LeBron James Takes Aim at Lakers Defense

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers.

On November 4, the Los Angeles Lakers fell to a 130-116 defeat at the hands of the Utah Jazz. 

Speaking to the media following the game, LeBron James took aim at the Lakers’ defense, noting how their improved offense counted for nothing due to their inability to get stops on the defensive side of the floor.

“We don’t never want it to happen, but there are some games throughout the course of an 82-game season where you obviously just don’t have it defensively. And we didn’t have it for 48 minutes. We had it in spurts. But, we know in order for us to win, we’ve gotta defend. And, tonight, I think we had a 50-40-90 offensive night, and we still lost. So, that’s why I was talking earlier in the season about ‘it’s not about the offense, we have to defend.’ Obviously, we gotta make shots, but if we defend, we’re gonna give ourselves a better chance to win,” LeBron said.

LeBron provided the Lakers with a double-double performance, ending the contest with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, as he once again flirted with a triple-double performance despite going 0-of-5 from deep.

With their latest loss, the Lakers are now 2-6 on the season, however, it’s clear the Lakers are improving and their offense is finally starting to click.

Darvin Ham Unimpress With Latest Loss

When speaking to the media during his post-game press conference, Darvin Ham made his feeling on the Lakers’w porous defense abundantly clear, stating the team had taken a backward step in their development with their latest loss.

“We took a huge step backward tonight. Giving up 75 points in the first half, and giving them at least three 30-plus-point quarters. We can’t play like that. We were good during different small stretches. But, the overall picture that was painted by us defensively, sucks. And, we’ll address it through film, practice, get together tomorrow, and dig deep and do a deep dive on why things were the way they were tonight,” Ham said.

Worryingly, the Lakers have hung their hat on the defensive end of the floor to begin the season, and due to their limitations on offense, one would assume they’re trying to build a defensive identity to see them through the upcoming season, so it makes sense that Ham was left frustrated by his team inability to limit a rebuilding Jazz team on November 4.

Westbrook Starting to Show Signs of Life

The Lakers’ defense might have been subpar against the Jazz, but at least Ham and the rest of the coaching staff can take solace in the fact that Russell Westbrook appears to be thriving in his new role off the bench.

Against the Jazz, Westbrook provided Los Angeles with 26 points, six assists, three rebounds, and two steals while shooting 60% from the perimeter and 64.3% from the field. For a player who many were saying had lost his touch, Westbrook is quickly proving that when put in the right position to succeed, he is still a star-level guard capable of punishing opposing defenses and orchestrating an offense.

Assuming the Lakers can get their defense back on track, the Western Conference organization should be able to turn the tide on their slow start to the season and begin climbing their way up the conference rankings, and Westbrook’s resurgence as the sixth man is playing a significant part in their slowly changing fortunes.

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