During Sunday’s win against the Sacramento Kings, Shawne Williams of the Los Angeles Lakers stepped forward and pushed a man two inches taller and 40 pounds heavier than him. After watching his point guard, Jordan Farmar, get pushed to the ground on what he deemed to be a dirty play, Williams didn’t hesitate to step up to DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins took exception to Williams, and a double technical was issued. It was no big deal, but it did mean something. That play was a glimpse into the mentality these Kobe Bryant-less Lakers have been illustrating around the practice facility, in the locker room, and on social media. These guys like each other, and they’re buying in.
“Everybody in this locker room, we’re a part of the team,” Williams explained after Sunday’s game. “We’re a family.”
After Sunday’s win, Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni talked about his team’s attitude, “They got the right values in the sense [that] they like their teammates, they like the Lakers, and we try and win as a team…Chemistry? As good as it gets.”
D’Antoni and the Lakers have been preaching chemistry and effort because the talent portion of the Lake Show is still testing its Achilles.
The talk of chemistry and effort would fall on deaf ears were it not for the results on the court. These no-name Lakers have won their last three games by an aggregate margin of 36 points. Competing with and beating better talent points to the right attitudes behind the scenes.
“They’re just following the game plan really well,” D’Antoni explained. “The last part is their effort. They want to do it.”
The way the coach explains it, the players are buying into the teachings, and the results are showing in the standings.
“The coach has been doing a great job of putting us in the right situations,” Williams explained. “We’ve been going over film every morning at 9:30--voluntary film. Coach has been doing a great job on defense. We’re just buying into it.”
That’s right. D’Antoni is doing a great job on defense.
The Lakers have held their last four opponents under 100 points. The chants of “We want tacos!” at Staples Center are no longer sarcastic. The Lakers are winning, and they are holding their opponents under 100 points. It’s easy to root for these guys, and at the end, everybody gets tacos.