The Los Angeles Lakers played a game of two halves in the 108-93 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.
L.A. led with as much as 17 points before halftime only for the night to turn into a 15-point defeat. The Lakers made just 12 field goals in the third and fourth quarter combined, allowing Dallas to outscore them 62-35.
Marc Gasol, who led the second unit after missing the three previous games, offered a harsh assessment of L.A.’s performance in the latter parts of the showdown. “In the second half we didn’t get as many stops so when you take the ball out of the net it allows their defense to get set a little better,” he said. “You have to execute your actions and be a little bit more physical to fight through those spots.
“We didn’t get to the paint at all in the second half, we didn’t make the defense collapse and overhelp and the ball didn’t move as well because of that. They did a good job contesting, daring us to shoot on those pick-and-rolls and we got to do a better job of screening and making those guards get to the paint and have bigs rolling, creating second-side help.”
Gasol ended the night with one point, seven rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes. The 36-year-old admitted that the Lakers centers faced a difficult task adjusting to the irregularity of their roles.
He also pointed out that after losing a starting spot to Andre Drummond, his duties as part of the second unit changed quite significantly. “In the second unit, you have to play at a faster pace and you might not have as much talent on the floor and everyone must touch the basketball at all times,” he said.
“That makes it fun, that makes the ball move, that makes the defense work a little bit better. That’s what you want to do with a unit like that. Obviously, when you play with the starters it’s different, you either go for spacing and kind of allowing your horses to have more space to do their thing. But on the second unit it’s about helping each other, communicating, making things easier for them and creating those angles.”
Kyle Kuzma offers words of empathy to ‘competitors’ Gasol, Montrezl Harrell
Gasol played in the loss to the Mavericks benefiting from Montrezl Harrell’s night off as head coach Frank Vogel adjusted his rotation for the second of the back-to-back clashes in Dallas.
Kyle Kuzma said playing on a championship team requires “sacrifices” from players. But the forward added that he understood the disappointment of his teammates when they miss out on playing time. “It sucks, at the end of the day,” he said.
“We’re all competitors and we all want to be on the court for 48 minutes. That’s just how you are if you are a competitor. You don’t want to, then I would never want a player on my team like that.”
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