The Los Angeles Lakers won their second game in a row in an overtime thriller against the New Orleans Pelicans. In what was pegged as a must-win so early in the season, they got a heroic shot from Matt Ryan at the end of regulation to save themselves from a tough sixth loss in seven games.
On this week’s episode of “I Love Basketball”, Raj and Sabreena recap a raucous win. They discuss if there’s actually a good team in here, and if the Lakers can pick up some more wins in the coming week as the schedule softens.
The Lakers still can’t throw a rock into the ocean, coming into the game as the worst shooting team in the league. They would make just 28% of their threes tonight, and win off the strength of their defense.
The Lakers boasted the number two-ranked defense coming into the Pelicans game and displayed why in the first half. It’s been the one constant the team can hang its hat on. The Lakers deflected multiple passes and forced the Pelicans to play in what looked like a phone booth. They had Russell Westbrook “front” the post on Zion Williamson while getting backside help from Anthony Davis. Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker chased around the shifty CJ McCollum, forcing him into tough contested shots.
Davis has been a dominant defensive force all season, and Raj and Sabreena couldn’t help but marvel at how that continued. Davis blocked and changed Williamson’s shots at the rim multiple times, getting four blocks to go with his 20 points and 16 rebounds. He has played every minute at center for the Lakers and looks more comfortable as the games go on. The team’s defense has been on a string for most of the season, and Davis is the one pulling them.
Head coach Darvin Ham is starting to get a feel for his rotation. The Lakers have been building an identity of a hard-nosed defensive team that can cause chaos and turnovers. Raj and Sabreena spend much of the podcast discussing how Ham has gotten role players to buy in and what the non-superstars on the Lakers can contribute to an actual good team.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.