After making just 10-of-40 three-pointers in their regular season opener on Tuesday, the Lakers were even worse on Thursday, hitting 9-of-45 in a loss to the Clippers. LeBron James, who acknowledged the team’s lack of “lasers” following Tuesday’s loss, didn’t want to focus on that roster hole again on Thursday, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.
“I’m definitely not going to sit here and harp on what we can’t do every single game,” James said when asked about the Lakers’ shooting struggles. “That’s not a leader. What I know we can do? We can defend our ass off. We did that tonight, which gave us an opportunity to win and we just couldn’t make it happen. But, I’m OK with that.”
James expects the shooting numbers to improve, since the Lakers obviously will make more than 22.4% of their three-point attempts this season. However, he admitted that the team can’t afford to live and die on whether those outside shots are falling.
“If we’re reliant on (solid three-point shooting) every single game, then we’re in trouble,” James said, per McMenamin. “So I’m not worried about that or thinking about that. It’s how hard we play, how aggressive we play, how determined we are to go out and compete every night. And we got to defend. When we defend, we’re going to give ourselves a good chance to win.”
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- Russell Westbrook played solid defense and had five steals on Thursday, but went 0-for-11 from the floor and scored just two points. Clippers forward Paul George defended his former teammate after the game, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relays (via Twitter). “It’s hard when you’ve got the pressure they’re putting on him here. Quite frankly, it’s not geared for him with the roster they have,” George said. “… He was very easily a 30-10-10 guy when he had the keys to the team. We can’t forget about that.”
- After Westbrook said that coming off the bench “absolutely” was a factor in his minor hamstring injury last Friday, he and head coach Darvin Ham spoke about the issue and reached an “understanding,” Ham told reporters prior to Thursday’s game (link via McMenamin). Although Ham was fine with Westbrook saying what he did, the Lakers’ coach stressed that he and his staff “would in no way, shape or form put a player or an employee in harm’s way.”
- In a conversation with Marc J. Spears of Andscape about being a first-time head coach with the Lakers, Ham said it will take some time for the new-look roster to get comfortable with each other — and with his system. “Chemistry is not like Malt-O-Meal. It’s not instant,” Ham said. “You don’t just throw it in the microwave. That is something that has to be baked over the course of time and we’ll get there. The more we keep getting the reps in when we are about to practice and shoot around, film work, we’ll get to the point where we know each other and it’s second nature the way we play basketball. That definitely is the goal, and it takes time. Just got to be willing to be patient.”
- The South Bay Lakers – L.A.’s G League affiliate – have acquired Devin Cannady‘s NBAGL rights from the Lakeland Magic, the team announced in a press release. Cannady was waived by Orlando last weekend after not making the team’s regular season roster.