Lakers/Hawks: Taking It Slow On Valentine’s Day

Rey Moralde —  February 14, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 86, Hawks 78
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 97.7, Hawks 88.6
True Shooting %: Lakers 50.0%, Hawks 41.9%

Honestly… going into this game, I knew watching the game was going to be a chore. I always have a hard time watching the Atlanta Hawks play. Add to the fact that the Lakers haven’t been all that fun to watch, either, and I thought to myself that this game had a potential for a stinker.

THE GOOD
But let’s start out with the good first. The good? The Lakers won. Hurray.

And for the most part, the Lakers had nice ball movement (20 assists) and went to their bigs quite often (which is, you know, common sense) until the Lakers distanced themselves from the Hawks. Pau Gasol had a nice 20-point, 13-rebound, 4-block outing. He even made a corner 3! Andrew Bynum got off to a fast start and, while he wasn’t much of a factor in the second half, he ended up with 15 points and 15 boards. The bigs definitely helped in edging out the Hawks in the rebounding battle, 52-47.

I wanna give Metta World Peace some credit here. He scored 10 points and it was his first time in double digits since January 22nd. And it’s the second game in a row where he made two three-pointers (yes, including that hilarious 3-pointer before the half ended where he held on the ball for what seemed like a minute). He even had a delightful jam near the end of the game. Nice to see him have a good game. Would like to see him put it together in a string of games.

The bench played pretty well today. Andrew Goudelock (NO MORE MINI-MAMBAS, BILL MacDONALD!!!) led the subs with 10 points. Steve Blake dished out 6 assists. Troy Murphy made a couple of linedrive threes. And Matt Barnes hustled his way to 6 points and 5 boards (that block on Kirk Hinrich’s 3-pointer at the end of the 3rd was great).

The three-pointers were going in. 8 for 17 against the Hawks. Not bad for the team who continues to be last in three-point field goal percentage.

Also, while the Hawks were held to 34.4 percent shooting, the defense should get some of the credit but not all of it. It was unbelievable that the Hawks were missing lay-ups all game and the game may have been closer had they made those. The Hawks scored 10 points in the 3rd (the Lakers weren’t much better at 17).

Of course, the game would’ve been done earlier if the Lakers actually took care of business at the other end. Lakers ended up at 44 percent shooting but they were under 40 for a lot of the game.

THE BAD
The Lakers had 17 turnovers and they started out the third quarter with three passes thrown away.

Kobe Bryant wasn’t Kobe today as he shot 5/18 (10 points!). In fact, the offense went to a halt when he tried to get his points at the end of the second, which prompted the Hawks to go on an 11-0 run.

Derek Fisher, in the meantime, has to cut off his toes. He keeps shooting the worst 2-pt shot in the game (THE FOOT ON THE LINE!!!). But, at least, Jeff Teague, the opposing point guard, was only “held” to 18 points (we all know what Jeremy Lin and Jose Calderon did previously).

Not a lot of bad happened in this game but…

THE UGLY
This game was ugly. Period. Very hard game to watch. The fourth quarter was a complete offensive explosion compared to the third for sure but check out these droughts. The Lakers didn’t score for more than six minutes in the second quarter because they stalled and went away from what got them the lead in the first palce. The Hawks didn’t make a field goal for a full nine minutes (last 8:33 of the 3rd) as they hurried jumpers and missed shots your grandmothers can probably make.

The Hawks play a lot of isolation ball (Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Jeff Teague among others) and it’s just not very fun to watch. The Lakers seem to play their best when they go inside to their bigs, which is, admittedly, not very fun to watch, either. And Kobe didn’t go off like he usually does… so what we’re left here is a slow, grinding, diffic… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

If you had other plans for Valentine’s Day, I applaud you. I love the win and, yes, I mentioned a lot of good for the Lakers here but that doesn’t mean it was aesthetically pleasing. This game would be the equivalent to an ugly girl with a great personality… and, in the end, you’ll slowly fall for her because of it. You’ll just have to embrace its faults.

THE PLAY OF THE GAME
Ron’s dunk was great and all but I’m going to go to the reverse lay-up by Kobe Bryant in the third quarter. It was vintage Kobe where he went under, from right to left, and finished with a twisting right-handed reverse lay-up. ‘Twas beautiful and one of the few bright spots for Kobe.

The Lakers have a home-and-home series against Phoenix next. The first battle starts at Staples Center on Friday. I expect Steve Nash to go for 2,000 points and 895 assists here but the Lakers SHOULD win this and make themselves a little more comfortable in the standings.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody.

Rey Moralde

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18 responses to Lakers/Hawks: Taking It Slow On Valentine’s Day

  1. It looks like Artest is starting to get into game shape. I didn’t think he was as bad as he has played so far this season. It would be by far career lows in every category for him at age 32. Doesn’t make much sense. I hope he is getting into better shape and we can see a 35 percent shooter from three the rest of the season. I can only hope.

    But for those who think Howard is better at every facet of the game over Bynum… This team usually defends Howard one on one and slows him down considerably in the post. Bynum I think missed one shot on the low post tonight. It was an impressive offensive performance considering the compitition. Horford moves to PF and the big Georgian starts at Center against Howard.

  2. Darius

    Ron’s dunk? We are almost 50% into the season and the guy has had 2 yes 2 good games. He has had 20 very bad games. It’s not archery or horseshoes or elephant shooting where close get you a point.

    Could be a good win or then again a very bad game from a inconsistent Atlanta team.

    Like Barnes, Blake and Goudelock they should play majority of minutes.

  3. Hello, Ken,

    Darius didn’t recap the game but I did.

    Any win is a positive but I couldn’t decide whether this was a “good” or a “bad” win. It was a very ugly, unwatchable game and, yes, it was going against the very inconsistent Hawk team (who may be even more inconsistent than the Lakers). So I’m kind of suggesting saying something after the home-and-home series against Phoenix and see how confident you and the Laker team will be.

    As far as Ron goes, I’m very aware that he’s had a ton of bad games. But if he can put together a string of good games, then it can only be better for the team. I want to see him do well, obviously.

    I think it’s a lock that Barnes, Blake, and Goudelock will play minutes. How many is the question but it was good to see all of them do pretty good in the same game. And, heck, give Murphy credit. We’d like to see him get more boards… but he’s made two threes in consecutive games.

  4. Thanks for response. Sorry I did not look who wrote recap.

    As for Ron. Coming into the game he was shooting 32% from the field,17% from 3 and 51% from free-throw lone and had missed 7 of last 9 free throws.

    That ranks him last in offensive proficiency in the NBA.

    My guess would be he has had more then a few bad games. Barnes should start, Blake should start and Gougo should get all of Fisher’s minutes. Hard to believe Brown can’t see the obvious.

  5. Just a note. I know all the world believes in Lin-magic. But!!!

    He had 9 turnover tonight resulting in 14 Toronto points and the Toronto point guard scored 25 points, shot over 60% with 4 TO while Lin shot over 20 times.

    Not every team has a Fisher starting.

  6. RR,

    I liked the game a lot more than you did, because the Lakers played THEIR game–for the most part–with good team chemistry.

    Pau is getting more comfortable playing Brown’s San Antonio BIG-BIG offense from the top of the key–making passes, taking shots, and getting back on defense ahead of the other team’s transition. He’s back to playing like the world superstar he is.

    When Fisher tried to initiate the offense, his passes were very poorly executed–and it was either stagnation time or transition time. On defense, the team held off Teague when Fisher was in; Blake did a breakout job with the offense, both with assists and scoring–but didn’t do so well defending Teague.

    The player who most benefitted from this type of game was MWP–especially in the fourth quarter. With Kobe facilitating and participating actively on defense, not only MWP, but the Lakers overall were a completely different team.

    It’s too early to know where they got their MOJO hooch, but if they’ve got a steady supply, good days are ahead.

  7. Kobe’s shooting is…horrible. Didn’t see last nights game (Valentine’s Day duty, lol). Maybe it’s time to put the brace, tape, or whatever he was wearing back on his shooting wrist. Bynum hit 7 of 10 from the field last night. Seems as if he should have gotten more touches. Great news: Lakers don’t play until Friday. Couple of days for practice. Look out Suns.

  8. World Peace:

    “His background is video coordinator or whatever. So he’s all stats, but Ron Artest is all feel. [Brown] doesn’t understand that. Having me in the game at the end, he was worried about me shooting bad from the free-throw line. And I was like, ‘I could care less because I’m gonna get a stop [defensively] at the end of the game.'”

    Coach Brown:

    “If I were him, I’d be frustrated too. I told him: ‘I don’t take anything personally. I’m OK with it. But if I was a stats guy, Metta, you wouldn’t be playing at all. I mean, look at your stats. And Synergy says you’re the 192nd-best defensive player in the league. So if I was just a stats guy, the guy who should be playing at the small forward spot is Devin Ebanks — because he’s shooting better than you or Matt (Barnes).'”

    You can’t make this sh*t up. Gotta love it.

    BTW: If this is true, why can’t Ebanks get some type of burn?

  9. 6. drrayeye,

    Hey there. Thanks for the comment.

    The reason why I’m not as optimistic as you are is because, well, the Lakers have been quite up and down in this course of the season. You know that, too. One day, they look like a well-oiled machine. The next, they look completely lost. So I’m taking a cautious approach. The offensive game plan was great (dump to the bigs, inside-out game) but it wasn’t executed to its finest (17 turnovers). Pau Gasol has seven double-doubles in a row and he does look like he’s getting more comfortable in the offense. He’s starting to shoot less frequently from the perimeter and he is scoring a little more but I’m not ready to call him “world superstar” just yet. I know the Lakers just came off the Grammy trip but he’s only shooting 48 percent in February so far. Hope that increases.

    I’d like to see them execute the offense better but the Lakers struggling to get 95 points is discouraging. And as for the Hawks, I’m not sure if they’re the right gauge to see how your team is doing. They’re so wildly inconsistent that you can’t trust them to do anything. The games against Phoenix coming up will gauge the Lakers a lot better.

  10. Great win in spite of a very sub par game form Kobe (see I can be objective). We do not need losses to convince the FO to act – they already know. We need W’s and seeding, because 3 series on the road = no banner.

  11. Talking about Jeremy or Lob City on this board is a Sin, it is SINful, it is not SINonymous with the focus of this board, it is SINister. Oh and by the way – it is tiring and repetitive : ) Not really – do what u want – however I will reply in kind :)

  12. #12. It seems you were joking but I do like talking about other teams on this board.

  13. Darius: Yes – was joking. I said “do what u want”. I was just expressing my opinion of Jeremy + Lob City : ) I get enough on ESPN. I come here 4 Lakers. However – I will adhere to my practice of tolerance, just like I would like others 2 tolerate me when I beat my D12 drum. Speaking of which, can someone tell Shaq to be quiet? His statements r totally hypocritical.

  14. Great writeup for an admittedly boring game. I would be remiss if I did not mention that Blake had the highest +/- and predictably Fish was the only Laker with a negative +/-. Can’t Fish be a good leader on the bench and in the locker room only. We can only hope that the Lakers will offer him a coaching and/or FO job in exchange for him not exercising his player option next year.

    Goudelock is the youngest, cheapest, has the most upside and gives the Lakers two things that they desperately lack – reliable shooting and pick-and-roll offense. Somehow it makes sense to MB to play him the least.

  15. It’s too early to know where they got their MOJO hooch, but if they’ve got a steady supply, good days are ahead.

    ___

    I think it is more accurate to say that good days are ahead if the other guys shoot 31/90 including 7/27 from the arc every night.

    As I said in the other thread, the Lakers got some good SF play, hit some 3s, and got decent PG play in spurts. If that keeps up, they will start doing a little better. I want to see it over 10 games or so, though. Good to see Fisher’s MP getting cut and Blake finishing.

    Aaron,

    Jason Collins, who, like Horford, is out right now, is the guy who single-covered Howard in last year’s playoffs and who normally has Howard-stopping duties. Hollinger has written about the Collins/Howard matchup 10-12 times. I know you are a big Bynum fan, and I am 99% sure Howard is not coming here, but omission of key facts doesn’t help your case.

  16. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Lakers played most of the night against the Hawks.

    My guess is that I (and I’m probably not alone in this) have underestimated just how much the lockout and compressed schedule affected the Lakers more than most teams.

    —During the lockout, the coaching staff couldn’t teach players the new offense and help them “unlearn” the Triangle.

    —The short preseason meant little time for all the new players/coaches to learn about each other or the new system.

    —The lockout meant players came back somewhat out of shape. Young athletic studs can be slightly out of shape and still be OK in the NBA. Old Busted Jawn like the Lakers don’t have that luxury. Being older, not superior NBA athletes, AND out of shape is a killer combination.

    —The compressed schedule is hardest on older teams. Older bodies simply don’t recover as quickly as younger ones.

    —The mental stress of the aborted CP3 trade, the trade of Lamar Odom, and the constant D-How/D-Will rumors probably affected many Lakers’ focus.

    So, the Lakers come off a long road trip, get a couple of days of rest, get a couple of practices, and look much better against the Hawks than they have in several games.

    I’m still skeptical that the current roster can be “tweaked” into a real contender, but the gap doesn’t seem as immense as it did when the Lakers were blowing games to Milwaukee and New York.

  17. Troy Murphy is 7/20 from 3 36% in Feb. in 23 mins. w/ minimal TOs

    Andrew Goudelock is 6/14 42% from 3 in Feb. & 48% from 2 in 15 mins.

    MWP is 35% from 3 in Feb. His career 3pt% is 35%. Metta held Pierce to 7/18, J. Johnson 7/17. Small sample but encouraging

    Andrew Bynum is avg. 13.7 rebounds in Feb. Has had 2+ blks. in 8 straight games

    Pau is avg. 18 & 14 w/ 3 ast. 2 blk. His aggressiveness jumps out on the TV.

    Kobe is shooting 37% in Feb. avg. 3 ast. Point is Kobe is struggling jumpers are short heavy minutes early are catching up. Key components are playing well right now their confidence is growing and Kobe’s isn’t going anywhere. Kobe should take a page out of Shaq’s book and coast for these next few games rely on his teammates keep their confidence high and not chuck up bail out jumpers. Probably not going to happen but it’s wishful thinking

  18. Kobe will always be in the position of “chucking” up bailout jumpers. That’s just the nature of this team. When the offense breaks down, the ball finds its way to Kobe and he “chucks” up a difficult shot.

    I would much prefer to have Kobe attempt to drive into the lane or, at least, attempt a closer jumper instead.