Lasker: Commitment is key now on defence
DREW LASKER says Marjon Plymouth Raiders must knuckle down on defence to get back on track.
Raiders were overrun 98-81 by 7-13 minnows Durham Wildcats last time out at the Pavilions.
Gavin Love's team followed it up with an easy, 103-70 win at 0-19 Mersey Tigers on Sunday – but Friday's defeat defined a bad weekend.
Since going 3-0 in their first three home games this season, Raiders have gone 4-5 and been notoriously and uncharacteristically inconsistent at the Pavilions.
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In two previous campaigns under coach Love from 2010-12, Raiders have been brilliant at home and gone 33-7 in all competitions.
In a tell-tale statistic, Raiders have conceded more points in the fourth quarter at home this season (24.8 points per game) than anyone else in the league.
Raiders are now 13-6 in fourth spot in this season's 12-strong BBL Championship.
Last campaign, Raiders finished 21-9 and fourth.
Lasker said of the shocking loss to Wildcats: "Offensively, you could look at it and say the ball didn't move well, but I think it was defensively. We gave up 98 points.
"Our help defence wasn't really there or if it was, it was too late.
"Durham would drive all the way from the three-point line to the basket and get an easy lay-up. That's just not like us.
"Normally we have a defender there to shore it up. We didn't commit to each other defensively.
"That led to our problems offensively, because everyone then tried to take it on themselves to make something happen.
"But when you do that, it's just a recipe for disaster."
Raiders consistently lost track of Wildcats' three-point shooters on Friday and couldn't prevent Wildcats driving inside and scoring at the rim with ease.
Lasker added: "As players we were embarrassed, because we know we're so much better than that.
"The Pavilions was sold out again, so the fans did their part. We just didn't do our part."
Raiders were panicking at home earlier this season in tight contests, but on Friday they looked exhausted emotionally and physically.
It was like they had completed the double-overtime epic against Manchester Giants – which was six days earlier – the night before.
Lasker said: "Are we allowed an off-day at home? I don't think we really are – not against a team who have travelled 400 miles to play us.
"If you want to be successful in this league, Friday is one of those home games – no disrespect to Durham – you just have to win.
"You can accept losing to a top team, but Friday was unacceptable – if you want to be a top team."
In mitigation, Raiders are currently incorporating two new recruits, point-guard Rod Brown and big-man Andreas Schreiber, into a now eight-man rotation.
Lasker said: "We need to be consistent. Obviously we had to move on from Friday quickly at Mersey, but in training now we need to keep incorporating the two new guys we have.
"It was tough on Friday. Andreas is still getting his game-legs and doesn't know our offensive sets, and Rod's still not quite game-fit, so our offence isn't running as smoothly as we'd like.
"As a result, everyone isn't on the same page offensively. It's one of those things. We just have to get Andreas and Rod up to speed, bounce back and stay together."
This weekend, Raiders prepare for one game, at Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday (5.30pm).
BACK TO BASICS: Plymouth Raiders guard Drew Lasker says their lacklustre defensive display against Durham Wildcats was just not like them