After a few disappointing defensive showings, the Los Angeles Lakers turned up their intensity and effort in a 120-102 win against the Houston Rockets.
The Lakers were active right from the jump, forcing the Rockets into tough shots and forcing a handful of turnovers that ignited their transition offense. Los Angeles forced 21 Houston turnovers, good for 30 points. They also held them to only 41.1% shooting from the field, and 29.1% beyond the arc.
This type of defensive performance seemed inevitable after Anthony Davis called out the team for their play on that end of the floor, and LeBron James noted the Lakers heard his concerns.
“He’s a captain,” James said. “He’s one of the two captains we have, including myself, and he can voice any opinion that he would like. Any fact that he would like. Because one thing about it, what he says, he’s going to apply to himself as well.
“He holds himself accountable. When he holds us accountable, we hold him accountable, he holds himself accountable. A.D. can say whatever he wants because it’s all for the betterment of our team.
“We thought it was right on point and we were able to follow that with a very good defensive game against Chicago, even though we didn’t score the ball like we were accustomed to. And then we followed it up with another good defensive game. We heard him loud and clear.”
Davis’ comments came on the heels of a disappointing loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and they were warranted given how the team had been playing up to that point. However, their collective performance against the Rockets should quell any concerns about defense and hopefully give them something to build on going forward.
Frank Vogel believes starting lineup set tone against Rockets
Los Angeles got off to a quick start in the first quarter against Houston and head coach Frank Vogel believes Davis and the starting lineup did a good job setting the tone for the rest of the game.
“I don’t know if his motivation was about that San Antonio game, but obviously when you speak out on wanting our group to be better, I think you want to own up to our own words and make sure you’re solid as well,” Vogel said.
“That whole first group really set a tone on the defensive end. I think getting KCP back, he had three forced turnovers in the first few minutes and got out on the break. A.D. was really good and the whole group was really good in that first quarter. It set a tone for the whole night.”
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