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Lakers News: Although LA Has Improved Recently, Team Lags In Key Area

The defensive numbers for the Lakers are not pretty.

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a prime position to be in the one-game play-in once the regular season ends. However, the Lakers aim to escape the play-in and be a top-six seed in the Western Conference. 

It won't be easy; however, the Lakers still have a chance to be a six-seed. To achieve that goal, they'll need to improve their defense. While the Lakers have seemed to turn the corner as a whole, their defense is far from championship-level. 

The Lakers currently rank 23rd overall in defensive rating. Teams like the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and Atlanta Hawks all have better ratings than the purple and gold. 

The Lakers have had a rough go in that department, and head coach Darvin Ham realizes the task at hand. Ham said his squad must be better after their last loss to the Sacramento Kings. 

“We just gotta get better from it,” head coach Darvin Ham said. “The cavalry ain’t coming… We did a lot of good things early on. We gotta be able to sustain that.”

—Darvin Ham, via OC Register

The Lakers offense is quite the opposite. Since February 1st, the purple and gold have the second-best offensive rating, only behind their biggest rival, the Boston Celtics. It's nice to get buckets, but LA needs to stop their opponent from scoring when it matters most.  

It doesn't help that they are missing their second most valuable defender, Jarred Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt could come back in a couple of weeks. Regardless, LA needs to improve its defense to get where it thinks it can.