Preview and Chat: The Indiana Pacers

Darius Soriano —  March 15, 2013

Records: Lakers 34-32 (8th in the West), Pacers 40-24 (2nd in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.7 (8th in the NBA), Pacers 101.4 (20th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.6 (18th in the NBA), Pacers 95.7 (1st in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Pacers: George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West, Roy Hibbert
Injuries: Lakers: Kobe Bryant (game time decision), Pau Gasol (out), Jordan Hill (out for the year); Pacers: Danny Granger (out)

Pacers Blogs: 8 Points, 9 Seconds is a great Pacers’ site that you should check out.

UPDATE: Forget pretty much most of what follows below since:

Serves me right, I guess, for writing a preview doubting he’d play when Kobe had nearly two full days to recover from an ailment.

Keys to game: With Kobe likely out (he’s a game time decision, but that seems more like a courtesy and tribute to Kobe’s resiliency than anything else) and Gasol, while close to returning, likely out until Sunday or Monday, the Lakers head into Indiana down two of their best offensive players while facing the league’s best defense. In other words, things could be ugly tonight.

The Pacers are a team that reminds me of the 90’s Knicks or the Bad Boy Pistons. They ramp up the physicality to a level that most teams aren’t accustomed to playing and then watch as teams struggle to adjust to that style, with frustration and stagnant offense typically resulting. So, in facing this rugged defense and without Kobe Bryant, what exactly will a Laker offense look like? And how can it find ways to put up enough points to win this game. Well, the latter will be difficult regardless, so lets focus on the former.

Expect the Lakers to try and push the tempo in this game, playing more at a speed that makes Nash comfortable with heavy doses of drag P&R’s in early offense and more standard P&R’s throughout regular possessions. Ever since Kobe became more of a distributor, Nash has been more of a spot up shooter than pick and roll practitioner, but that should change tonight. Also expect more shots early the possession with Meeks replacing Kobe as he’ll likely be the player who sees a big increase in his touches with Kobe out.

Tactically, we may also see Ron shift from the weak to to the strong side of the offense with Meeks the player who is camped in that weak side corner. Most defenses help off the weak side when defending the dive man in the P&R and if Clark (or Jamison) is the the release valve, Meeks could greatly benefit from the ball swinging his way against a defense caught in mid rotation. We could also see Nash be more aggressive early in looking for his own shot in the P&R as Hibbert is prone to sit well below the screen and invite mid-range jumpers rather than come out high and expose his lack of foot speed on the perimeter.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a greater emphasis put on getting Dwight the ball in non-P&R situations. Hibbert is a very good defender but can be taken advantage of with quick moves and power finishes around the rim. If Dwight can work his turn and face game to get a step on Hibbert going to the lane, he can get good shots at the rim that Hibbert may still be able to bother but can also earn fouls trying to block. An assertive and active Dwight can do wonders in this game if can score efficiently and hit some FT’s in the process.

Where we’re likely to see the biggest adjustment in how the offense is run is with the bench unit, however. Kobe has been a fixture next to Steve Blake in reserve lineups which will mean more of a burden on Blake to initiate the offense via the P&R and to be more of an all court player than he is when paired with #24 in the backcourt. Blake, like Nash, will have to be a bit more assertive to keep the defense guessing and look for his pull up jumper if it’s made available often. If he can knock a few down, he can then become more of a distributor, but without Kobe as an outlet defenses will be fewer passing angles as the defense adjusts and plays things more straight up. Of course, if Ron, Jamison, and Clark can also make shots it will give the Lakers enough of an identity to keep the game interesting.

Defensively, the Lakers will also have to adjust to missing Kobe as it removes one of their better on ball defenders and an option to put on guys like Paul George and George Hill. This will put an even greater emphasis on Dwight’s ability to help his perimeter mates by clogging the lane while still recovering to the paint to rebound with Hibbert. Hill and George are both very good scorers when they get going into the paint and if Dwight can stand up to their drives without fouling (while also getting help from his mates on the glass when he does have to commit), the Pacers’ offense can be limited.

The other key player for Indy is David West and I, for one, can’t wait to see the match up between him and Ron from the elbow down. West plays a no-nonsense grown man game and Ron will have his hands full when battling him for position and in trying to control his post game. West also has a very nice touch with his mid-range jumper and needs to be guarded closely enough that his jumper can be contested. Ron, though, has no quit in him and will fight with West for every inch of real estate and try to force him to take contested shots every time down the floor. Do yourself a favor and watch this match up even West doesn’t have the ball just to see two very strong guys go at it.

In the end, getting this win was always going to be a bit tough even with Kobe playing. With him likely out (or greatly diminished if he does play), the odds drop even further. That said, any game can be won with the right amount of discipline, some shot making, and a bit of luck. The Lakers will need a bit more than a “bit” of the latter, but the other two things are in their control (for the most part). The Pacers are sure to ratchet up the physicality and will play a level of defense this Laker team rarely sees, but there are counters to every style and if Nash and Dwight are on their respective games we could be in for a well contested game that goes down to the wire. At this point, that’s really all we can hope for.

Where you can watch: 4:00pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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123 responses to Preview and Chat: The Indiana Pacers

  1. “Only the defiant, unbreakable will of Bryant has prevented a madhouse from sliding into a sinkhole, and his dedication to salvaging what’s left while honoring Buss’ memory has been breathtaking. He has bonded a dazed group, bolstered the spirits of the anguished, and demanded that a positive vibe rise from the darkness, all while routinely rescuing the Lakers with spectacular moments and game-winning prayers.”

  2. The blind fan part of me is hoping for the one-eyed hero to pull out a very unlikely win be weaving his way through traffic and lifting everyone around him.

    If this is to happen, Nash and Howard must team up for some P&R magic tonight.

  3. Kobe will play.

  4. Kobe is in the starting lineup, wonder how effective he will be tonight.

  5. Kobe Alert: KB’s 31 points against the Hawks was his 413th game with 30 or more points. He needs 16 more to catch Kareem in 4th for that stat. Isn’t that how many games we have left : ) Kobe also tied Mark Eaton for 60th on the Def Rebounds list. He needs just 50 FGs to catch Elvin for 6th and just 122 points to be taller than Wilt on the all time list. How many games this will be, when Kobe has played where someone with less tolerance for pain, would not have, is not a statistic that is recorded. However, I am going to go out on a limb and say he is on top of the career list : )

  6. I was hoping Kobe sat this one out, which would have allowed 3 full days for the ankle to heal. However, knowing Kobe’s resolve, should’ve known that he would lace them up.

    Unfortunately, I feel that all we’ll see is Kobe shooting long, contested jumpers due to the ankle. Nothing even approaching aggressive. Hope that I’m incorrect; but I doubt that I am.

  7. There has been a LOT of contact in the first minute and a half. If they’re not going to call any of it, this game could get ugly fast.

  8. Now when dwight comes out, pacers go on a 20-0 run.

  9. No sure what the refs are doing early. Nothing more than guys trying to get position.

  10. No Laker can make a shot to save their life here. Couldn’t last game either.

  11. We are watching some UGLY basketball… auch…

  12. Pull kobe he is getting killed by Stephenson. Rest the guys and dump this game!

  13. Shades of Detriot finals lol…We look awful offensively, granted Indiana is a great defensive team but come on….we just cant muster up good shots unless its a Kobe post up kick out..

  14. Very weak gameplan from D’Antoni. Never see any new wrinkles just drive and kick or iso and of course PnR.

  15. Derek Stafford is so blatantly stupid and incompetent he is equally terrible for both teams. Unfortunately for us, he is being terrible to Dwight who we really need tonight.

  16. tra youre right
    ken you are a disgrace to fans….have some pride

  17. Nash is hurting the team. 4 for 17 last two games. Better off with Blake righr now. May have hit the wall.

  18. Indiana announcers believe Lakers can’t score because Indiana’s D is great, but Indiana can’t score because they are taking bad shots. Hmmmm….

  19. Batman why. Kobe is amazing but no one can play D with that sprain. Stepenson is an avarage player with 12 first quarter. Look at score since!

  20. I find it surprising that steve blake and not steve nash knows how to get Dwight Howard the ball.

  21. Hey, we are now in this game and we fans keep on complaining. Our players keep fighting despite poor start and a Kobe injury.

    Man, have some faith in your team.

    We ain’t going anywhere and we’re not going down without a fight.

    Playoffs at stake here, where’s the pride of being a Laker fan?!

  22. I said that Jayz.

  23. With Kobe laboring, we can’t afford to have Meeks continuing to miss wide open J after wide open J.

  24. This is like watching a college game, neither team are exactly playing well – but I like the Dwight we are seeing here. Lakers need to keep pounding the rock in there, no Hibbert means no way they can guard Dwight.

  25. Oh Dwight…that was just a really dumb careless foul. And you were just starting to role.

  26. Brandon Burkhart March 15, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Every time I’ve seen the Pacers play, they haven’t been able to score. Can’t believe people think the Spurs are boring, compared to this team. Their offense looks painfully awkward.

  27. Pacers pace favors both teams. Lakers have a chance tonight.

  28. Ah Dwight fouls! He was playing great. Blake yea

  29. You beat me to it Ken. Kobe might be done for the half.

  30. Duhon has the dice roll going early.

  31. Small ball sometimes works after all. When it does, just bomb away.

  32. Rest the mamba

  33. Kobe Bryant has achieved some sort of player to player talent transfer into Jamison’s body.

  34. Jamison. On. Fire.

  35. love the effort, jamison+blake coming through, oh sacre !!

  36. Nash with both terrible clock management and a terrible miss

  37. Sacre with the jumper.

  38. Great team effort. Nash has lost his shot.

  39. Nash again with bad clock management.

  40. Kobe should do the Sacre dance on that Sacre Jumper.

  41. any links please?

  42. My bad, Nash got screwed on that last play by timekeeper.

    Somehow this ends up with Lakers with ball with 1/3rd of the time they should have.

    Refs are so profoundly dumb and over their head they are just making stuff up now. How is it that we have the pro sports worlds worst referees?

  43. Theses Refs are clueless….

  44. Its like the 4th time i miss a game this season, duty calls, can someone really tell me whats going on in the game? I see a lot of complaining but the Lakers are on top and dropped 30 points in the second qtr on that vaunted Indy defense so something is working

  45. The clock started early, at least one second, but cannot count Nash’s basket. Lakers get 1.5 seconds and lose out on 2 points.

  46. If Lakers lose by 1-2 points, NBA will release a statement saying Nash’s basket should have counted.

  47. NBA officials are a disaster, it’s almost every game that there’s a blatant missed or phantom call. That was 2 points literally taken from the Lakers

  48. Haha the refs are now making up stuff. Why not just give the bucket or put in the original time? Why only 1.5 secs? These refs dont have a clue on what they’re doing.

  49. Well that was atrocious. They should have given us the bucket or given us all our seconds back.

  50. What good will an NBA statement that there refs are kindergartens do us if we lose by 1-2 points?

  51. Stern must hate the Lakers. Need something fron Nash who is now 4 for 19. Great play by Blake, Jamison and Dwight. Team builing half for sure!

  52. Lakers ride 3 point shooting (8-16) to a half time lead and outscore the Pacers 23-9 in 8 minutes with Kobe on the bench. From Lakers Reporter: Kobe is done for the game.

  53. @Kobemoney – the same good it did us when they told us that Dirty Jones should have been called for a foul at the end of that last game. None, they just like to tell us the obvious.

  54. Kobe done for the game.

  55. calling to pack it in because we go down 9 is too defeatist for my liking where is the faith?

  56. Oh boy here comes the trolls again.

  57. Good thing my power of belief is greater than the defeatists’.

  58. Smart move shutting Kobe down for the rest of the night. Wasn’t moving fluidly out there and that ankle more than likely stiffened up during all that time he was off the floor.

    Dwight missing too many chippies.

  59. Derek Stafford cannot be allowed to referee another game of basketball…at any level. Dude is completely brain dead.

  60. Lakers D has really bent here, bordering on breaking, but they are getting completely and utterly jobbed by the worst refereeing I have seen since Joey Crawford challenged Tim Duncan to a fight and tossed him for chuckling at him.

  61. Pacers are flopping like crazy now.

  62. Damn Ron Artest rolling back the years!

  63. Blake is feisty! Look at the way hes playing today esp on defence. A Nash-like pass at the end.

  64. Neil, u r making no sense whatsoever.

  65. On a team with Dwight Howard MWP is the #1 option. If D’Antoni can’t make the offense feature Dwight heavy even for a half it never will.

  66. Howard needs to work on his post game this off-season. With his strength he should have at least 7 and 1’s every game

  67. BTW, the Lakers MVP in this game is MWP. He has controlled David West solidly in this game and thus why we are in this game. If I was MDA, I would close this game out with Blake instead of Nash.

  68. Apparently kobe is the coach not mike d’antoni.

  69. Yet another brutally bad call, this game is a joke right now.

  70. Yey!! Another atrocious call. Flagrant 1 for nothing.

  71. you are viewing The lakers post 2014. That was a Flagrant 1, Jamison helped him to the floor, he was just very slick about it, I felt it was a good call.

  72. I read recently that the NBA quietly fines referees for bad calls – Derek Stafford’s family is going to be homeless if that is true.

  73. Give PEACE a chance!

  74. I don’t get why Dwight hasn’t worked with Kareem yet. He should learn from more than 1 source and vary his game some more, as good as Hakeem the Dream may be.

  75. Role players making all the open 3’s that they were missing versus Atlanta.

  76. Wow, Dwight in the post… painful. He might break the backboard.

  77. Howard and 1, makes the FT, Lakers by 3.

  78. Noooiicceee feed from Nashty to Dwight there for the and 1. And DH12 makes the freebie!

  79. If you told me we would be up 3 with 90!seconds left in this game where Kobe essentially didn’t pkay I would take it.

  80. Steve Blake.. How good is he tonight. This is one of the best effort from the team all year. Just makes you wonder how did they lose to a starless Atlanta team yesterday.

  81. Good defense followed by a 3.

  82. Jamison THREEEEEEEEEEEEEE just might have sealed this game for the Lakers.

  83. Jamison. Three. Dagger.

  84. Antawn with a DAGGERRRRRRRRRRR! We got this guys!

  85. It’s a make or miss league gents. This team is pretty awesome when the role-players hit their shots. Great game from Jamison and Blake off the bench!

  86. The only bad thing about this win is Neil’s weak comments.

  87. What a game!

  88. What makes this win even more impressive is the defence. Dwight, Nash, Meeks all shot terrible percentages (Meeks 0 for tonight), still pulled it out. Oh and horrible refereeing.

  89. Helluva win!!

  90. From SSR twitter-

    Hey, everybody jump on twitter and bash this team that just lost at home to an 8th seed missing two starters. #OhthatonlyhappenstotheLakers


  91. This is the 1 game during the week that I definitely had us losing. Never felt so good to be wrong. Grand to see kats coming into a hostile environment, without their leader, and walk away victorious. Probably the best win of the season, considering the circumstances. Excellent Team win.

  92. People forgot Nash and D12 never really played with any other superstars except Steve with Amare in Phoenix for a while and they led their teams to decent records for most seasons, we are more than capable without Kobe.

    Time for the D12, MWP and Nash haters who rinsed them this entire season to suck on some serious humble pie.

  93. Okay i love kobe bryant but maybe d’antoni should think about less kobe isos and more ball movement like tonight in the 4th quarter.

  94. Warren Wee Lim March 15, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Just wait when steve comes back… Steve Blake!

  95. darius: it still works….dog scratches door, we go for a walk. we come home, lakers win.

    did i tell you his name? kobe h

    Go Lakers

  96. Trader Joe’s Minestrone Soup: $3.99
    Trader Joe’s Raw Trail Mix: $2.99
    Fish and Chips: $8.99
    Watching the Lakers beat the Indiana Pacers with an injured Kobe who didn’t score a point…..PRICELESS.

    Now, the Lakers gotta take care of business in the next 3 games (Kings, Suns and Wizards).

    PS. Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend.

  97. I think you have to give the game ball to Steve Blake, but huge game also from Jamison, MWP, Nash and Dwight, with a little kudos to Earl.

    Had to say this is a classic Nash game. Throw him out there in an undersized and underdog situation with a team with good chemistry and he is money.

  98. Wow great win. If only we won the Atlanta game too, this week would have been perfect.

    Dahntay Jones must be very proud right now.. he’s able to beat the surging LA by himself.

  99. I’m wondering if the Pacers grinding style of play actually gave a Dwight and Nash led team an advantage, without the need from Kobe scoring heroics.

    Anyways, great win!

  100. Just dropping in to say one crazy amazing wonderful game, y’all. Huge, huge, huge.

  101. Where are all those complainers now?!

    Told you to have some faith in this team. Excellent win without Kobe playing but still his still on the sideline coaching.

    Now, Houston is falling also.

    On to the next one.

  102. Now to all the doubters, I just want to add one thing…yes last years team had a better record at this point, but is this not a much more fun team to watch with more sharing of the ball, better ball movement, and a bunch of guys how now clearly are starting to enjoy playing together? Doesn’t this team feel like it has a ton more upside?

  103. doesn’t look like Minny can hold them off, bigger game is to see if Chitown can handle the Warriors.

  104. One more time:

    Kobe Bryant’s USG rate:

    2009 32.2
    2010 32.3
    2013 32.1

    And his percentages are up.

    “Play as a team and the results will be better” indeed. Work more on the learning and less on the trolling, Neil.

    Jamison, Metta, and Blake went a combined 11/18 on 3s tonight. Whether Kobe is there or he isn’t, that is not sustainable. They deserve credit for stepping up, but it is not going to happen that often, regardless of who else is out there. If Kobe were to miss several games, teams would adjust and make it harder for those guys to get space.

    I do agree with the idea that the Lakers need to do less ISO and let Nash do more late in close games, but that is as much on D’Antoni and Nash as it is on Kobe.

  105. Wonderful game. Blake needs more minutes and best game in 2 years for Metta. Really shared the ball tonight?

  106. The team has turned the corner. Dwight outplayed Hibbert and West. Challenged every shot and made plays offensively. It helped that the pace was slow but in crunch time Lakers played team ball and covered for each other defensively. Can’t have let ups have to keep taking steps forward.

  107. Neil,
    The reason why people dismiss your comments isn’t because they don’t “like” them, it’s because they’re not well thought out and they lack substance. This game is more about nuance than black and white arguments about shot totals from Kobe. Ball movement is key, but so is shot making from role players, defensive intensity, and a slew of other factors. By continuing to focus solely on Kobe you’re purposely dismissing so many other aspects of the game it makes hard to take your critiques seriously.

    All that said, Kobe is not immune from criticism. But on a night light tonight, better to give credit to the guys who did play rather than railing on the guy who didn’t (which, also, adds to the perception that you’re only here to troll).

  108. I should add, habitual trolling will get you banned. We’re here to have a discussion and disparate views are welcome. But trolling is quite the opposite and an insistence on baiting commenters with comments — something that’s against the commenting guidelines — will warrant us saying goodbye.

  109. Im thinking, that with the next 3 teams combined to be about 60 games under 500 and playing 2 of 3 at home this would be a wonderful oportunity to let Kobe heal up that ankle and get some rest, and Pau is about to return. I believe Vino earned the rest.

  110. When was the last time that the Lakers won a game without Kobe and Pau playing?

  111. rr,

    The thing is about Dantoni/Nash led teams is that they tend to get these great shooting seasons out of unsung guys. having the freedom to shoot and the confidence shown from the coaching staff for guys that have never had that kind of license, can eventually become quite contagious.

    Not saying that Blake/Jamison/Metta are going to shoot like this every game, but that I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to generally exceed expectations and that though there will be stinkers thrown in there, you will see, more and more, the fringe guys delivering…. And that its possible that there momentum is only now starting to build.

  112. Excellent victory, once Pau gets back we are going to be a tough out. I wonder if Pau will continue to come off the bench. We should be able to take care of the next couple of opponents without Kobe, but the key is going to be pace. We are sooo much better with the slow ground and pound game.

  113. Kobe was drawing up a few plays for Howard while on the bench.

  114. Apparently Darius rejected to put my previous comment up despite it breaking no forum rules, at least from my point of view. Basically I said, Kobe needed to play tonight for the Lakers to have a chance to win. Well considering the result I was wrong and I can admit that. Though I am happy Kobe tried to play through the pain, if you really can’t play, you really can’t play.

  115. Joe M,
    You posted your comment in the Friday Forum, not in the game thread:

    I’d appreciate a little bit of digging before you start to make accusations.

  116. “when everyone is invovled on offense…they will play harder on d….right?”

    wrong. it’s their job to play D in any case. this isn’t youth league soccer. there’s no time for pouting and players that put for extended periods need to be called out for it. just because some sports analyst who needed to write about something says something that sounds logical doesn’t mean that it is logical or needs repeating. players who don’t play hard don’t deserve anything, let alone the chance to take a shot.

    players who slack are just as likely to slack if they get shots or not. a hardworking player might work harder if rewarded with the ball, but if he was already hardworking then there’s really no cause and effect relationship.

    yes, everyone needs to be involved, but winning is the point. again, this is not youth league soccer where everyone plays and everyone gets a trophy.

  117. Wow, I am sorry Darius, what a jerk I was. I am very tired and cranky tonight and have been almost half asleep all day, been moving a ton of things in my new house. I will make sure to dig next time!

  118. they will play harder on d….right?

    Kobe’s USG/Lakers DRTG RANK

    2013 32.1/19
    2012 35.7/13
    2011 35.1/8
    2010 32.2/9
    2009 32.2/6

    Basically, the Lakers played better D when they had Phil coaching them, and I have come to believe that Odom had a huge positive effect on the team defense. Since the Odom trade, the Lakers 4s have been:

    Pau (too slow on the perimeter)
    McRoberts (soft–now on worst team in NBA)
    Murphy (old,slow, always bad on D, out of NBA)
    Jamison (old, slow, always bad on D)
    Hill (short arms)
    Clark (has helped some, actually)

    And they have done better with Clark. I am not second-guessing the Odom trade, but I think that is a key thing to look at with the D.

    Like Darius suggested to you, not everything that happens to the Lakers is a direct result of what Kobe does.

  119. Harvey,

    I agree to a point, but I think you need to look at the other side of it: the Lakers are 3rd in the NBA in 3-point attempts, but 16th in the NBA in 3-point percentage. Here are some other numbers:

    3P% CAREER/2013

    JAMISON .346/.331
    METTA .346/.342
    BLAKE .387/.403
    MEEKS .373/.377
    KOBE .337/.340

    But Blake has only taken 72; it may be a sample size thing.

    Also, last year Metta played 64 games and took 189 3s. This year, in 65 games, he has taken 373. There have been a lot of complaints about that in the game threads, but none from me, because I think Metta is simply playing the way system dictates.

    So, as I have said, I agree with you that a lot of the MDA bashing is over the top. The team pulled together tonight and got their best road win of the year, without Kobe. They are 18-7 over their last 25. MDA seems to be motivating somebody. People who bag on him day after day should acknowledge that.

    OTOH, the facts that the Lakers play at a fast pace and jack up so many 3s are indicators of a lack of adaptability on MDA’s part–he is in many ways a system coach.

  120. Great effort by the team tonight. Everyone put on their big boy pants and contributed to a fine win that lessened the still disappointing Atlanta loss.

    Really am very disappointed with the way the NBA does business. Jamison makes, what was in my opinion, a legitimate foul to deny Sam Young an easy layup. He gets hit with a flagrant 1. Meanwhile, Dohntay Jones gets away with injuring a player to the extent that said player can’t play effectively in the next game. The same Jones who has quite a history with one Kobe Bryant. Doesn’t the League recognize a pattern?

  121. RR,

    My main point is that this team is starting to remind me of prior MDA teams where lesser players over achieved. And I think as the chemistry is just beginning to emerge, there is still more upside. I see that you are showing that the bench guys are still only really at their historic career numbers, but I would note that 1) the season isn’t over yet and 2) In the case of Jamison and MWP, these are older guys who had pretty decent careers so just getting career averages is worth something.

    Re MDA adapting his offence, I think the issue is kind of complex. The whole league is running on ideas started by MDA, in the mid 2000’s when he instituted a more heavy 3 shooting style, as metrics show that the most efficient shots are 3’s and interior shots. Look at the Spurs/Nuggets/Heat/Rockets…the best teams in the league shoot a lot of 3’s. And its clear that the FO, wanted to institute a more free wheeling style, involving inherently shooting more 3’s.

    So the only question really should be not why they are shooting so many threes, its why aren’t they shooting more shots close to the rim, (i.e. pounding it inside more to their bigs). I agree that some blame should go to MDA in this regard, but I think there are a couple of offsets that we need to consider: a) as a guy who has never preferred post ups, the Lakers are running WAY more post ups than any prior MDA team 2) A big part of the offence is just acknowledging that Kobe is running it, and facilitating what Kobe wants/needs to do offensively, which means a combo of 3’s/drives and mid range shots. It also means everybody else is just doing/shooting less, but there is still a need for everyone to share the ball, which means proportionately less shots for the bigs 3) the willingness to “pound it inside” has been affected by the health/effectiveness of the bigs, with Dwight seemingly immobile through much of the first 54 games of the season, and Pau out for very large chunks. Today for example with Kobe out and Dwight healthy, the Lakers pounded it in to Dwight a fair bit, and overall as Dwight has started to show he is more healthy and therefore capable offensively (and earlier when Pau started to be more effective) he is getting more touches down low.

  122. rr,

    I also get that your comments about shooting were in a different context, and that overall, a lot of credit for this turn around needs to go to Kobe for his historic run over the last 10 or so particularly, rather than anything associated with Dantoni. BTW, a big part of the Kobe USG, imho, is simply Nash being unwilling or unable to do anything but defer to Kobe in this situation, with him as the undoubted leader of the team. I also think that quite aside from the shooting of the bench, they are just turning out to be a much more effective unit than almost anyone anticipated and that needs to go at least a little bit to Dantoni.