The Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night, their 12th consecutive loss to the Blazers. In a bit of a twist for Luke Walton’s team, however, it was the offense that did them in as opposed to their defense.
The Lakers held the Blazers to 97 points on 40.4 percent shooting from the field. The first half was especially promising as the Blazers scored only 40 points. Unfortunately the Lakers could only muster up 32 themselves.
The effort did not go unnoticed by Walton who got what he was looking for from his team on that end, especially coming off of their most recent game.
“Going into the game, I wanted to build off the second half defensive effort we had in our last game and I thought they did a good job with it. Now some of it was Portland missing shots, but I thought our guys were talking it out. They were in timeouts and huddles, and you could hear them on the free throw lines discussing certain plays, which is growth for us, and we did a good job of competing on that end.”
The Lakers gave up only 52 total points in the second half and overtime of their come from behind victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Walton has spoken about defense making things easier on offense for the Lakers and the message may finally be getting through.
On Sunday night that didn’t necessarily show as the Lakers couldn’t buy a basket for most of the night, but the effort on defense was there for the most part. With scorers like Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum it was only a matter of time before Portland began knocking some shots down, but the fight of guys like David Nwaba and Larry Nance Jr. showed.
With only 10 games remaining this season, any growth the Lakers can show is a positive overall, and if it’s the defensive end that’s even better.
**All quotes obtained by Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters unless otherwise noted**