. For the year Clarkson is shooting 42.1 percent and only 30.8 percent from three, but this last week his percentages have improved to 50 percent from the field, 43.8 percent from three and 90.9 percent from the free throw line. Still, Clarkson needs to improve in a few areas. Luke Walton has come out and said that Clarkson needs to find a better mixture of playmaking and scoring. Also, Clarkson’s defense has been in decline as of late and needs to get back to the defense he was playing earlier in the season. The former second-round pick has shown Laker fans that he can be a player that can win them games on certain nights, so we just hope this recent improvement on his shooting touch bleeds into an improvement of his defense and playmaking.
The Lakers most recent second overall pick has been going through a rough stretch as of late. Although his game against the Cavs showed his potential to be an NBA star the other games this week reminded us that he is a rookie that is going to go through some growing pains. Ingram played 27.8 minutes this week while averaging 5.6 points on 26.2 percent shooting and 15.4 percent from behind the three-point line. Ingram did show his ability to defend, pass and rebound, but had some uninspiring moments in those areas as well. Let’s hope that the rookie continues to show us flashes of that superstar potential in this coming week.
Lou Williams finally fell to Earth after playing some of the best basketball of his career. After his historic run, scoring 137 points in a four-game span off the bench, Williams is averaging 16.8 points off 35.6% shooting this past week. Just to be clear, it was going to be hard for Lou Williams to keep up his spectacular play and he is still contributing in significant ways for the Los Angeles, but the Lakers need for him to shoot a little bit better and play better defense.
The Russian center has been pretty quiet this season, only averaging 22.4 minutes as a starter. Mozgov was beaten up a little this week by centers like DeMarcus Cousins and Joel Embiid. Cousins was able to have another game with 30+ points and 15+ rebounds against the Lakers and Joel Embiid was able to take advantage of the slow Mozgov, either by his footwork in the paint or by stepping outside and hitting jumpers. Also, returning to Cleveland was not the greatest night for Mozgov. After the high of receiving his ring and being tackled by his former teammates Mozgov put up a stat line of two points and four rebounds, though he only played 15 minutes.