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  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:00 AM on April 3, 2020 Permalink |  

    R.I.P. Bill Withers.

     
  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:21 PM on March 31, 2020 Permalink |  

    I remember this vividly… Still hope Pau retires a Laker.

     
    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:29 PM on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Of course his best game was arguably one of the most important games in all of Laker history.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:39 PM on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      And of course his perfect game from the floor as a Laker.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:44 PM on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This game 7 win over Denver ended up being Kobe’s last playoff series win for his career. Pau left that summer as a free agent after he was traded and returned to the Lakers. Jim was in charge, Mitch by his side. Tate and mud were still on the site. Seems like a lifetime ago…

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 12:44 PM on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Nice stuff on Pau JS!

    • Seely_Iggy (Director)

      Seely_Iggy (Director) 6:14 PM on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I was so so so sad when Pau left. He was one of my favorite players. Kobe and Pau – vino.

    • therealhtj

      therealhtj 6:36 PM on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Pau was nice for 3 years, but whatever happened, by 2011 his heart wasn’t in it for the Lakers. Wish they could’ve gotten something for him, but his salary was too steep for how he was playing at that point.

      • Buba

        Buba 9:23 PM on March 31, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think that has to do with too many coaching changes. He took a sharp down turn when D’antonio took over. At some point during that time, he was coming off the bench for a certain stretch of games which took a toll on his confidence.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:19 PM on March 24, 2020 Permalink  

    Yooooo Lakerholics!

    Just checking in with y’all, see how you’re faring during this incredible time to be alive. Stay safe y’all, thinking of you guys on the daily. The family here is LA is doing pretty well, all things considered.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:36 PM on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks, Jamie. Teresa and I are hunkered down in Marin County. We go out early in the AM for our hikes and then lock out the world and in our home. Our son and daughter-in-law and three grandchildren wave to us from their deck two houses away and Beth gets us groceries which Kevin delivers. Miss hugging them but know it’s best that we don’t expose ourselves to others until this is over.

      Hope you and your new wife and baby girl are staying safe and healthy. Same for all of our friends on Lakerholics.com. Worried a little about Buba since he may have come down with the virus. Hope it was just a misunderstanding but the numbers say all of us are going to have friends who catch this at some point in time. Hopefully, we can flatten the curve, find ways to protect and cure people, and get the economy back on its feet. You never know how lucky you are until fate conspires to take that away from you.

      God bless and everybody stay healthy and safe.

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 5:59 PM on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yes, B smart. Tune our trumpett and Fox. Thinks we all back in church Easter, sheesh.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:17 AM on March 12, 2020 Permalink  

    The NBA Season Suspension and the Coronovirus Pandemic … 5 Things! 

    1) This is the right thing to do. Without a doubt the NBA, and other sporting leagues, promotors, venues, etc. are doing the absolute right thing. Take these steps now. Make the choices the people in positions of power were unwilling to do. Does it suck? Absolutely, sucks eggs. But that doesn’t make this any less of a right move. Congrats to Adam Silver, the owners and NBAPU for making a quick and bold move in the interest of the collective good. Helluva season…

    2) Rudy Gobert is an idiot. Even if you just had normal flu, even if you just weren’t feeling well, his childish antics are inexcusable. May he never wear the purple and gold, that is not the kind of player this team will ever need. That alone may have just broken the Jazz locker room and one wonders if that level of intellect has affected his relationship with the team, which has been generally under-performing all season long.

    3) Thinking of all the people affected by this that aren’t necessarily a part of the immediate NBA family. I’m talking about the concession stand workers, security, parking attendants and so on. The players, coaches and extended staff will be taken care of and come out of this OK. A lot of the people who work in the arenas are going to be hit. Hard. It would go a long way for the players and the League to set up some kind of fund for the people who work in the arenas that the teams play in. From the NBA on down to the G-League. If the NBA truly “cares” they’ll help to ease the pain of this by helping the people that make keep the fans fed, in sports memorabilia, and with their beverage of choice in their hand. They’ll take care of the people who clean the arena after the games. Of the security guards who help to keep their players and team personnel safe during the games.

    4) That salary cap has taken a beating this season, huh? From the China fiasco inspired by Daryl Morey to low TV ratings across the board to the cancelation of games due to COVID-19 this will not be a record breaking season for the BRI numbers. Makes one wonder how the salary cap will be structured next season and what kind of money will be available for one of the weakest pools of free agents in a while. Anthony Davis will get his but it’s entirely possible someone drops a max offer in Brandon Ingram’s lap and dares NOLA to match. A minor plot line when placed against the current backdrop but one that still will have an impact going forward.

    5) Be safe Lakerholics. This is serious stuff and the sad part is truly that this entire situation was wholly preventable. Had our Federal government acted with any sense of urgency whatsoever, had they started work on a testing kit at the first signs of major outbreak in other developed nations, had they been better about quarantine those afflicted initially none of this would likely have happened. COVID-19 would have gone the same way SARS, ABF and other serious strains of virus have gone recently. Sadly, this is not the case and the true irony is that this will have a bigger impact on the most cherished thing the current Administration holds so very dear: the economy. Not we the people. It’s sad, sad time to be an American. On this topic, I don’t see how one can avoid connecting the dots to the top of the food chain in terms of a chain of responsibility. We berated George Bush Jr. for his abysmal response to Katrina, Obama’s weak response to the Syrian civil war and so too must this blame be assigned to the Commander in Chief. So now it’s on we, the people, to help make this right. So be diligent, clean and safe. No matter our differences I respect all of you for your Laker faith, thus, I hope that we all come through this without getting sick and that applies to your friends and family, as well. Be well.

    Go Lakers.

     
    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 10:28 AM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      TNX JS!

    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 10:35 AM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      1. Yup.

      2. I certainly hope not. This kind of childish response is indicative of Tyler Durden “I’m a 30 year old boy, I can’t get married.”

      3. Get well.

      4. Someone will offer Ingram a Max deal. I’m not sure who, but they’ll force themselves whom to keep. Ingram is maxed, Zion is penciled in as a Super Max.

      Jealousy lurks in the small-market as well.

      5. Everyone keep vigilant.

      • therealhtj

        therealhtj 11:21 AM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        NO would maybe be smart to let someone max Ingram on a 4 year, smaller raises deal and just match. He’s a nice player, but I think his numbers wouldn’t look like this on a team that had a healthy Zion all season. His impact is Middleton-esque at best, and he’s still only ever been a good-numbers bad-team guy to date in his career.

        • Magicman (Editor)

          Magicman (Editor) 12:00 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          The bigger question: Do you pay Lonzo a bridge deal because if you give out a max to him, you can’t afford Josh Hart, Jaxson Hayes, NAW…

          • therealhtj

            therealhtj 12:13 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Lonzo is midlevel money, so like 10/per.

            • Magicman (Editor)

              Magicman (Editor) 5:04 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink

              10? Seems low.

              Average PG makes around 12-15.

              You may be right, Stan. I think it’s low but could turn out.

    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 10:45 AM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      My gut feeling is the same as yours, Jamie. Rudy’s behaviour might have just ruined relationships with some guys.

      And his lack of leadership and immaturity, has ripple effects.

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:48 AM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It’s really perplexing how you could take that kind of stance within the confines of a professional locker room. Everyone has families, friends, loved ones, etc. Even if you are a 100% sure there was no COVID-19 risk (and as history now informs us Rudy-G isn’t your first source for science facts) you still show some respect. That microphone thing was just really, really dumb.

        That kind of trust isn’t reformed with an apology. That kind of break lingers, possibly for a good long time. Summer trade bait. Bet he ends up a Knick.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:30 AM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      A ‘5 Things’ I think we call all agree upon 100%, Jamie. Thanks for diligently providing us with great original content. It’s appreciated and one of the stalwart highlights of our blog.

      1) There is no question the NBA should be applauded and thanked for this move. It’s the only thing they could do under the circumstances and the quick decision at least leaves some hope the season may ultimately be salvaged.

      2) Joking around after thousands of people have died worldwide about something as deadly and serious as the coronovirus should be a stain that Rudy Gobert should be forced to bear for the rest of his NBA career. I second your motion he never wear purple and gold.

      3) I’m confident the NBA and its players will take the steps to make sure those whose work is so critical to the league’s success don’t get left out in the cold by econonmic chaos that the suspension of the season will inevitably cause. And I hope the generosity and compassion don’t stop there. This is going to hurt innocent people who will need help.

      4) I would expect the League and the Players’ Association will have to work out some accomodation so teams are not unfairly handcuffed by the sudden change in fortunes of an outlier season. This should be a big reminder of the reality of life and make some players consider the benefits of security over gambling their careers on a bigger payday when they’re already millionaires. This should be a wake up call for everybody.

      5) Be smart and be safe is the right message. And I’m sorry, but there’s a limit to the ‘no politics’ rule. Our unabashed and irrresponsible unpreparedness for this situation falls directly on this administration. Their dismantling of our public health outreach and safety net along with their refusal to recognize and plan and prepare for the inevitable public health event of this proportion is unforgiveable and surely will cost hundreds of lives. And the solution is not to bail out the multi-billion dollar corporations and industries but to protect the everyday average people whom this will hit the hardest.

      If there’s a silver lining to this disaster, it’s now maybe people will wake up and start to see the folly of electing an incompetent demogue as president.

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 2:37 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        LT, the Obama Administration established a Pandemic Team that was dropped by trumpett 2 years ago. I do not believe a word from his nasty mouth.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:57 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I know, DJ. That was a foolish mistake that contributed to the situation we’re in right now. You can’t run a country with a transactional philosophy motivated by personal gain and benefit.

          • DJ2KB24

            DJ2KB24 4:19 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            : )

            • John M.

              John M. 4:50 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink

              I saw a cartoon showing Trump in the White House: “My Fellow Americans, We Are Building A Wall To Keep The CoronaMexicans Out.”

              And of course Mexico will pay for it.

            • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:16 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink

              LOL. Good one, John.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 1:01 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff, dude.
      I love your idea about the extremely wealthy NBA players pitching in to create a fund for the regular Joe’s that will be suffering because of missed games!
      As for our government, they have proven over and over again that they don’t have our best interests as law abiding citizens on their list of importance- regardless of administration.
      I can go into many events throughout history where they actually carried out malicious acts on portions of the unsuspecting public, but once again, this isn’t the place to do so.

      Keep safe my fellow Lakerholics!
      One of the best ways I recently heard to counteract any virus is to constantly be drinking water- at least every 15 minutes throughout the day. If there is a virus in your mouth, it will be washed down into your stomach where your acids will destroy it.

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 2:40 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Water is a good thing!

        • mclyne32 (Director) 3:02 PM on March 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I told my wife to stock up on extra water and non perishables just in case this thing escalates further and people go nuts at the regular grocery stores.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:57 PM on March 11, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    There was really only one way to think of last night’s game against what was perceived by many to be an under-manned Nets’ squad:

    1) Lack of aggression. You can see the results of this up and down the box score. Only shot 12 free throws, missed a ton of 3’s instead of driving it to the rim, missed free throws. All signs point to lackadaisical approach and that’s just not going to get it done against any NBA team. Any of ’em can beat you on a given night and if you don’t show up to play hard, you’re likely walking out of the building with the L.

    2) Terrible pace of play. This was especially true of the second unit, when it was allowed to contribute. Bone-headed, meandering possessions that showcased every Laker fans’ fear perfectly: what the heck are we going to do when LeBron James needs to rest in the playoffs?! Rondo looks toast, like he’s moving in quicksand. A step slow, off-target passes and a general malaise about his play that seems inescapable at this point. You can’t hop for playoff Rondo, it’s simply an unsustainable notion if you want to also be serious about winning a ring. Big issue going forward, especially against teams that can out-quick us to a high degree (Memphis and Houston come to mind).

    3) Why can’t we finish lobs anymore? While it’s true that the League has no well-scouted out our penchant to throw lobs to our bigs and taken away some of the pet plays we ran earlier to get easy dunks, it doesn’t mean we have to help the defense by throwing un-catchable lob passes when one reveals itself organically. Something that needs some tuning up before the playoffs, as well.

    4) Coming up empty from the free throw line when it mattered the most. Both LeBron and Anthony missed some clutch, much-needed free throws in crunch time last night. That just won’t get it done in the playoofs. AD has been solid from the stripe just about all season, LeBron has had his ups and downs but they both will need to lock in and find another level of focus to get the job done with the game on the line.

    5) Missed Dwight in this one. JaVale was no match for the quicker and more nimble Jarret Allen and none of our small ball guys could hang either. Last night would have been a great game to have Dwight to match up better size, strength and quickness wise. Might not have given up so very many second chance points.

    As much as I was willing to flush games like this early on the fact of the matter is we took better care of business earlier in the season against under-manned teams or teams we should beat. That’s been slipping as of late and might cost us either the top spot in the League (unlikely in the best of scenarios) or slightly worse the top spot in the West. While slipping to #2 wouldn’t be the end of the world (seems like it would swing “home court” to the Clippers and we got into how that’s not such an advantage for them yesterday) slipping to 3 or 4 would not be good for our mojo heading into the playoffs. The more home games this team has in the playoffs the better our legs will be. Lot to play for still, can’t be taking nights off like we did last night.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:26 PM on March 11, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the effort to do this after a game like last night, Jamie. That shows dedication to the blog and your fellow Lakerholics. So thanks from all of us.

      I’m not going to overreact to the game because we all know these kinds of games happen. It’s just human nature, especially after everything the team put out there in those two big wins over the weekend. IThere’s a reason they’re called trap games and the Nets brought their A-game, like everybody does against the Lakers, and they have a few players I would love to see on the Lakers who might become available when KD and Kyrie are available next summer. I’ve always loved Dinwiddie, LeVert, and Harris. So kudos to the Nets. They’re better than their record shows.

      Despite the inevitable letdown, however, the Lakers almost won the game. I couldn’t believe LeBron’s layup to tie didn’t go down and Frank drew up a perfect play for LeBron to get his Triple Double and AD to splash the game winning shot from deep. I’ll take that chance to win a game any day. And our defense in the fourth quarter was like it has been almost every game this season, which is championship caliber. We just didn’t get the bounces so flush it and move on. Lesson learned.

      What concerns me a little is the sudden drop in quality of play by Caruso, who suddenly has reverted to the guy who makes bad decisions in the paint. Alex has been one of the stablilizers for this team over the last couple of months. He’s struggling with a hamstring injury which is one of those things that can affect his ability to physically make the plays he normally does. This is the third game in a row where Alex had the worst plus/minus on the team. He’s been more important than though to this team winning. We need him to get his mojo back.

      The combination of JaVale only playing 17 minutes, Howard being sick, and the team playing lots of small ball ended up with the Lakers giving up 14 offensive rebounds to the Nets, which was really the killer when you tally up what happened. 80 three-ball attempts and relatively poor shooting pecentages from the field and deep meant lots of rebounds. That’s something the Lakers will need to address as they move forward playing more and more small ball. We may also see more three guard attacks when we go small too. Always teams looking to copy something that worked to beat better teams.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:55 PM on March 9, 2020 Permalink  

    Here’s another thing I’ve been thinking about. If the Lakers and Clippers meet in the playoffs then an odd phenomena will at last have happened far beyond the fact that they’ve never met in the playoffs. There will be playoff games in which neither team has to adjust their routine. This is especially compelling should they meet in the Western Conference Finals as it would mean the victor will have had the length of a series to have home rest. No plane travel, no bus travel, no hotels, no separation from family, friends or loved ones, no disruption of routine and no suspicious road food. That is a huge bonus.

    Also, a Lakers/Clippers series will be like an entire home series for the Lakers. We generally out number Clipper fans 3-1, or something in that ballpark. Hard to see Laker fans not showing up to cheer the Lakers. That’s another huge advantage to the purple and gold. So, in short, if we do meet, I certainly do hope it’s in the western conf. finals!

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:09 PM on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      LOL. The fact that a game in Staples is actually a :Lakers home game was something I was thinking about too, Jamie. Bill Simmons said he expected a 50/50 balance between Lakers and Clippers fans but it looked more like 70/30 balance in reality. Kind of like the three Clippers home games would end up giving the Lakers two more home games. 6 for Lakers – 1 for Clippers.

    • therealhtj

      therealhtj 5:13 PM on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      For sure broke azz Clipper fans will scalp their playoff seats, save a rare handful. The only Clips season ticket holders with a pot to piss in are transplants who just enjoy the NBA, but they hardly pull for the Clips.

      Except for the Sterlings. They’ll be prominently on display.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 5:18 PM on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Goldstein is an exception. LOL.

        • therealhtj

          therealhtj 5:34 PM on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I think he just buys courtside for whatever games he wants. And he’s no Clips fan, just a Laker hater and pathetic old fool.

          And yes, I’m jealous.

          • Magicman (Editor)

            Magicman (Editor) 5:50 PM on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Who knew it came from Trailer Park fortune. Explains his overall tastes, dude. Lol.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:39 AM on March 9, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things! 

    That was extremely satisfying. Nothing better than whupping on the upstart, coat-tailriding team down the hall. Doubly pleasing was that the Clippers were, in theory, the hotter and better team. Well…maybe not so much, eh?

    1) Avery Bradley getting pumped. The taunting foul was a joke as was Steve Javie’s weak a$$ on-air explanation of how the taunting techs have eliminated fighting. Please, Steve, let’s not be insulting to our collective intelligence. Avery Bradley got ted up for his wee stare down after a great finish over Patrick Beverly, a play that in all honesty could have been an ‘and-1’ and P-Bev doesn’t get one for his shoulder bumping LeBron and all his constant yapping all freaking game long? Ridiculous. If that’s the interpretation of the rule than it’s absurd on both counts. But it didn’t matter. Bradley poured in a season high 24 points hitting 6-12 of his threes and playing brilliant defense against the bigger Clippers he was often matched up against. That was Bradley’s best game as a Laker, by far, and I hope it’s a precursor of things to come.

    2) Relentless LeBron. The amount of pressure an active and driven LeBron James puts on an NBA defense is tremendous. Few can contain him when he’s determined to get to the rim. Whether it’s his mass, footwork or a combination of his size and speed he can get to whatever spot he wants and get an attempt up. He’s also starting to get rewarded for his aggression by upping his trips to the free throw line. Last night he was an awesome 12-14, doubly impressive because he’s struggled from the stripe as a Laker. But his ability to score or get fouled paled last night to the defensive assignments he took on and excelled with. James guarded Leonard, he switched to a big when needed, he drew a late offensive foul that essentially sealed the win. When LeBron leads like that it’s hard for the rest of the team not to follow and step up their defensive intensity.

    3) Anthony Davis finding his groove. AD took and made the most field goals on the team and he also was a force, as he’s been all season, on defense. While he did pick up 5 fouls he never let them hold him back from challenging shots at the rim, bodying guys trying to back him down and forcing a turnover by taking a hard charge. Again, that kind of leadership from your two best players gives the coach a lot of leeway in enforcing a defensive mentality. You don’t defend? You don’t play, look at the guys getting paid the most with the most legacy on the line? You can’t step up like they can? I say that because it’s shown the most effect in one of the youngest Laker’s games.

    4) Kyle Kuzma redefining himself before our eyes. There’s a lot one can critique about Kyle’s overall game this year. His three ball seems to have abandoned him completely. He’s not finishing at the rim as well as he has in season’s past, he’s lacking aggression and a killer instinct on offense in general. I don’t really care about any of that because Kyle Kuzma has made great strides on the side of the court that matters the most: the defensive side. Kyle led the Lakers in rebounds, played really solid defense all game long, contained smaller, quicker players using his length and good footwork. That kind of improvement gives me a lot of hope that Kyle can indeed become the kind of three and D player we all yearn for. Depending on how he fares in the playoffs he may not be a Laker next season, but my hunch is if he plays the kind of defense he has in the last few weeks good things will happen for him and the purple and gold.

    5) Keeping their composure. It’s not an easy thing to do. The Clippers are all long, they have multiple plus defenders on their team. They have the Patrick Beverly yapping his way along being a pest, like he does, all game long. We picked up some silly foul calls, the T on Bradley as I said above was ludicrous, they shot a lot more free throws than we did and still we were the more composed team down the stretch. That’s impressive given all the factors that go into it. That kind of composure can win a ring.

    Here’s hoping it does.

    Go Lakers.

     
    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 11:55 AM on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      All good and valid points my friend!

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 2:48 PM on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie,

      I am actually at a desktop so I can comment, waiting for the Iphone fix to happen. Nice write up as usual. We are seeing the squad, finally jelling. DWade said that it took him most of the first season to learn to play with Lebron. The only surprising thing about the season so far for me is that we won as many games early on as we did. Yes we wouldn’t always look good but we were still winning. First year Heat went 9 and 8 out of the gate. That is why I wasn’t heavily on the trade train. I think we are a better team with Markief then we would have been with his brother because we would have had to give up Kuz and either Danny or Avery to get him. As we saw Sunday, Markief was just fine. He also is heavier to bang at the 5. And we saw just how good we can be on defense even with undersized guys like Avery, KCP and Danny playing the Clips big wings. It’s also nice that Lebron is committed on the defensive side. The Clippers big guns got theirs but they really had to work for it and no one else on their team was able to do much. I also agree that Kuzma’s 3 point shooting woes is detracting from the real growth he has made in other areas. Hopefully he can regain his shooting touch in time for the playoffs. We hear so much about needing that 3rd scorer, while we do need a couple other guys to step up on offense it doesn’t have to be the same guy every game and we have several players that can go off on offense on any given game. I feel really good abut where we are at. We are beginning to peak at the right time.

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:18 PM on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks guys, appreciate the time you take read it!

      I agree 100%, Michael. We got the better Morris twin since we gave up nothing but Boogie Cousins. Waiters is a little perplexing to me but I suppose we really wanted some insurance on the playmaking and shot taking/making fronts and Caruso has had hamstring issues all season. Might be one reason why he gets so few minutes but it’s also as much due to the tightening of the rotations

      Kuzma is showing us all something here, true growth the likes isn’t too often seen. Yes, it would be great if he was hitting threes or scoring at a better level in general. I’ll take better defense all game every game and I say that knowing how his scoring can impact a game for us. If he keeps defending like this we’ll have a solid defensive core for the playoffs. That. to me, is just as important as hitting a 3 pointer or two/game. If we could have both that, of course, would be the best possible outcome.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:42 PM on March 9, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great stuff, Jamie. I agree with everything you said, especially “nothing better than whupping on the upstart, coat-tailriding team down the hall.” However, this was a game that had more than just five things to celebrate. So, here’s my 5 More Things…

      1) Defense Wins Championships! The Lakers recorded an elite 96.3 defensive rating for their two wins against Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers, led by LeBron James team best 84.0 rating for Lakers players who played more than 20 minutes. The proof that defense does win championships was that the Lakers won both games handily despite shooting just 43.3% from the field and just 23.9% from deep. The key is they held the Bucks and Clippers to just 40.6 from the field and 25.7% from deep. Lakers now have the best defensive rating in the league for the fourth quarter.

      2) Coaching Makes a Difference! Frank Vogel once again made great adjustments that led to the Lakers earning their first wins of the season against the Bucks and Clippers. Against the Bucks, Vogel essentially copied the technique that Jason Tatum used to attack the rim against the Lakers. Vogel had the roll man McGee pinning Brook Lopez to free up LeBron to get to the rim. Against the Clippers, he went small with AD or Morris at the five to spread the floor and create driving lanes for LeBron James. Two different adjustments to beat two clog-the-paint teams who used drop coverage to protect the rim.

      3) Spreading the Floor with Small Ball! The addition of Markieff Morris enabled the Lakers to go small for more than half of the games against the Bucks and Clippers, which essentially neutralized traditional centers Brook Lopez and Ivica Zubac and opened up the floor for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to get to the rim and make layups, dunks, or free throws. McGee and Howard together only played 24 minutes per game. The spacing created by playing Davis or Morris at the five was exactly the move the Lakers needed to make against the paint clogging Bucks and Clippers.

      4) Earning and Making Free Throws! Analytics is more than just three-point shots. It’s threes, plus twos via layups and dunks, and one via free throws. The Lakers had gone through a troubling stretch where LeBron was not getting to the line despite bumps other superstars would have seen translate into free throws. Frank Vogel solved the Lakers free throw woes by making adjustments designed to open up the Lakers to attack the rim. The results were the Lakers increased their free throw attempts from 24 per game to 33 per game and shot, which allowed them to get into rhythm and shoot 83% from the line.

      5) Throwing Down the Gauntlet! Via their two convincing wins over the Bucks and Clippers, the Lakers essentially threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the league that the NBA championship is now going through them. The Lakers are back atop the league. As the Athletic’s latest NBA power ranked showed, the Lakers are back as the #1 team in the league. Meanwhile, LeBron James let Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard know that the regular season MVP title is going to go through him. As Kuzma so eloquently gestured by crowning LeBron, the King is still the King.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:10 PM on March 7, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    Late 5er, rough day, great game. Let’s dig in a little.

    1) LeBron James ramping up intensity. Earlier in the season you could count on a 10+ assist James game pretty much every night. That was not an indicator of an unwillingness to score or of managing his body, at least not in my opinion. I think he was encouraging a group of players only recently assembled and getting acquainted on the court to one another. It’s allowed Avery Bradley to re-discover his old NBA self, allowed Anthony Davis to showcase his entire offense, included role players as primary cohorts regardless of skill level or minutes played. It’s been brilliant. While it’s likely that this tactic will largely be ignored by the NBA media pundits who will (likely) crown Giannis with another MVP trophy the manner in which James has conducted himself this season has been markedly different than in years past and it’s shown in the bond between teammates. He’s moving past this phase in the latter stage of the season. He knows that he’ll need to find that scoring touch at a little more consistent a level than he’s done this season, for the most part. It’s going to be fun to watch. He’ll likely lead the league in assists, probably average a career high assists per game in the doing (current is 9.1, he’s dishing 10.7 right now) and that accomplishment won’t hold the water that Giannis’ bucket does because he’s the future face of the NBA. As we saw last night, the old guy isn’t quite ready to give that up…yet.

    2) Tip of the cap to Giannis for really upping his overall game. Scary thing about this guy is that he still has room to grow. His passing has improved and will get better. His defense and rebounding is already top notch. But where he’s improved a ton is in shooting the basketball. His three point shot is slow and a little balky, I expect that his maniacal dedication to improving his body and game will result in a smoother jumper a la LeBron James in a season or three. That will be scary for the league and become a major problem for opposing defenses. It’s not every player that comes in with the raw tools he did that finds it within to improve themselves to this degree and he’s going to get even better.

    3) The starting guards of the Los Angeles Lakers. They’ve been in the starting line up more games than not and they’re finding a great synergy on the floor together. Avery Bradley and Danny Green were my two favorite pickups last summer, mainly because of their defensive chops and Green’s championship pedigree. They were huge in stymieing the Bucks half court sets last night and helped LeBron by smartly cutting off angles of attack for players that like to get into the paint with a head of steam. They’ve been solid all season long. Sometimes we look for what is spectacular to get us excited but personally I’m excited to see the defense and heart Avery and Danny bring to our team come playoff time.

    4) The shrinking role of Rajon Rondo. I think everyone, likely even Rondo himself, saw this coming. I won’t be surprised if this is his last hurrah. Rajon doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who want to go out with tributes and salutes. He’ll let the door close behind him and move boldly onto the next gig, whatever that may be. His 20.6 mpg would easily be the lowest total in his illustrious career and one can envision that number dropping under 20 before season’s end. I think the playoff rotation Frank is starting to cobble together will result in him not really playing more than 20-25 mpg in the playoffs and that’s if his defense is up to it. If this Rondo’s last dance I’ve enjoyed watching as true of a competitor in the spirit of Kobe as we’ve ever seen.

    5) Hey! We shot more free throws than the other team for once. I jest, of course we’ve had at least one other game where we shot more freebies than the opposition, but it’s a trend that hasn’t swayed our way too often this season. While this game was another in a long line of games where the officiating had several questionable calls for both squads, the fact of the matter is these things do tend to wash out equally-ish in the end. However, the Lakers were super aggressive getting into the teeth of the defense and forcing calls to be made. This kind of dedication to attacking the paint will need to be on full display as we move into the playoffs. Good stuff to see.

    For those that sometimes feel like 5 isn’t enough I’ll add the schemes that Frank and the staff through at Giannis and the Bucks last night were masterful. They forced guys like Eric Bledsoe to pull the game out and making Giannis face a wall of Lakers every time he got the ball in the half court. Great stuff.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:17 PM on March 7, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff, Jamie. Love the ‘Let’s get into this.’

      This was the Lakers best game of the year and Jamie Sweet’s best 5er of the year in my opinion.

      1) Brilliant spot-on analysis of LeBron’s brilliant evolution and progression from the start of the year to last night’s big win over the Bucks. Nothing like anything in LeBron’s previous career. We’re just starting to see the latest version of Playoff LeBron and it may be better than anything we’ve seen before. I know that sounds ridiculous since his athleticism is not what it was when he was young but his BBIQ more than makes up for it. Brilliant point and a brilliant LeBron, Jamie.

      2) Giannis is and will become an even more difficult force for NBA teams to handle. His problem is that unlike LeBron, Kawhi, Luka, and the guys who are playmaking scorers is that he often has to rely on others to get him the ball, which to me says he could be a candidate to join LeBron and AD, especially if he wants to win. Alone, he can be defended more easily that LeBron or AD because he’s not as good an outside shooter, more like young LeBron. Yeah, he’ll get better but it will probably take leaving the Bucks and joining a team with at least another superstar. Like the Lakers.

      3) The starters. Vogel deserves great credit in my opinion for sticking with his starting lineup sans injuries. The stability doing that is something most fans have a hard time understanding. Hell, I must have lobbied for changing the starting lineup a dozen times over the year although even a youth basketball coach, I also tended to stick with the same lineup come hell or high water. It’s about building confidence and continuity for the team. Avery, Danny, and JaVale certainly came through big last night. But it’s going to be a challenge as LeBron and AD should get more minutes as we head into the playoffs Morris and Waiters will also demand playing time to return on their investments. Something is going to have to give as their aren’t enough minutes in this musical game of roles for a 12-man rotations.

      4) The shrinking roles of Rajon Rondo AND maybe Kyle Kuzma is a definite possibility as we approach the playoffs. It’s hard to imagine Frank decreasing Rondo’s minutes voluntarily but the need to keep LeBron on the floor once the playoffs start and valuable contributions from Markieff and hopefully Dion could do what Lakers Twitter could not, which is to force Rondo (and maybe Kuzma) to the bench.

      5) People like forget that analytics is about threes, layups, AND free throws. Lakers lost the 3-point battle by 6 threes or 18 points. They made up for that be making 17 more free throws than the Bucks, free throws they earned by relentlessly attacking the rim. The old saying that the aggressive team get the call proved true last night. I give credit to Frank Vogel for a terrific game plan on how to beat the Bucks drop coverage. The two things that made the Lakers attack-the-rim strategy work were McGee and Howard neutralizing Lopez on rolls to the rim to open up the paint for LeBron to attack the rim just as Jason Tatum was able to do against the Lakers. I also loved the cross screens that Frank had Caruso and other guards run to set up road blocks in the paint to keep Bucks players from helping when LeBron or Anthony attacked the paint from the wing. Great and innovative usage of screens to open up attacks on the rim. For every move, there is usually a good counter and Vogel had the perfect plan for beating the Bucks drop coverage.

    • Buba

      Buba 9:36 PM on March 7, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks again for the 5 things,Jamie. Very much appreciated. Very entertaining game. This was one of the best wins this team came away with while shooting poorly. Playoff atmosphere and a good game by everyone including our guards. When would the refs allow Dwight to play? We are gonna need his contributions but can’t seem to find any rhythm because all calls go against him. I did not like the officiating even though we ended up with more freebies.
      When we lost in Milwaukee in December, I felt like that game was winnable. Our win yesterday confirmed to me that there is no way the Bucks can win a 7 game series against us unless something catastrophic happens, God forbid.
      The way the Lakers executed this game was superb. Good game plan.

    • Buba

      Buba 9:45 PM on March 7, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Giannis was great last night but in the end he got gassed. 2 superstars > 1 superstar. He will need another superstar to reach the top.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:58 AM on March 4, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    Wow. That was fun, huh? All in all, a win we should have walked away with seeing as how beat up Philly was. Still, impressive in the doing.

    1) Anthony Davis, multi-tentacle-hyper-beast-mode. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like the close of the 1st half. That level of defense and aggression…without fouling…is almost unheard if in the NBA, especially during the regular season. AD led the way from the second he came back on the court after his first break. He was everywhere, often everywhere twice. He hit threes, he ran the break, he stifled everything Philly tried to do and swung the momentum of the game squarely to the Lakers side where, for the most part, it would stay. Awesome game by AD.

    2) Dwight Howard from the stripe. I have to say: I love his new way of shooting freebies. It’s working, too, as he’s upped his percentage closer to 50 for the season in the last few weeks when it had been submarining all year long. It probably won’t last, ought not to be counted on under pressure but let’s just enjoy this moment while it lasts.

    3) Avery Bradley defensive stalwart. Davis wasn’t the only Laker carving up the 76ers offensive schemes like a turkey getting hacked apart on Thanksgiving by your drunk uncle, Avery was instrumental in putting pressure on the point of attack all game long and he continued to be effective scoring the rock.

    4) Kuzma’s effective game. He missed a ton of wide open threes but he didn’t let it stop him from chipping in other areas which, at this point, is all I ask out of young Kyle. His defense was stout enough and it’s going to take Markieff some time to get acclimated, especially on defense where he often looks lost. in the interim we have Kuz and he still could put together a nice run this season or a strong playoff showing.

    5) Stiff arming the western conference until the playoffs. The race to the best record in the rest reminds me of an old school football running play where the running back is stiff arminf dudes, not really running all that fast, but a lumbering juggernaut with momentum enough to dissuade would-be tacklers. That’s the Lakers rolling around the last break and into the home stretch. At least to me. We’ll need every little advantage we can get in the playoffs.

    Go Lakers.

     
    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 4:24 PM on March 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Excellent 5 dude. I’m grateful you’re giving some of your free spare time to make the effort. It’s not lost, dude.

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:30 PM on March 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks man! I appreciate it. the hardest ones are when I’m not at home. The way the site went down has messed up how I interface with it on my phone. using a real computer is just easier. So sometimes work must suffer in order to feed my habit, lol.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:53 PM on March 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great ‘5 Things,’ Jamie. Thanks.

      1) I’m hoping Frank is right and this is the AD were going to see in the playoffs. The way the league is today, it’s the guys who always have the ball that find it easy to dominate whereas the guys who need someone to get the ball to them – like AD, Porzingis, Joker – sometimes have a bigger challenge to take over a game. This is the AD we need to win the championship.

      2) Dwight really shooting well from the free throw line could change the dynamic of having him on the court to close games. Let’s hope that he can continue to improve his free throws. I think there’s a good chance once we get into the playoffs that he takes over the starting center position.

      3) Avery is not only continuing to play excellent aggressive defense but he also continues to hit his midrange and three point shots. There are some matchups where Bradley really bothers opposing ball handlers, for example against Luka. He’s proven to the right guy to start games.

      4) Some good signs from Kuzma but he’s going to need to become more consistent pretty quickly because the addition of Morris and either Waiters or Smith is going to take minutes away from somebody and the logical candidates are Rondo and Kuzma.

      5) Lakers locking up HCA in the West. We’re still 6 games ahead of Clippers in loss column and 7 ahead of Nuggets with just 22 games left in the season. Don’t see anybody catching the Lakers but we can really take a choke hold by winning the two big games this weekend against the Bucks and Clippers.

    • Buba

      Buba 11:25 PM on March 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I definitely agree with all 5, but I am paying more attention to #2. I am really enjoying Dwight’s new found success at the free throw line. Hope that carries into the playoffs. Yup, good 5 things.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:09 PM on March 2, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    Bouncing right back to beat the pelicans to close out the roadie with a win, maintain their unbeaten streak on the second game of a back-to-back and kept a 5+ game cushion over the rest of the west. Most importantly a good effort from start to finish by the team in general.

    1) The King. I’ll be honest, I done run outta words to describe the things LeBron James does on a fairly regular basis. He was great from everywhere, whether it was bodying up Zion on D, finding teammates for open buckets or getting right to the rim for his own LeBron dominated this one. Honestly he ought to have a had few more points, or attempts from the stripe at getting him cause he only shot 3 free throws. Still was able to get one of his best triple doubles of the season. It’s really been a pleasure getting to be able to watch this much of James’ work as a Laker fan. Real good stuff.

    2) Welcome to the Lakers Markieff Morris! Great effort off the bench for the new Laker and he looked a lot more comfortable in his movements out there. He didn’t hesitate and canned a lot of catch and shoot threes which our offense desperately needs. Overall his best showing as a Laker.

    3) Playing defense without fouling. The Lakers were called for a lot of fouls which led to a fairly large free throw discrepancy (33-10). While some of that was questionable officiating it was also a case of not playing defense with your feet and relying too much on your hands. Second game they’ve fouled NOLA at a high rate.

    4) Kyle Kuzma’s starter numbers. The difference between Kuzma starting and coming off the bench is undeniable. Unfortunately there’s no spot for him in the starting line up. So it would be really great for everyone if he and Frank could figure out a way to find that same game coming off the bench. He was great last night, I hope he plays this hard and effectively in the playoffs. Going to be fun to see what he brings to that level of competition.

    5) JaVight McHoward!!!! Gotta love what those two guys bring every night. JaVale had 6 blocks in 24 minutes, Dwight made his presence felt with his physicality (although his 5 fouls were a big part of Thing #3) and active. Their work often goes unheralded but I just wanted to give them a shout out. They’re the wheels on the Ferrari, and without good tires the ride always suffers.

    All in all a well fought contest.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:42 PM on March 2, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great game and great ‘5 Things,’ Jamie.

      1) LeBron. I think we just saw Playoff LeBron. This is how I expect LeBron James to play in the playoffs. Starting with 9 minutes to go and Lakers down 1, Vogel started clearing one side of the floor and letting LeBron go one-on-one against the Pelicans. That left the Pelicans in no man’s land. Play one of the hardest superstars to stop one-on-one or double and give the league’s best passer wide open targets to pass to. They tried both and LeBron drove for easy layups and dunks when guarded by one player and hit teammates for wide open midrange and threes when doubled. Lakers gave teams a preview of one of the weapons they can expect the Lakers to depend upon come the playoffs.

      2) I have to give Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office kudos for remaining patient during the trade deadline and taking advantage of the buyout market. It now appears that was Rob’s plan all along. Markieff is the better fit for the Lakers than his brother Marcus who would have cost more and needed more in terms of minutes and touches. The big payoff will come this summer when Kuzma will be the heart of a trade package for the Bull’s Zach LaVine.

      3) Fouls. This was the second game in a row that the zebras have screwed the Lakers. LeBron is getting the Shaq treatment whereas Zion received the ‘superstar’ treatment. Credit the Lakers for taking control of the game late in the fourth by clearing one side and letting LeBron go to work one-on-one. Frank Vogel and the Lakers’ front office need to submit evidence of how the refs are disrespecting LeBron and the Lakers when they attack the rim.

      4) Kuzma. Better game from Kyle. His floater off the spin in the land has been money. Still missing wide-open threes and free throws to complete three-point plays but the corner three he hit off a LeBron pass was a critical shot and it was great to see it go down. Kuz is the bonus from Pelinka’s strategy to not trade him at the deadline and focus on the buyout market. He can be a huge help the rest of the season and either earn a long-term spot on the roster or be a valuable trading chip this summer.

      5) JaDwight McHoward. Excellent game by both centers, especially with Davis out. This was one of the few times when I thought McGee outplayed Howard, although the refs obviously had it out for Dwight. The Lakers clearing one side of the court also may have solved how to get LeBron space to attack the rim with a traditional center in the dunker’s spot. By running student body left and right, the Lakers may have found the key to closing games. Isolating LeBron on one side makes it almost impossible for opposing defenses to double LeBron without leaving three-point shooters wide open, which is like shooting ducks in a carnival with a shotgun when LeBron has the ball.

    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 5:26 PM on March 2, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good 5.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:39 PM on March 1, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    One to move on from. Poor effort pretty much team-wide save for a few energetic sputters here and there. New game today against another team with more to plat for than it feels like the Lakers do.

    1) Home court advantage. If you look at the Lakers exceptional in-conference record on the road and road record overall one might be tempted to think ‘what does it matter?’ I think for our team it matters a lot. Especially for the player that drives the engine of our team, LeBron James. The less travel and time changes he can have leading up to the NBA Finals, should that be our fate this season, the better. Getting HCA for the entire post season feels like a stretch, Milwaukee isn’t showing one single sign of slowing down, but having it up to the Finals should be a major goal.

    2) As such is the case it then seems clear that we shouldn’t be getting in the habit of taking games off. Our energy level to start the last 2 games has been terrible. Against Golden State (playing for draft position) we were able to overcome our shoddy start with an exquisite second half effort. Against the motivated Memphis Grizzlies we didn’t have nearly enough to overcome their energy and hustle. That won’t get it done. If the Lakers are starting to coast, it honestly feels too early with the Clippers starting to get hot.

    3) Speaking of hustle, if the Grizz end up being our first round match up we’ll really need to fix that energy problem. They beat us in every single hustle stat. Rebounds on both ends, blocks, steals and they forced more turnovers. The rebounding was simply our 2 bigs getting beat by Jonas Valanciunas. His 20 rebounds were enough to out-pace Dwight (7) and JaVale’s (5) total with room to toss LeBron’s 8 rebounds in just to make it even. The Laker bigs are often tasked as a help defender, though, so that’s a fault of the player not rotating as much as anything else. A wrinkle that might need more attention should we face them in the first round.

    4) Resting LeBron. Against all of the drama from the first three points the health of LeBron means more than any of it. Keeping him as fresh for a guy who will play in the majority of his games in the regular season is imperative. If he’s slowed or out I don’t really see us advancing past anyone. We lack a reliable second play-maker to make the team go. LeBron is a irreplaceable player in general but the Lakers, as currently constructed, are especially susceptible to non-LeBron minutes. If that means we drop a spot or 2, so be it.

    5) Getting another look at Zion today. This guy is exciting. This guy is dominant. One starts to wonder how NOLA would be doing though if they hadn’t gotten the influx of talent that they did from us and held onto AD in a contract year with trade rumors swirling all season. Regardless, he’s got a nice cast of guys who can get their own, hit him when he’s open and don’t need the spotlight in order to shine. It’s actually kind of the perfect situation for him. Here’s hoping that the Pelicans make the playoffs, no offense to anyone who feels better about a different team making it for either match up or personal reason.

    Go Lakers.

     
    • Buba

      Buba 4:07 PM on March 1, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks Jaime. Did you mean 5 things or 6 things? I did not see the 6th one. Anyways,your analysis were cogent as always. I totally agree with you. HCA is something we should never surrender and we must keep fighting for it and LeBron’s minutes should be monitored as well. Case in point, he and AD should have rested when the outcome was obvious last night.
      I did not watch the game, but when I saw the box score and noticed that Jonas Valanciunas got 20 rebounds to go with 22 points, I immediately knew that’s where we lost the game. That’s why your description of lack of hustle was on point. Our centers should never allow that when the playoffs roll around.
      Right now, I am curious and monitoring how Morris is acclimating into the team, and I am also curious to see what Pelinka does tomorrow from the buyout market.
      Thanks for a great recap, Jaime.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:57 AM on February 28, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    A tale of two halves. The first, in which we saw the plucky Warriors keep pace with the juggernaut Lakers, and the second, wherein we dominated every facet of the game. Don’t bother with the first, if you haven’t watched, unless you want to see Draymond Green do his usual routine of tripping a player and getting tossed because he thinks this is WWE. That dude is tiresome.

    1) No LeBron, no problem. You know LBJ doesn’t want to sit, probably argued to play through the discomfort but if he’s being honest he should take the next game off, too. Stephen A. Smith can whine about all he wants but that tune changes more than the chord progressions in a King Crimson song. The playoffs are what matters now, we’re going to have some form of HCA barring some utter collapse or another and if James sits it has the added benefit of…

    2) Speeding up the integration of Markieff Morris. Mr. Morris has an uphill battle to get acclimated to the Laker defensive schemes (evidenced on more than a couple of miscues when he’s on the floor) which is to be expected. He just got here. Last night he was a little more aggressive on offense which is a good thing. It’s most players fallback as they adjust to new surroundings. Less LeBron means more Markieff and if we want him up to speed for the playoffs 9and one would imagine that we do) than a couple of games missed to keep The King fresh for the second season sounds just fine to me.

    3) Dwight Howards free throws. Not sure if anyone else has noticed but Dwight has backed up into Nick Van Exel territory when it comes to his free throws. Can’t remember another player in recent times that has shot his free throws a foot and a half behind the stripe. His line from the…line…was 5-7, light years better than his 48% he’s accumulated over the course of the season. If he can make something like that number the rest of the way we can all feel a little better about his playoff impact.

    4) Bench power! The Laker bench was stellar last night out scoring the Warrior’s bench 57-45. Led by an aggressive but under control Kyle Kuzma’s 18 points every bench player who saw the floor scored except for Alex Caruso (who only played 15 minutes) and he made his impact in every other facet of the game.

    5) Let’s not read too much into this one folks. If we’re being honest this is exactly how the game should have gone, especially once Green was ejected, Poole rolled his ankle and left for a long stretch and Bowman got hurt, as well. Not dominating would have been a concern, frankly. So, while it was a romp in the park for the Lakers, this shouldn’t foretell future success. The Warriors are terrible this year and nobody celebrates a victory over a punching bag, or at least it’s not the Laker pedigree I think we’re all used to here. Good job, the W is the important thing, let’s get another one on Saturday against Memphis. Go Lakers.

     
    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 10:46 AM on February 28, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      1) Draymond didn’t want to play either, so he just decided to get ejected.

      He might have been sore, but Josh Hart is the one who got hit by a blunt object. “Crotch face” is the medical definition. LOL.

      Load management.

      2) Yeah, more minutes…

      3) Yup. Moving back makes more sense than changing body mechanics. Less taxing from time management as well when you look at it.

      4) Kuzma has a better plan of attack. Shot selection much better.

      5) Yeah…

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:06 PM on February 28, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for another ‘5 Things,’ Jamie.

      1) It was great to see LeBron happily cheering on his teammates and having a good time on the bench. Got no problem with LBJ taking it easy in games like this. Scrappy first half by the Warriors coming back again and again after Lakers would pull out by 8 or 9. Second half blow out was still sloppy but good to see. Love me some load management. Seven in a row and counting.

      2) Good to see Markieff get some run. I think he’s going to give us another matchup weapon. The big question is still whether the Lakers make another move. The March 2nd meeting with Dion Waiters could signal Troy Daniels departure. If that happens, I hope the move turns into a positive one. Don’t need any distractions heading into the stretch but I trust Rob and Frank to not do anything that LeBron and AD approve. A well-behaved and motivated Waiters could reduce Rondo minutes.

      3) Dwight goes through stretches where his free throw shooting looks pretty good but then starts launching bricks. Love his activity on the boards and on defense though. He’s a guy whom I’m sure the Lakers want back next season and who I think wants to return. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dwight finish his career in purple and gold.

      4) Bench power indeed, Jamie. with Boogie on ‘injured reserve,’ the Lakers are now 15 deep and looking to improve that if the Waiters rumors are true. While it seems like a different two or three guys step up every game, I do think Vogel is right that he has a lot of guys whom he can turn to at any time, which is what constitutes a great deep bench. Let’s hope we don’t have to count on Next Man Up.

      5) A win is a win and one without LeBron is always to be appreciated. And I don’t mind whipping the Warriors after what they did to us the last five years. Time for some payback. Got no mercy in my soul for Golden State. Lots of Lakers fans in Chase Center just like their was in Oracle Arena.

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 4:11 PM on February 28, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Was nice to rest LBJ and to an extent, AD!

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:03 AM on February 27, 2020 Permalink  

    Had a 5er, seems extraneous at this point. Here’s the nutshell version.

    1) I thought Morris played as well as can be expected.

    2) Caruso’s block on Ball was awesome but what went un-called was Dwight’s lil shove while Lonzo was airborne which knocked him off balance right as Caruso was making the block. So great non call, refs!

    3) Kuzma needs to not play to keep his perceived role. Shoot the open shots created for you. Any NBA player will have a role of they: defend, hustle, communicate and play under control. Do those things and points will come very organically, when he forces his role it never really looks good this season.

    4) Rondo should just imagine every opponent is wearing Celtic green. He gets up for Boston in a way I don’t think I’ve seen for any other team. He had another ‘no-show’ game against NOLA.

    5) Health is my only concern. LeBron needs to get right and if it takes multiple games, weeks or whatever, we need him as good to go as possible once the playoffs start. Nothing else really matters, honestly.

     
  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:13 AM on February 24, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    That was one heckuva entertaining game! Back and forth, seeing and sawing, both teams exploiting the other’s weaknesses and the atmosphere at STAPLES was full blown playoff vibes. Good stuff.

    1) Sussing out a weakness and driving the wedge in deep. Been so long since we’ve seen this kind of basketball played with this intensity this late in the season. For those of you who have forgotten, or perhaps not experienced it, this was an inkling of what playoff basketball feels like. Every possession has weight, every score adds a little bit more pressure, every blown defensive assignment produces an audible reaction. The Boston Celtics have a rangy team and they did their best to force the ball out of the post and make the Lakers beat them from the perimeter. This feels like the recipe many teams will adopt as we gear up for the Second Season. To our credit, the Lakers broke the zone schemes appropriately (via penetration and scoring at the rim) and made enough threes to keep our spacing decent. But you better believe there will be more athletic players fronting AD in the post going forward. teams will dare the rest of the team to hit outside shots rather than watch our bigs led by Davis smash them to pieces down low.

    2) Odd late technical on Brad Stevens. I have zero love for anything Celtics related, not one iota. But even I had to agree that the late technical foul on Brad Stevens was both unwarranted and oddly timed. Game on the line, tough call goes against your team, everyone has a reaction: pretty much instant T? All I’m saying on this one is let there be a little more breathing room for guys to vent when the pressure is ratcheted up that high. It’s what I’d want for my squad, no extra rules or poorly timed ‘make up’ calls for earlier, un-called, transgressions.

    3) Classy Celtics gestures. Look. I can’t believe IO just typed that either. But it’s true, many of the Boston players wore purple arm bands to commemorate and Honor Kobe and Bill freaking Russell wore a Kobe jersey while sitting courtside. That kind of thing goes beyond nice words and into the realm of totally classy. So, tip of the cap to the Celtics organization for doing it right. OK, that’s the end of all positive comments for Boston, we’ll resume our regularly scheduled cantankerous opinion in the next bullet point.

    4) Rondo starting to come back around. In 22 minutes Rondo put a big time stamp on this basketball game. While he has always loved to show up his old squad last night was also nice to see for Laker fans because Rondo was the right kind of aggressive all game long. Active hands in the post coming up with key steals, slick passes to open guys and best of all he didn’t turn the ball over once. That’s huge because in the winter months he had turned it over a lot based on his minutes played and role on the team. 22 mpg feels about right for Rajon and hopefully he can lock in and be even more effective come the playoffs.

    5) Memorial for Kobe Bryant. Today at STAPLES there will be memorial for Kobe Bryant (and I assume Gigi, to a lesser degree). So, on this sad day let’s remember a great Laker who was also human, and thus flawed as we all are, who perished tragically and far too soon. While the wounds will require time to fully heal we can begin the moving on part today and start to focus on the Lakers we have now. Because they’re good and they’re getting better. Last night would have been a game Kobe would have enjoyed playing in. Two teams matching each other, competition high, nobody letting up or stepping off the gas. A real battle and a true test of wills. The kind of fire Kobe’s legend was forged in. The fact that the Lakers won put a little cherry on top of this epic Sunday sundae.

     
    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 10:22 AM on February 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Yup. Just like those that have passed on, you have to let them go. It’d hard, I can get that sometimes, some people never get over it.

      It was gonna be more difficult for LA. In the 24/7 news cycle, when someone perishes or a tragedy happens, there’s a window of day and a half to 2 days at the most.

      We always remember him.

      Marc Davis is incompetent. His crew was as well. Like you said, ‘make-up call’. Replay reviews for obvious plays and the watching the same replay for 5 mins…

      Cuban said the training for refs is worse than Dairy Queen.

      Good five, dude.

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:26 AM on February 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks man, I just found that call wholly inexplicable. it’s not like Brad is one of those ‘on the refs jock all night’ kinda coaches, either. he plays it pretty cool. Weird stuff from the officials this whole season…

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 11:09 AM on February 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie
      Nice recap as usual. The big thing for me was Kuzma’s game. He had been in a little scoring slump so it was nice to see him break out of it with 18. But the bigger thing for me was his defense. He is quietly becoming an improved defender. We have already seen him stay with Westbrook and yesterday when given the opportunity he did a pretty nice job on Tatum. I think this is where adding Morris will have some impact. It will allow Kuz to play some of the big wings. While he is far from a lock down defender he has the size and ability to to make it a little tougher for some of these guys. As that block on Tatum showed, he recovers quickly and has good length to alter shots.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 12:10 PM on February 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great post, Jamie, and definitely a great game. The wins against the Nuggets and the Celtics were playoff caliber wins and I’m clearly in the camp to celebrate rather than denigrate the victories.

      1) I’m more impressed with the strengths we showed against the Celtics than the weaknesses. This is the NBA and the true superstars, of which Jason Tatum is showing he deserves to be included, constantly prove that great offense beats great defense. What impressed me more was the great adjustments the Lakers made to neutralize Tatum in the fourth quarter. Solid stay-in-front defense on him by Kuzma and KCP and smart doubling and trapping on pick-and-rolls by Vogel held Tatum to just one basket and two free throws in the fourth quarter while forcing him into several turnovers. Jason may have worked out with Kobe but when it came to crunch time, the Lakers shut him down and won the game.

      2) I like and respect Brad Stevens but any time Karma sticks it to the Shamrock blessed Celtics, I’m not going to complain. I actually thought at first the tech was called on Tatum, who went berserk on the ref on the call. AD missed the free throw so the basketball gods had the final say but way too much appreciation for the Celtics from you far as I’m concerned. I thought the refs gave the Greenies way too many breaks during the game: blown goal tending call, foul on AD on the tipped ball out of bounds, LeBron getting bumped and hammered without any whistles.

      3) And I doubt the Celtics had anything to do with Bill Russell wearing a Kobe jersey. That’s just one GOAT to another and nothing to do with the effing Celtics.

      4) Playoff Rondo lives. Not just a terrific game from Rajon but one the Lakers needed. He had second best plus/minus at +15 on team. 5 assists, 0 turnovers, and 5 steals. Enough of the Rondo hate. Time for fans to give Rajon some respect, myself included. Playoff Rondo is capable of winning one game in every series we play. Frank just needs to dole his minutes based on performance. If he’s rolling, let him play. If he struggles, bench him. But give the man some credit. We wouldn’t have won this game without him.

      5) I don’t what the Lakers plan as far as a statue for Kobe and there’s no shortage of great ideas but I love that temporary one they put up with Kobe and Gigi and the halos. I thought about watching the service live but decided it would be too gut wrenching. You’re right, Kobe would have loved how the Lakers played last night and against the Nuggets. I still believe this team will win the championship and dedicate it to Kobe and Gigi and the rest of those who perished too soon in the accident.

      6) Can’t leave out Kyle Kuzma, who played a great game and showed some real spunk guarding Tatum. While the “is Kuzma or Tatum better” train left the station a long time ago, Kyle is showing signs of focusing on making the right play and nothing could be better for the Lakers. This is still a team game and if Playoff Rondo and Killer Kuzma can start contributing more, along with the Wrong Morris, then the Lakers are going to have a great chance to win it all. Sweet Sunday Win for Lakerholics!

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 12:16 PM on February 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Bill’s tweet, both graceful and cryptic, basically told Greenie fans complaining, to go take a long walk on a short pier.

        • Michael H (Editor)

          Michael H (Editor) 2:23 PM on February 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Aloha Tom
          I don’t think we got the wrong Morris at all. While his brother is a better player we would have had to give up Kuz and either Avery or Danny to get him. I think we are a better team by adding to what we already have. Marcus isn’t that much better then Markieff.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:43 PM on February 24, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Aloha, Michael,

            I agree Marcus may be the better all-around player but Markieff is a better fit for what the Lakers need in addition to being affordable to keep next summer. Markieff can play stretch four and small ball five. Marcus is really a three.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 6:45 PM on February 22, 2020 Permalink  

    Clippers really seem disjointed right now With fewer… 

    Clippers really seem disjointed right now. With fewer than 30 games to get it together it feels like they’ll be facing someone tough on the road to start the playoffs. They’re saying the right things in the locker room but, for me, this can be what adding a bunch of guys to a group that really hasn’t played together that much is going to look like. One thing is for sure: this Clippers team is no Raptors from last season. Only major piece they added was Gasol and he’s a defensive ace with a big time ‘team first’ attitude. Wonder if KL is regretting bailing on that squad right about now.

    Area cute area code jokes aren’t looking so funny these days, boys.

     
    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 6:54 PM on February 22, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Too many injuries.

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 7:25 PM on February 22, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yep, to their best 2 guys and best defender. Hard to find team consistency like that but I also feel like Doc Rivers is no Nick Nurse. Not saying a coach wields all that much power over h players but the Raptors defended hard with or without KL. These Clippers don’t have that dog on the squad after Beverly.

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