JUST a few months removed from their worst season ever, Jordan Clarkson said the Los Angeles Lakers are loving basketball right now.
In a post-game interview with NBA.com after beating the Phoenix Suns for their third straight win on Sunday (Monday, Manila time), the Filipino-American guard bared that it's the Lakers' vastly improved chemistry that's behind the young team's impressive play against quality opposition.
“We got a variety of people that can score. It’s not gonna be your night every night. We’re moving the ball, we’re playing well, getting out on transition. A lot of stars are in the defensive end are really doing a good job of switching stuff when we go to our small lineup. We’re just doing a really good job,” said the 6-5 swingman who has embraced and flourished in the sixth man role assigned to him by new coach Luke Walton.
In the first seven games, five Lakers are scoring in double figures with Clarkson placing fourth, averaging 14.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 27 minutes of action.
“We’re just going in with the same mentality. Feel free, have fun. ‘I love basketball!’ – that’s our motto right now,” he said.
Asked about the origin of the new Laker mantra, Clarkson credited veteran forward Metta World Peace during their recent road trip to Atlanta.
“It started when Metta- somebody called him off the bench to shoot free throws, he came in and knocked both of them in. He said, ‘I love basketball!’”, explained Clarkson. “It was a few of us having a tough game and we all just started saying, “I love basketball! I love basketball!’ and it just rallied us (against the Hawks) and that’s how we got the win there and we’ve been running with it since.”
The victory helped give confidence with the young squad, which would then beat a heavily-favored Golden State Warriors team by 20 points.
Walton earlier said he was worried that the Lakers might fall flat against the Suns after the big statement win against the Dubs.
“We had a hangover from the last win,” Clarkson admitted. “What we did was came in the next day. Worked, washed it out our heads and do what we gotta do tonight.”
The Lakers currently have a 4-3 record, placing them third in the Pacific Division and seventh overall in the Western Conference.