Film don't lie: Lakers bemoan G2 shooting woes

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Los Angeles Lakers reconvened on Wednesday for the first time since their Game 2 collapse Monday against the Denver Nuggets.

As crushing as the Denver’s 20-point comeback might have felt in the moment, LeBron James said that Wednesday’s film session let the Lakers see some encouraging signs.

“We generated some great shots,” James said. “We missed a lot of shots at the rim that we’ve been making throughout the course of this season.”

James was 4-for-11 at shots at the rim, tied for the most layups and dunks he’s missed in a playoff game since joining the Lakers, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

“The film session was very revealing with which side of the ball we struggled at,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “We were great defensively. Offensively, there was a lot of shots we wish we could have back.”

Ham said he likes using film sessions to grow as a team because it removes the “postgame emotions” that can skew the perception of what occurred.

To that end, Ham was asked about Anthony Davis’ comments on Monday that were perceived as an indictment of the coaching staff by some when the Lakers center said, “We have stretches where we just don’t know what we’re doing on both ends of the floor.”

Ham figured Davis’ comments came in the heat of the moment and defended his coaching staff.

“I mean, I just think sometimes when plays don’t turn out the way you think they should, then the frustration sets in a little bit,” Ham said. “But I don’t think it’s [from] us not being organized. I think I have incredibly talented coaches all along my staff. We pride ourselves, whether it’s a practice, a shootaround, a film session, a game or whatever, we pride ourselves on being highly efficient and organized. I just chalk that up to being frustrated. It’s an emotional game, the way it ended and all of that.

“But I’ll agree to disagree on that one.”

No one can disagree with the tough position that the Lakers are in.

Down 0-2 against a team that’s now won 10 straight against them and happens to be the defending champions, Thursday’s Game 3 is what the Lakers’ 2023-24 season comes down to, pretty much.

After building a 12-point lead in Game 1 and a 20-point advantage in Game 2, Ham said there is plenty to build on despite the losses.

“You have to understand why you failed at something,” Ham said. “It’s not just, ‘We failed, let’s scrap the whole plan and go this way.’ No. You have to understand why things went the way they went.”

That said, the most important thing for the Lakers is to prove they can hold a lead over Denver with the clock ticking down in the fourth quarter when the outcome is being decided.

“It’s all about sustainability,” James said. “It doesn’t matter what you can do throughout the first 47½ minutes. You got to close the game, which we didn’t do. We got to do a better job of that. But some of the things that we’ve done over the first couple games, we’re very excited and happy about those.

“But we got to do a better job of closing it.”

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