5 Things

The dream is alive! After a surprise beat-down in the second half of their game against the Dallas Mavericks, Laker haters, worried fans and some guy in Luxembourg started to worry if the Laker ship had sprung a few leaks. The test that was placed in front of the Lakers was a sizable one: beat one of the best teams in the Association, on the road, at altitude, fighting the flu bug. Well that particular box can be checked: the Lakers walked out of Denver with a W last night, mission accomplished and the goals of not losing back-to-back games remains alive and well.

1) Dynamic Duo. Davis and James, again, led the way on both ends. Whether it was Anthony’s staunch defense in the paint, LeBron finding teammates for buckets or shooting 9-18 and both scoring an identical 25 points the Nuggets had no answer for our two superstars all game long. It could even be argued that neither LeBron or Davis had stellar games, they just played their normal, efficient, really good selves.

2) Cleaning the glass. The Lakers utterly dominated the Nuggets on the boards which was a little surprising given that the Nuggets feature a robust front line of Paul Millsap, Will Barton and, of course, Nikola “the Joker” Jokic. The Lakers held a 42-28 advantage in defensive rebounding and pulled down a whopping 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass which led to a bunch of second chance points for the Lakers. All in all, six different Lakers pulled down 6 or more rebounds. Solid team effort on the glass led by Davis with 10.

3) 3rd wheel blues. One issue that seemingly haunts the Lakers is the lack of a defined third, consistent, scoring option. For my part this is less worrisome than for others. The nature of the NBA is to fluctuate, streak shooters are on every team, it’s a game of runs and so on and so forth. The Lakers, I’m sure, hoped that Danny Green would be shooting more efficiently (especially from three), that Kyle Kuzma would be playing better and more consistently than he has (so far), that KCP would be a little less…KCP, and that Bradley had never gotten hurt and missed so much early time with the squad. The Lakers weren’t built for three stars, they were built for two plus dynamic role players none of whom are volume scorers. They should sign Jamal Crawford for that role. I think as long as 2.5 Lakers step up/game, we’ll be fine.

4) Mob rules. The Laker bench showed up big last night. While no single player dominated the stat sheet, solid contributions throughout helped in bringing home the W. The bench shot 15-26, cumulatively, 4-7 from three, outrebounded the Nuggets bench 24-10 and generally out-played the Denver bench in every facet.

5) Odd stretch of officiating. I generally don’t blame the refs for anything. the NBA game is so fast, guys initiate contact both ways and there are often old rules that don’t help the modern game. Having said that, I couldn’t believe some of the fouls we got called for that didn’t get called on our end and this wasn’t the first game I felt that way. Generally, it all evens out in the end. Still, I want to give the Laker players props for not over-flopping, over-selling or losing their composure with the refs. It’s an un-winnable battle and you’re better off just sucking it up and getting back to work.

Another one tonight, let’s get another streak going!