Lakers' loss to Memphis had missed opportunities at end, injuries & teachable moment w/ Luke Walton & Julius Randle https://t.co/0UY3FrhG6t
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) December 4, 2016
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Jazz PG George Hill will miss his third consecutive game Monday against the Lakers due to his sprained left toe,… https://t.co/mfjp7XRfnx
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 4, 2016
Five takeaways from the Lakers' 103-100 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies https://t.co/3TJtJ7KuxH
— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) December 4, 2016
1.) Lakers Coach Luke Walton is certainly keeping his focus on teaching. That might require reminders from his staff sometimes, but he’s remained consistent in that approach. “It’s nice to have people remind you, experienced people, where we’re at and where we’re trying to get to,” Walton said. “The fact that we’re 10-12 now and we’re having the type of progress this early is something to be happy or proud about.” His actions show a commitment to teaching above immediate results. At one point during the game, Walton pulled Julius Randle from the game so that he could talk over something he’d seen that he didn’t like. Making a substitution simply to make a point is a staple of Walton’s coaching style. He’s done it with the other young guys, even if there might be some strategic benefit to leaving those players in the game.
2.) The Lakers expect big things from Julius Randle, and they are confident they’ll get them. That was a major theme of this whole four-game road trip. He dominated in Chicago, pulling in 20 rebounds and baring a fierce attitude. Saturday’s game was tougher for him. He had six points, six rebounds and five fouls, with a plus/minus of -10. After the game, Walton explained why he so often pulled aside Randle on Saturday for a series of animated discussions. “We expect Julius to be great,” Walton said. “There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that. We’ve talked. Everything that I tell Julius is all about trying to make him better and make him realize this is his team as much as anyone else’s. We want him to be a leader. He got a couple early fouls I think we got frustrated with and that’s part of the process too; you’ve got to learn how to still play aggressive even with fouls. Different situations, different moments.”
3.) Brandon Ingram is learning and growing. Ingram got his third consecutive start on Saturday. He’s logged a lot of minutes — 39 against the Grizzlies — and experienced being guarded by Memphis veteran Tony Allen. Ingram finished the game with nine points, five rebounds and a career high three blocked shots (all of them in the first quarter). Learning how to be a starter is crucial for Ingram and it’s easier to learn that through experience.
4.) Walton used the same “cookie jar” phrase Marcelo Huertas used with me last week to describe what it’s like when opponents try to reach on Lou Williams. “I think he took advantage early of the fact that they have a lot of injuries too and they have rookies out there that aren’t familiar with keeping their hands out of the cookie jar,” Walton said. “He’s great when he recognizes a defender reaching, he gets his shot and he took advantage of that and I think it helped him get in a rhythm.” Williams had 40 points, with 21 of them coming in the second quarter. By halftime he’d shot 11 free throws.
5.) The Lakers do better when they share the ball better. On Saturday the Grizzlies doubled the Lakers’ assists. Memphis had 32 while Los Angeles had a measly 16. The Grizzlies also scored 25 points off the Lakers’ 18 turnovers.
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Luke Walton: "Everyone f—ing travels every play so how do you just decide to call that?" pic.twitter.com/ZobQC2IJGb
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) December 4, 2016
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) December 4, 2016
HIGHLIGHTS: Lou Williams scores a season-high 40 points for the Lakers but they fall just short in a hard fought game against Memphis pic.twitter.com/gvYCV1MQo0
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 4, 2016
Musical break …
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Ran out of steam.
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— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) December 3, 2016
No. 11 UCLA 97, No. 1 Kentucky 92.
— UCLA Basketball (@UCLAMBB) December 3, 2016
Road trip concludes in Memphis at 5 pm PT!
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 3, 2016
4. Injuries have already cost the Lakers their starting backcourt — D’Angelo Russell (sore left knee) and Nick Young (strained calf, right leg) — and now they might be without one of their key bench pieces. Larry Nance Jr. has a contusion on his right knee after bumping it in Friday’s game. He is listed as questionable for Saturday.
5) If anyone knows about injuries, it’s the Grizzlies. Twenty-seven players had to suit up for a riddled Memphis squad last year, as it became the first in league history to make the playoffs while playing even 24. It’s the same story this year, as the Grizzlies have six players out for this game, including Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Chandler Parsons and Vince Carter.
8) Lakers fans from the mid-1990s will be sure to see a familiar face sitting on the Grizzlies’ bench. Former Laker Nick Van Exel is in his first season as a Memphis assistant coach 23 years after making his playing debut in L.A. Van Exel led the Lakers in assists for all five of his years with the team, twice ranking in the NBA’s top 10 in dimes and making it to one All-Star Game.
— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) December 3, 2016
The Los Angeles Lakers were battered and beaten by the Toronto Raptors Friday night but still have a chance to close out their four-game road trip 2-2 when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday. Splitting the travel-heavy trip while missing both D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young would be huge for the Lakers, and that it would be against the Grizzlies has larger implications.
The Lakers need to make ground on one of the playoff teams ahead of them. The Grizzlies, sans Mike Conley, are the clear target for the time being. The purple and gold might be hurting, but the Grizzlies are in even worse shape. James Ennis, Zach Randolph, Chandler Parsons, Vince Carter and Brandan Wright could all miss the game Saturday, with a variety of injuries — both long term and short term — tearing their squad apart.
The Lakers are pretty dang healthy when you put it like that.
The NBA D-League has a new assists leader. Josh Magette is averaging a staggering 11.2 APG to go along with a 4.59 AST/TO ratio. pic.twitter.com/GX1E8uALPN
— L.A. D-Fenders (@DFenders) December 2, 2016
From Game no. 1 to Game no. 20, Lakers Coach Luke Walton has consistently made big calls that have worked out… https://t.co/XRtMEG644z
— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) December 2, 2016
Often, he has refused to make the easy decision when choosing lineups. However, when asked if there is a vote, Walton makes it clear that he listens to his counsel, but he is running a dictatorship, not a democracy. Walton owns that final call, and it tends to be the correct call.
Walton started the regular season with a considerably better roster than the Lakers featured on the night Kobe Bryant scored 60 points to record win no. 17 in an 82-game season that would be entirely forgettable had it not doubled as Bryant’s farewell tour. However, Walton played an active role in building the team over the summer and maximized every roster spot entering the regular season.