LAKERS -at- HAWKS - 2/1 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

 
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DancingBarry
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:28 pm    Post subject: LAKERS -at- HAWKS - 2/1 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

The Lineups... The Lakers closed out their seven-game trip away from Staples with a battle against an improved Atlanta Hawks team.

This game would come down to the final minutes.

Two lineups have been in the spotlight recently. Once again, Vogel stayed with the tightened bench unit, sitting Matthews and Morris. That paid off at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth.

The Harrell/LeBron/Kuzma/THT/AC unit closed the third quarter on a 5-0 run, then carried that over to start the fourth with an 11-0 run. They turned good D into offensive opportunities and won those important first few minutes of the fourth.

The Hawks weren’t going away. With an 8-0 run of their own later in the quarter, they cut the Laker lead to 2 to force a timeout with 2 minutes left.

Vogel went back to his three-guard closing unit, sitting Harrell for Carsuso out of that timeout and sliding AD into the center position (AD/LeBron/AC/KCP/Schroder).

Caruso came up with a key steal and offensive board while LeBron would take care of the offense, scoring 9 points in the final 1:12 to take the 107-99 win.

It took a little while last season as Vogel tested out guys like Cook and Daniels in the rotations before finding combinations that worked. That team was also a little more motivated as they pushed out to a 19-3 start last year compared to the 16-6 start of this season.

With the next 11 of 14 at home, they need to improve on that mediocre 4-4 home record.


LeBron -- -- “Fans in the stands, it’s just better,” LeBron said after an exchange during the game with some fans on the sideline that had the refs getting involved. Honestly, he needs that. Some lazy looking ball early on. He wasn’t recovering to shooters at times. He was spraying some high-light reel pass attempts around. But stirring things up with someone on the sideline happened a couple of times in this roadtrip. The Lakers went in a scoring drought with him and the bench players and gave up the lead in the first half. He had a -3 in that first half because of that stretch with the bench. Just 6 points on 1-4 shooting with 3 assists in the half. That second half when he came back off the bench to run with the bench, they dominated. A 16-0 run to end the third and start the fourth. Late in the game, he knocked down a huge three as part of a 9-point scoring burst in the final 1:12 of the game. So for the first 47 or so minutes of the game, he had 12 points and somehow finished with 21. A fair amount of facilitating tonight, but he also was pushing tempo with a little more effort at times. The Stats: He scored 21 points on 5-12 shooting (2-6 from three, 9-11 from the line) to go with 7 boards, 9 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers and no fouls in 38 minutes. He was a +10.

Davis -- -- A few too many turnovers tonight, but he looked like he wanted to impose his will in this one. He struggled a bit with the double teams early on. He let the D load up on him instead of attacking quickly. He was forcing the issue at times. He had 12 points on 4-4 shooting, but 3 turnovers in that first half. He was playing with a bit of force/thrust (like Pelinka likes to say). He wasn’t settling. No rebounds (just 2), but he wasn’t playing passive offensively. He gave up an offensive board and picked up his third foul midway through the third quarter. He picked up his fourth a couple minutes later on a weak foul challenging a lob. We kept him in for a bit with no foul issues, but when he couldn’t challenge things tonight with the foul issues the defense felt it. Late in the game with the Hawks making a run, we called a timeout. We had KCP set a screen for AD at the elbow, AD came off it with the mismatch that he shot over for a key easy jumper. Some wrinkles in our offense like that with AD tonight. I like it. They need to work on the counter to that corner screen sequence that we run with a guard (Schröder) screening for AD. Again in this one, the defending guard bumped AD then recovered to Schröder who was standing in the corner. We might want to trigger the pass to Schröder for a three when that happens and have AD just turn that into a screen on the guard. The Stats: He scored 25 points on 10-14 shooting (0-2 from three, 5-6 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 5 turnovers and 4 fouls in 36 minutes. He was a +2.

Schröder -- -- You’ve got to attack Trae Young to take advantage of his poor D. A question might be, do you pick your spots? Explore some stuff early on against him or wait until after the half? Or pull something out late when you need it the most. Problem with waiting is if you get into foul trouble. Schröder did and had to sit with 3 minutes left in the first half and then a little later when he got tagged again. He came up with a couple big buckets down the stretch. He was frustrated a little in that fourth quarter when he scored an And-1 drive and didn’t get the call. An argument could be made he initiated the contact and that’s probably what the ref told him. Young then wanted a foul on Schröder on the other end (absolutely was not one) after away throwing a bad pass against some feisty D by Dennis. Back to the original question. Here was a key bucket. Schröder worked Young off the screen for an And-1 elbow pull-up jumper. Young put together a good night, but it’s a team coverage to try to stop him. Schröder led the point of attack D, but AC and KCP also got in there to try to help. They kept Young from hitting threes until Schröder picked up his fifth and KCP hopped on Young and gave up a logo three. The Stats: He scored 16 points on 6-10 shooting (1-1 from three, 3-3 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal and 5 fouls in 30 minutes. He was a +6.

Caldwell-Pope -- -- He struggled to get going, but eventually scored a transition layup, then knocked down corner threes from both sides. Got him an easy one and then the long ones started dropping for him in that first half. He’d sink another corner three to start the second half. “It felt good to see that ball go through even if it’s a layup,” he said. Of course, then he’d miss his next several attempts for the rest of the night, but still, great to see the 3-6 from three. Hopefully, that’s the confidence boost he needs to get him back on track. The Lakers aren’t quite the same team without him raining threes or getting easy scores on the break. They purpose ran some plays early for him hoping to get the jumpstart, but it was just the team getting out in transition that took the lid off for him. The Stats: He scored 11 points on 4-13 shooting (3-6 from three) to go with 1 boards, 2 assists and 2 fouls in 27 minutes. He was a +11.

Gasol -- -- Some passing in this one. He hit Schröder backdooring Young for an easy layup. We saw him throw the lob pass to AD on the spin for the score (that could be an especially effective combo as Gasol pulls the other big out...let’s run that more). Loved the bullet feed from the middle of the zone to KCP in the corner for the open three late in the half. Definitely another skill Gasol brings is if we do face some zone defenses, he can help bust it working out of the middle area. Some moments of defense, including one stand in the first half where he went “vertical” to stop a shot, then after the subsequent inbounds challenged another to get a shotclock violation. To start the second half, he had a great blitz pushing Young out to midcourt and busting a play to start the half. I think in the playoffs you might see quite a bit of that if we want to get Gasol minutes. His only score was a layup on a drive and dish from LeBron. Rare we’ve seen that. He missed all three of his three attempts. But at least he’s taking some of those. You’ve got to keep the D honest. Hopefully, they fall next time. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-5 shooting (0-3 from three) to go with 6 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 17 minutes. He was a +5.

Harrell -- -- Active start to this game, going 5-5 for 12 points in the first half. Dunks setup by teammates, a long jumper on iso and he hit one of his floaters from about 10 feet out. Plenty of setups from teammates tonight. Schröder, AC twice, Kuz twice, Lebron, KCP even with a lob late. Last year, you are probably seeing a lot of Lou Williams over and over on those dishes. We don’t really run it like that, even though the team wants to get him in more pick and roll action. But a wide variety of teammates setting him up. Again, we ran him late in the game. Not all the way to the finish tonight as we went back to the three guard unit for the final couple of minutes. But more trust, more involvement, more minutes. Defensively, he again had a little more impact challenging shots. He also forced a travel, poked a ball loose, swiped a bad pass...so some moments. Size got him in trouble a couple times (giving up an offensive board or unable to get a good challenge in). But solid outing on both ends. The Stats: He scored 19 points on 8-9 shooting (3-4 from the line) to go with 3 boards (2 offensive), 2 steals, 1 block and no fouls in 29 minutes. He was a -3.

Kuzma -- -- Some nice extra passes tonight and a couple passes that won’t show up in the stat sheet. “I thought Kuz led in regard to that,” Vogel said in regards to the ball movement. On that passes that won’t show up, he had a great pivot and feed to a back cutting LeBron (Gasol rubbing off). LeBron fed that to a teammate for the score. He also had another drive off a three line to shovel it to Trezz for FTs. Kuz also had a nice attack and lob to Trezz for a score, as well. Defensively, he had a nice moment on a switch on Young, not biting and forcing a bad pass for a turnover. A quiet stat line, but some winning plays on both ends. The Stats: He scored 5 points on 2-5 shooting (1-3 from three) to go with 3 boards, 2 assists and no fouls in 19 minutes. He was a -1.

Caruso -- -- Checks the plus-minus at the end of the game and sees AC with the team-high +13. Nods to self. You don’t need to score to be a big time contributor when the game is on the line. We brought him back in for the final couple minutes. He stripped a man on an inbounds to get a big stop on one end. Then crashed the glass to regain a possession on the other (second chances in the final minute are just devastating to opponents). We ran him 15 minutes in the first half. About 3 of those were in place of Schröder who picked up foul trouble. But still, more than the 7 in the last game to start. Loved seeing him attack Young on AC’s first touch for a layup. He also snaked off a screen against Rondo and hit a floater. In transition, he attack the rim hard for a reverse layup. Then, he also had a breakaway dunk after pouncing for a perimeter steal. AC, also, threw a superb bounce pass in transition through defenders to Trezz for a dunk. The Stats: He scored 8 points on 4-7 shooting (0-2 from three) to go with 2 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnover and 5 fouls in 25 minutes. He was a +13.

Horton-Tucker -- -- Again no Matthews and Morris. No scoring tonight and no love from the refs, either. He was whistled for a few fouls and couldn’t get any of his own when he attacked. But he did have some little plays that contributed to winning ball. He saved a block shot inbounds to ignite a break. He stripped Gallo in the post on a mismatch to get a stop. He set a great screen to free up Kuz for a wide open corner three. That was Caruso-esque. I still see Trezz talking to him quite a bit (especially in that third quarter tonight). Looked like maybe defensive rotations between the two. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-2 shooting to go with 5 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block and 3 fouls in 19 minutes. He was a -3.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: The Lakers gave up an 8-0 run to lead by 2 points with 2 minutes left to go. Vogel called a timeout as Schröder, LeBron and AD all missed jumpers. Best look was Dennis’s, for sure. Vogel sat Harrell for AC. The ATO on that by Vogel: AD came off a screen by KCP (love seeing him getting guard screens) and knocked down a short jumper over a smaller player on the baseline. Nice play call. Young would hit a three to cut it to 1 on the other end. LeBron would answer that with a big three himself at the top of the arc with 1:12 left. AC got a big strip on an inbounds pass under the hoop to come up with a steal that led to a LeBron breakaway layup. We’d get another steal when KCP forced Young into a bad dribble a few seconds later. Ball game when AC got the offensive board off a LeBron miss in that next possession. The Core Four there all getting in on the action in that run to close the game.

Key Substitution: Bringing AC back in for Trezz with a couple minutes left. AC got a huge steal on an inbounds under the hoop. Then a killer offensive board that was essentially the dagger. Big plays in the final minute. Winning ball.

Key Stat: Let’s go with the 16-0 run by the Lakers to end the third and start the fourth. Like the last game, they set the tone for that fourth with LeBron and that bench unit with Trezz, Kuzma, THT and AC.

Coach’s Challenge: The Lakers were up 6 when they forced a bad pass by Young to the sideline. They ruled it was L.A. ball. The challenge was unsuccessful with 4 minutes left. But that was great D by Schröder to help force that.
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CervantesRises
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:50 pm    Post subject:

1st!
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CervantesRises
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:50 pm    Post subject:

Now with that nothing burger out of the way...

THANKS DB.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:06 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

I was pipe dreaming a 7-0 road trip, but I felt 5-2 would be terrific.

1. They took 2 out of 3 vs the contenders (Bucks, Sixers, Celtics).
2. They beat some solid upcoming clubs, ATL (Trae & co) and CLE (all them bigs)
3. While the trip could have easily gone the 4-3 route, it could have also gone 6-1. So, will happily take it.

This team, however, is currently nowhere they need to be - but, it is game 22 of the season. Still 50 games to go.

DB, question: Does the 3 guard closing lineup cause you any heartburn? I just wonder that if, chemistry wise, that is "our best", does that become an issue in the playoffs if a team has some size advantage with the wings to cause problems with us going smaller in the 1-3 positions?
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lordtrapula
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:06 pm    Post subject:

When the Lakers get lazy it's tough to watch but that last minute or so of the game was really fun.

That starting lineup in the 3rd was pretty dominant so it's good to see there was something of valuable to take out of that experiment.

Maybe fewer turnovers and perhaps some more boards, but love what I saw from Davis today.

He's looking more like the uber-efficient star we are used to, hope that trend continues
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:51 pm    Post subject:

DrDent wrote:


DB, question: Does the 3 guard closing lineup cause you any heartburn? I just wonder that if, chemistry wise, that is "our best", does that become an issue in the playoffs if a team has some size advantage with the wings to cause problems with us going smaller in the 1-3 positions?


We’ve got a lot of options but to go bigger, I think that’s where Morris comes in so we can slide LeBron back down to SF defensively and still keep the five out. Still, this team would be ridiculously good with another lengthy wing defender who can hit threes. Our smaller guys were able to defend the Celtic wing players just adequately enough, but I don’t think it’s ideal when you get to some of those stronger guys. Maybe Kuz can continue his progress, but I don’t trust it yet.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 11:19 pm    Post subject:

DancingBarry wrote:
DrDent wrote:


DB, question: Does the 3 guard closing lineup cause you any heartburn? I just wonder that if, chemistry wise, that is "our best", does that become an issue in the playoffs if a team has some size advantage with the wings to cause problems with us going smaller in the 1-3 positions?


We’ve got a lot of options but to go bigger, I think that’s where Morris comes in so we can slide LeBron back down to SF defensively and still keep the five out. Still, this team would be ridiculously good with another lengthy wing defender who can hit threes. Our smaller guys were able to defend the Celtic wing players just adequately enough, but I don’t think it’s ideal when you get to some of those stronger guys. Maybe Kuz can continue his progress, but I don’t trust it yet.


Funny enough the team that came to mind was the Clippers - Ibaka and Batum changed that dynamic, Their closing lineup will likely have Ibaka, PG, KL, Batum (and williams or beverly at pg - regardless, their lineup would include 6'7, two guys at 6'8, and another at 6'10). If that forced Kuz, Morris (or both) into the game for matchup reasons it seems we lose a little bit on both ends if AC, DS, and/or KCP were taken off the floor.
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TooMuchMajicBuss
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:58 am    Post subject:

Thanks again DB! Good way to end the game Lakers!
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akgolf
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 4:19 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB!
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wolfpaclaker
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 4:20 am    Post subject:

Strategically, thought we did a very good job of forcing Atlanta to pass up on 3s and doubled Trae on quite a few 3 point attempts. Made Trae into more of a passer, where he is less dangerous. Very good defensive game by us. Had some moments where we lapsed but overall we showed in this one and the Boston game why we are the #1 ranked team on D. We played both teams a bit different. Nice stuff. Against Boston we were more physical against their wings and challenged them 1 on 1 to take tough shots. Against Atlanta we were trying to get Trae off the 3 point line as much as possible and make it hard for them to get easy open 3 pointers off.

Offense is where we have more issues-stuff to work on. Did not like the way we played around AD when Bron sat, again. Same ole flaws. We isolate him without any purpose, and it is like in not one of his strong spots, and the defense is collapsed with Trez only an interior threat. How about trying an AD-Kuz-THT-Caruso-Dennis lineup there, maybe. Right now the execution reminds me a lot of when Quinn Cook was running our 2nd units last year.

On the flip, when we run that Trez-Kuz-Bron-THT-Caruso lineup, it tends to do well. Vogel tried to give Trez a chance in this one to close out with Caruso having some foul issues, but it almost cost us the game!

Some offense that I would like to see going more often:

Dennis-AD pick and roll/pop.
Lebron-Dennis pick and roll/pop.
Bron post up with 4 shooters spreading the floor and waiting to cut when the double comes.

We do not milk enough of our stronger 2 man games, or Bron in the post. Hope we eventually get to that, in the playoffs.
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ChefLinda
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 6:56 am    Post subject:

Quote:
Caruso -- -- Checks the plus-minus at the end of the game and sees AC with the team-high +13. Nods to self.


Caruso is my brother's favorite player. I gave him a Caruso bobble-head doll for Christmas (along with some Laker themed masks).
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Dr. Laker
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 7:29 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!

That defensive sequence in the final minute - LBJ blocks Capela, Schroder steals it from Young, Caruso gets offensive rebound - that was beautiful.
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danzag
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:16 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!
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pio2u
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:37 am    Post subject:

DB.
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LakerDYnasty72
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:04 am    Post subject:

it gives me great comfort that our leaders, LeBron, AD and Coach Vogel keep us focused on our core identity, which is defense. The defense that Schroder, THT & AC gives us in the backcourt has the potential to be elite.

THT stripped Gallinari just like he did Leonard with that long reach and quick hands. Because of their great wingspans, their length, and defensive mindset DS & THT can be played against taller players.

Trez was indeed talking to THT. I'll be the first to note how it bugged me a bit that he had to encouraged by AC to give THT some love. Those things happen, but, man, don't show up your team mate on the court like that. It's very bad optics. I liked, and noted the fact that, when THT went down on the court Trez made his way over to help him up. Good optics Trez.

I'm sure I'm not the only trying to identify our best closing lineup. We know that Davis at the 5, James at the 4, and AC at the 1 or 2 is established. The last two spots of that lineup looks like Schroder is going to settle into one of them. IF his shot is falling, and he continues to play D like he has, the spot is his.

Last spot: probably KCP, but I'm betting by the end of the year THT might challenge, or at least provide a nice backup to, KCP or Schroder.

KCP, DS, & THT bring speed, defense, with DS & THT also providing ball handling support.

Last thought: he's with those guys across the hallway, but the need for a nice, defensive wing would have been perfectly filled by Batum.

Thanks DB!
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