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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

These 3 stats highlight the key issues from the Lakers’ 3OT loss to Sacramento

Anthony Davis studies the final box score, his single brow furrowed.

There wasn’t much to like about the 141–137 loss to the Sacramento Kings, which took the struggle’s three overtimes to settle. Davis himself has had better nights off the ground scoring 9 for 22. But he allowed, for a moment, to envision a brighter future for the Lakers team, which has broken the 10-11 record.

“We have to keep fighting,” he said. “You know, 10-11, I mean, we can go on a 10-game winning streak, a 12-game winning streak, now the narrative is different. You know, 10-game winning streak, we’re 20-11. Now we will silence everyone.”

For now, that prediction is hypothetical – the Lakers have so far done nothing that suggests a 10-game winning streak is imminent. And Friday Night Within 63 Minutes of Basketball featured several key figures outlining what ailing the Lakers have been up to lately:

13 of 14 shots

In the first two overtimes, the Lakers decided to rely on their stars as do many teams. Between LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, the Big Three accounted for 13 of the team’s 14 attempts from the field in OT1 and OT2. He made eight of them, and also had nine attempts down the line as the stars failed.

Here’s the part that’s hard to understand: If the Lakers put Carmelo Anthony and Malik Monk on the floor because they could shoot, and James and Davis struggled all night with their jump shots, then Anthony and Monk should be more Why not get more looks?

It starts with the understanding that Anthony and Monk are defensive giveaways that have been targeted throughout the season. Teams are eager to switch and attack those players, and the Kings were no different. NBA tracking data shows that 27 field goal attempts (13) were made on Mello and Monk, which does not account for drives that caused defensive breakdowns that the Kings could score against other players.

Monk was particularly hot through regulation, going 8 for 10 off the floor when he hit a 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining. Anthony was 4 for 9 but he is going to get his chances as he is one of the best scorers of all time. But if those two players combined for just one shot in the first two overtimes, why are they relied upon to defend? Are they on the floor only to give James and Westbrook a place to operate?

It is difficult to completely leave the accountability for this on any one side. Coach Frank Vogel set the rotation, so it was his call to put Monk and Anthony on the floor. But joining them is on James and Westbrook as well. Monk’s first and only shot of any overtime came in the third, when he took a look from the corner but hadn’t touched the ball long enough, he shot it well over the rim, his feel was everything . Anthony fired four shots in the OT periods, but three of them were in the third shot when it was clear that James’s legs were giving out on his shots.

“We did a good job of orchestrating Brawn for a lot of the action,” Vogel said. “And when it looked like he was gassing, we diversified by watching Melo and Eddie and Russ pick-and-roll to try to diversify. I thought we were pretty good on that side of the ball. Just didn’t get enough stops.

Had the plan been to shoot the Big Three, the Lakers would have got more stops with a more defensive-focused lineup. But while they could have won in regulation or first overtime, they rolled with the shooters instead of the stoppers.

2 for 18

The most basic thing the Lakers could have done to avoid with a win – not one that would have felt good, but at least a W – would have been to hit the leading shot. But memorably, James missed 3-pointers at the end of regulation and the first overtime that would have sealed it. The magic he showed in Indiana was used after a five-match road trip.

When you add James’ night (2 for 13) and Davis’ night (0 for 5) to the deep, it shows how low they were both against the Kings on jump shots, both of which Davis admitted. that he had taken too much.

There are two separate issues here: For James, who entered the night as a 3-point shooter about 37% of the time, the problem was his feet. He was consistently low on his jumper, and his last seven attempts from the 3-point boundary were all off target. He acknowledged that the issues were performance, not bad looks.

“I thought the look I got, I wasn’t under pressure. Wasn’t sharpened. Looks great,” he said. “The look I got (Friday night) was actually the people I found at Indy was better than. I just made them. The move I had on the Sabonis was literally inside my jersey. I just made it.”

James may have deserved the benefit of the doubt on him, even if he should have delivered more in the overtime period, when it was clear his 3-pointers weren’t going in. The big problem is Davis, who hasn’t been hitting 3-pointers all year.

Davis is on just 7 for 42 off three, or 16.7% from deep. The Lakers continue to run pick-and-pop plays for him that he can’t capitalize on on a regular basis. This is a far cry from the sniper he was during the 2020 title run. State site Cleaning the Glass puts his 3-point percentage in the second percentile among all the big guys in the NBA, and yet the Lakers remain optimistic.

“We’re encouraging him to shoot people in the open, knowing it’s going to come around,” Vogel said. “It just hasn’t happened. It’s part of our early season struggles. He starts to say that the way he’s done over the years is going to open up a lot for our team.”

The bottom line is starting to get in the way of the Lakers. They can’t lose any more games in the hope that Davis’ season-long shootout will suddenly turn. Expect the Lakers to start planning the shoots it’s showing now, rather than wait for the shoots to appear later.

16 offensive rebounds

The Kings hit the Lakers on offensive boards, a trend that has been going the wrong way for weeks now. He had 16 offensive rebounds for 23 second-chance points, which killed the Lakers. And some of that drama stuck with Davis.

“We should be able to take a shot (keep them),” he said. “I think it was three times where we got stops and got aggressive rebounds and scored runs on all of them.”

Now there’s a lot of data: The Lakers have played 1028 non-waste time assets with Davis at the center, roughly half of their net worth. Those lineups are allowing opponents to grab offensive rebounds 28.1% of the time, which ranks in the 20th percentile among all NBA lineups for cleaning glass. The Lakers have a long-time defensive rebounding percentage of 71.6%, which is the 25th in the NBA. Opponents are getting 14.6 second-chance points per game, which ranks 26th in the NBA.

Summary of all that data: The Lakers are hitting on the defensive glass, and they get even worse when they play short – which was an unbeatable lineup for them just two years ago. It’s a key reason why all lineups with Davis at center are outscoring 4.2 points per 100 assets, and why the Lakers have just 112.9 defensive ratings in the halfcourt defense: They keep giving their opponent a second chance.

World Nation News Desk
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