Recapping Lakers vs. Nets: Momentum is Building

Darius Soriano —  February 5, 2013

If the Lakers are showing us anything in their recent stretch wins, it’s that they’re willing to scrap to pull out games. Yes, they’ve lost leads, but for the most part they’ve also been able to settle down and find a way to pull out the victory. Against the Nets, the Lakers did it again, with the Kobe dunk above sparking the team down the stretch to help them win the game 92-83.

Before we get to the rest of the game, however, this win also came with a loss. With 4:21 left in the game, Pau Gasol challenged a Brook Lopez shot and instantly went to the ground clutching his right foot. While he writhed on the ground in pain, there was a question if whether it was Pau’s ankle or even his knee, but the replay showed little contact to either. After the game, it was reported that Pau has a strained plantar fascia and will have an MRI tomorrow in Boston. Kevin Ding reports that Pau heard “a pop” and that the fear is that he ruptured the fascia. Obviously, we’ll have more updates as we get them, but this doesn’t sound good.

Without Gasol, though, the Lakers still found a way to win this game and for that they deserve immense credit. As they did the entire game, they battled and scrapped their way into a position where they could hold a lead. And when the Nets threatened with a run where it looked like they would take control, the Lakers were able to answer back with a big play of their own. Kobe’s dunk was a prime example, but so was Jodie Meeks’ jumper that turned a one point deficit into a two point lead in the middle of the 3rd quarter. As was Steve Blake’s jumper that pushed a two point lead to four in the 4th quarter. Earl Clark’s two free throws that tied the game at 80 before Kobe’s dunk also qualifies.

In essence, the game was filled of moments where the Lakers just battled back and never let the Nets seize the game the way they wanted to on their home court. Given the fact that the Lakers were shorthanded, resulting in wonky lineups (at one point the Lakers trotted out Blake, Duhon, Meeks, Clark, and Sacre), it’s really quite amazing that they were able to push back as often as they did to keep the game close enough where they were never out of it (and, actually, seemed to control it for most of the contest).

This really was a team win. Credit Kobe for his all around play and willingness to fight through an elbow ailment that obviously affected his jumper (he shot only 9-24). Credit Nash for hitting some big shots, but more for his ability to control the game on one end and not get overrun by Deron Williams (5-13, 15 points) on the other end defensively. Give huge credit to Earl Clark who once again came up bigger than anyone could have ever expected, scoring 14 points 6-9 shooting and grabbing a team high 12 rebounds on top of that. I could go on and on (Blake, Jamison, Sacre, Meeks all played well in spurts) but you get the picture. Everyone stepped up at one point or another and given the chance made the play in front of them to help the team.

And, ultimately, that’s why this game will likely be one of the team’s best wins of the year. Despite being down two starters and seeing Gasol go down in one of the most crucial parts of the game, the team rallied around each other and made the key plays to win. The Nets are a good team — especially at home — but the Lakers (and a nice contingent of Laker fans in the Barclays Center) rallied and didn’t let this game slip away. They kept the momentum going on their season going and did so in a way that is, for lack of a better word, inspiring. With Boston waiting in the wings and with Pau ailing potentially missing a good chunk of games, they certainly needed this emotional boost.

Notes:

  • One of the key reasons the Nets lost this game was because they couldn’t take advantage of the matchups that favored them all night. Deron Williams couldn’t make Nash pay defensively and while Brook Lopez had a good scoring night, he got his points rather inefficiently and couldn’t take advantage of Earl Clark on the block down the stretch.
  • Gerald Wallace’s poor play was also can’t be ignored. Kobe roamed off Wallace all night like he was Rajon Rondo, but Wallace couldn’t make the defense pay by hitting shots. Wallace went 3-10 from the field (1-5 from behind the arc) and only scored 9 points.
  • The difference between Steve Blake running the show and Chris Duhon can’t be overstated. Blake is just a much better floor general and also looks much more confident in what he wants to do on any given possession. At the start of the 4th quarter, Blake scored the Lakers’ first 7 points and was generally huge for the team tonight.
  • Go watch that Kobe dunk again. Really, go.
  • One of my favorite phrases to tweet during games is “Earl Clark, doing things”. Tonight, that statement couldn’t be more true as he was all over the court, hit some big shots, and played plus defense down the stretch. He still has holes in his game and can lose his concentration at times, but he does enough in so many different areas that he really is a valuable player for this team.
  • Ebanks is so buried, you can see his feet sticking out on the other side of the earth. Guy simply can’t find any burn. As I’ve said before, it’s not like he’s not gotten his chances (under multiple coaches, too) so I’m inclined to believe he’s simply not a player or there are other issues holding him back.
  • Steve Nash’s running lefty hook shot is one of the more amazing shots you’ll see. And he makes it look easy.
  • Also on Nash: 17 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds. 6-11 shooting and 5-6 from the foul line. Every time he shoots I think it’s going in.
  • Only 13 turnovers for the Lakers and the Nets only scored 6 points off of them. If there’s a hidden key stat from the game, this is it.
  • Those who watch a lot of league pass know the Nets have a great announcing crew. Tonight, if you watched the game on NBA TV (as I did) you got to hear them do their work. Unbiased, balanced, and knowledgeable. Just a great duo.

Darius Soriano

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43 responses to Recapping Lakers vs. Nets: Momentum is Building

  1. Earlier in the year the Lakers were playing without passion, as if they didn’t care and as if they were clueless. Around the time Clark was put into the starting lineup things changed.

    Maybe it was desperation, maybe pride or maybe they finally “got a clue”. Either way they have shown us fans that they do care and can win even with 3 starters gone.

    Big props to Kobe, Nash, Blake, Jamison and “most improved player of the half a year Clark. Win or not the rest of the year, they have
    shown us that it matters and they care.

    Now if Dwight can buy in and Metta shoot half as much, this season
    can still be fun.

    Also props to MD for excepting change, calling time outs and allowing
    guys like Clark and Jamison to show their talent.

    Goes to show even an old mustache can learn new tricks.

  2. I like what Lakers doing since the game they beat Utah in LA, but i want to see if they can play like that in 10 games, tonight it’s the game Lakers would loose because Howard, MWP and Gasol were out, but give Lakers credit, they play well together, it’s a good sign to show this team can play through , find a way to win when bad things happened. I also like Clark, he still young but he can play with smart players like Kobe and Nash, this means Clark will have a great future. It’s hard for a NBA coach to coach a team when players keep injured, MD deserves another chance to coach Lakers next year, we saw MD had a formula for this team to win, if Laker FO can fix the roster, Lakers will be great again. I also believe it’s hard to beat this Lakers team now, because Lakers have two PG now, Kobe and Nash, you can’t shut down both of them, and with beautiful ball movement, players playing well together. Lakers have a chance in any game.

  3. I believe MDA is starting to figure out this team, one of tje most refreshing things i saw was the lack of excessive 3s we saw in the past. His rotations were pn point and risky i like that i even go and give him his due tonight, but after a brilliant win on the road this team dont seem to be able to catch a break, looks like Pau will be out for a while. If we play like tonight we can win in Boston even w/o our bigs ( damn i miss Hill like nobody business right now)at least we get our resident wackjob back but Boston has his own front court issues and we know who wont be suiting up on Thursday.I hope Dwight is back by the Miami game on that one w/o him and Pau we are definetly toast. Really proud of this team right now.

  4. Loved that dunk. What elbow?

    Loved the Duke’s play tonight. New contract looms.

    Props to Gasol for wearing big boy pants in Dwight’s absence.

    Props to Ken for recognizing that no matter how he hates Captain Pringles, he does have a clue after all.

    Props to Steve Blake, coach was waiting for you to come back. Oh wait.

    Great team victory. Here’s to hard work!

  5. And like Darius mentioned, Blake has been a difference since he came back, he looks with more confidence than i ever seen him in a Lakers uniform.

  6. The Lakers started the game slow. By my estimation they were due for a massacre tonight due to the energy (or lack thereof) early on. But the Lakers stuck with their identity and now things look hopeful.

    If we could somehow win 3 straight after tonight, my money is on me and Ken kissing and making up. Such a happy place, such a happy face.

  7. Great win for the Lakers. Loved that the turnovers were down a bit, too. Showing tiny signs of discipline, which combined with heart and their skill level, gives them a chance.

    Nash is starting to look like Nash, which is mightily encouraging.

    Sidebar: Deron Williams looks nothing like a Top 2 point guard these days. Karma for getting two of his coaches off’d.

  8. I have to admit that D’Antoni did a reasonable job this game considering he had no players to work with. The times that Nets came back, it wasn’t anything that D’Antoni did wrong, but that the Lakers, especially Kobe, were just missing shots. I’m not sure if Kobe is injured, but he’s just not making his outside shots. With Gasol possible out for several weeks, and Howard not likely to be back soon, they’ll have no choice but to play small ball. They got horribly out rebounded today, but thankfully Nets were shooting poorly.

    Looks like the starting line up next game will be:
    Nash
    Kobe
    AJ
    MWP
    Clark

    With Sacre, Meeks, Blake, and Duhon coming off the bench.

    If Gasol and Howard are going to be out for an extended time, do you think the Lakers could pick up another big such as KMart?

  9. Prisoners of the moment.

  10. This will probably be deleted because it’s trade speculation, but here’s to hoping that the Celtics trade KG tomorrow to the Clips, and the Clips send a few players but they’re not ready to play until after Thursday. That might help the size situation.

  11. No Sleep Till Brooklyn

    Great, great game. First, when I heard that MWP was suspended I thought it would be a net positive for the team. He is clearly still not in control of himself emotionally. Neither was Bynum for that matter but what the TEAM needs from Mr Peace is to play with more discipline. This means knowing when not to shoot, knowing when to give up the ball on an attempted “fast” break and probably most important curbing the impulse to press fist into face of your opponent. Btw, this last bit of advice will also stand Ron in good stead after basketball, if he wants to avoid real jail time versus forfeited paycheks. Bottom line don’t confuse playing with passion with playing out of control.

    Lots of props for sure in this game…Nash with a better line than the PG that most of us thought not that long ago was just a tad below CP3! Clark with another classic Swiss army knife performance! Pau doing work and fervently hoping he is not out long. In a rather counter intuitive way if he tore the fascia he could actually be better off. The MRI will be tell the story. Kobe- what an amazing “parting of the red sea” legendary “Moses” dunk on Lopez & Wallace. Only Kobe can get fouled that hard by both those guys and not get the foul. LBJ would not get a non-call in this situation. AJ-love what he’s doing lately and beyond the offense some very creditable defense. Finally Steve Blake was a marvel out there. Decisive. Efficient. And feisty sprited Defense.

    A defining win. Much needed and perhaps the “forged by fire” experience that builds and sustains the heretofore lack of team unity sorely missing for so much of this season. And MDA did a very good job with timeouts and rotations. Play like this will translate into more wins on the remaining stops on this Grammy trip regardless of who can or chooses not to play.

    It’s on

  12. watched the Pau injury again. It’s obviously not ideal, but he did get up and walk and actually stumbled through a few plays. You don’t usually get that with a bad sprain though, to be clear…what do I know?

    For those who say Nash lost a step, you can see that is not the case…its just a matter of him getting comfortable, having a clear role and not facing a very aggressive trapping defence which is geared to taking away the PNR….thought he had a very good game, and a very, very good last 5 mins.

    While the loss of Pau is anything but ideal, you do get a rested Metta back to compensate a bit. I don’t think its impossible to win some more of these on the road, but an extended loss of Dwight/Pau would be very bad..With the all star break coming as long as these are not debilitating injuries, they could still be ok…just need to get through the next 5 like 3-2 (and they have Charlotte and Phoenix at home in that stretch).

  13. By the way, nice win, but man was NJ awful or what? They just missed a ton of open shots, and really seemed to play with very little effort….It is amazing the differential between East and West. You can really just phone it in for half the season if you are in the east…just ridiculous.

  14. Now, Kobe is no doctor but he played one on TV today. First with his Dr. J glide to the basket, Angry Old Man Style. Second, he said he hoped Pau tore is fascia as that would actually diminish the pain Pau has been suffering and lead to him getting back on the court in a few days. If, on the other hand, other speculation wins out, we might be talking third week in March for his return. If so, Dwight better get his big boy pants on himself. I know he says he has a career to consider, but right now is his career too.

  15. Great win but hopefully we don’t lose Pau for an extended period of time. How bout Kobe getting in the wayback machine for a monster dunk!!!

  16. Kobe after the game, per the evil Four-Letter’s Brian Windhorst:

    “When I was growing up, going through high school and middle school, unfortunately but fortunately I dealt with injuries,” Bryant said. “Not injuries that were debilitating but injuries you have to play through where you have to manage the pain. When you go through those things you learn your body and what you can push through.

    “But Dwight has never been hurt. The [back injury last season] was debilitating and he couldn’t play. When you have an injury that hurts you but you can play through it that’s something you have to balance out and manage and he’s never really had to do that.”

    It isn’t clear from the article whether his statements were made before the game, or after it (after Pau’s injury) but it IS clear, regardless of timing, that Kobe has publicly called out D12 and told him to man up.

    Thoughts?

    I’m normally disinclined to engage in remote psychoanalysis, but it seems reasonsable to believe that, how Dwight responds to this public challenge could make or break the season, especially if Pau is going to miss extended time.

    Final thought is actually a question—didn’t Lamar play through a torn labrum for a pretty long stretch of the season during one of the three finals years?

  17. If Pau is going to miss a month or more, it could the last straw that breaks the resistance to trading his old camel back.

    I hope he will get back on the horse soon and stays a Laker, but otherwise this might be the time for a trade with… say the Timberwolves, who must have given up on this season anyways.

  18. Kobe is the most disrespected superstar by Stern refs media and fans.
    Good win.

  19. The Nets announcers were reasonable, but did complain about the refs a bit. When Lopez took a step, dribbled, took 2 steps and stopped, a clear traveling violation, they didn’t seem to complain. But overall, they were fair.

    The worst by far though are the Blazers announcers. Especially Rice.

  20. Again, I am about to say something no one will like, and there are definitely some bad calls against the lakers, but from my vantage point, we got by far the preponderance of calls during the game. Yes they missed the out of bounds call at the end of the game (off Lopez) but that didn’t hurt at all, as they stole the in bounds pass, and Kobe was fouled a couple of times, with no call, but there were some real phantom ones on Pau, and overall, I rarely leave a game thinking the refs cost us one, (and generally its the opposite). And watching the suns for many years, I felt that very often. I do think the league wants to see the Lakers make the post season.

  21. Kobe definitely deserves more calls I couldn’t believe the vicious dunk wasn’t and 1. Longest lakers can survive pau being gone is 2 weeks max even if dwight’s playing. Hopefully pau isn’t out long but this may force mitch to make a move. If the goal is still to win the front office knows they can’t survive the loss of hill and pau(hopefully no more than a couple weeks) for an extended period. I don’t think kobe is necessarily calling out dwight but he is indirectly saying he needs him out there. We’ll see how dwight responds. Whether he decides to be apart of the rivalry will tell us alot.

  22. I believe that Lamar played with a torn labrum through the Phoenix series in 07′. That year he produced monster numbers in the playoffs despite the injury though the Lakers never managed to pull through. I think everyone should chill out on Dwight. A player who is unsure of their body is that much more prone to injury. I want Dwight to play as much as the next guy, but I know as many of you that his health is integral to any chances we have of advancing in the playoffs if we do indeed make pass the regular season. We can only trust his judgment.

  23. The Lakers are in dire need of help–and I’m sure that FB&G bloggers want to pitch in. If you could hop a plane to Boston tomorrow, you might end up doing your posting against the Celts–replacing Pau and Dwight.

    Your task would be to get Kevin Garnett ejected from the game–perhaps by telling him that the Clippers already had a locker with his name on it–or, that his Malibu house had been washed out to sea–or that Ron Artest was going to sucker punch him–or just put crazy glue on his fingers and throw him the ball. If he moves at you in a menacing way, fall to the ground immediately, and start to wimper. It works almost every time.

    When you and Kevin get ejected, a Laker representative will meet you in the locker room, hand you some cash, and send you back to Logan airport. If you do well, it may be a limo–and you can watch the rest of the game..

    Come on, there must be someone who’d be willing to do it for the Lakers. It’s either you–or they’ll have to bring in Mitch!

  24. Fwiw, Hollinger’s system, on ESPN.com, now has lakers ranked 10th (6th in the west) and has them making the playoffs with a 47% chance of finishing 8th over Utah which only has a 41% chance of finishing in 8th.

  25. The game Thursady will bring a different kind of feel, simply its coz its them Greens. I hope the Laker nation unites for once, with or without Dwight we can beat them.

    Drrayeye, Metta will gladly take you up on that offer and still have to pay for that limo simply by suggesting. KG is a bum and its easy to hate the Celtics when he’s there. I feel a little less merciful for them.

    Pierce is not helping their case either. His celebrations and chest thump really annoys me. Here’s to Metta bringing both down in 1 punch. This time, clinch that fist.

  26. Well if Pau is out for a while (an internet search indicates a torn plantar fasciitis takes 4-6 weeks to recover), the good news is that if there’s one coach that knows how to play small, it’s D’Antoni. If he can survive a whole year playing Boris Diaw at center, he should be able to get by with Clark and Jamison. Also it helps that Nash is looking more like the Nash I remember.

  27. They just need to get through the next 5 games till the all star break, with something decent like 3-2. Hopefully, Dwight is not out forever, and even with Pau, maybe its only 2-4 weeks. With something from Howard (and lets hope no one else gets injured???!!) and some continued good play from Jamison/Clark/Metta, they could be ok.

  28. I thought Steve Nash played very well tonight. He was handling the ball with precision and taking it to any spot on the floor that he wanted to . Kobe shot poorly, had a few too many turnovers, but found ways to contribute down the stretch that lifted his overall performance. That dunk was just awesome!!!

    Hope we get some good news about Pau but it doesn’t sound too encouraging. Just as he’s playing well, this happens. Love the effort and production from Earl Clark. His mom and dad were treated to a fine performance as they had a rare chance to see him perform as the starting power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers. Heady stuff.

    And props to Steve Blake, who takes a lot of heat from Lakers fans. Steve provided steady play and created a nice burst at the start of the 4th quarter. Our team only needs its health to continue to play well.

  29. I find it funny that Warren is so wishy washy on Pau.

    Being the leading Pau basher and trade advocater of Pau, now his giving Pau some love. That’s some freaking “Mayan s*it” right there.

  30. I just couldn’t resist posting this. But this is Kobes nasty dunk in super slow mo. The reaction of Jamison and John Legend is just priceless.

    http://m.youtube.com/index?client=mvgoogle&rdm=mhgf7wta#/watch?v=oTyjm2oyeoo

  31. 1. Kobe and Nash look 5 years younger suddenly. And we can already see Nash influence on Blake: he probes around the paint, tries to keep his dribble, and shoots/pass when he feels comfortable.
    2. “Sacre taps it to the wrong team” gave me a laugh. But dude tries, as does everybody else. Keep it up!
    3. Get well, Pau. Take a look at yourself, Dwight.

  32. I just noticed my attempt to “revise and extend” on my post above didn’t take so one quick addition–Regardless of whether LO played with a torn labrum (and I checked–he did back in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, but eventually ended up needing surgery) that doesn’t mean Howard should play with one–in fact the ultimate outcome with LO years back might suggest he shouldn’t. Simply put, just as I disagreed with anyone who accused Pau of “dogging it” with his knees/concussion earlier this year, unless and until there is hard evidence to the contrary, I’m starting from the proposition that Dwight is hurt pretty badly, and isn’t playing because he can’t, because I don’t know the answer.

    But I did find Kobe’s comments pretty interesting nonetheless…

  33. No Dwight, No Pau and No Jordan Hill. Basketball Gods must be mad against this Laker Team. If they make the playoffs and win it all this would be the sweetest and greatest title for the Lakers.

  34. Thanks for that Link Jayz. The reaction from the ring side fans was priceless lol. Ii it just me or is it so often that Kobe doesnt get the And 1 in those kind of plays. Kobe is the most abused superstar in this league. If it were Lebron, Wade or Chris Paul it would have been an automaic And 1.

  35. Jayz, you are direly mistaken. If you look back to 2007 and 2008, you would find out that Kurt would pull out all of his hair just to stop me and drrayeye with our crazy man-love for Pau.

    The deal I have with Pau is not on his play, but rather economic. Well, partly about his play and the system we run wherein I believe that Dwight + Clark up front with Hill + Jamison as backups would be the ideal lineup. Also, in the same manner, I was hoping to acquire players that fit our 2014 cap space plan, and players that will give relief to our 500-year-old back court. Metta is no spring chicken himself.

    Without being too specific or particular, its also my belief that having 3 stars on this team and a good bench will make us flow better compared to our current team of 4 stars with no bench.

  36. Pau. He was playing through pain and playing pretty well lately, but this season is determined to keep him down.

    Pau, Dwight and Hill. Again.

    Earlier Nash and Blake.

    I don’t recall ever seeing a team’s depth chart get tested like this.

    It was fun not watching MWP last night. As Die Tryin’ said above, there is a difference between passion and out of control. And MWP is out of control. He makes horrible basketball and life decisions out there. It’s the old Wooded saying, never mistake activity for achievement. MWP has never understood the idea behind any offensive scheme the Lakers have run. Now, in a ball movement offense, he is the place the ball goes to die.

  37. Rusty Shackleford February 6, 2013 at 7:00 am

    That was Steve Nash’s best game as a Laker. They brought him in to execute down the stretch in games like this.

    This season has been one bitch slap after another from the basketball gods.

  38. Moreover, the issue with what I seek for the Lakers to do (might be too late now with injury to Pau’s knee) is to achieve roster balance and familiarity. Let me expand on it a bit:

    Mike D’ Antoni’s philosophy or system features ball movement, quick decisions on the ball, great spacing, great shooting and good basketball IQ. This is a philosophy rather than a system of which there is no better PG to run it than Steve Nash, whom I believe may no longer be the league’s best PG, but still is the smartest. He is also easily the best shooter in the history of the NBA so that helps big time.

    Because our roster was molded and tailored to fit Mike Brown’s previous system and the triangle before that thus emanates the need to reconfigure it to fit the new system.

    In comes Dwight Howard and Steve Nash… then Mike D’ Antoni. In comes the Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2011.

    Like it or not, the Lakers having a 120 million payroll days are numbered. While many would contend that the multi-billion-dollar TV network deal can mitigate these costs, its not fiscally healthy to be sporting such a high payroll and tax dues for a team thats not even top 5 league-wide. You might like to spend the Buss family fortune that way but I don’t.

    Since we have all these pieces in place, we then assess which ones we keep and which ones we can ease out. Considering we just acquired Dwight for our foreseeable future, considering the pricetag on Pau and his resistance to accept a role like that of Lamar Odom’s, then its clear who gets the franchise’s nod and who doesn’t.

  39. Re: “Basketball Gods”–No doubt–earlier this year, when Hill, Pau, and D12 went down, I mentioned that if you were going to write a book about this Laker season it would be called “The Book of Job” minus the positive ending.

  40. Darius- `wonky lineups´! :)
    couldn´t put it any better..

  41. Best win of the season, IMO, muted by the fact that Pau sustained a Foot Injury. Never like to hear an athlete state “I heard/felt a pop” in conjunction with said injury. Especially if the location of the body where the “pop” resonated from is the knee, ankle, or as in this case, the foot. Hoping for the best, but definitely expecting the worst when the news breaks this afternoon.

  42. Devin Ebanks needs to get some burn.
    If not, what is the dude doing on the team?
    He can play, but he’s in the doghouse for some reason.

    Also: Sign K Mart, already. Not sure there’s anyone better out there,
    and the team needs a BIG MAN. Fingers crossed!