Lakers look to fix their faults as they prepare to play Pistons
The Lakers had a rare practice Saturday, a chance to get up and down the court and prepare for the sets they expect to see when they face the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night at Staples Center.
Just as important for the Lakers was the video session they had before the practice.
Forward Kyle Kuzma acknowledged the Lakers need film study because it reminds them of the little things they need to do.
“Whether it’s pointing out … whether it’s just we’re not boxing out,” Kuzma said. “We have a thing where we’re not the best at boxing out because we have great rebounders and sometimes it bites us. And we just try to apply it to the next game and just get better at it.”
The Pistons have the NBA’s top rebounder in center Andre Drummond. The three-time league leader is averaging 15.8 rebounds after collecting 18 in a win over Golden State on Saturday.
Over the course of the 82-game season, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said, the film sessions and time on the court can carry the same weight.
“They are both equal,” Vogel said. “Our guys have an ability to learn in the film room and take in it out onto the court without touching the court, which is better probably than any team that I’ve been a part of. But the live reps of moving and talking and communicating with each other and reacting, that just takes it to another level.”
Added Kuzma, “That’s been the diagnosis of our season, pretty much, the film room.”
Those end-of-quarter long-distance heaves that Kuzma frequently hoists, and occasionally makes, have become a source of inspiration for teammates and fans.
When they go in, they can quickly change the momentum of the game.
Kuzma has shot enough of those from half court or three-quarters court that when asked if it has become his specialty, he said, “I guess it is.”
“I don’t really care about percentages too much,” said Kuzma, who is making 42.5% of his shots from the field and 35.4% of his three-pointers. “I just play basketball and just shoot because it’s fun. Plus, you can hit the shot and the crowd goes crazy and it’s exciting.”
The Lakers shook off a four-game losing streak and some drama among players to end December atop the Western Conference with a favorable schedule ahead.
Kuzma said it has become kind of “just automatic” for teammates to look for him when the clock is winding down to end the quarter.
“We have the golden rule that I get every last-second shot,” Kuzma said. “Except for the fourth quarter — that’s LeBron [James] time. But the first through third, that’s kind of, that’s mine. I’ve hit like 10 of them. That’s how it’s come about.”
His first three-pointer of the season was a buzzer-beating, half-court heave against the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 3. He made another one Nov. 23 against the Memphis Grizzlies. He made long-range three-pointers to end the first and second quarters against the Utah Jazz on Dec. 4.
When: 7 p.m., Sunday.
On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet; Radio: 710, 1330.
Update: The Pistons had lost three consecutive games and eight of their last 10 before defeating the Golden State Warriors 111-104 on Saturday. Pistons center Andre Drummond leads Detroit in scoring (17.6), steals (2.0) and blocked shots (1.8). Detroit played Saturday with Blake Griffin (left knee), Luke Kennard (both knees), Markieff Morris (left foot) and Reggie Jackson (back) sidelined by injuries.
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