Preview & Chat: The Denver Nuggets

Darius Soriano —  November 30, 2012

Records: Lakers 7-8 (8th in the West); Nuggets 8-8 (7th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 103.8 (8th in the NBA); Nuggets 103.0 (10th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 98.3 (5th in the NBA); Nuggets 102.3 (19th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Darius Morris, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard
Nuggets: Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos
Injuries: Lakers: Steve Nash (out), Steve Blake (out); Nuggets: Wilson Chandler (out)

The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers are in a holding pattern of mediocrity dictated by wild swings of inconsistency. There’s really no other way to explain a team that ranks in the top 8 of both offensive and defensive efficiency while posting a losing record through 15 games.

Injuries have exposed this team’s lack of serviceable depth. Darius Morris and Chris Duhon have been pressed into duty, and while they’ve played hard, they’re also not every day contributors that can be relied upon. What looked like a promising preseason by Devin Ebanks has devolved into an end of the bench stint that’s surely influenced by his arrest for suspicion of DUI. This has left the Lakers thin on the wing and relying on Antawn Jamison to play small forward for several minutes each game. This is a role he’s no longer suited to play.

Meanwhile, at the top of the roster, the Lakers aren’t getting nearly enough from Pau Gasol. I’m a staunch supporter of Gasol’s game but he’s floundering while trying to find his niche in a system where he’s asked to put himself in positions to be successful through aggressiveness rather than the scheme itself putting him in those positions. The balance of when to space the floor and when to dive to the post has not yet been found and there are questions as to if they’ll be found at all. Dwight Howard and his still recovering back has shown flashes of his dominating presence, but emblematic of his team it’s not been a consistent enough occurrence.

Ultimately, this team is one that’s been constructed with ball handling and needed direction from a floor general in mind, and that’s absent. It’s hard to judge how this team will play from night to night because they’re so dependent on qualities that aren’t natural to the players that are asked to perform them. Kobe is not an every play pick and roll ball handler. Gasol is not a natural jump shooter or a defender in space away from the basket. Jamison is not a classic floor spacer. Ron is not a career marksman. When these players perform to their ceilings at these skills, the Lakers look as good on the court as they do on paper. When they don’t, they struggle to score and to stop their opponent from doing so.

Patience is in order but the wildness of this team’s ups and downs only encourages the hyperbolic responses evaluators are prone to hand out. These are difficult times, but that’s typically the case when you really don’t know what you’re going to get when a team takes the floor. In the end, context is needed in describing what ails this team and time is needed to really know what’s what. Though, I do understand many are tired of waiting.

The Nuggets Coming in: Denver has lost two consecutive games — including a heart breaker last night to the Warriors — but only by a total of 3 points. What may be becoming a theme for the Nuggs, they let a game where they led comfortably slip away and now find themselves sitting at .500 (a place the Lakers would like to be, for what it’s worth).

This is the first time the Lakers are seeing the Nuggets this year so it’s best we catch up with all their changes and what ails  them this year. Gone is Aron Afflalo and Al Harrington and in is Andre Iguodala. Of course this swap was part of the deal that brought the Lakers Dwight Howard and sent Andrew Bynum to the 76ers. The result of these changes has been a bit different than many expected. Denver’s worse on both sides of the ball and while they’re playing just as fast as ever, their lack of three point shooting has created a void in their half court sets when the game slows down.

What’s resulted is a lot of pick and roll plays that head into a crowded paint and penetration and kicks that lead to more penetration and kicks. On some possessions the Nuggets’ half court offense reminds me a man holding up a mirror and then looking into another to see an endless reflection.

So, like the Lakers, the Nuggets are underachieving a bit in comparison to preseason expectations. They too are trying to find their stride with a reshaped roster and pieces that don’t always fit precisely. By the end of the year they’ll likely be much better, but for now they are very up and down and in search mode for what works from night to night.

Nuggets Blogs: Roundball Mining Company is a very good resource for Nuggets news and notes. Give them a visit.

Keys to game: Normally I’d say that on the second night of a back to back the Nuggets should be tired and ripe to be taken advantage of. But the Nuggets aren’t a normal team. Their pace numbers are middle of the pack this year but they still want to get out and run, exploiting defenses in the process. The Lakers are particularly vulnerable in transition and the Nuggets will muster the energy to attack them this way tonight, regardless of how tired they may or may not be.

This doesn’t mean the Lakers should ignore their own desires to push the ball. The Pacers stifled the Lakers’ transition game and turned the contest into a slugfest where both team struggled to score. The Lakers would be wise to open the game back up against a Denver team that’s not nearly as disciplined defensively as the one from Indiana.

The way to run is to get defensive stops and secure rebounds once a shot is missed. This is where the Lakers’ biggest challenge lies. Denver leads the league by rebounding nearly 35% of their missed shots. The Lakers have been prone to lapses in this area and if they aren’t sharp tonight, they’ll suffer as Faried, McGee, and others hit the glass and extend would be empty possessions into ones that produce points via put backs or trips to the foul line. Rebound the ball and you can run the other way and set up your own offense.

In terms of getting those needed stops the Lakers will need to pack the paint and make shooters prove they can knock down the long ball over the course of the entire game. Mind you, I’m not saying cede open jumpers — closeouts are certainly needed — but perimeter defenders must be under control and not give up driving lanes in order to run at a three point shooter. Make them earn it. This is especially true in the P&R. The Lakers must hang back and not let Lawson, Iguodala, and Gallo get to the paint where they can compromise a defense and set up good looks for themselves and/or easy opportunities for the big men via dump off passes or offensive rebounding opportunities.

Offensively, the Lakers need to be quick but not rush their shots. Denver is not an elite defensive team and over the course of the game they will allow open shots if the ball and player movement is sharp and quick. The Lakers mustn’t get caught up trying to attack a set defense (ahem, Kobe) and instead need to move the ball and find the open man who will have an easier time scoring. Once those players get the ball, they need to be ready to attack and not just look to get the ball back to #24 so he can shoot again. Against the Mavs the Lakers did this the entire night and won easily; against the Pacers they did not and it was a dog fight all night.

Beyond this, the Lakers simply need to play hard and believe in what they’re doing on both sides of the ball. Energy and confidence aren’t stats kept in the boxscore, but in the games they’ve lost the Lakers haven’t had much of those things. Tonight they just need to come out and play hard, smart basketball and things will likely go well. Here’s to it happening.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on ESPN nationally and on TWC Sportsnet locally. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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112 responses to Preview & Chat: The Denver Nuggets

  1. Kobe Alert: Lots of milestones coming up for KB: He needs 8 dimes to get 5500 and move by DJ for 40th all time; He needs 68 minutes to get 43k for his career (in the MB era – this would have been possible tonight); He needs 19 FGA’s to get 23k (only 6 others have that many); He needs 5 three pointers to catch Hardaway for 14th all time; He needs 5 def rebs to catch Bob Lanier for 71st; and he needs just 100 points for 30k, which will put Wilt within hailing distance. He also of course needs a little help from all of his younger teammates.

  2. Why is Ebanks being punished in terms of playing time for his DUI? We’ve seen some misdeeds (or alleged misdeeds) in the past from Kobe, Matt Barnes, MWP, Jordan Hill, etc., and it seemed like the team policy was that, if you’re not in jail, you can play, yet there’s a sense that his arrest was some kind of last straw for Ebanks… What were the other straws? Hard to believe he couldn’t be a viable option in D’Antoni’s system….

  3. Mike D seemed relatively complimentary of ebanks even though he only played limited mins in the Dallas game. The arnovitz writeup on d’antoni was good and explained that his system is similar to the triangle in terms of needing intelligent players that can make reads quickly and on the fly. Wonder if that may be the issue.

  4. Ebanks can’t create a shot or shoot from the outside. He’s one of the Lakers worst options. He is only on the roster because he is cheap.

  5. Even though last reports are stating that he’s ‘out at least another week’ or ‘out indefinitely’, I’m desperately looking forward to the day that Nash returns. If one was to assume that my reasoning for anticipating his return is so that the team can perform much better and live up to its lofty expectations, then they would be correct. However, another reason for my anticipation is because I want to see whether Coach D. really deserves his ‘Offensive Genius’ label or whether the ‘Genius’ just happens to be Nash. The reason I’m stating this is not to put Coach D. on blast. It’s simply because, although it’s a small sample size, up to this date the offense under his watch hasn’t been living up to his label of ‘Offensive Genius’.

    IMO, an ‘Offensive Genius’ would be able to formulate a successful offense based on the personnel that he currently has. An ‘Offensive Genius’ would be able to draw up an offensive scheme that would be able to best utilize the skill set of said personnel and put them in positions in which they can succeed. An ‘Offensive Genius’ would be able to adapt/adjust his offensive philosophies to match said personnel and get them to maximize their potential. And finally, an ‘Offensive Genius’ wouldn’t, after every loss, say something along the lines of ‘once Nash gets back’, which, in my eyes, only cements my questioning of his ‘Offensive Genius’ label.

    Once again, this post isn’t meant to disrespect Coach D. because I sincerely believe that every coach who hasn’t secured a championship should be judged on new opportunities and not past failures. So patience is a virtue. But even he’s said that the offense has been ‘anemic.’ So with that being said, get back soon Nash. I have some questions that need to be answered.

  6. lil pau,
    I’m not saying it is related. In fact, the team has said it’s not in the past week or so. That said, in the days following the incident, an LA Times reporter said that a Laker spokesman said something along the lines of “at this time, we don’t think Ebanks is ready to play basketball.” I think they’re relating his incident to a maturity issue which probably speaks to other things that they’ve seen that play into that. We don’t know of every incident that occurs with a player, how they play in practice (or what their practice habits are), or nearly anything else that happens behind closed doors.

  7. Ebanks has seen very limited time with three coaches using three very different systems (including D’Antoni). Most likely that is due to his limitations.

  8. So Raja Bell is about to be that backup small foward maybe?

  9. Food for thought:

    I was thinking about the success of 90’s Bull’s team and our Lakers of the early aught’s, and something stood out to me; there were two players on both teams who were trying to out do each other, consistently. This competitive micro-battle to be the supreme player on that particular team, I believe is what drove them to their success’. Since that time, two players of such statures haven’t existed here, or elsewhere where that competition lead to the team’s success. (a close example of this would be in Miami, but I don’t think it qualifies. Miami succeeded when Wade diminished)

    There’s no one on our team who want’s to best Kobe, and that is not a good thing. Something I think drives the team to their often seen malaise. Even if we employed someone who was not as good as Kobe, say Jamal Crawford, but whose confidence lead him to believe so, I think we’d be better for it. Nothing drives this team, besides Mr. Bryant…There’s a deft lack of passion. This has become frustrating to watch. I’d Like to believe it’s frustrating for player’s like Gasol and Howard, that a 34-year-old man with nothing left to prove constantly outworks them, but they haven’t shown me that all yet.

  10. Ebanks like Morris is young player with pretty high ceiling.
    Lakers have enough 30 plus players.
    Lakers used develop young players like AC Green, Trevor Ariza to complement
    established superstar players.

    A comfortable Darius Morris is much more impactful on floor than Chris Duhon, or Steve Blake.

    D’Antoni will do better in young player development job than Phil Jackson.

    If Dwight Howard in the only Lakers player under 30 yrs among their top 8 players, Lakers win not win championship.

    Lakers need contribution from young players.

    Aside from Jordan Hill, if not Ebanks and Morris then who?

  11. Here is s dumb statement.

    Everyone says it will all be fine when Nash comes back.

    Lakers record this season with Nash in the lineup.

    0 and 10

    Gulp!

  12. Yeah Nash with Mike Brown who essentially kept him in handcuffs.

  13. Lol – cmon ko – you’ve posted intelligent thought out stuff so I know you’re not believeing that 0-10 garbage, so many astericks w that statement. Preseason the big worry w Nash was defense – which isn’t the Lakers major prob this year. Nash won’t fix everything perfectly but having someone to distribute and reduce the turnovers and hit free throws means this team is 3-4 games easily over .500.

  14. Ebanks has really shown he has the heart to work on his outside shot — he’s like 7 million times better in that area in comparison to last season. Yes, he was way better in preseason than during games 1-5, but I agree that he’d work in the offense that D’antoni is envisioning. He’s also adept at cutting and finishing at the basket. Maybe he’s not absolutely necessary to our success, but he’d be a great guy to have as a regular option. Really hope he’ll get to play soon.

    Also, I’m praying we don’t sign Raja. We realllly don’t need a 36 year-old as the 2nd option at a position that requires marked speed and agility.

  15. I said it was a stupid statement. I was in Denver Thursday and heard it on a sports radio station. Just a view of what others are saying about our team.

    Need to start winning and stop using excuses,

  16. On a side note, what does everything think about Stern and the Spurs fiasco?

    I personally believe it’s complete horse****. I don’t think he should be telling all the coaches how to run their team. Sure, it sucks for the fans not to see the stars that one game, especially when it’s on national TV, but the fine was completely unjustified nonetheless. Would it be ok if the big 3 (and Green) each played just 10 minutes and rested? How does that work? It’s a billion slippery slopes, just completely ridiculous on the part of the NBA office.

  17. Lol sorry Ko – when you read it on my bb the last sentence or two is disjointed from the rest and appears to be your opinion.

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/11/30/12/Shaw-committed-to-Triangle-offense-for-b/mobile_landing.html?blockID=808249&feedID=8349

    Link above confirmed for me why I thought shaw didn’t get hired and why rambis will also never have another coaching gig unless jackson is around

  18. Mavericks signing then saying they may start D. Fish is a hoot.

    D. Fish is a better answer than the speedy Darren Collison and Roddy B.?

    Fish can’t defend (talking heads say “He is team defender”), can’t shoot (field goal % abysmal), can’t assist or create. He is a great TV interview though.

    So glad Lakers didn’t resign him.

  19. If I was Spurs I would take Stern and NBA to court, what’s next is he going to fine players for not shooting enough or coaches for pulling players with big leads or way behind.

    Someone needs to step up and stop this guy now! Still angry about the Chris Paul baloney.

  20. @simon – it was a dick move by pop and he thumbed his nose directly at the league by making it public that he was sending the guys home early. If they had sat and pop wrote dnp or only played em 5 mins it wouldn’t even have been discussed and everyone would be saying how smart he is for managing his players. The prob is – he never sat an entire lineup for less than legitimate reasons- and by doing it his way,not only did he annoy stern, tv execs, fans etc… He opened the door for every crappy team to do the same in an effort to tank come march/april. Stern had to do something for a myriad of reasons including integrity of the game – so they used that “best interest of the NBA” clause. That being said – Stern responded like an idiot and painted himself into a box in so many ways between scheduling the matchup at a bad time and not dealing with this issue before. I like pop as a coach, but he knew this would cause issues w the league and did it just to poke the bear and cause probs.

  21. Can someone who knows stats explain to me how our offensive and defensive ratings are so high? They sure don’t pass the eye test. Do they not take into account turnovers, or FTs? Or were we just so much statistically better in our wins that the bad losses don’t have as much effect?

  22. Just curious.

    Does Andy Adler on TW bug you are much as she does me?

  23. @vegas – the defense has been decent across the board and the lakers rebound well and have held other teams fg percentage down even in the losses which explains the defense side. On offense, turnovers play a part as do missed free throws – but because the lakers as a team have been shooting relatively well and getting a decent points per possesion – the offensive rankings have withstodd the losses – though that ranking has dropped after last two games

  24. Getting really sick of Dwight free throws and Morris is just terrible on defense. Get him out of there.

  25. Dwight no longer looks stiff and is playing so fluid. Very good to see.

  26. Darius to Howard for the fast break slam dunk.

  27. Jamison’s playing quite well; good to see he’s turned things around from the start of the season.

  28. Love the move by MD bringing in Jamison early. Different team with him and Dwight out there,

  29. This seems too simple. Our guys are getting wide open shots. They just need to hit them. It makes me wonder how much Nash will help out the offense. Will he get guys open shots? Absolutely, but will they hit them or not? That is the question. Love the energy that I’m seeing tonight along with guys making wide open shots!

  30. Thanks jerke. (that sounds bad)

    Like the Antawn/Howard combo. Would like to see Hill/Gasol in the 2nd.

    Kobe in facilitator mode tonight. Predictable after 40 point outburst but no win.

  31. Well we have our JaVale moment for tonight…

    and someone put the wheels back on Jamison.

    Anyone else think that it could be a great idea to start Jamison at the 4 and have Pau come in off the bench to play center so he can go back to the post, where he is effective?

    The sense in this idea will be even more evident when Nash is constantly feeding a cutting Jamison for easy baskets.

  32. Great first quarter by Dwight Howard 16 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.

  33. Start of the 2nd, four possessions in and Gasol is staying at the three point line. The man simply does not want to go down low.

  34. I miss the old Pau he’s just not the same guy anymore. The wear and tear from all the basketball he’s played is showing. Sad to see great players go downhill fast like this. Just never know when father time will come knocking at the door.

  35. Bench is playing an insane game right now! Totally giddy.. And probably getting ahead of myself dreaming how unstoppable we would be if our 2nd unit brought it like this every night!

  36. Did Kobe wear #20 today?

  37. Dang! Meeks is on fire!

  38. WOW Meeks !!!!! from the three.

  39. I can’t tell you how much I love the rotations tonight. Of course, it makes it easier when the bench is producing like it is.

  40. Loving rotations tonight. Less Pau more Jamison and Meeks. Now need less Morris as he can’t defend. Duhon did fine.

  41. So… Meeks 1 on 5 vs. the Laker squad that played Tuesday. Who wins? I’m liking Jodie’s chances here.

  42. I still think Jordan Hill should be getting some burn, though. Especially when Dwight is out because he’s the only other guy on the team even remotely capable of playing some interior D and blocking a shot. We all know our other 7-footer can’t do either.

  43. As good as the Lakers have been offensively their defense has been just terrible. Might as well let the Nuggets walk the ball to the basket.

  44. Lol Vegas – its Jerk-e. Like beef jerky.

    Yeah, looks like mike d has been finding a rotation. And pau needs to find his own shots- he’s not making an effort.

  45. Wow Gasols defense is phantom can’t believe he has regressed so quickly

  46. Man Gasol plays like a 6 foot 150 pound kid. Sad

  47. When D12 sits down, our D looks woeful.

    Pau’s D has always been suspect, but now? It’s downright terrible.

  48. Wow, our D is terrible, Denver’s is actually worse.

  49. Ko: he’s old in basketball years. He practically plays every summer for Spain which could tack on a few more years of basketball. Watch him run up the floor very tough to watch. Maybe he should be relegated to a 6th man role. I’m sure he’ll do what’s best for the team. Sad to see Pau like this.

  50. We only have 5 turnovers and 71 points at the half. There is an obvious relationship there.

    The Lakers offence should be 10 or under, as in 10 turnovers or less a game. It dramatically improves the offence AND the defence (although the pace tonight is not letting our D get set so it has suffered nonetheless).

  51. addition by Subtraction!

    Less Pau and less Morris means more points and more wins.

    Simple

  52. Shooting started to cool off a bit toward the end of the half, but Kobe closed it well. Meeks was the same way in Philly, a very streaky shooter.

  53. Pau is injured but I agree. He looks slow and can’t play defense if his life depended on it.

  54. Yeah Lakers scored nearly more points in this half almost as much as all of LAST GAME!

  55. Wow. Special X-mas day uniforms….

  56. 2nd bad offensive and defensive game by Metta. What’s with that guy?

  57. Gasol to Howard for the SMASH

  58. Pau starting to look Kwame Brownish. My feelings towards him are going from angry with him to feeling sorry for him.

  59. Morris is just terrible. Get him out if there.

  60. The Lakers ran out of point guard. I wonder when will Steve Nash return.

  61. Man, Dwight is really good on defense. Those alter shots or his presence alone really can make a difference.

  62. Howards frees are always strong. He should try shooting them like Nick the quick use to, couple steps back from the line.

  63. This is such a better team with Pau and Morris sitting. Thank you Mike for the BB IQ to see that!

  64. I’ve been really impressed with the passes Gasol has thrown tonight. Lost underneath all the great shooting we’re doing has been the great looks Pau’s given our shooters and Howard. I’d rather not see so many Denver layups, but they’re not 100% on him – those generally come from other guys falling asleep on their cutting mark

  65. We look so much better with a stretch 4 on the floor with Dwight, when Jamison plays like he has tonight. We need to give him more minutes.

    Jamison playing like a boss tonight, less Pau please.

  66. Well, one observation that is concerning. Kobe has played 32 mins so far tonight and there is a whole Q to go. The way the Lakers play D, no lead is big enough it seems to sit Kobe for extended periods.

    That may very well catch up to us later in the year.

  67. 45 pts for the bench already and its not even 4th q – safe to say they showed up tonight

  68. Jodie Meeks got zero burn under Mike Brown. Zero.

  69. @joe – thats more of a function of not having a good pg out there than being worried about the lead. If morris was more of a competent offensive pg his mins would be down – kobe has 4 turnovers which is too high as well but something the Lakers have to live with until Nash gets back

  70. If Jamison plays like this more consistently there is no stopping us on offense, especially when Nash comes back. The defense still worries me.

  71. Alright. So, if your man goes into a shooting motion, just stick your face in the way to get an offensive foul I guess? ;) Sorta like reaching your hand out as a batter to get a walk.

  72. Does Pau think he is a guard. Earth to Pau you are 7 foot tall!

  73. @kenoak – Mike D may have played short rotations in phoenix, but he gave everyone a chance to prove themselves at the start of the season. If you’re good and can be a threat on the flr then you’ll get burn – but guys who are strictly hustle or def guys don’t play as much as it messes flow and spacing. And if you look at D”antonis rosters in Phoe – beyond the top 7-8 he never had much to choose from :P

  74. It is truly amazing how much Brown held these subs back. It is amazing how Jamison can go from averaging 1.2 points per game under potato head to having monster 20 game performances under Mike D.

  75. Meeks is now officially unstoppable

  76. I think meeks has earned 6-7 man of the bench for the rest of the season.

  77. I miss Sacre. The dude would have been getting jiggy right about now.

  78. Could this be the best 3 point shooting game in Lakers history?

  79. hahaha loved all the comments about jamison being washed up at the start of the season lol

  80. Jamison and Meeks are just shooting the lights out tonight.

  81. Oh Pau….oh….no.

    Seriously everyone else is killing it, he is like the guy who shows up at the party with spritzers.

  82. So the question has been answered and can be put to rest. Less Pau. More Jamison. Case closed.

  83. Now, this is a fun Laker game to watch.

  84. This is really CRAZY, Jamison-Meeks on FIRE. Man, wish this was against Miami LOL.

  85. Howard is getting points by just cleaning up offensive boards.

    More…of…this.

  86. I like Pau – but i think they should sit him ala pop for 3-4 games and give him a rest for his knees (elimnates the tendinitis excuse and gets him healthy) then the onus is on him to do conditioning and come back ready to perform. He’s not moving at all – even on off. Pau can have touches where ever he wants on the court but hes not making the effort to get to those spots on the flr and is settling for the wide open 15-18s that he says he doesn’t want to take

  87. The Lakers need a stretch 4 to play in the starting lineup. Pau is not that guy, Jamison can be.

    The only argument to play Pau instead would be on defence where Jamison has been bad his whole career and Pau has been good in stretches his whole career.

    HOWEVER, an unhealthy Pau is brutal on D, absolutely terrible. So bad in fact that Jamison has been better on D as well this year.

    So, until Pau is healthy, it shouldn’t even be a debate, Jamison should play the majority of minutes at the 4 and Pau should sub in at centre, maybe spell Jamison from time to time.

  88. 8 rebs and 7 ast from Pau is sustainable. Jamison’s 31 and 10 isn’t but his 3pt shooting can be. Pau’s played less than 33 min last 4 games. The 3 man rotation seems to be taking form with a consistent sub pattern. The way PJ made the Odom-pau-Bynum rotation sustainable D’Antoni could’ve found the same thing here. But it only will work if Jamison plays well can’t have Pau and Jamison sucking. Maybe if this continues all Pau will be asked to do is make plays for others and rebound. Have to see a 10 game stretch this could work. It has 3 out of last 4 games.

  89. Howard with his best game as a Laker…and a 3!

  90. Are you kidding me!? Dwight pulls the Bynum! :) He really looks like he has gotten some of that bounce back!

  91. Dwight Howard 28 points 20 rebounds and ONE THREE

  92. Howard has a way higher percentage from 3 point land than the free throw line this season. More 3’s from Howard please.

  93. The problem with that Kevin_ is that he is really struggling on defense, but the answer has to be reducing his minutes as you suggested or bringing him off the bench. I like Jerke’s idea about resting him for 4 games or so. Might help his knees.

  94. Pau’s passing was great. Some nights will be leaner scoring-wise for certain players, and vice versa.
    Who do you guys think you are, anyway, just barking randomly at someone as professional as Pau, as if the game is nothing more than the board games I’m sure you guys are more familiar with when it comes to actual play. Despicable.

  95. @kevin_ if the Lakers could get on a bit of a winning streak that wouldn’t be bad – would just hate that the winning would allow his less than stellar play to go unnoticed. or basically hide his lack of effort. I mean this was a win, but the lack of movement on the offensive side after a couple days of rest and the comments about needing more touches etc.. – it really stood out. D’Antoni and Nash have stuck up for him – but even in their comments there is these little nudges thats he’s got to make the best of it as well

  96. Games like this really tease you with how good this team can be if they shoot consistently and just tighten up on D a little bit.

    Nash must just be salivating to get back and throw passes to these guys now that they are knocking down shots. A 20 assist game is reasonably possible, I think he has 7 or 8 of them in his career.

  97. Dwight had a 28-20-3 in 32 mins. Impressive. Best he’s looked since becoming a Laker. Won’t need Pau for defense now that it looks like Dwight is back to being a one man wrecking crew.

  98. @ken – at least it would take away that excuse and give him no choice but to either properly condition/put in effort or buy in to the system. I think he’s still a great player – but the way this past week has unfolded and the way he’s played/comments he’s made – I’m more concerned about his attitude/mental state than any deteriation in skill.

    Good for Dwight on the 3 but don’t think Mike D or Kobe are particular fans of that.

  99. KenOak: maybe the lack of high minutes will increase his effectiveness as the season wears on. Wasn’t really a tough 28 mins tonight.

    Jerke: I think Pau wants to be a lakers so bad he’ll accept any role and sacrifice for the team. Situation is still salvagable but he hasn’t looked good. Dwight may hide that now that’s he’s back to being Dwight.

    Double edge sword have to appreciate what Pau does and how easily he makes others better and racked up 8 assists so effortlessly. And critisize when need be.

  100. We sure know how to look different from game to game, inconsistent to say the least.

    Offensively we were great, D looked suspect out there. Less Morris & Pau = better team.
    A stretch 4 with D12 helps not only the team but D12 himself, this was evident last year with his previous team. They had Ryan Anderson, we’ve got Jamison playing that role (he’s played it well as of late, hoping this continues).

    All this with sub-par play from the one position this offensive system relies on.

  101. The hardest part about this game was choosing who the player of the game was.

    And it goes to show it is really simply a make or miss league.

  102. Good game for the LAkers..Another Win. With Dwight leading the way..Another suprise is the big time contribution of Jamison and Meeks which accounted for 54 pts between the two..Hopefully, we can get a consistent contribution from this two in the regular season…

  103. Kudos to the Lakers, that’s D’Antoni’s Showtime starring role – the bench was born. I just hope they will be consistent against Orlando and hence.

    When they play like this, I have nothing to comment but spread that goodwill throughout the season. Thanks for the early Christmas gifts to the fans.

  104. I’d say

    Jamison
    Howard
    Meeks

    In that order,

    These new guys are coming around now!!

  105. lol Ludwig relax. Ive been on Pau’s side since the start of the season and still am. But I’ve also said from the start (when others were dogging him and saying that he sucked) that he looks rundown or not quite right. i really think it is a combination of the extended playoff runs/ olympic play and the tendinitis. I’m not saying he needs to be benched – but if Howard can handle the workload I don’t see any reason why not to reduce Pau’s court time or give him a game or a couple games off. I’m not bagging on him at all – just from what he said this week about the offensive issues, he was given plenty of opps tonight to step into open space or be a bigger stronger presence and didn’t tkae advantage of it at all. Even Nashes interview in between q’s Nash mentioned all the ways that Pau could be effective – but he’s just not mobile these days and it’s been really noticable. Not saying it’s his fault – just saying a rest wouldn’t hurt if its possible.

    And besides – if worst comes to worst and he needs to be traded – well he better have good knees or no one will touch him after what happened w Bynum :P

  106. It’s scary to think that even when M33ks was lights out today, Kobe still played the most minutes today with 37 minutes.

    At the pace were playing, Kobe might hit the “wall” by all star break.

    To date, Kobe leads the team with 37mpg, with Dwight at the distant second at 35mpg. Too many minutes for a 34yr old superstar with 50,000++ minutes on his odometer.

  107. Jamison and Meeks had wide open looks…and they made it! That’s not rocket science. I can name a bunch of NBA players that hit their wide open shots. For some reason, sometimes the player is not on a good night, etc…

    Once that said, I’m excited with Jamison and Meeks shooting night but we have to remember that is exactly what we expect from them; hit your wide open shot! And they did!.

    With all the talent we have, once those shots start to fall, it’s very difficult for the opponent team to stop us.

    And we didn’t need Kobe to go rogue.

    Nice.

  108. There’s a reason that I rarely comment during game threads. Way too easy to be caught up in emotion. In other words, while I wouldn’t rule the bench crew out, let’s not take a hardly expected to repeat 7-8 from 3 for Meeks and 13-19 from Jamison as the new standard for the bench crew. By the way, that’s why the 64.7 on FT still leaves much to be desired, i.e., when Meeks reverts to 0-3 and Jamison goes 2-9, will be the FT% that makes or breaks the game.

  109. AgrEed Slappy. Can’t let highs get tOo high – lows too low. Have to be patient and ride it all out until everyone is back and the Lakers know what kind of team they have.

    That being said, its nice to see D’Antoni putting players in position succeed.