Lakers Channel Defense into Fifth Straight Victory

Only three teams in the NBA are allowing fewer than 100 points per game this season. Surprisingly, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of them. The Lakers won their fifth straight on Sunday night holding San Antonio under 100 in a 103-96 win.

The power duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis continue to wreak havoc on opponents. Davis recorded another double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds while James added another triple-double – 21 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds. James was coming off a triple-double performance on Friday night in a win over Dallas.

In addition to James and Davis, 15-year veteran Dwight Howard found enough time to shoot 7-of-7 from the floor, score 14 points, and grab 13 rebounds. Howard also contributed to the Lakers stifling defense with two blocked shots. Davis blocked four shots and JaVale McGee added two more.

The Lakers are now 5-1 overall and third in the NBA in points allowed per game. Utah, not surprisingly, leads the league allowing just 95.6 points per game. Orlando is second at 98.2 and the Lakers allow just 99.3 points a game.

After a season-opening loss to the Clippers, the Lakers have won five in a row and sit atop the Western Conference standings. It’s still early, but defense has been a key to the Lakers’ winning streak. James believes two things are responsible for the improvement on defense – health and hard work.

James believes he is better defensively simply because the groin injury he suffered on Christmas Day last season is completely healed. Numbers show that James is correct. Last season, James contested 54 percent of the shot attempts against him. This year, that number is up to 70 percent.

Overall, the Lakers are limiting opponents to just 38.1 percent shooting and 96.8 points per game since the opening night loss to the Clippers.

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