In his second game back, Kobe Bryant immediately noticed something that his teammates should take note of for them to succeed or even make the playoffs in the upcoming season.
The Lakers lost to the Jazz in their first pre-season game and now, they also lost by a significant margin against the Toronto Raptors. What went wrong? For Kobe, they need to improve their defense.
“Whether guys are jelling emotionally or not, I don’t care. At this point, we’ve got to execute,” Bryant told reporters via LA Times .
“A lot of [defense] is experience, timing, knowing the other team … Staying in front of the ball, that’s really important to us – close-out defense.”
Seconding Bryant’s comment is head coach Byron Scott as he also noticed the lack of enthusiasm on the defensive side of the court.
“Containing the dribble, that was the biggest [deficiency],” Scott said. “We’re just not guarding people very well. We’re getting beat on the little things we keep harping about.”
It might be pre-season, but it already reflects the type of basketball a team will play once the real games begin.
“As I told those guys, we’re less than three weeks away. They better start getting it quick.”
“But we’re still making mistakes,” he said. “Some of it can be neutralized by defending our principles. They understand what we have to do. We seem to be a step or two slow in the process of doing it.”
On the bright side, Kobe acknowledges Lou Williams for the splendid defense he is showing early.
“He’s been active defensively, using his lane to try to disturb ballhandlers,” Bryant said. “He can be really disruptive on the defensive end because of his length.”