GRIZZLIES -at- LAKERS - 1-9-22 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

 
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2022 10:37 pm    Post subject: GRIZZLIES -at- LAKERS - 1-9-22 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

Outgunned... The final score of this game won’t reflect how badly the Lakers were losing. Credit a 21-0 run by the Lakers bench in garbage time that forced the Grizzlies to put their starters in for the final minutes of the Lakers 127-119 loss.

After the game, coach Vogel mentioned that the team’s offensive struggles led to a lack of effort on the defensive end.

LeBron shot 9-13 in the first half, while the rest of the Lakers starters went 5-26 -- just not enough help offensively. With the defense getting exposed inside and out, they couldn’t keep pace with the Grizzlies scoring. After the break, the Grizzlies ran the Lakers out of the building by the third quarter.

By the end of the third, the Lakers had given up 107 points. The Lakers starters outside of LeBron went 8-39 for the game.

“A lot of guys having a tough night all at once,” Vogel said.

Credit the Grizzlies. They’re a tough team, and the Lakers weren’t up to the task. They’ll need better efforts in the days to come as the schedule is tough and the team continues to try to survive without AD in the middle.


LeBron -- -- He passed Oscar Robinson in assists tonight. While he continues to pass big names like that, he’s dropping 35, 9 and 7. Pretty amazing. He led both teams with 23 points on 9-13 shooting in the first half. The small lineups help him to have space to get to the rim again as we go five-out. The lanes weren’t there when we had a traditional C on the floor…in addition to Russ…in addition to AD, who is not spacing the floor. He also still scored that with starters around him shooting as badly as they did. To make that work, you have to play good defense. That includes him, as well, as he was missing box out and rotations at times. The team has to scramble and take pride in that end of the court, all five. We didn’t and being a step late or slow, led to easy scores all night. But I think what we are seeing from LeBron should really make the Lakers think about prioritizing a bigman that can space the floor in LeBron’s final years. Maybe AD can get back to that. We saw LeBron Jawing a bit with Bane and that got under LeBron’s skin. He got in the post some and bullied guys. He also had a throwdown. Again, the three shooting has been more selective. Note: with that space on the floor from small ball, he’s a little more likely to attack then settle for those step-back threes against mismatches. The Stats: He scored 35 points on 14-19 shooting (3-4 from three, 4-4 from the line) to go with 9 boards (6 offensive), 7 assists, 3 turnovers and 4 fouls in 33 minutes. He was a -30.

Westbrook -- -- So many missed drives tonight. “He had a tough night finishing at the basket for whatever reason,” Vogel said, mentioning that kind of thing impacted the defensive focus of the group. Just an awful night. No turnovers again for Russ, which is great, but there were some early offense bricks on pull-ups that kind of become turnovers. Still, at least he cleaned up the turnovers again. And at least we had a few guys following Russ’s misses and cleaning up after him. I’d be embarrassed by my performance if I’ve got LeBron carrying us for 35 and I bring 6 to the table while making that max money. The Laker starting guards were just not up for this fight. Got to have better from Russ. Lebron is giving everything and the schedule is getting harder. The Stats: He scored 6 points on 2-12 shooting (0-1 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 7 boards, 6 assists, 1 block and 2 foul sin 26 minutes. He was a -22.

Monk -- -- The Lakers need firepower when AD is gone and Monk has been giving them that extra scorer. The consistency has been key to the Lakers winning of late. Well, that disappeared in this one and the Lakers struggled to have enough firepower to keep pace. Missing easy ones, too. He had a layup in the fourth that was about a foot short. Some games are just like that, I guess. I didn’t like the way we started the game with him. There was some possessions where we had no purpose and he was kind of iso’ing. I went to see some easy ones to start where others are setting him up. Defensively, 3 blocks by Monk tonight, including a nice one on a help rotation. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 3-13 shooting (1-3 from three) to go with 5 boards, 3 assists, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers and 29 minutes. He was a -15.

Bradley -- -- Our starting trio of guards combined for 7 of 35 shooting. Throw in Johnson, and the starters around LeBron went 8-39. Amazing LeBron had as good a game as he had with that little support. Bradley was missing some wide open ones. We did a reasonable job on Ja early on with Bradley getting help. Ja had 4 points and 3 assists in the first half. Still, Bradley ended up on the poster block from Ja as he skied to snatch a layup before hit the glass, grabbing it with both hands at the top of the square. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 2-10 shooting (1-5 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 1 board, 1 assist, 2 steal, 2 turnover and 2 fouls in 23 minutes. He was a -20.

Johnson -- -- We saw AD taking some jumpers prior to the game. I suspect we’re still two to three weeks away from his return. When he does, Stanley slides back to the bench even though he’s part of our second-most used lineup this season. I’m curious what that rotation will be and if we use this lineup or if Stanley disappears from the rotation. Only one bucket from Stanley tonight, hitting a floater on the first play as he flashed to the middle of the lane. His steal was on a play hustling back in transition. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-4 shooting (0-1 from three) to go with 3 boards, 1 steal and 3 fouls in 13 minutes. He was a -11.

Anthony -- -- Melo couldn’t knock down a three tonight, even missing a wide open one he’s usually pretty automatic on. Not a lot of great plays out there. He worked the midrange in iso for a jumper. His other score was a layup on a rim run. We missed the firepower from the usual suspects. I do want to give him some credit for passing instead of taking a midrange jumper on one play. We rarely see that. He hit LeBron, who then swung it to a corner shooter for a three. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 2-8 shooting (0-4 from three, 3-4 from the line) to go with 1 board, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 23 minutes. He was a -11.

Howard -- -- There was a point where the runway was basically open in the paint. We weren’t doing the work early like we had been in previous games. The Lakers were down big by the time he got in the game and getting beat pretty badly on the interior. He instantly gave them some presence on the glass. We miss AD against the better teams. If Adams was playing maybe Dwight starts. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 3-4 shooting (1-2 from the line) to go with 4 boards (2 offensive) and 2 fouls in 9 minutes. He was a -4.

Horton-Tucker -- -- He had 8 points in the first half, hitting a couple of threes. But foul trouble had him sitting with more than 8 minutes left in the half. He’d knock down another three in the second half. So good to see the shooting from three continue. Offensively, too turnover prone. Credit the Grizzlies for sure, but the offense also wasn’t running very smoothly tonight, and THT had a third of the team’s turnovers. Some probes that turned into bad passes. The Stats: He scored 13 points on 5-10 shooting (3-6 from three, 0-1 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 1 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers and 3 fouls in 19 minutes. He was a -11.

Reaves -- -- I mentioned a couple games ago want to see Reaves more aggressive offensively. With all the firepower around him in the offense, he takes a backseat maybe to a fault sometimes. The Lakers ran off a 21-0 run in the fourth with their bench guys, and Reaves was all over. It started with an iso drive for FTs. He then pushed and used his body to shield a defender and score a layup. He scooped in a lefty layup on an attack from the wing, never touching it with his right hand, catching the D a little off guard. He then scored an And-1 reverse, filling the lane on the break and spinning in a tough one as he went down. On the other end, Baze poked a ball loose and Reaves took it the distance for an And-1 dunk to cap off that 21-0 run. Props to him and Ellington for forcing the Grizzlies to bring back in their starters for the final couple minutes. The Stats: He scored 16 points on 6-8 shooting (1-2 from three, 3-4 from the line) to go with 1 block and 3 fouls in 23 minutes. He was a +7.

Ellington -- -- With the guards shooting poorly, we dusted off Ellington a minute into the fourth. Monk opened the door and Ellington maybe pushed his way in a little with a great stint. That’s what you’ve got to do. Get your coach thinking about you again. Professional shooter doing what he does. Wayne had 16 points in 11 minutes, hitting 4-5 from three. Maybe next time, Vogel pulls him in a little earlier in the game as a result of this one. The Stats: He scored 16 points on 6-7 shooting (4-5 from three) to go with 1 board and 1 foul in 11 minutes. He was a +19.

Jordan -- -- Not much highlight wise, but he grabbed some boards and blocked a baseline drive. Garbage time work, but we went on a run at least with him on the floor. The Stats: He didn’t score or shoot, had 2 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and 1 foul in 8 minutes. He was a +19.

Bazemore -- -- When our D is getting trounced, I’d like to see us go to a little more Reaves and Baze just to see if they can mix things up. Get a little longer in the guard spots and guys who the defensive stats back up being on the floor. “We let a lot of misses at the basket affect our defensive focus,” Vogel said. Sometimes you need guys to jumpstart your effort on that end. Big steal late for that Reaves And-1 dunk. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-1 shooting from three to go with 1 board, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 foul in 7 minutes. He was a +21.

Ariza -- -- He buried a wing three in transition. He’s looked automatic in those situations. He also attacked off the three line and found Bradley for his only three of the game. The Stats: He scored 3 points on 1-1 shooting from three to go with 5 boards, 2 assists and no fouls in 15 minutes. He was a +18.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Maybe not one key moment in this one. The Lakers gave up 70 points between the second and third quarter. They got thumped badly during that stretch. Credit the bench for the 21-0 run in the fourth.

Key Substitution: Uggh. Maybe you make an argument for going bigger earlier in the game. Good work by Ellington in the fourth to drop 16 points in his shift.

Key Stats: The Lakers lost the break 13-0 in the first half. At one point that was around 20-0. Another key stat, the 8-39 shooting from the starters.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2022 10:41 pm    Post subject:

Sigh. I’m getting sick of the Westbrook experience. I’m embarrassed I ever thought he would be fun to watch, at the very least.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2022 10:46 pm    Post subject:

I would not be surprised if ad is out till the all Star game
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2022 10:56 pm    Post subject:

Watching Westbrook’s post game presser was tough. Difficuly to know for certain where his head is at, but it looks like he’s feeling the weight of his poor performance big time. Seems like the media is playing with kid gloves in their questions.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2022 11:12 pm    Post subject:

Yeah, this one sticks out for Russ. LeBron battling by himself and you probably think how much you let him and the team down. I suspect we see some focus again on getting him downhill and scoring…after Vogel harps at them about the D.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:09 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

This one felt to me like the team and coaching staff got way too caught up in the small ball stuff. Yea, they scored a bunch vs struggling teams. But why go away from what actually worked vs the Grizz 5 games ago? Starting Dwight. Granted, the stat by itself is not entirely telling but Dwight was a +17 in that game in 16 minutes. Team just blew the lead in the 4th.

This game sorta felt like it could get away with the small lineup. We went with 3 guards, started a small back court, and had zero size on the floor. Grizz tossed out alot of size, length, and athleticism. I was honestly scratching my head at what the coaching staff decided to do. They can give this "shots not falling so no defense" excuse, but they werent stopping the Grizz tonight with those lineup choices. We honestly looked like a bunch of midgets at times playing against quick, athletic, tall guys.

EDIT: Grizz had 3 guys on the floor 6'9 or taller. Many times in the paint it looked like they could make shots vs a team with 3 guys 6'4 or shorter with their eyes closed.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:16 am    Post subject:

DrDent wrote:
Thanks DB.

This one felt to me like the team and coaching staff got way too caught up in the small ball stuff. Yea, they scored a bunch vs struggling teams. But why go away from what actually worked vs the Grizz 5 games ago? Starting Dwight. Granted, the stat by itself is not entirely telling but Dwight was a +17 in that game in 16 minutes. Team just blew the lead in the 4th.

This game sorta felt like it could get away with the small lineup. We went with 3 guards, started a small back court, and had zero size on the floor. Grizz tossed out alot of size, length, and athleticism. I was honestly scratching my head at what the coaching staff decided to do. They can give this "shots not falling so no defense" excuse, but they werent stopping the Grizz tonight with those lineup choices. We honestly looked like a bunch of midgets at times playing against quick, athletic, tall guys.

You summed it up really well.

We need to trade for a two-way frontcourt player at either the 4 or the 5. Stanley Johnson is working out well, but I think he's maybe better off playing the 3.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 1:29 am    Post subject:

DancingBarry wrote:
Yeah, this one sticks out for Russ. LeBron battling by himself and you probably think how much you let him and the team down. I suspect we see some focus again on getting him downhill and scoring…after Vogel harps at them about the D.
A great(or highly-paid/MAX player should never have two bad games in a row

What will Russ do at the Kings game
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 5:31 am    Post subject:

It sucks when practically the whole team has an off night in the same game. I really wanted this one but whatever. Memphis made us their (bleep) and they’re likely our 1st round matchup.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 6:10 am    Post subject:

Bad shooting game all around. But this is why the team needs more size and defensive ability. Too many guys dropped their effort and head when the offense was not going. We need to sustain defensive effort regardless. Offense comes and goes. Defense should remain consistent.

WB .500 ball era continues.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 6:33 am    Post subject:

It's a damn shame we couldn't get CP3.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 7:33 am    Post subject:

If they played Kent Bazemore, Ja Morant would have had 40.

This Lebron and center gimmick needs to end. Jaren Jackson Jr got whatever he wanted. 30 points from Lebron is nice, but he also gave up 20-10 to his man, the 20 coming in the paint. Everyone claims that Lebron at center is a move for Russell, I don't buy it. 0 fast break points at halftime? That's Russell's bread and butter, so if they aren't getting transition opportunities, then they aren't playing to his strengths. It looked to me about getting Lebron easier shots, closer to the basket, just look at his shot chart, almost every shot is like 5 feet from the basket, except the four from 3. That opens up the floor for teammates (sigh of sarcasm).
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 7:46 am    Post subject:

DrDent wrote:
Thanks DB.

This one felt to me like the team and coaching staff got way too caught up in the small ball stuff. Yea, they scored a bunch vs struggling teams. But why go away from what actually worked vs the Grizz 5 games ago? Starting Dwight. Granted, the stat by itself is not entirely telling but Dwight was a +17 in that game in 16 minutes. Team just blew the lead in the 4th.

This game sorta felt like it could get away with the small lineup. We went with 3 guards, started a small back court, and had zero size on the floor. Grizz tossed out alot of size, length, and athleticism. I was honestly scratching my head at what the coaching staff decided to do. They can give this "shots not falling so no defense" excuse, but they werent stopping the Grizz tonight with those lineup choices. We honestly looked like a bunch of midgets at times playing against quick, athletic, tall guys.

EDIT: Grizz had 3 guys on the floor 6'9 or taller. Many times in the paint it looked like they could make shots vs a team with 3 guys 6'4 or shorter with their eyes closed.


This summarizes my main controllable concern since pre-season (uncontrollable injuries being #1).

We won the championship two seasons ago playing bigger than everyone else. Last season we had the best defense in the league playing with size (except with little Harrell as our center), and lost to the Western Conference champion due to injury (we were up 2-1 when AD went down).

It's astonishing how often this season we trot out three sometimes four guard line ups and expect to win by outgunning the opponents that way. I'll say it until I lose my voice...

WE NEED MORE DEFENSIVE SIZE!

I'm tired of wasting this season due to experimenting with Hobbit line ups. All these extra guards on the roster and the extreme lack of forwards is insane, even if we were 100% healthy.

No opponent is scared to go into the paint against our tiny front court lineups. Our shorties can't dissuade 3PT shooters to miss. The amount of points we give up game after game is heartbreaking (even when we win), and how many times have we been out rebounded?

A lot of these issues could be addressed if Rob and the other big brains making front office decisions (Rambis' wife?) and trade some of our quality guards and enticements to get a legit 6'9" gorilla that can defend with athleticism.

Good health is #1 towards competing for a ring, but this concern is #2 and has to be resolved. Only then can we comfortably focus our rage on lesser problems, like AD's motivation issues and Westbrook's issues in general.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 10:20 am    Post subject:

joeblow wrote:

We won the championship two seasons ago playing bigger than everyone else. Last season we had the best defense in the league playing with size (except with little Harrell as our center), and lost to the Western Conference champion due to injury (we were up 2-1 when AD went down).


We won the championship playing both big and small - the playoffs had Howard/McGee roughly 20-25 minutes and AD/Kieff the rest. So I don't quite agree with the contention that the reason we won was because we played "bigger" than them. It seems to me that the magic ingredients were:
- elite defense : we played elite defense regardless of whether we went big or small - that was a constant for that team.
- versatility : the ability to play either big or small without impacting the defense. Since defense was assured, the coaching staff had the freedom to tailor the offense effectively against a variety of teams. We could play and beat Houston, the Suns, Miami, and if we had faced them, even the Clippers and Milwaukee. Each played differing styles and had differing vulnerabilities, and we were able to exploit any/all.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 12:53 pm    Post subject:

ThePageDude wrote:
joeblow wrote:

We won the championship two seasons ago playing bigger than everyone else. Last season we had the best defense in the league playing with size (except with little Harrell as our center), and lost to the Western Conference champion due to injury (we were up 2-1 when AD went down).


We won the championship playing both big and small - the playoffs had Howard/McGee roughly 20-25 minutes and AD/Kieff the rest. So I don't quite agree with the contention that the reason we won was because we played "bigger" than them. It seems to me that the magic ingredients were:
- elite defense : we played elite defense regardless of whether we went big or small - that was a constant for that team.
- versatility : the ability to play either big or small without impacting the defense. Since defense was assured, the coaching staff had the freedom to tailor the offense effectively against a variety of teams. We could play and beat Houston, the Suns, Miami, and if we had faced them, even the Clippers and Milwaukee. Each played differing styles and had differing vulnerabilities, and we were able to exploit any/all.

it's not small when you have AD at the 5 and Lebron at the 4, the Kiff at the 5 lineups struggled too. remember the famous second quarter meltdown in the playoff run that year? although not as bad as current days because we still had good defenders back then.
good thing is that we still have AD, and but Vogel needs to make sure when AD is not on the court, put stanley at 4/5 next to lebron and limit Melo at 4/5, we gave up too much size and rebounding with melo. yes, i know he has been backup 4 for the past 2 years, but Portland had a true center next to him
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 1:23 pm    Post subject:

ThePageDude wrote:
joeblow wrote:

We won the championship two seasons ago playing bigger than everyone else. Last season we had the best defense in the league playing with size (except with little Harrell as our center), and lost to the Western Conference champion due to injury (we were up 2-1 when AD went down).


We won the championship playing both big and small - the playoffs had Howard/McGee roughly 20-25 minutes and AD/Kieff the rest. So I don't quite agree with the contention that the reason we won was because we played "bigger" than them. It seems to me that the magic ingredients were:
- elite defense : we played elite defense regardless of whether we went big or small - that was a constant for that team.
- versatility : the ability to play either big or small without impacting the defense. Since defense was assured, the coaching staff had the freedom to tailor the offense effectively against a variety of teams. We could play and beat Houston, the Suns, Miami, and if we had faced them, even the Clippers and Milwaukee. Each played differing styles and had differing vulnerabilities, and we were able to exploit any/all.


I didn't say we blindly played big. We played bigger than each team we faced. That was the key. In 2020 vs. Denver, yes we played D12 more to go up against Jokic, and that was in great part so we can maintain a size advantage overall vs. that particular team. Against the Heat, there was no need since Adebayo is only 6'9". We had the personnel to impose our will on opponents in any contest we matched up in, and that strength has been thrown away this season.

It's not simply being bigger than opponents, either. As I mentioned above, it is PLAYING big that mattered, which meant we were dominate in the paint when we bullied our way down low. I mean, we won the title despite being the second worst 3P% team in the 2020 playoffs! How? Playing big. We also did well on the boards, and were the best defensive team in the league.

All of that is history, and we are suffering for it. Notice that when I say we are too small this season, I am not really talking about the center position. Ever since the summer ended I've been whining about the over abundance of guards and the underabundance of back up forwards. That's where the gaping hole exists the most defensively.

I mean, for all the talk for and against Kuz as a Wizard, for us he was a 6'7" defensive minded forward (with 20 rebounds in his last game in Washington BTW) that helped us maintain the #1 defense in the league even when Lebron and AD were riddled with injuries last year.

We lost Markieff Morris' 6'9" defensive skill set that helped us tremendously in guarding opponents and getting rebounds for two years, and haven't lifted a finger to replace him with someone of his impact.

Danny Green, Caruso, even KCP were as big or bigger than their matchups when we were rolling in getting rebounds and stopping opponents from efficiently scoring.

That's the source of my frustration. That's why I don't get too excited beating weak teams this season when even they still put up a ton of points when they lose. We need better defense, and for that we need help defensively with the supporting cast. The ones we have are too small as I described in my last post.

We have a month to get this addressed somehow by acquiring at least one significant bulldog of size. I hope something happens.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 2:15 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB !!! Another bad loss, we simply can't beat the better teams. IF we make to the finals, any of the top 3-4 teams in the west would kick our butts
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 2:16 pm    Post subject:

joeblow wrote:
ThePageDude wrote:
joeblow wrote:

We won the championship two seasons ago playing bigger than everyone else. Last season we had the best defense in the league playing with size (except with little Harrell as our center), and lost to the Western Conference champion due to injury (we were up 2-1 when AD went down).


We won the championship playing both big and small - the playoffs had Howard/McGee roughly 20-25 minutes and AD/Kieff the rest. So I don't quite agree with the contention that the reason we won was because we played "bigger" than them. It seems to me that the magic ingredients were:
- elite defense : we played elite defense regardless of whether we went big or small - that was a constant for that team.
- versatility : the ability to play either big or small without impacting the defense. Since defense was assured, the coaching staff had the freedom to tailor the offense effectively against a variety of teams. We could play and beat Houston, the Suns, Miami, and if we had faced them, even the Clippers and Milwaukee. Each played differing styles and had differing vulnerabilities, and we were able to exploit any/all.


I didn't say we blindly played big. We played bigger than each team we faced. That was the key. In 2020 vs. Denver, yes we played D12 more to go up against Jokic, and that was in great part so we can maintain a size advantage overall vs. that particular team. Against the Heat, there was no need since Adebayo is only 6'9". We had the personnel to impose our will on opponents in any contest we matched up in, and that strength has been thrown away this season.

It's not simply being bigger than opponents, either. As I mentioned above, it is PLAYING big that mattered, which meant we were dominate in the paint when we bullied our way down low. I mean, we won the title despite being the second worst 3P% team in the 2020 playoffs! How? Playing big. We also did well on the boards, and were the best defensive team in the league.

All of that is history, and we are suffering for it. Notice that when I say we are too small this season, I am not really talking about the center position. Ever since the summer ended I've been whining about the over abundance of guards and the underabundance of back up forwards. That's where the gaping hole exists the most defensively.

I mean, for all the talk for and against Kuz as a Wizard, for us he was a 6'7" defensive minded forward (with 20 rebounds in his last game in Washington BTW) that helped us maintain the #1 defense in the league even when Lebron and AD were riddled with injuries last year.

We lost Markieff Morris' 6'9" defensive skill set that helped us tremendously in guarding opponents and getting rebounds for two years, and haven't lifted a finger to replace him with someone of his impact.

Danny Green, Caruso, even KCP were as big or bigger than their matchups when we were rolling in getting rebounds and stopping opponents from efficiently scoring.

That's the source of my frustration. That's why I don't get too excited beating weak teams this season when even they still put up a ton of points when they lose. We need better defense, and for that we need help defensively with the supporting cast. The ones we have are too small as I described in my last post.

We have a month to get this addressed somehow by acquiring at least one significant bulldog of size. I hope something happens.


I share your frustration here - I agree with most of this. The lack of size at the perimeter (and the decisions that led up to it) is(are) mind-boggling to me. I'm totally with you that if we had length and the wing/perimeter, then this current season's "small ball" would be much more palatable, even effective, since Vogel would still be able to deploy a stellar defense. One just has to look at the difference Stanley Johnson made to appreciate what an unbalanced roster this was.
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TDRock
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 3:45 pm    Post subject:

That game was very wack.

Thanks for the write up DB
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A Mad Chinaman
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 4:53 pm    Post subject:

ThePageDude wrote:
joeblow wrote:
ThePageDude wrote:
joeblow wrote:
We won the championship two seasons ago playing bigger than everyone else. Last season we had the best defense in the league playing with size (except with little Harrell as our center), and lost to the Western Conference champion due to injury (we were up 2-1 when AD went down).
We won the championship playing both big and small - the playoffs had Howard/McGee roughly 20-25 minutes and AD/Kieff the rest. So I don't quite agree with the contention that the reason we won was because we played "bigger" than them. It seems to me that the magic ingredients were:
- elite defense : we played elite defense regardless of whether we went big or small - that was a constant for that team.
- versatility : the ability to play either big or small without impacting the defense. Since defense was assured, the coaching staff had the freedom to tailor the offense effectively against a variety of teams. We could play and beat Houston, the Suns, Miami, and if we had faced them, even the Clippers and Milwaukee. Each played differing styles and had differing vulnerabilities, and we were able to exploit any/all.
I didn't say we blindly played big. We played bigger than each team we faced. That was the key. In 2020 vs. Denver, yes we played D12 more to go up against Jokic, and that was in great part so we can maintain a size advantage overall vs. that particular team. Against the Heat, there was no need since Adebayo is only 6'9". We had the personnel to impose our will on opponents in any contest we matched up in, and that strength has been thrown away this season.

It's not simply being bigger than opponents, either. As I mentioned above, it is PLAYING big that mattered, which meant we were dominate in the paint when we bullied our way down low. I mean, we won the title despite being the second worst 3P% team in the 2020 playoffs! How? Playing big. We also did well on the boards, and were the best defensive team in the league.

All of that is history, and we are suffering for it. Notice that when I say we are too small this season, I am not really talking about the center position. Ever since the summer ended I've been whining about the over abundance of guards and the underabundance of back up forwards. That's where the gaping hole exists the most defensively.

I mean, for all the talk for and against Kuz as a Wizard, for us he was a 6'7" defensive minded forward (with 20 rebounds in his last game in Washington BTW) that helped us maintain the #1 defense in the league even when Lebron and AD were riddled with injuries last year.

We lost Markieff Morris' 6'9" defensive skill set that helped us tremendously in guarding opponents and getting rebounds for two years, and haven't lifted a finger to replace him with someone of his impact.

Danny Green, Caruso, even KCP were as big or bigger than their matchups when we were rolling in getting rebounds and stopping opponents from efficiently scoring.

That's the source of my frustration. That's why I don't get too excited beating weak teams this season when even they still put up a ton of points when they lose. We need better defense, and for that we need help defensively with the supporting cast. The ones we have are too small as I described in my last post.

We have a month to get this addressed somehow by acquiring at least one significant bulldog of size. I hope something happens.
I share your frustration here - I agree with most of this. The lack of size at the perimeter (and the decisions that led up to it) is(are) mind-boggling to me. I'm totally with you that if we had length and the wing/perimeter, then this current season's "small ball" would be much more palatable, even effective, since Vogel would still be able to deploy a stellar defense. One just has to look at the difference Stanley Johnson made to appreciate what an unbalanced roster this was.
Agree with the basic assessments

Hopefully having Johnson, Reeves and Bradley (maybe KNunn and Ariza will be part of the defense factor) will continue making a positive impact. Their play will help AD when he comes back at full health since the expectations will be less.

Is expecting LBJ to be Draymond on defense plus the prominent offensive weapon too much to expect at a higher level (consistently) throughout the season?

Great that Kuz and KCP are doing great in a market with far less expectation/examination/scrutiny that players on this team get every day. Hence, they are able to play with much more freedom

Danny Green is doing well in Philly but the importance of his contributions is far down in the pecking order

Wes Matthews and Kiev would not be playing on this squad since the others provide more benefits in what they bring.

Hopefully Dwight (along with DJ) has seen what needs to be done hence doing what is needed to be successful on defense and offense. Since these two are dependent on the PG/Russ, to be successful - they are at his mercy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 1:51 pm    Post subject:

I don't want to treat this game as a referendum on the current state of the team, because it wasn't - it was a 4th-5th seed caliber team beating a play-in caliber team, and not much more than that.

But it's hard not to be kind of frustrated with where we are and how we've gotten here. And, especially, how predictable some of our issues are.

Right now, we just don't have the personnel to match up with any team with size on the wing or in their backcourt. We're using Avery Bradley (who is listed at 6'3") as our highest-leverage POA defender. We start three point guard sized players, and two of them are poor defenders. We don't have anyone on our team taller than 6'8" who can shoot at all. Our only true defensive wing is a 36 year old Trevor Ariza who's coming off both COVID and injury. We're playing micro-ball not because we're gaining a unique tactical advantage, but because we're severely undersized at every position if we want to run out NBA-caliber players from a talent perspective. These are not the hallmarks of a well-constructed team.

The FO's bet on Westbrook looked bad at the time, and it's aged about as well as you might expect. He can't shoot, he's a problematic defender, and I don't know how you build a team around a PG-sized player with those two attributes. The answer is probably that you don't, or shouldn't. His recent struggles to finish at the rim just compound these issues.

Even giving the FO the absolute maximum amount of credit and assuming that they had to trade for Westbrook, their subsequent moves were what you'd expect from someone whose player valuation skills were based on a mix of casual fandom from 2016 and name recognition, rather than any kind of coherent team-building strategy. They punted basically all our 3&D role players and bet that they could replace them cheaply on minimum deals (nope). They had six small guards on the roster. The only true big men outside of AD were an aging Dwight (still useful in certain matchups) and DAJ, who looked washed in Brooklyn and has continued to look washed whenever he's seen the floor. The fact that the FO actively acquired guys like Rondo and DAJ should concern us.

The recent IT signing was in some respects the biggest example with this. Facing a desperate situation on the wing and with plenty of shot creation already on the roster, the FO targeted a name-value, undersized, defensive liability, ball-dominant guard who forced us to run some wacky lineups (AB at the 4, anyone?). You couldn't have constructed a worse fit for our roster if you were actively trying.

And the cupboard is pretty bare on our ability to retool our team because of how poor the asset management has been. Trading Danny Green and a first round pick for Schroder, then letting Schroder walk for nothing? Desmond Bane (or Danny Green for that matter) would look awfully nice on this team. Letting Caruso leave for nothing? I guess we didn't need an elite perimeter defender. Even if you disliked those players, keeping them would've allowed us to match contracts and improve on other ways. Now we can't. Nobody wants Westbrook (unsurprisingly), and we've emptied the clip on 1st round picks. We might be able to cobble together THT and Nunn into a solid player, but the path is narrow.

I hope I'm wrong - I've been generally pro-Pelinka up until this year, and we still have enough talent to be an interesting team down the stretch if we're able to improve our frontcourt. By which I mean we still have LeBron. But it's been a very rough year for the FO, and I'd like to see some element of acknowledgment that a course correction is needed.
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