This possession stood out to me which forced me to touch on it. The Golden State Warriors are down by three and Kevin Durant comes off a down screen and gets a wide-open look to tie the game. A solid play but what stands out to me is the mental lapse of Lonzo Ball.
This play is a great example of why communication is so vital on defense. You see Ball enter a world of confusion as he couldn’t choose which player to run to. It looks as if he thought he was switching with Jordan Clarkson but quickly realized that Clarkson stayed with his own player. The Lakers have a defensive system where they often switch everything. So to Clarkson’s defense, this could’ve been his thinking and Ball could’ve had a mental lapse. He’s young, it happens but this could’ve been avoided if they just communicated.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t end there. Ball proceeded to close out to Durant with his hand down which is a no-no. When it comes to a lethal shooter like Durant, the rookie’s recovery was probably too late but you never know. If Ball closes out with his hand up, even being a little late it still could’ve caused Durant to hesitate on the shot and miss or make a different decision. Plays like this make all of the difference in the world, especially in a close game. When you’re a young team like the Lakers going up against a powerful opponent like the Warriors, you can’t afford mental lapses when you want to come out on top.