The Los Angeles Lakers’ defense is the most important thing to the team getting to the promised land.
As the old saying goes “Defense wins championships” and coming into this season, Frank Vogel and his coaching staff made a point to drive home that the Los Angeles Lakers were going to be a defensive team first.
The mentality clearly followed through with the Lakers finishing top 3 in defensive efficiency. All season the defense was the cheat code the Lakers had to impose their will on the opposing squad and whenever they turned it on everybody was on a string.
So far this postseason, the Lakers are bringing that same grit and grind mindset. For example, the previous game against Houston featured high scoring offense by both squads in the first half with each team putting up 60+. Then the second half began and the Lakers defensive mentality flipped, with each LeBron James swat the team started to gain confidence in each other.
The best part was how in tune everybody was on every rotation especially with certain defenses such as a 3-2 zone, box and one. This matters solely because they didn’t play that way all season; the adjustment on the fly is the testament to the coaches and the players to able to adapt to different situations.
The Rockets finished with 38 points in the second half and to put that in perspective, after the first half, Houston was on pace for 120. At the end of the third after swatting his fourth shot and preventing Houston from going up two, LeBron let Alex Caruso hear it for not running back to box out Covington.
Accountability and leadership are the main traits you want in an elite defense and the Lakers tick all the boxes of a championship level defensive squad.
Each player has stepped up to the task and the best part is the team takes pride in getting multiple stops in a row. If the Lakers are going to win the NBA title they have to continue to defend at this high level and trust each other with proper rotations.
The teams remaining in the playoffs are all elite defenses but none of the teams have Anthony Davis. Being able to go small and still have rim protection because of the defensive versatility of your big man allows you to try different schemes to limit your opponent.
Ultimately, the defense will decide whether banner 17 will be raised.