THUNDER -at- LAKERS - 2/10 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

 
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:52 pm    Post subject: THUNDER -at- LAKERS - 2/10 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

Overtime...Again!!!... Last time the Lakers played three OTs in a row was 30 years ago.

This game felt like one of those rec league games where you’ve got a bunch of young dudes who jump over, around and through a squad of middle aged guys and run up a big lead.

But the old guys just plod away, make some tweaks and slowly become more and more annoyingly effective as the game goes along.

The Lakers fell down by as many as 20 early on. They struggled with the high screens. The Thunder have perimeter shooting bigs, which caused spacing issues and late reactions by our bigs. As a result, the Thunder feasted on good looks or open lanes with our bigs out on the perimeter. On the occasion, we had our bigs in the paint to challenge, the athletic Thunder scored over them.

In the second half, they controlled the screens with better ice defense and switches with the bigs. Offensively, our bigs started working the paint themselves for scores. They cut the lead down to 4 heading into the fourth quarter.

With LeBron on the bench, they’d get it down to a 1-point Thunder lead before LeBron returned. Bron would deflect a pass and then get it to Kuzma on the break and they took the lead. Timeout, Thunder. Out of that, the Lakers would get a stop, then hit a three. Another timeout, Thunder.

Shortly later, the Thunder would tie it back up. As the game went under 2 minutes, the refs had to review a couple out of bounds plays, affording teams timeouts again. The Lakers couldn’t get scores off those (Kuzma missing a three and a wide open 10-footer.)

The Lakers had to take an intentional foul, give up a couple FTs and were down 3. On the ATO, they inbounded to Trezz at the three line with LeBron in the backcourt. LeBron got a running start, the D sagged back, Trezz flipped it to LeBron and he hit the three to tie it up.

After the Lakers held the line on defense, they were once again back into overtime for the third straight game. What is happening?

It was a back and forth battle the next several minutes. Trezz with a score, Schröder with a couple and finally a big one for L.A. -- with 41 seconds left, LeBron got some rare penetration and kicked out to Wes Matthews, who once again knocked down the clutch three.

On our next possession, we ran clock. LeBron held the ball in the corner until finally airballing with about 8 seconds left. Eventually, the Thunder called timeout with 4 seconds remaining. The Lakers would need one stop to hold on.

On the subsequent inbounds, LeBron jumped the passing lane in the backcourt and tipped the ball loose. This ate up clock and the Thunder missed a heave at the buzzer. The Lakers held on for the 114-113 OT win and their 20th W of the season.


LeBron -- -- He’s basically put in four games worth of ball in three games. Caruso and AD need to come back and give him a rest. This was a grind it out game. He had 10 points and 3 assists in a quiet first half. He’s really starting off slow defensively in these games. He didn’t get back in transition and his man scored a layup on one play, which looked like it frustrated Gasol. But he seems to warm up as the games go along. Outside of leaving Hordford open for a corner three that he thankfully missed, LeBron had a better second half. Some good moments at PF containing his man. The defensive play of the night was him jumping the passing lane with 4 seconds left to stop the ball away. He saved it back inbounds to the Thunder but the damage was done with only a couple seconds left on the clock remaining and the ball in the backcourt. Clutch defensive play for the win instead of the shot. Difficult offensive game for him with the crowded paint as they zoned up against him. It became even more crowded when it was Harrell instead of Gasol. We aren’t quite sophisticated enough offensively to create lanes on high screens, but we saved that until late into last season before we had our counters. We are doing a better job dealing with post doubles, which is key as far as getting some penetration in the D when we can’t do it off the dribble. He’s also caught the Thunder with some illegal D in the past two games. Somehow, he’s willed us to a winning streak after three straight OTs and a couple games without half of our Core Four. The Stats: He scored 25 points on 9-20 shooting (3-9 from three, 4-4 from the line) to go with 6 boards, 7 assists, 2 steals, 5 turnovers and 2 fouls in 41 minutes. He was a +6.

Kuzma -- -- “It’s kind of unacceptable by our standards,” Kuzma said of the three straight overtimes. The second game with AD out, we threw Kuz back in with the starters. Big offensive board putback with 2:21 left. He also kept an offensive board alive with 39 seconds left. He’d miss a couple of big looks, though. The biggest was a wide open baseline jumper from about 10 feet out with 27 seconds left when the Lakers were down 1. Painful. Defensively, some excellent moments and some weak moments. He had some issues early on the switches or letting his man get middle. The Lakers were getting burned on that. In the second half, there was a real nice sequence against Bazley on iso where he shut him down on the baseline and forced a turnover. He had some good moments on guard switches, as well, staying in front of them. That effort and improved D as the game went along had him in there with the closers and in OT. But his mobility (versus having Morris out there) was key to the Lakers D improving. The Stats: He scored 15 points on 7-14 shooting (1-3 from three) to go with 9 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal and no fouls in 39 minutes. He was a +8.

Schröder -- -- Weird game from Dennis. Defensively, he was getting scored on pretty easily on iso. Guys were blowing by him and scoring at the rim, or he didn’t box out and gave up a putback to his man. He did have some good full-court pressure turning his man several times bringing the ball up early on, but once we got into that half court in that first half, it was pretty easy scoring on him. As the game went along, he was better, but also not really in the point of attack. Offensively, he faded as the game went along. He hit a three after getting an offensive board for his first score, he’d attack for FTs, hit a floater, score a layup down the middle of the lane, draw more FTs all in the first half. Then in the second half, he just disappeared. Down the stretch, he was completely deferring. But he’d pick up the aggression in overtime, thankfully. He’d scratch out some FTs and also get a layup on early offense on a change of pace crossover at the wing. Again, though, some really bad D giving Dort a straight line layup as he took a bad angle at midcourt and the Lakers weren’t at all ready to rotate. At the end of the night, he gave us some much-needed productivity. The stats look strong even if it wasn’t always a strong game. Great job getting to the line. The Stats: He scored 19 points on 5-11 shooting (1-3 from three, 8-8 from the line) to go with 7 boards, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls in 38 minutes. He was a +3.

Caldwell-Pope -- -- He had a team-worst -12 in 11 first half minutes. Really soft flagrant-1 at the end of the half. He was going for a block and grazed some of the head, but it was whistled. After that, he gave up another score for a layup when he got back cut off the sideline inbounds. So, we went from down 6 to down 10 in the last 3 seconds of the half. A bad close to the last game and a bad close to the first half in this one. (Gasol had a well-timed rotation on that play to help KCP, but those lengthier athletic players like Diallo can score over him with consistency.) As automatic and confident as KCP looked on his threes early this season -- I mean you thought they were going in every time -- he’s the opposite now. You just think he’s going to miss everything he takes. If we’re looking to get some others in the rotation, it might be good to give KCP a rest for a game and see if he can reboot. He was a non-factor tonight and even a bit of a liability on D with the matchups he had. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 2-6 shooting (0-2 from three) to go with 2 boards, 1 assist, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 21 minutes. He was a -3.

Gasol -- -- Let’s start with the +0 on the night. At one point that was a negative double digits (everyone on the team was a -10 to a -15 early on). It was a slow start and weak first half. The Laker bigs had issues with the high screens and switches with the Thunder perimeter shooting bigmen. Gasol was pulled out on the perimeter and the lane was open. When he was in the lane, guys scored over him with consistency. In the second half, we iced screens and switched much better. This took away a lot of what the Thunder were doing in the first half (L.A. holding the Thunder to 17 points in the third.). We’d go with Trezz at C the rest of the game because of his mobility, which was needed tonight. The Lakers kept the Thunder to 7 offensive boards in this game. Our two bigs only had 4 boards each (and two of Trezz’s were on the offensive end). So they did a better job team rebounding and understanding our bigs weren’t going to be in the paint all the time to help. Offensively, Gasol started out aggressive in the second half, getting a couple in the paint, including an And-1 on Horford. He could go several games without getting a shot up in the paint. Both our bigs were more aggressive in the second half, so maybe something was said at halftime. (Here’s where AD would be the guy.) Vogel on Marc: “I think Marc’s really getting into a groove, particularly on the defensive end, really anchoring things for us in his minutes,” he said. That’s probably not the way a lot of fans see it. Honestly, I don’t think Gasol would see a lot of time against a team like this if it were the playoffs. We can’t play drop coverage easily. Can’t easily blitz at the point of attack because the bigs can easily take a pass and shoot or make the right play. And then in the moments when Gasol was needed to challenge a shot, the Thunder are just too athletic and can go over him easily. He and the team did work it out in the second half with some smarter D and it did help we left a guy like Dort a little more open. The Stats: He scored 8 points on 3-5 shooting (1-3 from three, 1-1 from the line) to go with 4 boards, 1 assist, 2 blocks and 2 fouls in 20 minutes. He was a +0.

Harrell -- -- Tale of two halves for Trezz. Some really poor defense in the middle of the floor on those high screens early on. He was late to switch and caught in no man’s land quite a bit. That was causing problems and the team gave up 67 points in the first half. Offensively, we gave him the ball for a couple of iso’s where he settled for jumpers on in the half. He scored just 4 points and wasn’t impacting the game on either end. In the second half, he got into his power game more and had success. That combo of speed and strength on the left block caused the Thunder problems. We should have gone to him more, really. As he started attacking the rim more, his game came alive. He had a bigtime offensive board against two players and then powered in an And-1 against a third. He was fouled in the post for a couple FTs with 1:50 left and he made both. In OT, he’d miss the first attempt on a short one setup for him. He’d get a face-up score later. We went to him to close the game and into OT with LeBron at PF. LeBron would typically take Horford. These are important minutes for Trezz for a few reasons. First, he crowds the paint for LeBron. It makes it really, really hard for LBJ to get to the rim and we struggled with that. The Lakers had some screen-the-screener type sequences last year that would open the floor more for LeBron with our other bigs that couldn’t spread the floor. Our offense isn’t that deep into the book yet. We haven’t had to worry about it, but I think these last couple of games really highlighted some of the issues that need to be addressed when we don’t have a floor-spacing big like pulls the D out. Secondly, we had to play small in these games. That means guys had to adjust how they rebounded, how they defended on the perimeter and switched. There was no opportunity for taking charges, not a lot of drop coverages. So we had to get comfortable doing other things. Lastly, important minutes because we were calling Trezz’s number a few times on ATO, including crunch time. The coaching staff is figuring out how they can use another tool in the toolbox. They should have leaned on it a bit more tonight. The Stats: He scored 20 points on 8-10 shooting (4-5 from the line) to go with 4 boards (2 offensive), 3 assists, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers and 4 fouls in 33 minutes. He was a +1.

Horton-Tucker -- -- Pretty weak first half on both ends. He scored on an attack and spin into a short one in the paint. He also hit a floater getting middle out of a timeout. Rare we see that in-between game from him. He’s usually trying to get all the way to the rim. The three ball wasn’t there as he missed all three he attempted. You also saw his inability to finish with his left come into play on a runner across the lane that had to contort his body to try to attempt and bring the ball back to the defender in the process. He missed that as it would have been much simpler to try to hit a lefty jumphook as he was going to his left. Defensively, some real up and down action. On the good side, he drew a charge on Dort. He stripped a big on a drive, which I think they called a block. He also held his own in the post on some mismatches. On the bad side, he had some unfocused D on the perimeter. Either sagging off unnecessarily or even turning his head and letting his man cut for a score. Not a great game at all and he ended up with the team low in minutes and plus-minus. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 2-8 shooting (0-3 from three) to go with 3 boards, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers and 1 foul in 19 minutes. He was a -8.

Morris -- -- The starters didn’t get off to a good start in the last one, so Vogel sent Markieff back to the bench and opted for Kuzma again with the starters. Last game, Morris was not showing the mobility we needed and it was causing issues. Kuzma certainly brings that. Still, however, there is no replacing AD in that starting unit on that backline and we saw the Lakers struggle again without AD out there. Didn’t matter whether it was Keiff or Kuz starting the game. In the second half, everyone looked much better, Kieff included. While he had Horford blow by him for a layup, he also had a good read to take a charge on Bazley (this was after Morris hit a three on the other end). We managed a +5 with Morris out there as our D tightened up a little more and he was able to contribute offensively more. The Stats: He scored 9 points on 3-6 shooting (1-4 from three, 2-4 from te line) to go with 6 boards, 1 steal and no fouls in 25 minutes. He was a +5.

Matthews -- -- He sank a huge corner three in overtime on a LeBron kickout with 41 seconds left and the game tied. Being a little stronger/longer than KCP helped us defensively in this game. But he did give up a layup to Dort who just went right through him on a drive with 30 seconds left. Refs weren’t calling the charge on those tonight. His best play defensively was a perimeter steal in the second half that he had to dive to recover. He also blocked Muscala on a switch and had a few good possession against Hordford, as well. He made 3 of the 10 Laker threes tonight. Nice work there. Too many turnovers, however. He had one possession where he tried to iso on Dort (not a good idea) and he ended up getting caught in the air and throwing the ball to the corner where no one was. The Stats: He scored 10 points on 3-9 shooting (3-8 from three, 1-2 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 turnovers and 2 fouls in 30 minutes. He was a -7.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Wow. Three straight OTs. Three straight wins. So many key moments in close games. Let’s go with a couple of play calls for LeBron. The first was that huge three LeBron hit on a SLOB sequence. LeBron started in the backcourt, pulling his defender out there. The ball inbounded to Trezz, LeBron ran to him and stepped into a shot for a three from that left wing area he likes. That was a huge three the Lakers had to have. Let’s also fast forward to the final offensive possession in the OT. We got the ball to LeBron in the left corner where he just ran clock and airballed. Really not sure what we were running there. The Thunder were able to zone up on LeBron a ton this game and you need counters to that. Screens on the backside or flare screens to free up shooters or a cut to the middle of the paint when the D wasn’t looking. We had Schröder cut through with no real attempt to set any kind of screen by any one on the backside. They’ve been improving on dealing with doubles and zone help, but that was not good and looked worse when LeBron airballed with about 8 seconds left. Luckily we got a stop on the inbounds.

Key Substitution: Let’s go with Trezz off the bench for 20. We called his number a bit in the seconds half, including on some ATOs specially for him. Our defense wasn’t great, but it was better. But this is a really tricky team to defend when they are throwing two perimeter bigs out there. Trezz worked it out with some big plays.

Key Stats: An underrated 20-24 shooting from the line. The Lakers scratched out some points in a grind out game. LeBron and Schröder combined for 12-12 shooting from there. Secondly, as mentioned above, we allowed just 7 offensive boards. Much improved team rebounding. Lastly, the Lakers are a top team defending the three line. The Thunder made just 7-31 tonight. This was especially tricky with the Thunder bigs, but they also smartly left Dort open and contracted the D at times (Dort was 0-5).


Last edited by DancingBarry on Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:59 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:54 pm    Post subject:

First? Really?
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PG Johnson / Goodrich
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:58 pm    Post subject:

I guess today I'm like one of those young dudes who jump over, around and through....

Thanks, DB!

Lakers need to do better job of how to start the games. Then again, it is great to have this experience of winning OT games. It is as close a game as it gets. Hopefully pays off in playoff.
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Lakers depth chart

PG Johnson / Goodrich
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SF Baylor / Worthy / Cooper
PF Mikkelsen / Hairston / McAdoo / Gasol
C Chamberlain / Abdul-Jabbar / O'Neal / Mikan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 12:00 am    Post subject:

These OT games take forever to write up.

I hope that's the last we see for a while.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 12:24 am    Post subject:

I get an impression our coaching staff does a very good job adjusting the game during half-time. Surely the vets help. They can make some adjustments themselves and read the game well. I wish the pre-game prep was better, but that adjustment by the whole team is really encouraging. Good chemistry.
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Lakers depth chart

PG Johnson / Goodrich
SG Bryant / West / Scott
SF Baylor / Worthy / Cooper
PF Mikkelsen / Hairston / McAdoo / Gasol
C Chamberlain / Abdul-Jabbar / O'Neal / Mikan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:16 am    Post subject:

DancingBarry wrote:
These OT games take forever to write up.

I hope that's the last we see for a while.

Thanks for sticking with it!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 4:44 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!

Please no more OTs
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 5:46 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 7:30 am    Post subject:

DancingBarry wrote:
These OT games take forever to write up.

I hope that's the last we see for a while.


These games are killing my sleep here on the East coast. Thanks for the extra effort!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 7:38 am    Post subject:

We are missing AD & AC terribly, but still winning. OT wins, ugly wins, we'll take them all in this truncated season. With a shortened season, little to no fans, and assimilating new players, we're doing a great job. Remember these are human beings, so it's a process, not instantaneous results.

Just keep winning anyway we can, get our guys healthy, and a shortened season will bring the playoffs in no time. Then, bring on anybody!


Thanks DB!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 7:39 am    Post subject:

Kudos to Wes Matthews. I don't expect him to be great but he could be more consistent.
These last two games he seems to be finding his groove with the Lakers & this is a good thing for us as we get into the meat of the schedule.
His veteran leadership, skills and maturity will pay big dividends on down the road.


GO LAKERS!!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:15 am    Post subject:

thanks db!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:46 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!

"Just win, baby!"
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:05 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB ...



Hope the Lakers find themselves...
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:02 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:04 am    Post subject:

ChefLinda wrote:
DancingBarry wrote:
These OT games take forever to write up.

I hope that's the last we see for a while.


These games are killing my sleep here on the East coast. Thanks for the extra effort!

I agree about the late games. I'm in the Central time zone. Not quite as bad but almost. I decided not to watch the last three "sure win" games and get some sleep. Three OT games!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:28 pm    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!

I really hope LBJ takes it easy for the all-star break. Way too many minutes against garbage teams.

Let's go Lakers!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:16 pm    Post subject:

Welp. For me, hard to view this one overly positive. The under .500 opponent only suited up 8 guys and their best player wasnt playing. Yea, we did not have AD, nor AC, but Vog did have 12 guys (he elected to play 9) he could have gone to, and of course LBJ, DS, Trez were available.

The one thing that's interesting is how even our own announcers are bringing up the semi-deception of the defensive stats. Yes, still best D in the league, but the interior D statistically with points in the paint has been weak, and this was exposed time and again by a low quality opponent.

I also think it's time to just say Gasol is what he is. Can he "stretch" the floor? Yea, I suppose. Does he seem to make Vog happy? I guess. He did have some plays last night, e.g. a tipped pass that he grabbed to get the Lakers out on a break. Did prevent a shot going in. But he renders absolutely no fear to the opposition - the Clippers in game 1 went at him, and that's been the recipe for most teams when he plays ever since. He is also not really trusted to play more than, what, 19-20 minutes a game?

The perfect player for this team at that position unfortunately plays across the hall (Ibaka), and I'm of the belief he was always going to go there and team up with his buddy, KL.

Otherwise, I just see the team getting into some bad habits of late. I'm hoping its just a "thing" at the moment, and will pass, but it is frustrating to watch.

Anyway, next up the Grizz. Hopefully AD's injury is improved.
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