The Los Angeles Lakers are yet to find out a remedy for their inconsistency on the offensive end, particularly outside shooting.
L.A. has the talent to drown opponents with a barrage of 3-pointers, often becoming unstoppable on the day. Last week, the reigning NBA champions shot 53.8% from downtown in the 115-94 victory over the Sacramento Kings. Meanwhile in January, they overwhelmed the Milwaukee Bucks converting 51.4% of their 3-point attempts, which led to a 113-106 victory over the Eastern Conference powerhouse.
But on numerous nights this season, the Lakers seemed unable to start hitting shots from deep. Yet, they’ve been shooting 35.3% from three, an improvement on last year and the best efficiency since the 2013-14 campaign. Asked about the all-or-nothing nature of the team’s threat from behind the arc, Alex Caruso thinks L.A. passes the ball more in certain games, which translates into a better aim on the perimeter.
“I don’t think makes are contagious but I think ball movement, ball energy makes 3-point makes contagious,” he said.
“We’re just creating great shots. We had extra passes, we’re getting to the paint, we’re spreading it out to open guys depending on who’s helping. We’re just making good decisions for our teammates and when you make good plays for others, it’s a little easier to shoot it and usually they go in more.”
And he added: “Guys don’t shot 70 or 80 percent, some nights you’re gonna have an 0-for-3 or 0-for-4 and other nights you’re gonna be like tonight where you’re 4-for-5 or making however many. So you always got to keep it in perspective of it’s a long season, sometimes you make shots and sometimes you don’t.”
However, Caruso acknowledged the Lakers’ outside shooting does appear to take a hit when the team goes through a rough stretch in a game. The guard thinks that in the 104-86 loss to the L.A. Clippers on Sunday, when they shot just 30.4% from downtown, the team started forcing shots instead of patiently sticking to the game plan. “[L]ike I harped on earlier, we can make it easier on ourselves,” Caruso said.
“I think we were just trying too hard against the Clippers, trying to make something happen and make something work rather than just kind of trust in each other and playing through whatever they were giving us defensively.”
Caruso praises Marc Gasol’s passing and basketball IQ
Marc Gasol has shined since the arrival of Andre Drummond, who will take away his spot in the starting lineup when he returns from injury. While the Lakers struggled from downtown in the loss to the Clippers, the 36-year-old center made each of his three 3-point attempts himself, ending the night with 11 points.
In the recent 110-101 win over the Toronto Raptors, he registered 13 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and four blocks.
Caruso praised the Spaniard for his professionalism despite the tricky situation he found himself in, adding the center will be an asset for the Lakers down the line. “Some of these games, being able to stretch the fives out has been an advantage for us so Marc has been valuable in that respect and then just getting him involved,” he said.
“Like I said earlier, the more we hop the ball around, Marc is such a great passer, he has such great IQ for the game, when we kind of play this way I think it benefits him as well as the rest of the team.”
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