Lakers/Mavericks: Revenge Continued

Rey Moralde —  February 22, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 96, Mavs 91
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 110.3, Mavs 104.6
True Shooting %: Lakers 58.0%, Mavs 48.7%

We knew that the Lakers had a bit of a tough mini-road trip ahead before the All-Star break. The Mavs have been pretty hot. They won 7 of their last 8 going into this game.

THE GOOD
Hey there, Pau Gasol. Way to respond to trade rumors with this performance. Pau Gasol showed pretty much the whole repertoire today from the jumpers to the left-handed hooks to lay-ups to tiptoe dunks. 24 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. And he did a pretty decent job guarding Dirk Nowitzki, too.

Andrew Bynum looked pretty motivated earlier tonight, too. 19 points and 14 boards for the All-Star starting center. And his passing looked much improved today. Too bad, he didn’t get as many touches and shots as I would like.

Derek Fisher had a season-high 15 points in this game (topping his season-high of 13 which also came against Dallas). He shot 6 for 8 (2 for 3 behind the arc) earlier tonight. We all wish he could do this more often (only his sixth time getting double digits this season).

I like how the defense hunkered down on the Mavericks (the Mavs shot 40 percent). The Mavs were forced to shoot more three-pointers than they liked and it paid off for the Lakers (Mavs only shot 8 for 32, 25 percent!). There was also a huge stretch in the fourth quarter where the Mavericks didn’t score a point for nearly four minutes. The Lakers capitalized by going on a 9-0 run, which essentially put away the game.

The bench wasn’t exactly great today… but Matt Barnes nearly put up a double double (9 points, 9 boards). His hustle definitely helped out L.A. Especially late in the game after a missed freethrow (MORE ON MISSED FREETHROWS LATER).

THE BAD
Kobe Bryant didn’t let the game come to him. He stalled the offense in the 3rd while he tried to get his points. He also, for whatever reason, couldn’t handle the basketball and made some questionable decision-making. Kobe just didn’t look Kobe. He finished with 15 points (4 for 15 shooting) and 7 turnovers. But he did come up big at the end which I’ll bring up in a bit.

While I did like that the Lakers packed it in the paint, they still have to do a better job closing out on the perimeter. Yes, the Mavericks didn’t shoot very well behind the arc and we get that the 3-point shot is a low-percentage shot. But you still gotta come out and rotate. The Lakers were lucky that the Mavs didn’t make more treys. They lost a 14-point lead in the 2nd quarter partly because of back-to-back open 3s Dallas made.

And while we’re at it, the Lakers have to do a better job boxing out guys like Brendan Haywood and Shawn Marion. They were mostly responsible for 21 offensive boards for their team. The Lakers closed the gap with 17 of their own but they still gotta keep the other team in check when it comes to that.

The Lakers also had 17 turnovers. But again, Kobe did have the majority of them (he had 7 as mentioned).

Oh, and don’t let Vince Carter think it’s 2000 all over again. He had 18 points in the first half alone. Good thing that Metta World Peace did a decent job at him in the second half when he was out there (Barnes got the crunchtime minutes). Vince only scored 2 points in the final two quarters.

Shoutout to the refs who didn’t call a flagrant foul on Brendan Haywood. He clearly smashed Pau Gasol in the face late in the game.

THE UGLY
Well… we already know if you watched the game. Freethrows. 18 for 31 overall. That was because they shot 8 for 17 in the 4th. They missed six freethrows in a row with less than a minute to go. That would drive anyone nuts. The game would’ve been over earlier had they made, at least, two of those.

I sure hope Kobe is shooting foul shots (5 for 9) at the American Airlines Center right now. And I hope he took Pau (2 for 6) with him.

THE PLAY OF THE GAME
Kobe to Andrew Bynum for the alley-oop dunk with 1:05 left in the game. That put the Lakers up seven (that should’ve put away the game… but ya know… freethrows) which made it a higher mountain for the Mavericks to climb. The play before that was pretty good, too, where Kobe passed it to Pau for a lay-up. Oh, Kobe. Two passes in a critical juncture after you tried to get your points? You’re such a troll. Anyway, the Lakers are now 2-0 against Dallas this season. It’s not the playoffs, sure, but I’m sure the Lakers and us fans can take a little satisfaction out of this.

The Lakers have now won 5 out of 6. They look more comfortable and settled in their roles. And even though the ending was a little bizarre, this is a BIG ROAD WIN by the Lakers. Yes, the Lakers laid an egg against the Suns at Phoenix but I’m going to look at that as an aberration compared to how they’ve been playing as of late.

No rest for the weary. The Lakers go to Oklahoma City tomorrow night for another big game. Both teams are going to be at the tail end of a back-to-back (the Thunder beat the Celtics earlier) so they’re both going to be pretty fatigued (although, yes, Oklahoma City has younger players). If the Lakers win against the Thunder, maybe the whole league should take notice of Kobe and the boys once again, eh?

Don’t stop believin’!

Rey Moralde

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50 responses to Lakers/Mavericks: Revenge Continued

  1. R.R

    glad you gave Metta some props in your write up. He is a favorite target on the blog. It was a nice move by Brown putting Metta on Carter in the 2nd half and he held him to two after he lit us up in the 1st half. He was literally attached to Carters hip. And if you noticed when Carter came back in late so did Metta, again in his face. Metta has been playing some very good D lately and it should be acknowledged.

  2. Aloha Mike H. while we are ready to sleep, you’re having your sumptous dinner. Tonight, even dogs have their day. I’m happy for Metta or was he Artest tonight and Fisher circa 2001.

    Lakers will play OKC tomorrow with nothing to lose because they have been signed off by the media, never underestimate the heart of the dysfunctional b2b Champs, it will be a dog fight in Oklahoma – speed vs. height.

  3. Aloha Edwin,

    Only tuna salad tonight. I am interested in how we look against OKC. We have played them pretty well in the Durabt era and a lot of that has to do with Metta. He has given Durant fits in the past. If he continues his great D against durant, that we be a good sign moving forward.

  4. Did Kobe and Fisher switch jerseys before the game?

  5. anti Dwyer Abbott February 23, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Let Kobe rest for OKC game.He looks exhausted.

  6. As one of Kobe’s harshest end-game critics, you won’t hear a peep from me about it tonight (bad games happen). Kobe only took 15 shots and rather than jacking up contested jumpers made two huge passes late – a key part of the the Lakers securing the win. That is what he needs to do and be. Playing like that he will be unstoppable.

    Fish confirmed what pretty much everyone has been saying. This team looks good with productive point guard play.

    MWP shut down VC – complain all you want about him, but he still helps out.

    Matt Freakin’ Barnes – He wins the award for MVP hustle and key plays.

    Love Gasol getting the most shots up. Just a couple more shots for Bynum would be great.

    I confess I am expecting a blowout tonight – tired, old legs against tired, young legs.

  7. “Andrew Bynum looked pretty motivated earlier tonight, too. 19 points and 14 boards for the All-Star starting center. And his passing looked much improved today. Too bad, he didn’t get as many touches and shots as I would like. ” I echo your thoughts here, couldn’t have said it better. A. B. needs to continue receiving that ball in the low post. I will give Kobe credit for realizing he was off and passing the ball to his two bigs late in the game, leading to two HUGE buckets.

    A few issues must have been touched on in that players only meeting.

  8. The corpse of a player, the player some shudder to see on the court, the worst pg in the NBA saved another Laker victory. His complement, Steve Blake, who scored so well just last game, reversed roles with Derek in this one–he went scoreless.

    Those who have been hoping Derek would sprain an ankle and stay off the court, campaigning to replace Fish with almost anyone (even trading Pau Gasol in the process) had to be stunned–again.

    This time, they couldn’t find any barbequed crow at El Pollo Loco–sold out since the last time. They probably were not willing to wash out their mouths with soap, but they found out once again when and how Fish can take over a game when Kobe has more turnovers than baskets.

    In the spirit of the night, Kobe supplemented his usual hero mode end of game impossible shot with two great passes to Pau and Drew.

    Even as the FO plots and negotiates partial blowup, team chemistry and mojo, led by Derek, is defiantly bubbling up.

  9. Interesting read at SI on Brown’s coaching.

    http://cnnsi.com/2012/writers/ian_thomsen/02/23/lakers.brown/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_t11_a2

    So far, given all that is going on and his apparent lack of input in personnel decisions, I think he is grading out at a B to B+ . I realize the loudest voices on this site disagree, but given what he has to work with and lack of practice, etc., I think he is getting a lot out of this team.

  10. I`m not a stats guy,but don`t remember the last time so many players missed so many FT in crunch time. Seems to be a combination of fatigue and a mental issue,but has to be addressed after the break. The Lakers are so wildy inconsistent on the offensive side,defense is a must to stay in every game.

  11. #11. Last night on twitter, the K-Bros retweeted something stating that the chances of 3 80% FT shooters missing 6 consecutive free throws is .2 to the 6th power. Kinda crazy, really.

  12. 1- Yes Fisher was outstanding last night. I wish he could do it every night not just twice in 32 games. That’sbwhy we must have a younger, quicker PG. Look what happened to New York from out of the playoffs to contender Lin one moves,
    2-Reading all the problems that may exist in the FO I am backing off Brown a bit. He does have little impute about bad personal and PJ would not have tolerated that. But then maybe that’s why Brown was hired? The NEW need for 100% control.
    3-Kobe looked horrible. All his shots were short and he fumbled the ball like a drunk. Too many minutes and that does fall back on Brown. Laker’s are not catching OKC or Spurs. Be happy with 4th and slow done the Kobe burn out or we will see a lot more 6 for 17 with 7 TO games the second half.

  13. I think it’s pretty unlikely that Fisher will continue to shoot as poorly as he has the first half of the season.

  14. Both J. Kidd and Marion play good defense on Kobe(got to give credit where credits due). They made him work very hard to get to his spots on the floor, nothing came easy. People underestimate Kidd on the defensive end, in the Finals last year both him and Marion did a great job on both Bron and Wade. I do expect a big game tonight from Kobe. OKC does not have a player on the perimeter that can check him one on one. Now if the Big Boys play with the fire they had lastnight against a stronger defensive front court tonight. LA has a chance to get two games on the road against quality opponents before the All Star break.

  15. @15, ex – Fish’s TS% last season was .486 and so far this season it is .452 (including last night’s game). That’s an expected dropoff from season to season for an ancient NBA point guard. It’s great that he had a good game last night. The team doesn’t win without that performance. Unfortunately, one good game by Fish for every ten doesn’t make the team a title contender. It helps Fish a lot to not have to go up against a penetrating PG. Last night, he was matched up with Jason Kidd, who’s even older than he is.

  16. Vor)
    “Fish confirmed what pretty much everyone has been saying. This team looks good with productive point guard play”

    You would think out of everyone I would agree with that comment. Alas you’re wrong. This team looked good with a good spot up shooter at the 1. Imagine what they would look like with an actual PG running their PG centric offense? That’s when they go from good to great.

  17. My friend who almost knows as much basketball as me just sent me and our friends this email two minutes ago….

     I cede a point to Mr. “Aaron” (edited to protect my identity) The Lakers problems are 90% PG as opposed to 75%. Apparently Mike Brown run-ins a “read-based” offense that is reliant on the PG to spot the ball:

    http://cnnsi.com/2012/writers/ian_thomsen/02/23/lakers.brown/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_t11_a2

    While this is a ludicrous offense to run with the Lakers PG problems, I can’t really blame Mike Brown since if we had a PG that was reflective of the quality of those around the league, it would be the right offense to run.

  18. 18) I disagree – a solid shooter doesn’t typically lose his shot to that extent from one season to the next, even at that age; particularly the open shots that he has been missing this season. I think that, due to his involvement with the negotiations and the impact that had on his normal off-season, he was affected more than most this by the labor issues. He is still very limited defensively, and from a “true PG” perspective, but I expect to see better shooting from him in the second half.

  19. I’m a big Fisher defender, but last night showed what an average PG would do for this team–Kobe has an off night, that player picks up the slack.

    It didn’t hurt that all the Mavs except for Carter (in the first half) played like total crap, either. I mean, Dirk looked terrible.

    It’s gotten to the point where you have to wonder if the Lakers are actually an above-average defensive team–we keep blaming opponents’ low scores on the brutal season and other factors, but I’m of the opinion that the Lakers are coming around to have be sneaky-good defensive team. Pau in particular, he and Dirk went at each other quite a bit last night, and Pau absolutely got the better of Dirk at both ends.

    Now if the offense can please catch up, and with maybe a classic Kupchak robbery, these guys might be contenders again, instead of a 3rd-5th seed.

  20. 21)
    Yes they do when they are almost 38 years old. And he shot 38 percent overall last season. I’m sorry to say his shooting will get worse not better in the second half as the condensed season wears on him. Although… We won’t be able to find out as he will not be playing when the Lakers bring in a PG at the trade deadline.

  21. “Oh, Kobe. Two passes in a critical juncture after you tried to get your points? You’re such a troll.” …brilliant. We all know Kobe is capable of winning games in more of a Magic mode rather than his normal Jordan bit. You wish he would play that way more regularly, and it’s cool watching him make history too, but sometimes it does seem like he’s f*cking with us.

    …and hello Pau is right; if he’s gonna be like that (dominating) more often than not, he isn’t going anywhere, and start designing the rings. (Yes, I’m an unrepentant homer.)

    Go Lakers!

  22. I’d also like to say that I’ve been following this site since the Kurt days, and I’d really like to thank you all, commenters and bloggers alike, for making this the best Lakers website on the interwebs. I love that it’s a discussion about professional basketball and not everybody yelling stupid sh*t at each other. Everyday I read something, sometimes brilliant, I hadn’t thought of. This is the Chick Hearn of websites; critical, on the point, but still a fan. Again, thank you all very much!

  23. Last night showed me going to Pau and Andrew often establishing the paint creates shots on the perimeter. Lakers can win that way. Dallas won 7 of last 8 vs Den, Philly, Clips so strong statement win.

    Spurs won a title in 99 with Avery Johnson at PG. It can be done with Fisher just have to play off the 2 bigs.

    Notice when Kobe gets the ball in the post everyone clears out every time. There’s no movement & everyone expects him to shoot. When Kobe goes Iso in the post if Brown can bring a screener over to create space or more options that’ll help. Instead Kobe either shoots, turns it over or makes a jump pass. Brown has to make it easier for Kobe to score he has enough tape I expect some changes.

  24. 23) No, not to the level it has with Fisher. By far the bigger impact is the combination of the off-season and the new system/different role. The impact of those on his shooting will decrease as the season progresses.

  25. Agree with Dude on Fish. Always need look at the other team on the floor when evlauating performance. Dallas is using a backcourt (Kidd, Carter, Terry) that is even older than Kobe, Fish and Blake. MWP helped last night because Carter is the kind of older guy he d’s up well at this stage of his career. MWP did have a a good game against Gallinari; we will see how he does Durant.

    But Westbrook is the kind of guy who will probably expose the Lakers–a young athletic guy who can get to the rim and score 30.

  26. dr rayeye,

    If you are going to call out Fisher’s critics with your “El Pollo Loco” line after every game in which Fisher plays OK, I would like to humbly suggest that you also show up and talk about Fisher after games like the Phoenix loss, in which he failed to score in 18 minutes and the Lakers got blown out by a lottery team, or the New York game, in which he went 2/7 in 23 minutes, while Jeremy Lin went off for 38 points.

  27. 24)
    The new system is still giving him wide open shots, maybe even more now that Bynum is being doubled almost every time he touches the ball. In this system he is still playing SG with Kobe now playing PG. Listen… I hope you’re right… But when guys lose their legs it’s over. Look at Mike Bibby, the guy was a MUCH BETTER shooter than Fisher and he is younger. The guy lost his legs and can’t shoot anymore either. It happens. When you lose your legs is all over as Steve Kerr told me over the weekend.

    rr)
    As I’ve told Darius a few times… When people say super crazy/wrong things it’s best just to ignore them.

  28. Garv Chadha, typing a prediction in all caps doesn’t give it substance or make it compelling or persuasive.

  29. Eighteen points is the key number for me. If the Lakers can find a way to get 18 points from the PG position (starter & bench) they can contend for a title. It’s really not much to ask. Ten to twelve from a starter, six to eight from a reserve.

    Interestingly, I think Fish can actually learn something from the rook. Goudelock has the best floater of any Laker in recent memory, and that is a huge weapon for a PG. Fisher has historically been either a long-distance shooter, or a guy who barrels his way all the way to the rim, where he’s always been among the worst finishers in the league. There is a middle ground, so to speak.

    By taking the ball into the paint and pulling up or shooting a floater, the guard has the ability to get off an uncontested shot. The only way that shot is contested is when the opposing big comes out from under the rim to contend–which opens an easy passing angle for a lob, or a wide open offensive board and putback for the Laker big man (since the resulting rebound is not a long rebound after a soft floater, and is right there at the rim to be grabbed by the now unguarded big).

    This is the weapon that all of the great PG’s use, and it is one that the Laker guards not named Goudelock almost never use. Last night, Fisher attempted at least two floaters, and both resulted in Laker scores. One, he made (which is great). The other, he missed, but Drew grabbed the rebound in scoring position (I think he was fouled, and made the FT’s).

    I’m hoping that Fish learned something last night. With defenses swarming Kobe and packing the paint against Bynum & Gasol, our guards should be able to get into the paint. The key is what they do when they get there. Stop trying to take it all the way to the hoop, where the big men lurk, and start developing the shot that AG has brought back to the Lakers’ repertoire. Eighteen combined points is all we need….

  30. c’mon. We both know that Whitlock is a race-baiting troll, and I’m officially stupider for having read that article.

    @31 – Seriously. Look, I’d be as surprised as anyone else if we win at OKC tonight. This is 4 games in 6 nights, the 2nd night of a back-to-back on the road vs. one of the best teams in the league that’s lost only once at their place. The 1987 Lakers wouldn’t be favored in that situation, so let’s not use this game as a reason for saying we’re doomed.

  31. 34)

    You’re probably right. Must be just a coincidence we have been trying to dump Odom and Gasol since the playoffs.

  32. Poor guy, sounds like old Gil really broke his brain.

  33. 37) MannyP – do you think the Lakers have a shot?

  34. I think the Lakers have a great “shot.” Hehehehe. The only issue is that pesky murder allegation hanging over his head, but who cares about that when we need a point guard, right?

  35. The Lee Jenkins article is one of the best statements I’ve ever read about Bryant. He has channeled Phil Jackson. He waited for the right time and made a powerful stance. It’s us (the FO in particular) against the world!

  36. In other news… so the team had a “player” only meeting. Think anyone had the b@lls to tell Fish “Bro, we love you but you need to ride some pine for the benefit of the team.” Yeah. Right.

  37. Westbrook is going to destroy the Lakers (any PG will). If Artest and Barnes can contain Durant (which Artest has done), then the game is in our grasp. Gasol plays with fire whenever up against those who stuck it to him in the past (Boston/KG, Mavs), so expect him and Bynum to ball out against Perk and Ibaka. And as stated above, no one on OKC can guard Kobe one-on-one. So as long as the bench can step up (multiple fingers crossed, wood knocked, etc.), this game in winnable.

  38. Funky Chicken,
    This isn’t the triangle. Read the CNNSI article which quoted Brown on the offense. I linked it above. We don’t just need a spot up shooter at the PG spot anymore.

  39. The only way Durant lets Artest stop him tonight is if he allows him to get into his head. MWP cannot guard young quick athletic guys and Durant should be no different. He shouldn’t settle for jumpers, he should attack the rim every play, but I can see him settling and because of that MWP may be able to use his physicality against him. Big Maybe however

  40. lakers8884

    Metta has never been that quick. what he has always done is use his strength to keep opponents out of their spots. If they get the ball in their spot, ya, he is not quick enough but with Metta it is all about denying the ball, making the opponent catch it in bad spots and directing his man into help.

  41. All that needs to be said is there is always a “coincidental” dropoff in Durant’s stats in games where he is primarily guarded by Artest/Metta. Speed? Youth? Whatever. Metta is still too crafty and strong for Durant, not to mention he’s still got faster hands. Durant will still get his buckets, but he’ll have to work very, very hard for them.

  42. Sorry – was not able to post during that game last night – so it is not true I was avoiding the site, because Kobe was off : ) He did look a little tired.

    Big win for us though – we really needed it. I said that 2 losses before ASG, would not be good. Now that we have the first – if somehow we win tonight, the Kobe tirade could truly become a milestone.

  43. MWP needs to justify himself tonight. His main value is for defense against Miami and OKC specifically.

    Ken: Glad to see you are backing off on MB. As I have said, I am no fan, but given the tools, and situations he has, not bad results.

  44. LOL joshua okay, whatever to speed and youth really? Ask Lebron James how he’s done against Metta lately. If players attack him properly they can have their way with him, that’s a fact the statistics don’t lie.

  45. Aaron: As you said, decent 1+3 add ons will be tough to get. Hence the Lakers could make two mistakes: 1) Use picks and TPE and not upgrade enough at those spots 2) Break up big three to shore up the holes. Both 1+2 not only mean no banner this year, they do not help the long run. This plan (keep Big 3 and add 1+3) is a very tough one to execute properly.

  46. Aaron, not sure how you interpreted what I said as suggesting that the Lakers need a spot up shooter. In fact, I said precisely the opposite. They need a guard who can penetrate into the lane and pose a scoring threat from inside the paint. That, more than anything else, will open up the lane for Bynum & Gasol, and shooting opportunities for Kobe and whoever else is out on the perimeter.