NUGGETS -vs- LAKERS - 8/10 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

 
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DancingBarry
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 9:17 pm    Post subject: NUGGETS -vs- LAKERS - 8/10 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

Bubble Kuz... Several players around the league have elevated their game in the Bubble. Kyle Kuzma is one of them. It’s been a combination of his defense and the three ball going down. Tonight, it was the three for the win that capped off an excellent all-around game from Kuzma once again.

Vogel called Kuzma’s number with the game on the line.

“He has more poise about his game of late,” Vogel said.

In the final play with the score tied and 4.4 seconds left, Kuzma set the pick for AD to take the inbounds then flashed to LeBron who just inbounded to set a screen. Kuzma slipped that and instead took the pitch out from AD for a three. The Nuggets D overplayed LeBron, Bol Bol was late to close and Kuzma made them pay, hitting the three from the right sideline.

The Lakers won the game 124-121 and helped build a little more momentum heading into the playoffs.

Certainly, the Nuggets closed with their second unit against the Lakers starters, just as the Lakers have done in recent games. For the Lakers, however, just having the three ball start to drop and players finding a groove is just what the doctor ordered.

The team needs to find their swagger heading into the playoffs. This game helped a lot.


LeBron -- -- Strange game from LeBron with just one rebound. That doesn’t happen too often. But what’s nice to see is a couple of things coming back to life for him. He hit the double digit mark with assists again and he also knocked down five threes. It was a slow start for him and the Lakers fell behind when he was out there in his first couple of stints. His offense came to life in the second quarter. He bullied his way to the rim for score scores or FTs. Then started to feel comfortable from distance. Having Kuzma, AD and LBJ all on the floor at the same time probably looked more comfortable than it has this season. LeBron would whip pass to Kuzma trusting he will take and knock down threes when his man sags a couple feet off him to cheat over to LeBron. It’s also useful to have Kuzma making those off-ball cuts for LeBron to pick apart the D with the pass. Then, lastly, it was nice seeing them on the same page with the chemistry and Kuzma finding LeBron for scores, as well. They had a great exchange where LeBron fired a pass to Kuz who quickly fired it back him on the give and got for the score. One of the reasons that last play for Kuzma also worked was because Kuzma was setting screens for LeBron. With 45 seconds left, Kuzma put a back screen on LeBron’s man that allowed LBJ to take it in for an And-1 layup. When you’re worried about Kuzma freeing up LeBron and you overcompensate to help on LeBron...well, you saw it on that last play where Kuzma was wide open. “Mentally, I’m not in playoff mode,” LeBron said and he didn’t think the team was there yet. “There’s another level to playoff basketball,” he said, adding the team will be ready. The Stats: He scored 29 points on 9-21 shooting (5-11 from three, 6-10 from the line) to go with 1 boards, 12 assists, 2 blocks, 5 turnovers and no fouls in 38 minutes. He was a -10.

Davis -- -- He had 17 points on 8-11 shooting at the half. A lot of action for him going to the rim. He didn’t settle for long jumpers in this one (11 of 15 were in the paint) and you see that result in the 9-12 from the line. The second unit played really, really well tonight. (Especially compared to the non-LeBron minutes last time out.) AD was a +13. He was aggressive and everyone was moving the ball very well, making those extra passes we want to see. That’s what we need from the second unit. Not the stagnant, dump the ball into AD offense. Defensively, he had 3 steals and 2 blocks (a couple bad ballwatches, as well, to allow players behind him for easy scores). He had a huge play with 1:13 left where he switched onto a smaller man, blocked the shot and was fouled for FTs. The Lakers were able to chip away at a small Nuggets lead and that was a huge play down the stretch. The Stats: He scored 27 points on 9-15 shooting (0-1 from three, 9-12 from the line) to go with 6 boards (4 offensive), 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers and 1 foul in 38 minutes. He was a +13.

Kuzma -- -- “I told rook, I’m calling game. I hit it,” Kuzma said. It capped off a great game from Kuzma. Vogel went with the tall lineup to start, sitting KCP and sliding Kuzma into the starting role. We likely won’t see that, he said, but it’s something that he can go to against a taller team like the Nuggets. Great balance in his game today. Vogel mentioned that as one of the reasons he went to him for the final shot, saying the reads off the two-man game Kuzma has been making have allowed him to show more trust in return. “He’s continuing to make the right reads and the right plays. I think there’s been a big jump in that since the restart,” Vogel said. Kuzma didn’t force things, went with the flow, set screens for his stars, found his own spots working off his stars, hustled in transition or off ball on cuts. He found both AD and LeBron for scores with the passing game. He had some strong perimeter defense that allowed him to get a couple of breakaway scores. Just a very well-rounded effort and able to make an impact without dominating the ball. Typically this season when Kuzma’s put up bigger numbers, it’s often been when one of the stars were sitting. Tonight, we got 81 points from the trio. Great game tonight. The Stats: He scored 25 points on 11-16 shooting (3-5 from three) to go with 6 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 33 minutes. He was a +16.

Green -- -- Really nice seeing those wing threes dropping. The Laker starters shot a combined 11-22 from three as Green chipped in with 3 of those. Good job letting a man fly by, then leaning into hit a couple of those. Some trouble trying to defend Murray in the post on iso. His footwork was a bit slow. It might have been trouble if the Nuggets closed with their starters and went with that down the stretch. The Stats: He scored 11 points on 4-10 shooting (3-5 from three) to with 2 offensive boards, 1 assist and no fouls in 30 minutes. He was a -3.

McGee -- -- The effort was better with 5 boards in his 16 minutes. He’s got to impose himself like that out of the gates. If he’s not pressuring the offensive glass, we play into the opponent’s hands. The starters have been atrocious in the Bubble. Good to see McGee starting to show that effort. Hopefully, he can sustain that. He had a dunk off an interior feed from Green and a couple FTs for his points. He also had a nice pick when his man tried to cross him over on the perimeter. The question of starting Kuzma in place of McGee will likely persist with how well Kuz is playing. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 1-2 shooting (2-2 from the line) to go with 5 boards (2 offensive), 1 steal, 1 turnover and 3 fouls in 16 minutes. He was a -5.

Caruso -- -- He was in pain late in the game after setting a corner screen for AD and taking a shot to the chin from a shoulder. He’s had that sore neck issue, so the coaches pulled him and sent him to the locker room with 4:41 left down 3. He sets a lot of screens and takes some punishment. Hopefully, he’s feeling okay. No scoring in this game, but he had the team high +21 to go with his 4 assists and 2 steals. He missed a couple FTs he should have had and he couldn’t finish a lob in transition, but some nice setups finding Waiters in a corner for three or dishing to Dwight on the interior for FTs. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-1 shooting (0-2 from three) to go with 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 fouls in 20 minutes. He was a +21.

Howard -- -- Good job knocking down his FTs. He’s 17-28 in the Bubble games (60%), so if there was speculation that having no fans might help the FT shooting, it really hasn’t. Still, he knocked them down tonight. He had a couple of overpowering scores, just out muscling the opposing bigs to power up and finish. Defensively, some weak moments with our drop coverage, which is hard to do against certain players giving them open looks. The Stats: He scored 8 points on 2-2 shooting (4-5 from the line) to go with 5 boards (3 offensive) and 3 fouls in 14 minutes. He was a -10.

Waiters -- -- Great first half scoring 12 points on 5-6 with a full range off offensive weapons...hitting the three, weaving through the D off a behind-the-back dribble, he scored a lefty layup in early offense, attacked the zone for another layup and hit a floater in the paint. Combine that with a couple assists including an extra pass to Morris for an open three (that’s the pass he needs to make more of) and you had a great half. Late in the game, he came in for AC who was injured and we immediately had several defensive miscues. Guys trust AC will make the right play. The communication wasn’t there and that was causing problems. He did finally get a stop on help D with under a minute left, but prior to that we struggled in that closing stretch. The Stats: He scored 12 points on 5-8 shooting (1-2 from three, 1-1 from the line) to go with 3 assists, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 27 minutes. He was a +5.

Morris -- -- He was in the mix a lot tonight. Really like the look it gives the team. We’re able to space the floor, but keep length around the rim. He knocked down a couple of threes. I think Waiters found him on both of those. He also had a reverse layup off a hesitation and attack. Good work on the boards. The Stats: He scored 8 points on 3-5 shooting (2-4 from three) to go with 7 boards (2 offensive) and 3 fouls in 18 minutes. He was a -4.

Horton-Tucker -- -- He had a stint in the first half for 6 minutes and fouled a three shooter to give up a 4-point play. Not the strong outing of the previous couple of games and he didn’t really have as much space and time to work. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-1 shooting and had 2 fouls in 6 minutes. He was a -8.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Got to give credit to Vogel drawing up this play. Kuz said they worked on it in practice a few times and they ran it to perfection. Both LeBron and AD were decoys for Kuz to take the pass and hit the game winning three. Kuzma first set the screen for AD to take the inbounds in the post, then ran to set a screen for LeBron. The D, concerned about LeBron, stayed with him and Kuzma slipped the screen for the wide open three and buried it. With how Kuzma has been playing, it’s great to see the coach give him that one. You can’t practice pressure situations like that and both AD and LeBron have had plenty of opportunities in their careers. Great opportunity for Kuzma and he came through.

Key Substitution: Putting Kuz in the starting lineup and going big helped with the match ups, but getting Kuzma 33 minutes is what I like better. Just get Kyle the minutes with how he is playing.

Key Stat: Let’s go with the 14-29 shooting from three. The team has been looking looser and we’ve started to see the ball flying around and the shots dropping. I think just seeing it go through the hoop in the last one helped set this one up.
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Jesusdelonla
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 9:30 pm    Post subject:

1st, thanks DB
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:29 pm    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 5:57 am    Post subject:

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:08 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB! Good to see a win again.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:10 am    Post subject:

Good win for the team. Good to see Kuzma and waiters having a good game together. Great confidence builder for Kuzma getting the winning shot.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:41 am    Post subject:

I don't know that I'd give everyone such high grades just because we won. While just about everyone played well on offense last night, it took a missed FT and a clutch three to beat Denver's second team. This is because our defense was porous. We made almost half of our threes, but Denver actually made over half of theirs. There was one play where it didn't look like any defender was in the same zip code as Jokic. Denver somehow outrebounded us. Davis, McGee, and Howard combined for seven defensive rebounds. Really. We were getting lit up by P.J. Dozier and Monte Morris. Danny Green and Dion Waiters sure weren't stopping those guys. So is our perimeter defense dependent on a healthy Alex Caruso? Yikes.

Maybe I'm too negative about a glorified exhibition game, but we have only one more game before the playoffs start. We were really trying to win this game, not just lollygagging through a meaningless game. The result was that we managed to squeak one out against Denver's bench. That's not good enough. We'd better find the proverbial switch pretty soon.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:49 am    Post subject:

Great to see the Lakers getting out of their funk offensively
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:12 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

Beating the Nugs on a last split-second, three was a feel good moment for the team, but they still don't look right. Way too many defensive lapses. It seems that when they expend energy on defense, their offensive game looks constipated. It was the opposite last night. They'll need to find that proverbial light-switch soon, or they'll be an upset waiting to happen.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:03 am    Post subject:

Aeneas Hunter wrote:
I don't know that I'd give everyone such high grades just because we won. While just about everyone played well on offense last night, it took a missed FT and a clutch three to beat Denver's second team. This is because our defense was porous. We made almost half of our threes, but Denver actually made over half of theirs. There was one play where it didn't look like any defender was in the same zip code as Jokic. Denver somehow outrebounded us. Davis, McGee, and Howard combined for seven defensive rebounds. Really. We were getting lit up by P.J. Dozier and Monte Morris. Danny Green and Dion Waiters sure weren't stopping those guys. So is our perimeter defense dependent on a healthy Alex Caruso? Yikes.

Maybe I'm too negative about a glorified exhibition game, but we have only one more game before the playoffs start. We were really trying to win this game, not just lollygagging through a meaningless game. The result was that we managed to squeak one out against Denver's bench. That's not good enough. We'd better find the proverbial switch pretty soon.


I thought the defense was pretty awful, but we did have some personnel out there that we typically won't in closing time that was causing a lot of problems. What I like is that it's the closest they've started to look like themselves on offense. We haven't seen that yet. That's an important confidence boost.

We've got a lot of issues still (and I really think we miss Bradley badly still), but this was a step in the right direction win or lose. We still weren't in regular season-mode of basketball, let alone post season...but they started to look more like themselves, which is what they needed to do.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:07 am    Post subject:

angrypuppy wrote:
Thanks DB.

Beating the Nugs on a last split-second, three was a feel good moment for the team, but they still don't look right. Way too many defensive lapses. It seems that when they expend energy on defense, their offensive game looks constipated. It was the opposite last night. They'll need to find that proverbial light-switch soon, or they'll be an upset waiting to happen.


Fatigue-wise both AD and LeBron had some mental lapses on D. I'm glad they got a lot of burn. Also, there were a number of communication issues on D, which I think more often than not involved players that haven't gotten a lot of minutes with the team this year. I suspect some of that improves, but I also think Vogel's trust will be pretty limited with them.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:51 pm    Post subject:

Starting unit looks better with Kuz, he brings good energy starters have been lacking. Vogel needs to bring kcp off bench come playoffs
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:42 pm    Post subject:

Yay. Not only did we win but the game was fun which for me is the first time we’ve had a fun game since the restart.

Yay winning. Yay fun.

Thanks as always DB
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