On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers will face the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers have been taking games down to the wire with three overtimes in the past four games. This means that the starters and main bench rotation have been playing a lot of minutes. This season in particular is bringing issues of fatigue into question because of the short off season for the Lakers and the amount of games this season. Despite this fatigue, to continue to win games the Lakers need to make sure they are fundamentally sound.
The Denver Nuggets are 13-11 and are currently sitting at third in the Northwest Division. Right now, Nikola Jokic is leading the team in points, rebounds, and assists. Jokic is averaging 26.9 points per game, 11.2 rebounds per game, and 8.6 assists per game. While Jokic is having an All-Star season, the Nuggets have other players who can score the ball. Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton are also averaging double digit points per game. The Nuggets are a talented team.
There are a few keys that the Lakers could tune into to make themselves that much more successful on Sunday.
1. Active Defense
The Lakers are a very defensive-minded team, with Dennis Schroder, Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol. Their defense is what drives their offense and shifts the momentum in the Lakers favor. While they are skilled in this area, when the team struggles, its often because of defense. A drop in defensive intensity seems to have a domino effect on the team. The Lakers need to play intense defense the whole game on Sunday.
2. Getting Everyone Involved
LeBron James and Davis carry a lot of the weight for the team because of just how great they are. While these two All-Stars are capable of bringing the team to victory, things get that much easier when the scoring is more spread out. Everyone on the Lakers team has the ability to score and do their role. Each player playing their role perfectly will make the team that much more successful.
3. Consistency During the Whole Game
The Lakers need to make sure that their energy remains the same throughout the game. No matter who is on the court together, the energy should be the same. The cohesion and chemistry that the Lakers exhibit becomes dangerous when the energy on the court is good. The Lakers know their potential and should play to that level the whole game.
The Lakers have the potential to be great but they need to make sure that they are ready to play from the start. The success they have had to this point is because of their talented team. And they can keep the train rolling all the way to the championship.