NUGGETS -at- LAKERS - 2/4 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

 
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:23 pm    Post subject: NUGGETS -at- LAKERS - 2/4 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

Lockdown In Staples... The Lakers were sleepwalking in the first half, which is how they’ve approached home games. AD played uninspired ball with just 4 points on 4 shots and didn’t put in the effort on the defensive glass. Once again, the Lakers were playing some flat ball at Staples.

L.A. scored just 9 points in about 9 minutes during a stretch of the second quarter. It really wasn’t great D by the Nuggets, just uninspired, unfocused ball by the Lakers.

After scoring just 46 points in the first half and trailing by 12, they heard it from Vogel at halftime. Where was the energy? Where was the pace?

They came out the second half with determination. They started pushing the pace and playing with purpose. Behind some great D that forced turnover and breakaways, they ripped off a 15-0 run to take an 8-point lead at the end of the third quarter -- a dominating 12 minutes of ball where they outscored the Nuggets 37-17.

Talen Horton-Tucker introduced himself to the Nuggets in this game. During that stretch of ball, he was causing problems for Murray with his D and then taking it to the Nuggets off the dribble on the other end. He’d finish the night with 17 points as the Lakers doubled up the Nuggets in the second half 68-35.

“When we put our minds to it, this team can do great things,” Vogel said.

The Lakers ran away with the 114-93 win over the Nuggets and pushed their record to 17-6.


LeBron -- -- He passed Wilt in field goals made to slide into third place on his way to dropping a 27-10-10 triple-double. He was key to the Lakers playing with the pace they needed to. When that freight train gets moving, it’s hard to stop. He gets downhill and it’s trouble for defenders. He led the Lakers with 13 points and 7 boards in the first half. He attacked mismatches when he had them and scored several layups. He also hit a fade and a three on back-to-back possessions. The variety of ways he can beat teams now. He can hit the threes, he’s got those post fade. In the second half, he just brought all of that. It was attacking in transition with speed for an And-1, attacking and spinning for a layup, a post fade to beat the shotclock, firing a full-court pass to Trezz for a dunk, sinking a deep three behind a screen, a layup on a high-low from AC against the zone, a long outlet to AD for a score, getting downhill for an And-1 layup in transition again, and hitting AD for a lob dunk. The mix there: perimeter, transition, post-ups, off-ball scoring, distributing to teammates...and at his size. It’s why he’s passing giants like Wilt. Now, it’s the Western Conference’s problem trying to stop him. Nuggets didn’t have an answer. “Why is @KingJames still getting better...how?,” Draymond Green tweeted afterward. LeBron was asked afterward about the All Star game and just went off. He was not happy the league decided to do it and was looking forward to the rest. He said he will be there physically but not mentally. The Stats: He scored 27 points on 12-19 shooting (2-5 from three, 1-2 from the line) to go with 10 boards, 10 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers and 1 foul in 35 minutes. He was a +21.

Davis -- -- He was killing me in the first half. I wrote about him playing in the last one playing with Pelinka’s word “thrust.” It really is an easy way to see if he’s in the game or not. Is he imposing himself on the opponent or is he coasting? He had just 4 points on 2-4 shooting in his 16 first half minutes. Really just not engaged at all. He picked up his third foul late in the half, as well, on a reach. Millsap had 3 offensive boards in the half. There were at least two possessions where our bigs just stood and watched our guards battling for boards under the hoop and didn’t help out. He said Vogel got on them at the half and also took some of the blame for how we played. In the second half, we controlled our glass better, he got in on challenges and deflections. There were a few possessions where he imposed his size in the paint. Much better effort. A sub par game, but we put the clamps down in the second half with a much better effort. The Stats: He scored 13 points on 5-8 shooting (0-1 from three, 3-6 from the line) to go with 9 boards (3 offensive), 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers and 3 fouls in 33 minutes. He was a +21.

Schröder -- -- I think the Nuggets are going to have a lot of issues dealing with Schröder’s speed. He looked for opportunities as they came in the first half, but when our offense starts using him with purpose, that’s where he should really cause problems. He outscored Murray 21 to 20 tonight. He had a great moment in the first half on D, diving at midcourt for a loose ball to knock it in the backcourt, then diving again to hit it again and force a shotclock violation. Can you imagine that kind of play and hustle in front of a full Staples crowd in the playoffs? They would be going nuts. In the first half, he scored 9 points on 3-4 shooting, including two layups and a three. In the second half, he’d hit an And-1 over Jokic from the midrange. He’d want another one later and got a tech instead, but made the jumper. So the problem for the Nuggets is right there. If he hits the threes (two tonight), you have to respect him on the screens. If the guard gets screened, then Jokic has to stop Schröder. He’s going to sag back in drop coverage and he’s going to get burned in the midrange. If he tightens that up, then Schröder’s speed is a massive problem for the Nuggets. I just don’t see the Nuggets covering several of our guys. They tried to go to zone against us, but we’ve shown we can destroy that in the playoffs. They’ve had the offseason to think about the Lakers and now they’ve got new problems to think about. The Stats: He scored 21 points on 7-9 shooting (2-2 from three, 5-5 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 4 assists, 3 turnovers and 3 fouls in 30 minutes. He was a +3.

Caldwell-Pope -- -- It’s always a little worrisome when he misses his first shot. He’d miss a few perimeter shots in the first half and score a layup. In the second half, he’d get another one on at the rim, then sink a corner three off a swing pass and hit a baseline pull-up. So he kind of got on track as the game went along. He got his left ankle retaped in the second half. I’m not sure how much that is bothering him because he flies around, but he did look a little stiff to start the second half for a moment before driving in for a layup a few seconds later. THT was playing so well tonight, he was coming for all the guards minutes. There’s some healthy competition in our backcourt right now. The Stats: He scored 10 points on 4-7 shooting (1-3 from three, 1-1 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 1 assist, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 28 minutes. He was a +15.

Gasol -- -- Ever since the offseason, this was a much talked about matchup -- Gasol vs. Jokic. I was really looking forward to seeing how Gasol handled Jokic, who has been absolutely destroying this season. Early on in the first few minutes, Gasol needed to do a little more work early in the possession on Jokic on a play or two to keep him from getting low position. If Jokic can get close to the rim, he’s squirrelly and mobile enough that he can twist around guys for flip-ins at the rim. Once we kept him farther out, Jokic really struggled most of the night. Nothing came easy after the first couple of hoops. Gasol was able to get some good challenges in and contain him. He even attacked him and drew FTs on a foul. We ran Gasol long in that first quarter (nearly the whole quarter until Jokic sat). Gasol kept him in check. At the end of the night, Jokic had just 13 points on 6-16 shooting and 6 assists. Denver is not winning games with those numbers. He’s not going to get any press after this game, but watching this matchup go down the way we hoped is big. I think Denver will try to attack Gasol more with Murray on screens and get into the midrange or to the rim to try to take advantage more in the future, so keep an eye on that. Gasol worked it out when they tried that tonight. Some excellent help team D is important there. The three ball has been struggling to go down lately for Marc. It’s especially painful on the wide open looks. He’ll need to hit those. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 0-4 shooting (0-2 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block and 4 fouls in 20 minutes. He was a -2.

Harrell -- -- Like everyone, a tale of two halves tonight for Harrell. Just 2 points on 1-2 shooting in the first half. In the second half, he’d score 11 on 5-6 shooting. We sent some stunts and high side help on occasion but I think only really doubled Jokic twice tonight in the post. Once when Trezz defended and once when AD defended. Jokic turned that into 6 points, hitting two three shooters. Last year in the playoffs, the Clippers were destroyed sending their doubles. Tonight, when we left Harrell on an island, he was taking care of business when he and Jokic matched up. He got a few stops. He once switched off on a guard and got the stop there. And sometimes the best defense is a good offense as he picked up Jokic’s fourth foul at the end of the third quarter in transition. That put Jokic on the bench and Trezz didn’t have to match up. For this game at least, there were zero issues in this matchup. Offensively, a couple nice moments with THT again. Talen hit him on a drive and dish for a dunk for his first score and then hit him with a long bomb on the leakout for a layup for Trezz’s last score. I’m looking forward to seeing this matchup with the Nuggets in the future as it really cemented this notion of Trezz being an awful defender in some people’s minds. No issues tonight. By the way, 13 points for Jokic, 13 for Harrell. And 21 points for Schröder, 20 points for Murray. Our two new guys matched the output of the Nuggets stars. The Stats: He scored 13 points on 6-8 shooting (1-3 from the line) to go with 4 boards, 1 assist, 1 turnover and 4 fouls in 24 minutes. He was a +12.

Kuzma -- -- Absolutely loved this game from Kuz. “Kuz now playing winning basketball,” Draymond Green tweeted tonight. Game recognizes game and Draymond is all about those little things. I don’t care if he would have gone scoreless, Kuz was balling tonight. This was probably his best defensive game of the season. He had some strong moments on D in the first half when we didn’t have everyone bringing the right energy. He broke up a couple passes with great reads, including a lob. He also rejected a man on help D. No defensive boards, but he had an And-1 on the offensive glass. He missed a couple of freethrows, including airballing the second one. That seemed about par for the Lakers in the first half, offensively. In the second half he had a great change of ends after attacking in transition and missing. He hustled back and blocked Porter Jr. (8 points on 3-10 shooting) from behind on the jumpshot. He also had a great rotation to take a charge on help D in the second half. So many winning plays like that tonight. Throw in sinking a couple of threes, moving the ball well and it was some of his stronger two-way ball of the season from him. This Kuz is a little bit of a revelation this season. I’m not sure what clicked with him as far as blocking shots and crashing glass, but it adds so much to his overall game. The Stats: He scored 11 points on 4-9 shooting (2-5 from three, 1-3 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover and no fouls in 25 minutes. He was a +12.

Caruso -- -- A rare -2 from the league leader in that. He kind of missed out on most of that Laker run as we changed up from the AC/THT backcourt in the third. AC missed all three of his threes, which will also hurt that stat for him. Nice to see the Lakers putting him in the middle of the zone to make decisions. He hit LeBron on a high-low for a score. He also had a nice touch kickout to Kuz for a three. A little bit of a new wrinkle there. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-3 shooting to go with 2 boards, 3 assists, 3 turnovers and 1 foul in 17 minutes. He was a -2.

Horton-Tucker -- -- “Last year, Alex was my secret weapon. This year, Talen’s my secret weapon,” Vogel said prior to that Chicago game where he changed rotations. Two-way ball from THT. That’s saying something considering his age. You just don’t get disruptive D with consistency like that from someone his age. Imagine three or four years from now. He had a stretch during our run in his stint between the third and fourth quarters where he was balling. He had a block and steal on Murray in that stretch, then was scoring at will in the paint on the other end. That massive wingspan really came to play on all of that. The block was recovering on a jumper, which is not easy. The steal was a reach from behind. The scores at the rim, he just extends out that reach for flip ins and finishes. The big hands and the handle, allow him to change directions sharply. We’ve got to keep getting him these minutes so he can work out the mistakes, grow the trust and give us more of this game changing spark off the bench. One more Draymond tweet: “Talen so nice!” The Stats: He scored 17 points on 8-12 shooting (1-2 from three) to go with 3 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 22 minutes. He was a +17.

Cook -- -- Great pocket pass to Trezz for a dunk in garbage time. Trezz loved it. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-1 shooting to go with 1 assist in 3 minutes. He was a +2.

McKinnie -- -- He was about to dunk after scooping up a loose ball and got stripped at the last second. No score for you. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-1 shooting to go with 2 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal and no fouls in 3 minutes. He was a +2.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Props to Vogel for getting the team to bring it after a sluggish first half. “He got after us,” AD said. At half Vogel brought up the energy and pace being an issue. The energy they came out the second half with was key. The stretch where they went 15-0 to close the third was the ball game. They turned excellent defense into run outs and scores. The team D was flying in that second half. They’re getting better.

Key Substitution: No question, THT. He was playing stellar D, but we also put the ball in his hands to get into the paint and score. Vogel doubled down and made sure THT got the minutes tonight (22 minutes and a +17). This was after a -6, I think, in the first half. THT was causing all kinds of problems on both ends. I love that we allowed him to drive the ball. I don’t know if we unleashed him purposely or if it just worked out that way.

Key Stats: We held the Nuggets to 35 points in the second half. The Lakers had 10 steals and 7 blocks. The Lakers are No. 3 in the league in blocks this season, only 0.3 blocks per game behind last year’s team and No. 3 in block %. (Last year’s team would actually be No. 2 this year.) We’re No. 1 in a variety of defensive stats (fewest FTAs, fewest 3PTs, fewest offensive boards allowed, lowest opponent points per possession) and No. 1 in defensive rating.


Last edited by DancingBarry on Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:50 pm; edited 3 times in total
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KoPauChicken
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:27 pm    Post subject:

first?
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This is why I'm not even worried about this loss. Their talent is so overwhelming now that a street bum can coach this team to a title.


doc rivers?
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:11 am    Post subject:

"Can you imagine that kind of play and hustle in front of a full Staples crowd in the playoffs?"

Yes, DB, I can. I also believe that the lack of a Staples crowd is the primary reason we come out flat at home. The challenge to win on the road is always stimulating because of the different energy in the opposition's arena, but that's missing at home w/o the crowd.

I believe I read that after Feb. 14th we'll probably be hearing news on the Schroder contract situation. His speed, defense, and hustle will only make us better as the season goes on.

Schroder, THT, AC and Trez's energy was exactly what we needed going into this short season.

Props to Gasol. It's for these very matchups we got him. On a few possessions it looked liked we expected him to cover Jokic one on one. Then we adjusted a bit and got the results we were hoping for. Nice

THT is a future star. Period.

Thanks DB!
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:25 am    Post subject: Re: NUGGETS -at- LAKERS - 2/4 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

Thanks, DB!

DancingBarry wrote:
Key Stats: We held the Nuggets to 35 points in the second half. The Lakers had 10 steals and 7 blocks. The Lakers are No. 3 in the league in blocks this season, only 0.3 blocks per game behind last year’s team and No. 3 in block %. (Last year’s team would actually be No. 2 this year.) We’re No. 1 in a variety of defensive stats (fewest FTAs, fewest 3PTs, fewest offensive boards allowed, lowest opponent points per possession) and No. 1 in defensive rating.


A lot of LG posters need to STFU.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:37 am    Post subject:

DB,

Great write up as always!

I turned to the game in the 2nd quarter and the Lakers were not playing like they were engaged. I came back later only to find out that they found their game (playing D) and went on to smack the Nuggets down.

Good win for them! I just they would bring energy more often.

I think they are so far just coasting but I hope this doesn't bite them come playoff time.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:27 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

Like you, was not happy with the first half play - had that continued, it would have been the Lakers possibly staring at a 20 point loss.

Boy did that halftime chat get them in a frenzy. They were active, all over the place, swarming, tipping passes, chasing down shooters. It was like the Nuggets were lulled to sleep with a 12 point lead and the Lakers seemingly disinterested...then POW. They went into a gear the Nugs simply could not keep up with.

I expected a more competitive game, but was very pleased with the effort. I really enjoy it when they play high-level defense, and that was on display tonight.

Next up, Pistons. Hopefully the Lakers can get some momentum over the next couple weeks with the Nets coming up then.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 4:29 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB!
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:16 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!!!
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:21 am    Post subject:

That second half was a thing of beauty. When this team is on, there is no stopping them. When they're disinterested? Oh, boy, trouble galore.

Thanks, DB, and GO LAKERS!
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:54 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DG. What a great write-up, this game really shows what the acquisition of Trez and Schroder brought the Lakers. As you point out, those two played the Nuggets' two best players to a standstill—AND we still have LeBron and AD on our side,

Small correction: Kuz was 4 of 9 (not 4 of 19) from the field.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:33 am    Post subject:

If we go back to a few weeks into the season, I can not recall which game it was, but in one of the T&R threads I mentioned about THT being a secret weapon that Frank exploits this year similar to Caruso last year.

Fitting that Vogel now says the exact same thing. I am ecstatic about this, because around max players like AD, Bron, and highly paid guys like Dennis and even KCP-Trez, you need your cheap contract guys to play way above their payment value. We got that last year from Dwight, Caruso, Rondo and Kieff even. This year we are getting that from THT, Caruso and even Kuz (Kuz is still a rookie contract player this year). If THT, Caruso and Kuz keep this up, we are in a really good spot.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:36 am    Post subject:

Quote:
Boy did that halftime chat get them in a frenzy. They were active, all over the place, swarming, tipping passes, chasing down shooters. It was like the Nuggets were lulled to sleep with a 12 point lead and the Lakers seemingly disinterested...then POW. They went into a gear the Nugs simply could not keep up with.

It just shows the levels and gears this team has. They have a coast level, which is what they play a good portion of the time, especially at home. Then they have another gear. They usually bring that on the road. What we saw in that 3rd Q is what they have when they go all out. That is the team that went to the playoffs in 2020. If we get that effort in 2021 playoffs, our floor balance is so good this year, going to be pretty tough to play us.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 6:58 am    Post subject:

Nice write-up, DB. I wasn't aware of those tweet nuggets from Draymond about our players (pun intended).

Looking at Kuz's shooting and FT%, someone might gripe about Kuz's game last night. I remember telling the wifey while we watched that I thought it was Kuz's best game of the year. That was an amazing effort from him, especially defensively, and it was the one area I'd always wanted him to improve. Great job, Kyle.
Dennis and his effort gets a ton of props as well. Along with THT too. And Montrez. I love this team.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 8:06 am    Post subject:

1. Gasol and KCP didn't score a lot but enough to keep the defense honest and not double off of them on to LBJ or AD.

2. Shout out to the TNT crew on stats last night. When the Lakers make 11 or more 3 pointers, they are 10-1. When the Lakers make 10 or less 3 pointers, the Lakers are 7-5.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 8:20 am    Post subject:

Nugs really miss Jerami Grant. Still surprised they let him go.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 8:58 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 11:37 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 11:51 am    Post subject:

I am still buzzing about holding the Nuggets to 93 points. Even more amazing is they had 58 at the half. That’s a top tier offensive team.

Really good sign for playoff basketball.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:00 pm    Post subject:

great win...
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:52 pm    Post subject:

joeblow wrote:


Looking at Kuz's shooting and FT%, someone might gripe about Kuz's game last night. I remember telling the wifey while we watched that I thought it was Kuz's best game of the year. That was an amazing effort from him, especially defensively, and it was the one area I'd always wanted him to improve. Great job, Kyle.


Sorry, as pointed out above I had a typo in their for some reason that made his shooting look bad, lol. It was not.

Yes, one of his best of the season overall games.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:53 pm    Post subject:

Excellent analysis, DB! Thanks! Bad start, but great finish!
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 12:56 pm    Post subject:

Laker7 wrote:

2. Shout out to the TNT crew on stats last night. When the Lakers make 11 or more 3 pointers, they are 10-1. When the Lakers make 10 or less 3 pointers, the Lakers are 7-5.


LeBron has been doing some in-game load management. AD, too. I think that results in us attacking the rim quite a bit less. So I think that 7-5 rate may end up being a little deceptive at some point when we flip the switch (kind of like we did last night in the second half). We'll see.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:31 pm    Post subject:

We have some badass players on this team to play with AD once LeBron hangs it up... DS/THT/Harrell/Kuzma
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:24 pm    Post subject:

Good finish !!


Thanks DB !!
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