LAKERS -at- TWOLVES - 2/16 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

 
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DancingBarry
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:05 pm    Post subject: LAKERS -at- TWOLVES - 2/16 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

Going to War Without AD... With AD out, who would step into the void left by him? That will likely be a nightly question.

Tonight, it was a trio of the new guys -- Schröder, Gasol and Harrell -- who combined for 52 points.

Schröder and Gasol worked the two-man actions from the start and made themselves into more of a threat, while Harrell came off the bench to give the team some much-needed energy and effort.

The level of the competition wasn’t great. The Lakers were able to commit 10 first quarter turnovers and still lead by 3. That’s not to say, the TWolves weren’t going to competitive. They were. They got our defense scrambling, which led to open threes. While they didn’t take advantage of a lot of turnovers, they were able to take advantage of defensive miscues to make the Lakers pay.

L.A. was up 2 heading into the fourth quarter. They’d get a big three by Morris (one of three from him tonight) to go up 9 and force a timeout.

With LeBron resting, the Lakers would extend the lead to 14 with more bench scoring. But the TWolves weren’t going away. They’d trim the lead down to 5, but that’s when LeBron closed the door.

He’d find Kuzma, who’d score a layup, and then Gasol in the corner for a dagger three. Then he’d do it himself with a long jumper after running clock.

The Lakers took it 112-104. They improved to 5-1 without AD this season, and they’ll need more contribution from others like tonight to keep that up.

“I like what we have to go to war with,” Vogel said of the guys needing to step up in AD’s absence.


LeBron -- -- We’ve played him extra minutes lately and without AD, there will be no rest for LeBron. That wear may be seen a bit on some of his perimeter defense, which has been lagging in the past few games (tonight again a bit of that where his man was consistently knocking down threes). But LeBron is the motor of the offense. Without him we tend to see some of these droughts where the offense goes without scoring a field goal. He lept the motor going tonight. I think his old man game will likely resemble Magic when back he returned to playing. Magic had to go to his bigman skills, the hooks, the post passing, etc. LeBron had his old man hook shot action going early, hitting a couple of those across the lane as well as a half hook/half runner. You could definitely see him use that in his later years (whenever those really happen). Some sloppy ball early as he had 4 turnovers in the first quarter. We went for some high-risk passes (not just LBJ) in that first quarter and that hurt. In the fourth, he had a nice drive to muscle in an And-1 lefty layup in a crowd. He banked in a one-hander working the Boston Roll with Trezz off an ATO. A couple good defensive plays in the paint in the fourth. On one, he challenged at the rim to get a stop, pushed out the board and hit Dennis for a layup. On another, he stepped in to take a charge. Then, of course, he set the table to Kuz and Gasol to close the door late. The Stats: He scored 30 points on 13-20 shooting (1-4 from three, 3-4 from the line) to go with 13 boards, 7 assists, 1 block, 5 turnovers and 1 foul in 38 minutes. He was a +4.

Schröder -- -- He and Gasol played their best two-man action of the season. It wasn’t that they were a threat together, but individually, they worked it out. By that, I mean Schröder was using the Gasol screens to attack and get into his sweet spots. I mentioned Bron running the Boston Roll out of a timeout above, but we also saw Schroder/Gasol doing that early onl where Gasol re-screened his bigman in the paint and Schröder put his man in jail while waiting for that. First time we’ve seen that from those two all season. Other scores were simple attacks off the high screens with speed. And then, of course, cutting off Gasol when he has the ball in his hands to play make. That happened for a bucket early on and Gasol’s lone assist. Schröder had 10 points in those first 9 minutes. Then we sat him for a long stretch, but he came back aggressive, scoring a couple more buckets (he worked that backspin dribble off the Gasol screen into a baseline jumper). He also got the switch on Kat, pulled him out, then hit Gasol in the corner for a three. He had a +8 in the first half. Dennis was aggressive again in the third quarter, scoring 8 more. Smarter teams will collapse on Dennis and make him try to throw skip passes. Instead, the Wolves let Denns stay comfortable all game and he finished with the big scoring night. A couple bad plays in the close, missing two FTs on one trip with 3:50 left. Then traveling next time down. Defensively, feisty as usual from Dennis. He had 4 steals and a block. The Stats: He scored 24 points on 9-15 shooting (0-1 from three, 6-8 from the line) to go with 1 board, 3 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 5 turnovers and 2 fouls in 32 minutes. He was a +4.

Kuzma -- -- He got his first bucket on one of those corner crashes I mentioned recently. This one he tapped out the offensive board, relocated to the three line, got the ball back and then hit the three. A couple of ineffective attacks on the dribble after that. He’d get a key layup late in the game off a LeBron kickout, but a pretty quiet night offensively. We put him on Rubio defensively to get length, but that’s a tricky cover for Kuz to deal with the speed. He had a nice defensive stop, blocking a layup on the rim to save a bucket on a BLOB inbounds pass. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 3-6 shooting (1-2 from three) to go with 4 boards, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls in 26 minutes. He was a +5.

Caldwell-Pope -- -- Killing me. And it’s on both ends of the floor, too. It’s one thing to miss open threes and get into an all-around funk like he has, but to also have your D fall apart at times is puzzling. Some bad defensive plays tonight. For some reason, he tried to help Kuz on a guard-to-guard switch on the perimeter and KCP’s man ended up hitting the open three. In the second half, he tried pressuring his man at midcourt and ended up giving him a straight line drive all the way to the hoop for a score. Both of those just mental mistakes. He has usually struggled in the past when he’s thinking too much. Offensively, he was missing some very good looks. He finally got a corner three to fall, not hesitating. Hopefully, we get his confidence back soon and he gets into a groove. We need that guy back again. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 3-11 shooting (1-5 from three) to go with 3 boards, 1 steal, 1 turnover and no fouls in 31 minutes. He was a -2.

Gasol -- -- “Obviously, I’m going to get more touches. The ball is going to get in my hands more often,” Gasol said of AD’s absence. Tonight, he was hitting this three ball, going 3-4, including the dagger corner three late in the game. He brought him out there to close and he came up with a big one. The important thing about that is why he was open. We were able to run five-out down the stretch to give LeBron room to work. Gasol was in the strong side corner where you never want to help from. Some purpose there for a key bucket. Screen setting was key tonight. That freed up Schröder a ton to get running starts or pull-up into that midrange. On the defensive end, they were picking on Gasol early. With Kat being a perimeter threat we weren’t quite on the same page defensively with how we wanted to switch or drop. They improved that more as the game went along. Overall, much better integration of Gasol in this one. I’d still like to see more passing sequences for him. Vogel mentioned Marc being more assertive offensively, so hopefully we start seeing the team improve with how we use him. The Stats: He scored 11 points on 4-7 shooting (3-4 from three) to go with 5 boards, 1 assist, 2 blocks and 3 fouls in 30 minutes. He was a -5.

Harrell -- -- The stat line in this game is something. He had 17 points in 18 minutes on 7 attempts. Super efficient. Great job getting to the line and he knocked them all down. We can’t have him with just a couple of attempts like the last one. He had a mix of post ups and teammates setting him up. But he also hustled. He had an And-1 putback layup on a missed Laker jumper, that kind of play breaks the spirit of the opponent. His most important bucket might have been when LeBron was resting. Trezz got his hands on a perimeter steal, tracked down the ball and took it the distance for a score. I like it when he’s aggressive like that on the perimeter. The Stats: He scored 17 points on 5-7 shooting (7-7 from the line) to go with 6 boards (3 offensive), 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 turnovers and 2 fouls in 18 minutes. He was a +13.

Caruso -- -- Thought we should have played him more...especially when we went back to KCP late in the game. That should have been AC on the floor. Once again, he was back to leading the team in plus/minus with a +14 in his 18 minutes. That’s more like it. Some strong plays on D, including a track down block that he swatted out of bounds on the break. He also drew a charge and had a kick save on an inbounds pass under the hoop to prevent a layup. He also slowed his man by staying vertical in front of him while LeBron came from behind for the block. Just the usual assortment of little things that make a big difference. He also knocked down 1-2 from three, looking pretty confident when he released that one he sank. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 1-2 shooting from three to go with 2 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and 2 fouls in 18 minutes. He was +14.

Horton-Tucker -- -- More and more teams are going to be daring him to shoot the three by going under screens or seeing if he can beat them as they sag off and help others. Vogel limited THT’s minutes after a -8 in his 6-minute stretch. The top thing for him to work on is that three ball. He needs to be a catch-and-shoot threat before the end of the season or he needs to learn how to set screens to free up others like AC did in the playoffs last year when teams wanted to play off him. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-2 shooting (0-1 from three) in 6 minutes. He was a -8.

Morris -- -- Big minutes from Kieff tonight. He sank three threes, including a big one on the sideline that forced a TWolves timeout. After that, we actually called his number for a wing three cycling deeper into one of our corner sequences. He couldn’t hit that one, but nice to see us get a rep in on a play for him. When he’s knocking down the three ball for us, the team generally rolls as we get some floor spacing from a key position. Ideally, though, he’s out there with AD as our C. The Stats: He scored 9 points on 3-5 shooting from three to go with 2 boards, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 18 minutes. He was a +6.

Matthews -- -- That big three by Morris above was setup on a feed by Wes. He also drained a big three himself after that on a high handoff from Trezz. That was a big bucket as LeBron was resting. Earlier in the game, he also found Harrell for a dunk against the zone. Solid, serviceable minutes. The Stats: He scored 3 points on 1-2 shooting from three to go with 2 boards, 2 assists and 1 turnover in 22 minutes. He was a +9.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Sometimes (actually quite often), it’s just letting LeBron do his thing rather than any X’s and O’s. LeBron finding teammates down the stretch iced the game. The Lakers were up just 5 with 2 minutes left and LeBron drew the D to him and found Kuzma who scored a layup. Next time down, he ran clock, attacked and had Gasol in the strongside corner he hit for the three. For good measure, LeBron iso’d, ran clock and hit the long pull-up.

Key Substitution: That brief stretch where LeBron sat in the fourth, the Lakers actually extended to their biggest lead of the game. They lost a little of that but, when LeBron/AC sat the team was up 9, when he came back they were up 11. Important minutes by Trezz/Morris/Matthews/KCP/Schröder.

Key Stats: The TWolves had 92 attempts, the Lakers 77. Those 10 early turnovers by the Lakers cost them, but they did better as the game went along and finished with 18 to the Wolves 15. TWolves outrebounded the Lakers 11-6 on the offensive glass, for a few more possessions there. TWolves made 5 more threes. All of that would normally seem to spell a win for the opponent, but the Lakers were more efficient, scoring 50 in the paint and making 7 more FTs. Trezz and Dennis combined for 13-15 from the line.
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lakermaniac
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:08 pm    Post subject:

first!
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lakermaniac
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:10 pm    Post subject:

And thank you DB. Great writeups. Much appreciated!
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DrDent
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:21 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

Without AD, my nightly expectations have decreased to just above the "LBJ with the young kids" level, first 30 games of that season (before LBJ's injury, when Lakers were 19-11). They will still be competitive, I think motivated to be even more so since they dont have the big fella to rely on for both ends. I do think they will struggle against at-full-strength "powerhouses" currently playing, but against most other teams I think the Lakers will be fine.

I have a feeling AD's absence will be extended to 20 games (hope I'm wrong). If the Lakers during that time span were 12-8, or 13-7 (overall record, say, of 35-14), I'd be fine with that...albeit they likely drop to a 4 or 5 seed in the standings. That would give them about 20ish games to move up in the standings with AD, which I think they will. Then, team will be good to go.

One thing I found amusing - after Denver shot lights out from 3 vs the Lakers on Sunday, they caught the 3 shooting curse from the Lakers, and shot just 26% from 3. I hope it sticks with them, we've had enough of it


Last edited by DrDent on Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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akgolf
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:21 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB!
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Dr. Laker
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:28 pm    Post subject:

akgolf wrote:
Thanks DB!


+1.

I missed the game due to a 3 hour Zoom meeting (yuck).
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DancingBarry
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2021 11:34 pm    Post subject:

Dr. Laker wrote:
akgolf wrote:
Thanks DB!


+1.

I missed the game due to a 3 hour Zoom meeting (yuck).


Painful.
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pio2u
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:05 am    Post subject:

DB rules!
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danzag
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:28 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!

Great to see players stepping up in AD's absence
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deal
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:20 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB!! I missed the game totally because of a work crunch but your writeup really helps me understand how the game went down.
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