Lakers emphasize defense in practice
Many of the Lakers may have been given a day off physically, but Coach Phil Jackson used Saturday's practice to dissect on film the team's defensive lapses in its 108-103 victory Friday over the Toronto Raptors.
The Lakers remained well aware of their gaffes afterward, with coach and player accounts pointing to poor communication on pick-and-rolls and help defense contributing to Toronto's 58 points in the paint, 24 fastbreak points and 49-31 rebounding deficit. But even if Jackson viewed the Lakers' (6-0) win as a teachable moment, he saved those sentiments for Saturday's practice.
"Some of it is we got confused about a zone, and our rotation defensively and rebound wise was poor," Jackson said. "Other things was we just made mistakes to get back in transition and let guys run behind us. You just don't want to give up transition baskets."
It remains unclear how that will translate when the Lakers play at Staples Center on Sunday against Portland (4-2), a team that in Jackson's mind will "pose a great challenge for us to stay undefeated." The Lakers' practice Saturday involved little physical work. Jackson gave the starters the day off in hopes that more rest wold keep them fresh, particularly with Pau Gasol (43 minutes) and Lamar Odom (38 minuts) logging a lot of game time against the Raptors. The bench worked on three-on-three drills, Gasol worked on various rubber band exercises and Lakers forward Luke Walton reported his hamstring remains in good condition.
The Lakers will soon find out if the same applies to the team's defense, which has allowed more than 100 points in five of six games.
"It's everything put together," Lakers guard Steve Blake said. "We're not really bad in one area but when you put little mistakes all over the court, it hurts. Fortunately, it didn't hurt us enough to lose the game."
-- Mark Medina
E-mail the Lakers blog at email@example.com.