In the NBA playoffs, Game 4 is often the pivotal game in a series, whether it’s the NBA Finals, or the first round. In each such game they’ve faced so far, the Lakers have been holding a 2-1 lead, just like they are against the Miami Heat right now. In all three previous cases, they’ve won the next two games and the round.
After watching the film from a loss, the Lakers have typically responded pretty well. It’s why they weren’t overly worried about their Game 3 defeat, and they saw some things they think they can clean up.
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“Our turnovers really killed us,” James said after practice on Monday the day after the Lakers coughed up the ball 19 times against the Heat. “We can’t turn the ball over versus this team. We also had some breakdowns defensively throughout the course of the game that we’re not accustomed to having. Those will be cleaned up in Game 4.”
Davis, Vogel and Green all said that communication on defense was a big issue as well, suggesting that it was a factor that was more than covered in their film session.
“You can’t really tell if someone is communicating on film, but you can tell, if you kind of get what I mean,” Davis said, adding that the team was also both over-helping and letting players slip screens and get to the rim unencumbered. “We were having blown coverages. There was a lot of space on the floor for guys to drive to the basket with no resistance, no help. Guys were hung up on their man. You could tell that we weren’t ourselves defensively.”
Vogel said the Lakers “typically communicate as well as any team” he’s ever been a part of, so he expects them to be better in that respect in Game 4. Green thinks that part of the solution for all the issues, though, is just the Lakers locking in more.
“I think more so than anything have to get everybody on the same page mentally. Physically I think we’re fine. Mentally, emotionally, I think guys need to stay in the moment and not look at the light at the end of the tunnel,” Green said.
“We’ve got to protect each other. We have to help each other,” Davis added. “That wasn’t the case last night, and a big reason why we lost.”
James is confident that all of it will be better on Tuesday night.
“We’re able to take a loss and understand why we lost. Understand things that we should have done better and things that we can apply to the next game to be better. We’re right back at that moment once again with the opportunity to be better than we were in the game before,” James said.
“Looking forward to the opportunity tomorrow night.”
Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat 4 Oct 2020 Replays Full Game