EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Atlanta Hawks 107-99 Monday night to finish the longest road trip of the season on a high note.
This is the eighth time the Lakers have held an opponent under 100 points and LeBron James is determined for this to become the Lakers' identity.
“The one thing you can control is how you defend. You don’t have to worry about the ball going in when you’re defending. You have to stop the ball from going in," said LeBron. "When we defend we’re just that much better. And we want to be the best defensive team in the league."
Anthony Davis, who had three blocks on the defensive end Monday night, didn't want the Lakers to have a let down before coming back to L.A. “The last games are always tough. For us we didn’t want to buy into the being tired and ready to go home mentality," said Davis. "We dropped two already on this road trip, which we hate doing, so we wanted to come out and end this trip the right way with a victory."
When you play on the road for seven straight games you'd think finishing 5-2 would be good enough, but that's not the case for starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. "We’ll take 5-2, but our mindset going into the road trip was to win all seven of them. Unfortunately, we came up short of that."
The Lakers currently are the league's best team in points allowed per game (104.0), fourth in the league in blocks per game (4.0), and seventh in defensive rebounds per game (35.8).
Up next for the Lakers will be a defensive challenge when they face Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets who are averaging the fourth-most points in the league (116.6) this season.
Statistics provided by espn.com.