The Los Angeles Lakers’ defense looked improved in their opening preseason game, a 98-95 victory over the Denver Nuggets. But the opposite was the case in their second game of the preseason.
The Lakers allowed open jumpers and drives to the basket as they fell to the Golden State Warriors 120-105. Afterwards, head coach Byron Scott seemed to accept some of the team’s defensive breakdowns, but not for much longer according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
Scott’s going to give guys some leeway about breakdowns 9 days into training camp, but not for long. Expects better than it was tonight.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 10, 2014
The Warriors shot 56 percent from the field and 57 percent from the three-point line as the Lakers simply couldn’t keep up with them, especially the guard tandem of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Scott seems to understand that the Lakers will need more time to truly grasp and execute the defensive system he has put in place, but there are some things Scott is struggling to accept according to the OC Register’s Bill Oram:
Byron not pleased with defensive effort, comminication. Doesn't understand getting beaten on straight dribble drives.
— Bill Oram (@bill_oram) October 10, 2014
Turning the Lakers from one of the league’s worst defensive teams into even a league average defensive team will be a long process, but everyone on the team seems to be buying into the belief that defense must come first.
There are sure to be growing pains, and the Warriors are one of the toughest teams in the league to guard. The effort and mentality is there, even if the execution isn’t yet.
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