This 2022-23 version of the Lakers, so similar to last season’s sorry three-point shooting version, established in one night that it is once again a horrendous three-point shooting team.
LeBron James explained why after the Lakers shot the three-ball against the sharpshooting Golden State Warriors a woeful 25% (10 for 40) in a 123-109 season-opening loss Tuesday night.
“I mean, to be completely honest, we’re not a team that’s constructed of great shooting. And that’s just what the truth of the matter is,” said James, who missed seven of 10 three-pointers. “It’s not like we’re sitting here with a lot of lasers on our team. But that doesn’t deter us from still trying to get great shots. When you get those opportunities, you take them. But we’re not sitting here with a bunch of 40-plus [percent] career three-point shooting guys.”
Because the NBA has become a three-point shooting league, James was asked how the Lakers can win if they can’t shoot straight.
He said they must “continue to defend” and “continue to trust the shot.”
“You put in the work. And if you put the work out on the floor when the cameras are not watching, then you trust it. You trust it,” James said. “And I don’t see myself missing the open looks I had tonight. I mean, I had four or five damn good looks from the three-point line. I put the work in here, so I live with those results.
“And if everybody is putting the work in, you live with those results. That’s all you can do. You continue to defend, you continue to push the ball, you continue to share the ball, you continue to play for one another.”
James used a football analogy of a team that throws underneath routes because it doesn’t have receivers fast enough to get down field and then fans are “wondering why the quarterback is not throwing 20-plus [yard] passes down the field.”
Well, James said, it’s simple.
“That’s how the team is constructed,” James said. “That don’t mean you can’t win. [Tom] Brady did it.”
Here are three takeaways from the Lakers’ loss to the Warriors.
1. Three-point shooting was an issue for the Lakers last season.
And during the preseason.
And now, in their first regular-season game, the Lakers still have a three-point shooting issue.
They shot 34.7% from three-point range last season, 22nd in the NBA.
They shot 28.6% from three-point range in the preseason.
The Lakers made one of 10 from three-point range in the first quarter, three of 21 in the first half and six of 31 through three quarters. The Lakers did make four of nine in the fourth, but the game was out of reach by then.
“It’s a make-or-miss league,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “We just got to continue to get the reps. Get them up in practice. Get them up in shoot-arounds, individual workouts.
“We just got to continue to shoot, shoot, shoot. Repetition. You become better at anything with more reps. So, we just got to get them up.”
2. The Lakers didn’t help their cause by being so sloppy with the basketball.
They turned it over 22 times, leading to 27 points for the Warriors
That’s 22 fewer times for the Lakers to get up a shot. That’s 22 more times on defense.
“It’s the ones that are unforced that kind of drive me crazy,” Ham said. “I don’t mind competitive turnovers. I’m not the turnover coach. I don’t come from that. Just the competitive turnovers, again I can live with. But just the bobbling of the ball, or stepping out of bounds, or something like that, those are the ones that really sting, cause you’re not making the defense work at that point.”
3. The Lakers lost control of the game in the third quarter, getting outscored 32-19.
They shot 28.6% from the field and turned the ball over eight times.
They allowed the Warriors to shoot 50% from the field and fell behind by 27 points in the third.