OAKLAND – Before anyone even asked, Lakers forward Shawne Williams assigned himself some blame surrounding the team’s 125-94 loss Wednesday to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
Why did the Lakers allow Warriors forward David Lee to score 24 points on 8 of 13 shooting?
“I have to put a stronger arm on David,” Williams said. “We can’t let them have their way in the paint. We have to come out with more energy and swing back.”
How do the Lakers explain the disparity between their season-opening win against the Clippers and their dud against the Warriors.
“We have to bring the same energy we brought against the Clippers,” Williams said. “Starting with me, we have to do a better job starting the game off containing them.”
Williams has started at the power forward position over Chris Kaman out of Mike D’Antoni’s preference for a smaller and quicker lineup as well as outside shooters that can space the floor. D’Antoni also has a strong attachment toward Williams after coaching him with the New York Knicks during the 2010-11 season when he recorded career-highs in points (7.1) and three-point shooting (40.1 percent).
Against Golden State, though, Williams went scoreless on one shot attempt and struggled guarding Lee in only 11 minutes. Williams didn’t have of an impact in the Lakers’ season opener Tuesday against the Clippers, either, scoring three points on 1 of 5 shooting in 13 minutes. Meanwhile, Kaman posted double-digits in an average of 19 minutes.
Does that mean D’Antoni could opt to have Kaman start instead?
“I’m not considering anything right now,” D’Antoni said. “After getting beat by more than 30, everything looks bad. It’s hard for me to say that looked better than this. They all looked bad.”
D’Antoni often points out that Williams’ impact goes beyond numbers, and that he plays a large part in ensuring strong floor spacing. That allows Pau Gasol to operate more freely in the post and for Steve Nash to run pick-and-rolls.
Williams, who joined the Lakers as a training camp invitee on a one-year deal, has remained exceedingly deferential to D’Antoni for his trust in him after struggling to find his footing during his five-year NBA career after being selected 17th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft.
“The starting role is not important to me personally,” Williams said. “I feel like on this team it doesn’t matter because we have a hell of a bench. The bench might play more minutes than me. I think it’s more of a rotation.”
That has happened so far, and Williams vows he will play better.
“Whatever coach is with, I’m with 100 percent,” Williams said. “If I don’t start, it’s cool. I just have to be ready. It starts with me and the rest of the starting five. We have to do a better job starting games.”
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