Kendrick Nunn, a guard with the Lakers, is having trouble. When attempting a shot, he always misses. At best, his defense has been adequate. Because of his inconsistent performance, he has seen limited playing time. The Lakers’ decision to sign him as a free agency two summers ago did not provide the team with the spark they had hoped for.
Despite starting at point guard on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers after Patrick Beverley was sick with something other than COVID, Nunn struggled to find his rhythm. He had five shots at goal and scored nothing, missing them all. As Nunn put it, “I’m simply trying to take the lid off the basket.” All right, that’s it. That settles the matter.
Just by removing my cap and settling into my usual spots, I was able to observe their reactions in all their glory. Yes, I promise to behave myself. Lonnie Walker IV, another guard on the Lakers’ roster, reminded reporters that Nunn missed all of last season due to a bone injury in his right knee and is still getting his game together.
At the beginning of the game, Nunn was allowed to play for the first 18 minutes and 22 seconds. Two assists and three boards were his totals. His score on the plus-minus scale was -3. Nunn insisted that he still had faith in himself. “I’m still optimistic,” Nunn added. Those plans “ain’t going to pan out.”
Here are three lessons to be learned from Sunday’s 114-100 defeat of the Lakers by the Cavaliers: First, Nunn helped the Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors in the season opener by scoring 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting and 3-for-6 from deep.
The Lakers haven’t benefited from him much since then. On Friday night, the Utah Jazz lost a close game that Nunn had a small role in because of his poor performance. At the moment, Nunn is averaging 12.3 minutes, 4.3 points, 28.6% shooting from the field, and 23.1% from beyond the arc in the eight games he has been in. His average plus/minus is -4.0 games.
Beverley will not join the Lakers in their trip to Salt Lake City to take on the Jazz on Monday night, so they will likely rely on Nunn once again in his place. Initially, I noticed a lot of positive momentum. The Lakers’ head coach, Darvin Ham, praised him for his performance.
Again, though, keeping that going is the key. Considering that Pat Bev isn’t here tonight and a number of others are out with the stomach illness or whatever it is, it’s even more crucial that the boys step up and be prepared to play the full 48 minutes.
The Lakers struggled from the free-throw line, and it wasn’t clear if it was because they were fouling too much or if they simply weren’t good free-throw shooters. The Cavaliers shot 32 of 36 (88.9%) from the charity stripe, making 20 more attempts than the Lakers.
The Lakers’ 57.1% free throw shooting percentage came from 12 makes out of 21 attempts. LeBron James attempted only three free shots, all of which he missed. The Lakers’ free throw percentage was equaled by Donovan Mitchell of the Cavaliers, who hit 12 of 13.
Troy Brown Jr., who didn’t attempt a free throw, said, “I’m always going to reflect on us and just hold us accountable.” “At halftime, we discussed how we had emphasized that there would be no fouling. In the second half, we seemed to do the complete reverse of what we had done in the first.
This is on us. We need to improve and start holding each other to a higher standard when it comes to fouling. The Lakers turned the ball over 17 times because they were careless with it. Seven of them were committed by Russell Westbrook.
For Westbrook, “trying to make the right reads and turnovers happen” is something he is fine with. A better version of me will emerge tomorrow. Not that I’m worried about it or anything.