Preview & Chat: Lakers/Wolves, Going Without Kobe Again

Rey Moralde —  December 20, 2013

How do I even start this preview? I don’t even know what to talk about.

The Lakers lose Steve Nash. Then Jordan Farmar. Then Steve Blake. And then they lose Kobe Bryant again. Basically, the Lakers lost all their playmakers from the backcourt. They did go ahead and sign Kendall Marshall out of the D-League but I don’t expect any Jeremy Lin miracles out of this one. I will pledge allegiance to all the Kardashians if Marshall helps the Lakers go 3-0 by scoring 25 points per game, and leads the Lakers to an upset against the Heat on Christmas.

Anyway, what of the remaining Lakers? Well, it’s life without Kobe once again. They were 10-9 before Kobe came back but then they also had someone playing point guard. With Marshall the only true point guard on the roster (and you don’t expect him to play 30 minutes a game), they’re going to have to rely on energy and ball movement from every player that is playing on the court. We probably want something reminiscent of the group that came back against Portland on the beginning of the month.

But we do remember these Minnesota Timberwolves, right? They have arguably the best power forward in the game in Kevin Love. They have an excellent starting shooting guard in Kevin Martin. They have a passing wiz kid in Ricky Rubio. And they have the burly, immovable, and frightening Nikola Pekovic. We also can’t forget Corey Brewer, who is a pest defensively and a master at opportunistic leakouts.

Oh, yeah. These are the Wolves that dropped 47 points in the first against the Lakers in their first meeting. And these guys can get pretty explosive as they showed in their win against Portland (another explosive offensive squad) on Wednesday night.

So it goes without saying that the Lakers need to get off to a good start. Kevin Love will always be a pain to guard; Darius mentioned in his previous preview that there is nobody on the Lakers that can match Love’s deadly combo of size, quickness, and rebounding ability. If there’s anything the Lakers hope for, it’s that they hope Love has a bad night from three and tries to shoot his way out of it as he is sometimes prone to do. Rubio can be predictable; he’s always looking to pass but which of the Lakers can keep up with him? You also hope that someone can keep up with Martin, who takes advantage of defenders overplaying him. And Pekovic is just a monster; he is not light on his feet so Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol will have to outquick him.

I honestly have no idea what to expect with this offense because a big part of it (um, Kobe… and a point guard) is gone. Nick Young will continue to be his Swaggy P self; he’s averaging 16.8 points in his last five games. Pau Gasol has played well in the last two games, shooting 16 out of 21 (.762) and averaging 18.5 points and 9.5 boards. Maybe we’ll see him take over a bit more on setting up players from the post. As for the ballhandling duties, Xavier Henry will likely start in that position with Nick Young and Meeks sharing the position. And we’ll likely see Marshall in that back-up role.

Basically, the Lakers should get off to a good start, communicate well on defense (the Wolves are going to be everywhere), and do their best to keep the Wolves off the boards. All easier said than done. I probably should’ve just put that as the preview and call it a day.

But if anything, let’s weather the storm for a second time until Kobe comes back around February.

Just don’t let the Wolves score 47 points in the first quarter, for starters.

Rey Moralde

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47 responses to Preview & Chat: Lakers/Wolves, Going Without Kobe Again

  1. Sometimes it is very interesting to watch young playersdevelop. Lakers fans, this is that time. Happy holidays no matter what!

  2. This is the right kind of move for this club at this time.

    As far as tonite goes, good luck. We will play as hard as we can and take advantage of whatever comes our way. I will be watching for crisp passing and lots of movement on defense. Perhaps a leader will arise.

  3. Here’s the problem with Xavier as the pg., he dribbles down the side of the court, an easy place for him to get trapped the minute he passes half court. Even if he manages to break the press he doesn’t pass, he’ll either try to go to the basket or pull up for a jumper. If Henry gets in foul trouble early, more pressure will be on Meeks and Young. Let’s hope that Marshall is ready because he’s going to be thrown in the fray without so much as a practice. It might work, though because the Lakers will truly be in scramble mode.

    This may sound absurd but I think that Ryan Kelly can play a little point forward.

  4. Ugh tough game, if someone needs to step up is Pau but somehow i doubt it, thats right, a huge chunk of our offense is gone, lets see if playing that guerrila type basketball from before yield dividends this time around, lets see if this Marshall guy is NBA material. It looks like a long season just got longer.

  5. Some of my fondest Lakers memories are from the teams that never won a title, (the sedalle threat, nick & Eddie, Kobe by himself etc) so it is fun to root for the underdog and great efforts but all the injuries are really putting a sour taste on this season. What’s the odds of getting the whole roster decimated like this twice in a row? It would be so much more fun to root for a 30 win team full of cast offs and misfits playing crazy ssol ball, than to watch our entire backcourt get seriously injured at the same time. However no matter what happens I don’t want to see the Lakers tank for a draft pick. Purple and gold will hopefully never do something as disgraceful as what the celtics did in 06-07 season. Lakers are better than that. Part of the reason this team is so beloved is instead of tanking out post magic we fielded competive teams with fan friendly players until we put a title team together. I definitely think the front office has shown plenty of skills and who knows where we’d be if the Paul trade went through. Not getting the right coach is a problem bur I so think mda is better than mike brown as at least.

  6. This may sound absurd but I think that Ryan Kelly can play a little point forward.

    It does.

    But all jokes aside C.Hearn, while I disagree, I still would like to know how do you figure ? Was it something that you saw in him during his collegiate career that gives you the impression that he can play Point Forward ?

  7. Here’s to hoping that Kendall Marshall plays tonight, and impresses atleast. Otherwise I’d just stick with our own guys. Giving them more minutes would be beneficial.

    I have high hopes on him because he has that passing ability back in his UNC days.

  8. Tra, I watched him in college and a bit in the D-league. Kelly would definitely need help bringing the ball up the floor, but at the top of the key he’s capable of using his dribble to make the sage pass. He’s heady and reads the defense aptly. The only problem with him is that he doesn’t look for his shot enough when he’s orchestrating the offense. But if he’s more involved with running the offense it might jump start him and make him more aggressive to take his shot.

    I’m not saying that he’d be successful but it might be something that he can develop if he stays with the Lakers next year.

    Look for Wes Johnson to have a good game.

  9. I doubt Kendall will be thrown to the Wolves (couldn’t resist)

  10. Houston’s offense is continually going through Howard. They are losing to the Pacers by over 20 points in the 3rd.

  11. i leave for vacation for over a week and now let’s see if i got this straight:

    six weeks divided by 35 years times 2 concurrent injuries equals what the hell just happenned?
    which now begs the question, was this recent injury a matter of where kobe’s body was injured or was the injury a matter of when? either way, not a good sign.

    now the team must begin to readjust to the recent adjustment while factoring in another (new) point guard all the while trying to mesh the pre kobe reimergence? sounds like a job for mike d’antoni is waiting in the wings at a nearby nuthouse. who can blame him?

    six more weeks in the bahamas sounds about right.

    Go Lakers

  12. Houston’s offense is continually going through Howard. They are losing to the Pacers by over 20 points in the 3rd.

    LOL, as the kids like to say.

  13. So, the last time they played Minnesota, the Nash/Blake tandem, and the rest of the team, got torched on D and Minnesota blew out the Lakers in abourt 8 minutes.

    This time, Henry and Meeks will probably be on Rubio and Martin, so I expect that the Lakers will do better, at least early in the game.

  14. Who is that Chris guy playing?

  15. Chris Kaman sighting in the first quarter.

  16. Caveman finally out of the doghouse!! :)))

  17. So who are these guys?

  18. Kaman with the block on Kevin Martin leads to a Johnson alley-oop slam dunk.

  19. Pretty good emotional 1st quater certainly some retribution from that 47 point barrage from the last time the Wolves were at Staples. Lets see if we can sustain it once the emotion wears off.

  20. Nick young’s going to get paid. I can’t see how Lakers keep him for the vet min again.

  21. Have to admit coverage and defense much better then last 5 games .

  22. @ Gary he obviously wont accept a vet min pay again but its not like somebody would pay him 10 million a season or something, the Lakers would offer a fair payday.

  23. Correction, he is signed thru next year so we dont have to worry about that lol

  24. @Fern
    I thought he had a player option, which he can chose to accept or not.

  25. Yep the emption wore off.10 effin turnovers in the effin quarter

  26. At what point does MDA just throw Marshall out there. Turnovers killing Lakers, but can’t ask guys to play point guard all of a sudden. Have one, use him

  27. Run the offense thru Gasol;there is no hard and fast rule that says you need a point guard, is there?
    Kevin Love’s audition tape.
    I realize the Lakers haven’t had a lot of luck recently, but reading MDA’s quotes on ESMNLA.com, he sounds clueless. I hope I am being too harsh with that view…

  28. Pau passes to ghosts

  29. Someone needs to make a simple flow chart that can be shown to this Lakers team before every quarter and during timeouts. If you are thinking of throwing an alley-oop –> Is the recipient Wesley Johnson? Yes- Throw alley-oop. No- Do not throw alley-oop!

    That is all.

  30. Got to love how hard these guys play. Much enjoy this version.

  31. Why Williams?

  32. I can’t handle Pau fumbling, bumbling turnovers. He is mindless with. 6 TOs.

  33. @Ken
    I prefer a winning version. I don’t care how they do it.

  34. Nick Young 3, so much swag.

  35. Hate me if you want but this team plays harder, better and clearly likes each other more with Kobe not playing.

    They really pull for each other!

    Love em!

  36. That was fun!!!

  37. Ken despite the turnovers which are part of not having a true pg Pau is having an excellent game really close to a triple double and he and Young have carry the team down the stretch,what else you want? Btw this team is not better w/o Kobe Bryant in the long run , they were finally adjusting to him and bad luck struck again. Even in a good win some people are never happy. The next 2 games are very tough i be really surprised if we win one of the 2. And im sure Marshall dint know the plays yet, you cant have a pg out there until he knows how the offense run. Its not like he is a savior or anything.

  38. Great game.

    Without plus 2
    With minus 2

    6 more points per game.

  39. Understood C.Hearn. While I don’t tune into college ball as much as I used to, there are a select few teams that individuals are forced to watch due to the fact that they always seem to be on TV. Duke, of course, happens to be 1 of those teams. Therefore, I got a glimpse of Kelly – although, if I can recall, he spent a good portion of his time injured – and I liked what I saw in regards to his shot and basketball IQ. If given the opportunity, hopefully his game can translate to the NBA level.

    As far as this game, one of the best victories of the season. Right up there with our wins over Houston and our co-tenants. Impressed by the fact that we relegated Love, arguably, the best PF in the Association, to a non factor in the 4th quarter. Can’t deny the fact that the ‘fun’ was on full display tonight.

  40. @Ken. Eye test says Lakers are more effective without Kobe.

  41. Now can we please quit ragging on MDA? He has these guys playing their bu**s off. Without a real star we need this type of play to keep people in the seats.

    Above I said I would be looking for crisp passes and active defense tonight. Well, what do you know, we got both and got a win. Well, tomorrow night will be tougher, but all we can do is give it our best.

  42. it is undeniable that kobe sucked the energy out of this team. no idea what that means but it is night and day with and without him. the smiles the fun the ball movement the defensive intensity are all much much different for the better without kobe for some reason.

  43. It should be noted that we saw a different Pau tonight not so coincidentally after the FO floated to the media that he was off the trade block.

  44. The players are having more fun because they are involved. Everyone gets to play. They get to run up and down the court. They share the ball and play for EACHOTHER. This is why the FO kept MD, he is great at entertaining fun basketball. The problem is, as currently constructed, this team will not compete for anything. They will give it their all, but they will fall to any well coached, well oiled playoff team in a series. Oh well, I’m still going to enjoy the ride.

  45. Now can we please quit ragging on MDA?

    Sure–when you stop bringing up Howard.

    With only a very few exceptions, everyone here has said that MDA has done a good job with this team when it is sans Mamba, and it is pretty clear that this type of team suits MDA’s skill set well. What that means long-term WRT getting the Lakers back into contention is an open question. But the team is now 11-9 without Kobe–a 45-win pace, and MDA deserves credit for that.

    One thing to note about tonight: Love and Pekovic are guys that are almost as slow as Pau and Kaman, and I think that was probably one reason The Caveman got some burn tonight. Credit MDA for recognizing it.

  46. Im reading praises to MDA? The apocalypse is upon us lol.

  47. MD is way better than MB. That is the only praise. He knows how to coach up tempo midget basketball the same way Mike Scioscia knows how to coach small ball for the Angels. We will win some and lose some but not threaten anyone for a championship.