Lakers/Warriors: What I Saw From The Stands

Darius Soriano —  March 16, 2010

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As I mentioned in the comments of the game preview, this was a game that I had the pleasure of attending.  And let me just say that I don’t think I could have been at a more entertaining game.  The crowd was great, the game was a back and forth affair, and in the end the Lakers dodged a couple of daggers from Curry and Monta and came out victorious.  All in all a pretty good night.  As for the breakdown of what I saw from the stands, here it is bullet style:

*This really was a game of size vs. speed.  Bynum, Gasol, and Odom pretty much towered over every Warrior’s defender that tried to guard them.  After looking at the box score, it’s no surprise that those three guys combined for 62 points and 35 rebounds (including 12 offensive) while converting on 23 of their 33 shots.  The Warriors had no answer for our big men inside and the Lakers could and should have exploited this match up more than they did this evening.  There were at least 6 to 10 plays where I thought the ball needed to go into the post, but instead the wing man looked off our big man and swung the ball around the perimeter instead.  I’m not exactly sure what the wing player saw, but I know I saw an open big man fighting for position on the block against a player that was at least 5 inches shorter.  And I should mention that even though all of our bigs played well, I thought Pau was the most impressive.  He again showed a wide array of post moves and also had a couple of nice jumpers from the wing.  One play that I was particularly impressed with was when he made the catch on the left wing at about 20 feet out and was picked up by Maggette.  Pau then proceeded to dribble towards the rim, shield off Maggette, turn into the paint, and then drop a soft right handed hook into the cup.  On a possession he started near the three point line, the man got a lay up all with a SF pestering him on his handle.  That big Spaniard is quite skilled.

*If there were two areas where the Lakers really played poorly it was their pick and roll defense and their carelessness with the ball on offense.  On the P&R, I thought the Lakers did a good job of stringing out the Warriors guards and not allowing them a direct path to the basket, but absolutely no one was covering the screen man after the pick was set.  I don’t know how it looked on television, but watching the Warriors big men just dive to the cup over and over again to get easy buckets was quite frustrating.  And even when the Lakers did collapse the paint to contest the roll man, they left shooters around the arc wide open with nary a close out.  I understand that Golden State plays a style of play with unorthodox lineups that are tough to contend with.  But it really was maddening watching Steph Curry dissect us with easy passes to players that were wide open.  And then the turnovers?  There were times where it seemed like the Lakers were confused as to who their teammates were.  In the first half Bynum literally threw the ball away twice in a manner that had me completely  convinced that he did not even bother to look before he passed.  Eight turnovers for our young big man and that is way too many.  But, he doesn’t even take the cake when it comes to giving the ball away because of Kobe’s nine(!) miscues.  Kobe’s first two giveaways were innocent enough as Monta read his backdown dribble and reached around for a nifty steal and then later Kobe just threw a bad pass on a lob pass to Bynum that they’ve executed a hundred times before.  But over the course of the evening, the jump passes and the mishandled dribbles became more and more frustrating to watch.  24 total turnovers for the Lakers and they were only able to get back 5 of their own from a solid Warriors team.  Rarely do you win when you’re -19 in the turnover game but the Lakers found a way.

*Until you actually see Golden State in person and witness their commitment to pushing the pace I don’t think you can fully appreciate how hard they get out and run.  They really do race the ball up the court and attack you with hard drives to the rim, floaters in the lane, and drag screen and rolls.  And then when they see you recovering to the paint to stop Maggette or Watson or Ellis on their drives, Morrow and Tolliver and Curry break free to shoot wide open jumpers from behind the arc.  It’s no wonder that Kobe was saying after the game that they’ll take the win and not take much from this specific game.  No other team plays a style and with such abandon that the Warriors do.  Even the 7 seconds or less Suns had some sort of method to their madness.  This Warriors team is like watching those old Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble LMU teams.  They just run and run and run and fire up shots and pressure you into playing their style.  If they could actually defend the paint and rebound, they’d really be dangerous.

*I hate to use this play on words but the Lakers must be into sloppy seconds.  This was another game where they showed no desire to execute on offense or defense in the second period.  This truly has been an ongoing theme this season and I don’t get it.  I recall during the Denver broadcast a couple of weeks ago the announcers mentioned how the Lakers own the best point differential in the NBA for the first quarter.  So, maybe they just get comfortable with their lead and start to relax or maybe our bench really is that bad and they can’t focus on playing the style that built up the lead.  I really wish I had an answer, but I don’t.  Against the Warriors, the Lakers turned a 7 point first quarter lead into a 6 point halftime deficit and if it looked half as ugly on TV as it did in person, I’m sorry for all of you just like I felt sorry for myself.  The only thing that made it worse were these two 20-something kids behind me asking if I was a Lakers fan and then proceeding to tell me how much better Cleveland and Lebron are than the Lakers and Kobe.  Good times at Oracle at halftime.

*The Lakers are obviously struggling with their backup guards.  Farmar’s hand still is not right (that missed lefty reverse is a shot that he’s converted all season) and Sasha’s leash is incredibly short (Phil actually put Sasha in, watched him force a pass to a covered teammate, and then instantly whistled to Farmar to go back in – wow).  You throw in Shannon and his (some would say over) confidence in his ability to get a shot and there aren’t too many positives with this group.  I was happy to see Shannon get some crunch time burn, but I was not happy to see him ignore  big men that had good post position, or watch him dribble between his legs as he probed the defense for an opening that never materialized, or watch him go under screens on Curry when the kid was obviously feeling good about his offense.  I think it’s obvious at this point that the coaches have empowered Shannon to play this way, but I’m really missing the guy that we got from Charlotte last season; the guy that played masterfully off the ball and only shot when he was open and was a willing passer.  Whatever happened to that player, I may never know nor understand.

*As for the Warriors, I must give them a bunch of credit.  These guys don’t quit and they play until the final buzzer.  They have enough talent on offense to keep any game close and if you miss enough shots or turn the ball over enough they will hang tough with you for an entire game.  Curry is something special, Maggette is finally free to just attack as often as he likes, and their bigs (despite their lack of pedigree) are skilled enough to hit the open shots that are made available to them.  If Monta Ellis could have bought a bucket tonight, this game could have been much, much different and likely would have titled to the Warriors.  And even with a “C” performance from Monta, the Warriors still had a chance to tie the game at the end and had a shot rim out that just as easily could have fallen.

In the end, just an exciting game and a great atmosphere to watch it in.  I really can’t say enough about the crowd and how they created an environment that inspired their home team to give their all.  The chants of “defense” were deafening at times and while I don’t think the Lakers were affected, I know that the Warriors were motivated by their home fans.  I was lucky enough to attend the Warriors/Dallas playoff games during the “We Believe” era of the team and while this crowd wasn’t quite to that level they were close there in the second period and at the end of the game.  When the Lakers went on their run in the middle part of the fourth quarter, you did hear a lot of Lakers cheers, but those fans just seemed to motivate the Warriors fans to come alive again for that one final push at the end.  Again, just a great crowd that really knows its hoops and makes the game that much more fun to be at.

Darius Soriano

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23 responses to Lakers/Warriors: What I Saw From The Stands

  1. The game was very entertaining. I know we always talk about defense, but for once the offense looked really good. I am glad they put up 124 points even if it was against a poor team. Imagine how many more points we would have had if it wasnt for all those turnovers?

  2. thisisweaksauce March 16, 2010 at 12:28 am

    I hate how Sasha’s leash is so short. Shannon’s leash should be short: he makes so many bad decisions on offense sometimes. He’s not changing because the coaching staff has empowered him to play the way he is right now. It sucks.

  3. I agree. Sasha doesn’t seem to force too many things now, and actually challenges shots on defense. Shannon, on the other hand, pops all kinds of jumpers and dribbles way too much. And his shots are not falling.

  4. The way the coaches have allowed Shannon to play like an offensive star with green light to create and shoot, reminds me of when Houston turned the team over to Aaron Brooks.

    Different players, but same feeling that here is a player in over his head, with way too much green light.

    Brooks made the most of it to say the least, maybe Shannon can work his way to a new comfort level!? Maybe he will become our Eddie House/J.R.Smith!?

  5. 4. eddie house/jr smith if they couldnt shoot

  6. 1st. I want to say that was the worst defense I’ve ever seen on a possession to end the game. Fisher literally just left Curry who was hot all game to double team Maggette, who’s not a good 3 point shooter, 30ft from the basket. I mean if they make those type of mental mistakes during crunch time in the playoffs, they will have a really difficult time.

    I missed the game but I watched the replay so I was really focusing on what the guys were doing because I knew the outcome of the game. But I really don’t see Shannon being a part of the shortened rotation come playoff time. I just don’t think the lakers can afford his decision making and lack of defense when they play the better teams in the league. I think Phil is giving Shannon a trial run and figuring out if he’ll play Shannon in the playoffs. We get glimpses of how good Shannon can be, but man. Shannon Brown is reminding me of Sasha of last season on offense and smush parker on defense. Shannon by far has the lowest bball iq on the team. Shannon has been with the lakers for a year and a half. He should know the offense but doesn’t and he’s gets a pass to just run around and shoot the ball whenever he touches it. Shannon has supreme athleticism and some skill. But Phil not forcing him to play the right way on both ends of the court is really going to prevent him from becoming a real contributor to a championship team.

    Yeah the dubs were hot but the lakers gave up 121 points, that’s inexcusable. Lakers still need to get it together. I don’t know how many times we will have to say that. And yes this game is against the dubs so like Kobe said you really can’t take much from this game. But you can look at the type of mistakes they make.

  7. watching the replay of the last play, can somebody please explain wtf was fisher thinking?

  8. The Lakers certainly played to the Warriors style. The game was very helter skelter with a lot of bad passes and bad shots. Brown put up a lot of bad shots as some by Bynum not reading the defense properly (but to be fair he couldn’t really pass it either last night every time he did he turned it over). It was a fun game to watch though and Curry is better than I thought. He had some very good passes, though the Lakers lazy D helped make it easier for him.

  9. the onliest explanation is that he was afraid (told not) to foul him on three.

  10. Darius> or maybe our bench really is that bad

    ahem. (sorry, taken completely out of context, but when I see a hidden gem like this I feel a need to provide some emPHAsis.)

  11. Actually, watching the replay of the last play again, Fisher’s boneheadedness wasn’t even the worst part of that play. It was Gasol’s. Gasol didn’t even attempt to grab the rebound, it went right over his head and nobody, absolutely nobody was boxing him out, no one was even close to him. That gave Monta another chance to tie the game. Bynum gets scolded when plays like that happen. But not even a brief mention when Gasol does stuff like that. The Lakers should’ve went into overtime and lost this game. They just broke down in crunch time.

  12. tsuwm,
    Fish was doing what Fish does. He was trying to go over the screen and follow the man. It was just that the man reversed on him and he was left standing next to Pau.

    This is a perfect illustration of how our team does not defend the pick-and-roll well, even when there is no second offensive player involved.

  13. Are we positive that Sasha was pulled because of a stupid mistake? I only saw the game briefly but I remember Sasha coming out because of a hard foul or something that was causing tension between the teams. Maybe I’m wrong..?

  14. BaronVonAwesome March 16, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Does anyone else feel like Kobe looks off Andrew more often than not recently? I get the feeling his level of trust in Andrew has diminished somewhat.

    I totally agree that feeding the big men should have been a priority in a game like this. I found myself yelling at the telly every time Kobe or Shannon decided to swing the ball/dribble away rather than feed Andrew/Pau/Lamar on the block.

    I feel like that was partly because Kobe was focused on dueling Monta rather than running the offense at times.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the post above that the team should not give up so many points against any team, including the Warriors. The attitude that its fine to coast through some games and not others can’t be helpful in the long run.

  15. I think Fisher did what he was supposed to do. All day, Curry would take the handoff and roll over the top, and I’m sure the assignment was a switch to avoid the three pointer. But, since the play was designed really well and Curry back cut (which was described as a really good play by Kamenetsky on espnlosangeles) Curry got an open look.

    Don Nelson is known for his offense after all, and it worked perfectly. All game, the warriors guards rolled over the top, and on the final play, he got open because he knew the Lakers were looking for it. Fisher went to Maggette quickly because it looked like the same roll was happening.

    I really liked watching Steph Curry. He is a good bball player. If he gets a trash talking streak, he may be the next Reggie Miller.

    Completely agree that the Lakers succumbed to the warriors playing style. While fun to watch (and you have to admit that was a fun game to watch) it would have been nice to see the discipline of the triangle offense.

    But with all that said, the last minute was inexcusable. Even against a 1-2-2 zone, the triangle is still supposed to work. But I didn’t see it executed, which was sad because Pau was working the middle and asking for the ball. But what is it about NBA players trying to prove that they can beat the zone on their own. The turnover by Kobe that led to the Monta Ellis three was inexcusable.

    But, we got the win. And as Kobe said, against this team, that is all that mattered. And before we start harping on Fish for not being able to stop Curry, can someone name anyone that could stop Curry?

  16. I – along with everyone else – would love to be a fly on the wall when the coaches are talking to the players.

    Are our guards totally disregarding the coaching instructions; is their court vision that limited; is their fundamental understanding of our offense that poor; or are our coaches saying something to the players that they won’t disclose to the rest of us?

  17. 14 – Yes, Sasha got the ball poked away from him by Monta, it landed in the hands of Tolliver, then Sasha fouled Tolliver to prevent a 3 on 1 break. This was only about 30 seconds into the 2nd quarter.

    2 – I, too, did not like how short Sasha’s leash was in this game. If Phil can’t give him some quality burn against the W’s, then against who else? Farmar was nearly non-existent last night, Shannon got pretty big minutes but really didn’t contribute much.

    I really hope Phil gives Sasha some minutes now to see what he can provide come playoff time. He is the ONLY player off the bench who has proven to be a dead-eye shooter. He needs to be given at least a chance to return to machine form. We are really going to be in trouble if we can’t get some good perimeter shooting from the bench, or even the starters for that matter.

    Please don’t forget we greatly benefited from some of our guys shooting out of their minds beyond the arc in last years postseason…

    Lamar shot 32% on 3s during the regular season, but 51.4% during the playoffs, while Ariza shot 31.9% on 3s during the regular season, but 47.6% during the playoffs. That’s a 19.4% and 15.7% increase, respectively. That’s astronomical!! Throw in Fisher’s two huge clutch 3’s in game 4 (?), while he was only 28.4% from beyond the arc in the postseason.

    It’s scary how fluky it seems looking back.

  18. First off – Curry is going to be a superstar. Based on last night I like him better then Paul, Williams and Harris. He is so quick. Fish and Farmar looked like they was chasing a shadow. Kobe also looked really bad several times on D.

    When you have quick guards, Curry, Ellis and Watson and a vet coach you know the Lakers won’t cover the spread.

    With the slowest point quard in Fisher, Nelson knows you run the court and either get a layup or wide open 3 for someone.

    He also knows if you double Kobe you will get turnovers. He is now turning over 6 a game the last 2 weeks.

    Lakers would beat this team easier with Rad, Turiaf and Biedrins back. Fast and quick shooters to this Lakers team means “oh boy its a pick-up-game at the park.” Not smart.

    Tonight could be the same but Sac is not nearly as fast as GS. Nothing is easy this year for the Lakers.

  19. Last night’s game was one of those games in an 82 game schedule that you just have to win. It may not be pretty and it may not be awe-inspiring, but it was a win. Most teams know when they play against a Nellie-ball coached team that they will run a little more than usual, but that’s all. Nellie may have a lot of wins, but that’s due to the fact that he’s coached a lot – with very little emphasis on defense. We let them back in, but got the W on the dubs. They have a nice fan-base. Too bad their team hasn’t been good since the Run TMC days. Curry is the real deal and it’s a shame that he’ll likely have to suffer through a few more years of this in the Bay Area before he gets a shot to take his pure shooting stroke to a team that might actually use for something more than just points in the box score. Oh well – off to Cowtown and the queens. Let’s keep the win train moving forward…

  20. I got to see the game with a friend who’s a coach. Good stuff. Most of the bases have been covered, but here are a few notes.

    – Fish made the wrong move on the last play, but it wasn’t outrageously wrong, anticipating going over the screen. He just took his eye off Curry for a split second and Curry just cut back perfectly.

    – Curry ran the pick and roll beautifully all night. Just a solid smart player. My favorite of his plays was a stupendous behind-the-back pass in traffic that was the right basketball play — no other pass would have hit the open man. Sadly for him, the man missed the dunk, and Gasol got the alley-oop dunk on the other end.

    – The turnovers were the only thing stopping the blowout. But half of them were created by good W swarming defense.

    – I watched Fish in warmups. He missed almost all of his 3s. That’s really weird. Most NBA players with any range will hit open 3s in warmups. His stroke is genuinely off right now, it’s not just a game-time pressure thing.

    – Coach noted that Kobe didn’t want to go left and tended to lose the ball when he drives left.

    – Don’t know why Sasha was pulled so fast on his first run, but Phil gave him a butt whack on his return, which I read as encouragement.

    – The whole team was pretty into the huddles, except Ammo.

    – I had a great view of the sequence where Maggette got stuffed, stripped, stripped and stuffed under the basket. Lakers D at its best.

    – The atmosphere was great when the Ws made their runs. I can’t wait for the day the Ws have a new owner and a team one can feel good about supporting.

  21. The issues with us this year goes beyond the usual retoric that’s posted on this site (Fisher’s flaws, Kobe’s ball hogging, Pau playing softer than cotton & Drew’s laziness, if not involved offensively). The main problem that I see is the lack of production from our bench & I believe that Phil X is responsible for the majority of it.

    Let’s b honest with ourselves. We’re an eight man team. Nothing more, nothing less. To the naked eye, it seems that we have too much dead weight on our bench, but the reason it looks this way to the average observer is because Phil X has no faith/patience/belief in our reserves. Lets observe, but L.O., Farmar & Shannon will b removed from the equation due to the fact that they receive adequate bench mins:

    1. LUKE: He receives a pass because he’s been injured the majority of the season. But even in the small time that he was healthy enough to contribute this season, Phil X rarely used him.

    2. SASHA: For the life of me, I can’t figure out what is the issue that Phil X has with this individual. Convinced him to cut his hair b4 the season started because, according to Phil, “he was paying too much attention to his hair last season.” WTF? Basically a wasted season because it seems to me that Phil has personal issues with Sasha. With the injury to Luke, you would expect a more expanded role for Sasha. NO. With our poor perimeter shooting, you would expect Sasha to b given an opportunity. NO. What’s with the short hooks/leash (proof in point: last night’s game)? Can’t b serious.

    3. J POWELL: Hard worker. Good mid range jumper & solid rebounder (not only defensively, but offensively as well). This man can ball. He’s not a scrub/bum. Granted, playing behind Pau & L.O., but when situations occur in which Drew or Pau picks up early fouls, instead of entering L.O. immediately, why not Powell. This would keep the actual rotation in effect & L.O. could enter the game @ his usual time (midway through the 1st). Substitution pattern stays entact.

    As for Mbenga & Ammo, I can understand Phil for not giving them court time. Mbenga, while active, has a low b-ball IQ, shoots a jumper whenever he touches the ball & is always pumped faked out of his shoes. Ammo is a bum/scrub. Straight up. This will b his last year in the league. Trust me. Jordan needs to get his draft liscense revoked for drafting Ammo & Kwame.

    So all n all, we’re not getting production from our bench (besides the aformentioned 3). I believe Sasha & Powell should b receiving more playing time because they can definetly contribute & if for nothing else, to alleviate the amount of mins our starters our playing. And though it might b too late, when Luke is healthy enough to play, he should b given an opportunity to contribute. He’s a better post up player then given credit for, has a high b-ball IQ & knows the triangle inside- out. Then u wonder why @ different points of this season we’ve seen Pau, Kobe & Ron Ron looking fatigued. Well, now u know why.

  22. At last nights game:

    That crowd, believe it or not could’ve have been louder, but that crowd was 35% Lakers. The one thing everybody agreed on was the dancing dueloff. If you were at the game, you know what I mean and it looked like the Warrior Girls weren’t too happy about it.

    When the ball went in the post in the 3rdQ, that’s when the Laker O clicked. The Lakers never should’ve went away from that, no matter who was on the court. You could almost tell what was going to happen when based on Gasol and Bynum’s positions.
    KB did not handle the ball well; see in Sacto if that continues.

    The thing that is instructive is the Dubs played hard, much more than if their squad was completely healthy. The Lakers have to match that, simply.