The Lakers’ wild third quarter on Sunday night in their win over the Nuggets was capped off by a 13-0 run that featured a heavy dose of Lonnie Walker IV. The premier signing of the offseason for the Lakers, Walker has started the season off strong, with his performance against Denver the latest of his bright games.
Walker’s 3-point shooting, like the rest of the team, hasn’t been all that great as he’s shooting 21.9% from the 3-point line. That figure rose on Sunday, though, behind his hot shooting, even if it wasn’t necessarily responsible shooting.
As the Lakers have emphasized not settling for 3-pointers, Anthony Davis was quick to remind Walker of that even on a make during that third quarter. Hilariously, Walker was too on fire to care.
“Actually, the play tonight where Lonnie hit the pull-up three on the right wing across from their bench and they called timeout,” Davis said postgame. “I actually went to him and told him ‘Even though you made it, it’s an iffy shot. I don’t want us to fall in love with it where we’re shooting bad shots.’ Then a couple possessions down, he shot it and missed.”
The shot that AD is referencing at first is probably the most memorable shot of that third-quarter run, though it appears he may have combined two plays while misremembering as this was the pull-up 3-pointer across from the Nuggets’ bench.
It was quite a few possessions later before Walker recorded another shot. Not until the fourth quarter, to be specific. But the rest of the description fits the bill.
It’s hard to blame Walker for taking the shot, especially considering how sizzling he was on the night. But AD’s overarching point, which he went on to make, is the right mindset for the Lakers to have.
“I’m just trying to preach to the guys about time, score, situation,” Davis said. “We don’t want to let another (game) slip away by shooting bad shots and shooting threes. Even though some guys were open, we made a conscious effort of attacking the basket knowing that their rim protection wasn’t there. They have bad rim protection so we wanted to be attacking the basket and finishing at the rim and when the time comes to make shots, that’s how you stay in rhythm shooting great shots.”
The Lakers shot 13-of-30 from the 3-point line on Sunday which is easily their best outing of the season. If their mindset made that much of an impact on their shooting, then hopefully they can apply that moving forward.
Except for Lonnie Walker. He can keep firing away.