The Los Angeles Lakers have been hammered by early injuries to key rotational players and slow starts. It has not been an ideal start for an L.A. team trying to cash in on another championship, but all things considered, to be above .500 is a major positive.
In a blowout win against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday to go undefeated in Group Play for the In-Season Tournament, the Lakers controlled that game start to finish. On Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks though, it was a flashback to the first handful of games of the season where they would fall behind big in the first quarter and spend the entire second half clawing back.
Dallas led by 20 heading into the fourth and L.A. made a miraculous effort to take the lead late, but unfortunately could not hang on. Anthony Davis was asked about their first quarter struggles and if there has been any change in approach to combat these woes.
“Yeah, try to get off to good starts which kind of controls the entire game. Anytime you get off to a great start, the rest of the game seems to go smoothly for us. But if not then we kind of put ourselves in a hole where we force ourselves to make these miraculous comebacks. Some we win, some we lose. But I think also our shot-making. When we have a lack of shot-making, that kind of affects some of us, especially when the shots are wide open. Guys kind of get down on themselves and that’s when transition comes into play and the miscues on defense. So regardless of whether we’re making shots or not, we got to be able to execute on the defensive end.”
It seems that perimeter shooting has been a consistent problem for the Lakers during the LeBron James and Davis era. Heading into the 2023-24 season, fans were confident that this roster was the best the two stars have had, but injuries and shooting struggles have been prominent to begin the year.
The Lakers have shot 34.3% from 3, which is good for 26th in the entire league. Players and fans are hoping that the law of averages comes in full effect and that the 3-point percentage starts to trend upward. With how competitive the Western Conference is, L.A. has to start stacking up wins to solidify playoff positioning and if these slow starts and poor shooting persists, it may be difficult for this team to be productive.
Darvin Ham wants Taurean Prince to stay aggressive through shooting slump
One Laker who has struggled mightily of late is Taurean Prince, who has shot just 27.4% from 3-pointer range. However, head coach Darvin Ham wants Prince to remain aggressive to get out this slump.
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