LOS ANGELES — In all team sports, a key aspect of maintaining a high level of success is having good team chemistry, and the Los Angeles Lakers appear to be headed in the right direction.
“We’re as good as it gets. I don’t know if you could ever put in on a scale, it’s just a good feeling out there and all of the guys are pulling for each other,” head coach Mike D’Antoni said after Sunday’s 100-86 win over the Sacramento Kings. “I don’t have to worry about, for example, Wesley Johnson didn’t go back in at the end of the quarter like he normally does.
“I thought Nick Young was doing really well and the whole team was doing well. He’s [Johnson] not in there pouting. I don’t have to run to him and say ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘we will get you in’. No, we won and he’s [Johnson] happy.”
This season the Lakers have fewer expectations and can focus on winning games. This type of mentality has helped them become a closer knit group of players than years past.
“Its’ been great, it’s a good locker room win or lose,” Steve Blake said. “I think we all buying into the concepts and I think we are really starting to make them instinctual.We are just doing the right things that is partly due to practice and repetitions, and starting to get comfortable with each other.”
The Lakers’ roster unlike last year is littered with young players like Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson, Nick Young and Jordan Farmar, who do not necessarily care about how many points they score or what statistics they put up every night. What they all care about more than anything is adding to the win column.
“I think we are just getting more comfortable out there,” Young said. ” Everyone’s starting to know how to play and know what they are supposed to do out there. We are all relaxed out there, having fun.”
With that type of mindset from each player it makes attaining success a much easier task with everyone buying into the team game plan and going out to execute it on a nightly basis, and it has shown during the Lakers’ three-game winning streak.
“We are sticking to our principles a lot, I think they’re getting to the point where they’re not thinking about things and reacting and sticking to what we are doing,” D’Antoni said. “They’re just following the game plan really well. The last part is their effort. They want to do it. I think because you share the ball on offense, and everyone feels good about how they are playing that it transfer on the defensive end and gets more team energy. I think it has shown in the last three games.”
In order for the Lakers to continue their recent success, they must continue to focus on winning the next game rather than bigger goals such as making the playoffs or winning the division. That will all come in due time if they keep the same attitude and approach to every game.
“We are playing with confidence,” Shawne Williams said. “We have been having practices. I feel like we’ve been going one game lose to two (games), so we are just trying to put it together. We are just trying to get wins.”
Photo Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / November 22, 2013