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  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:05 PM on January 21, 2020 Permalink |  

    5 Things 

    That was a dud of a basketball game. While it’s never fun losing to the Celtics it’s even worse when the loss highlights each and every single one of your deficiencies. At any rate, it’s over..for now.

    1) No small ball line up of note. I know Frank has said all the right things and sometimes he even trots out what looks to me like a small ball line up. The fact that the SB line up is so terrible is a fairly major concern. For small ball to work somebody has to make shots, preferably threes. At 7-26 from three we did not make the shots needed to open up the middle. As a result the small ball line up was the one on the floor in the 3rd when the Celtics basically ran us out of the building and the game was never really in question after that

    2) No identity when LeBron sits. This will be huge come the playoffs when a 5-6 minute stretch can decide a game. Rondo’s not really up to the task. He can’t get past his man into the paint and if he does the defense rarely collapses. Against playoff teams it won’t. This is why I still expect the Lakers to make some kind of move. There is a real need for a playmaker that can actually make plays besides LBJ.

    3) Did not handle the rebounding battle well. Every Celtic starter had an offensive rebound and Kanter had a whopping 6. As it was we got killed on the glass 48-36 and that fueled the Celtics transition game where they blew us away 25-11. But last night continued a recent trend of too many second chance points, as well. We had zero quarters where we held them under 30. Dwight was solid, as he has been, but the rest of our bigs simply got outplayed and the team didn’t do much of anything at all to help them out.

    4) A changing of the guard. Not sure what’s up with Alex Caruso but the dude might need a bit of a break. He’s been a step slow on D, missing shots all over the place and has even been griping at the refs as a result. That’s not the Alex Caruso Laker fans saw to start the season. Quinn Cook is the better scorer and needs to be featured in any small ball line up we trot, in my opinion. Caruso and Rondo together is a space issue waiting to happen and that kind of feels like an easy fix.

    5) When superstars play like mortals. LeBron had another mere mortal game and AD looked rusty. The team didn’t do a whole helluva lot to prop them up and, honestly, they may not really be up to that task on most nights, especially when the playoffs roll around. it’s why I think the Clippers and Kawhi are smart to do just about everything in their power to keep him as sharp but physically sound for the playoffs. If LeBron starts breaking down in March or April this could get real ugly real fast because when he’s off there’s nothing behind him to elevate the rest of the team. AD will get there but I don’t think he’s anywhere near 100%, either.

    All in all, it’s one game and we let the Celtics push us all around for about 3 and a half quarters of basketball. Losses like this have been the outlier, not the constant. However, our record against rangy tough teams is abysmal and that’s a big time playoff issue. It’s almost a lock that one of the Celtics, Bucks or Raptors is coming out of the East (IMO, of course) and those kind of lineups are bad match ups for us. Not sure Iggy, Collison or any player we have the ability to acquire is enough.

     
    • Buba

      Buba 8:57 PM on January 21, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I have never seen these Lakers so lackadaisical this season. What went wrong and what went right? There is nothing much to talk about this game and if you have errands to run, you are better off. If you choose to even watch this game up to end of the fourth quarter, you know you don’t have much to do. The Lakers simply came out flat in this game.
      No energy at all, no hustle at all ( got ourebounded, points in transition?). Call 911 to report being robbed by Celtics madmen? Nah. Those Celtics seemed like a one man crew against the Lakers even though they won’t sniff the Eastern Conference Finals.
      Is it because the Lakers felt so good about their drooling over their blowout over the Rockets on their home court without AD? Or is it AD disrupting the chemistry after a 5 game absence? ( AD: 4 rebounds in 23 minutes, I believe, ). This certainly has to do with everyone, from the coaches to the 15th man on the roaster. It was a colossal let down by the whole team.
      Get out of Boston and move on as quickly as you can and onto the next stop. Move on please, Lakers.
      If you would use this loss as an indicator to make a change to this team, it would be a huge mistake. This is an 82 game marathon. For those who have eyes to see clearly, see yonder. For those who are thirsty, drink clear water and that’s the age of Aquarius.
      The Lakers came to this game as if they had overslept after a night out to a local strip club in Boston recommended by local Bostonians. Am I being hard on them? No.
      One thing is for sure, the Lakers didn’t show up. The Celtics, as abysmal as they were in their last 10 games, decided to show up as if they will win game 7 of an NBA Finals. Which they will never get close to.

      For all I know about the Lakers gigantic size, what happened to the size advantage the Lakers have over the Celtics? Is this a case of David vs Goliath?

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:54 AM on January 20, 2020 Permalink |  

    5 (belated) Things 

    Got to this game late (just finished watching). This one will be tidy. Enjoy.

    1) Danny Green rounding into form. Danny hasn’t played up to either his rep or contract for the first half of the season. He’s had his moments but has largely looked nothing like the game-changing talent we saw in both San Antonio and especially in Toronto. That’s been changing of late and with every game he looks more locked in and is playing with better energy. He played stellar defense on James Harden all night long and was a force on offense scoring 20 points.

    2) 3rd quarter shock and awe. The Lakers were trailing at halftime and used a defense-fueled attack to outscore the Rockets 32-17. The 4th quarter was a draw but allowed the Lakers to maintain their streak of not losing a game when entering the 4th with a lead. Good stuff.

    3) KCP getting it done. This has easily become Pope’s best season as a Laker. Last night KCP was instrumental, again, and has kind of erased the debate as to whether he’s better starting or coming off the bench. He’s good either way and we’re a better team with him fortifying the second unit. Few players in the Association bring game changing offense and defense off the bench. In KCP the Lakers seemingly have such a player.

    4) Kuzma finding his way in his own time. Ask any baker, there’s no shortcuts when it comes to baking. You just have to wait for the bread to rise. Kuzma might not be on the time table any of us want or hope he’s on, he’s on a journey few take and even fewer succeed at completing: to be a super star in the NBA. If one is honest it’s unlikely he makes it and tops out as a second tier talent. That won’t be a bad thing and maybe he could be something more as the first option on a team. I hope we keep Kyle, I want to see him succeed in the purple and gold.

    5) Laker toughness. This is becoming something of a pattern, especially against other top tier teams, one in which the Lakers deploy their best defense, give good hard effort, and the other team loses composure for a good couple of minutes. it’s those minutes that can swing a game and the Lakers have done it a few times. Even better? I can count on one hand the number of games where the Lakers lost their composure. That’s something to hang you hat on come playoff time when the pressure is going to ratchet up.

    Happy Martin Luther King day, Lakerholics.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:17 AM on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Better belated than never, Jamie. Nothing better the your ‘5 Things’ to kick off a holiday with a Lakers’ game against the evil Celtics with Anthony Davis returning!

      1) It was great to see Danny starting to play the kind of defense that built his rep. His hands are so quick. He not only stripped Harden several times but also was helping out doubling down on players in the paint. This team continues to get better, which bolds well for their championship chances.

      2) That was some sensational defense by the Lakers to turn that game around and take control. Best defensive quarter all season. You have to give credit to Vogel and the coaching staff for the game plan and the team’s sterling effort to execute it in the third quarter. I loved the strategy of doubling Harden and the rotations and challenges by the Lakers were elite. This is the model for defending Harden, Kawhi, Giannis, and every other transcendent NBA player. The coaching as well as the execution on this team continues to evolve and improve.

      3) The revenge of KCP (and almost every player on this team) continues. KCP was superb at both ends. I don’t care that he has a no-trade clause. The Lakers would be foolish to even ask him to agree to a trade. He deserves all the praise we can dish out because he continues to perform at an elite level whether he starts or comes off the bench.

      4) Kuzma’s second half comeback, including his defense on Russ, was storybook. And credit to Rondo for his involvement in the decision to have the bigger Kuz defend against Russ, who was killing our guards including Alex the GOAT. Kuz’s size and ability to keep Russ in front of him was great. And one thing I’ve always preached is attack the rim when your shots not falling. That and D are always the recipe when your shooting fails you. Great game by Kuzma.

      5) The Lakers remind me of my 49ers. Both teams are going to win championships this season because they are bigger, tougher, and more physical than their opponents. MccallGee and Howard and LeBron basically bullied the Rockets into submission in the third quarter to take over the game. It was almost as if this team did not miss freakin’ Anthony Davis during these five games, going 4-1.

      Looking forward to hearing more MVP chants for LeBron but this time in Boston Garden (or whatever the f*ck they call their arena now. Go, Lakers!

    • mclyne32 (Director) 1:04 PM on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Regarding Kuz, he is indeed not done baking. Because I think he can develop into the second or third scorer on a Championship Team, he’s a keeper.

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 2:54 PM on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      TNX JS!

    • Buba

      Buba 4:57 PM on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks, Jamie. I really love this team. Great game.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:19 AM on January 16, 2020 Permalink |  

    5 Things 

    Well that was a bummer. What was a very winnable game proved to be beyond the team to get up for, especially in the first half. The Lakers almost made heroes of some oft-maligned player and the player under the biggest microscope of all, lately, turned in a real dud. Also, for what it’s worth, the Lakers became the last NBA team to lose to a sub .500 team this season.

    1) Congrats to Markelle Fultz on coming through his early NBA woes and making an impact. Philly is probably watching Fultz these days thinking ‘we could use a little of that mojo right now’ and Fultz is a big reason why the Magic are in playoff contention right now. The dude has come through a lot and deserves some props for staying the course, believing in himself and not getting discouraged when things didn’t work out or resolve favorably in a timely fashion. Congrats on that triple-double.

    2) The up and down impact of Kyle Kuzma. Stats have always been interesting to me. It paints such a small picture that becomes a lot clearer when they’re blown up and delved into deeper. The variance in Kuzma’s stats is his largest issue as opposed to what the stats actually amount to. Some of that is his minutes have diminished (still down roughly 9 fewer minutes/game) as have his FG attempts (roughly 4 fewer/game). His 3 point FG% is actually up from last season (34.2% vs 30.3%) but his two point FG% is in the toilet (49.8% for a guys his size with skill and arsenal of shots is pretty, pretty, pretty terrible). I’m not sure if there’s a solution for this with Davis on the team. It’s the same way that Ingram got marginalized last season trying to find his way alongside LeBron. With Davis insisting on manning the 4 (and there are a lot of positive reasons why he should) it will forever be hard for Kuzma to have the role he so obviously desires and fans want him to ascend to. But, if one is honest, he has yet to earn that role and the best way to do that is to force the issue on your coach by playing somewhat consistently every night. That has, to put it mildly, proved very elusive for Kuz.

    3) Average LeBron. This is my biggest issue with the team. When LeBron plays like a mere mortal who is good at basketball as opposed to basketball Balrog that we’ve become accustomed to seeing this season we’re a fairly easy team to beat. Last night we saw average LeBron getting blown by on defense by Aaron Gordon and Markelle Fultz. This won’t happen every game but it is a major concern come the playoffs when you know coaches will happily allow the rest of the Lakers to beat them over 7 games. The Lakers need someone other than LeBron (and frankly Rondo) to be a release valve for the offense. It’s hard to ask that of a big man because you need to get them the ball in a favorable position for them to execute efficiently. For all the up and down that Kuz has gone through with his game it’s this issue that still looms the largest and may force the Lakers to consider trading him.

    4) Great game by JaVale McGee. I feel like we’ve played McGee pretty perfectly this season. When he got sick last season it was the beginning of the end of that Laker team and this season he’s been steady throughout. Howard was a monster on the glass but JaVale was perfect from the floor (7 for 7) and had 3 blocks to go along with a sweet Statue of Liberty dunk. His biggest issue was late when he made two mis-reads on defense. Dwight is a little quicker and more decisive but I still have a lot of faith in JaVight McHoward.

    5) Caruso’s knock to the noggin. Losing Alex so early was a tough blow and our defense wasn’t able to make up for his loss. Troy Daniels, Quinn Cook and KCP all played their hearts out trying to bring us back but none of them can replicate the toughness and tenacity on defense Caruso brings. Having said that, his concussion protocol results came up inconclusive and here’s hoping he’s OK today. It really was nice seeing the whole bench guard corp. step up big time, though.

    Up next the Grammy trip with 5 big road games away from STAPLES. Traditionally a tough one this will actually only be our second longest roadie of the season (already came through the longest one). Good luck fellers. Go Lakers!!!

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:51 PM on January 16, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      One of your best ‘5 Things’ ever, Jamie.

      It’s funny how the wind blows when you’re a fan versus an objective reporter. I’ve always appreciated and respected professionals like Eric Pincus who, although he covers the Lakers and knows and likes a lot of the players and people in the organization, isn’t really a Lakers fan and doesn’t truly have a horse in the race. Frankly, having a horse in the race makes a huge difference in how you look at the team.

      Anyway, in order:

      1) Game ball to Markelle Fultz. This must have been incredibly gratifying for him after all the stuff he’s gone through after being the #1 overall pick in the draft. He earned a lot of respect from how he won this game. The Magic took a chance on him and it’s looking like it was a great move. With all of their guard injured, Markelle got his chance and took full advantage of it. Made some great plays. Unlike some Lakers’ losses, I don’t chalk this one as a game we lost but one that the Magic won. While we showed great character in coming back twice from down 20, Orlando showed equally great character in hanging on to win the game. Could have, would have, should have don’t count. Move on.

      2) Inconsistent Kuzma. My reaction to Kuzma’s second straight uninspiring game as a starter playing major minutes following two sensational performances under the same conditions last weekend was similar to yours. I understand all the reasons I should be patient and understanding, how he started the season with injuries and how his role, minutes, and touches have been reduced this season with Anthony Davis on board but it’s looking more and more like Kuzma just isn’t ready at this point in time to consistently give us what we need from him. Your comparison with Ingram is spot on and I’m sure Kyle’s had moments where he’s thought the same. I’d bet that’s one of the reasons he didn’t sign with Klutch. Unless the world turns upside down quickly, I expect Pelinka to move Kuzma before the deadline.

      3) Average LeBron. It’s scary every time we get a glimpse of Average LeBron. Can’t remember him missing a dunk like that. Probably an indication that he needs more rest than Vogel has been giving him or that he has allowed Vogel to give him. I agree it re-emphasizes our desperate need for a second quality playmaker. Collison would be perfect and I think there’s a good chance it will happen. If it doesn’t, however, then we probably need to look at trading Kuzma for Derrick Rose. I’d prefer we get Collison and then trade Kuz, either an elite volume three-point shooter like Bertans or an elite wing defender like Covington to replace him as AD’s backup at the four. Bottom line, Father Time is eventually going to win so we just cannot waste time waiting for Kuzma. We’re now in Year 1 of a 3-year championship window. We cannot afford to waste our chance to win one this year.

      4) JaVale is JaVale. I agree with you on all points regarding JaVale. Those two late game mistakes were crucial though. The game was ultimately won by the unnecessary foul on Gordan’s dunk and by allowing Vuch to have that wide open three. We missed AD on that play. Vuch is one of those centers for whom JaVale and Dwight are just not good matchups, not on isolations or pick-and-rolls or pops. Games like these are exactly why I continue to lobby strongly for AD to play center to close games. JaVale or Dwight just cannot defend shooters like Vuch behind the three-point line. And God forbid, one of them gets fouled and has to go to the line to win the game. I love JaVale and Dwight but not to close out games when the opposing team has a center who’s a threat from behind the three-point line. AD needs to be the five in these situations.

      5) GOAT Caruso. Glad Alex didn’t get injured bad. He’s a valuable glue player on this team, especially defensively. He still frustrates me offensively with silly turnovers and poor passes and isn’t really a solution as the second playmaker or third scorer but is a key to this team being better. It’s pretty amazing how many votes Lakers fans have given him for the All-Star game. He won’t get in but he’s become an amazing ‘cult’ figure in the Lakers social media world. And he’s not let it affect his play. He’s been playing very well. I especially loved how fast he played against the Cavs. He was flying up and down the floor. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to go for the Grammy trip.

      Bottom line, we finished the first half of the season 33-8 with a 4 game lead in the West and down 2 games to the Bucks. All of us would have taken that result with a huge smile on our faces before the season started. We’re in a great position and have no reason to complain. Great VPBO, great coaching staff, great superstars, great roster. We’re primed and ready for round 2 with Rockets, Celtics, Knicks, Nets, and 76ers starting next Saturday to the following Saturday followed by the Clippers on the 28th. I would love to see us start a new 6-game winning streak over that stretch. Almost impossible considering the schedule but then, I’m not afraid of prediction bold things for this team.

      I still think we need to sign Collison and Iguodala and trade Kuzma and pieces for Bogdanovic, Bertans, or Covington, which would open up the roster spots for Darren and Iggy. After watching Quinn and Troy light it up and Duds contribute last night, hate to see two of them leave. Might have to sacrifice THT and one of Quinn or Troy in the Kuzma trade so we can keep one of the two emergency shooters plus Dudley. I do like Kuzma, Cook, and THT for Bertans. Be interesting to see what Rob decides to do.

      • p ang

        p ang 8:17 PM on January 16, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        team chemistry is fragile. If Lakers trade Kuz it better be a homerun. Trading him for a marginally better is not worth the disruption.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 9:26 AM on January 17, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Agreed

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:12 AM on January 17, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          The obvious question is what constitutes a home run? I just posted above an article by Addam Goldman proposing the Lakers trade for Jrue Holiday or D’Angelo Russell, both of which would be ‘home runs’ in the opinion of most pundits. Of course, there are many Lakers fans who not consider DLo coming back to be a home run.

          The problem with home runs is whether the Pelicans or Warriors would value Kuzma, Green, and Bradley enough to trade Holiday or Russell. Most pundits would come down on the side that the Pelicans or Warriors could likely do better than Kuzma, Green, and Bradley.

          In other words, the problem with the ‘home run’ analogy is the Lakers don’t have the trading chips to add to Kuzma to hit the proverbial ‘home run.’

          The better question Kuzma fans should be asking is what could the Lakers get for that would give them a better chance of winning a championship this season because the Lakers are clearly in a win now mode. Can’t waste a shot at a championship by trying to keep Kuzma because of his supposed upside. Remember, he may have only played 3 years in the league but he’s already 24-years old.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:11 PM on January 12, 2020 Permalink |  

    5 Things 

    This was as losable a game as the Lakers have had on the schedule all season. No AD, no LBJ, guys who needed to step up have been struggling to play consistently and t top it off OKC is a dark horse 8 seed for the playoffs on a hot streak, of sorts.

    1. Kyle Kuzma making the most of his opportunity. Kyle has by far his best game this season. He hit 4-6 from three, canned 15-24 overall, pulled down 7 boards and only had 1 turnover.
    2. That was done glimpse from Rajon. On a night it was needed the Rondo of yore shined forth brightly. 21 points, 12 boards and 8 dimes was enough to replace the production of LeBron for a night. He proved the Thunder defense and found his guys, he played decent defense and we needed all he could bring.
    3. Hey that’s Quinn Cool!!! In 18!solid minutes he hit 50% of his shots from everywhere. It’s always nice to see a guy stay ready for his number to be called. Cook has shown some great professionalism and team spirit during his stint of DNP and garbage time minutes.
    4. Bench hitting the three ball. Cook wasn’t the only bench player to shine. He led a solid all-around from himself, Daniels and Caruso. When the Laker bench produces line that we’re tough to beat.
    5. Solid character win. This win showed me something about this Laker team. They’re really good at staying ready, they take the notion of ‘next man up’ to heart, and they tune out the noise well. This was a great all around effort in a game they could have taken a collective night off. Didn’t happen and so our current winning streak continues. Good stuff.
     
    • Buba

      Buba 6:08 PM on January 12, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks Jamie, as always. I was yawning all day for the fifer to drop on my laps, beaming with a big smile as if I was headed to the lottery office to claim my latest jackpot.

      A commodore was born out of our coaching staff on these roadie finally. That they will turn to guys many thought are a bunch of misfits only to discover diamonds in the rough, they definitely deserved my respect. And that’s why I like #5 in the post. Great recap.

      These two road wins are easily the most unexpected and the most satisfying to me. Winning handily while tuning out the opponent’s home crowds on the road without your stars, are benefits of profound myriad. And they did it in a myriad of ways.

      I can’t even waste anyone’s time here trying to explain how they comfortably did it unless you didn’t watch what unfolded during this mini road trip.
      Did I forget to say Mini Cooper roadie?

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 2:34 PM on January 13, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great ‘5 Things,’ Jamie. Although if there was ever a game where your signature article should have been ’10 Things,’ this might have been it. So many great things from every Laker who played.

      What else can you say about a game like this other than WOW! Playoff Rondo and Killer Kuzma certainly did a great job replacing superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With all the talk about how we needed to replace Rondo as our second playmaker and replace Kuzma as our third scorer, it was gratifying to see both of them lead the team to a second stunning win last night ion OKC. And it was also great to see Caruso play his usual outstanding defense as well as hitting 3 of 4 from deep. Lakers hit 15 of 32 for 47% and have now become a top-ten three-point shooting percentage team.

      Rondo’s swag was in full bloom as he got the team off to a rousing start by hitting his first six baskets. Before the Thunder could even become complacent with LeBron and AD not playing, Rajon had them in a big hole. We may not see Playoff Rondo very often but he’s certainly not dead yet. And Killer Kuzma suddenly placed his vote on whether he wants to stay or go. His argument about all he needs are minutes and touches is pretty d**n persuasive after dropping 62 points in the back-to-back triumphs. Two games are just two games so Kuz needs to continue to perform to avoid being traded. And Frank Vogel and his staff need to tweak the rotations to give him the minutes and touches he needs.

      Speaking of character, I was listening to an excellent podcast on Laker Film Room between Pete Zayas and Darius Soriano and Darius made a great point about how what we saw yesterday was why Jeannie Buss gave Rob Pelinka a promotion and contract extension. What Darius was talking about was the importance that Pelinka put on character when putting together this roster. While talent and fit and always major considerations, it was not an accident that two of the very first players Rob signed as free agents were Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels, even before several more expensive free agents. These were two guys he believed would be great locker room additions who had the kind of character to continue to work hard even if their opportunities were few and far between. Cook and Daniels showed why they were career 40% three-point shooters. They and Dudley are the perfect end of the roster players for a championship team.

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 4:34 PM on January 13, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great wrap. Was surprised, but very happy with that win!

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:53 PM on January 11, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    That was an impressive win over a quality opponent! The Lakers were largely in control throughout and the final score made this one look closer than it actually was. Best part for me: they did it on defense!

    1. As I’ve said before, after 2 seasons of watching LeBron James play basketball you start to run out of superlatives. He’s a transcendent talent and I’ve had the privilege to watch more than a few. Last night, for those who have long waited to see the King man the 5 spot, we got a good long look at what that could look like. Why the Mavs never countered with the size they had sitting on the bench when the game was yet to be decided we’ll likely never know. But they didn’t and James romped over the Mav’s small ball line up with impunity and style.
    2. The two halves of Kyle Kuzma. I think this is the 2nd start for Kuz where I’ve seen him blow out of the gate in the first half only to lose his way in the second half. He went from potential All Star to that guy we might trade based on upside in one game. This kind of uneven play can be frustrating but I think it important to remember that he’s still in his NBA chrysalis phase. The butterfly he could become is a one worth debating. Kuzma finished with a solid stat line that could have been a lot better if some shots he took fell or if he looked for a higher quality version.
    3. That zone! Throughout the game you could hear through the TV both LeBron and Rondo yelling ‘man’ and ‘zone’ indicating the team should switch its defensive scheme on the fly. Not only was the zone we played tight, on point and disruptive to Dallas but it also appeared at will. That’s damned impressive for a group of guys who’ve been together for a few months. The zone pretty much took Luka, and by extension the Mavericks, out of the game.
    4. Rondo. While it seems improbable that the old Rondo still exists you do still see flashes now and then and he’s still got elite leadership skills. The defensive calls, getting the ball to LeBron in the post…on the weak side…against a mismatch and his early corralling of Dwight Howard after an extremely silly goaltend are all things only he and James, maybeAD, can do as players. No matter what happens with the roster going forward I think that, for all his physical diminishment (which is a very real thing) he’s still, in his specifically unique way, an elite player. How much that gel PA Inthibk depends on the matchup and the type of bolsters he has to guard. That’s a topic for another day.
    5. Composure. Lakers has it, Mavs (again) did not. This one is as much on the coaches and the elite players as it is in the rest of the team. When the going got tough Frank Gogel adjusted his defense and trusted his smallest ball line up, Rick Carlisle got thrown out for complaining to the refs. Similarly when the Lakers were having foul issues LeBron James manned the center position and dominated, Luka missed a bunch of free throws in a row into the 3rd quarter and childishly ripped his jersey. There are more than a few small examples from the game where the Lakers pretty much kept their cool and t he Mavs did not. Come playoffs that skill or ability will be as valued as jumping high or running fast.

    Nice little win streak we find ourselves on going into 202, had a rough December and of course getting AD back is a top priority but winning this game in the fashion we did was a great step forward for this squad. Go Lakers.

     
    • Buba

      Buba 4:57 PM on January 11, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It feels great to be blessed with this laker team. I have already circled this game as a loss without AD, but little did I know the team would band together and block out the loud noise of the Mavericks’ home crowd while maintaining calm and the poise of a champion. Yes, Kuzma showed two different halves, but glad to see him play great overall.
      Now, only if they can replicate that effort tonight against the Thunder without LeBron.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:47 PM on January 8, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    Last night was my 2 year old daughter’s first NBA and Lakers game. She made it all the way to the 4 minute mark of the 4th quarter until she got a little tuckered and so we left early, uncharacteristically for me. I like to stay until the final horn. Good win that came with a couple more health scares.

    1) AD’s fall. I’ve never heard a place so big get so quiet so fast. STAPLES Center came to a total standstill. At one point some random dude yelled ‘MVP’ a few times but other than that you could hear a pin drop. The good news is all the scans came back negative and he’ll be travelling with the team. The bad news is all of these little things start to add up. For as tall and large as Davis is his weakest point seems to be his foundation. Dude falls down 2-3 times per game. Up until his fall Anthony was having a very pedestrian game. The best thing about all of this is that the injury wasn’t more serious.

    2) Rondo’s improved play…kind of. Rajon is a man with a lot of pride in both his game and his preparation. it’s his attention to detail that has made him effective both in his old age and his earlier days when he had no discernable jump shot. As Father Time creeps up on him you know he doesn’t want to succumb, doesn’t want to buy into the narrative that he’s toast, that he believes he still has something positive to contribute. His 10 assists last night showed that, despite his recent spate of high turnover/low assist games he can still find the open man for a quality shot. His 5 turnovers show us that it might not matter. He was more decisive and aggressive in looking for his own shot than he has of late and he may need to make major adjustment like that to his game to re-open the passing lanes that have all but closed.

    3) Quinn Cook sighting! Pretty much missed it. We were packing up the kid and saying good bye to the fans in our section. Section 306, right near the band, great place to catch a game.

    4) Bradley and Green rounding into shape. Danny Green started the season off pretty slowly. Most games he struggled from 3, still played tight defense but really wasn’t getting a ton of minutes. In the last couple of weeks he’s getting his legs back under that jump shot and making a lot more 3s from all over the court. Bradley went down with what looked like a serious ankle injury. I expected him to miss a week or two. Instead he suited up and played brilliantly against the Knickerbockers. They don’t wow you with their stat line but you can see how they’re playing some great perimeter defense with one another and they make the smart play or take a quality shot. Good to see these guys finding their role on the team and starting to fill it up ion the doing.

    5) Silly Knick fouls. Between AD’s fall and KCP’s near concussion this was a rough game that I thought the Lakers should have shot a lot more free throws in. One Flagrant 2 on Bobby Portis, a Flagrant 1 on Reggie Bullock (which was the sillier of the 2, I honestly thought Portis’ foul could have gone F1 route and the refs actually got it right) and still the Lakers only shot 21 free throws. Pity is one thing but if you’re going to trumpet and bray about protecting the shooter than you have to protect all of them equally all the time. For the Lakers, this season, that just isn’t happening.

    Fun game to be at, STAPLES was on the quiet side outside of Caruso’s dunk, some nifty LeBron three pointers and a few stellar defensive plays. Sydney Sweet is 1-0 as a fan #goodluckcharm.

     
    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 2:51 PM on January 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Cool enough JS!

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 4:17 PM on January 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie

      Nice recap. I want to add a number 6. Kcp’s shooting. After his 3 for 4 from 3 he has raised his percentage to .434, the same Beltran and .50 better then Brogdon who are mentioned as potential 3rd scorers. But we may have that 3rd scorer on the roster already because KCP, Danny and Bradley only get around 7 shots. All 3 could score more given more opportunities. I think it’s unreal that someone shooting like KCP doesn’t get more actions run for him. If there is one major flaw in Franks game planning , it’s that. I would like to save our limited trade assets on what I think are bigger areas of need like a 2nd playmaker or a physical wing defender. Any scorer that we have a reasonable chance of trading for wouldn’t provide any more scoring with only 7 shots a game.

      • Buba

        Buba 5:53 PM on January 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Michael, you beat me to that one. I was going to say the same.

    • Buba

      Buba 6:39 PM on January 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Dear Jaime, there is no way I can thank you enough for what you do on this blog. After every game, the first thing I look forward to is that Fifer.( 5 things ).
      The fact that you and your 2 year old daughter witnessed this game, made it more emotional to me. The more the merrier.
      I am still trying to figure out why the Knicks resort to violence. Why the flagrance? you would ask.
      For a team that will never make the playoffs, why go to the extreme?
      By the way, I liked the lineup of Desmond Decker, Gregory Isaacs, Bob Marley( of course), and Tooth and the Maytals from the last fifer. The Maytals are one of my favorite bands. How is Tooths Hibbert?

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 7:04 PM on January 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks dude, they’re a lot of fun to do this season. Last few years became a broken record of ‘if only this or that player would take the step forward’. No longer.

        Yeah Syd picked a good first game to attains, lol. Knicks are playing for pride, I thought Reggie’s foul wa worse than Bobby’s in the arena. Both were flagrant worthy. As to the why, I don’t think there was any malice involved, just guys sick of losing.

        No toons on this one, too busy at work (write this during my lunch break) but I do love me some early reggae and ska.!The Mayra’s still p y from time to time.

        • Buba

          Buba 7:17 PM on January 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Let’s git it on after that much deserved lunch break. And let those soulful Regae and Ska rule the day.

    • Buba

      Buba 6:59 PM on January 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The fact that your daughter is 1-0 in a laker uniform is truly inspiring and formidable. Helps the future of our forum.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:51 PM on January 8, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What fun going to Syd’s first Lakers game. I used to make fun of women’s basketball until my wife chastised me and asked why I wouldn’t want my daughter or granddaughter to get so much fun and pleasure from a sport. Never had the daughter but I’ve spent the last 8 years coaching my two granddaughters and it’s been some of the best times of my life. My 14-year old granddaughter Alexa is in her last year of CYO basketball and we’re going to win the championship.

      Great to see the Lakers whip the Knicks by 30 although that was a scary moment watching AD go down. Seemed like lots of cheap shots by the Knicks. Loved our shot blocking and KCP has become clutch. While Rondo did get 10 assists, those 5 turnovers were too sloppy. Rajon has lost it and frankly I wouldn’t want him coaching my point guard down the road. For a guy with such a high BBIQ, he makes some of the dumbest mistakes. Hope he stays positive when we bring in his replacement.

      I think the news that it was Rob who initiated the conversations with the Kings regarding Bogdanovic is telling. The Lakers know they only have this year and the next two guaranteed with AD and LeBron so it’s full win now time and a more mature and experience 27-year old Bogdanovic is going to be a better fit with LeBron and AD than a 24-year old Kuzma who’s showing signs of succumbing to the pressure.

      I also think another tell is his not signing with Klutch Sports. I think he down deep has lost his confidence and wants to be traded where he can get starter minutes like Ingram and Ball. If he wanted to stay with the Lakers, he would have signed with Klutch to ensure he wouldn’t be traded. Signing with another agent is a sign he wants to leave. Rob initiating the conversation with the Kings says the same thing.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:55 PM on January 7, 2020 Permalink  

    LeBron (illness) sent home, still expected to play 

    The Lakers also will welcome Avery Bradley back to the lineup on Tuesday after he went down with a sprained ankle on Sunday.

    Source: LeBron (illness) sent home, still expected to play

     

    Great news about Avery, hope LeBron plays…I’m going to the game tonight!

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

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:23 AM on January 6, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    Whenever the Pistons from Detroit roll into town I always remember the heady days of the OG Isiah Thomas and Magic being the first besties in the NBA. At least the first two to show the world just how buddy-buddy they were. A few years later, when Magic contracted the HIV virus, Thomas had to ward off questions about their sexuality and their friendship hit some rocky times. Decades later, and hopefully a few lessons learned that won’t need re-learning, and it’s just not that exciting or dramatic when Detroit rolls in, at least it shouldn’t be.

    1) Train stuck in the station after halftime.

    After bullying their way to a decent lead going into halftime the Laker looked like a team that had missed the train. Detroit pushed the pace and raced ahead and set the stage for what turned out to be a fun, tight game. Lakers have developed some bad habits over the last month or so. Letting teams back into games they should be better at keeping well in hand. Not a new thing in sport, it’s always easier to take the pressure off rather than ratchet it back up.

    2) Health is still the biggest thing.

    With the decent news about both KCP and Bradly it would appear the Lakers escaped another game with several health scares. Multiple Lakers were falling all over the place (JaVale on an inbounds play where he slipped on a wet spot and went down hard) with Bradley’s ankle sprain being the most severe. Expect the guard to miss at least a week or two and re-open the discussion about who we need to bring in to stabilize the season. For my part I was just glad it wasn’t anything more serious because it looked real bad early on.

    3) Lakers threw a block party.

    That was really, really impressive. Could have one or two more except for some silly fouls by the guy playing up on his man before the help could come. I don’t recall seeing a game where that many different players got it done in the paint blocking and altering shots in one game. AT some point it felt like the Pistons kind of just gave up attacking and settled for jumpers. Credit the players and the staff for re-dedicating themselves to the defensive end. Now we just need to foul a little less.

    4) This LeBron James triple-double thing feels like old hat now.

    The man is an NBA machine. Frankly I’ve run out of superlatives and adjectives to describe what he does. Last season with the Laker KidKore was impressive. This season shows you what he can do when surrounded by able professionals. Every time I start to have concerns about how we’ll fare in a 7 game series LeBron goes on a streak like this and quiets a lot of those doubts. Of course that means he has to be on the floor and there was a moment when he took a knee to his abdomen where there was more than a little worry.

    5) The maligned Laker bench.

    It’s hard being a bench guy. But there must be a way that we can stabilize this thing between Kuzm’a scoring ability, what’s left of Rondo’s game and the cast of characters at Frank Vogel’s disposal. The return of Alex Caruso brought us possibly the worst hairdo in NBA history. I don’t even know what to say. But with fewer hairs on his head Caruso was as aggressive as he’s been this season driving into the defense and attacking the basket rather than hesitating on the perimeter and taking too long to read the play. All in all, the bench did it’s job led (as usual) by one Dwight Howard on D. The rest contributed enough for the win.

    I sometimes fall into the trap of being overly critical in losses and not critical enough in wins. But, at the end of the day, the fact is that learning happens in all facets of life. So here’s to the Lakers learning what they can from this one and applying it to the future. Let’s keep that paint defense tight, force them off the three and just keep scoring enough to pull these kind of wins out. Come playoffs everything changes, anyhow.

     
    • Buba

      Buba 6:12 PM on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      A block-a-ton? Wow, never seen that before. Everything pretty much in the Pistons path was blocked. I wouldn’t be even surprised if their team bus was blocked in traffic on their way out of Staples Center. That was just ridiculous.

      My son is a Laker junkie. While watching the game with me, every time the Lakers make a block he would ask me who blocked It. And before I could even answer the question, there goes another block. Man, he had a good night’s sleep after that crazy block party. All I had to worry about was making sure I set the alarm so he can wake up on time for school the next morning just so he don’t oversleep. Talk about going to a block party and going to sleep under the influence? Lord have mercy.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:31 PM on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff as always, Jamie. Sorry for the late reply. Suddenly very busy although retired. LOL

      1) What a weird game. Told my wife I thought we were going to lose this one, especially after killing them to start the fourth and then letting them come back again. Zombie Pistons.

      2) Health. Lots of scary moments for Lakers fans. Sorry to see Avery sprain that ankle. I do think KCP is best starting. He plays better as a starter so I think he may lock down that with Avery out again.

      3) Block party was a lot of fun. Not as much for us as for Buba. Great story, Buba. We’re pretty set at the center position with JaVale, Dwight (congrats on getting contract guaranteed), AD (our best center), and Boogie (February return?). 20 blocks!

      4) Lebron triple doubles. Interesting that he has had more of these the last few years than earlier in his career. He’s actually getting better in many ways: better shooter, playmaker, leader. We’re already taking him for granted.

      5) The bench. That’s where we need to make moves before the deadline. Give me Collision, Bogdan, Covington, and Iggy and the bench problem is solved.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:45 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink  

    Clips booed amid rout: ‘We’re not a great team’ 

    After an embarrassing 140-114 loss to the Grizzlies on Saturday that elicited boos from the home crowd, Montrezl Harrell said the Clippers are “not a great team” and need to “wake up.”

    Source: Clips booed amid rout: ‘We’re not a great team’

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:50 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Man, Montrezl speaking from the heart and sounding like a leader of that squad. Doc has some work cut out for them and that X-mas day game didn’t mean anything to anyone, except those diehard Clipper Nation types who are proud of player pictures up on a wall.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 6:04 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Like we’ve been preaching, Memphis is better than their record.

        Ja has unquestioned respect among Ballers. I think they took them too lightly and the gates opened already.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 10:59 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Clippers always be Clippin’

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:22 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink  

    Carlisle: Teams ‘taking liberties’ defending Doncic 

    Coach Rick Carlisle on Saturday spoke out against how teams have been defending Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic, saying that level of aggressiveness is not “in the spirit of what the game should look like.”

    Source: Carlisle: Teams ‘taking liberties’ defending Doncic

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

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 5:25 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      No offense to Rick and his analysis of the situation but his boy is averaging 9.2 trips to the stripe per game. LeBron, who drives into the defense way more than Doncic does, is almost half that at 5.6. Wait until the refs start calling BS on his arm grab flails and flops, Rick, and then you’ll really have something to whine about.

    • Buba

      Buba 9:53 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Not only that, Jamie, but teams are scouting him and playing aggressive defense against him. He should expect a lot more to come on that front and and he hasn’t seen anything yet.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:27 AM on January 4, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    There are no easy wins, as they say. The Pelicans did not go quietly into the night, as it should be. This was no cake walk but still the Lakers continued to show the frustrating habits that have proved to be their undoing on a couple of occasions.

    1) Great to see Ingram and Ball having success in the NBA. In their return to STAPLES both Lonzo and Brandon left large imprints on the game. First by not laying down in the face of the Lakers but also by how their games have grown. Ball is looking more and more decisive and made some nice plays while committing only 1 turnover. Ingram had some late game struggles but played strong overall and both of their 3 point shots look so much better. Two great pieces for the Pelicans to build around Zion, when he returns.

    2) It’s not very disco to keep losing big leads like that, guys.

    Once again the Lakers built a large lead in the first half only to have the bench blow it within a matter of minutes. It’s not all on one player (see recent discussions revolving around one Rajon Rondo) but there’s no denying the Lakers bench is missing Alex Caruso. Big time. Caruso gives you that Swiss Army knife player who maintains a high level of focus on defense and takes the toughest assignment and makes them work. Nobody else has come to close to picking up that slack. But there is also no denying Rondo’s struggles right now. If he’s hurt he need to sit, if he’s running out of gas he needs to let the next man step up and give it a shot.

    3) The LeBron James revenge tour continues unabated.

    The health concerns that followed him until December’s end seem to have dissipated in a slew of near or accomplished triple-doubles. Last night he came up 2 boards shy and you’ll never here him mention, or frank,ly stat hunt, like some other players might have done. A leBron James triple-double is a classy one, no banging a big off the block to snag that rebound, he passes up shots for assists all the time, and he’s found a level of perfect aggression this season. Truly a joy to watch.

    4) That Anthony Davis guy can really do it all with a basketball.

    AD was on fire NBA Jam style last night. Hitting from any and everywhere with impunity. While his 46 points on a mere 21 shots was truly impressive it was his defense that still shines above everything else. He never really forces his shot, either, just takes what the defense gives and makes the smart read and the right move. If there’s a weakness to his game it’s either his passing or his weak foundation. Dude gets knocked down a good two or three times per game and while he passes well enough his reads are often a second or so late. Not that this is an issue on most teams but if AD could add a little more playmaking to his game it would help mitigate oe of the team’s bigger issues.

    5) But whom do the Lakers trade or let go in order to improve the team?!

    While it’s likely the Lakers make some kind of roster move (my guess is a Quinn Cook buyout followed by a Troy Daniels buyout) I actually say stand pat. This team plays well for one another and, yes, Rondo is struggling mightily but he’s still got value in terms of his knowledge and ability to connect to both coaches and players. Tell him he’s going to sit for a few games, give Quinn another small shot (I’m thinking 5 games) and see if that helps the issues the bench has right now. Get Caruso back healthy and I think we’ll be OK. Having said that it wouldn’t surprise me if the Lakers made a move.

     
    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 11:44 AM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Caruso would be considered a Swiss Army knife if he could hit a g*****n corner 3. LOL.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:48 AM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The same could be said for about 3 or 4 Lakers who play far worse D.

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

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:51 AM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Of all the guys who have struggled (Rondo, Daniels, Cook, and Green) with hitting shots their rep says they should make I worry about Green the least. I believe he’ll be there when it matters most: in the playoffs. Cook and Daniels were on my ‘hope they play well list’ and have both fallen off of it. At the beginning of the seasons I didn’t see much of a spot for Alex in the rotation. He’s changed that narrative with his D and his shot making is an issue many of the guys who were brought in specifically to make shots are having so. So, for me, it’s a non-issue but one that could loom larger in a 7 game series when a team dares him to beat us and over-coverages elsewhere.

        • Magicman (Editor)

          Magicman (Editor) 11:56 AM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Point being? Caruso matters those suckers don’t.

        • Magicman (Editor)

          Magicman (Editor) 11:57 AM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Pat Bev makes them. Eric Gordon makes them. THJ makes them.

          Caruso has to start making them.

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

            Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:00 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Point being he’s the better defender, by a country mile, than any of those guys except Danny G. Role guys need to do role things, like a Dwight has done. I don’t think it’s a big mystery that the bench has started squandering big leads, and quickly, since he went down or has been limited.

            Here’s another way to look at it: if you’re getting outplayed and out hustled by Alex Caruso you’re doing something wrong. I dig the plucky G-Leaguer but would feel a lot better about our playoff success if he didn’t seem to be such a big piece of our puzzle.

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

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:17 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink

              I’m not saying you do t have a point, you do. But the issue with basic accomplished three point shooting does not reside solely on Alex’s shoulders. Lotta guys need to do better.
              M

              Rondo just looks done. Cool has been ineffective in general and Daniels has vastly under-performed. Danny will round into shape and might already be in the process of turning the corner. Bradley is solid but he and Caruso have a lot of overlap with Bradley being better. If Rondo was anything close to the player he used to be this isn’t even a conversation. If Daniels or Cook were playing up to their mean, same. But none of the above has come to bear and so here we are: hoping for a scrap heap Miracle signing or for Caruso to hit the three at a decent clip. I think the miracle more likely but hold out hope for AC. Love me those plucky G-Leaguers, man.

              If you think Zappa is bad live don’t ever watch modern day Morley Crue…yikes…

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:19 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        When has a Swiss Army Kong’s been really good at any thing? The cork screw is a mofo to use, the knives don’t hold a keen edge for more than a cut and somehow it’s still considered. Weapon on an air plane LOL!!!

    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 12:10 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Zappa might be the worst live performing musician ever.

      Mozart was a crude genius, never disappointed the public though.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 12:15 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great to see Brandon increase His 3pnt %.
      He’s in the top ten in scoring now, but still doing it on a bad team that loses a lot.
      Ball looks better, but he’s still only shooting 50% from the stripe- that’s just awful.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 12:50 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Aloha Jamie
      Nice write up. I think you have to play defense to get into Vogels rotation. Both Daniels and Cook came in with shooters reputations. But it’s really hard for a shooter to find a rhythm playing so few minutes. I’m with about Cook. Give him some extended run. See what he can do. It’s better to have a good shooter bad defender on the court then a bad shooter bad defender like Rondo has been. You can always hide a bad defender. Last night when Rondo came in, the first two possessions ended with easy drop off passes to Rondo bouncing off his hand for turnovers. And the crime was he wasn’t even charged a turnover. Those were not due to diminishing skills but to lack of focus, so one wonders what’s going on with him.

      Honestly standing pat isn’t just an option, it’s the reality right now. We lack the assets to pick up a quality player in a trade. It really is going to boil down to either Collision or who ever pops up on the waiver wire as teams fall out of the playoff hunt. In the meantime let’s see what we have.

    • Buba

      Buba 5:42 PM on January 4, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great conversations here folks. I totally agree with the opinions stated.
      Yes, it is frustrating to loose big leads but I it’s
      also very frustrating to see those slow starts at the beginning of the season. I would rather see the Lakers sprinting out of the gate to start the game like those 3 year old horses in a triple crown race and gallup to the finish line like they know what they are doing.
      Yes, LeBron an AD continue to impress doing their thing. That’s always a joy to see. From the beginning of the season, I have always believed that whenever a good player goes through a slump he will eventually come out of it. That’s the case with Danny Green, KCP and Bradley. Good to see Green rain down those 3s. Behind every rainy day there is a sunny day.
      I also agree that when a supposed good shooter is given little playing time, it’s going to be hard to find rhythm. So, when Rondo is struggling like that why not give Cook and Daniels a chance and see what happens? I especially agreed that you can always hide a bad defender. The Stone that the builders refused shall be the head corner stone even though there might be a great pile of rejected stones.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:23 AM on January 3, 2020 Permalink  

    How Brandon Ingram is building an NBA home in New Orleans 

    The former Laker returns to Los Angeles with his resurgent new team, playing the best basketball of his young career.

    Source: How Brandon Ingram is building an NBA home in New Orleans

     

    Great read on one Brandon Ingram.

     
    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:59 AM on January 3, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Did we keep the wrong youngin?…lol

      • therealhtj

        therealhtj 12:02 PM on January 3, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        BI will be the next great, all-time overpaid dude who never wins jack.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:48 PM on January 3, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        If you’re asking me, 100% but I doubt NOLA had Kuz over BI on their talent index but I could be wrong. Also I never saw him as a large market kinda guy. I remember he posted pix of himself shooting on his backyard box hoop thinking ‘LA might not be the right place for him to flourish’ and it sounds like he feels a bit of the same way.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 1:00 PM on January 3, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great to see him reach his potential.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 12:29 PM on January 2, 2020 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    That was quite the Jekyll and Hyde performance. Not exactly the finish one would have hoped for but the W’s all look the same in the column. Couple of things about this team that have become fairly obvious to even the casual fan.

    1) Rondo has really fallen off a cliff. He started hot from 3 and mediocre on D and has cooled off on both ends of that equation. He’s not really even passing well, anymore. He’s throwing terrible passes all over the court and couldn’t even hit Dwight for a lob last night. Forced him into a midrange jumper that he missed. His pet moves rarely fool anyone anymore and if he can’t hold his own on either end of the court it might be time to dust off Quinn Cook and see what he can do. Not sure if Rondo’s dealing with some injury or if Father Time has claimed another player but Rondo’s failing both the eye and stat test which is never a good sign.

    2) LeBron and Davis should never have played 1 minute in the 4th. The Lakers version of load management is a tried and true one: play well enough your stars can laugh through the 4th on the bench. As the lead approached single-digits coach Vogel was forced to reinsert both James and Davis to secure the W. Unfortunate and a trend that would be nice to redirect considering the caliber of opponents coming our way.

    3) Caruso was missed. He came in and got Devin Booker to take a harried jumper and sulk for a few minutes before his calf seized on him. health is still priority #1 so here’s hoping Alex takes some time off for the leg to get right and next man up Quinn Cook is ready to deliver because more Rondo is definitely not the answer.

    4) Kuzma really tried to take over in the 3rd and just about shot us out of the game. Not sure if he was trying to justify his new do (personal opinion is that it’s not his best look, I prefer the fade-fro) and he looked gimpy coming off the court. Health people, it’s all that matters until the playoffs start. Kyle was a little to agro after LBJ and AD took a seat. Didn’t really look to pass or play much within the offense. The lead slipped and that was it for Kuz who actually had a solid game up until that stretch.

    5) Oh yeah, another triple-double for LeBron. He actually got it in the 3rd before he sat for his too short break. His 8th triple-double equaled his total from last season so expect a few more of these before season’s end. While it did come in the form of a W I’ll bet it would have been even sweeter if his 4th quarter minutes had equaled zero.

    Turn the page, keep your foot on the neck of your opponent and let’s get one on Friday against NOLA. BI is balling right now and Lonzo even is perking up. Should be a good one.

     
    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 1:05 PM on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Whenever I get to hear Eddie Johnson, he’s on point. He was saying the Lakers wanted the Suns, to just give up and when they didn’t he was forced to play AD and LeBron.

      Suns took advantage of Rondo and bled him like a stuck Irish Pig.

      Suns ran out of time and lost Rubio late in the 4th. Rubio and Book were killing Rondo.

    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 1:12 PM on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      And Vogel doesn’t have a “man crush” on Rondo, there aren’t any better options. By committee wouldn’t be reasonable either.

      Hopefully there’s a resolution coming.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:44 PM on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Collison is a decent option that comes with a lot of question marks. Biggest is who gets the boot off the roster? Does he choose us or Clips or whomever is behind door #3? Can he play like he did in those last 2 seasons or will he have too much rust to shake off? How much rust is there to shake off?

        • DJ2KB24

          DJ2KB24 3:16 PM on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Good questions. Would have to work out I would think. I tell ya that that Ish Smith is a pretty quick guard and such. Small though.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 4:16 PM on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I honesty don’t think he would do worse than Rondo. It would take some time to shake off that rust and get into playing shape, but we definitely have more than a few guys who should get cut to make room. I would like to see our FO make a move sooner than later so the new guy will have plenty of time before the home stretch to learn his new teammates, as well as Vogel’s system.

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

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:04 PM on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        No, the Rondo thing feels like it was meant to make AD happy but how happy can AD be if he’s watching Rondo get burned all game on D and passing it terribly. Got to at least pass the rock decently.

        • Magicman (Editor)

          Magicman (Editor) 4:23 PM on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Seems about right. AD wouldn’t not reup because Rondo signs or doesn’t sign.

          If AD’s self aware about winning he sees it too. Again, I don’t know what relationships Rondo has made. He lives breathes eats ball. He’s also burned a lot of professional bridges. Rivalling Patrice O’Neal. LOL.

          I have a feeling Rondo ends up in our organization at some point after he retires.

          But you gotta call TOD on his skills.

    • Buba

      Buba 5:57 PM on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Very good recap indeed.
      What a tale of two halves?
      While the first half looked marvelous, the second half looked gross. Where the first half showed that excellence needs to be preserved for the playoffs, the second half showed that we are still tinkering with our lineups. A work in progress.
      A win is still a win and looks good no matter how. There is no such thing as an ugly win.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:21 PM on December 30, 2019 Permalink  

    5 Things 

    The Sweet fam is back in LA after a long east coast sojourn. Left LA as the storm rolled in, left the east coast the same way, with the wind howling at my back and clearer skies ahead. Had a great trip, lovely time with in laws and was welcomed home with a quality win against a tough and hungry Dallas squad.

    1) Birthday boy.

    LeBron kept his dime game strong even though he continued his December struggles from the field. Today the King will enjoy his birthday, likely with friends, family and his training staff getting treatment. His league-leading assists per game is the driving force behind this Laker team. When his game is off the team’s game is, generally speaking, off. I worry a bit about teams playing him to pass and letting James try and outscore the other team. That will be the likely strategy in the playoffs and one deployed the savvier teams. The load he carries is a concern, the nagging injury that could become serious is a huge concern but there is simply no denying the greatness LeBron brings to the court every time he steps on it.

    2) Ignore a rolling Dwight Howard at your own peril.

    Dwight has been simply lethal when sharing the floor with LeBron James. He’s shooting a career high 76.2% from the field which is in all honesty higher because he’s lowered his overall FG% by only shooting 33% from three point land. His 2pt FG% is 77.2. That’s what you need coming off the bench and Dwight has been wasting the second stringers. He has good synergy with anohter oft-maligned Laker.

    3) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, up and down.

    Sometimes referred to as KFC but honestly this dude is beyond fried and is an fiyah. There has been a case made for not bringing Pope off the bench and having him start. Barring injury I disagree. You need his intensity off the bench and he helps cover for Rondo on D better than Bradley can. Folks, myself included, have maligned Kentavious for his lack of consistency. Well, if that’s the only barometer for critique his streakiness has been less extreme this season and his defense has been better than in season’s past. He’s still good for a bonehead turnover or two per game but when viewing the entirety of what he brings I’ll take it. At any rate, if you’re going to malign KCP for being up and down than you definitely have to malign…

    4) Kyle Kuzma going from hero to zero.

    Kuzma had the ball with about 18 seconds, sitting on a goose egg and I thought he might, just might take it in for layup. he did the classy thing and dribbled out the clock. The goose egg followed what had been a nice little run of impactful games off the bench. Kyle’s in a tough spot this season. He’s always played better as a starter, has struggled to find his scoring off the bench with fewer attempts to find his mojo, is playing a career low in minutes (23.6 down from two seasons of 30+ mpg, significant) and there are larger expectations than he’s ever faced. He has to find a way to more positively affect the game when the scoring isn’t there. The scoring games will come and go but he needs to rediscover the smart passes, hustle boards (not the ones he tries to steal from teammates) and overall defensive intensity to merit a larger role or to uplift himself from trade machine scenarios. OK, there will always be TM scenarios but not the ones that matter.

    5) Putting the stranglehold on the Mavs and not letting go.

    Despite an off scoring night from Lebron, no Laker other than AD passing 20 points and getting murdered on the offensive glass the Lakers still won going away. Thanks in large part to solid and efficient games from JaVale, Dwight and KCP coupled with some injuries to the Mavs our team was largely in control for the entire game. Holding them under 100 is impressive, turning them over 18 times was huge and we did a good job containing Luka (who, if one is honest, also had a fairly terrible game). Solid NBA win, as they say.

    The W’s all look the same at the end of the year. Go Lakers.

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:32 PM on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      LOL. 6 Things Haha. Should we correct that to 5 Things? Let me know. Or did I miss something?

      Anyway, good to have you back home and ready for the new year. Glad you enjoyed a good time with family on Baby’s First Christmas. I can still remember my son’s first Christmas over 50 years ago. Those are special moments, Jamie. Ones you will always cherish no matter what.

      1) Got to love LeBron James and enjoy the wonder of him being a Laker and somehow finding the Fountain of Youth. We couldn’t ask for a better superstar leader than LeBron. A man to love and admire both on and off the court.

      2) If we’re stoked about 35-year old LeBron proving Father Time ain’t infallible, how about 34-year old Dwight Howard proving old dogs can learn and change? I would have laughed if you told me last summer that I would be screaming ‘Dwight’ at the top of my lungs as I cheered him dunking passes from LeBron.

      3) KCP. Talk about redemption! I heard him talk about how he was fine coming off the bench and how much he has learned from Avery and how he had no problem with him getting back his starting job. Better be no more KFC stuff coming from anybody on this blog. KCP’s earned our respect.

      4) Hero to zero for Kuzma. I was also glad to see him not push the issue to get some trash time buckets to avoid being embarrassed. I thought he did an excellent job on defense and pretty up made the right play, which was good to see. Looking for him to get back on track over the new four ‘easy’ home games.

      5) Loved how we dismantled the Mavs. After overhelping too much and leaving Blazers wide open in the corners, it was good to see the Lakers make adjustments and play sterling defense, shutting down Luka and cutting off the passing lanes and generally playing great hustle defense all game long. It’s always great to win a close nail-biter style game but personally I prefer wins like last night that are easy on your psyche and blood pressure, especially after the 49ers amazing escape from Seattle.

      I’m ready for all those easy pickings Mongo has promised us in January. The more the merrier.

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 5:16 PM on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Spoil sport LT, KFC was so fun, but I am happy he’s KCP now! : )

        • Magicman (Editor)

          Magicman (Editor) 5:19 PM on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Yeah, let’s let that name recede into the abyss. :)

        • mclyne32 (Director) 6:26 PM on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I reserve the right to make up any nicknames for players who are playing like trash.
          Thankfully, Kenny has dramatically turned his play around. Even if he and Kuz take turns being the third scorer, we will be in great shape.
          Now, I need to make up a name for Danny boy. Lol!!!

    • mclyne32 (Director) 6:30 PM on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good stuff, Jamie.
      I too am worried about LeBrons lingering groin injury. He’s playing great, but he has no lift at the rim.
      Great to see our bench come alive throughout the last two- we need them to produce in order to have a chance against the good teams.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 6:33 PM on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Also, Great Supernova selection! I used to listen to these cats as a wee lad.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 6:35 PM on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Foos are on of my faves and you can never go wrong with The Nuge!

    • Buba

      Buba 9:00 PM on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      As always, this is the first thing I always look for after every game. Who wouldn’t want to spend quality time with in-laws? Glad you had a great time. This could easily be 20 things if you add up the 72 points the bench added against RIP city and there are no 5 things limit here on you. You probably was flying back and forth from the West Coast to the east coast in those crazy blizzards . What a roller coaster that was. Remember, all work no play makes jack a dull boy, and all play no work makes jack a mere toy. Imagine the Lakers sandwiching together 2 wins in a row like a Carl’s Jr. Burger just like they just did in these 2 wins in a tough but very impressive way.
      1- Tom had it right when he stated about father time not infallible. When Kobe was getting older, he resorted to a reliable turn around jump shot that was even more deadly than a Mamba snake, just like Michael Jordan did. LeBron at 35 is doing the same thing in the form of assists while saving his energy and synergy.
      2- KCP or Lack thereof( KFC ), is a testament that we as fans don’t have patience. He is from the University of Georgia and I saw him play first hand here in Atlanta, but when he played with the Pistons, I knew he was even more fiesty and durable. Dude is spewing flames like the afterburns of an F-16 fighter jet. Danny Green and AB are not to be scoffed at, period. These dudes spend their energies on the defensive end which will never show up in the box score. Keen was always right when he insists about Danny Green’s savvy as a veteran. The same goes for Avery Bradley. I remembered last year NBA finals when Danny Green exploded for a game high points from long range. Bradley does the same from short range with deadly cannons and hustle. You remember the KC135 gunship and the A-10 wartog?
      3- Kuzma.. From Hero to Zero? That’s a little too harsh. He needs some little love here folks. There are nights when a good player can have a bad night and there are nights when a bad player can a good night. I would rather not have the later. This is what I will promise my beloved laker fans: Kyle Kuzma will be a superstar in this league. Let us all wait and witness.
      4- Dwight Howard. This guy seems to be pouring in gallons of dunks, blocks and physicality in a myriad of ways with reckless abandon. What a revelation?

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 7:12 AM on December 29, 2019 Permalink  

    No Fiver 

    Wasn’t able to catch the game as it was one of the few locals only games of the season. Finally found that turnaround mojo, though. Be nice to keep it rolling against the Mavs.

     
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