5 Things I Liked

That was a brutal last few minutes. The Lakers really needed to have kept Julius Randle if they wanted to have a true small ball center. Kudos for Johnathon Williams for being game for any/everything but he ain’t the answer. Decent game up until about 4 minutes left in the game. At any rate.

1) Rajon Rondo’s scoop shots. I have always begrudgingly admired the epic and varied skill set of Rajon Rondo and one of the great things about him being on the Lakers is I get to openly admire, no grudging about it. Dude was carving up the T’Wolves and keeping us in the game for a spell there in the 4th before our offense utterly broke down and the Timber-dubs pulled away down the stretch. Might see a return to the starting 5 for Rajon sooner than later. Starting, such a saga (lol)!

2) Lance and LeBron’s second quarter mojo. I don’t think this team is going to win more 4th quarters with Lance on the bench. Yes, he can over-dribble and shoot a contested mid-range shot. So does LeBron, Brandon, and so on. It’s the NBA, bad shots happen occasionally. But his overall fiery demeanor, cool under pressure and intensity on defense is a huge weapon to leave on the bench with the game on the line. If Josh Hart had been killing it, so be it, that’s more understandable. But he wasn’t, not on either end. ‘Make ’em Dance’ Lance.

3) Brandon Ingram’s three point shot making a comeback. The suspension did a little bit to improve Brandon’s slow trigger, got shots off of passes up a little better and he made 3-5 from three point land. Sure, one of those was a meaningless ‘give it to ’em’ shot at the end of the game, but it went in. Nice return game for Brandon except for the fouls committed part of it.

4) The new fouling rules. I just love them, they’re amazing. Big time thanks and a gold-star to the league to making the game so much more enjoyable to watch. Whoops! Sarcastic Sans font was on…

5) Our commitment to scoring in the paint. Our half-court identity in terms of working the ball inside and getting quality shots at the rim is a big reason why we’re able to stay in so many games. One thing that has been a bit galling is that we simply don’t get any calls down there. That sort of thing has a tendency to even out, refs are learning the great and wonderful (ooops, there’s that Sarcastic Sans font again) new rules as well. The coaches will keep working it in practices. But all of this focus on adapting new personnel to such a drastic rules change (and it’s not like they provide defenders with a lot of tools to do their job anymore) is draining the team’s ability to focus on working out the offensive issues. Luke is going to harp on the defense, maybe a bit too over-much, that’s been a pretty consistent aspect of his coaching tenure regardless of who is on the team.

This game would worry me more in January, a lot of our turnovers were silly, un-forced errors, LeBron missed some bunnies at the rim in the 1st half, Our guards played terrible, except for Rondo. Still a lot of places for this team to grow and improve in.