Don’t ‘harp’ after more poor Lakers shots

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers can’t hit shots from outside. That is evident after LA shot 9-for-45 to 3 in Thursday night’s 103-97 loss to the Clippers. That total somehow managed to be even worse than the Lakers’ 10-for-40 clip, deep in their opening night loss to the Golden State Warriors.

But while LeBron James flatly complained about his team’s lack of “lasers” on the roster after the Warriors game, he didn’t add anything to that chorus on Thursday, even after the Lakers went 0-for-9 on three-pointers in the fourth. quarter.

“I’m certainly not going to sit here and insist on what we can’t do every game,” James said when asked about his team’s increasing misses. “That’s not a leader. What I know we can do? We can defend ourselves. We did that tonight, which gave us a chance to win and we just couldn’t deliver. But I’m okay with that.”

The Lakers held the Clippers — one of the oddsmakers’ favorites to win the NBA title — at just 103 points and 80 total shots, with the pressure on the ball from the Lakers leading the Clippers to 22 turnovers. were forced.

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James assured reporters that shooting would improve in LA, but added that it won’t be the winning formula the team relies on.

“If we depend on [sufficient outside shooting] every game, we’re in trouble,” James said. “So I don’t worry or think about that. It’s how hard we play, how aggressively we play, how determined we are to fight every night. And we have to defend. When we defend, we give ourselves a good chance of winning.”

It was acknowledged by the entire team that the Lakers were shooting themselves in the foot by taking off like that, but they can’t shy away from an open mind.

“Don’t let missed shots take away your confidence,” said Anthony Davis, who was 2-for-4 of 3 while the rest of LA’s starters were 5-for-29. “Keep shooting at them, have faith in your shot. And they will fall. There’s nothing you can do but keep shooting.”

Coach Darvin Ham said the Lakers’ analysis department determined that the team had more high-quality shots in their stats than any of the other three teams playing on opening night, reinforcing his belief that these are the shots his team would take. have to take.

Ham was asked after the game if the shots might have been open as the opposing defense filled in the lane to cut off driving opportunities and challenged the Lakers to shoot.

“You could say that,” said Ham. “But, I mean, we just have to take care of our business. That’s the way we want to play. If they want to give us those shots, then we’ll accept it wholeheartedly. I mean, that’s the way we want to. want to play fast, physically and for free.

“And again, we see these guys in practice taking shots and shooting around. They have to do it on the playing floor. It’s that simple.”

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook had a particularly tough night of shooting on Thursday, going 0-for-11 overall (including 0-for-6 of 3), but even his night was defended by James.

“Just flush it down the toilet and get ready for Sunday,” James said, when asked if he had any advice for Westbrook. “He’s a veteran. We’ve all had bad shooting nights. I’ve had bad shooting nights. Everyone in this league has had bad shooting nights. Who cares? I thought he played a great game. Defensively he was in tune. He was sitting locked up. He pushed the pace. He just didn’t make shots, and that’s OK.”

Westbrook, who finished with five steals, four assists and just one turnover aside from missed shots, was also looking ahead to the next game against the Portland Trail Blazers when asked to rate his performance.

“Solid,” he said of his night. “Played hard. All you can ask for. Move on to the next one.”

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