Lakers: Defense and rebounding are the keys to a championship

Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers need two things: defense and rebounding.

The Los Angeles Lakers have now won two straight playoff games against the Portland Trail Blazers and now sit with a 2-1 lead. Throughout the series, Portland has been unable to replicate their elite offensive production and that’s mainly due to the Lakers’ stifling defense.

So far, the Blazers have shot 40% or less on all three games against the Lakers and Portland has yet to crack the 110 point mark in any game of the series. Keep in mind that this was a Blazers team that ranked 3rd in adjusted offensive rating and whose main offensive weapon, Damian Lillard, came in scorching hot after being named Bubble MVP.

The Purple and Gold have had success all season long when they hold their opponents to a field goal percentage of 40% or less. In fact, according to, the Lakers went undefeated in the regular season games in which such instances occurred (11-0).

There is a reason that they had the 3rd best adjusted defensive rating in the league. Most of Frank Vogel’s teams have been very proficient on defense dating back to his days with the Indiana Pacers. Having a defensive player of Anthony Davis’ caliber also helps.

Another key aspect of the Lakers’ success on defense is the ability to hold their opponents to low scoring games. Per, in the games in which the Lakers held their opponents to 110 points or less, LA had a record of 36-6.

That is the sign of an elite defense and it proves that the Lakers can do this every given night. So far, they have proved capable of shutting down an elite offense for three straight games. As the cliche goes, offense wins games but defense wins championships.

Rebounding is also important for the Los Angeles Lakers

Rebounding is oftentimes an overlooked stat. It is true that huge rebounding stats are not always an indicator of success (hello Houston Rockets), but for the Lakers, this has been a huge part of their success in the playoffs.

During the regular season, the Lakers ranked 9th in rebounds per game at 45.7 and they actually struggled with their rebounding for a while. But so far during the playoffs, the 16-time champions lead the league in rebounds per game at 53.3.

The Lakers have outrebounded Portland during every game of the series and it is no surprise that it has led to wins for LA. Moreover, during the regular season, the Lakers had a record of 12-2 when they had 50 rebounds or more in a game (one of those losses came against the Blazers).

With players such as Dwight Howard, Javale McGee, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James on the roster, the Lakers should have no problem dominating the boards.

This is critical for them to win a championship as their likely second-round opponent (Houston Rockets) is one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA Playoffs and their rivals across the hallway (Clippers) don’t have the personnel to consistently keep them off the boards.

The Los Angeles Lakers are primed for a deep playoff run. After that Game 1 scare, the Lakers have looked like their usual selves, dominant on defense, crashing the boards, and letting LeBron and AD lead the way.

Four lessons in Game 3 win. dark. Next

They have the right coach and players for their identity and they are not going to stop any time soon. Other teams should take note because the LakeShow is coming your way.