LAKERS -at- NUGGETS - 2/14 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

 
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:20 pm    Post subject: LAKERS -at- NUGGETS - 2/14 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

AD Out... The outcome of this game won’t be as important as the outcome of AD’s medical evaluation.

The wheels fell off this one in the middle of the second quarter. The Lakers were leading the game when LeBron sat for his rest in that quarter. The offense fell apart without him. The Lakers had three chucks trying to beat the shotclock and a perimeter turnover on a fourth possession. The Nuggets turned the Laker bad offense into a run.

Shortly later, AD came up limping on a foul by Jokic. After a couple FTs, he slowly walked to the locker room. It certainly felt like a gut punch as a fan. Probably, the same feeling as a teammate.

“It’s definitely deflating anytime you lose a big player,” LeBron said.

With Harrell in foul trouble, Vogel brought in Morris and had LeBron on Jokic defensively. By halftime, the Lakers were down 73-61.

They were down by 12 at halftime last time the two teams played. Tonight, however, AD wouldn’t return and there would be no comeback to be had.

“We just didn’t get a chance to counter that in the second half like we normally would,” Vogel said.

They fell 122-105, snapping their win streak.

“Today was the first day where it felt completely fine,” AD said. The the initial diagnosis seemed to be he reaggravated his previous injury, but they’ll know more after an MRI.


LeBron -- -- Highlight of the night: At the end of the half, he split a couple defenders with a long dribble at the logo, didn’t take another dribble on his way to dunking at full speed with a second left. Crazy that he can do that with such ease at his age. Near triple double tonight, but some issues. He couldn’t hit a three (0-5). Defensively, he didn’t protect the three line. I’m not sure how many times LeBron’s man hit an open three, but it seemed like a lot. So we got killed on the three ball game by LeBron on both ends of the floor. The Nuggets were able to do a lot of damage from three on him. Defensively, it was interesting seeing Vogel throw LeBron on Jokic for some possession. Had he done that before? For some reason I don’t remember it if he had. Something to note for down the line. LeBron’s hopeful others will step up now, but added, “We’re not asking anyone to pick up what AD does,” he said. The Stats: He scored 22 points on 9-18 shooting (0-5 from three, 4-7 from the line) to go with 10 boards, 9 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 31 minutes. He was a -17.

Davis -- -- “His spirits were good,” Vogel said of AD. He seemed to think the initial diagnosis was positive. The Lakers will need to rest him. It will likely cost them some games, but you can’t fool around with it. With the short turnaround between the playoffs and this season, you were worried about overuse injury. The Lakers tried to give him some time off to help and AD said that the Achilles felt normal tonight, but he reaggravated that injury in the second quarter. He should try to be pain free before returning. We need to think big picture. Tonight, he and LeBron had some nice two-man action going on in this game that was causing the Nuggets some issues, which was nice to see. They struggled, though, when LeBron sat and AD was on the floor. We just didn’t organize our offense with any efficiency and it caused all kinds of issues. We really need a floor general to step up in those situations. When we do and we get AD on the move, the Nuggets don’t have any answers for him. Defensively, AD is pretty much the glue for the Lakers. He’s what makes it work for L.A. Vogel has his job cut out for him now for the Lakers to keep their D up to par. The Stats: He scored 15 points on 5-11 shooting (0-1 from three, 5-5 from the line) to go with 4 boards, 1 assist and 1 foul in 14 minutes. He was a -4.

Schröder -- -- This was a pretty big letdown game from Dennis. It started off decently where he was setting up teammates and working the two-man game some, even a rare one with Gasol to set him up for a layup. Then he faded when the team really needed him to step up (the Nuggets swarmed him quite a bit on his drives as the game went along). He’s the guy often coming in when LeBron sits. But he’s not giving us any floor generalling or getting us to play to our strengths. We really miss a vet presence in that regard to be in his ear (that’s why I want LeBron doing that with him). But, actually, I kind of feel like JKidd on the bench should be both in his ear and also helping us with these minutes. We’ve got a lot of growth to work on with this team between now and the playoffs. With AD out now, let’s see what happens when there’s more touches going around. The Stats: He scored 8 points on 3-10 shooting (2-3 from three) to go with 1 board, 4 assists, 2 turnovers and 3 fouls in 28 minutes. He was a -8.

Caldwell-Pope -- -- There was a play in the fourth where Kuz hit him with an advance pass and KCP was not paying attention. It bounced off KCP, turnover, then the two of them discussed it in timeout. I don’t know what KCP could have been telling Kuzma. The pass hit you in the hands. Then, right after that out of the timeout, KCP fouled a three shooter for a 4-point opportunity. That probably sums up this game for him and his play lately. Earlier in the game, LeBron and AD were also annoyed with him on a defensive breakdown. Come on, KCP, time to snap out of it. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 2-6 shooting (1-4 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 1 board, 2 steals, 1 block and 2 fouls in 19 minutes. He was a -5.

Gasol -- -- Always good when he hits a three. He was aggressive on the first possession taking one and missing. He needs to be a respected threat with the three ball. If he’s not and teams are helping elsewhere, that’s when you really need to put the ball in his hands. The defenders will come out high to try to defending his passing and you get the floor spacing that way. Lakers just didn’t do much of that with any purpose tonight. We saw a rare Schroder/Gasol two-man sequence where Dennis hit Marc for the layup. I could be wrong, but I think that’s the first time that’s happened between them this season, which is kind of sad. Defensively, can’t pick on one person tonight, Lakers were awful all around. I was curious to see the Nuggets try to get Gasol switched on to Murray and they were able to take advantage of that when they did. The Stats: He scored 5 points on 2-4 shooting (1-3 from three) to go with 3 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 fouls in 18 minutes. He was a -6.

Harrell -- -- How about trying to integrate him a little more offensive? The silver lining of AD’s injury should be more reps with Harrell. The Nuggets had some concern with him, even sending doubles (he found AC for a layup), but we’ve kept things far to simple -- just dumping the ball to him for iso. I imagine he closes games for us, so there’s opportunity for growth here as we fine tune on both ends. Hopefully, it only makes us stronger. Defensively, a lot of switching by the team when Harrell was on the floor with Jokic as our D was scrambling and we’d end up with smaller men on him at times. Even when Jokic wasn’t on the floor, we were doing that more. Ultimately, there’s potential for them to be more effective that way. That’s typically when we’re at our best with Vogel’s defensive schemes...when guys play on a string. You could see some of the faster, active Lakers rotating behind the play on some of those, causing problems. It gets tricky, though, when Jokic ends up with that smaller defender on him as a result. The Lakers D, however, gave up the most threes to an opponent (19) than they have this year. So, clearly, lots of issues for the team tonight despite some switching and even some zone with Trezz out there. Offensively, again, this is where our floor general work failed us. Just 4 points for Trezz. We really only just dumped the ball to him on iso for a few possessions. We did not integrate him with any other purpose in the team game. The Lakers really need to explore how we can be more effective with Trezz as we haven’t done much with that yet this season. Let’s see what happens in these next couple of games. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 2-3 shooting (0-1 from the line) to go with 6 boards, 1 assist, 1 turnover and 3 fouls in 24 minutes. He was a -1.

Kuzma -- -- Another great game from Kuz. Probably the only bright spot in this one. He had 9 points on 3-5 shooting off the bench in the first half (so, again, it didn’t matter that he wasn’t starting to get some big production). In the second half, of course, we started him in place of AD. I’m sure we’ll be doing that going forward. His corner three tied him for 10th on Lakers all time three shooters. He’d sink just one tonight (he’d have another with his toe on the line). I love seeing him attacking from the corner and not always setting for threes. That has led to some strong finishes at the rim. Speaking of which, he just crushed Porter Jr. with a putback jam from behind him tonight. That was vicious. Some nice touch again by Kuz on the drives. He’s been finishing more of those lately. Nearly the double-double in 26 minutes. Defensively, good effort. Wish we had a few more guys with that. He had one stand where he rotated over to deny a finish at the rim, then had another challenge to force a turnover. Good stuff from Kuz. The Stats: He scored 19 points on 8-12 shooting (1-4 from three, 2-4 from the line) to go with 8 boards, 1 assist, 2 turnovers and no fouls in 26 minutes. He was a +0.

Caruso -- -- We brought him in with 10 minutes to go in the first half and the team turned in a -13 while he was out there. Rare we see that. He finished with the team-low -19. Some good moments offensively. He swung a pass to Kuz while still in the air. This allowed Kuz to attack from the corner and dunk. He scored a layup setting a screen on Bron’s man (excellent angle), then rolled and LeBron found him. He swished a three on a kickout. Good to see one of those fall for him. He’s been struggling a bit lately like our other perimeter players. The team needs to get ball movement back in their game. AC also had a score, cutting off Trezz in the post. So despite getting offensive production from him, we just played like crap when he was out there. (A lot of time with LeBron lately, which I like but LBJ’s D tonight was poor tonight). The Stats: He scored 11 points on 4-6 shooting (1-3 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 2 assists and 3 fouls in 20 minutes. He was a -19.

Horton-Tucker -- -- Some good penetration and some crafty finishes around the rim. He had an And-1 layup on Murray in the second half where THT did a 180 in the air and threw it in over his head. He also had another And-1 on a drive with a great extension of those long arms off the gather to draw the contact and then finish at the rim. Pretty stuff there. Excellent passing, as well. He found LeBron on a drive and dish for a dunk a couple of times. With THT’s penetration keep an eye on LeBron weakside of the floor when he’s out there. He’s available for cuts and THT is seeing him. Hopefully, that becomes a thing. I like banking the big minute games for THT now. Got to keep building his game to get ready for the post season. The Stats: He scored 10 points on 3-7 shooting (0-1 from three, 4-6 from the line) to go with 5 assist, 1 block, 2 turnovers and 4 fouls in 25 minutes. He was a -7.

Morris -- -- We definitely need to get him going as we’re going to need all the bigmen playing. Offensively, everything he was putting up was off balance for the most part. He never looked comfortable. So he shot blanks as a result. We just want simple catch and shoot work from him. He came in for AD when he went down with the injury with a couple minutes left in the half. Then finished out the garbage time run. Best play was drawing a charge on a rotation to cut off the baseline. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-5 shooting (0-2 from three) to go with 3 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal and no fouls in 10 minutes. He was a -4.

Matthews -- -- I’ve got very few notes on him in this one. That’s never a good sign. He had some moments on rotations, but one of two players not to score tonight. And we generally played awful when he was on the floor. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-2 shooting (0-1 from three) to go with 4 boards, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 turnover and 3 fouls in 17 minutes. He was a -18.

Cook -- -- In with 4:21 left in the game for garbage time. We’ve usually been on the good side of that. Nothing to report from him. He had a possession where he picked up his dribble in the paint, then threw it away. He hit a pull-up at the buzzer to end the game. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-2 shooting (0-1 from three) to go with 1 board, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 4 minutes. He was a +2.

McKinnie -- -- He had a putback on a THT drive for his only score and blew a couple of FTs after draw a foul. The Stats: He scored 2 point son 1-1 shooting (0-2 from the line) to go with 2 offensive boards and 1 foul in 4 minutes. He was a +2..

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Clearly when AD went down. That was in the middle of a stretch where the Lakers were falling apart. But we’ve seen them regroup and take care of business. When AD went down, there was no regrouping. In the second half, there was also a key possession that kind of crushed the Laker spirits. Lakers gave up a 5-point possession with 2 minutes left in the third to go from down 18 in just a few seconds. They were in striking distance, then buried, just like that.

Key Substitution: As mentioned, when we sat LeBron for his rest in that second quarter, the offense just completely fell apart. We’ve got to scheme better for those moments.

Key Stats: Lakers shot 6-28 from three. The Nuggets shot 19-47. Oof. This team had been tops in the league at defending the three line. Not tonight.
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TooMuchMajicBuss
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:11 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

Here's hoping AD heals fully from this and other Lakers step up while he recovers.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:24 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

Not a good game. Hoping for good news on AD.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 1:03 am    Post subject:

Thank you, DB

If Dennis the Menace and KCP are having problems, maybe bringing Gasol into the game and have him at the top of the key with others cutting/moving to get some flow into the game. When LBJ went out of the game, Schoeder/KCP disappeared as it turned into a bunch of ISO

Indeed it was unusual for AC to have a minus =/-

This loss give Vogel much to show in the film room

We should be very Very VERY careful with AD and protect him from himself by keeping him out of games until he is 150% ready. With the very short offseason, the opportunity for the depth that Rob provided should be on full display.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:24 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

Tough one, for more than one reason. AD is the big concern. As for the loss, that was going to happen at some point - but the combo of poor 3 shooting and minutes of unfocused basketball that's snake-bitten them for about a week or so of games haunted them again tonight.

Hopefully AD comes back better, as does the team as a whole.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 4:07 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB. Injuries aside, this has been the worst stretch of basketball since Frank took over.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:17 am    Post subject:

DB on Dennis this is spot on, been noticing this all season.

Quote:
He’s the guy often coming in when LeBron sits. But he’s not giving us any floor generalling or getting us to play to our strengths.


The Lakers offense without Bron as the floor general are usually awful. Dennis being their PG has been bad, but what makes it worse is that Trez-AD do not play well with Dennis. Now you have your 3 biggest non-Bron impact guys, and they do not play particularly well together. It is an area I would have focused on from the start of the season, and here we are quite into it, and it is still pretty weak. At some point, you just have to change lineups and roles. I do not think as good as Dennis is, he deserves the minutes he is getting. And, what is the point of really playing AD all these minutes with the 2nd unit, when they do not even have a Rondo to get him the ball properly? You might as well use a 2nd unit built around Trez's scoring ability. Those Trez/AD/Dennis + 2 bench players lineups rarely work.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:27 am    Post subject:

wolfpaclaker wrote:
DB on Dennis this is spot on, been noticing this all season.

Quote:
He’s the guy often coming in when LeBron sits. But he’s not giving us any floor generalling or getting us to play to our strengths.


The Lakers offense without Bron as the floor general are usually awful. Dennis being their PG has been bad, but what makes it worse is that Trez-AD do not play well with Dennis. Now you have your 3 biggest non-Bron impact guys, and they do not play particularly well together. It is an area I would have focused on from the start of the season, and here we are quite into it, and it is still pretty weak. At some point, you just have to change lineups and roles. I do not think as good as Dennis is, he deserves the minutes he is getting. And, what is the point of really playing AD all these minutes with the 2nd unit, when they do not even have a Rondo to get him the ball properly? You might as well use a 2nd unit built around Trez's scoring ability. Those Trez/AD/Dennis + 2 bench players lineups rarely work.


Yes indeed, me too. From my perspective a major intent of the personnel moves was to be able to rest LBJ/AD a lot during the season. To have a team that minus AD or LBJ (sometimes minus both) is able be a .500 or better team. One would think that getting two 6MOY candidates would achieve that - but it hasn't so far, and the biggest factor is that DS is getting his own, but is not setting up the bigs - either post-entry or P&R. Time and again when LBJ sits, we give up ground, even with AD/Trezz/Kuz/KCP/DS on the floor - one all-league, 2 6MOY candidates, 2 at-least-league-average players. It's not clicking.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 7:48 am    Post subject:

Just the word "Achilles" give me PTSD.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:45 am    Post subject:

I'm interested in seeing how Kyle Kuzma steps up on both ends of the court with AD sidelined. I'd expect he'll play a vital role the remainder of this season.

Perhaps Morris, Harrell might get more run too in more situations, but I'm hopeful that Kuz aces his key role in AD resting and the Lakers winning. His defense is going to get tested big time, but he's also focused on developing it.

AD needs time to FULLY recover before playoffs, maybe come back the last few games to get in sync again but that's about it.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:48 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!

I don't even care about the loss, just want AD to be healthy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:56 am    Post subject:

Thanks for the analysis, DB!

At this point, I want Schroder out of the rotation. And, honestly, on the trading block. He's been that bad. I hope to no end he proves me wrong. And, with AD out, this is his opportunity to do so. But, he's not engendering much faith.

Also, the coaching staff HAS to do a better job of getting our team to generate smooth offense. Whenever Bron leaves the floor, it's been painful. Hell, even when he's on the floor, it's been painful...smh
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 10:54 am    Post subject:

wolfpaclaker wrote:
DB on Dennis this is spot on, been noticing this all season.
Quote:
He’s the guy often coming in when LeBron sits. But he’s not giving us any floor generalling or getting us to play to our strengths.
The Lakers offense without Bron as the floor general are usually awful. Dennis being their PG has been bad, but what makes it worse is that Trez-AD do not play well with Dennis. Now you have your 3 biggest non-Bron impact guys, and they do not play particularly well together. It is an area I would have focused on from the start of the season, and here we are quite into it, and it is still pretty weak. At some point, you just have to change lineups and roles. I do not think as good as Dennis is, he deserves the minutes he is getting. And, what is the point of really playing AD all these minutes with the 2nd unit, when they do not even have a Rondo to get him the ball properly? You might as well use a 2nd unit built around Trez's scoring ability. Those Trez/AD/Dennis + 2 bench players lineups rarely work.
On Point Observations

With JKidd on the sidelines, hopefully Schroeder will absorb what is being taught to him. He has clearly stated that he wanted to be a Starting PG and this is an opportunity to prove that he deserves the chance

Since Trez/KCP has been thoroughly scouted, we will see what counters they will be showing on offense. The inability to defend during their droughts on defense should be the top concern. Noting that Jokic was completely alone at the 3pt line numerous times was interesting

Maybe using Gasol as the facilitator could be used more until Schroeder can be trusted with the keys of the offense at this time, as shown at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wq9LAEeop-g
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 11:09 am    Post subject:

sonic the laker wrote:

Also, the coaching staff HAS to do a better job of getting our team to generate smooth offense. Whenever Bron leaves the floor, it's been painful. Hell, even when he's on the floor, it's been painful...smh


This was the weakness of the coaching staff last year. It might have been masked some with Rondo's IQ in the mix. Gasol, I'm sure brings a little to the table with passing sets/IQ. But we've got a lot of work to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. I'm putting that more on the coaching staff than the new guys trying to fit in.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 1:29 pm    Post subject:

This game was legit heartbreaking. They just fell apart once we lost AD. Lebron is able to play these minutes because he picks his spots. Depending on how long AD is out, we’re in for a really ugly stretch of basketball, especially with our perimeter shooting.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 2:53 am    Post subject:

DancingBarry wrote:
sonic the laker wrote:

Also, the coaching staff HAS to do a better job of getting our team to generate smooth offense. Whenever Bron leaves the floor, it's been painful. Hell, even when he's on the floor, it's been painful...smh


This was the weakness of the coaching staff last year. It might have been masked some with Rondo's IQ in the mix. Gasol, I'm sure brings a little to the table with passing sets/IQ. But we've got a lot of work to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. I'm putting that more on the coaching staff than the new guys trying to fit in.

Last year I gave them a pass because I felt when you had Dwight, Kuz (not shooting well last year), Caruso (Last year Alex was not a threat from 3), and Rondo (on and off as a scoring threat) around AD, you did not always have a bench that was talented enough on offense to make good offense have.

This year though, it is all lineups. This AD rest, may be a blessing in disguise for the 2nd unit, as we may finally see some Trez-Schroder action, and a lot more of that elite 2nd unit play we wanted when we got Trez and Schroder.

I think we should be looking at max speed when it comes to the 2nd unit. Trez, Kuz, THT, Caruso and Dennis. Really push the ball, and get those momentum swinging plays. Then, bring in Bron for Dennis, If this lineup does well, when AD gets back in a month or 6 weeks, we can start to trust this 2nd unit without AD as well. The AD-Trez with Dennis lineups do not work in part because Dennis is not naturally a good pick and roll PG, nor a set up man, and you need that for AD-Trez to work. But if you now only have Trez inside as a target, with perimeter guys like Kuz-THT-Caruso all of whom can fake the 3 and drive, or just shoot the 3, you should have better offense just based on the simplicity of what guys have to do.
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