The Lakers are continuing to seek improvement on the defensive end, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. The team is allowing 112 points per game through nine contests, which ranks 27th in the league.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily just one thing,” center DeAndre Jordan said. “But I do believe that we’re making strides. I think that we have seen great periods of defense from us in spurts. We put it together enough to win games, but we still have a long ways to go. We still can get a lot better.”
Los Angeles has a 5-4 record despite coping with several injuries this season. In a 107-104 loss to the Thunder on Thursday, L.A. played without LeBron James, Kendrick Nunn, Trevor Ariza and Talen Horton-Tucker, all of whom are rehabbing from injuries.
There’s more out of the Pacific today:
- Kings big man Richaun Holmes has been fined $15K for throwing his headband into the spectator stands against the Pelicans on Wednesday, the league announced (Twitter link). The incident caused Holmes to receive his second technical foul of the game, leading to an ejection.
- Clippers coach Tyronn Lue believes Paul George can’t afford to worry about the officiating, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. “He has to keep going, like when he drives the ball, of course he’s getting hit, a lot of guys are getting hit, as well,” Lue said. “We know officiating is very tough … we understand that, but the biggest thing to tell PG is to keep going to the basket, continue to play the way you were playing and we’ll see if you can get some calls. But we can’t complain about it, we have to keep playing.”
- The pressure is on Russell Westbrook to step up in the absence of LeBron James, Bill Oram of The Athletic writes. Westbrook’s late-game struggles against the Thunder show that the Lakers still need James to be their primary star, however, Oram contends. “We have enough pieces to still win basketball games,” Anthony Davis said. “Even though he (James) plays a huge part to both ends of the floor to what we do. So, it’s an adjustment period. We’re trying to figure out new schemes and stuff like that without him for however long he’s out.”