When Mike Brown was hired as the Lakers head coach in May 2011, he made it evident that he was going to put a strong emphasis on defense.
Brown’s defensive strategies were very effective in his first months as head coach.
From December to February, the Lakers were one of the best defensive teams in the league, holding their opponents to 91.2 PPG, an improvement from the 2010-11 season.
However, in March, the Lakers defense suffered, as they allowed opponents to score 98.9 PPG.
Playoff basketball is very different from regular-season basketball; point totals decrease as defensive intensity increases.
In order to win those slow, grind-out playoff games, the Lakers need to conform to Brown’s defensive philosophy.
Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum need to shrink the floor by preventing drives to the basket.
Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant need to continue locking up opposing perimeter defenders.
Ramon Sessions needs to contain opposing point guards, as daunting as the task may be.
But most importantly, the Lakers need to play better team defense—everyone must pay close attention to where the ball is, box out and play help defense.
What the Lakers really need to remember is that poor defense led to their embarrassing demise in the playoffs last year against the Dallas Mavericks—certainly, they don’t want the same result to occur this year.