Dennis Schröder setting tone for Lakers’ ball-hawking defense

Despite shooting struggles, feisty point guard gives L.A. energy
Publish date:

Despite his 16-point outburst in the second half of his team’s one-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, point guard Dennis Schröder has struggled of late offensively for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Schröder is shooting 42 percent from the field and just 29.7 percent from beyond the arc after shooting a career-high 38.5 percent from the 3-point line last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Schröder has scored in double-digits in just two of L.A.’s last four games.

But while Schröder has been inconsistent offensively, he continues to set the table for the Lakers with his ability to pressure the ball 94 feet.

“It’s sort of an identity piece with us,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “We started with Avery (Bradley) last year, having somebody that would pick-up full court. Alex (Caruso) would do it sometimes, along with KCP (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope). It’s something that Dennis does well and does it instinctually, and we’ve encouraged it with this year’s team.

“When your defensive point guard is picking up full court, it sets the tone for the whole group. First of all, it slows the other team’s offense down, in terms of not getting early initiations. But just the energy of it lets the other four guys behind know that we’re fighting on the possession. And Dennis has done a great job of that this year.”

Defensively, the Lakers have held opponents to 45 percent shooting from the field, good enough for No. 6 in the NBA. L.A. has held opponents to 104.6 points per game, No. 2 in the league.

The Lakers average 6.4 blocks per game, No. 3 in the NBA. And Schröder has 19 steals on the year -- only Anthony Davis has more (22) on the Lakers.

Now 3-1 on the team’s seven-game road trip, the Lakers (14-5) face the Detroit Pistons (4-14) in the second of back-to-back games, 5 p.m. local time Thursday at Little Caesars Arena. The Lakers will try and rebound from a tough loss at Philadelphia, which snapped the team’s 10-game, road winning streak.

Davis (right knee contusion) and LeBron James (left ankle sprain) are listed as questionable for the game. However, James has been dealing with the ankle sprain most of the year and has not missed a game.

Davis discussed his knee injury after Wednesday’s loss to Philadelphia.

“I had a little brush burn on my knee from the court,” Davis said. “And it was like bothering me on my tights, just rubbing against it. So, I was trying to pull those tights off it. But I feel physically fine, and we’ve got a long season to go. So just trying to stay physically ready for every night, coming off a short offseason.”