The Los Angeles Lakers are no stranger to scoring droughts. It seems like almost every game, the Lakers go a very long time without scoring or hitting any shots, and it happened again in Game 4 against the Phoenix Suns. With Anthony Davis out for the game and Kyle Kuzma, Marc Gasol and Markieff Morris attempting to take his place, L.A. had an abysmal third quarter.
The Lakers scored just four points in the first four minutes of the frame and finished with 15 points total. They lost 27-15, a 12-point margin during a game in which they lost by eight. Defensively, they weren’t horrible, but a resurgent Chris Paul made things difficult. They simply could not make shots or get any good opportunities at the rim.
When asked if the Lakers needed to slow things down, Gasol gave his thoughts on what they can do to avoid spurts like that from happening the rest of the series.
“I think it was the opposite, right? We need to be a little more sped up offensively, have a little bit more pop, the ball has got to move better, screeners have to be better, separation from the action once the screen happens,” Gasol said.
“If you short roll or pop or whatever that you got to do, you have to do it at a pace where you’re taking the lead and you’re kind of imposing your will on the game. The ball has got to move a little faster, we got to run to the spacing that we’re looking for and continue to make plays. You miss a couple shots, it doesn’t matter, next play you got to get a stop and that’s how it should be. Whatever happens offensively, defensively, should not impact the next possession. So we just got to continue to be strong-minded and next play.”
The Lakers did figure things out in the fourth quarter, which could be the blueprint for how they win Game 5. They outscored the Suns 27-19 in the final frame, taking a blowout and making it interesting for a short period of time.
If they have to play Game 5 without Davis, the entire game needs to look much more like the fourth quarter than the third, and perhaps having a day to figure that out will be exactly what they need.
Defensively, the Lakers know they have the tools and the scheme to stifle the Suns attack. However, they need to follow Gasol’s line of thinking to avoid significant scoring droughts, as those 4-5 minute segments could be the difference between a 3-2 lead and a 3-2 deficit in the series.
Gasol confident Lakers can win series without Davis
Despite the potentially huge loss of not having Davis in Game 5 and beyond, Gasol remains confident. “There’s plenty of confidence that we have to win without AD, that’s not even a question for anybody in the locker room,” he said after the Game 4 loss.
“So obviously you lose him in the moment of a game, that can get your mind off track a little bit for some people. I hope it shouldn’t, though. I don’t know if that was the case to be honest, like I don’t know if that was with AD or without AD. But we just got to keep playing. It’s as simple as that.”
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