Game Recap: Lakers Squeak By Nets

Phillip Barnett —  November 20, 2012
In Mike D’Antoni’s debut as the Lakers head coach, the Lakers squeaked away with a 95-90 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Check out the game notes:
  • Kobe had another efficient night which was sparked by his jump shot falling early. Kobe hit his first jumper, a long two from 17-feet, with about 6:25 left to play. After picking up his second foul immediately after, D’Antoni sent in Chris Duhon to replace Kobe, who waived him away sending Darius Morris to the bench. The move would prove to be successful as Kobe would go on to hit another 17-footer on the next possession, a three pointer and two more long twos before the first quarter ended. Kobe shooting the long two hasn’t been a trend this season, but he took eight of his 15 shots from the 15 to 23-foot range against New Jersey Brooklyn. Despite the myriad long twos, Kobe was still able to manage 25 points on 15 shots to keep up with what has been the most efficient season of his career. Toward the end of the game, Kobe forced a few shots and had a few awful possessions, but for the most part, he played within the flow of the game, made the right passes (looking at you, 2-4-5 alley-oop) and knocked down the free throws when the game was on the line. What I did notice was that Kobe handled the ball a whole lot more tonight that he had all season — which may be why he took more long twos that usual. It’ll be interesting to go back and look at the film to see how many of his long shots came with him being the primary ball-handler.
  • Dwight Howard was effective, scoring 23 points and recording 15 rebounds. Howard’s ability to get off the ground is improving from game-to-game as he continues to look more spry with each dunk he throws down. What hasn’t improved much is Howard’s free throw shooting, and the Nets tried to take direct advantage of that by fouling him off the ball going, trying to leave the Lakers with empty possessions. The Nets began the tactic leading, and seemingly with momentum. However, opting to foul Howard slowed down the game and shifted the momentum in the Lakers favor. The game turned into a half court match and, albeit ironically,  turned into a matter of guys other than Dwight making free throws.
  • Ron Artest had another fantastic night scoring the basketball. He scored 17 points on 13 shots, shooting four for nine from three point range and getting to the rim a few times. Ron’s three ball is starting to have a nice arch to it instead of it line-driving into the front of the rim and careening into the hands of quick guards dashing the other way for easy buckets. Instead, the shots are falling for Ron, especially the corner three. He’s turning into the guy that we saw in the preseason, which is going to be big for the Lakers if he can sustain this success. This is Ron’s third straight night where he’s shot the ball well from the field, and the fourth game in the last five. In fact, in the last five, Ron is averaging 16 and five while shooting 42 percent from three.
  • Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez had a fantastic night. Kobe had a great first quarter, but was outscored by Lopez in the first (12), and Lopez was able to keep up the fantastic play the whole night. Lopez was five-for10 from around the rim, but was six of seven shooting long twos. He was able to keep the Nets in the game while Joe Johnson continued to struggle from the field. Johnson was six-for-16 from the field and still hasn’t been able to find his rhythm this season.

In the end, it’s the Lakers’ third consecutive win and the first in the D’Antoni era. It wasn’t mentioned above, but Pau also had a decent game with a ho-hum 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. As it will continue to be, the starting unit carried the load and the bench did just enough to not let things get out of hand. The Lakers will fly to Sacramento tonight for a match up with the Kings tomorrow.

 

Phillip Barnett

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19 responses to Game Recap: Lakers Squeak By Nets

  1. “After picking up his second foul immediately after, D’Antoni sent in Chris Duhon to replace Kobe, who waived him away sending Darius Morris to the bench.”

    ?

  2. I thought Duhon did a credible job today. Looks like we have 4 capable point guards all of a sudden!
    Hope we have our legs for Sacramento tomorrow – and that we are not caught looking ahead to the Memphis game.

  3. “After picking up his second foul immediately after, D’Antoni sent in Chris Duhon to replace Kobe, who waived him away sending Darius Morris to the bench.”

    It’s all good until he does this in an important playoff game and commits the extra foul.

    Someone better tell Kobe that it’s ok until that happens, and that the coaches will have to sit him out until the proper time if that happens.

  4. I don’t worry so much about the minutes the starters played in this game – guess what – the Nets are a decent team with 4 current/former allstars and some definet hustle guys. This is game that the starters need to play a lot. Sac/pho/Houston those are games the bench should be playing more. Remeber the idea is for the starts to average lower mins – that will come as our team develops and gets better at building leads and the bench maintaining – along finding a set 9-10 man rotation that D’antoni feels good with. Besides which – doesn’t hurt for the starters to get some extra time in and get in shape to properly run. Will serve them well later in the season.

    For now we’re getting by with the 3/4 string pgs filling in okay – this forces Kobe to handle the ball more but he had to do that last couple years anyways so its status quo for him. The big difference will be when Nash comes back – he doesn’t need time to fit into the offence as he knows it already down pat – but the other 4 starters are going to get a lot easier shots all of a sudden. And there won’t be mid quarter bog downs like we saw a couple times tonight – as Nash can create shots for others, which is a lot easier than Kobe trying to create his own.

  5. great breakdown here…
    http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/34535/rapid-reaction-lakers-95-nets-90

    and guess what – only 11 turnovers. very nice to see!

  6. My dream is that Darius Morris one day becomes a top-20 pointguard.

    When I first thought about it during the game I thought “man it’d be cool if he were a top 10 pg.” Then reality hit. So then it became top 15. And then I started counting off the best PGs in the league and settled for top-20. That would be a very decent rank.

    I hope my dream is not ridiculous.

  7. i laughed at the scratch through New Jersey, when I first saw the schedule and saw BKN, I was scratching my head for the longest time…what the hell was a BKN… Burger King? …
    finally had to go to the Lakers page and look at who we played that night, ahhh, Brooklyn, what I was wondering through was why I didn’t recall that. now I know, they changed names.

  8. Hi guys, I still don’t understand the math of this thing:

    How can shooting 59% from the FT-line lead coaches to think that hacking that player is a good idea? 59% is still better than anybody shoots from the floor, and you will get your team into the penalty etc. Dwight Howards is shooting 59% for his career, and it would be very weird if he does not get back up to that number… which is still higher than his FG%. So why is it beneficial to hack him, unless you are down and trying to stop time?

    Obviously it is annoying when player shoot 50-60% on shots that are very easy, but it still does not seem to me that it makes them less efficient than from the floor!?

  9. Good to see that we were able to gut out a tough victory against a respectable Nets team. 2nd half defense is what stood out to me. Holding Lopez to only 6 pts and their entire team to only 33, after the 1st half.

    From the prior board, for those complaining about Howard’s showing from the charity stripe: Fall Back .. Lets not act like we didn’t know he was a bad free throw shooter before we acquired him. If we’re lucky, he’ll be above average (for him). More than likely, he’ll be average (for him) and on some nights, he’ll be down-right atrocious (like last night). As Jay Z would say, ‘It’s The Gift & The Curse’ ..

  10. Well we’ve had 2 games against good teams post-Mike Brown and we can make the following observations:

    – the defense is capable of getting stops

    – the bench still stinks except for Jordan Hill

    – Dwight can’t be given the ball down the stretch in a close game

    – at least when Nash isn’t in there, everyone still defers to Kobe and forces him to take tough shots (I’m thinking of the posession with 40 seconds to go when Ron-Ron and Pau turned down shot opportunties)

    – Ron-Ron can still contribute in big games

    – Dwight is starting to look his old self

    – Kobe can play at least at the 2009-2010 level

    Conclusion: this team is a contender but they have to get more from their bench to beat the elite teams

  11. Unfortunately it was a goaltend, but an entertaining one nonetheless. Couldn’t help but feel somewhat sorry for Morris in the 2nd Q. He has picked it up as of late but he got downright abused by D-Will. Hopefully he’ll take something from it and not get too discouraged. While it’s nice to see the team clamp down on D like they did in the 2nd half, I wouldn’t mind a more consistent game defensively. Outside of the Spurs game, there have not been many great performances by the team on that end, so while the offense has looked good in multiple contests, seeing that ‘bear’ D’Antoni talked about is what I’m waiting for.

  12. Finally, a win over a play-off caliber team. Loved the balanced scoring by Kobe, D-12, MWP & Gasol. Hoping D’ Antoni can get something out of Jamison, averaging 16.1 mpg & 4.1 ppg & Meeks (10.6 mpg & 2.8 ppg) because so far these guys are not getting the job done.

  13. Free Andrew Goudelock! /s Seriously, if even one of Meeks and Jamison can muster about 8 pts on less than 10 shots each game we’d be light years better. Their jumpshot has been so absent that I can’t even find it on milk cartons

    As bad as Dwight was at the charity stripe, that doesn’t mean we should give the rest of the team a free pass – they were all significantly below average – I counted at least five consecutive trips from non-Dwight players who missed one of their attempts.

    As a Michigan guy, I’ve been watching my second favorite Laker Darius ;) with great interest and even though he had a really rough go of it vs. Deron I’m still encouraged by what I’ve seen from Morris this season. The effort and physicality is there and – to my biased eye at least – it’s a welcome change of pace from what I’ve seen as frustrating passivity from Steve Blake. (Duhon has also flashed some positive things as well in the Steves’ absence)

    For other people here who were watching the game – remember at the end of the 1st half where Morris got obliterated blindside by a half-court pick? I was watching the Nets network and they were saying he was yelling at the Laker bench to call that out – was that what you guys saw? Kinda annoyed that even when the bench isn’t playing they still find ways to sandbag the team =/

  14. Well if the team is leading, then I do not see why we cannot give Dwight the ball in close games. Scoring above 50% on every possesion is still very good offense.

    And the bench is now officially not just J-Hill, Morris is part of that unit too, so that is two players who have been performing well lately.

  15. The Dane – I don’t understand the math of sending a “poor” free throw shooter to the line time and again either. Why, it didn’t even work in the hack-a-Shaq era, because, as you noted, it gets the “hacked” team in the penalty that much sooner. In the case of the lakers – then and now – it indirectly gives Kobe (a magnificent free throw shooter) more charity shots. This rarely – if ever – works in the opponents’ favor.

    It seems the main effect of putting bad free throw shooters on the line is to slow the game down and annoy the fans who want to see artistry rather than a free throw shooting contest.

  16. @The Dane

    The only upside to the Hack-a-Howard I can think of, outside of stopping the clock, is that if Howard maintains his average at the line, he’s scoring 1.18 PPP. Over the course of four, five possessions, trading two or three for 1.18 is a huge advantage for the other team. However, this comes with the caveat that the opposing team is scoring on each possession after they foul Dwight, which wasn’t the case last night, and more often than not, will not be the case as the Lakers will be able to set their defense instead of teams ramming the ball down the conjectural throat of their transition defense. It doesn’t make a ton of sense playing from behind, but it really makes you scratch your head when teams do it while leading, like Brooklyn did last night.

  17. This game really belongs to METTA! He had a steal & a beautiful three to get the crowd crunk at the beginning of the game. Then he just seemed to really swarm the guy he defended. I would have been frighten of this guys aggression. He also had a very timely three near the end of the game. Yeah his shooting is not good but he’s confident, works hard & not scared, a winning formula on any team.

    On Pau. He’s never been the same since those trade talks concerning CP3. It hurt his ego & his confidence. As evidence just look how he plays for Spain. A clearly different Pau. Also ad the fact that he and Lamar had a bond. I would hate for us to lose a guy that can average 15/5/10 a game just because he’s not a great defender. Damn every one of our starters can’t be GREAT. Those expectations are ridiculous! We have KOBE. We have D12. Hell we even have Nash. What else MUST we have (besides some good complimentary pieces, which Pau is one)?

  18. The Lakers owe Avery a big thanks for this win. BKN’s offense was rolling until they went into the hack-a-Dwight mode. Even when Dwight missed, the Lakers still had time to get back on defense and prevent BKN from getting easy baskets. Once Dwight started to make even one free throw per trip, the Lakers caught up and made a game of it. As Kobe pointed out, they have been playing slow ball for 7 years. They know how to win those games.