Laker Defense Missed Josh Hart. A lot.

Interesting game last night, one we might ought to have won in regulation had we hit some clutch free throws or Randle gotten to the line when he was pushed out of bounds as opposed to just being called out of bounds.  The officiating in this game was odd.  KCP must have said something really bad because he got tossed for complaining about being thrown to the floor and Khris Middleton complained about literally everything, all game, and didn’t get one single technical foul.  Not having KCP meant a little too much Tyler Ennis for my tastes, but it is what it is,  Luke had to go deep into the bench which also saw 15 decent minutes from Channing Frye.

Kuzma was a beast all game, Randle had a less efficient night than usual and we shot the three ball very poorly, especially the Laker bench (2-9).  With KCP out there was no starter to counter Eric Bledsoe who, once he got going early in both halves, was unstoppable all game long.  Milwaukee has a bright future indeed if it can keep it’s best players healthy.  Going into the playoffs they’re all playing, most at a high level, and The Greek Freak is a handful any night of the week.  They have a swarming defense and know where their guys need to be to score.

Brook Lopez continued his late-season surge.  Lot of players making a case they should be making closer to $20 mil than $10 mil this summer.  With 7 games left I do wonder at how much more guys like Lopez, KCP and even Ball and Ingram (both of whom have missed a lot of games with various ailments) will still get big minutes.  I don’t think they’ll get ‘shut down’, especially the vets up for contracts, but I also don’t see them playing 30+ mpg.

All in all, as we wind it down, I have really enjoyed watching this team come together.  Julius Randle has had a break out season, Ingram has developed very well, Ball has been at least as good as expected (at least my expectations, others may have higher or lower and that’s more than fine) and both Kuzma and Hart were stellar picks for their draft position.  The Lakers are in a great situation cap-wise.  It’s fair to say the ship has reversed course and is headed in a more positive direction.  How much more positive will depend a lot on the summer and what the free agency Gods allow to happen but, regardless, the Lakers are at least in a position to compete for the 8 seed next season if they roll out this exact squad, as is.  If this team can stay a little healthier, not repeat the 9 game losing streak lesson ever again, and continue to improve as they have this is a low-tier playoff squad.  Came up a little short in an acknowledged rebuild season.  That’s real progress Laker fans can be excited about.