The Los Angeles Lakers had dominated the first two games of the 2020 NBA Finals, leading for over 80 of the 96 minutes played. In fact, they led by double digits for 47 of the 48 second-half minutes.
Game 3, however, was a different story. They only led for around six minutes of the game, and that too only by a maximum of four points.
A lot of that had to do with their turnovers early on. They committed 10 of their 20 for the game in the first quarter, falling behind by as many as 13 (22-9) during the period.
"It wasn't about effort. It was just about execution, but again credit their defense," said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel referring to the team's early turnovers. "They played a terrific game, forced a lot of those turnovers. We'll look at the tape and see how we can be better."
"We have to execute as a group better." Frank Vogel tells @LakersReporter he isn't concerned with the #Lakers' effort but knows the execution in Game 4 needs to improve. pic.twitter.com/DL6QdeZ5Kg- Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 5, 2020
LeBron James had eight of the team's 20, tying the mark for his most in the Finals. He had four in the first quarter and then, four in the final quarter. And for that, he was quick to put his hand up.
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"We know that we can't turn the ball over versus this team," James said. "They are very active defensively. It starts with myself, being the starting point guard of the team, having five first-half turnovers, eight total for the game."
"We're not concerned, we know we can play a lot better." @KingJames shares his thoughts on tonight's #Lakers loss and looks ahead to Game 4. #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/xx3LOVzVMp- Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 5, 2020
Apart from the eight turnovers, he did a lot of the heavy lifting for the Lakers, finishing with 25 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, and two blocks.
But it wasn't enough as his teammate Anthony Daivs, the player who had dominated the first two games with averages of 33.0 points and 11.5 rebounds on 63.4% shooting from the field, struggled in Game 3.
AD was battling foul trouble in the first half, and after that, he was never able to establish some rhythm other than a short burst in the third quarter.
"I think the foul trouble made him a little passive, because he wanted to be out on the floor but he couldn't be his aggressive self offensively and defensively," James said of AD's early foul trouble. "I think the fouls slowed him down a lot tonight."
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Davis finished the game with just 15 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and five turnovers in 33 minutes of action. He was tied for the game-low plus-minus of -26 while on the floor.
It took away the aggressiveness a little bit," Davis added. "Still got to be better and still got to find ways to affect the game on both ends of the floor, but it definitely took me out and put a little bit too much pressure on the other guys."
"It takes away the aggressiveness on both ends of the floor that I'm used to playing with." @AntDavis23 on getting in early foul trouble and how that affected his game. pic.twitter.com/ylcIqotNXi- Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) October 5, 2020
Despite the numerous issues, Vogel, James, and AD all echoed the fact that they are not concerned and that the team would tighten things up in Game 4 after looking at film. AD summed it up best:
"We'll be fine. We made shots. We didn't defend at all tonight. They made big shots. Made some good plays. Trust me, we'll be fine."
Miami and LA are back in action as they take the floor for Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET.
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