Breaking Down the LA Lakers’ Go-to Plays

The Los Angeles Lakers finished the season ranked eighth in offensive efficiency, scoring almost 106 points per 100 possessions.

A lot of their offensive success came out of the popular "Horns" set. That's when the two big men are posted at either elbow with the two wings lurking in the corners as the point guard brings the ball up.

Horns is one the most basic offensive sets in basketball. Just about every team in the NBA uses it at some point to initiate action. Not many are as prosperous with it as the Lakers are though.

The Purple and Gold create numerous looks out of the Horns set, using heavy screening action to generate quality shots. According to MySynergySports, the Lakers were tops in the league in points per possession off screens.

Let's take a closer look at some of their favorite variations out of Horns.

1. Backdoor Lob to Dwight Howard

The Lakers utilize Dwight Howard's athleticism to devastating effect by occasionally running back-screens for him to catch lobs.

This play begins with Steve Nash entering the ball to Pau Gasol (or sometimes Kobe Bryant or even Metta World Peace) at one elbow.

Nash then curls around Gasol and sets a screen in the lane for the wing in the weak-side corner. This screen is just a decoy, employed to empty out Howard's side of the court and take away a potential help defender.

With the defense beginning to scramble, Nash sets another screen, this time in the back of the man defending Howard.

Howard then rolls free to the rim to receive the lob.

Here's how it looks:


2. 4-5 Pick-and-Roll with Howard and Gasol

Howard's athleticism and Gasol's versatility as both a pinpoint passer and deadly scorer makes for an unconventionally fearsome pick-and-roll.

On such a play, Nash will enter the ball to Gasol at the elbow and space out to a wing. Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers