SUNS -at- LAKERS - 6/3 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:22 pm    Post subject: SUNS -at- LAKERS - 6/3 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

Tough to Repeat... Anthony Davis tried to give it a go, but as the minutes went along, his lack of mobility and increasing pain became more and more apparent.

Had the Lakers even won this game or this series, they would not have gotten far without him (not to mention LeBron’s struggles to get to the rim with any consistency from his injury).

They subbed him out early, down 7 after a few minutes. As the first quarter went along, the Lakers quickly fell back further and further. They gave up 22 points to Booker in the first quarter as the Suns ran similar plays again and again and the Lakers allowed him to shoot instead of making him a passer. He scored 17 straight for the Suns at one point. Vogel burned multiple timeouts in the quarter.

The lead ballooned to 29 points in the first half.

In the third quarter, it was all about floor spacing. They went with Gasol, Morris and LeBron as the centers. They cut the lead down to 13 with 4 minutes left in the third to force a timeout. They trimmed it further as they went small and had a chance to cut it to 9, but missed a three.

A series of freethrows and a flagrant-1, allowed the Suns to edge that lead back up.

They trailed 89-76 heading into the fourth.

Getting out on the break, they would trim it to 10 with 7 minutes left. But a couple of jumpers by CP3 and another Suns three and they were down 17. That was all she wrote for the Laker season. Just too big a hill to climb after going down 29. The Lakers fell 113-100.

It’s tough to repeat. The quick turnaround made it tougher.


LeBron -- -- This wasn’t the pre-injury LeBron we saw this year. It’s too bad. When the Suns were able to keep their backup bigs in early and LeBron was unable to get to the rim and finish, that’s just a problem. Yes, it makes it worse when guys aren’t hitting threes. But from Game 1, quarter 1, of this series this has been a problem. That really concerned me because Playoff LeBron is a bully and a beast going to the rack. He just hasn’t been able to do that since the return from the injury. He’s got a lengthy offseason to get his wheels back under him. He had 14 points on 4-9 shooting in the first half and a couple of really poor passes (just 2 assists with 2 turnovers). In the third quarter, he started to get downhill more. Runways to the hoop opened up a little more with our smaller lineups. Still, he struggled a few times trying to finish over Booker on drives. Those are usually just automatic layups. Good effort by Bron until the last couple minutes, but we’d have to win probably a couple of series before AD could return, I would think. That wasn’t going to happen. “Never fully got back to before the injury,” LeBron said of how he felt. The lack of continuity this season in the roster also had an impact. “We never really got an opportunity to see our full team,” LeBron said. Fluke injury for LeBron having a guy roll over his leg. Looking forward to a healthy next season. The Stats: He scored 29 points on 11-26 shooting (3-10 from three, 4-6 from the line) to go with 9 boards, 7 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers and 1 foul in 41 minutes. He was a -3.

Davis -- -- Reports before the game said he was wincing and didn’t have his usual bounce to himself in the pre-game warmups. With the back against the wall, they gave him the greenlight to start. “I just wanted to be out there for the team,” he said. In the first few possessions of the game, you saw him hold his groin area. He was laboring more and more by the minutes. By the 6:35 mark, we had to take a timeout and he hit the floor on the sideline unable to go. The Lakers were down 14-7 when he sat. More than anyone on the team, the short turnaround this year really seemed to impact him. He came out of the gates very slow. Then the injuries derailed his regular season and then the playoffs. Time to rest and recover. The Stats: He had 1 board and 1 assist in 5 minutes. He was a -7.

Schröder -- -- He didn’t do himself too many favors in this playoff series. That probably limits both his worth to the Lakers and his value to the league. With AD unable to go and LeBron limited, he really needed to bring his A game in the past couple. We had a couple good ones from him early in the series. Ultimately, no Rondo or no Danny Green was saving this season with the injuries we had. Glad we had a fully healthy playoff run last year to get that ring. Schröder had a team-low -18 in the first half in 16 minutes. He was 1-6 for 4 points in that first half. Kind of picking up where he left off. In the second half, however, he started to make things happen. He attacked for scores and hit a three. He was selling out on D, trying to stir things up. That was a key part in the Lakers forcing a timeout in the third down 13. We needed four quarters of that. We needed more spacing for him to have success. I think a vertical threat to throw lobs to would help, also. And, well, Covid really impacted his playing time this season and that disrupted chemistry. The Stats: He scored 20 points on 6-14 shooting (2-6 from three, 6-6 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 38 minutes. He was a -9.

Caldwell-Pope -- -- He had a nice 8-0 run going for him in the second quarter, then we accidentally subbed him out (LeBron came in for the wrong guy). Just par for the course. But it was good to see KCP looking confident offensively for the first time this postseason. He picked up a flagrant on a track down foul, his third foul of the first half in the final 30 seconds of the half. Still, good half with 11 points on 3-5 shooting. First time he looked like himself offensively despite the injury. He had CP3 on him defensively quite a bit. We know CP3’s shoulder is in pain, you need to have him trying to fight through screens to cover KCP having to lead with that shoulder. We saw him get an And-1 layup cutting off Gasol against CP3 to start the second half. He had a nice putback on the break that got us down to 10 in that fourth. Needed this KCP earlier. Hard to play without that. The Stats: He scored 19 points on 7-11 shooting (3-6 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 1 turnover and 4 fouls in 39 minutes. He was a -4.

Gasol -- -- He got the start in place of Drummond as we ran AD at PF. He was just a -5 in his 14 first half minutes. The other 10 minutes he was off the court, we were a -16 (with Harrell largely there as our backup C in that half). He did a great job setting up teammates early in the third quarter, but was getting tagged with fouls. Vogel challenged one of them, but Gasol clearly had a foot in the restricted area. Despite that, we were just a -2 in his 18 minutes as we utilized him much better. Don’t know why it took so long in this series to lean into his playmaking (7 assists tonight). Hard to say what happens with him. He has the option to return. When healthy with Gasol out there early in this season, we looked good. LeBron and AD need a floor spacer at the C spot. That’s got to be a priority as it activates our stars even if Gasol isn’t scoring. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-1 shooting to go with 3 boards, 7 assists, 1 block and 4 fouls in 18 minutes. He was a -3.

Harrell -- -- He came in as our backup C in the first quarter, changing up our rotations further. The team definitely needed some spark, but it kind of negates LeBron’s limited ability to drive further. He was a -16 in those first 8 minutes. You really need to lean in to LeBron getting space to work in this game. Harrell’s role this season was as a minutes eater. We did that with McGee last year and Howard. You need that when you are slogging through winter and tired on some random nights on the road. We never really established chemistry with him. Schröder and THT had moments, but Schröder getting sidelined with the pandemic protocols disrupted that at a key time. I don’t think Trezz’s value is as high as it was last offseason. It wouldn’t surprise me if he picked up his option, but we will see. The past two seasons have shown it’s tough to play him in the postseason. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-4 shooting to go with 2 offensive boards and 1 foul in 8 minutes. He was a -16.

Kuzma -- -- Rough playoffs for him again. His game was just scattered this whole series. He could never find a role. Nothing he really worked on this season transferred to this series. Tonight was no exception. Not sure what his future is with the team. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-6 shooting (0-2 from three) to go with 4 boards, 1 steal, 2 turnover and no fouls in 18 minutes. He was a -4.

Caruso -- -- He hurt an ankle in the first half and was questionable to return. He did not. He was one of our better three shooters this series. To me, our core four has been and still is AD, Bron, KCP and AC. None of those guys were healthy in this series. He wants to return. Hopefully, he can work out a reasonable deal. He plays well with the superstars. When you need to rely on him to do more, his limited game gets exposed. Ultimately, that probably keeps his value down. But some of the advanced metrics out there show him as one of the best defensive guards in the league. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-3 shooting to go with 1 board, 1 assist and 1 foul in 8 minutes. He was a -6.

Horton-Tucker -- -- A lot more action for THT tonight. Good to get the youngster some more playoff experience. He hit a couple of fades in that fourth. And then had a massive putback jam to cut it to 11. Then he set a pin-in screen to free up Schröder for a three in the corner for a LeBron pass. Good to see someone thinking off ball. I think late in the game, LeBron wanted THT to take a hard foul on Booker instead of letting him take the ball in for a dunk up big in the final minute. Booker then talked trash and got teched up. (Save it for when you win a ring.) That’s just going to heat things up a little more next season. As for THT, the offseason is all about that three shooting. Work on that. If you get bored, work on it some more. Maybe add a floater. But stay in the gym. The Lakers control his rights and destiny if they want to retain him. We need him to step it up for next season to give the team some internal growth. He really did grow a lot this season. Become a threat from three and this game blows up for him. The Stats: He scored 12 points on 6-9 shooting (0-1 from three) to go with 2 boards and 1 foul in 19 minutes. He was a -1.

Morris -- -- We went small with him at C after Gasol picked up fouls. Had he been able to hit his threes, things might have gotten a little more interesting. Twice he could have trimmed the lead down at a key juncture and couldn’t knock down those open threes. Painful. His three ball really fell off. He was exhausted at times this season and mentioned that. That may have caught up with him with the three ball going south late in the season. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-4 shooting (0-3 from three) to go with 1 board, 1 assist and 4 fouls in 16 minutes. He was a -8.

Matthews -- -- His 4 minutes early on was a -11. He airballed a three trying to draw a foul, missed another three and missed a floater. Meanwhile, Booker was enjoying his time on him on the other end. Part of that was on the coaches with leaving Wes on an island trying to cover a hot hand or chase off down screens. Much better second half where he was able to hit a couple of threes cutting lead from 18 to 15, then 15 to 12. He had a couple of chances to the cut the lead to single digits and missed both of those threes. He was a +7 in that second half. Good job hitting the offensive glass trying make things happen when we were behind. Just too big a hole. Good job battling, though. The Stats: He scored 12 points on 4-12 shooting (2-6 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 6 boards (4 offensive), 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 fouls in 28 minutes. He was a -4.

Dudley -- -- In for the final seconds. Wonder if he makes the coaching staff this offseason. I’d be surprised if that last stint was not his last one as a player. The Stats: He played 1 minute and was a +0.

McLemore -- -- In for the final minute. The Stats: He played 1 minute and was a +0.

McKinnie -- -- He missed a three in the final minute. The Stats: He was 0-1 in 1 minute. He was a +0.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Booker scoring 17 straight in that first quarter. Occasionally, running the same plays without adjustments. I’m not putting that all on Vogel because he seemed ticked on how we defended certain sequences, and man, did he burn his timeouts early.

Key Substitution: Kuzma coming in for AD down 7 early. AD just got progressively worse until trying to contest a shot was too much. He needs weeks off, not a week. Tough break for Vogel and the team. Healthy, they take this series. I have no doubt. We deal with these same injuries in the first round of last year, we probably get bounced, as well.

Key Stats: Booker with the 33-point first half and the Suns team going 12-20 from three. Even without Booker going 7-8 from three in that half, the rest of the Suns team was a strong 5-12. You could maybe survive one of those things happening, but not both unless the offensive game was blowing up.

Mrs. DB and Family -- -- Once again, thank you to my family for all the sacrifices so I can cover the team for the site. Often, I’d be sitting on the couch with my laptop, legs up and my dog sitting on my feet as I pounded away on the keyboard. I would have loved to cover another 20 games, but I’m also going to enjoy the time off.

Thank you all, too, LG in and out of this thread for your participation. Wish we could have gotten into the chess match more in this playoffs, but injuries were the story.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:28 pm    Post subject:

Cheers for another season of Thoughts and Ratings! Many thanks for all the great write ups. Particularly for these last two playoff games which I’m sure were just hideous.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:33 pm    Post subject:

Thanks for the write-ups. Very disappointing season with the injuries to AD and LeBron. LeBron clearly looked limited this series and wasn't able to get to the rim with any kind of lift. The Suns were second seed for a reason but they were playing above their own heads this series and I think they'll end up coming back down to Earth in round 2. I don't see Devin Booker shooting basically 90% from the field going forward.

It's a lose-lose situation with how to handle AD, he knew he'd get attacked for not trying to play this game, and he knew he'd get attacked if he sat out. I believe that if AD and LeBron had been healthy we would have gotten at least to the WCF. It's a shame. I thought after game 3 with how AD, LeBron and the rest of the team were playing that we were winning this in 5 but AD's injury really killed us.

Rest in the offseason, I'm sure changes will happen including a coaching change.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:39 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB for another season of great Thoughts and Ratings! I always have to see how you chose the emoji's for each game and your analysis to back it up. As for the Lakers, get some rest and get healthy!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:49 pm    Post subject:

DB- thank you again for yet another amazing, well thought-out, insightful, game breakdown summary. All of us look forward to reading your post game thoughts. Too bad this is it for this season.

Was such a bumpy road this year.

- 21-6 start, but concerns over the quality of the wins (eg the 3 consecutive overtime games vs average to subpar opponents)
- AD's injury. Doubts what this will do to the team.
- Team still is able to hold onto the second best record then...
-LBJ goes down soon thereafter
-Team goes through a period of trying to figure out if they can add some verticality (e.g. Damon Jones) at the C position
-Team starts falling in the standings. Drummond signs.
-Lose twice to the Mavs, will we end up in the play-in?
-AD is back. Team has big game versus the Blazers. Lose a close one, now 2 games out of the 6th seed.
-Lakers beat the Suns, with no LBJ, as AD dominates. We're back! Go 5-0 to end the season.
-Beat the Warriors in the play-in on an LBJ dagger 3!
-Go up 2-1 on the Suns! AD dominates with back to back 30 / 10 games...joy on the bench again...

then AD gets hurt. Then KCP gets hurt. Then AC gets hurt. LBJ, not the same since his return...

Season over.

Now we have the offseason. Honestly, while I am disappointed, I have to say last year's championship still brings a sense of - calm? No repeat, yes, but now we start over again, from scratch (as in being a challenger vs a title defender), as we try to win another and knock off the new Champ.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:58 pm    Post subject:

The game pretty much went how we all knew it would, but hoped it wouldn’t. Frustrating to say the least as this might of been the last year we had a chance to win without getting another superstar player. Unfortunately, injuries killed what chance we had.

Thanks DB, it’s not a complete game or season without your write ups.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:02 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

I wish the Lakers played the last two games with as much heart from start to finish as you put in your recaps.

Enjoy the offseason.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:13 pm    Post subject:

DB,

Well this post is a LOT different from the 4 Horsemen post that ended last year!

Maybe next year!

Great, great, great job as always.

Sometimes your write-ups were all I could take of this season.

This team will be torn-down and rebuilt again, hopefully with players who can stay healthy and perform under pressure.

Interesting who will be left from among the carnage that is about to happen to this team...

There is always hope that tomorrow will bring better days.

Get some rest my brother and be ready for next season!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:14 pm    Post subject:

Thank you DB. And a thank you to your family as well.

Excellent T&R as always.

Injuries after the shortest off season in NBA history for a team that played the longest, fought and won the title series and got almost no rest. It's disappointing but not at all surprising. I do not blame a single member of this squad. On to next year.

Would love to see a healthy LBJ, AD, AC and KCP on next year's squad. Kuz is coming around IMO. At least it's a decent off season to heal up this time.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:34 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB for all your efforts this year!

It wasn't the outcome we wanted but the journey this year was still fun at times.

And made all the more enjoyable by your T&R after each game.

Here's to a better Lakers season next year.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:43 pm    Post subject:

Thx DB!

You are amazing and your work is greatly appreciated.

Much Love!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:51 pm    Post subject:

Thank you, DB, for all the write-ups. What a disappointing season. Onto next year.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:55 pm    Post subject:

Thank you DB and DB’s family. Loved your write ups this season.

Nothing you can do with so many injuries, then the Suns were just unconscious from outside. Surely that’s fools gold for them. I’ll enjoy watching them get exposed against the rest of the west. Ayton vs Jokic seems like it’ll be a bad matchup for them.

I appreciated the team at least showed some fight to make it interesting unlike game 5. Loved the mini THT run in the 4th capped by the highlight putback. Too bad we couldn’t see more THT this series.

Unfortunately both Schröder and Drummond left a bad taste, and big disappointment with Harrell’s trajectory here. The chemistry was off the whole year and just goes to show, maybe we shouldn’t have tinkered so much with last year’s championship squad. The front office has some things to think about. Hopefully they vaporize the 4 year $84 million offer to Schroder. It’ll be interesting to see whether Harrell exercises that player option and what kind of offers come in for THT and Caruso.

Ultimately with a healthy Lebron and AD, we could have competed with any team. Hope to see AD and the team on a mission next season.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 12:04 am    Post subject:

Let’s be honest, if Booker and crowder were going to shoot like that, we would lose either way.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:17 am    Post subject:

Thank you and Mrs DB and bless the family - you bring your A game even when the team is unable to and where most others (like me) would not even want to type one word. Much respect.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:21 am    Post subject:

Thanks for another season DB!
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:28 am    Post subject:

Thanks for your effort all season long, DB! Here's to next season!
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:36 am    Post subject:

Thanks for your dedication through all the ups an downs.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 6:37 am    Post subject:

I can always count on DB for smart analysis. Thanks for another great season of insight, DB.

The team never had enough time to gel due to the short turnaround, injuries and COVID. They made all the right moves, on paper, to improve from last year's team - Trez, Gasol, Schroeder, THT development, but unless you can fully integrate them with AD and LBJ, paper is just paper.

Sad to see this year end.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 6:37 am    Post subject:

I can always count on DB for smart analysis. Thanks for another great season of insight, DB.

The team never had enough time to gel due to the short turnaround, injuries and COVID. They made all the right moves, on paper, to improve from last year's team - Trez, Gasol, Schroeder, THT development, but unless you can fully integrate them with AD and LBJ, paper is just paper.

Sad to see this year end.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 6:42 am    Post subject:

with Lebron at 65% and AD at 0% there’s not much to discuss. Thx for the write up.... as always
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 7:59 am    Post subject:

Hindsight is 20 20. Rob put together a championship team then broke it up. He went from genius to numskull in 1 season.

Not putting all the blame on Pelinka, some of it falls on the FO. Many of the players we traded perormed well. BI, Clarkson, Randell, Lue Will, McGee, Howard, I could go on and on but I think my point is made. Those we got underperformed. Schroeder, Drummond, KCP, to name some.

For the Lakers to return to glory the FO is the group that has to step up.

DB have a great off season. When the book hits the shelves hit me up. I'll buy a copy. I have a name for it The Four Horsemen. Until next season.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:15 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB, we all appreciate the hard work you put into these rather painful write-ups.

Due to my lowered expectations following Game 5, I was just glad that the team didn't roll over and die once they fell behind. That third quarter rally was gratifying, though you knew that it was highly unlikely that they'd make it a close game. I wish THT got more time on the floor, both for the playoff experience and personal indulgence as there wasn't much else to look forward to in a lop-sided game.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:43 am    Post subject:

The Lakers might not have been up to repeating, largely due to health issues, but you (DB) just go back to back to back every year.

I don't thank you often enough for all your work, but do know, it is always appreciated and a must read.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:48 am    Post subject:

ribeye wrote:
The Lakers might not have been up to repeating, largely due to health issues, but you (DB) just go back to back to back every year.

I don't thank you often enough for all your work, but do know, it is always appreciated and a must read.


This.
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