LAKERS -at- PISTONS - 2/6 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

 
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:13 am    Post subject: LAKERS -at- PISTONS - 2/6 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

Basketball Gods... The Lakers paid the price last time they played the Pistons. They sat AD, didn’t give the game the required effort and promptly lost.

Tonight with the Pistons sitting Griffin, Rose and Ellington, perhaps they thought they would show up and come away with a blowout win. The Basketball Gods, however, require sacrifices, sweat, effort and adherence to the fundamentals.

The Lakers coughed up 8 turnovers in the first quarter. They’d finish with 13 turnovers in the first half, but still lead 63-54 at the half as they shot 65% from the floor. The Basketball Gods said not so fast.

As the team pushed out to a 17-point lead in the third quarter, the Pistons were the ones making the sacrifices. They’d get to the 50-50 balls and were rewarded with second-chance points. The three balls began to fall, one after another. A few minutes into the fourth quarter they’d trim the lead to just 2. It was now anyone’s game.

The Lakers would go to their closers -- AD, LeBron, AC, KCP and Schröder in the final 4 minutes of regulation -- to try to restore order. LeBron would suck the air out of the ball. The offense stopped moving, the shotclock ticked away deep into every possession, long jumpers were missed and the Basketball Gods would have their fun.

The Lakers went scoreless in those final 4 minutes and the Pistons would tie it up with 3 seconds left to send it to overtime.

In overtime, the Lakers continued to go scoreless for the first two minutes. There is but one man whom the Basketball Gods always respect. Alex Caruso snapped the dry spell by scoring an And-1 on an inbounds play. (Thou shalt always protect the baseline under the hoop on an inbounds pass, Pistons.) A minute later, AC would score the Lakers second bucket, a big wing three after ball-faking to LeBron. (Thou shalt move the ball and make the extra pass, bonus points for a ball-fake to LeBron.) With 18 seconds left in OT, Schröder attacked from the wing and hit AD for a dunk. (Thou shalt not settle, but drive, draw and dish.) The Lakers got their final stop on the other end and we were off to double overtime.

The Basketball Gods forced LeBron to play 46 minutes tonight. No rest unless you earn it, they said.

He was gassed, but pushed through. He forced multiple mismatches to get Plumlee on him. (Thou shalt not switch with a Plumlee, ever. Have you not learned?) LeBron would attack past him for a layup and nail two big threes over him. The last three was the final dagger.

The sacrifices had been made, the gods were honored and the Lakers would take the hard-earned win that the gods demanded, 135-129.

LeBron was so done with this one after that second three.

“I was just ready to go,” he said. “I’m 36 years old. My heart is just not sustainable for two overtimes at this point in my career. I was just ready to go and get home. I had a bottle of wine that’s been ready to be opened and I delayed it for two more quarters, two more overtimes, and I wasn’t happy with myself in that regards.”

If you are going to play that many minutes and run your legs and lungs tired, you better win it. Thankfully, they did.


LeBron -- -- “Every game is going to have challenges and we accept all challenges,” LeBron said. He should lean a little more on Schröder late in games like this when he is sucking wind. He’d let Rondo run some possessions in the playoffs. Good things happened when Schröder took the baton a couple of times. Early on, it felt like he was having a bit of a slow first half (airballed a jumper and had 3 turnovers), but he was pushing tempo and getting out the break for layups and dunks a little, as well. As the game went along, he really pounded the dribble and sucked shotclock into some poor possessions. When he hunted those Plumlee matchups, it seemed like he could have blown by him at will (and he did when he went for it), but I’m not sure he wanted to expend the juice to do that regularly in this one. Glad he found his shot, though, for a couple of big bombs against him in that second OT. Defensively, was a little sluggish as he left his man open a couple times early on and left teammates confused on a switch or two they weren’t expecting. Still, he showed some good hustle getting back in transition off one of his turnovers to draw a charge and get a stop early. Late, he was able to get a key stop on Grant as he was trying to sink a game winner. That’s a tougher match up for LeBron on both ends. I think he really appreciated Grant’s game in the playoffs and could really use a guy like that on our team to take that match up for him defensively. It’s not easy being the key to our attack, when you also have to cover their best player. We need some load taken off from time to time and I’m not sure Kuz can always do that (I think we tried that briefly in the second overtime.) The Stats: He scored 33 points on 13-26 shooting (3-7 from three, 4-6 from the line) to go with 5 boards, 11 assists, 4 steals, 7 turnovers and 3 fouls in 46 minutes. He was a +8.

Davis -- -- Off to a quick start in this one dominating the interior. If they don’t send doubles, it’s pretty much over. He had 12 points on 6-6 shooting in the first 7 minutes. As the half went along, the Pistons started stunting more and sending doubles to him. That tightened things up as he struggles at times to find guys with the pass (he fired one into the backcourt tonight). We really need to do a better job dealing with our off-ball movement and game planning when he gets that extra help sent to him. AD’s been shooting really poorly lately from three. The one he did hit in the double OT was huge. We spaced the floor, Schröder attacked and kicked to him in the corner for a great look and he swished it. Defensively, there were times when he didn’t get good challenges in at all. But you could see his intensity pick up in overtime. Some excellent effort then. When you have AD, AC and Dennis flying around out there with speed, they cover a lot of ground. The D is going to be really good as the season goes along and that string gets tighter and tighter. But having the mindset to turn it up and play all 48 is not easy for our high usage guys. The Stats: He scored 30 points on 13-22 shooting (1-3 from three, 3-4 from the line) to go with 5 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers and 2 fouls in 45 minutes. He was a +9.

Schröder -- -- That change of gears caught the Pistons several times in the first half for easy layups. He had 14 points in the first half on 5-5 shooting. One of those was a midrange jumper, another was a one-handed bank after attacking a close out. Late in the game, good things generally happened when we involved him. He had that key drive and dish to AD for a dunk in OT. In the double, it was a drive and dish to AD for the open corner three. He’s been much more aggressive lately and he seems to be striking the right balance for the most part. I would have liked a couple more possessions for him in crunch time. “I got to play with more pace,” Schröder said as a key to him upping his game offensively. It’s getting there. Super efficient 22 on 7-9 tonight. He also knocked down some clutch ones late and has made his last 21 freethrows. Defensively, he had some excellent moments again. There was a nice sequence in the third where he shut his man, forced the kickout and noticed no one was covering that man, so he got out there quick to get a challenge in. Just good effort and he is always looking locked in and in a good defensive stance ready to do battle on that end of the court. The Stats: He scored 22 points on 7-9 shooting (8-8 from the line) to go with 4 boards, 8 assists, 3 turnovers and 4 fouls in 41 minutes. He was a +11.

Caldwell-Pope -- -- Pretty quiet night for KCP. We need to get him dialed back in and knocking down multiple threes. There was a good stretch of games early on this season where he was the third best player, but has faded quite a bit lately. If you want to blowout teams, we’ve got to be getting back to KCP getting great looks with frequency and knocking them down. Getting out in transition more would help since he changes ends faster than anyone on our team. He had a breakaway dunk on OT off a nice sequence where the rebound hit Alex’s hands as quickly advanced to LeBron, who then instantly fired down court for the dunk. That kind of play is just devastating when it’s off a rebound in crunch time. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 2-6 shooting (0-1 from three) to go with 5 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 42 minutes. He was a +15.

Gasol -- -- Well, we kept his minutes down to 20. Decent game from Marc. He got clobbered in the first half trying to go vertical to stop a score. The foul was called on him and Vogel wasn’t having it, picking up a tech, then challenging to prove he was right (he was). I’m sure the vets appreciate coach sticking up for them. Loved some of the blitzing with LeBron on the sideline in the third quarter. He also went to the floor for a ball after reaching in to knock a ball loose (he was then fouled for FTs on that). That caused a shotclock violation. Teams don’t expect him to be aggressive. But his team D had some strong moments in this one. Side note because there was not a lot of Gasol action to talk about in this one: In the game before the Nuggets played the Lakers, Jokic had 47, then scored 13 on L.A., then dropped 50 today. Jokic has been destroying teams all season. Offensively, good to see Gasol hit a three. It’s been a minute. The Stats: He scored 5 points on 1-2 shooting (1-1 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 1 assist, 1 block and 2 fouls in 20 minutes. He was a +6.

Harrell -- -- Timed him on his FTs since the limit is 10 seconds and it’s never called. His three attempts tonight: 12.5, 13.5 and 15.2 seconds. Wow. Hopefully, some coach in the future in a close game doesn’t call it out to the refs to mess with his head. Or actually get that enforced. Not a lot of setups from teammates tonight. He had Schröder find him with an interior feed for an And-1. He also hit a kind of fading jumphook reverse in the paint. He seemed to be worried about Plumlee blocking that one. We didn’t really integrate him well offensively. None of that THT drive and dish action that had been consistent lately. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 2-3 shooting (3-3 from the line) to go with 8 boards, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover and 3 fouls in 24 minutes. He was a -1.

Kuzma -- -- He earned the day off from the coach after a pump fake that got a defender in the air where Kuz stepped in to take the foul at the three line. Vogel has wanted the team to do more of that. “We had Joker in the air five or six times last game,” Vogel said. So, Kuz finally got the job done, earned FTs and the day off. One of four Lakers in double digits in the first half as Kuz had 10 points, sinking a couple of threes, getting a putback on a Trezz drive and scoring a layup on the break. I thought the stroke looked good tonight and was hoping to see us set him up for some threes. He’d make 3-5, but we never ran anything for him unless that last play of regulation where we subbed him in had him as an actual option. You never know, he sank that one in the Bubble over Plumlee, I believe. The Stats: He scored 14 points on 5-10 shooting (3-5 from three, 1-2 from the line) to go with 6 boards (4 offensive), 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 3 fouls in 25 minutes. He was a -3.

Caruso -- -- The Goat scored 8 of his 10 points in overtime. He was mentioning recently loving playing in the playoffs because of the intensity. Well, he must have liked the intensity of the two overtimes, as well. Great job stepping up. “We just can’t get bored with the game,” he said, mentioning they need to be locked in for the full 48. He helped snap the Lakers out of a 6-minute scoring drought that spanned the final 4 minutes of regulation and the first 2 minutes of overtime. He scored an And-1 layup. Then a minute later got the Lakers next basket, a wing three, on some good Laker ball movement. Love that he ball-faked to LeBron and then drilled the three after that passing sequence. That’s a man comfortable playing with super stars. Despite the double OT, he’s optimistic about how the team has been improving. “It’s a long season and we don’t want to be our best right now. I think the future is looking good for us,” he said. The Stats: He scored 10 points on 3-5 shooting (1-1 from three, 3-3 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 2 steals, 3 turnovers and 1 foul in 26 minutes. He was a -8.

Horton-Tucker -- -- He picked up a couple quick offensive fouls and then his third with 7 minutes left in the half and had to sit. I don’t think that really impacted his playing time. He had a great play at the end of a quarter when LeBron found him on a bomb. You always see LeBron before games quarterbacking and finding guys as they run football routes. They’re fooling around, but this really looked like one of those plays with THT streaking down the sideline, LeBron airing it out over a defender. THT took the pass, a quick dribble to get around the defender and then he hammered a dunk. It took all of 1.9 seconds. THT had a three ball erased in this one that came barely after the shotclock. They counted it at first, but reclaimed those three points, but a very quick release nearly had him 13 points instead of 10. Loving some of his footwork on the gather as he drives. He went around Plumlee for a layup and has really been using that extra step you get in those to his advantage. I want to see more of that LBJ/THT two-man action getting THT the ball with a man advantage. That second unit needs to milk stuff that works with more frequency. They didn’t tonight and we paid the price. Also, originally, they had THT with 3 steals in the first half, but they took a couple of those away, too, as just unforced turnovers, I guess, or credited someone else. The Stats: He scored 10 points on 5-8 shooting (0-1 from three) to go with 2 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers and 4 fouls in 21 minutes. He was a -7..

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Double OT! Offensively, LeBron hunting the mismatches with Plumlee in that double OT worked out for the Lakers. Somehow, he found his second wind and his shot after struggling quite a bit throughout crunch time. Defensively, AD started looking more active late in the game on those challenges and we were forcing misses. There was a play where Svi popped out to the three line, his man nowhere in sight, and AD was out there with Plumlee. He jumped from around the screen and challenged the three to force the miss.

Key Substitution: I’m going to go with the substitutions that weren’t made. No Cook. No McKinnie. No garbage time run. The Lakers had multiple guys with 40+ minutes against the 5-18 Pistons. We’ve been good about keep minutes low, but sacrifices needed to be made for the W tonight.

Key Stats: First number to look at might be the 22 Laker turnovers of which the Pistons had 26 points. Combine that with the Pistons making 7 more threes and sending them to the line for 23-28 FTs, and you’re playing with fire a bit there. The Lakers, though, kind of played a little like last year’s team at times. They were called for fouls, but had a 23-6 advantage in transition and a 72-54 advantage on points in the paint. They weren’t getting a lot of threes off, making 9 on 19 attempts with an extra 10 minutes of game. You had to have threes from AC, AD and a couple from LeBron in the OTs just to get to that 9 makes number.

Coach’s Challenge: With a minute left in the first half, Gasol was called for a blocking foul after going vertical and getting clubbed in the face with Jackson’s off hand. Vogel picked up a tech, but won the challenge. In OT, the Pistons called for a challenge with 1:06 left, Lakers down 2 with LeBron going to the line on a drive on a strip attempt by Plumlee. The call was overturned so jumpball and no freethrows. The strip looked clean, but he did get LeBron’s body on the follow. AD won the jumpball. LeBron attacked Plumlee off that and scored a layup anyway.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:17 am    Post subject:

Ooogly!

But we’ll always take the win. Thanks DB
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:05 am    Post subject:

Welp, avoided an embarrassment. Not much else to say about this one. Onto the next. Thanks DB!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:24 am    Post subject:

Will take it, but not ideal with the minutes logged by LBJ and AD. Sometimes these happen, just would have preferred to be not against a bottom feeder team.

With that said, since Superbowl Sunday is here, I had a thought about this Laker defense using a football analogy.

Last year the defense was more about size. Sort of like how some NFL defenses are "big upfront" and can beat you that way. They also were pretty good with a "bend but do not break" approach. Teams may make a run, but it was slow, not quick, stretched out. If it happened in the 4th the Lakers found a way to just make you run out of time.

This year's Laker defense is like how some NFL defenses are built to be "quick". They may not be as big as some, but they can fly to the ball. Their speed and quickness allows them to recover and get after you.

However, the weakness of this year's defense is like those NFL teams who have a really good defense but - are susceptible to the big play. They occasionally give up a deep pass for a touchdown. In basketball terms, this Laker team, likewise, is susceptible at times to seeing teams make super quick scoring runs. A team last year may outscore the Lakers 10-0, or 9-2, but that was over several minutes (e.g. in a way like the slow bleed as the lead started to fade in the 4th tonight). But this year, I think I've noticed more "quick blitzes" by teams against the Lakers, aka like "giving up the big play" in football. Example: Up 80-63. In the next 90 seconds the Pistons outscored the Lakers 9-2. It reminded me a bit of the Sixers game where the Sixers made at least two of such type of runs in about minute or even less.

Just something I've noticed from time to time, in making an attempt at an analogy.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 3:19 am    Post subject:

Biblical recap, DB. Perfect for a Sunday morning read.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 5:05 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!

Ugly win but I'll take it
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 5:06 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 5:35 am    Post subject:

wonder why no caruso at start of 2ot
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:03 am    Post subject:

After the 4 minute mark in the fourth quarter, there were only 2 non LBJ shots. AD missed a 15 ft. jumper with 1:36 left and KCP missed a 3 point attempt with 2:18 left.

The rest of the time was give the ball to LBJ and get out of the way. Did not try to probe, get open, hard cut to the bucket, nothing. Stand around and watch LBJ. Other players have to PLAY late in the fourth.

23 turnovers were horrible. Sloppy, sloppy basketball. Were lucky to give up only 20 points off those turnovers. Could have been much worse.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:08 am    Post subject:

There was an article a few days ago talking about some of the Trez action, that in comparison to the Clippers, his isolation plays are up, and his P&R plays are down. He was one of the best rollers (stats wise) in the league.

Last year we were talking about one of the reasons for us being unable to run some more S&R being the lack of a secondary PG next to Bron.

Seems we have that secondary PG now in Dennis, but even though we have that and an elite roller in Trez, we utilize Dennis to bring the ball up to just get it to AD-Bron in an iso, way too much.

Yesterday was especially hard to watch, as we would not get AD the ball until very late in a shotclock. The same issues continue with that Trez-AD-Schroder lineups. We have to run some screen & rolls there. If Dennis is not naturally that player, have to consider that THT could be and develop him into that 2nd unit floor general leader.

We have two elite bigs in Trez-AD matched up against another teams 2nd unit while Bron sits, and we run little pick and rolls or pick and pops, and instead just go with lazy low IQ offense. Those are the minutes in the game we have to dominate, as the talent level supports us vs the other teams 2nd unit (especially when you factor Kuzma is a 4th option there with that group).
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:33 am    Post subject:

wolfpaclaker wrote:
There was an article a few days ago talking about some of the Trez action, that in comparison to the Clippers, his isolation plays are up, and his P&R plays are down. He was one of the best rollers (stats wise) in the league.

Last year we were talking about one of the reasons for us being unable to run some more S&R being the lack of a secondary PG next to Bron.

Seems we have that secondary PG now in Dennis, but even though we have that and an elite roller in Trez, we utilize Dennis to bring the ball up to just get it to AD-Bron in an iso, way too much.

Yesterday was especially hard to watch, as we would not get AD the ball until very late in a shotclock. The same issues continue with that Trez-AD-Schroder lineups. We have to run some screen & rolls there. If Dennis is not naturally that player, have to consider that THT could be and develop him into that 2nd unit floor general leader.

We have two elite bigs in Trez-AD matched up against another teams 2nd unit while Bron sits, and we run little pick and rolls or pick and pops, and instead just go with lazy low IQ offense. Those are the minutes in the game we have to dominate, as the talent level supports us vs the other teams 2nd unit (especially when you factor Kuzma is a 4th option there with that group).


Exactly! This is what I've been saying too. I've staying patient hoping we start to see this as the season moves on.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:07 am    Post subject:

Pistons are the ultimate sneaky giant killer. So glad we won, but it felt like a loss.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:09 am    Post subject:

wolfpaclaker wrote:
There was an article a few days ago talking about some of the Trez action, that in comparison to the Clippers, his isolation plays are up, and his P&R plays are down. He was one of the best rollers (stats wise) in the league.

Last year we were talking about one of the reasons for us being unable to run some more S&R being the lack of a secondary PG next to Bron.

Seems we have that secondary PG now in Dennis, but even though we have that and an elite roller in Trez, we utilize Dennis to bring the ball up to just get it to AD-Bron in an iso, way too much.

Yesterday was especially hard to watch, as we would not get AD the ball until very late in a shotclock. The same issues continue with that Trez-AD-Schroder lineups. We have to run some screen & rolls there. If Dennis is not naturally that player, have to consider that THT could be and develop him into that 2nd unit floor general leader.

We have two elite bigs in Trez-AD matched up against another teams 2nd unit while Bron sits, and we run little pick and rolls or pick and pops, and instead just go with lazy low IQ offense. Those are the minutes in the game we have to dominate, as the talent level supports us vs the other teams 2nd unit (especially when you factor Kuzma is a 4th option there with that group).


In the postgame LBJ and AD were being interviewed simultaneously and LBJ proudly brought up the PnR they utilize. But it seems sort of...once in a while-ish? Any clue why they seemingly refuse to run more PnR? Meanwhile, it seems like almost every team we face loves to PnR over and over, especially the high PnR.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 10:44 am    Post subject:

When two of your starters (Gasol & Pope) combine for 61 minutes and a whopping NINE points, it puts a lot of pressure on the team...!

Great win against a scrappy and confident team (despite their record)...!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:23 pm    Post subject:

Thanks, DB.

There will be games like this. No complaints as long as we win them.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:30 pm    Post subject:

Feel like I have a hangover from this game. Bet these guys are going to be dragging on the next one.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:42 pm    Post subject:

DancingBarry wrote:
Feel like I have a hangover from this game. Bet these guys are going to be dragging on the next one.


I actually have low expectations and an L would not surprise me on Monday. In fact, I'd prefer they sit AD and LBJ to be honest.

Better than losing vs Pistons and next game, but almost feels like because of the sheer effort poured in we just delayed the L.

Hopefully I'm wrong.
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