The Los Angeles Lakers played arguably their worst game in the preseason on Thursday as they lost to the Sacramento Kings. Although the Lakers were down for most of the time, there were some positives to go along with the negatives.
Pete Zayas broke down the Lakers performance against the Kings, focusing on their overall defensive effort and offensive individual performances.
The defensive effort in the first half was just not there. The Lakers were poor in their defensive awareness and communication. The Kings put up 64 points in the first half. The Lakers were able to rectify their defensive struggles in the third quarter as they were more energized and communicated better but fell short of a complete comeback in the end.
Two players that continued to shine this preseason are D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. Russell didn’t play well in the previous game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but he promised of a better performance against the Kings and didn’t disappoint, scoring 31 points and dishing out 11 assists. He also shot lights out from the field and had a true shooting percentage of 90.7 %(!)
Russell was nearly perfect in the pick-and-roll game, his decision making was impeccable, which led to open shots for his teammates and himself.
Clarkson continues to flourish in his new role off the bench as one of the most consistent Lakers on defense and offense so far. Clarkson scored 18 points and had a true shooting percentage of 72.3 % in only 23 minutes of play.
The Lakers ran a lot of screening action for Clarkson to get him open looks and set him up to make plays for others.