Lakers really need to talk about defense

It has been revisited a few times, that one fateful day Byron Scott sat down for his introductory news conference as the coach of the Lakers.

He pledged they would “come ready to defend every single night,” and that was probably one he’d like to have back.

The Lakers continued to be sieves on defense, letting another NBA team rip past the 100-point barrier Friday in a 112-95 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.


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Scott acknowledged some shortcomings as his team entered Friday’s game with the NBA’s third-worst defense (107.1 points a game).

“I thought we could have been better than we are,” he said. “I knew with all the youth that we had it was going to take time. You’ve also got to be patient and understand what you’re dealing with. You’re dealing with 19- and 20-year-olds.”

More on that, please.

“Young guys are just not real used to talking to each other on the defensive end and that’s a habit that we’re trying to break,” Scott said. “The other thing is they’re not used to when their man doesn’t have the ball, being a help defender, making sure that their teammate doesn’t get embarrassed if they’re in the post against a mismatch.

“Sometimes we have a tendency to stand there and watch instead of going and help. They’re just not used to it.”

The Grizzlies were not known as a high-scoring team, but they scored 128 points Wednesday against the Lakers and had 67 in the first half Friday. This was especially bad for the Lakers because Memphis was without center Marc Gasol, done for the season because of a broken foot.

There was more lamenting from Scott even before Friday’s tipoff.

“I thought that our guards would do a little better job of keeping guys in front of them. We haven’t done a very good job of that and they know that,” he said. “Our back-line defense still has to do a better job of reacting. It’s not one thing. It’s five or six things.”

He thought there would be a better effort Friday than two days earlier against the same team. There wasn’t.

“Watching [Wednesday’s game] on tape, I think guys even felt more disappointed because they could see it. Tape doesn’t lie,” he said. “It tells you when you’re playing hard and when you’re not and our guys, I didn’t think, put up much of a fight, especially on the defensive end.”

Randle and Randolph

The comparisons began almost immediately after Julius Randle was drafted as a left-handed and slightly undersized power forward — to Memphis’s Zach Randolph.

The rebounding part is there, but Randle is missing something.

“I think there’s one thing I want Julius to take away from Zach’s game — being able to hit that jump shot every time,” Scott said. "[Randolph] sets you up so well. The thing is he doesn’t do anything fast. He just takes his time, catches it where he wants to catch it, he faces you up and he knocks it down.

“If Julius can get to that point where he’s knocking that shot down like Z-Bo on a consistent basis, the sky’s the limit.”

Randle was shooting 42% before Friday. Randolph is shooting 49% this season.

Follow Mike Bresnahan on Facebook and Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan