Lakers Winning Recipe: Return To Rebounds and Defense

Rebounds win Rings. That’s what former Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley used to preach to his 1980’s Showtime team. And it was true.  

After Game Four of the Western Conference Finals where the Phoenix Suns evened the series, this generation of Lakers players need to heed Riley’s message.

There is a reason why this Lakers team again won the Pacific this season, and, unlike the past two years, it was not on the offensive side of the ball. No, this team used defense to keep their repeat title hopes alive.  

The Lakers were No. 10 in team defense this year. More importantly, they were No. 1 in opponents three point percentage, at 32.8 percent. And, because of their length and size advantage, also dominated opponents in rebounding, especially on the offense end, where they were No. 2.  

This was the winning recipe: defense and rebounds.

Well, until the Suns series. All year long, everyone complained that the Lakers offense wasn’t humming. And it wasn’t. But the defense and rebounding carried the team.  

As the Lakers entered these playoffs, they finally found their offense groove again as players got healthier and the team switched gears for another Finals run.

The Lakers woke up in that Oklahoma Thunder series, played tenacious defense and worked the triangle to victory. The team then executed on both ends of the court against the Utah Jazz for a sweep.

It seemed the Lakers fired on all cylinders as the readied to face Phoenix. The first two games in Los Angeles displayed the Lakers offensive prowess but it was actually defense and rebounds that created those victories.

Phoenix came in red hot, averaging 113 points a game in the playoffs, nearly the same as the 110 in the regular season. But in Games One & Two, the Lakers held the Suns to only 107 and...

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