The Los Angeles Lakers showed just how easy things can come to them on offense this season by scoring 123 points against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. However, they also showed their potential on defense by holding the Warriors to 101 points.
After the game, Anthony Davis — who led all scorers with 22 points on Saturday — told reporters on Spectrum SportsNet that it’s important for the Lakers to start building good habits defensively in the preseason, and that they have to start with effort:
“We want to set a tone for ourselves. Coming out, playing great defensively, moving the ball offensively, getting great shots. Even though in these preseason games the minutes are not going to be the same as the regular season, we want to come out and portray the type of team that we’re going to be in the amount of minutes that we have. So anytime we get on the floor for these next five games and preseason, we want to make sure that we come out and do the things that we need to do to help us.”
While Davis and JaVale McGee were making life hard on the Warriors in the paint with their 7’6” (!!!) wingspans, Avery Bradley was doing everything he could to bother Stephen Curry, and Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel took notice after the game:
“He creates a presence. He picks him up as soon as the jump ball happens. Steph gets his first touch on the ball and that guy is right under his chin. That sets a tone for our defense. So, a few possessions later, Steph goes to bring it up and he’s advancing it with the pass. So he’s immediately changed what their look is like. He definitely set a tone for our guys tonight, and I look forward to seeing it night in and night out.”
Bradley played just 12 minutes and 41 seconds against the Warriors, but in that time he posted a defensive rating of 84.8 and an overall net rating of +3.4. For context, Rajon Rondo posted a 95.5 defensive rating in 18:45. Alex Caruso led all point guards with a 83.7 defensive rating.
Unfortunately, Bradley can’t be a pest for the Lakers on defense for all 48 minutes, so it’s going to be important for Vogel to have a defensive-minded player on the floor at all times, whether that’s Caruso, Bradley, McGee or Dwight Howard.
The Lakers will have another opportunity to show their defensive potential on Thursday, when they’re scheduled to take on Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and the Brooklyn Nets in China.