LeBron James: Lakers Need To Figure Out Trend Of Giving Up Offensive Rebounds
Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers dropped their matchup on Saturday night against the Orlando Magic in blowout fashion, losing 120-101 in a game that was never particularly close. Perhaps the biggest reason for the loss, at least according to superstar LeBron James, was the offensive rebounds given up by the Lakers. L.A. lost the offensive rebound battle 19-10.

Big men Goga Bitazde and Moritz Wagner had nine offensive rebounds just between the two of them, nearly matching the Lakers total. It brought the Lakers to 3-3 and signaled a larger trend that has hurt the team this season. On the year, the Lakers are averaging 11.3 offensive rebounds allowed per game, the ninth worst figure in the NBA.

James knows that this issue has plagued the Lakers this season and understands it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“We’ve got to try and figure it out because it’s definitely been our trend. Offensive rebounds and points off turnovers. We do a good job of getting a stop in the first possession, but we allow offensive rebounds and then we allow them to score off of the offensive rebounds, so we’ve got to do a better job of that. We’ve got to get that under wraps, something that we should challenge ourselves for, for sure.”

Of course, these struggles can’t be talked about without also mentioning the injuries to Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and Taurean Prince, all of whom would be hugely helpful on the glass. James believes it’s beyond just a lack of boxing out for the Lakers:

“I mean it’s not as simple as just boxing out. If a guy’s bigger than you he’s simply bigger than you. You can box out and still lose the offensive rebound battle, we’ve seen that several times. It definitely helps when you have bigger bodies and we have three of our bigger bodies out in Rui, Vando, and TP. But we definitely have to do a better job of when we do box out, helping. Sometimes we double team guys and there’s a free crasher. And sometimes we’re just ball watching and giving up offensive rebounds. It’s something we have to look at the film and see which ways we can be better.”

James also took a look at the schedule ahead and reminded his teammates that it doesn’t get easier from here, and that even with the missing bodies, the Lakers have to figure out a way to not get beat on the offensive glass in such a significant way.

“I mean certain teams crash more than other teams. Orlando is one of those teams that sends multiple guys to the glass, but we just have to do a better job of it. I know Miami is going to play extremely hard, we know what type of game that’s going to be on Monday. Houston is young and athletic and those guys probably send a lot of guys to the glass as well, and we play Phoenix on Friday and Josh Okogie alone is a guy that crashes alone, he’s like two or three offensive rebound guys by himself. We just have to do a better job understanding that.”

Getting Vanderbilt, Hachimura and Prince back will undoubtedly help alleviate the offensive rebound issue. But until those three are back, which could be several weeks, the Lakers cannot continue to get out-rebounded like they were against Orlando and give up second chance points.

Their margin of error is thinner with all the injuries, and it showed on Saturday against the Magic.

Darvin Ham: Lakers took step backwards

Ham did not mince words when talking about what went wrong for the Lakers on the glass against the Magic.

“It’s just their effort, their energy. They’re down bodies, we’re down bodies, and so the game basically comes down to approach, mental approach… They outworked us and I think because of that energy and effort, they saw the ball go in. They did a great job of just playing fast continuously, covering for one another defensively and just pounding us on the glass. It’s a huge, huge step backwards for us in terms of our defensive rebounding.

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