The Los Angeles Lakers dropped the season opener to the Portland Trail Blazers behind a disappointing shooting performance that conforms to previous doubts.
LeBron was good in his first game with the team. In 37 minutes played, LeBron shot 9-16 from the field with 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. He made eight of his nine free throws and missed all four of his three-point shots.
The next leading scorer was Brandon Ingram, who dropped 16 points on 7-15 shooting from the field alongside four rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Ingram, like LeBron, also went 0-4 from beyond the arc.
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James and Ingram are only a portion of the problem that may have worried some Laker fans after game one; the team was woefully bad from beyond the arc in this game and that is ultimately why the Lakers lost.
The Los Angeles Lakers made seven three-point shots on 30 attempts (23.3 percent). In today’s NBA, where the three-point shot has become a critical part of success, shooting 23.3 percent from beyond the arc simply will not cut it.
Plus, it was Josh Hart that carried the load, making three of his five three-point attempts.
Aside from Hart, the rest of the Lakers shot 16 percent from the arc. Joining James and Ingram with bad games were Kyle Kuzma (1-7), Lonzo Ball (1-4) and Lance Stephenson (0-3).
This bad showing has directly correlated with the biggest concerns around the Lakers heading into the season. Having proficient three-point shooters is something that successful LeBron-led teams have always had. The problem was that the Lakers did not have a notable three-point specialist, such as Kyle Korver.
Having a bad performance in the team’s first game together are only going to increase these doubts for some, especially those hoping for the Lakers to fail.
And if you have any bit of doubt in your mind as a fan, you really shouldn’t. The Los Angeles Lakers are going to be just fine in shooting the three.
Josh Hart has already emerged as the three-point specialist of the team and put up good shooting marks last season. Since Hart is much more than just a shooter, he should see plenty of time on the court, which will naturally raise the shooting metrics.
As for the other guys, you can chalk this up as a bad night. Between James and Ingram, the two should make at least three of the combined eight attempts on most nights.
Kyle Kuzma is not a bad shooter and 1-7 simply was a bad game for him. Lonzo Ball won’t be great but should make at least one out of every three points shots consistently and the same can be said for Stephenson.
If you assume that Kuzma makes two more three-point shots, that is 21 points the Los Angeles Lakers left on the table. The team lost by nine.
Chalk it up to a bad game and a learning experience for the Los Angeles Lakers. This is a better three-point shooting team than most people give credit for, just let it find its groove.