Byron Scott observes as the team runs through plays in practice.
Byron Scott observes as the team runs through plays in practice.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Lakers Aim for Third Quarter Stability

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

In Friday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, momentum turned against the Lakers right after halftime. L.A. surrendered 39 third-quarter points, which head coach Byron Scott highlighted as a major issue.

”The fourth quarters, we’ve been pretty much even, but we’ve gotten ourselves in a hole in the third quarters,” Scott said. “Memphis came out in the third quarter and kind of blitzed us (Wednesday); went up by 12, I think, in that quarter. Last night, (Minnesota) had 40 in the third quarter.

“So it’s really been our third quarters that’s been killing us. So obviously we’re not coming out of the locker room ready to play to start the third quarter. And we gotta change that.”

The Lakers have been outscored in the third quarter in 10 of this season’s 16 games. However, the problem has worsened recently, as L.A. has lost the third-quarter battle eight times in their last 10 contests.

Ed Davis sees the issue as a defensive one. The Lakers have surrendered 30 points or more in six of their past seven third quarters. During this stretch, opponents are outscoring L.A 35-27 per third quarter.

“We gave up like 39 points in the third quarter last game,” Davis said. “It’s hard to win in this league when you give up 30-plus points in a quarter. … (We need to) just buckle down on defense — that’s all there is to it.”

That dedication to defensive improvement will be tested on Sunday when the Lakers host the Toronto Raptors, who boast an offense that ranks second in the league with 107.6 points per game. However, Toronto will be without its leading scorer, DeMar DeRozan (19.4 points per game), who is out indefinitely with a torn tendon in his left groin.

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