The Los Angeles Lakers played four games last week and finished with three losses and one win. The lone victory was a 108-103 win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon. D’Angelo Russell led the team with 28 points and five assists. Julius Randle helped chip in with 18 points and 11 rebounds. The win put them in a tie with the Phoenix Suns in the win column at 22 apiece.
The losses came against the Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Los Angeles Clippers. In each game the Lakers allowed a player from the opposing team to score 30-plus points. That kind of defense is not going to cut if they want to be successful in the future.
With only a few games left in the season the Lakers should focus on details so that they can head into the offseason with a little bit of momentum and confidence.
Here is what’s trending up and trending down with the Lakers this week.
What a pleasant surprise Nwaba has been since his call up from the D-League. He started off a bit slow but has since amped up his play. Against the Clippers he finished with a career-high 19 points. His constant energy and hustle off the bench gives his teammates a spark when he steps onto the floor. If he can continue to play well he will most likely find a spot on the team for next season.
Aside from his two-point outing against the Clippers, Russell had a pretty solid week. He finished in double-digits in the other three games, including pouring in 28 points in the win over the Grizzlies. His season has been a bit rocky, but he has often rebounded with nice games to redeem himself after struggling. His focus heading into the offseason has to be finding ways to be more consistent and involved when his shot is not falling.
Robinson arguably had his best week as a Laker the past three games. He finished in double-digits in each one, including a 12-point, 15-rebound game against the Grizzlies. Like Nwaba, he provides a nice spark off the bench for the Lakers. His teammates, coaches, and fans welcome the energy he brings nightly. Hopefully he shows the Lakers front office that he belongs on the team moving forward with the few games remaining in the season.
Defense has been the Lakers Achille’s heel all season. They allowed a 100-plus points in each of their four games last week. It is hard to win a game when the defense let’s the opposition score easy baskets and get open looks. In the five games remaining, they should focus a little more on the defensive end and start working their way to become better on that side of the court. Once the Lakers begin playing defense, the wins will follow.
The Lakers were outrebounded in three of their four games last week which just can’t happen. They have the size and strength to be a better rebounding team, but when the opposition gets high-percentage looks it puts a lot of pressure on the bigs’ to contest shots which can take them out of rebounding position. If they can become a better rebounding team the Lakers will be able to get easier opportunities to get out in transition and get some easy baskets.