Lakers/Pistons: Jordan Hill Shows Endless Motor Against Motor City

Rey Moralde —  November 17, 2013

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? The Lakers got their fifth win of the season in a fun Sunday night game against the Detroit Pistons (well, not so fun for Detroit), 114-99.

I felt Steve Blake set the tone early with his floor game. He had eight assists in the first period alone setting up his teammates on the right spots (like Wesley Johnson on alley-oops and Jordan Hill cutting to the basket). However, the Lakers defense seemed non-existent in the first half; the Pistons shot over 62 percent in the first 24. Detroit reminded the Lakers of their crosstown rivals with their alley-oops (that Brandon Jennings pass off the glass to Andre Drummond for the alley-oop was filthy).

Then the Lakers caught fire. Detroit’s shooting had to come down to Earth and, boy, did the Lakers take advantage. The Lakers turned up the defensive intensity, limiting the Pistons to 36 percent shooting in the second half. Jordan Hill seemed to be everywhere on both ends of the floor; he was scoring inside and outside and he was grabbing every rebound. And Nick Young (who continues to play well off the bench) ignited the run with back-to-back threes. Jordan Farmar caught fire as well (after a pretty bad slump the previous couple of games); he made a jumper to beat the third quarter buzzer. Overall, the Lakers scored 16 unanswered and by the time Jennings’ chucking finally started to pay off (he ended with 23 points and 14 assists), it was too late. What’s more: the Lakers were able to prevent Detroit from hitting the century mark, sending the fans at Staples with free food that starts with a “t” and ends with “-acos.”

Overall, this game was so much fun to watch (I think I already mentioned that, right?). Jordan Hill finished with an all-world performance of 24 points and 17 rebounds. Steve Blake had 16 assists (two short of his career high… and six short of ex-Laker Chris Duhon’s) to go along with his nine points. Blake has had double digits in assists in the last four games. Nick Young scored 19 points, his fourth straight game with double digits off the bench. Wesley Johnson had a few athletic plays that made you think he jumped off the rafters; he had 13 points. And Pau Gasol had a nice all-around game with 12 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.

Lakers won’t be playing again until Friday when they face the Golden State Warriors. I know the Lakers are 5-7 but, for now, let’s enjoy this win. And we can enjoy this for the next few days.

Rey Moralde

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34 responses to Lakers/Pistons: Jordan Hill Shows Endless Motor Against Motor City

  1. Jordan Hill is playing like he wants to play for Lakers next year.

    Jordan Farmar was victory spark tonite.

    Jodie Meeks big ups too!

  2. Living in Korea, I can pretty much only watch the highlights. I saw a forum complaint about Blake’s defense. But SIXTEEN ASSISTS?!?!?!?! THATS A “WOW” !!!

    Can STEVE BLAKE GET SOME LOVE from LFBG????

    GOOOoooOOOOO LAKERS!!!

  3. With all the internal problems Houston is having with Omer Asik I think they want to trade him pretty badly. He is making a ‘hash’ out of complaining because he doesn’t want to back up Dwight Howard – hmmmmm, that sounds a bit familiar. He has a $5.2M contract this year and $14.9M next year – that balloon will make him harder to trade. Of course we also have a player with a contract next year.

    Perhaps this will be erased, but I will understand if it is.

  4. I get easily frustrated with Pau and tonight was no exception. Of course when I noticed his stat line, and that he had the best +/- on the team, I really couldn’t stay too mad. I guess I so want him to be more consistent and a leader, while that just isn’t the type of player he is at this time in his career. I realize he may be just getting back into condition, but I find it hard to be empathetic because he played in the summer for the Spanish team for so many years and frequently wore down toward the end of the year for us – talk about Kobe’s mileage on his legs.

  5. Omer Asik asking to be traded is creating a distraction. However, its Morey’s job to find a suitable trade partner to benefit their team. Now that they have not entertained his request in the off-season, they would have to deal with it in-season. Houston is focused on acquiring a stretch-four but they have to consider that not all you seek you can get, esp at this stage of the season where the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the mid-tiers and the pretenders.

    If you look at our team vs what they seek, its not a good match. If you can involve a third team, its much better. I personally don’t like Asik’s game fitting into our scheme of things today and tomorrow.

  6. I am guessing this will be the most frustrating season in some time. Constant ups and downs and 40 wins when all is said and done. 8th place at best and Kobe another year older. While I cant advocate tanking, its hard to even suggest when we have not seen Kobe play yet.

    How anyone could want the team to be bad with no guarantee of being bad enough to get a top rookie who even ends up being great is hard to understand, but this team is in the worst possible place in the NBA. Older players with a mediocre record.

    Lets see what Mitch does.

  7. JohnnyP,
    I know how you feel man, I´m down in Patagonia, so it´s either the radio (on-line) or just staring at the play-by-play `live´ on the Lakers´ website as the game unfolds (& i follow what the fellas are posting on this here great blog). But anyway, there´s no chance I´d miss a game if I can help it!
    & you´re right about Blake, played great!
    Go J-Hil! !!!!!! Go Lakers!!!

  8. Blake 16 assists deserve mention and love. Blake has been clutch playing above his contract this season. All the Lakers except Gasol and Nash have out played their contracts. Credit Mitch K. for assembling a competitive entertaining roster on a low budget. Its almost like pre-Shaq mid 90’s Nick Van Exel years — 41-41 team but fun to watch.

  9. Purpleblood, there are a ton of websites that you can see the game. I have travelled a lot and if there is a Lakers game i always find it and watch it.

  10. I just read that Kobe received full medical clearance and is going to start practicing full contact with the team Tomorrow!! I dont expect him to be back right away but im guessing 3 weeks.

  11. JohnnyP, Purpleblood, count me in too. I am from India and catch the game in the same way as you people. I am checking the play-by-plays and hitting refresh on FB&G page during the game. And yeah I know the first row links too, but the timezone doesn’t match so I am in college when the game is going on.
    I scroll down, read every post, recognize all you guys, and it’s a great experience.
    Go Lakers!!!

  12. George Best,
    The standard ‘talking head’ line is that a team should be anything except middle-of-the-road. That analysis really doesn’t apply to the Lakers. For one thing they are a desirable destination for free-agents and for another the customers really wouldn’t put up with ‘tanking’.

    The Lakers are taking an interesting middle path. They have collected a number of high draft picks who haven’t worked out, put them in a system noted for allowing players to play, and rolled the dice. Assuming GMs aren’t all stupid, high draft picks are likely to have a lot of talent – they just were not placed in the right system, or their talent was in areas not demanded by the teams drafting them – i.e. Wesley Johnson is an athletic defensive player who was expected to provide scoring, therefore his teams couldn’t find a place for him.

    I posit that under MDA these players are able to show their talents better and, because they have been in the NBA doghouse for some years, they are primed to perform for a team that appreciates them and supports them. They also will try to fit into a way of playing, rather than demanding the way of playing be tailored to them – a’ la Dwight Howard.

    I think that is why we are seeing an exciting, cohesive team forming – even if the wins don’t come as fast as we would want. This is a developing team with noticeable holes. We fans have to accept that. However, the pieces could well form the basis for a strong team in the future.

  13. A note about a player who did well in MDA’s system last year – Earl Clark. He is a bit of a disappointment in Cleveland this year. He was on his way out of the NBA, got a chance with the Lakers, performed, then took the money and left the system that showed his skills the best. Now with Mike Brown, he is reverting to previous form. There is a lesson there for some of the current Laker players. I hope they are taking notice – your surroundings really do count.

  14. Hill: Am I the only one picking up D’Antoni’s unhappiness with Jordan Hill’s play? The better Hill plays the likelihood of a stretch four in this lineup diminishes–which makes MDA miserable. When asked why Hill is having so much success, the coach says “he’s playing as hard as he can,” which really sounds like damning with faint praise. A.C. Green had a great career playing as hard as he could, as did Rodman, the poster boy of unrelenting high motor city activity. And how about the offensive skill Hill is showing around the rim?

    Johnson: Similarly, Johnson is beginning to thrive as a D and 3 and was terrific on the break last night. He’s a 3! Duh.

    I understand and in fact, really like what a stretch four does for offensive spacing. It’s a thing of beauty when it is working. But this team needs to play to it’s strengths. There are other ways to get that spacing, and as Worthy pointed out last night, Hill’s hard dives to the rim are forcing teams to double up the post, creating space on the perimeter.

    Farmar: Yes, he played well but he began to chuck and miss and stall the ball, putting the lead at risk. That’s when he got taken out. Good coaching right there.

    Purpleblood: Where are you in Patagonia? I have business in Buenos Aires and am trying to squeeze in a flight to Patagonia on my next trip–possibly in January.

  15. Sounds a bit like Trevor Ariza. he excelled when he was a role player in a good system (ORL, LAL) but has shot something like 42% when trying to be a scorer in bad systems.

  16. Craig,
    NBA players want to get paid. These players came to this system for that reason. Play one year in a system that inflates stats and then get someone to overpay for your services.
    I aint mad at them.

  17. He did the right thing by taking the money, the Lakers could not give him the contract that he earned. Sucks to be with Brown but he did what was best for him.

  18. Who are the Lakers going to beat out for the playoffs?? In reality I think all 8 teams there now are better then the Lakers..with or without Kobe..Also Memphis is better too……The worse thing for a team is to be in the middle….Make the playoffs and lose a good draft position…..and get eliminated…Finish out of the playoffs and not get a good draft position either…. I want the Lakers to do well but in the best interest of the future..being in the playoffs is not good…

  19. I am not mad at Earl Clark, but this may also be his last NBA contract, whereas he might have stayed in the league longer if he signed with a system that fit his skills. That was the purpose of my comment.

    I have a comment stuck in moderation for hours and hours that discusses the common viewpoint that we should not be middle-of-the-pack and why it may not apply to the Lakers. We accept this ‘talking head’ mantra without examining each club’s resources and advantages. Also, this doesn’t take into account the long range plan of the particular club involved.

  20. The Lakers if they dont make the playoffs probably will have between the 10- 15 draft pick, people talk like the Lakers should finish with the worst record in the league and the next superstar will land in our laps. Thats not happening and the odds are astronomical at best. The Lakers will rebuilt thru free agency mostly and hoping that we can draft someone decent in a deep draft class next tear, i dont think the Kobe lightning will land twice. The way Magic and Worthy were drafted by the Lakers are imposible today. If you want your team to tank go root for the Celtics.

  21. Can’t be mad at fringe NBA talent getting the money while they can. One hopes for more nuance when it comes to star players, or superstars, but even then- players have the right to chase money. I’ve said it before, I am happy with the team. Pau is really the only disappointment, and I can’t really blame the man. It’s hard to play this game with bad feet, he brought us three visits to the door and manages two rings. He still demands attention and has skill galore, but as it stands Hill is the more impactful player. That mid-range shot becomes automatic and Hill is going to be a very, very important player for somebody.

    I love seeing the team work hard. I love the ball movement. I love seeing some athleticism. I love the growth to Meeks’ game. If nothing else, the system has given Mitch some players he can move at the deadline. Young, cheap talent is going to be important in the years to come. I know Mitch does not like late lottery picks. I think his strategy is to bring in cheaper, undervalued veterans. That said, the Lakers won’t be able to keep all the guys they have right now. My be better to peg a few keepers and move the rest.

  22. bryan S,
    I´m down in Comodoro Rivadavia, on the Atlantic Coast. It´s a two-hour plane ride from Buenos Aires. If you can possibly make it, let me know!
    HIndi,
    It´s good to know there are a few of us digging in & making the best of it!!! Go Lakers!!!!
    Fern,
    Thanks for the tip. I´m aware of some of the sites where it´s possible to watch the games, but unfortunately, my internet service is quite slow. I feel lucky when I can get a radio broadcast (which I enjoy, btw) without much interruption! I´ll do my homework however, maybe I´ll get lucky.

  23. Purpleblood: Thanks. I have had a long standing interest in going to the South, to see the Torres de Paine. An old climbing friend of mine, Jim Donini, did the first ascent of Torre Egger. Those peaks are a spiritual destination for climbers everywhere. But if I ever have occasion to go to your city, we will meet for sure as Laker brothers!

  24. I agree with Craig to a point, in that teardowns and tanking are not the only way to get a contending team on the floor. Houston, for example, acquired assets and leveraged them into Harden, which drew Howard.

    OTOH, I would be wary of Lakers Exceptionalism Narratives, to use the KBros term. With the new CBA and with digital media changing how fame and marketing and pop culture are digested, distributed, and created, some of the advantages that the Lakers supposedly have had historically are IMO diminished. In addition, I think the Lakers-as-Magnets narrative has been oversold, both by Lakers Fans and those who are tired of Lakers success. Big-time UFAs mostly (not always, but mostly) want to go where they think they can win immediately. We see this very clearly with James, Bosh, Paul and Howard. Love’s ties to LA may help the Lakers if they are recruiting him in July 2015, but I doubt that he will come here unless he sees a situation in which the team can immediately be a factor in the championship picture.

    As to Earl Clark, his shooting percentage on 2s is down, as is his rebounding. But he is doing well on a very small sample on 3s, his other rate stats are not that far off, and it is very early. I think, though, that Cleveland probably simply had excessive expectaions for Clark. The Lakers were so thin, old and creaky last year, that Clark was the proverbial breath of fresh air. He is a very limited player.

    That said, D’Antoni does get more out of Blake than Phil or Brown did, and Meeks, Young, and (ironically) Hill are all playing well/very well for him. If that continues, MDA should get some credit for it. But we are only 12 games in.

  25. However, the pieces could well form the basis for a strong team in the future.

    I have a long post stuck in mod, but I agree to some extent with what Craig is saying. OTOH, the Lakers have only one rotation player, Xavier Henry, who will probably see his MPG crater when Kobe returns, who is under the age of 26, and further, when Kobe comes back, four of the guys seeing time will be 31 or older–and that does not include Nash. As bad as they are right now, Utah is actually the franchise among lottery-bound squads that may have the basis of a strong team in the future as its current roster core.

    What the Lakers have is several guys who are credible 6-10 guys; one guy, Hill, who is showing that he may well be a good NBA starter, and three old guys who will someday be HOFers but whose ability to contribute a lot now, much less in the future, is very questionable.

    The Lakers deserve credit for beating Detroit, which has some pretty good frontline talent, but it was also a home game against a team that is dead last in the NBA in DEFF and was concluding a tough road trip.

  26. Hill: Am I the only one picking up D’Antoni’s unhappiness with Jordan Hill’s play?
    ___
    Heh. WADR, no. ;-)

  27. @Purpleblood, i see, well just find the sites and give them a try, maybe one of these days you get lucky lol.

  28. Heres a site for those in india and patagonia if you don’t mind watching after the fact

    http://bt.davka.info/forum/viewforum.php?id=5

  29. Vbag,
    Thanks for the link. I know a bunch of sites where I could watch NBA games, plus 80% of the lakers games are coming on the TV here in India this year. The local broadcasters know that it’s the lakers what people want to watch!
    Yeah in my comment I mentioned ‘first row’ , IMO these are the most famous string of streaming websites. That’s what I use to watch games.
    But the problem being the lakers games usually start at 9am according to Indian Standard Time. And me being a vet student, is at college around the week at these times. So I catch the game via NBA.com’s play by plays. And get the in-game insight by reading the game discussion on FB&G.
    So when people start hating on Pau during the game, I can imagine what he’s doing on the floor. I could imagine Farmar throwing the towel in the last game, just because I read it here on FB&G! And many instances like these. All in all it’s still a rich experience. Sometimes makes me wonder how die-hard of fans you guys are. You are watching every game plus commenting on it. I mean every single game. And the details that you guys put in makes me think you people are professional sports analysts.
    But I think that’s what makes FB&G unique. It’s the quality content by the owner and the people who comment.
    And coming to Lakers, this season is way more exciting already. I always have a soft side for draft busts. So when I see X and Wesley putting up good numbers, I feel happy. I don’t know what’s in future for this squad but they are fun to watch for sure. It’s still better than any soap serial that airs here.

  30. I don’t think Lakers exceptionalism is so out of date. Certainly, I don’t think so only after a personality such as Howard’s wound up jilting us. I need to see more players choose other places before I’ll be convinced. LA still draws players, which the Clippers can also use to their advantage. The way the Lakers organization treat their players is very well established. From helping establish Magic as a businessman, to paying for Turiaf’s surgery, to getting camera time for their players after retirement. This is a major component and one of the aspects of business that a team like the Miami Heat do very well. This is one reason I don’t think LBJ leaves them. The LA market is huge. I am also seeing some cross-branding happening with the Dodgers, and I would not be surprised that both teams will benefit from this. The Lakers are still the Lakers and it’ll take time to see if it’ll continue.

  31. I don’t think Lakers exceptionalism is so out of date.

    Well, the big fish they have landed have all had specific reasons to want to be here. Jack Kent Cooke paid Wilt 250K at a time when Jerry West was making 100. Kareem wanted to be in either LA or NY. Shaq wanted to be in the movies, West cleared money for him, and STILL had enough talent to draw him. Baylor, West and Magic were drafted. Kobe was acquired by trade right after the draft.

    So, I think the narrative has been a bit oversold. There is hope with Love, since he is an LA dude. We will see. I hope you’re right.

  32. It’s not just about bringing superstars here. Guys like Cooper, Scott, Horry, Fox and Fish are all testaments to how the organization works and the care they take of their players. Fox came here when he had a better deal from Cleveland because he knew the Lakers could win and that they would take care of him, and they do. When a player has a big moment in the big stage for the Lakers, he can basically pump his fist in competitive exuberance and for knowing he will retire straight to one of those panel seats on Time Warner Sports. Watching Riley speak at Dr. Buss’ memorial, that was the Lakers’ cache, “coming home”.

    BTW, I don’t think it’s just Love. I think Westbrook is a real possibility too. Players love LA and say what you will, but the city will always respond with greater depth to the Dodgers and the Lakers than to the Angles and the Clippers. The players know it. If the Lakers build a competitive, exciting, and young team, the stars will come.

  33. he knew the Lakers could win

    Well, actually, IMO, it is mostly about getting superstars here. The Lakers already have role players, and role players are always available. There are differences among them, and some FOs are better are getting them than others–but they are always available. Also, building an exciting, competitive, and young team is a lot easier if you have draft picks.

    So, yeah, if we are just at the point where we are saying, “Let’s hope that Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook are both Lakers three years from now” then, fine. Love and Westbrook are both from LA, and played together at UCLA, so there is reason for long-term hope there.

    But in the meantime, the Lakers are in a rough spot.

  34. I think we basically agree regarding bringing in stars. You need them to win in basketball. The better the star, the better your chances to win. Yes, a team can bring in role players but I think there is more to it than just bringing in fair level talent. A guy like Worthy is far too good to put in the conversation but a guy like Fox, getting him for the money the Lakers did, it was much more important than just one of these interchangeable parts. Rick Fox was the best FA on the market in the year the Lakers got him. He came from a winning college program. He could score, pass, shoot from outside and played excellent D. Remember, after the chip in 2000, Fox was the starter because Rice left and the 2001 team can be argued as the best team since the Bulls championships in the late 90’s. Great teams are able to bring in players besides bonafide stars, and fit them in. Plus, you probably need those kinds of guys coming off the bench. Be it having a Lamar Odom, a Manu Ginobili, a Tony Kukoc- strong championship squads get excellent role players. I don’t think you win much in this league if starting Wes Johnson, and the best players coming off the bench are Nick Young and Jordan Farmar. Then again, stick LeBron on this team and it probably wins 55.