To this point, the Los Angeles Lakers have figured out a way to win games while expending the absolute least amount of energy possible. Given how light their schedule has been, that approach has worked for the most part, but it was always going to bite them as their schedule gets tougher, and there are easy corrections to make, according to Danny Green.
The Lakers have gotten by with this approach to games given the overall caliber of the teams they’ve played against, but it’s also led to some bad habits. Danny Green was asked after their loss Sunday afternoon to the Dallas Mavericks about the effort the team puts out consistently, and he acknowledged their somewhat-flawed approach so far.
“We’ve got to put four quarters together. We can’t play from behind and dig ourselves into a hole because that’s when it gets dangerous. We’ve dug ourselves a couple this past week or so and eventually that will catch up to us, and tonight it did,” Green said.
”We want to make as (few) mistakes as possible for as long as possible, and that’s 48 minutes. Right now we know we’re playing consistently for maybe 35 minutes. Today it seemed like it was only 24, or 20,” Green continued. “We’ve got to get in the 40-minute range of playing solid basketball.”
35 minutes is a gentle reading of how the Lakers have been playing recently.
Most games have gone as such: They’ll expend enough energy to stay close to their opponent as long as possible, and then use a dominant, five-minute run to put the game away.
Again, there isn’t much to complain about given the fact that they share the league’s best record (17-3) with the Milwaukee Bucks right now, even after Sunday’s loss to the Mavericks, but anyone who’s paid close attention to the team saw that blowout coming.
What’s going to be interesting to watch is how the Lakers rebound following yesterday’s defeat. Over the next week, they’ll travel to Denver, Utah and Portland, then take on the Minnesota Timberwolves back at home. They say they don’t want to drop consecutive games, but that’s a brutal stretch.
Back-to-back losses isn’t exactly the kind of thing that should completely alter a team’s game-to-game strategy, but if Green and the Lakers are serious about avoiding such a thing, they’ll have to seriously reconsider their approach to how much effort they put in to each game.