Lakers v. Hawks: The Lakers Give Away A Winnable Game

Phillip Barnett —  March 13, 2013

Tonight was an absolutely ugly game from both teams. Los Angeles were coming in after a win in Orlando while the Hawks were coming off of a huge loss from Miami, and the game looked like both teams were on the second half of a back-to-back. The Hawks would ultimately win this game 96-92, but they did everything they could down the stretch to give it away.

The two biggest problems for the Lakers tonight was their poor shot selection and their missed defensive assignments. Kobe came out chucking the ball like he did in the Orlando game, and wasn’t able to hit on anything until late in the second quarter. Kobe took a lot of contested jump shots and went into the half with three points on 1-8 shooting. There were too many possessions where Kobe spent more time dribbling the ball than actively looking to make plays for either himself or his teammates. Instead of playing within the flow of the game, it seemed like he was constantly looking to get himself going after a couple of down games — which ultimately ended up with him having another down game (31 points on 33 shots with five of the Lakers eight turnovers).

The offense never really got into a groove on the night. Kobe set the tone early with long jumpers, and that’s what the rest of the team did the rest of the night. 47 of their 92 shots tonight were from at least 15 feet and out, including 29 three pointers. Of those 47 shots, they only made 11, which is a staggering 23 percent. A lot of these longer shots turned into fast breaks for the Hawks, who scored 11 fast break points and plenty more on secondary breaks. This also led to quite a few kick out three pointers after guards got into the lane after Lakers defenders failed to get back on the defensive end in a timely fashion.

On the other end of the floor, we saw more signs of the Lakers playing on the 2nd of a back-to-back. The rotations were constantly slow, guys were getting beat off the dribble and guys weren’t able to find their man off the ball. There were several times, especially early as the Hawks built their biggest lead of 14 where Kobe got sucked into the lane hoping to help out on either Horford or Johan Petro and ended up getting burnt by a three point shooter or a cutter back door. With Earl Clark going down early with an ankle injury, the Hawks were able to clean up some of the boards and guy like Petro was able to record a double-double.

The second half looked a bit better for the Lakers — especially Kobe — who shot eight-for-16 in the third quarter and recorded 20 points to keep them within striking distance. In the fourth, the Lakers were able to take a four point lead, but weren’t able to hold onto the lead or recapture it down the stretch because they simply couldn’t make shots. The Lakers were 3-11 in the last five minutes of the game, which included two missed bunnies from Kobe and Ron that would have given the Lakers a one-point lead with about a minute left to play. The Hawks’ John Jenkins and Kyle Korver missed free throws down the stretch, but the Lakers weren’t able to take advantage of them.

The loss for the Lakers was huge, but they may have suffered an even bigger loss if they end up losing Kobe for an extended period. He attempted a game tying jumper with about two seconds left to play and landed on Dahntay Jones’ foot, spraining his ankle. Kobe was able to walk off the floor under his own power and his X-rays were negative, but according to Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski, Kobe will be out indefinitely.

With Kobe, you never know what that means as he’s played through so many injuries, but tonight, it’s not the greatest sign moving forward. The Jazz lost, so they’ll hold onto their 8th spot out West for another day, but the Mavericks are coming on strong (1 game back), so not having Kobe for just one game could be really tough to overcome, especially with the Pacers up next on the schedule.

Phillip Barnett

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31 responses to Lakers v. Hawks: The Lakers Give Away A Winnable Game

  1. Totally agree – ugly all the way around. Plenty of blame for this loss. Too much Kobe, not enough from DH, too many misses of easy shots, inconsistent defense….
    Didn’t like Nash’s game at all (and I’m a huge fan): ugly box score, deferred to Kobe way too much and never really seemed to get into it.
    This was a doable, and much needed, W. Didn’t get it done. Hopefully not more bad news on the injury front (Kobe & Earl Clark).
    One of the more discouraging losses.

  2. Others are bashing Clark for not playing recently. Man, the guys also is playing with injuries. Go play out there in the court with injury and you’ll know the feeling.

  3. Kobe is out for aw while. Good news is after Indiana lose they should beat Sac, Suns and Washington while Kibe rests. Over playing tired players results in injuries.

    Need Nash and Dwight to step up as they were lousy tonight. This is what happens when FO makes NO moves and leaves 5 dead spots on the roster.

  4. Gasol will be back too next week.

  5. Nash has been very deferential to Kobe for some time now, and they have been running just a lot of Kobe ISO’s through many parts of the game and particularly late in games…not every game and not all the time but often.

    This is only being noticed because its an L tonight and not a W, and kobe was less efficient tonight. The only thing I wonder about tonight is with Nash not seemingly feeling it, whether there may have been an extra reason for him to be so deferential. I do wish he had dumped it inside more, as well.

    I think it may take a new year and a real Dantoni training camp for the team to get fully “committed” to the running more PNR for Nash, not as the only way to play but as an option.

  6. This team is so thin (and near the playoff bubble), losing both Clark and Kobe at the same time might be a disaster, even if only for a short while. Fingers crossed…

  7. Clark is ok. he is “day to day”.

  8. Phillip- solid rcap. Lakers during extended periods simply could not buy a basket. At all. Defensive rotations were often slow and yes way, way too much reliance on the long outside shot. But until the very end I thought we had an excellent chance to pull it out. The criticisms of Kobe’s shot selection aside we cannot afford to lose him for long. And other guys – Dwight, Nash & the bench (esp. Meeks, Blake & Jamison…which sounds a lot like a law firm) must step up! The offense was incredibly stagnant tonight. The ball movement was very poor as was play/shot selection. MWP was painful to watch on the offensive side at times, notwithstanding his 20 pts. And despite all of this a very winnable game. Time now to regroup, recharge and get a win in Indy.

    QUESTION- Why does it still take us 10 seconds to advance the ball on so many possessions?? Slow down the game once you get it past halfcourt but don’t waste all that lock only to go into no ball movement, iso death mode.

  9. Excuse my tone, but Dahntay Jones is a dirty scrub who has always been a dirty scrub. For further reference see the 2009 WCF. If Kobe misses any more than a single game we’re done. This is disgusting.

  10. Dahntey is one of the dirtiest players ever,especially against Kobe.Classless.

  11. We just can’t catch a break.

  12. Man… Kobe’s injury hurts, but the bad play hurts too. Kobe did not play with his newfound sense of balance and focus, and that was a shame to see. Now Mike D’Antoni will be forced to go deeper on his bench. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ebanks’ half decayed corpse will be dug up and suited up in a starters role.

  13. Terrible loss on several levels–injuries, insult, Howard losing in his hometown with KB shooting 33 times and Howard 9. I didn’t see the game, so I have no idea if Kobe was forcing things, but my guess is that Howard didn’t like it.

    D’Antoni might consider pulling a Popovich on Friday–send Kobe home to LA, rest Nash and Howard, punt the Indiana game and get ready for Sacto and the rest.

  14. Teeceezy:

    No excuse for your tone needed. That was a straight-up dirty play that violated one of the long-standing unwritten rules of basketball. If a jump shooter comes down on your foot like that on a FALL AWAY SHOT–you are a straight-up punk.

  15. If Kobe’s injury is really that bad, then Dahntay Jones (damn you!!) may have screwed our chances in making the playoffs. It may also deprive us from witnessing the greatest comeback in team sports.

    Damn you Jones!!!!!

  16. 1. Over playing tired players results in injuries.
    2. .. and Dwight to step up as they were lousy tonight.
    _____

    Ken, in regards to your 2 statements up above, with all do respect, it can be the 1st game of the season and injuries, such as the one that happened to Kobe last night (while getting walked under, landing on a defensive players foot), can occur. Has nothing to do with whether said offensive player is tired or not.

    Also, I would have to disagree with your assessment that Dwight was “lousy” last night. Granted, he was in foul trouble, therefore, he could only be but so aggressive defensively (although he had 16 boards). However, offensively, it’s quite obvious that he should’ve gotten more opportunities. In 38 mins of court time, only 9 fg attempts? Against a weak defender in Petro or an undersized Horford? In contrast, MWP, who played 42 mins, puts up 19 shots and Kobe, sensational 3rd quarter and all, attempts 33 fg’s in the same amount of floor time as Dwight. IMO, Dwight wasn’t utilized enough offensively (who’s at fault, whether it’s his team-mates or D’Antoni, is up for debate). If he were, we head out to Indy with a victory in hand AND a 1 1/2 game lead over Utah.

  17. Truly a case of adding injury to insult. Easy to blame Jones for the way he positioned himself on that last play, but truth is, if the Lakers played better they would not have been in that position. Best news last night: Utah also lost.

    Up next…the Pacers :-(

  18. While it won’t be a consolation this season, think of what’s gonna happen to Dahntay (seriously, who spells Dante like that?!) Jones next time he tries to guard Kobe in a game next year. I’m thinking Kobe goes for triple digits on him.

  19. The positive spin us.

    Kobe clearly needs rest based on last two games. I predict he get a week.

    Less chance of burning this old team out going for a spot they don’t want. 7th and a sure loser against OKC.

    Focus on the 8th and play the senior bowl with the Spurs.

    Kobe iso’s was goung to flame out. Now we all can see if this coach has any ability to coach or if he and his mustache are forever stuck in the disco era,

  20. Not a good night: Kobe’s injury and how long he will be out is the story. Beyond that is like asking “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” We will see if either: A) KB plays injured as he has done many times or B) we can pull a Chicago (sans Rose), or a Boston (sans Rondo), or perhaps even an Atlanta (sans half their starters).

  21. yup, that was a tough one. Kind of inevitable that after tempting fate so many times there would be one big misstep. Overall, the teams poor shooting (after the big 4) is as much of a concern, in my mind, as the defence, which I think will continue to get better as DH gets more and more engaged.

    Last night those two early fouls taken by Dwight were just killers. You could see the team come out with decent energy, but it just disappeared once Dwight was forced out of the game early, and the Hawks just got crazy hot in his absence. And even when Dwight came back in the second quarter, he was much more timid defensively not wanting to pick up a third foul. That first half deficit, finally turned out to be too much too overcome.

    re Kobe and his shot selection….I just wonder a little bit whether, given the team psyche, which you have to feel is a bit shaped and driven by the fear of being “the greatest disappointment of all time”, there is a tendency to play it safe and let Kobe do his thing and “bail us out” and that once/if the team clinches a playoff berth, you will eventually start to see a more balanced attack, even if that takes till next year.

  22. Gasol will be back after INDY and will start according to sources.

  23. Dahntay jones is a dirty punk…

  24. My dog kb will be back he the best in the game at nobody f with him he the cold in the . The best in the game . Black mama in the game . The greats in the game .. The la go make the playoff for sure watch in see …

  25. What Dahntay Jones did would have resulted in a prolonged stoppage if it were at a local gym and I’m not talking for the injured player to recover. I don’t think his intent was to deliberately hurt Kobe but he stuck his foot out to make for an uncomfortable landing. That wasn’t a basketball play. Haven’t seen too much flopping since they implemented the rule hopefully they do something similar here.

    Kobe willed the team back in the game the 3rd quarter. Things were getting out of hand and he recently told Wilbon “when the team’s struggling you don’t say what can we get from here you just do more and take them along for the ride”. We saw just that yesterday but a little too much.

    What’s concerning besides Kobe’s ankle is how one dimensional the offense is late and D’Antoni failing to capitalize of Dwight’s previous game. There was an opportunity to build some momentum for his game last night but the emphasis was still put on hoisting 3 pointers. What’s also concerning is post game D’Antoni said “I’m not going to tell them to stop shooting they just have to make them”. Giving Metta free reign isn’t what the offense needs. He deserves some leeway for guarding Lebron, Durant, Boozer and Horford but he’s shooting 39% and isn’t a better option than Dwight. Defenses have been forcing the ball his way for some time and coach hasn’t adjusted. Jamison should start and ease Clark to a reserve role for the inevitable Pau comeback. Lakers are going to need offense these next few games if Kobe’s out.

  26. DH: Kevin – he has not been utilized properly all year. Some of it was/is the fact that he is not 100%, some of it on Dwight himself, but it is also teammates and coaching. Tra said this well above. Point is – he is a 1st team All NBA player and sometimes he is an afterthought.
    Harvey: I understand your “may tae another year” points, but time is not on our side, and that was not part of the plan. This was a 2 year plan not a building/learning process. The “greatest disappointment of all time” is an interesting comment, because I think that is the way the world sees this. Many Laker fans see bad luck, injuries, etc., but the rest of the world sees disappointment. Case in point – KB and DH have played almost every game, so how could we ask for sympathy from teams like Chicago, Boston, Philly, SA, etc..
    D Jones: Add him to the total punk list with J Rose and D Wade (Jones is actually pon there twice).

  27. Robert,

    I think it is a two or possibly three year process, though not sure how the FO sees it. I guess all I am saying is that I think/hope that this is not the final way the team plays on the offensive side. To my eye, once Kobe “turned” the season with his facilitator role against Utah and OKC after the Memphis meeting, he kind of seized control of the ball from Nash. I don’t see this ever going back to a Nash dominant offence, I just see some moments when Nash is running the offence, that there is a truly different look to how the Lakers play, which I think would be essential in keeping defences honest and is really neccessary when considering trying to actually compete with the elite of the NBA, especially since Miami is starting to look other worldly. I don’t know if anyone noticed it, but their were a few minutes in the second quarter, with Nash on the floor without Kobe, where Nash controlled the ball and ran quite a bit different offence, but as soon as Kobe was subbed in, it went right back to Nash walking the ball up the floor and passing it to Kobe.

    Re the greatest disappointment of all time, I just see a lot of the early season problems as being very much exascerbated by the pressure heaped on by the media, about this “massive” underperformance. And to my eye, the progress has come recently, for a number of reasons, not least of which is them playing a little bit free of that pressure, but I do think it lingers in the background. Its always a pressure cooker here in LA, but the sheer volume of coverage has to top anything I have ever witnessed, and for this grand move to have gone so badly, had to have some impact on the way the team played. It was why that early season injury to Nash, followed by the injury to Blake and the ongoing injuries to the various bigs, coupled with the immediate pretty much full on utter and total disgust and hatred of Dantoni, by the majority of the fan base, was so problematic, as it robbed the team of the “space” it needed to be able to develop chemistry early in the season, while absorbing a few (but not as many) bad losses along the way.

  28. phil: adding insult to injury doesn’t begin to explain what happenned to the lakers, and in particular the mamba last night in a loss intended to be a winnable game. couple that with the fact that the arena seemed to be dimly lit, or was that just poor broadcasting of the game? all kinds of ugly surface whenever injury comes to light, or in this case, poor lighting. the thinking here is that the stars were the only lighting and the lighting from the stars were a bit dim. hence the loss.

    and what kind of retarded does it take for one to foolheartedly step into the area where one who is shooting a jump shot will presumably land? there are no words.

    here’s hoping both kobe and earl clark make a quick recovery from their respective ankle injuries and with pau coming back soon, lakers will re-right this one loss and continue on in incremental victories en route to the playoffs.

    Go Lakers.

  29. I think it is a bit of a leap to say that Jones deliberately injured Kobe, but it is crystal clear that he fouled him. Bummer that it wasn’t called, and even worse that Kobe is hurt, but this team’s recent string living dangerously by playing down to horrible or injury-ravaged teams was going to bite them. That game should never have come down to a tough Kobe jumper to try to force OT….

  30. I don’t know, but that play was Bowen-esque. Illegal? No. Dangerous? Yes. Intentional? Who knows, but the point is not that he intended to hurt him, its a dangerous play that should have been called a foul. The NBA should really look at these plays and consider making them flagrant fouls, specially because they can result in long term damage to players. Hell, the Players Association should be asking for these plays to be called flagrant fouls.