Loss to Knicks reveals rough edges to Lakers’ on-court learning curve

The frustrating part is the Lakers had it on the scouting report: Watch for R.J. Barrett to drive to the left.

Somehow in his 13-point fourth quarter on the way to a 30-point effort, the Knicks swingman found that path open more times than not.

Plenty can be attributed to his craftiness – a handful of finishes off the glass, a few good Euro steps, and reversing his direction even while staying with his left hand. But it was something Austin Reaves was kicking himself, and the team, over for letting it get away from them in a four-point loss on Sunday night.

“It’s still hard to stop,” he said. “But I think a little more attention to detail with what we’re doing, who we’re guarding, schemes and stuff like that – that’s what we’ll correct in film.”

The Lakers (33-35) were riding high on a three-game win streak, finally cresting them into play-in territory after a season of chasing most of the Western Conference. That run was fueled by another star turn from Anthony Davis, energetic and active defense, and just enough push on their outside shooting.

But if anything, Sunday’s loss showed the fragility of the ground the Lakers have gained since the trade deadline, sinking them back into a four-way tie (by record) with the rest of the Western stragglers. When Davis is bothered, when the shooting doesn’t arrive, and when energy isn’t enough on defense, they’re still figuring out the kind of second- and third-tier options to go to after the first plan fails, and how to fine-tune defensive schemes that are more specific to their opponents.

It’s a common problem in the postseason, when teams are well-scouted and have to play without their best option – the Lakers will have to play that kind of basketball just to make the postseason …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.