It has been said over and over throughout the start of the season that eventually the shots would fall at least a little more for the Los Angeles Lakers. But when a team starts with five consecutive losses, it is hard to keep that belief up.
But the Lakers did just that, continuing to play good defense and eventually those shots fell on Sunday night, giving L.A. its first win of the season against the Denver Nuggets. Lonnie Walker IV played a big role in the win, but after the game he was more focused on his team and what overcoming that rough stretch showed about the Lakers as a whole.
“Just how resilient of a the team we are,” Walker said what the 11-point win showed. “We have been patient. It’s a new team. We knew what was gonna come with this. We continue to find our rhythm as a team as one. We’re trying to create that great picture, but it takes time.”
Walker has been one of the more reliable sources of offense for the Lakers so far this season and he delivered against the Nuggets with 18 points, five rebounds and two blocks. He also hit 3-of-5 from 3-point range on a night the Lakers shot over 40 percent from deep. The fifth year guard would later say he always believed the shooting would come around.
“Of course. Keep it swaggy,” Walker added. “We ended up shooting the ball well, but like we always said, continue to shoot with confidence. I’ve been in the gym consistently, even at night. Just trying to stay locked in and be ready. That kind of went the way up. We shot 45%, if not more than that from three. So it was good. But now we got a stack of days. We got another big game on Wednesday.”
That game is against the New Orleans Pelicans, who have been one of the most impressive teams in the league so far this season and the Lakers will need to be locked in on both sides of the court. On offense, that means creating great looks which is something Walker believes the Lakers are getting better at understanding.
“Of course, I think that just comes with time,” Walker noted. “Understanding what’s a good shot and a great shot. And I think as far as three-point shots. We have such great players like Russ and LeBron and AD that consume so much players. So just being ready to catch and shoot is a main point of focus, but not really shooting if there’s someone on you or whatnot.”
“So being conscious of when and where to shoot. And depending on if they’re on a run, you just got to be conscious of what’s a good shot. What’s a great shot overall.”
Shot selection is something that isn’t always brought up, but is so important. The Lakers fought hard to get their first victory and now if they plan on keeping that momentum going, getting the best looks consistently is something they will need to do.
Westbrook gets joy in seeing teammates thrive
Walker was one of many who stepped up for the Lakers with other role players such as Austin Reaves, Troy Brown Jr. and Matt Ryan making an impact as well. And this is something that Russell Westbrook loves to see more than anything.
“I get a joy by seeing others do great,” Westbrook said after the win. “My whole career is kind of what lifts me up to see others do well and tonight was a night where guys making shots, competing, and that’s all you can ask for.”
“I mean, I enjoy It. I embrace it. I mean, I really enjoy seeing others do well. It’s kind of something I live for in life in general. Not just in basketball but life. I would rather someone else do great because it just the joy that I get from seeing someone do well just lifts me up and keeps me going tonight to see all those guys knock down shots, make plays. You know, it’s great.”
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