The Los Angeles Lakers’ defense put on possibly its best performance of the season on Sunday, leading to a 110-106 win over the Detroit Pistons.
L.A. kept the Pistons’ offense at bay and then went on a 16-0 run in the third quarter to build a solid double-digit lead. Head coach Frank Vogel and LeBron James both lauded the Lakers’ defense for its role in the post-halftime spurt.
Detroit did manage to bring the game back within three points late in the fourth, but Los Angeles successfully staved off the visitors’ rally.
The Lakers spent the last couple of weeks calling on each other to show more determination on the defensive end. Russell Westbrook said the effort was finally there on Sunday even though the margin of L.A.’s win could have been larger.
“Yeah definitely. Even though they made some shots, sometimes you have good energy, good effort, and then the ball bounces the opposite way,” Westbrook said. “Which is OK, we can live with that. You watch the film and you make sure effort we’re trying to make those steps, those who make it in the right direction, we’ll be fine.”
When asked if he’s been disappointed by the Lakers’ lack of consistent effort this season as a player who plays hard at all times, Westbrook added they can learn from the adversity they have faced and build upon it as the season goes on.
“It’s disappointing, but at the same time I understand the process,” the 33-year-old said.
“Like I said last week, I never panic regardless of what’s going on. It’s something I live by, just stay the course. Adversity is something that I think is great in life in general. It builds character and then it kind of shows who you really are.
“When things are not going your way, if you can kind of stick through it, the ups and the downs, which I think guys are just starting to figure out. Ultimately at the end, you’ll be happy with the result.”
James calls Lakers’ 2021-22 start one of his career’s biggest challenges
The Lakers are yet to go on a winning streak that would allow them to climb up the Western Conference standings. L.A. ranks seventh with an 11-11 record having grappled with amassing injuries, defensive instability, and effort issues since the start of the campaign.
LeBron James has said the first weeks of the 2021-22 season made for one of the toughest spells of his 19-year career.
“It ranks right at the top of any other challenge I’ve had in my career,” James said after Sunday’s win.
“Which actually brings out the best in me and I love that. I love trying to figure out how we can be better. Get through the mud, get through the adversity, and make it sweeter on the backend.”
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