Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. plays basketball with passion, athleticism, and reckless abandon, which has turned him into a fan favorite. However, even Nance has his off days, and he struggled on the defensive end of the floor against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
While Nance displayed a bit more of a diverse offensive game than he has shown this season, including a couple of floaters and a short jumper in the lane, his defense left a lot to be desired. He particularly had issues when switched onto Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins, who made one critical play after another to seal the victory for the Kings. After the game, Nance sent out a Tweet accepting the blame for the loss:
This ones on me.. gotta be better defensively down the stretch. Learn from it and keep moving forward #LakeShow
— Larry Nance Jr (@Larrydn22) February 15, 2017
Of course, no one was really blaming Nance for the loss to begin with. He was given the unenviable task of attempting to guard Cousins, who is arguably the best center in the league, one-on-one. Cousins overpowers even players his own size, but Nance is a full 40 pounds lighter and two inches shorter, making a difficult task all but impossible.
Nance did appear to be out-of-sync on a few of his rotations on the defensive end, but given the energy that he brings on a nightly basis and the stellar defense that he typically provides, it’s safe to say that he deserves a pass for one rough outing.
Head coach Luke Walton was trying everything he could to slow down Cousins, and turned to Nance when his true centers like Tarik Black, Timofey Mozgov, and Ivica Zubac weren’t up to the task. It didn’t matter much, as Cousins finished with a ridiculous 40 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and a block.
Nance and the Lakers will have a chance to bounce back as they travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns on Wednesday night.