The Los Angeles Lakers won most of their games at the beginning of the 2019-20 NBA season on the back of their defense, a necessity given that head coach Frank Vogel was still trying to install his offensive playbook.
However, midway through the season and it is clear the Lakers are coming together on the offensive end as they have put up some high point totals during their current win streak.
Despite a slow start in the first half, Los Angeles exploded for 81 points in the second half en route to a blowout win against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Vogel detailed how playing more uptempo has helped the Lakers offense come around.
“I think in the first half, we were executing decently and we missed a lot of open looks. But the second half, I think once we felt like we got the game under control, then everybody starts feeling confident,” Vogel said.
“And we try to preach pace. Our offensive pace in the first half of the last two games on the last trip was off the charts, we scored over 70 points. We wanted to start the game that way, we didn’t really start the game that way, and sometimes that happens. But, you continue to talk about it and preach it and ask for it and push for it and it came around. Obviously our pace gets negated if we don’t get stops and if we foul, so we did a better job with that in the second half as well.”
With their size and length on the inside, it makes sense for Los Angeles to play slower than most of the teams in the league but there seems to be a concerted effort to try and run more since the new year started. Pushing the ball up court has done wonders as the Lakers have been able to take advantage of mismatches in transition for easy buckets which in turn fuels their defense.
LeBron James looked to be picking his spots to start the game against his former team, but kicked into high gear after halftime, racing the ball up court for drives to the rim or kick-outs to the team’s shooters. The pressure he exerted on the Cavaliers defense allowed the Lakers to go up big in the fourth and put the game away early.
Playing faster is working well for the purple and gold and they should look to run out more when the Orlando Magic come to visit next.