Alexander: Lakers’ extra-pass mentality is working


LOS ANGELES — Frank Vogel calls it “extra-pass basketball.” It seems like a risky concept on a team with two dominant superstars, but consider: When the best player is also the best passer, the idea of making that extra pass to get a better look becomes cooler.

Thus, there was this sequence early in the second quarter of Friday night’s 95-80 victory over Miami, with the ball zipping back and forth across the court: LeBron James to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to Alex Caruso to Kyle Kuzma for a layup. If there is justice, that sequence will have a prominent place in the Lakers’ end-of-season highlight film, no matter how this season ends.

It wasn’t an anomaly. There were a lot of “hockey assists” flying around Staples Center on Friday night, the term for the pass that leads to the pass that leads to the score. The Lakers finished with 30 assists on 40 made field goals, and they only shot 44.9 percent and just 8 for 32 from the 3-point line.

“If we shoot the ball well, we’ll probably have 40 assists, and Anthony (Davis) is looking at probably a triple-double,” Vogel said. “But he’s sharing the ball well. LeBron’s sharing the ball well. Everybody’s trying to buy into extra-pass basketball, and it’s going to work for us.”

The obvious highlight in the Lakers’ seventh consecutive victory after their opening night loss to the Clippers was a defensive effort that held Miami to 80 points, including 34 in the second half, and 35 percent shooting.

But offensive struggles often bleed onto the other end of the court and result in a lackluster defensive effort. Yet Friday night the ball was moving efficiently around the court, everybody was involved and everybody was getting good looks, and that energy carried over to the defensive end.

“They were playing that zone, trying to muck up the game coming off a back-to-back,” guard Alex Caruso said. “I had an open three. I think Quinn (Cook) had an open three. We were getting great shots, we just weren’t making them, and the hardest thing in basketball is to try to fight through that, that mental block or mental fatigue, and not let it affect you on the other end. We did that (bogged down) for a couple possessions, but then we got back into it and finished the half out.”

Attention, young basketball players: It can be a fun environment when the ball …read more

Source:: Dailynews – News


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