Lakers/Grizzlies: A Good, But Sloppy Win

Darius Soriano —  January 8, 2012

Boxscore: Lakers 90, Grizzlies 82
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 94.7, Grizzlies 86.3
True Shooting %: Lakers 57.2%, Grizzlies 43.1%

The Good:
Kobe Bryant makes another appearance in this section and I have a feeling it won’t be his last. Kobe controlled this game and put his imprint on it from the opening tip. In the first quarter he tallied 11 points on 4-6 shooting and set up his mates brilliantly by dishing out 5 assists. He worked inside and out, on and off the ball, and did everything he could to show the Grizz that this was going to be a hard night to hold him down. Aiding his cause was his drawing two quick fouls on Tony Allen, which brought OJ Mayo into the game to guard him instead of the all-defensive wing that he’s tangled with since his days in Boston. With Mayo in the game, Kobe got even more aggressive, calling for the ball early in possessions and making the Grizzlies commit extra defenders to him by attacking the paint off the dribble. By breaking down the D, the Grizz got into scramble mode and that only opened up the rest of the floor for the rest of the team. By the time the game was over, Kobe totaled 26 points on 11-22 shooting and had 9 assists. Not too bad for the guy we keep wanting to do a bit less but can’t help but continue to give us his all.

As an aside, one thing I need to acknowledge is the work that Kobe does in the post. We often marvel at Kobe’s footwork on the perimeter, what with his triple threat arsenal and work off the dribble that includes a variety of jab steps, pivots, and step throughs that befuddle defenders. But the way he uses his footwork to work the post is just as impressive. He moves into position so well, holds off and seals his man, and then is able to move to the ball to make the catch without surrendering any of the real estate he fought so hard for.  He’s simply a monster on the block in a way that few big men can match. Tonight he was tremendous in this regard, consistently outworking his man to the benefit of his own offense and for the Lakers’ offense overall.

(Honorable mention goes out to Gasol, Bynum, and Barnes here. They too played fantastic and could have easily taken up the space above that was dedicated to Kobe. On the night they put up lines of 13 points and 15 rebounds, 15 points and 15 rebounds, and 15 points and 10 rebounds respectively and were the guys that did all the dirty work to help the Lakers win. Most impressive is how this trio outrebounded the entire Grizzlies team by themselves. Just tremendous work by those three.)

The Bad:
Many have been saying it for years but there were some of us that found value in the little things, the intangibles. But, it must be said tonight: Derek Fisher is bringing less to the table than at any other point in his career and his game, at increasing frequency, is hurting his team when he’s on the floor. Tonight he was 0-3 from the field and went scoreless in his 24 minutes. This, in and of itself isn’t a big deal when Kobe has it going and several other Lakers are having good offensive nights. However, even though he had 5 assists he had the same number of turnovers and made several poor reads with his passes that didn’t count as a turnover but also weren’t very good plays. Fisher’s a true warrior and he’ll fight every second he’s on the floor. He still makes good plays – deflections, picking up charges, the assists – and his leadership is still something this team needs. However as the negatives continue to pile up, it’s getting harder for those good things to be noticed.

The Ugly:
The Lakers had 27 turnovers tonight. Let that number sink in for a moment.

They came on all variety of mistakes too. They happened by getting stripped when driving to the basket. They happened on bad passes to the wing that got picked off. They happened on bad passes to the post where the passer didn’t wait for the post man to get a good seal before trying to enter the ball. They happened on post men bringing the ball low after making a catch or when getting stripped when they didn’t respond well to the double team. But mostly, they just kept happening. By the end of the game, when it was clear the Lakers were going to win, the Lakers still gave the ball away and it was kind of funny. Their last offensive possession (before the one that ran the clock out) they turned the ball over trying to pass the ball back out to the top after securing an offensive rebound.

Most teams can’t win with that number of miscues and if it weren’t for the edge on the boards and Kobe’s brilliant work, the Lakers would have been most teams. They must be better about taking care of the ball.

The Play of the Game:
Tonight, it was a tie for this honor. First was Kobe Bryant making a vintage move to the baseline around Rudy Gay and throwing down a two handed dunk after going under the rim to shield himself from the help defender. Kobe still maneuvers on the baseline like an artist and this move was a testament to that.

Second was Pau Gasol, king of the fast break. For the last few years, there’s probably not a player on the Lakers (besides Odom) that I’ve felt as comfortable leading a break as Gasol. Tonight, he again flashed the skills that’s inspired that confidence when he went behind the back to Bynum who finished with the lay-in plus the foul. Simply a great play.

Darius Soriano

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24 responses to Lakers/Grizzlies: A Good, But Sloppy Win

  1. Pretty telling that the Grizzlies bench outscored their starters in non-blowout game by score of 46 to 36. Don’t see that happen too often even with deep bench.
    vr, Xei

  2. Darius: Can’t find anything in your post that isn’t 100% accurate: Kobe is a stud, Fish is a leader, but needs way less minutes, and the turnovers are rediculous. Please send to MB and save him the time watching the film.

  3. Watch the game guys. Gay didnt even score when MWP is guarding him.

  4. I appreciate the win–not the point differential. I’m clearly not used to watching the Lakers play the Cleveland offense instead of the triangle.

  5. What a great game to watch! Plenty of good bball. Kobe, Pau, Gay, Barnes…

    – Kobe feeding Murphy on 1st quarter
    – Pau/Bynum hug after assist
    – Pau’s behind the back to Bynum = Lakers
    – Kobe “almost-turnover” that he manage to get back and shoot an impossible 3.

    Glad we won.

  6. A few nice things are starting to show.

    It looks like the Lakers have found their starting 2-5, and two solid backup bigs, and a backup PG.

    Kobe just might have a shot at the MVP if this keeps up, and the team now has been downgraded talent wise in the eyes of the public.

    Pau seems to be playing with a lot of emotion, which reminds me of his first championship season, when he was fighting to prove his doubters wrong.

    …any way the Lakers can fish OJ out of that pond he has fallen into…

  7. Matt Barnes is stepping to the table and playing like the SF the Lakers lacked all of last season. He should get a share of the game ball.

  8. One thing I have noticed in this game and in the last games is when Andrew Bynum gets the ball down low it takes him at least 3 secs to make his move which would either invite the double team on him quickly which he will still try to over power which will result in a forced on hurried shot. Or him kickking the ball back to the shooters who will have little time to take a decent shot. This instances have caused a lot of turnovers and missed shots that resulted to fast break points of the opposing team. I just hope that Drew would learn how Shaq would easily kick the ball back out and re-post himself to get a better position. He is still a bit indecisive on whether he would make a move against his defender or pass the ball to his open mates.

  9. It’s time to say it, Fisher should retire. I saw he and Kobe’s first summer league game in Long Beach in 1996 and have loved him ever since, but it appears that the time has come.

  10. I found myself for the first time actually pleading for fish to come out of the game. I love him as a person but no longer as a player starting. If he would manage the game better and be a consistent offensive threat, it would open the floor. He can’t drive and is a below average passer( did you see that weak lob to Drew?). Everyone else’s passing is tested because he and blake are poor passers. At least blake is starting to be aggressive on offense. I know he’s a vocal leader, but his lack of point skills and management of the offense hurts us. I didn’t take the time to mention his lack of defense.

  11. For the first time I’m going to tell everyone to not worry about Derek Fisher. Yes at this point he might have gone from worst starting PG of all time to laughing stock of entire league but it will all soon end. It’s not like he is going to be playing for much longer. We just have to wait a month or so for the Lakers to bring in a legitimate starting PG and hope he is at least the 30th best PG in the league.

  12. I agree w/ # 8. I’m happy w/ his rebounding & ok w/ his “D”, but I’m a bit concerned with Bynum’s shooting over the last two games (3-9 vs Warriors, 5-14 vs Grizz). That’s unacceptable shooting for a guard, for a center it’s horrible. Not sure at this point if it’s due to conditioning (lack of?) or opponent defense, now that teams have film of Bynum, version 2012. He was a respectable 5-7 from the line last night, but was only shooting .548 from the line in his 1st five games (he’s a .680 ft shooter for his career).

    Also as #11 mentioned, any opinion on the Lakers signing pg Aaron Brooks when his Chinese contract is up in Feb/March?

  13. I wish it were that easy…I would like to see the rookie get a shot, but I’m sure brown wants some veteran presence at the point. It’s just that blake and fish ain’t cutting it.

  14. Good news, Lakers won. A fan should not whine, however because they are concerned on future competitions, they need to raise some glaring issues.

    Another good news, Grizzlies star player was not there and their other usual productive players had bad game from Marc, Rudy and OJ.

    Lastly, even after two consecutive victories Lakers have a lot of things to do with their TO’s. Fisher is just throwing the ball as if he’s fishing in an ocean. He’s trying to duplicate Smush Parker with his upside on steals and lost the ball in transition. Blake was effective on his perimeter shots but his facilitating leaves a lot to be desired. Our young turk, Goudelock is not also ready, he looks like a greenhorn out there running away from the bullies. There was a segment in the game where the lead was reduced to 4 when he was the PG. I think they’re trying to implement the new offensive system designed by MB and it’s currently trial and error mode on the job training. The huge problem remains unsolved – 3rd Q fallout or the 2nd half inactivity. Lakers may have lost two games because of such recurrence.

  15. Derek did not have his best game last night. Still . . . .

    I’m in favor of every player on the Laker roster–including Fisher, Walton, MWP, or any other flavor of the day someone might attack.

    They are our guys. A triangle team is being asked to play the Cleveland offense–a work in progress.

    Just as LaBron always looked terrific and had great stats–Kobe will look terrific and have great stats. The question is, does the rest of the team want garbage duty? Chemistry may be a problem.

    There are a number of players like Walton that have sat on the bench for years (i. e. Cardinal)–called out for some emergency task from time to time. There will be plenty of crises for Derek to help the team through as the season goes on. MWP can still play defense–give peace a chance. LOL.

  16. We all know Fisher’s limitations but it’s still shocking to see how poor his decision making on passing is. Fisher has never been great at getting the ball into the post or leading a fast break but now it’s painful.

    The Lakers could live with some 2-9 shooting games but it’s impossible to live with that and his high turnover rate (currently at 15.4, Kobe, who turns the ball over ALOT is at 11.2)

    The lackluster and dimished game of Derek Fisher have lapped his “intangibles”.

  17. #16. drrayeye,
    That’s the 2nd time I’ve seen you reference the Lakers running “Cleveland’s offense” but that’s simply not true. The Cavs ran the high P&R on nearly every possession and isolated LeBron a lot at the top of the circle while surrounding him by shooters.

    The Lakers aren’t running these sets at nearly the same frequency as the Cavs. Instead, the Lakers are running a hybrid of what the Spurs run, with a trailing big being the reverse man to form a two high front. LA is also running some aspects of Wooden’s old UCLA sets with a wing entry and a cut off the C at the high post while also running some Triangle “sets” with wing initiations followed by post entries with cuts off the C/PF that made the post catch.

    LA doesn’t have the personnel to run the Cavs sets, so Brown has adjusted his offense to fit this team.

  18. Honorable mention for play of the game to MWP. In the first quarter he picked (Gay?) clean and went the other way for the slam dunk. As Stu would say, “that was niiice.”

  19. One thing I’ve noticed, and perhaps someone here has mentioned it before: what’s happened to MWP’s post-up game? He’s not posting up at all since Bynum returned, and he at least should be down on the block when he’s in the game and Drew is on the bench. However, this isn’t happening. He is worse than useless on offense when he’s on the perimeter. Granted, he doesn’t look as bad as Fish does out on the perimeter, but his long misses are resulting in long rebounds and because Blake, Fish, and Kobe are so slow at rotating to the other end on transition defense, his bricks are resulting in virtually automatic layups at the other end. He needs to plant himself down on the block and force the other team to double him.

  20. I for one am going to stop complaining about the role player’s inconsistency until Coach Brown is less inconsistent about the role player’s rotation. How can you expect consistency for someone like Ebanks when he’s starting the first five games, then registers DNPs? I think the team will need 20 games and the rotation should be set by then.

  21. Darius (18),

    Usage is the most salient comparison–since what actually happens game to game changes–and Cleveland did not always run exactly the same offense for Labron.

    The principle was to get the ball in LaBron’s hands as much as possible–allowing him to drive, shoot from outside, or make an assist. Brown has adapted the Laker offense to do much the same thing.

    I would not be surprized at all to see Kobe get a triple double in the near future.

    If you don’t like “Cleveland”, how about “superstarcentric”?

  22. Last 8 quarters.
    Fisher zero points.
    Fisher 8 turnovers.
    For the year Fisher 3-point shooting 9%.

    Enough said to those who think we don’t have a problem!

  23. Fish we love you. Please retire while we still do. Kobe we love you. Please jack up 5 fewer forced shots a game. Mr. Buss, please let Mitch get us a DECENT PG. Blake will be a fine backup after the offense sinks in.