The Los Angeles Lakers secured arguably their most impressive win of the season on Tuesday to go to 18-3 on the year. With multiple players sick and coming off a blowout loss to the Mavericks, the team went into Denver and beat the second-seeded Nuggets while leading most of the way.
The response after a brutal loss went a long way into ensuring everyone that they are a championship-caliber team. But their response to a specific challenge from head coach Frank Vogel was arguably even more impressive:
LeBron said that Vogel got on them a lot about not rebounding enough last game, and so they had to go out and change that tonight.
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) December 4, 2019
On Sunday against the Mavericks, the Lakers were outrebounded 51 to 45, including giving up 16 offensive rebounds on 55 missed shots.
On Tuesday, they put together a master class on the glass, corralling 14 of their 45 misses en route to dominating the rebounding battle 56 to 35. Every Laker who played grabbed at least three boards while none had more than Davis’ 10. The Nuggets did not record a defensive rebound for the first 5:28 of the game.
The Lakers have a top-ten rebound rate in the NBA for the season but that’s buoyed by their offensive rebounding efforts. Defensively, they’ve grabbed only 72.7 percent of opponents’ misses, the 19th highest mark in the league. So this has been an ongoing issue for the team even before the loss to the Mavericks.
For one night, at least, they were able to reverse course and focus on a major issue plaguing them all year. That kind of response to criticism from their coaches and teammates is ultimately what could shape the Lakers’ season.