EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – A day before the Los Angeles Lakers win over the Brooklyn Nets – just the third Los Angeles win in 13 games played this season – the team held a keynote movie session Saturday. It wasn’t so much what was seen but what was said that had an impact, according to Lakers leaders.
“We had conversations that a team that was 2-10 should have, you know?” Anthony Davis said Wednesday after practice. Coaching staff. Medical staff. Everyone. We just wanted to figure this one out before game day in Brooklyn. And it worked for us.
Lakers first-year head coach Darvin Ham said it was an open forum with many voices involved, ranging from LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and Davis from players to himself, Phil Handy and Chris Jent on staff technician.
“Everyone chimes in,” Ham said. “No idea is a bad idea. The only bad idea is not having an idea. We all pour together. No one takes personal pictures or talks about attacking people’s character – it’s all about attacking what we can do best. We attack the mistakes. How can we be better, how can we be a better basketball team”.
They certainly looked better against the Nets. Offensively, Davis contributed season-highs in points (37) and offensive rebounds (10) and the team shot 40.7% from 3, while defensively, the Lakers held the Nets to 45% overall (25 9% from 3) and allowed just 103 points, tying a season-low by an opponent.
“A lot of emotion,” Davis said when asked to describe the encounter. “Guys voicing their opinions. Some back and forth. But it was all in the nature of trying to get better. So while it might be a back and forth, it was, ‘OK, I hear what you’re saying,'” you heard what i’m saying. So what’s the solution?” Instead of just bumping into each other all the time. So it was a nice dialogue.”
Ham said there’s a balance that needs to be struck when emotions come into play.
“I think you have to be careful, because passion can turn emotional,” Ham said. “You want to be passionate. You don’t want to be emotional.”
Westbrook, whose decision-making process in the Lakers’ loss to the Sacramento Kings was mentioned by Davis the night before the game in the feature’s postgame comments, also talked about how beneficial the match was.
“I think things are moving in the right direction,” Westbrook said. “That’s all you can ask for.”
Beverley first spoke about the movie session after the Nets game with the Lakers’ broadcast partner, Spectrum SportsNet.
“You have to give LeBron a lot of credit,” Beverley said. “He started coming up on guys right and the guys in the locker room responded. So, give him credit for leadership of him.”
Davis said Beverley’s leadership style has been a fit for the team, but he comes with sage advice even when the packaging isn’t perfect.
“You have to listen. You can’t hear what they’re saying. You have to listen to what they’re saying,” Davis said. “You can not [think], ‘Oh, she’s screaming, so I’m going to shut down now.’ … When someone is trying to help you, we know that we are all in it for one goal and that is to win. So you have to take the message and not the person’s tone of voice.
“The main guy that a lot of us had to get used to was Pat. But he gives good messages. And once he said this thing, he was like, ‘If I yell I LOVE YOU, you won’t go mad, you know what I’m saying?’ So, he hears the message and not the tone.”
The Lakers, still in second-to-last place in the Western Conference, may have an opportunity to dig out of the early season hole coming up. They host the 3-12 Detroit Pistons on Friday in their first game since the Nets won after a five-day gap that Ham split between practice and off time for his players. Next, they play the San Antonio Spurs, who are currently 6-9, three times in four games.
Both Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant are considered likely making their season debuts against the Pistons, according to Ham. Both had a full workout on Wednesday for the first time since both required thumb surgery during the preseason.
“Incredible,” Davis said of their duo’s contributions to the fray within the team on Wednesday. “They both played very well today.”
And James, who has missed the last two games with a left groin problem, has been participating in the non-contact portion of training and is being considered day-to-day ahead of Friday.
Of course, Saturday’s air-it-out session will only be a talk if the Lakers can’t maintain success with their upcoming schedule.
“The morale of the boys is high,” Davis said. “Like, we want to put together a winning streak.”