Lakers were short-handed with James out against the Clippers on Tuesday and they got a valiant effort from D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Davis but fell short, losing 127-116 against their hallway rivals.
There's not much to take away from a gutsy performance sans your best player, but one aspect Darvin Ham highlighted was the team's effort rebounding, particularly on the offensive glass.
"It's something we identified, we talked about, we've been talking about, but we really made it an emphasis this morning at shootaround," Ham said postgame. "We have five, six guys who really can get us some money on the offensive glass in terms of getting extra possessions for us and certain guys, their job is going to be support whoever is crashing, they have to sprint back and start our transition defense early. It's something we definitely identified. It went well tonight."
On the stats the Lakers won the offensive battle outrebounding the Clippers 13-6. Holistically there is still work to be done as they were outrebounded by two, but that margin is small enough that it wasn’t a huge factor in the team’s defeat.
As former Lakers head coach Pat Riley once said, "No rebounds, no rings."
Grabbing rebounds is crucial. On the offensive side of the ball, they give your team another opportunity and extend your possession and with the Lakers shooting 36% from three, there will be plenty of opportunities to do so.
Defensively, they end possessions and allow you the option of slowly setting up your offense or pushing the tempo once you secure the ball.
If you want a demonstration of what a rebound is and how one team outrebounds another, Taurean Prince gave a perfect demonstration in college.
It didn't result in a win but even as we inch towards the 50-game mark establishing these habits leads to winning basketball.
The Lakers have barely practiced this year, so their time on the court together is precious. It's a good sign that Ham is using this time to work on weaknesses and sees some of what they've worked on being applied on the court. Even though Ham has made it clear scheming to win the rebounding battle is not a thing.
Now, let's see if they can turn these lessons into wins soon, as they are currently hanging on to a play-in spot in the West.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.