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  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:36 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    Lakers have second easiest remaining strength of schedule left in the West 

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:08 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    Breaking down Talen Horton-Tucker’s rookie season in South Bay 


     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 5:06 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    Kobe, LeBron, History, and 81 Points! 

     
    • Buba

      Buba 7:42 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It would be more historical if LeBron would do that in one game on the road just like Kobe did on the road against the Raptors. Not that I am expecting that. That 81 point game by the great Mamba was historical and gigantic in nature.

      But I marvel at what LeBron has accomplished close to the top of Mount Rushmore of the NBA scoring ladder. It certainly takes a lot to get there and is no easy feat.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:23 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    Happy Birthday, JaVale! 

     
    • Buba

      Buba 7:11 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Love me some McGee. Happy birthday to you on behalf of we the Lakerholics. We all hope you have a glorious day. We all love and adore you.
      Just keep up the hard work and remember, keep swatting those flies away from the paint.
      You are truly appreciated and beloved in Laker lore.
      Happy Birthday JaVale!!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:58 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    How efficient were the Rockets’ shooters when Harden was forced to pass out? 

     
    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:38 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Problem is always the same with the Rockets no matter what players you plug into that system. Dantoni’s inability to make adjustments when the opposition throws something new at him or if the 3’s ain’t dropping at a high rate. Dude has no 2nd gear. Morey does a great job in acquiring talent but that entire analytics-based culture there is flawed.

      • Buba

        Buba 9:34 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It is the theory I mentioned in this blog before. It was something I learned in maths when I was young.
        You have a water tank, and you have an input pipe and an output pipe where the input pipe is bigger than the output pipe, at some point, the tank is gonna get flooded and cause disruption and chaos. Because the input pipe is pumping in more water into the tank while the output pipe is taking out less water.
        That’s the same thing going on with Morey vs Dantonio. Whilst morey is putting in more talented players, Dantonio is making less use of them.
        So I agree with you.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:40 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    LeBron James is clearly the Lakers best and most valuable player! 

     
    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:41 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Not sure why anybody ever thought this was gonna be in question.

    • Magic2Worthy

      Magic2Worthy 11:56 AM on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      not disputing this fact, but I do remember talk about LBJ helping AD win the MVP very early this season of he wanted to….. but he decided the second coming of Magic was in order!!

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:05 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    Excelent display of BBIQ on this play from Jared Dudley. 

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:23 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    LeBron James has perfected the art of the backcourt-to-paint pass 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:15 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      From Harrison Faigen’s great article:

      EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — By almost any statistical measure, Lakers star LeBron James has been the best passer in the NBA this year.

      James is on track to lead the NBA in assists per game (10.9) for the first time in his career, but it’s not as simple as that. He’s also leading the league in assist points created (27.3) and potential assists (19.2), according to NBA.com. He’s also leading all players creating at least seven assists per game in assist to pass percentage (16.5), meaning that nearly a fifth of his passes are leading directly to points for his team.

      Still, none of those stats sum up the area where James has been most brilliant, and most far ahead of his peers: the backcourt-to-paint pass.

      Going into the Lakers’ 124-115 win against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, no player in the NBA had passed the ball from their own backcourt into the opposing team’s paint as much as James (53), according to Second Spectrum tracking data. No one is really close to James, either, as James has made nearly as many such passes as the players ranked second (D’Angelo Russell, 29) and third (Trae Young, 27) in that statistic combined.

      Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel said he’s never seen a player as good as James in that area.

      “Short answer, no,” Vogel said. “I mean, Kevin Love is a great outlet guy, but not the way LeBron does it.”

      The way LeBron does it has been a weapon for the Lakers, who don’t rank at or near the top of the NBA in pace (they’re currently ranked 16th, although it should be noted Vogel thinks pace is “one of the most misleading stats in the league”). But the team has been effective when they do get out in transition, ranking seventh in the league in transition points per game (21.7), and spending the sixth-highest percentage of their possessions in transition (17%) of any team, according to NBA.com.

      In other words, the Lakers are having a ton of success while running selectively, and James’ ability to ignite breaks in this unique way has been a key weapon in that. It’s a skill Vogel said he and his coaching staff saw the star using when they watched film of last year’s team, so while it’s something they encouraged James to do, Vogel didn’t want to act like they had re-invented the wheel.

      “It’s something that he does naturally that I’ve taught with past teams, that we’ve encouraged with him and with all of our guys. Run the floor, run your patterns, and whoever is getting the outlet or the rebound, make sure as soon as that ball touches your fingertips that you have your eyes down the floor and that you can see those passes,” Vogel said.

      LeBron James has been great at grabbing the ball and setting up scoring chances for his teammates in the blink of an eye. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

      But as if to illustrate that this is something Vogel has always wanted his players to do, he paused his explainer of what he calls the “no-dribble advance pass” — when James or another player grabs a rebound and instantly looks for a scoring chance for one of the Lakers streaking up the court — to praise his daughter, Arianna, for making a good one the other day.

      “By the way, my daughter had a great one yesterday in her eighth grade girls basketball game. I was praising her for it,” Vogel said, pausing and looking directly into the camera the Lakers had set up for his post-practice interview. “Good job, Ari! Great job!”

      But just like his daughter’s unnamed teammate who caught and finished said pass, Vogel says that James’ success at such feeds is also a credit to his teammates this season, particularly the long arms and steady hands of Anthony Davis.

      “You’ve got to have wide receivers that you trust will catch the ball and do something smart with it, and (Davis’) catches in transition are near unguardable, and he catches just about everything,” Vogel said.
      That wasn’t necessarily the way most expected the James/Davis pairing to be most dominant this season, but it’s been a recipe for success for the Lakers. It’s also a clever way to keep James’ wear and tear down at age 35.

      James is averaging the fewest minutes he’s ever played per game (34.9), and his current usage rate (31.5) ranks right towards the middle of the pack in his career, but these passes are just another way a player who perfected the art of resting in games is load managing while on the court.

      Among players under 6’10 who are playing at least 30 minutes per game, James ranks fourth-to-last in the league in distance traveled per game (2.34 miles a night, per NBA.com). He ranks second-to-last among such players in average speed while on the court, too (3.77 miles per hour, on average). Seizing a rebound, identifying a streaking teammate and feeding them for a bucket without having to move much is an easy way to keep such numbers low while helping the Lakers’ offense remain effective.

      “Easy buckets,” Vogel said simply when asked what the advantage of James’ long feeds into the paint is. “The more you can get attacks on the other team’s basket before your defense is set, the better your offense is going to be.”

      All without moving much to boot. It’s just another way for the best passer in the league is giving the Lakers an advantage, while simultaneously utilizing his all-world brain to save his body for when the team actually needs it.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:29 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Fabulous article by Harrison Faigen for Silver Screen and Roll. Some great stats info plus an excellently written and researched article that shows how special LeBron is as a passer and how his full court paint-to-paint passes are such a weapon.

        An interesting side note is Lonzo Ball was also one of the players besides Kevin Love who was adept at making these passes. I had not seen much of LeBron throwing these before this year. I wonder if that was something Bron picked up from playing with Lonzo. Wouldn’t surprise me. LeBron is so smart I could see the light bulb going off in his head watching Lonzo and saying, “what a great idea and I can do it even better.”

        One stat I never knew existed was assist points created, which LeBron leads the league with 27.3. Since he is averaging 10.9 assists, that means every assist he makes generates 2.5 assists or, looking at it another way, half of his assists generate 3 point shots and half generate 2 point shots.

        The other stat is potential assists, which are any pass to a teammate who shoots within 1 dribble of receiving the ball. Here LeBron leads league with 19.2 potential assists per game, which is almost as many as the second and third best players combined.

        • Buba

          Buba 6:49 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Not only has LeBron perfected the art of backcourt to paint passes as generously written in this article by Harrison Faigan, but LeBron has also perfected the art of chase down blocks by a wide margin. I think it’s called high basketball IQ, if my memory serves me well. That’s because great players know how to adapt.
          Tom, I really like your anology of Lonzo Ball. I even forget that Lonzo was also a great backcourt to paint passer.
          Great players have a way to adapt to new heights by adapting to new things and perfecting them as they age. For example, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant perfected the art of fade away jump shots.
          Throughout this season, I have noticed that LeBron has tried to find a balance between him being a freight train going downhill to the paint and being a master at backcout to paint passer. Who would have thought LeBron would lead the league in assists at age 35? Next, maybe he would perfect the art of fade away jump shots. And that will only prolong his longevity.
          I am happy we have him as a laker.

          • LakerTom (Publisher) 7:10 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Great point about the chase down blocks, Buba. When LeBron figures these things out, he then focuses on making them a regular weapon in his repertoire. That’s one reason he continues to evolve and get better as he gets older. He does the same thing with how he stays in condition and works on his body.

            • Buba

              Buba 8:41 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink

              The “he does the same thing with how he stays in condition and works on his body” is certainly on point and bonafide.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 1:18 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      He’s been the closest thing to Magic, since Earvin laced Em up.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:16 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    “When LeBron came to LA, he is now a Laker … and we should embrace him.” 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:19 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great to see Kobe embrace LeBron as a Laker and try to put to bed any fans who can’t see that. LeBron bleeds purple and gold just like Kobe, Captain, Magic, Shaq, Logo, and all the greats whose jerseys hang in the rafters at Staples Center.

      • therealhtj

        therealhtj 7:57 AM on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Let’s just reserve judgement until his contract is up next summer. As a player, sure he ranks right up there, if not ahead of them dudes. As a Laker? Bleeds Purple and Gold? It’ll be highly unlikely at this late stage of his career. Not even sure his final stop will be here. Let’s say he wins 1, maybe even 2 and bolts? Do you even retire his Jersey? I wouldn’t.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:43 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lebron is a made man.
      He doesn’t need Kobe’s endorsement…lol

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 4:43 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Well very true, but as a Laker LBJ has no rings to show, yet. Ha, ha.

        • Buba

          Buba 9:59 PM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Hahaha, DJ. Good one. But I promise, LeBron will deliver one for us this year.
          If he can deliver one for Cleveland, a championship starved City, why not L.A. I may ask. He is on a mission. So enjoy and embrace.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:53 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    “There’s a reason why we’re winning. It’s because we’re having fun, too.” 

    HOUSTON — Dwight Howard was up, yelling. He had those hands cupped around his mouth as he hollered to his teammates on the court. When he’s on the bench, Howard actually doesn’t spend much time on the bench. He’s usually standing, yelling out coverages and encouraging teammates. It was during a break in play following a kicked ball in the third quarter of the Lakers’ 124-115 win in Houston that he wandered a little too far onto the court as he made his overtures.

    “Dwight!”

    Zach Zarba, the lead official on the officiating crew hollered at Howard from 25 feet away.

    “Dwight!”

    He made a gesture for Howard to back up. Howard looked down and said something to Matt Boland, the referee standing in front of him.

    Technical foul.

    “I was just trying to get my guys going,” Howard later said. “I didn’t say anything disrespectful to the ref, just got it while I was talking to my teammates.”

    Howard’s teammates, for the record, loved it.

    “We’re not going to change,” Jared Dudley said. “We’ll take those techs. It’s $2,500 and we’ll move on.”

    From two seats over in the locker room, Rajon Rondo chuckled in approval. Dudley laughed and reached over to slap hands with the injured point guard.

    “If it’s cheering, we’re not stopping that,” Dudley said.

    Howard’s technical came early in a 15-5 run to start the third quarter as the Lakers turned a six-point halftime deficit into something of a rout. Soon JaVale McGee was swatting a P.J. Tucker 3-pointer and a Clint Capela dunk, both leading to fast-break layups for LeBron James. Kyle Kuzma dug in defensively on Russell Westbrook.

    Is it too much of a stretch to say that some of that momentum stemmed from Howard’s technical and the overall energy of the guys still wearing warmups?

    “I think the bench as a whole … I thought their energy actually did impact the game,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “They were very engaged, whether it was trash talking or communicating with our own team — the coverages and when to go and when to rotate. They were like a bunch of coaches over there and I do think that our bench contributed to the win.”

    Everyone knows there are statistics that measure the impact of a team’s bench. But those account only for what players who start the game on the bench do when they are in the game. For example, the Lakers register as the 12th-best bench scoring team at 38.1 points per game. But it’s a little more difficult to quantify the impact of the guys who aren’t playing.

    If you tried on Saturday, it would have been -2, as Howard and Anthony Davis, who missed his fifth straight game with a bruised backside, were dinged with technicals that resulted in James Harden in free throws.

    Another time the refs had to motion again at the Lakers’ mob to stay outside the lines.
    “Look at the difference between our bench and their bench,” Dudley said. “You look at it when we’re down, when we’re winning. We got technical fouls just for standing up. Literally standing up and not saying anything.”

    Besides that, the Lakers’ bench is not only all positive, but oftentimes it turns into one of the biggest parties in the NBA.

    As the Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter, Dudley bobbed his head as Lakers fans overwhelmed the Toyota Center with chants of “Let’s go Lakers,” and Howard coaxed fans to get louder as they chanted “M-V-P” with James at the foul line.

    Howard goaded fans, including one who suggested Howard was nothing more than the team’s water boy. With several minutes left and Houston fans streaming out, McGee turned to the stands with a perplexed look and gamely teased, “Where are they going? Where are they going?”

    “Our bench culture is get the business out the way and have fun while we’re doing it,” McGee said. “And you can see it out there.”

    The Lakers are 34-8 and have won 10 of their past 11 games, including four of five without Davis, and they don’t mind dancing on some proverbial graves.

    Last month in Utah, LeBron was criticized on air by the Jazz broadcasters, including former NBA forward Matt Harpring, for the “disrespect” of wandering onto the court during live action in his socks to celebrate Kyle Kuzma blocking a shot in garbage time.

    “It’s demoralizing,” McGee said. “No one likes to see you celebrating like that.”

    One could get caught up in watching the Lakers’ bench for 48 minutes instead of the game. There are synchronized celebrations for finger rolls and 3s. After a blown, or “smoked,” layup last month in Orlando, there was the passing of a, um, cigarette.

    “There’s a reason why we’re winning. It’s because we’re having fun, too,” Dudley said. “We genuinely like each other. We genuinely get along. So when someone’s doing well, we’re going to celebrate for them. When I hit my 3s, I see them do it, when I see (Danny Green) or (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope), that’s how you build momentum.”

    So, on Saturday the Lakers made a statement with an emphatic win over another Western Conference playoff team. They contained Harden and made life difficult for Westbrook in the second half. Four players scored at least 20 points, led by James’ 31.

    But don’t sleep on the Lakers’ bench. And not just their ability to come in and make runs and play sound defense. On those padded seats next to the court, there is a party culture that has emerged, and it has found its way onto the court.

    “That’s just been us all year,” James said. “We all support each other no matter if you’re in the game, no matter if you’re on the bench, or you’re wearing a suit, we’ve been supporting each other all year. Tonight was another instance of that. Our whole bench was up throughout that third quarter, and it was big time and the reason why we came back.”

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:57 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Fabulous article by Bill Oram. How can you not love this team. There’s no question the Lakers’ great chemistry is one of the key factors in the team’s great play the first half of the season. While I still believe there will be some moves by the Lakers, there’s no reason to believe those moves will defuse the team’s fabulous chemistry. The players understand the NBA is a business and no one or two players is the heart and soul of the team’s chemistry.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 10:06 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s double talk.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:34 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          LOL. No it’s not. Come on, Matt. You could easily move two or three players and still have just as great chemistry. What if Lakers get a chance to sign Collison and Iggy and decide to waive Cook and Daniels? Or Cook and Dudley? Or Daniels and Boogie? Or they could trade Kuzma despite your opinion. I doubt any of those moves would impact the team chemistry as long as the player coming back is a good fit and character guy.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 11:46 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Lotta vets on this squad who’ve all traveled from team to team.
      They get it.
      Ain’t nobody gonna care if a youngin like Kuz gets dealt.
      They’ll be more pizzed if he stays and remains inconsistent.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:50 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    "More double teaming is required, and I’m doing it more this year than in years past.” 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:06 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I wonder if it’s just me but I’m not sure of the logic of Vogel’s statement. I would think ‘the 3-ball and the support of the 3-ball around great offensive players” has actually made it critical to just stay at home rather than “difficult to stay home.”

      Anyway, I love the strategy because it takes away a team’s #1 weapon. It’s difficult to execute because it needs great teamwork and rotations but the Lakers got exactly that from their defense in the third quarter last night. Harden passed out of the double almost every time but the Rockets could still not find an open man and every 3-ball they took was challenged.

      That was not only the best quarter of defense we played this year, it could be a template for how we guard Harden, Giannis, and Kawhi in the playoffs. What makes it special is the rim protection that we get from JaVale, Dwight, and Anthony. I may not agree with Frank’s explanation but I love his strategy. That and pushing Harden to his right to make his step back tougher.

      Finally, I have to give Kuz credit for really stepping up in the second half. His defense on Russ was outstanding as was his attacking the basket. This team’s defense first approach was a big part of how Kuzma got untracked last night after a dismal first half. You could see his confidence returning after a few good defensive plays and drives to the rim to get to the line. The big question is can he continue it once A?AD comes back. I’ll be rooting for him to do it.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 8:48 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink |  

    Blame game in Rockets land again pointing fingers at role players 

     
    • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:09 AM on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Rockets became frustrated and unglued in the third quarter. Harden and Westbrook once again showed they do not have what it takes to win when the pressure amps up. Morey can see the writing on the wall. Look for Daryl to make some crazy wild a$$ trade before the deadline.

  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:13 PM on January 18, 2020 Permalink |  

    Lakers are an NBA -best 18-3 on the road! 

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:12 PM on January 18, 2020 Permalink |  

    Vogel talks about Lakers doing better job committing to game plan in 3rd quarter 

     
  • LakerTom (Publisher) 9:10 PM on January 18, 2020 Permalink |  

    Great game by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope! 

     
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