(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Lakers Aiming To Learn From Past Mistakes

by Rodrigo Azurmendi
Reportero en español

EL SEGUNDO – Saturday’s practice was all about resetting the mindset.

The loss at Utah exposed some defensive fissures and reminded the Lakers of their offensive reality in the absence of LeBron James and Rajon Rondo.

That’s why Head Coach Luke Walton emphasized a proven message in most of the team’s recent wins: trusting the pass.

“It’s just the right way to play,” he said. “We have to trust our teammates. We’re not going to win if we don’t trust our teammates to make the right play and make those shots. And whether the shots go in or not, that’s not the important thing. The important thing is that we make that play”.

The Lakers had 30 assists in Wednesday’s win against Pistons, but only 14 in Friday’s loss on the road. Walton’s pointed out repeatedly over the last couple of weeks that the team needs to get to a spot where sharing the ball becomes second nature.

“We just keep working on getting good shots,” he added. “Today we didn’t have a lot of bodies again, so it was more working on some of the fundamentals. Making the extra passes, doing your work early offensively as far as setting people up before you come off screens, setting screens once you get in the paint. We’re having coaches clogging up the middle and making another extra pass. I think last night that when we shared the ball and put pressure on them, we got great looks. We didn’t knock them down like we should, but we will if we continue to get more of those types of shots”.

And with the Cavaliers coming to town on Sunday, the team wants to avoid a similar situation to that of the Knicks game a week ago. New York, coming off a nine-game losing streak, upset L.A. at STAPLES Center after jumping to an early 17-point lead. The Cavaliers are winless in their last 12 games.

“We have to learn from our past, learn from the mistakes we made,” Walton said. “Cleveland’s very capable like every team in the NBA…if we have that same mentality we did against the Knicks, then there’s no reason they can’t beat us. I expect us to learn from that, but we’ll reference it”.

Besides, the Cavs’ leading scorer will be properly motivated. Jordan Clarkson, who played 273 games for the Lakers from 2014-18, is averaging a career-high 17.1 points per game this season.

“I bet Jordan’s pretty excited,’” Kyle Kuzma said. “I’m guessing he’s going to try to give it all he’s got, specially coming back to L.A. and playing us. I expect him to try to come out and have a big game, and we have to be ready for that”.

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