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  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:59 PM on December 10, 2018 Permalink |  

    5 Things I Liked 

    Real fun game at STAPLES, D-Wade’s final contest against the Lakers and his good buddy LeBron James. Great effort by both teams but the Lakers got the stops they needed and James made just enough free throws to bring it home for the purple and gold.

    1) 16-15, advantage LeBron. Tonight was the rubber match between LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. LeBron James walked away with the tie-breaking victory ensuring a lifetime of bragging rights over his fellow banana boat shipmate.

    2) Some folks like to portray things as LeBron finding his Robin and I’ve always seen things more like Wolverine finding the X-Men. Of course, being a Marvel guy, I was never all that into Batman, Superman or any of the other DC rags. Basketball is a team game and the strongest teams win, especially against singular entities. LeBron knows this, it’s why he came here. So while Kyle Kuzma has been pouring it in, pouring it on and looking downright like an All Star I still think we’re the strongest aspect of ourselves when we have solid contributions throughout. But tonight, Kyle Kuzma was way more than Robin, he was the best player on the floor, besting the career night in scoring by Justice Winslow. Great game for Kuz who continued his comeback tour tonight.

    3) Defending the three. On a night where the game was this close our defense at the three point line was a huge key in our victory that will go unnoticed in the shadows of the Wade/James story line and Kuzma’s offensive eruption. But make no mistake, our limiting their effectiveness from three (11-34 for the game) was instrumental in the win.

    4) STAPLES center crowd. They were on their feet for the final minute, they got loud when the team needed a little extra push, they were so not LA! But they were LA and they always will be, it’s just nice to see the home town crowd really into an early December basketball game and the team responding. Feels really good. Also, I have tickets to the March home game against Boston. Oh yes, it’s happening.

    5) Winning before a roadie. Leaving STAPLES behind for our second longest road trip of the season, always good to leave home on a high note. May the wind remain firmly in our sails on our journey away from home.

     
    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 8:43 AM on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Liked.

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 11:01 AM on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff as always JS.

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:03 AM on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks dudes.

      DJ, out of curiosity, what did you think of Lonzo’s effort last night?

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 11:12 AM on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Well, actually tried to keep physical notes. His line was 10, 7, 4, 3. Shooting was poor as expected. Missed too many bunnies. very bad foul toward the end of the game. Great block at the end of game. Still pretty average overall. He’s only 21 so has some growing time, just not sure we (LBJ) can wait long.

        PS-My pick Fox line last nite was 25, 4, 6, 4 with great shooting and so much speed. Oh well, we still need a Star along with Kuz and Ingy, IMHO.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 11:16 AM on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Mine too, Deej.
          At least Zo plays excellent D.
          Hopefully, his shot and finishing in the paint will improve.

          • DJ2KB24

            DJ2KB24 11:32 AM on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Kuz has been stepping up major!

            • therealhtj

              therealhtj 1:01 PM on December 11, 2018 Permalink

              All that tanking netted 1 max player.

            • mclyne32 (Director) 2:14 PM on December 11, 2018 Permalink

              Kuuuuuuuz!

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

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:28 PM on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I’ll take improvement finshing at the rim and free throws, three ball would be gravy, at this point.

            • DJ2KB24

              DJ2KB24 1:50 PM on December 11, 2018 Permalink

              Agreed.

          • mclyne32 (Director) 2:16 PM on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            they weren’t trying to tank- they were just led by an imbecile.

            • therealhtj

              therealhtj 2:57 PM on December 11, 2018 Permalink

              fastest swimmer on a slow day

            • mclyne32 (Director) 4:46 PM on December 11, 2018 Permalink

              BAWHAHAHHAAAAA!

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

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:11 PM on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          You’re one of a kind, Deej. Love that you kept physical notes. I’m assuming you mean pen and paper style. Pretty much agree with your take. he has fantastic defensive instincts, tries for the home run pass when a normal solid-fundamental pass would actually work better (see Luke’s face memes) and those blown layups are just inexcusable from someone playing in the NBA. That just has got to change like yesterday.

          Might top out as a Tony Allen-type of guy but with far better court vision and feel, like you said: still only 21. Room to grow…but how much is the big question.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 2:18 PM on December 11, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff, dude.
      I have tix to the game against PHX at the end of Jan.
      I sure hope Booker is 100% by then.
      My favorite Laker is showing up big again- Kuuuuuuuuuuz!

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:09 PM on December 10, 2018 Permalink |  

    Missed a couple ‘5 Things…’ 

    Hey there blog-o-maniacs. Had some time issues this weekend with family endeavors and personal this and that. The debris of life, as they say. At any rate there were 2 great games in that span, one ended with an ‘L’ the other with a ‘W’. So I’m going to do a combo-type thing and feel free to chime in or chat to your heart’s content. Dig it:

    1) The Jekyll & Hyde 4th quarter effort. To be honest I really only liked the Hyde, beast-mode 4th quarter against the Grizz. I thought we lost our composure a bit against the Spurs (with reason, still can’t believe LeBron got hit in the head and not 1 ref saw it, hard to imagine that happening when the best player in the game is driving to the rim, with the ball, draws all sorts of contact and whistles get outright swallowed, but hey they missed a lot of calls in that game!) What I liked was that we didn’t get a repeat performance the next night. The ship was righted and righted well at that. Those are the kinds of little things that would have led to a 4-5 game losing streak last year. Some of that is LeBron and our veteran core of players but it’s also the growth of our young guys.

    2) Svi for 3! OK, it’s 2 whole games but Svi has quietly started to find his NBA groove. He ws 2-3 from three against the Spurs and 3-6 against the Grizzlies. While that is good to see I’m not so sure it heralds his arrival. I need to see him put in a few more games like this before I call myself a believer. But, however you feel about it, it is tracking towards a positive. If Svi can ball like he did the last 2 games, making good reads, hitting the open shots, and playing adequate defense, he could help ease the seemingly inevitable trade of KCP. It’s a lot to put on a rookie but Pope has done himself no favors with his largely inconsistent play on both ends.

    3) Josh Hart’s bounce back game against Memphis. Mr. Hart had been struggling since his ankle injury but in recent games he looks better and more fluid. Against Memphis he was on fire canning 4-7 from three, playing great defense and looking like the Josh Hart we expect to see most games. While I have a hard time seeing Hart ever replacing Brandon Ingram in the starting 5 (unless Brandon is traded) his ability to effect the game on both ends off the bench is key for our club.

    4) Kyle Kuzma looking like he did last season. In both the San Antonio and Memphis games Kyle looked like, well, Kyle. He’s shooting a little better from three, still making the occasional play for a teammate, and being aggressive at the right moments. One little issue that I’d like to see him stop doing: out-rebounding his teammates. Far too often do I see him bump a fellow Laker off a rebound. While I don’t think it’s led to a turnover it’s just not cool, dude. Unless it’s a fast break opportunity (and a lot of them have not been) let the big man who did all the work get the board, no stat padding! (lol)

    5) Issac Bonga’s first point! Came on a technical foul free throw. The vets just love it when the rookies finally scratch in the NBA and this time was no different.

    This is great stuff, good fun for the vets, positive for the bench guys and rookies need to be ribbed a little bit. Nice to see Mr. Bonga get his first points and rebounds at the professional level.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 1:09 PM on December 10, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the great double dose, Jamie.

      1) LeBron is getting the Shaq treatment from the zebras. I don’t mind the refs not calling every little bump when he drives as long as they don’t do that for other players. Unfortunately, bump James Harden or DeMar DeRozan or any of the other perimeter oriented stars who attack the rim, and you automatically get two free throws. Meanwhile, LeBron gets clocked hard one drive after another with nothing called. There’s a totally different and unfair standard for what constitutes a foul on LeBron.

      2) I’m 100% with you on Svi’s emergence providing additional motivation for the trading him for Trevor Ariza. Aside from bringing the roster better guard/forward balance, Trevor coming home gives us that wing defender who can guard the bigger guards like DeRozan and Middleton as well as small forwards like KD and Rudy Gay, who are just too big for the players we have backing up LeBron. I think the addition of Ariza would catapult the Lakers into a top five NBA team as a hot team on the rise.

      3) Great to see Josh bounce back. Again, the better he and Svi play, the easier it is to consider trading KCP, whom the Lakers have done a brilliant job showcasing over the last few games. The Sixers should be salivating right now with the prospect of adding a quality two-way player who can rain threes to help them climb up the standings in the rejuvenated Eastern Conference.

      4) Kuzma is finally back. Doing it all: scoring, rebounding, playmaking, and defending. His integration of the floater has transformed his paint game and he’s finally gotten back the mojo that playing stretch five apparently sent into submission. More and more, I keep wondering whether the best two prospects in the Lakers’ young core are not Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart rather than Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. Both may not have the upside as their younger teammates, but there’s little question both are better fits playing with LeBron and more ready to compete for an NBA championship at this point in their careers.

      5) Bonga fills the stat sheet: 1 point, 1 board, 1 dime, 1 steal. Great to see the bench go crazy when Isaac sank that free throw. If we trade KCP, Bonga may be the best free throw shooter on the team. He has always been a mid eighties free throw shooter and is shooting high forties on his threes. Have not heard but am hoping Isaac will get to stay active for the varsity for the next three games that Brandon is scheduled to miss. Bonga is going to be a star on this team before all is said and done.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:07 PM on December 6, 2018 Permalink |  

    Lakers’ Ingram (ankle) to have precautionary MRI 

    While X-rays on his injured left ankle came back negative, Lakers forward Brandon Ingram is scheduled for a precautionary MRI on Thursday night.

    Source: Lakers’ Ingram (ankle) to have precautionary MRI

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

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:48 PM on December 5, 2018 Permalink |  

    5 Things I Liked 

    1) This future poster, maybe for my daughter…

    2) Another Laker home win where we are a very respectable 10-4. Did the right thing in not letting the Spurs use us as comeback vehicle for their miserable season and made sure we won one for Brandon Ingram (hope the ankle isn’t serious and the hold out more precautionary). Need to rinse and repeat on Friday in San Antonio.

    3) That 4th quarter. Bottle it, preserve it, embalm it…whatever needs doing to make that a constant for our team. We outscored the Spurs by 12 to the tune of 43-31 led by LeBron James but featuring his supporting cast. Josh Hart with 2 bog 3s, Lonzo Ball canned a trey, and Kuzma started the 4th off really aggressively to help set the tone early.

    4) Tyson Chandler’s unheralded excellence. I don’t know how he does it but man is Tyson Chandler somehow a part of every big run the Lakers go on. JaVale has been spectacular but it’s been Tyson who generally finishes the game, mainly because he sets wipe-out screens and is a solid rebounder. Great game from the vet.

    5) Oh dang…I think I meant this poster…

    Ah well, just have to get ’em both. Seriously, Lonzo had a great game. Might not show up in the box score in the same way LeBron’s game did but it’s undeniable all the same. Clutch three pointer in the 4th quarter, laser blast extra pass to Josh Hart for a three pointer in the 4th quarter and made a lot of great reads, my favorite being his 15′ jump shot he really wanted to pass the ball on in the first half. If BI is out for more than a couple games we’ll need Mr. Ball to put in efforts like this more consistently.

    15-9, 5th in the western conference, 3rd in one of the tougher divisions, swept the 4 game home stand. Good stuff, go Lakers.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:23 AM on December 6, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff, Jamie. And some great videos for your daughter, including Lonzo going LeBron with the dunk.

      Last night was superstars night. LeBron 42 to lead Lakers, PG 47 to lead Thunder, and Steph 42 to lead Warriors, Kawhi 36 to lead Raptors.

      Loved how LeBron trusted the young guns down the stretch and they delivered. Critical threes by Kuz, Lonzo, and Hart.

      Also loved how Kuzma came up big guarding DeRozan down the stretch with BI out.

      Have not heard anything about Brandon’s ankle. Hopefully, it won’t keep him out and we’ll get Rondo back.

      Lakers rocking and rolling!

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 10:40 AM on December 6, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Likely out a couple weeks. Hopefully it’s not one of them high sprains that can take weeks to heal.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:59 AM on December 6, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          That’s too bad about Brandon. That was definitely an intentional effort to undercut him by Aldridge. Glad to see it called. Hope BI can get back soon. Doesn’t sound like Rondo will be ready for the weekend so Bongo could really get a legitimate shot to play this Friday and Saturday.

          When one door closes, another opens. This could be a huge plus for the Lakers if Isaac can make the leap the varsity. He can do everything -- shoot, make plays, rebound, and play and defend multiple positions. Bonga could be the Lakers’ Silver Linings Playbook.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 6:05 PM on December 6, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lebron.

      When he’s hitting 3’s it’s damm near impossible to stop him.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:39 AM on December 3, 2018 Permalink |  

    5 Things I Liked 

    Three in a row! Moving up the playoff ladder! It’s barely December! Still dig it.

    1) Bench getting quality minutes. Here’s a handy formula that, hopefully, holds true for the season: Zubac + Wagner / quality 4th quarter minutes = Great game! Of course it could be a blowout in the other direction. Not last night as the rising Lakers sunk the hapless Suns by the end of the 3rd quarter. Every player who could play did play. These kind of wins are most valuable in terms of keeping LeBron’s career low minutes at a career low. The fewer minutes he plays in games like this the better for the team.

    2) Welcome back Michael Beasley! The Beez looked like himself, had life in his legs, looked sure of his shot and was key in keeping the game a blowout with the rest of his bench mates. If he can be that productive for us off the bench and if we can unlock the secret of Lance’s slump we have the makings of a solid NBA bench, one that can hold and potentially extend leads. Great to see him look more like the player we know he can be.

    3) Moe Wagner’s first points. Magicman already posted the hilarious clip of JaVale and Tyson “losing it” when Moe got his first NBA points at the free throw line but here’s his full game highlights.

    I’ll go out on a limb and say his first actual basket should have been an ‘and-1’ and it was great seeing him can that three. The fact he and Zubac shared the court for a few minutes is still cracking me up. Not something I had really expected to ever see, for some reason…

    4) Kuzma putting together a complete effort for the whole game (or at least until the beginning of the 4th quarter when Luke inserted the bench for mop up duty). Kyle looked great against the Suns defense and hopefully it gets him back on track in terms of playing with decisiveness. He took the open shots, drove it into the paint when they closed hard, and pulled down 8 boards while dishing 3 assists to only 1 turnover. Led the team in scoring, to boot!

    5) Josh Hart’s ridiculous +32!?!?! In his 18 minutes Josh Hart was, statistically, instrumental in winning the game. But truthfully when he’s paired with Tyson Chandler and another playmaker Josh Hart is a stalwart off the bench. While the debate as to who should start will likely rage all season I see Josh as being most effective off the bench and bullying the lesser talent on other teams.

    All in all, a lot of positives from a game we should have won going away, especially after the Suns lost Devin Booker to another hamstring injury. The fact that we did indeed win the game going away bucks a script the Lakers too often like to read from. Laker teams in the past would have slacked off on D, stopped executing or let all sorts of little errors crack the door open and let the Suns back into the game. Not last night. Good stuff.

     
    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 10:30 AM on December 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The thing I’ve really liked about these past coupla games is the balance. For a most of the season it’s been Lebron or bust. Hopefully the supporting cast can continue to show consistency & growth and then bring it all together when Rondo gets back. I’m excited to see us up against some better competition to measure how we stack up….

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:57 AM on December 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Agreed, granted these wins have generally come against teams I feel we should beat but still takes going out and beating them. Last night could have very easily been a “trap” game but was not. This stretch against the Spurs and even moreso the Grizz should be informative as to how we stack up against team’s that defend well. Spurs a re playing a little back on their heels, right now, but they always seem to find it in their hearts to play us tough. Grizz could be as legit of a contender as anyone if Conley and Gasol figure out how to stay healthy.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:44 AM on December 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Fun stuff, Jamie. Thanks for sharing.

      1) Loved seeing Moe get his chance and especially loved the threes. Unlike last year, when our three first round draft picks all got great early opportunities to show what they could do, this year’s crop of draftees, which included two second rounders, have not had the same opportunities, even though I think before everything is said and done, they’re going end up being a great draft class. Ironically, there is possibly a better chance that Moe, Svi, and Isaac could outlast Brandon, Kyle, and Josh as Lakers.

      2) Besides Beasley looking like he could contribute (and we obviously need some bigs who can stretch the floor), what I loved most was hearing before this game how he was still being a great teammate and positive force on the bench. If he can play at the level he did coming off the bench for the Knicks last yar, that would really help the Lakers repertoire of weapons at Luke’s beck and call.

      3) Moe playing well and hitting those threes was a big plus for me. Both Wagner and Beasley bring something to the table at power forward or at small ball center that we’ve have lacked, which is the ability to stretch the floor and spread the defense. Of course, now that Svi and Moe have gotten some run, Isaac is next. Just one of the reasons to wish for a Lakers’ blow out every game.

      4) It was great to see Kuz bounce back with a strong all-around game. Kudos to Luke and his staff for looking to match Kyle up with players whose games are good matches for Kuz’s defensive strengths. He’s been doing a great job following his man over screens and using his length and quickness to contest shots. Time not only gives the players the opportunity to learn how to play with each other but also the coaches on how to create the most favorabled matchups for all of their players at both ends of the court.

      5) Having Hart play well is just another plus in a game full of pluses. When LeBron plays well and the young core shines, the Lakers almost look invincible. Of course, everybody looks that way when they play the Suns. Hated to see Booker go down with a hamstring. The new tank rules don’t really give the Suns the kind of advantage that previous teams with the worst record in the league used to have. And Ayton doesn’t look like he’s going to be an impact player, especially on defense. Booker will boook the first flight out soon as he’s a free agent.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:06 AM on December 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        1) 100% Any game where we empty the bench and take home a W is a great game. LeBron playing a career low minutes was a priority from the beginning and to see us winning and making that goal a reality is something that will probably get more attention later in the season.

        2) Agreed. Beasley being effective will give Rondo another tool to use to pick apart NBA bench defenses. He was great for the Knicks last year but until last night we hadn’t seen anything like that player. Hopefully this is the turnaround for the season and not just a flash in the pan moment.

        3) I don’t know that I would say he played well, especially on defense where he got scored on repeatedly in the paint, but it was nice to see him pry the lid off the basket and score from the spots he needs to be scoring from. Moe has a long way to go to become a player of true impact on our squad.

        4) Yup. He’s been rebounding pretty well lately and his defense has been better. I will add that he has a penchant for out-rebounding his own teammates which has always been irksome to me: let the bigs get their boards, it’s one of the few things they let them do, but his enthusiasm shouldn’t be quenched, yet, so it’s fine.

        5) Hart’s been awesome all season and looks like he’s bounced back from that ankle tweak.

        Booker just signed a big extension so he’ll need to demand a trade to book that jet plane out of town, lol.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 1:24 PM on December 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie
      Nice recap. For me again it’s defense. While Kuz has been hitting some 3’s the last couple of games I am more excited about the D and rebounding he’s been showing for the last few games. I always thought his 3 pointer would come around. I know one can say it was only the Suns but Booker didn’t go down until about 5, 6 minutes left in the 2nd and he was 3 for 8 with 6 points at the time and Crawford was only 2 for 6 for the game. Both guys are world class scorers.
      I especially enjoyed that 2nd quarter where the 2nd unit brought us back. While Hart’s +32 is amazing BI’s +25 for the QUARTER is just sick.
      If BI and Kuz can get a little more consistent shooting I’m good with the 15 to 20 a game from each of them. That coveted 2nd scorer won’t be as important if that happens.
      Beasley played very little early and when he did it was at the 5. Kuz began to get it together when Luke stopped playing him there. I’m hoping that Beasley plays better now that he’s not being used at the 5. With the addition of Chandler I don’t think we will see much small ball and if we do it should be Lebron at the 5 like we did a few games ago. I really think at this point he’s about the only guy that’s capable.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:32 PM on December 3, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Agree and thanks!

        A “2nd scorer by committee” works for me as long as, like you said, the defense is solid. Chandler pretty much ended the ‘small ball’ debate until the last few minutes of every game. Then, depending on the in-game situation I think LBJ, Chandler or McGee can handle the 5.

        BI’s defense has been stellar, he and Kuz are really playing well with Lonzo on the perimeter and making the opposition take contested shots or funneling them to the big man guarding the rim.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:05 PM on November 30, 2018 Permalink  

    5 Things I Liked 

    Back-to-back wins, 6th seed in the west and we play the Suns Sunday. Dig it.

    1) Staying the course, trusting your defense and not losing composure. We got down big early, weren’t hitting from three or from the free throw line (again), and the whistles were-a-whistlin’ tonight! For all that we still won the game going away against a team that has given us (historically) and the rest of the NBA (lately) fits. Dropped a major rival down a game, picked up a game in the playoff seeding and improved to a very respectable 8-4 at home.

    2) Brandon Ingram just doing his thing. I’m sure there are poor analytics and optics to Brandon Ingram’s game. I dig it. He’s like the Garret Andereson of basketball with his easy, loping trundling style of play. It’s like he’s the fastest slow player ever. He takes too many mid-range jump shots and doesn’t even make a lot of them. But the way he plays forces the defense to respect his possession of the ball and he uses that very well. It’s an ageless, unteachable skill set and we’re really waiting for is for him to just be better at the basics.

    3) Kyle Kuzma against the tide, into the wind and despite all odds. Kyle struggled early and didn’t overshoot late. In a way, that’s amazing. Like California Gold Huell Howser “That’s amazing!” amazing.

    But he stuck with it and found his inner Kyle Kuzma and started gunning and not over-thinking. When the tide crashed and he was getting overplayed both he and the team didn’t over-force it like they might have done last season, heck even early in this one. That’s real growth, I think, it’s not ignoring the hot hand but it’s not forcing the issue from either standpoint. It’s the kind of little, team-first basketball things that will be the measuring stick of progress this season. He also pulled down 12 boards. Good stuff, Kyle, even though that shot didn’t fall early.

    4) Lonzo Ball. He didn’t really shoot well but bullied his way to a big 10 points. He didn’t take great care of the ball (4 TO) but he played some tough defense (5 steals) and helped stymie the Mavs pick and roll attack that was murdering us in the 1st half. Too much will be always be made of his shooting woes but when he plays the kind of defense he did tonight and make plays like he did tonight it mitigates that. 10 points per game is a very reasonable goal for the young PG.

    5) Tyson Chandler with a big 13 points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench and helping keep us anchored on D after McGee fouled out. His game-high 5 offensive rebounds were instrumental in both the comeback and when we pulled away. Tyson was perfect from the floor, as well. Great game from Tyson.

    Enjoy your Saturday, Lakerholics, Sunday we face the Suns at 12:30.

     
    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 10:35 AM on December 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie,

      Nice recap as always. My biggest take from this game is our growth on defense. It would have been another taco night if we hadn’t let up and allowed a few concession baskets in garage time. Luke pointed to BI and Lonzo efforts in the post game but I felt everyone was pretty locked in after that 1st quarter. Even Kuz is improving on that end. BI and Lonzo are developing into one of the better defensive back courts in the NBA. And with both just 21 that’s almost unheard. Anyway I’m having a lot of fun watching these guys.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:57 AM on December 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Excellent recap, Jamie. Thank you. It’s great to win both games in the back-to-back, especially after cratering against the Nuggets. And always nice to have your objective and reasonable analysis. Gives good balance to they hysteria and highs and lows some of us, including me, generally prefer.

      I’ve always been on the side of keeping all of our young players, even after signing LeBron. Unfortunately, having James for three guaranteed years changes almost everything. I say almost everything because we still need the kids each to take a leap or make a jump to become stars, either to help LeBron win or to be used as trading chips to get the players he needs to win it all.

      It’s frustrating to have to remind yourself every time Lonzo makes a dumb pass, Kuz hesitates and turns down a wide-open three, or Ingram pounds the ball and takes 15 seconds to go into the paint one on three, that these players are still boys, not men, and surely not the players they likely will be in three or four years. That’s hard because it makes you realize how far apart the natural championship windows of Lonzo, Brandon, and Kyle are from LeBron.

      Right now, I’m in an optimistic phase that says, hey, we’re #6 seed and slowly improving DESPITE turning the ball over like losers, not sharing the ball like we should, with nobody on the team other than LeBron and JaVale really playing consistently outstanding. The kids have been … well, kids. The criticism that this is what we should expect is, of course, spot ot. But really, if you’re a fan … I think we all were hoping and had valid reason to expect more from the young core.

      At any rate, we do now appear to heading in the right direction with hopefully a relatively easy win coming versus the Suns tomorrow afternoon. Go, Lakers!

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 12:14 PM on December 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Just finished the game. Very nice turn around from 1Q. Lowered TO’s and played very good defense.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 1:38 PM on December 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff, dude.
      My only real concern is the turnovers, but overall I think they are right about where I thought they would be at this point in the season.
      I think there is still a lot of room for improvement- especially in the area of the individual parts working better together.
      When the five guys on the floor lock in on D, we become a very impressive team. The more we can decrease the length of the stretches of pourous D, the more games we will win.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:20 PM on November 30, 2018 Permalink  

    Washington Wizards’ Dwight Howard to miss 2-3 months after lower back surgery 

    Visit ESPN to get up-to-the-minute sports news coverage, scores, highlights and commentary for NFL, MLB, NBA, College Football, NCAA Basketball and more.

    Source: Washington Wizards’ Dwight Howard to miss 2-3 months after lower back surgery

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:21 PM on November 30, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      • mclyne32 (Director) 10:12 PM on November 30, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Lol!
        I actually feel bad for the guy.
        I don’t think there has been a guy who wasted his epic God given frame more than Dwight.
        If he had half the work ethic of Kobe, he could have been one of the All Time great Centers.
        Also: “If he only had a brain…”

    • therealhtj

      therealhtj 7:33 AM on December 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      There have been plenty worse. Dwight was an MVP candidate, DPOY, and countless other honors. Lots of dudes with his talent never managed squat in the association. He was just never quite the same after his back surgery and his lack of skill caught up to him. Shaq coulda had the HOF renamed after him if he had Kobe’s work ethic, while we’re at it.

    • keen observer

      keen observer 2:33 PM on December 1, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      And you posted this because?

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:14 PM on November 30, 2018 Permalink  

    Man do I feel for Marelle Fultz and the 76ers. We really lucked into dodging a bullet when they picked him #1. Say what you want about Lonzo Ball but at least he’s able to play. Mental or physical, hope that kid figures it out and gets back on the court.

    http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/25419489/sixers-markelle-fultz-shoulder-visit-more-specialists-next-week

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

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:46 AM on November 30, 2018 Permalink  

    5 Things I Liked 

    With the win tonight the Lakers kick off the 2nd quarter of the schedule with a W. Got a chance to start a streak in the right direction tomorrow night against the Phoenix Suns. If we boost our win total in every quarter of the schedule, even if only by 1, I really like our chances of making the playoffs. Yes, I know it’s the Lakers and we only play for one thing but just for this team to get there after last year, all the preseason doubt about fit and chemistry. Might it take an MVP caliber year from LeBron? Absolutely. Will he be able to do this every season going forward?

    Maybe?

    1) Bookends. Loved the 1st and late 3rd into the 4th quarter but man did we play out of character in the middle section of the game. From the moment we got that 24 point lead to the few minutes we lost it the Lakers really just stopped playing hard and looked exactly how they looked in the Denver game. Whatever kicked back on and helped them pull this one out is something we should bottle and put in the team Gatorade.

    2) Another LeBron James fueled win. This is a bittersweet ‘Like’ of sorts. While it’s a lot of fun watching LeBron carve up defenses and hope a few teammates besides McGee come along for the ride it also feels like an unsustainable stratagem. But man watching LeBron on the break is a thing of beauty. Still a lot of season for one or more of any number of teammates to find something like their regular selves and mesh their game with LeBron’s a nightly basis. He’s doing this with a career low (so far) in minutes played. Amazing.

    3) Defense! That 1st quarter… Can I have more and some every night, please? McGee looked like he was 3 different players. McGee (4), Ingram (3), Chandler and Lonzo (2 each) fueled a feisty paint defense that stymied the Pacers at the rim. Unfortunately they killed us at the stripe and from deep and so it was a lot closer of a game than one would have preferred. Also the funny thing about blocked shots that, while cool and often spectacular, they don’t necessarily mean you played solid defense. But in this case we had several fast break defeating defensive stanzas that fired up both team and crowd. Until we better learn the fundamentals, I’m fine with sloppy, spectacular and winning the game.

    4) Taking the charge! Kyle and LeBron both took heady, well-timed and instrumental offensive fouls late in the game. LeBron is often singled out for not going all in on D for all 48, Kuzma for his overall lack of defensive instinct, and both played some real solid D down the stretch in the 4th. Kuzma looked like he got into his own head after his hot start when he picked up some quick fouls but he fought through it and found a couple of ways to help the team pull it out. Good stuff.

    5) Welcome back Josh Hart. His 3 steals helped fuel his overall game and he hit 1-2 from three. He was real effective in his 25 minutes and looks like he’s pretty much gotten over that sore ankle that looked like it had sapped him of his regular vim and vigor. Nice bounce back game.

    Free throws? Still a big issue. Turnover? The same. Bench reeling from the loss of Rondo? Yup. Still found a way to overcome and win and while it was a lot of LeBron it wasn’t all LeBron. I put this one in the “We would have lost it last year, possibly even with LBJ” category. SO to see them early on figuring out how to pull these games out, especially at home, is a good thing. Figure it out on the road and reduce the number of “…uh…we didn’t show up…” games and I like our chances most nights.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:00 AM on November 30, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good morning, Jamie. Thanks again for “5 Things I Loved” although I was wondering whether you should rename it as “5 Things I Loved and Hated.” Seems like this team can’t deliver one without the other.

      1) Bookends? This game was more like a sandwich made with great bread but no meat. The first quarter was maybe the best quarter this team has played all year and the comeback to close out the fourth was pure LeBron. The tofu in the middle, however, was what left a bad taste despite being wrapped between a couple of slices of All-World bread.

      2) Great to see LeBron take over to close out this game but we need to figure out how to win when LeBron is not LeBron, which is something likely to happen more and more as the King gets older and we get deeper into his contract. Team still needs to integrate LeBron into a team offense. Right now, LeBron and Brandon iso appears to be our identity.

      3) Great defensive effort by the Lakers in that first quarter. Loved the blocked shots. JaVale was terrific as was the team in general. Overall, the Lakers played excellent defense all game long as indicated by the final score. Of course, Indiana is a far less potent offensive team with Victor.

      4) I agree that it was great to see Bron and Kuz take those charges. I would love to see stats on how many charges we’ve drawn vs. how many our opponents have drawn. Creating a wall around the paint is sometimes more effective than blocking shots. Good to see our defense working.

      5) Josh needed a good game but it was his defense in this game that impressed me most. I loved how he was following players over screens and aggressively jumping passing lanes for steals. He also did a better job than in the past keeping his defender in front of him and not allowing any straight line drives. With Rondo out, Josh playing well is critical to our bench, which once again was smoked by the opponent.

      We’ll find out something about this team’s character tonight versus the Mavs, who just blew out the Rockets Wednesdayt night. Mavs are sitting in the #8 slot with a 10-9 record and Doncic looking like a potential ROY. This is a must win game for the young Lakers.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:50 AM on November 29, 2018 Permalink  

    20 Games In 

    With 20 games done and behind us (apologies for not having a ‘5 Things…’ for the last game, but between some family things that need handling and the fact that game was pretty terrible I figured we’d forge on) we can see the picture of the Lakers starting to form. After a rough start that culminated with Magic publicly rebuking coach Walton the team has stabilized and played its way to an 11-9 record and are sitting 7th in the western conference playoff seeding.

    -This has quickly become LeBron James’ team. Was there really any doubt it would work out any other way? The King has had some spectacular games already and played so well it’s glossed over some fundamental issues the team will need to iron out going forward. As expected, James is firmly entrenched  in the early season conversation for MVP.

    -Laker core of young players still has quite a lot of growing and learning to do. Also no surprise, while I’m sure we all had hoped that one or more of the Ball/Ingram/Kuzma/Hart group of players would bust out in a big way and become the obvious 2nd to LeBron they’ve all had struggles and limitations within their games to still overcome. Consistency is each of their biggest hurdle, whether it’s overall intensity, health, or losing focus on the court because they don’t have the ball in their hands. As we move towards the halfway point it would make the Lakers a much stronger team if one of those four can find a way to be a more dominant force on the court.

    -Free throws are going to be a big issue going forward. Another fairly obvious issue but what’s most confounding about this is that even the players who shoot well can’t seem to find any mojo at the free throw line. Whether the solution lies in more practice spent on free throw shooting, hiring a specific coach or hypnotism the Lakers as a franchise need to address this problem. Can’t give away games at the free throw line and expect success in the playoffs.

    -The offense will get better and we’ll see turnovers start to go down. This is where the extremely short preseason hurt us as a team. With pretty much a whole new roster in terms of players of impact we really only had enough time to focus on defense. That time has shown itself in our steady improvement on that end. Where we look like we’ve regressed is on offense. But as we move forward and the guys learn each other better and the coaches can dedicate a practice or two to that end in addition to going over film I think we’ll see a similar improvement on that end in the coming months.

    -The players brought in haven’t sabotaged the season, if anything it’s been the opposite. When news we had signed Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee to compliment our singing of James the NBA collectively went ‘huh?!’ It was obvious the Lakers were eschewing the kind of line up everyone thought you needed to surround LeBron with. Tossing that the new guys we’re all on the mercurial and eccentric side and some saw the ingredients for disaster being mixed together. Looks like Magic andcRob had an idea what they were doing. McGee is having a career year, Rondo has been invaluable on and off the court and even though Lance isn’t producing his normal stat line in limited minutes he’s been a consummate teammate and progressional. Adding Tyson Chandler to that group has only cemented our identity as being gritty and tough.

    -All in all there have been a lot more positives than negatives. While none have shown true star potential they haven’t fallen flat, either. While none of the players signed have dominated they’ve played well enough for us to be in playoff contention and their presence, should we make the playoffs, will be valued. The coaches are fostering improvement and the players, for the most part, are engaged. News that James calls his own number and makes reads outside of the coaches is a non-issue to me, that’s what super stars do. Luke known this, actively encourages it and fosters an environment where it’s viewed as a positive.

    All in and all I’m happy Laker fan right now. There will be bumps in the road, games we don’t show up for and issues that crop up. That’s normal for any and every NBA squad. We have room to improve and we’re still winning games. That’s great stuff for a team that has been in development mode for several seasons. The ship is headed in the right direction. Go Lakers!

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 11:08 AM on November 29, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good quarter pole recap, Jamie. We need and appreciate your patient and objective view point.

      Evaluating the Lakers at this point in time can be done two ways: looking at the big picture or looking at the critical components.

      The big picture actually looks very promising for the Lakers. LeBron is still playing at an MVP level and the chances look promising that Kevin Durant might very well be leaning towards going to the Lakers and/or that Anthony Davis also has a trade to the Lakers in his sights after signing with Klutch. Whatever happens this season, only fools are betting Magic Johnson and LeBron strike out in next summer’s free agency sweepstakes. The question is really which superstar will the Lakers get, not whether they will get one. If the prime picks don’t bite, the Lakers can easily load up with valuable trading chips to go after second and third superstars to play with LeBron. Frankly, big picture looks like a potential A grade for the Lakers right now. Magic and Rob have done their job setting up the prospects for the future of the franchise.

      The small picture or assessment of the components or details that will be critical to the fuure of the franchise is not quite as rosy, primarily because none of the Lakers four top young players has been able break out and take their game to the next level or even match their production from last season and show they can be productive starters alongside LeBron James on a championship team. The one thing that seems abundantly clear at the quarter pole is Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, ande Josh Hart are not likely to be ready to be championship contributors for at least one or two more seasons, which increases the need and possibility that the Lakers’ front office will pull the trigger and trade them, probably not before next summer because of wanting to preserve the cap space to sign KD, Kawhi, Klay, or Kemba next summer.

      The one big situation that I fear could become an issue is the Lakers head coach Luke Walton. I think the Lakers and Luke are on far thinner ice than most observers believe. If the Lakers’ current two-game losing streak were to slide into a five or six game losing streak with the team falling below .500 and out of the top eight slots, I think Luke Walton’s position as coach could be in serious jeopardy. Firing Luke may not be smart or fair but we’ve seen a tendency for this regime to not respect or appreciate decisions that were made by the previous regime. Luke was not ‘their’ guy and that may cost him in the end if the team stumbles badly over the next 10 games.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:45 AM on November 29, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks LT, good points and there are always unforeseen issues. The slide has coincided with Rondo getting hurt and our lack of PG depth being exposed. Frankly that one is on Magic and Rob and not the coaching staff. Regardless I think that everyone is still on the same page from LeBron to Luke to Magic. Almost every coach in the NBA lives on the hot seat, just ask Dwayne Casey. There are no assurances even if you make the playoffs. Outside of a multi-game losing streak that buries us in the West I don’t expect there to be any wholesale changes, just minor tweaks.

        In regards to the next big Laker acquisition I think your notion of everything happening in the summer is an astute one. Barring a team-friendly deal Magic and Rob will wait and use the best tool they have: money, Laker Lore and LeBron.

        • Michael H (Editor)

          Michael H (Editor) 4:17 PM on November 29, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Aloha Jamie

          Nice write up. I agree with everything you wrote. I really think everything will work itself out. The team still is learning to play together. We’ve several games to teams that have been together for awhile. And there is a lot of pressure on the kids. They just need to relax. Guys like Kuz may seem confident but he’s shooting 29% from 3. He’s better then that, he’s just pressing. The same can be said for BI. He had a slow start last year as well. I think it will come together as the season progresses.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:54 AM on November 26, 2018 Permalink  

    Jodie Meeks looks like he’s going to get waived, thoughts on him becoming a Laker?

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

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:59 AM on November 26, 2018 Permalink  

    5 Things I Liked 

    1) The Laker first quarter and a lot of the 4th. Outside of about 20-25 minutes between the 2nd and 3rd quarter we saw the kind of Laker basketball I would like to think we can expect to be the norm. Solid defense leading to easy buckets on the break. The space in betwixt that encompassed the end of the 1st half and the beginning of the 2nd half I did not like. Not at all.

    2) Kyle Kuzma’s 1st quarter. That was the Kuz we’ve all been wanting to see for pretty much the whole season. He hit from 3, he drove the lane, he even set up teammates. Only problem was that he kind of fizzled out as the game wore on. Just couldn’t sustain his hot shooting for the whole game and his defense wasn’t really up to snuff. I will say he’s fighting through screens better and sticking to his man with less ball watching and fewer silly gambles. Another positive I’ve noticed this season: Kyle has much improved hops from last year. He had a couple dunks blocked by the rim last season, not happening this year. He’s getting some really good lift and air on his rim runs and it’s helped him finish better when he goes aggressively. When he shies away from contact and tries too tricky of a shot it doesn’t generally end well.

    3) Brandon Ingram leading the 4th quarter comeback. BI got all sorts of aggressive to start the final frame and he and Lance Stephenson were instrumental in bringing us back to a tie ball game. The team strayed away from that point of attack down the stretch and we couldn’t score the go-ahead bucket. But I liked how Ingram was intent on forcing the action when we got down big. He had an otherwise quiet game so, like Kyle, needs to do a lot better in terms of putting that effort forth for an entire game.

    4) JaVale McGee protecting the paint. We fell behind when Luke went small and I really hope we see less and less small ball as the season progresses. Kuzma just can’t hang, he’s just not able to bang on defense and we end up getting murdered in the paint when he mans the 5. That experiment has to stop. Tyson Chandler struggled to switch onto their 3 point shooters but, honestly, I’ll take giving up a couple more 3s than the lay up line and 3 balls falling that resulted when we went small and fell behind by 15 points. McGee’s 7 blocks, and honestly it should have been 8 but one was called a goa tend, were great.

    5) The free throw line at practice today where I hope every player on the team puts up 100 free throws. While you could point to a lot of things that led to this defeat (another night of too many turnovers, defense slipping in the middle of the game, anemic bench production) the free throw line has been issue going back to last season. A four point loss in a game where you missed 11 free throws is not an outlier with this team, it’s a constant theme. I’m not sure what Luke and the staff have done to address it all I know is it’s not nearly enough. LeBron is getting paid too much and most of our guys are too good of shooters to be as bad as we’ve shown ourselves to be and this kind of thing will absolutely come back to bite you in the playoffs. Has to start in practice and the staff has to discover a way to make sure that translates into the games.

     
    • mclyne32 (Director) 12:28 PM on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff as usual, dude.
      Question:What do you think about the fact that we started taking tons more jumpers in the second half and greatly reduced the amount of attacking in the paint?

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:44 PM on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I thought that we settled for what the defense presented to us: open mid-range jumpers. We also played a lot more small ball in the second half so those easy lobs and release buckets JaVale provides weren’t there and Tyson had a poor effort on offense last night (although in his defense he’s not as quick as JVM and they’re both out on the perimeter setting screens to start possessions)

        Even though we were the more aggressive team (evidenced by +17 in free throws attempted) we ended up shooting a lot more 3s and 2 point jump shots in the second half, mostly in the 3rd quarter. Couldn’t say why. We missed some shots that I Iike to see us take where we were open and they were the players shooting them “type of shot” they typically make.

        Kuzma really cooled in terms of his aggression to the rim, Brandon upped his in the 4th but it wasn’t enough and really it was the parade of turnovers and missed defensive assignments leading to open lanes for dunks or uncontested 3’s (and even one really well contested 3 that DJ made over Hart).

        These things happen, you can’t drive to the rim on every possession. The last 5 possessions weren’t stellar and failed to take into account Aaron Gordon having 5 fouls and likely easing up on his defensive intensity as a result, that’s a failure on both the coaches and players not exploiting a fairly obvious advantage.

        My takeaway was more in terms of things that are very fixable: cut down on turnovers, make some more free throws and this is a very different game.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:09 PM on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          You could see Orlando was packing it in in the fourth quarter trying to keep LeBron from attacking the rim and they did a good job of it, making him pass to shooters on the perimeter, who unfortunately could not hit the wide open shots. Missed free throws and turnovers left us in that situation. Magic with Vucevic are just a tough matchup for the Lakers.

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

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:59 PM on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Vucevic will be an URFA next summer, I’d consider him to be a superstar and that Magic would be fulfilling his promise were we to sign him.

            • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:35 PM on November 26, 2018 Permalink

              He’s a superstar against the Lakers but not other teams and he’s not a good defender. But he is a superstar against us. LOL.

            • MongoSlade

              MongoSlade 3:56 PM on November 26, 2018 Permalink

              Currently #6 in PER….

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

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:56 PM on November 26, 2018 Permalink

              He just needs a player like LeBron and a coach like Luke to unlock his potential. Dude is poised to breakout, IMO. He’s averaging 20 ppg and 11 rpg, 3.6 apg and a steal and a block already and could do more with better players surrounding him. He’s got 3 point range, plays solid D, and makes the smart play when he’s doubled.

              I put him in the same tier as Boogie coming off an injury. Certainly not a top tier player…yet.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:07 PM on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff as usual, Jamie. Thanks.

      1) Loved the first quarter and the comeback in the fourth. And yeah, in between sucked.

      2) Loved that we found the missing Kuzma but pissed that we lost him again.

      3) Brandon was aggressive and clutch. Still hate the Kobe shot selection but OK as long he makes them.

      4) JaVale is so good I worry about the Lakers not being able to afford him. Of course, the problem comes when you have a good stretch 4 who can also score in the post.

      5) Where’s the freaking free throw coach this team badly needs. This is where we have a free pass to spend money. Stupid not to. DeAndre Jordan is actually outshooting most of this team from the line.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:09 AM on November 25, 2018 Permalink  

    5 Things I Liked 

    Day late but here it is nevertheless.

    1) Laker defense. That was one gritty win, neither team would have won a beauty contest in this one. But the winning pig still goes home with a blue ribbon and so it was with us.

    2) LeBron James’ 4th quarter heroics. While this is certainly another game that won’t make it into his personal highlight reel, the King was there in the 4th ready, willing and able to help secure the W.

    3) Brandon Ingram’s big game. BI was solid on both ends and his scoring in the first half helped keep us in the game.

    4) The Lakers City Nights uniforms. Super cool.

    5) Laker composure and growth. Last year we lose this game, sure we have LeBron James now but it’s a team game and even though a lot of our shots weren’t falling out defense held firm and they kept competing.

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

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:01 AM on November 22, 2018 Permalink  

    5 Things I Liked 

    1) LeBron James getting the W in his homecoming game. Cleveland had a lot to play for but we played a steady, even game throughout and LeBron was too much for the Cavs defense to contain. He led the team in points, rebounds and assists (could have come closer to the triple-double if some of his teammates had canned a shot or three, wasn’t in the cards. Great game by LeBron, even though it really wasn’t one for the record books.

    2) Josh Hart’s block party. He invited McGee and Kuzma, too. Josh may not have had it going on offense tonight or saw the most floor time he’ll ever see. But when he was in he was locked in on D, tied McGee for team lead in blocks (3) and stuck to Kyle Korver like a glove. Kuzma brought the block party dip with his 2 blocks and nice contributions on both ends of the floor.

    3) Steady, solid game from the bench. Sure the bench was outscored 42-24 but that’s what Jordan Clarkson and Kyle Korver not starting does for your team. Cleveland is in tank mode and the bench held the fort on more than a few occasions and only had a little slippage down the stretch. The bench could have been the place where we lost this game and that didn’t happen.

    4) Dominating the paint. despite the fact we were gave up a ton of offensive rebounds, our aggression, defense and execution continued to create quality looks in the paint and dominate another team in that department. The Lakers are 2nd in the Association in scoring inside the box at 56.7 ppg (Pelicans lead the pack, 60.4). One of the things the Lakers want to do is create easy scoring chances at or near the rim and they’re doing just that. Best of all, nobody has figured out how to stop that attack, they’re averaging 56.6 ppg on the road and at home. Impressive in it’s focus, dedication and execution.

    5) Lonzo Ball having a solid game. Lonzo had a real good game. Yes he hit a three pointer but more importantly he used his speed and skill to attack the rim and to do it with intent and purpose. He grabbed some boards and dished some assists (some good ones at that) but it was aggression on offense that really made this game stand out. This needs to be the norm, not the outlier. He can put this kind of effort and focus in every night and the more he doesn’t do it the more he looks mediocre, at best. Nice to see Lonzo Ball show up in the way we all know he can.

    Nice stretch of games at home for the Lakers to (hopefully) take advantage of. On the road trip they improved to 5-4 away from STAPLES with a 10-7 record overall. The western conference is currently not going the way anyone predicted it would. We’re currently sitting in the 7th seed of what can still be considered early in the season. But we are past the very early mark and playing better and better every game. Could we be, or have been, better? Of course. Same goes for every team. I”l take where we’re at as a very positive sign. The best is yet to come.

    Go Lakers.

     
    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 9:24 AM on November 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff JS.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:45 AM on November 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Jamie. No better time to be thankful for family.

      1) LeBron getting more aggressive earlier than usual has been a huge plus for the Lakers. From the first day I saw LeBron play, I felt his ability to hit the three was what would make him unguardable. I love how he’s incorporated more threes into his game and is hitting them at clutch times. Frankly, when LeBron was coasting early in the year, we could only wonder what kind of impact having the King would have on our fortunes. Now that Bron’s delivering those memorable games, we’re once agsin getting an opportunity to enjoy having the greatest player in the world on your team. That’s what being a Lakers fan is really all about.

      2) Josh had some great plays defensively last night. I get on him for his matador defense on the perimeter but never complain about his effort. He’s great playing the passing lanes and holding his own in the post against bigger and sometimes stronger opponents. He wasn’t hitting his shots last night but still impacted the game and that’s always important.

      3) I thought this was one of the poorest games by our bench. We need a lot more than 4 points from Hart and 3 from Lance to impact the game. The only bench player who played well offensively was KCP, whose finally finding his shot from deep, which could be a huge boost to the Lakers offense.

      4) Winning the points in the paint war is the one thing the old school and new school NBA fans can agree upon. Of course, you also need to make sure to be competitive from deep because three points still counts more than two points. What’s great about the Lakers’ points in the paint is that they’re coming both in transition and via their half court offense, which bodes well for the playoffs when teams try to slow down transition points. The Lakers pushing the ball even after makes is a critical component of winning the points in the paint war.

      5) Great game by Lonzo Ball and frankly, he needed it badly. You cannot be a starting point guard in this league and score 2 points in 2 games. Lonzo says he responds to tough love so I’m hoping LaVar kicks his a*s every time he comes out in a passive or nonagressive mode. Lonzo’s never had to face failure before in his basketball career. After struggles last year, he seemed to have figured it out with great defense and playmaking. This year, he seems to have worked out some of the shooting issues but has struggled to find his way consistently playing with LeBron. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:56 PM on November 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Those two weeks he coasted would have normally been the last 2 weeks of training camp. I am of the opinion he was working himself into shape the same way he does every year and didn’t rush or expedite the process. No way of knowing, of course, just my two-bits.

        Josh has been improving at staying in front of guys and when he and KCP share the floor and are both fully engaged on D it really has an impact on our D.

        I would argue that they didn’t score very well and that’s about it. They played fine defense, for who they are, and none of them other than KCP ever found their shot. It happens, but what i really liked was that despite not scoring well it never sapped their effort on defense and that’s why we ended up winning that game

        Lakers are just playing a smart brand of basketball. They run plays and score in ways that enable the personnel they have. One of the things I think is weakest about specialist coaches (like Mike Brown, Mike D’Antoni, others of their ilk) is that they try to really force round pegs into square holes when it comes down to choosing whether to play in a fashion that fits the players they have rather than adhere to a system that works better for players they want. That’s where Luke excels as a coach, in my opinion, he enables the best, natural aspects of his players’ games and goes about trying to win with the tools he has.

        Yes he sure did. He was in a big time funk all the way until halftime and something shook the cobwebs loose. Maybe someone yelled at him, maybe he looked in the mirror and yelled at himself, frankly I don’t really even care. What I do care about is him making last night the ‘every day’ version of Lonzo Ball. Just do that, no need to feel the future anything: just be you in the game of basketball you are playing right now. You’ve been harping a lot about how it’s all in his head and I couldn’t agree more, last night showed us that was true. He CAN do it, he too often chooses not to. That’s wholly unacceptable

        Happy Thanksgiving, Tom, I am thankful you continue to keep the blog going and let us all blather on in our own ways like we do. Like we do..

    • Magic2Worthy

      Magic2Worthy 10:35 AM on November 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good read Jamie!! I especially agree with you liking Lonzo taking the ball to the hole!!! He needs to do a lot more of that going forward IMO.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 11:13 AM on November 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff, dude and I hope you and yours have a Blessed Thanksgiving.

      Lonzo
      So glad to see him finally be aggressive in the paint!!! I hope this is not an outlier. We need him to play like this every game. Even if he misses a few down low, he should be encouraged by Luke to keep breaking down the defense. This will lead to even more put backs by JaVale and Chandler.

      LeBron
      Another great all around game by James. He saw the need, again, to put the team in his back and carried us through.

      Jump shots
      I noticed we took a lot of long jumpers last night. I would love to see more sets run that get guys looks around the elbows. Yes, we should be shooting threes, but with how drastically the defensive rules have changed, we should be looking to run more plays attacking the basket.

      An ugly win indeed, but it’s still a win.
      I’m glad the guys are able to enjoy today without a bad loss bringing them down.

      Happy Thanksgiving to all my Lakerholics out there and I hope we all spend some time today discussing with our loved ones what we are thankful for and all the privileges we enjoy.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:47 PM on November 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks man! I hope you and your family have a wonderful and stress-free holiday season!

        Yup, Lonzo needs to be that guy every night both for his own success and the team’s. I know he can do it, just needs to start showing he’s ready, willing and able to do it every night. Like Mongo said, give me something consistent, even if it’s your ‘B’ effort, but bring it every single day. That’s the challenge of being mentally prepared for every game: knowing how your going to do what you’re going to do and to what degree that you can do it consistently. Those are the questions we still have about our young Lakers, in general.

        You know me, I love the post game, the intricacies you see in excellent sets run from the elbow and the ease at which it can allow a team to make baskets. I think elbow plays can be used to free up shots from anywhere on the floor, it’s how Phil Jackson’s offenses worked. The open 3 was encouraged, contested shots of any kind were not, hitting the open man was essential. Moving without the ball made it all work.

        At any rate, you’re spot on about the win being a win. They all look the same to me at season’s end.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:37 AM on November 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      My old linebacker coach pulled me to the side and said “Look. You need to decide who you’re gonna be on this team. You can’t keep coming out here and be an “A” player one day and a “C” another day; I can’t do shyte with you if I don’t know what you’re gonna give me from game to game. Even if you give me “B” everyday then I can work with that”. There were a few more cuss words but you get the gist.

      Those words jumped in my head last night when I realized that Lebron and Javale are the only 2 dudes on this squad you can count on consistently night in & night out. Hard for Luke to coach with that. Coach Coleman would be all up in these guys’ grill…lol.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:36 PM on November 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think most coaches who understand that effort and being mentally prepared are 80+% of success in sports would be all up in these guys. The physical gifts can make things easier but if there’s no thought or will behind them then those, too, are typically wasted.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 11:54 AM on November 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie
      Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for your positive takes. Even when we don’t play particularly well. You have the right attitude. We are 8-2 over our last 10 and 2 games out of the 1st seed. Even though we played through suspensions and now injury and are young and still learning to play with Lebron. The only thing that kept it close last night was our 2nd units inability to score which hasn’t been a real problem this year. The ball naturally runs through Lebron but if we can maintain this kind of scoring balance with the other guys we will be in good shape as long as our D continues to improve like it has.

      I watched the Warriors last night. They looked terrible. They have injuries but they also had two hall of famers. It’s just that they had nothing else around them. I like the Lakers approach. Try and acquire stars through free agency not trades. Add one more star to this group this summer and I think we are a dangerous team. Trade some of our kids for a star and maybe we are like the Warriors last night. The Shaq/Kobe and Kobe/Pau runs both ended when we lost our depth. Hopefully we will continue to grow as a team and we won’t need to make a trade at least this year.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:40 PM on November 22, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks Michael, and happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

        I think a lot of us feel, for the most, part similarly as you ended your comment: hopefully we will continue to grow as a team and we won’t need to make a trade…

        Couldn’t agree more. And it is early and we’ve played out how every other team LeBron has ever been has: go to the 8-7 mark and found a groove. All were different grooves but all were found. What shape and how successful our team’s groove will be has yet to be determined but I like how we compete almost every night (outliers were Toronto and Orlando where we just never showed up to the arena as a team). Lot to see in a positive light.

        End of the day, everybody has a job to do and I think everyone has been doing a pretty darn good job of figuring out where/how to contribute.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:40 AM on November 19, 2018 Permalink  

    5 Things I Liked 

    Great game from LeBron last night, solid game from the supporting cast, and Luke had to tell Rondo to shut up in a huddle because he’s not a coach…yet. Dig in.

    1) The King. Dropping his first 50 point game in the purple and gold this game did a lot to rinse out the bad taste the effort against Orlando left. That 3 ball is humming and he was aggressive driving to the rim getting to the line 10 times. Also found the time to snag 8 rebounds. LeBron looked every bot as advertised last night in and got his first win in Miami after being on a personal losing streak of 0-4.

    2) Brandon Ingram. While he may not have been super efficient (6-15) he made shots when the team really needed him to, specifically a couple of clutch baskets down the stretch in the 4th when Miami was going on a run. An elbow jumper and a slick 20 foot fadeaway as the shot clock ran out helped secure the W. He also grabbed 7 boards. While it’s nice to see our young players put up a lot of points it’s alos nice to simply see them doing the right things and playing the right way, Ingram did just that last night.

    3) Kyle Kuzma: Fashionista! That suit/no shirt combo was a Miami Vice style throwback and he had a pretty good game to back it up. While he still got lost on defense a couple times (stop turning your head, Kyle!) he was a solid in the buckets dept. on a night when the rest of the team besides LeBron didn’t shoot efficiently.

    4) KCP being aggressive. Again, not efficient (4-11) but he canned 3-5 from three point land and made all 8 of his free throws. honestly he ought to have gotten there 10 or 12 times but wasn’t getting calls on his drives late in the game. He played pretty good defense, as well, and was rewarded with a serving size of 28 minutes on the court. Pope needs to be at this level of engagement and aggression if he wants to be effective for us. Loved it.

    5) The +20 +/- crew. Led by Josh Hart (+22), along with Tyson Chandler (+21) and LBJ (+20). All three players were solid on defense and were great at getting us second chance opportunities with their offensive rebounding. While the debate will rage all season about where Josh Hart’s spot in the rotation should be I happen to be of the opinion that Luke is playing him perfectly. He comes in against second squad talent, gets himself going, and always plays hard on D. Similarly, Tyson Chandler and McGee are being staggered perfectly giving us a consistent post presence for the first time in forever. LBJ got his own bullet point, but he’s been playing incredible in November and might be the western conf. player of the month. For what that;s worth.

    Bonus point: Ball had 7 assists and 6 boards to only 1 turnover. He made 1 shot but was once again solid running pick and roll with LeBron. Currently I consider him to be doing just barely enough to justify his current role and while it would be nice to see him get more 4th quarter development minutes that’s just not what this team is about anymore. Until he can prove he can score he’s basically a 4th quarter liability (especially when KCP and Hart played as well as they did) and I don’t know what we’ll do in the event we make the playoffs. While there really haven’t been any encouraging signs in relation to his jump shot (missing them just as badly as he did last season) I continue to hold out hope that he takes a step forward in that department this season. Somehow.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:12 AM on November 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great post, Jamie. Always a lot more fun writing and commenting about a win than a loss.

      1) Seeing the King going off with 51 points one game after dropping 44 is a reassuring sign for the Lakers, especially after seeing other team’s superstars like Lillard, Harden, Aldridge, and Vucevic do the same to us. Mongo said it best last night when he said that’s the kind of LeBron who can win you two games in a 7 game playoff series so all you have to do is have the rest of the team win two. Great confidence booster for the Lakers’ players and fans but also a danger in that the Lakers can’t count on LeBron to do this every night. LeBron should be looking for a third big game out of four Wednesday night in Cleveland.

      2) Brandon Ingram remains a conundrum in that you can see the huge potential in his game at both ends but you can also see the problem integrating him with LeBron in an offense that does not work well when the ball sticks. Brandon was great down the stretch and the clutch jumper and layup he made were exactly what the team needed. The problem when you get LeBron and Ingram both on the floor in scoring mentality, the rest of the team just stands around and watches. I think it’s inevitable that Ingram gets traded and wouldn’t be surprised if that’s exactly what needs to break out, much like Victor Oladipo did.

      3) Better game from Kuzma although he still has this hesitation to take the open threes in catch-and-shoot opportunities. Instead, he seems to be determined to show he can attack the rim as well as Ingram when I think his focus should be on catching-and-shooting threes and cutting to the basket without the ball looking for LeBron or Lonzo to find him. It’s interesting that both of the Celtics young guns Tatum and Brown who excelled in last year’s playoffs are now struggling with Kyrie and Hayward now eating up minutes and touches much like with the Lakers’ young guns having to figure out how to play with LeBron.

      4) KCP played great last night and is really one of the team’s best fits with LeBron. You could make a sustainable argument that Caldwell-Pope might be a better fit at the two alongside LeBron than Ingram or Hart. And he actually is probably a better defender at the point of attack than Hart but lacks the length that allows Ingram to play off perimeter guards and to still be able to contest shots from behind after fighting through or chasing wings and guards over screens. KCP playing at a high level is a legitimate win-win situation for the Lakers as he becomes either a valuable rotation player or trading chip.

      5) I also liked how Hart and Chandler played last night, especially after their horrible performances Saturday night when they were completely out of sync. I could only remember one instance of Hart getting beaten and Chandler not protecting the rim and only one instance where the Heat got a dunk when Chandler left Whiteside to help protect the rim. Good solid play from two guys who both should come off the bench for this team and be eligible to finish should they have outstanding games.

      Bonus Points for Lonzo? I remain very disappointed in Lonzo, who’s once again suffering from a loss of confidence that is troublesome for a kid who’s never really had that as a problem before in his career. Part of it probalby the stress and challenge of playing with the King but nobody is going to be able to fix this other than Lonzo.

      Were Rondo not injured, I think the best move at this point in time would have been to have Lonzo come off the bench when LeBron sits. Unfortunately, we don’t have this option but I do think Luke needs to look at ways the team can get Lonzo going, whether lob plays or short jumpers coming off screens. Way too easy for young players to become passive when playing with LeBron.

      Lakers will need much better Lonzo Ball if they have any hopes of making noise in the playoffs this season.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:20 AM on November 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think you misunderstood, the bonus point was for the blog (#6) notbtgat Balk gets bonus points. At any rate, I agree, if Rindo were healthy and so on and so forth. Bongs is a potential option and you have to wonder who between Ball and Ingram could be the inclusion with KCP in a trade, should one ever even materialize. Hearing Bradley Beal is now not off the table…for my part I’d stay with what we have but I have a lot of faith in Magic and Rob doing the right thing.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:32 AM on November 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          LOL. Lonzo sure didn’t deserve any bonus points. The kids sure have a lot of pimples that hopefully will go away as they mature. Just not sure where that growing is going to happen. Hopefully, it’s just early and we’re just impatient.

          I was just listening to Sirius XM and they were saying all three of the Wizards’ stars are on the trading block but Beal is the only one who could bring back anything close to equal value. Wall is basically untradeable considering his game and contract, same with Porter, Jr.

          Bonga had another great game last night leading the SB Lakers to a rare win. 25 points, including 5 of 9 from deep. Isaac’s got me dreaming of a possible 6′ 8″ Bonga and Ingram Lakers backcourt next season. That’s something that would be very exciting.

          Bonga and Ingram would give the Lakers a starting lineup with every single starter being 6′ 8″ in height and all five players having wingspans over 7′. Add in LeBron at the 3, KD at the 4, and AD at the 5 and you have the Lakers ultimate superteam.

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

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:46 AM on November 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Lol, I think impatient is the right phrase. They’ll learn where all NBA players learn: on the practice court and in the film room. If Lonzo can figure out how to bring the game we saw last night but score 10+ppg it’ll meet my expectations fir the year. I don’t really care how he goes about it. The worrisome thing to me is that it looks really difficult for him to do that at this point. Like I said and you hinted at: Bonga could be an option.

            At any rate, if Rondo had to suffer a serious injury I’m glad it’s so early in the season. Doesn’t need to rush back, more minutes for the youngins, silver lining. He’ll be useful in the playoffs in ways that go beyond his production.

    • p ang

      p ang 4:57 PM on November 19, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      5 Things I don’t understand:

      1. Lonzo Ball. If LBJ is the primary ballhandler, what’s Zo doing on the floor? He runs to the right corner on every play, gets a pass, won’t shoot the 3 ball from there, passes out or drives but won’t shoot it either. Gets burned by the opposing PG. Gets lots of rebounds (would rather have Hart or Rondo then) or assists (because he can’t shoot so would rather have Rondo or Hart who would shoot it).

      2. BI. Great defensive but he’s idea of an explosive offensive game is scoring 25pts. Needs to play faster, shoot quicker (dribble dribble dribble dribble then shoot aint cutting it) and score more or become trade bait for Beal.

      3. Kuzma. What happened to all the great cuts and scoring punch?

      4. LBJ. Dang. give up the desire to bring down the ball. Conserve energy and use it to guard somebody. OH, and score 50 every night.

      5. McGee. The guy falls down more than Brook ever did.

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