In the 114-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers held a double-digit lead for most of the game but nearly lost.
As LeBron James made only one of two free throws, J.J. Barea’s potential game-winner hit the backboard and the Lakers escaped with their third win of the 2018-19 NBA season. “I thought we did a really nice job tonight of our two main goals,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton began.
“Offensively, just keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll get better with that. Defensively, rebound the basketball and keep them off the free throw line to a reasonable number.”
With eight new players and the young core learning on the fly, Walton believes this will serve as a good lesson for them in the long-term. “You have to play the game a certain way,” he said. “If you mess with the game, the game will mess with you.”
After disappointing back-to-back losses against the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves, the Lakers wanted to focus on rebounding and not fouling. Against the Mavericks, they only gave up 10 offensive rebounds and actually won the free throw attempts battle, 24-19.
With the Lakers losing all of their five games by 10 points or less, it’s evident they have very fixable issues. With all of their rotation players active and healthy, this is an important stretch for them to build chemistry and string together wins in the highly competitive Western Conference.