We just did this the other day so I will save you the in-depth analysis. The results from Wednesday’s game was the Lakers getting trounced by the Grizz by not defending anywhere on the court. Yes, the Lakers scored well, but some of that felt like the product of the Grizzlies simply relaxing on defense because they knew they were getting whatever they wanted on the other end.
Will tonight be any different? Well, per a report from Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles, Byron Scott took his team to task upon the return from Memphis in both practice and a film session regarding their lack of defense:
The Los Angeles Lakers practiced on Thursday afternoon despite arriving back home after a three-game road trip earlier that same morning. After losing all three games and failing to show any defensive resistance, Lakers coach Byron Scott didn’t appear to be in the mood to take a day off.
“We’re just playing as individuals. We showed the tape today of our guys, and everybody is just trying to play their man. Nobody is really concerned about weak-side defense and helping each other,” Scott said after Thursday’s practice. “And it was very blatant today when we showed it.”
Scott added, “I asked the guys a question: ‘Do you think that you’re helping each other on the defensive end?'”
To the coach’s relief, his players visibly and verbally saw the same issues.
It’s good to hear that Scott got into his players and that they got to see (and agree on) the mistakes being made. All season the team has been poor defensively, but the three game road trip offered an even worse atrociousness than what has been displayed all year. Holding them accountable and trying to get them to do what is expected is important.
How this translates to today’s game remains to be seen. I’m neither hopeful nor discouraged, but more interested in how it goes. Earlier in the season, I recall Mitch Kupchak speaking about how he gauges success in a season with so many losses and one thing he mentioned was how hard the players are playing and trying to get a feeling for how responsive they were the coaching staff. So, seeing how the team responds tonight defensively should be something to watch.
Offensively the Lakers have enough talent to get buckets against this version of the Grizzlies. Tony Allen may not play and Marc Gasol is already ruled out. Those two are the heart of Memphis’ defensive attack. Yes, Mike Conley offers strong perimeter defense and Matt Barnes/Lance Stephenson are capable, but if the Lakers can get through that first wave of perimeter pressure they can get some shots in the paint and use that penetration to create open outside looks.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.