Occasionally, we will be bringing you three things we learned from the previous night about the Los Angeles Lakers. Last night, they took on the San Antonio Spurs for the third time this year.
1. Defending The Three Is Key
The Spurs were absolutely scorching last night from long range. This seemed to be one of those games where even great defense would not have mattered. The problem is that more times than not, the Lakers weren’t playing great defense either. As Marc Gasol spoke about starting the year, it seems the team is still gelling together on defense. Far too often players were sucked into the paint. Other times, they were not communicating, as illustrated by Jason Timpf.
I can promise you that doubling Derozan when Caruso is on him wasn’t part of the game plan.
Inexplicable decision from Trezz.
Don’t mistake activity for productivity. pic.twitter.com/NtGTWKtT8J
— Jason Timpf (@_JasonLT) January 8, 2021
The Spurs shot a blistering 45.7 percent on 35 attempts. You just can’t get it done allowing this level of shooting. This is one of the contributing factors that led to a 118 defensive rating, their worst of the year so far.
2. Subpar On The Margins
Being outshot from the line, three-point range AND turning over the ball is a disaster. That’s the exact recipe for the Lakers’ defeat. In some of the early parts of the game, they literally gave the ball away. In the first half alone, they turned it over nine times. Ultimately, they ended the game losing the turnover battle, 13-6.
The Lakers missed eight of their 21 attempts from the line. On the other side, the Spurs made 94 percent of their 17 attempts. This is easy math to follow for even a novice. The Lakers just did not do enough of the little things to stay in the game. If they’re going to be an aggressive team, you have to take advantage of your free-throws.
3. Paint Dominance
While the Lakers’ performance from three wasn’t as strong as the Spurs, they owned the paint. They outscored them 66-34. One of the cogs to this was Talen Horton-Tucker who carved up their defense for all of his four makes in the interior. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both going to have this tool on a nightly basis. However, the balance between getting high percentage shots and making jumpers is what’s going to bring success.