Kendall Marshall & Pau Gasol Carry Lakers Past the Jazz

Darius Soriano —  January 3, 2014

Where to begin?

Kendall Marshall started his first game of the season and in 40 minutes scored 20 points, dished out 15 assists and grabbed 6 rebounds.

Pau Gasol, looking like he is finally over his respiratory issues, played an inspired game and scored a team high 23 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and dished out 8 assists of his own.

For one night, at least, the Lakers had a dynamic inside-outside duo and were able to ride their production to a win, snapping their 6 game losing streak in the process. In essence, the fun Lakers were fun again and everyone went home happy — especially the fans who got their beloved tacos.

Marshall really was a revelation in this game, showing the skill that landed him in the lottery just a season ago. The 2nd year pro played with a great tempo to his game and worked the pick and roll masterfully, using a quick step to get into the paint to either set up drives to the rim where he could finish or to collapse the defense so he could hit shooters behind the arc. His assertiveness coming off picks was a huge difference from his first couple of games as a Laker, showing that the key to this offense really is an aggressive playmaker who can make the right pass shot decisions when operating in the P&R.

That last point really is important as Marshall really didn’t make many mistakes all night. His lone turnover came on a busted pick and roll where he picked up his dribble without an outlet and sailed a pass into the backcourt. But besides that one error, he was nearly flawless in his decision making and showed off the passing ability that earned him so much praise coming out of UNC. He threw countless passes on time and on target both in the half court and when looking ahead, reading the defense expertly and hitting shooters circling up above the arc or dipping down the corner, picking on helping defenders who had to make tough choices between leaving their man and covering the diving big man who set screens up high.

This is where Gasol’s game came into play as he operated wonderfully in the center of the Lakers’ offense, diving into the paint to draw defenders or floating into the creases of the Jazz D where he could stroke a jumper that looked as pure as it has all season. But when Pau wasn’t operating in the P&R, he was in his favored low post, working against defenders who were reminded that when the Spaniard is on his game, he still has a lot of variety in his offensive arsenal. Pau worked sweeping hooks and turnaround jumpers against quick drop steps and finishes with both hands, giving everyone flashbacks of just how good he could be when his complete game is going.

Beyond his offense, though, Pau also had one of his best defensive nights of the season. Besides his 17 rebounds (14 defensive clears), Pau offered up 3 blocked shots and altered several others simply by challenging shots at the rim and actively going after the ball rather than letting the action come to him. On several possessions Pau sought out offensive players and used his length and timing to bother the Jazz inside when he was on the floor.

Of course, Pau and Marshall didn’t win this game on their own. After missing the last game with the stomach flu and struggling mightily in some of the games before that, Wes Johnson hit all 5 of his shots from the floor to score 11 points. Jodie Meeks and Nick Young weren’t especially efficient (both shot 6-14 from the field), but they scored 18 and 16 points respectively and both hit some key baskets down the stretch when the Jazz made their final push to get the game within 4 in the closing minutes. Robert Sacre had a tough shooting night (2-6) en route to his 4 points, but was solid defensively and pulled down 10 rebonds. And Shawne Williams and Ryan Kelly both did a good job of stretching the floor, combining to hit 4 of 5 shots from behind the arc and scoring 16 points between them.

All in all, there’s really nothing to complain about in this game. The Lakers fought hard on both ends of the floor and when the game got tight at the end, they played good D and came up with the big shots that kept the Jazz at bay. The individual nights of Pau and (especially) Marshall will get the ink and deservedly so, but games like this are won on the backs of the entire team and this effort brought back memories of the team’s early season victories when guys rose to the occasion to get a good win. It remains to be seen if this can be a stepping stone win that helps get the players some of their lost confidence back, but even if it doesn’t it sure was fun to watch.

And that’s not something that could be said around these parts very often lately.


Darius Soriano

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35 responses to Kendall Marshall & Pau Gasol Carry Lakers Past the Jazz

  1. Who needs D12 when we have K12!

  2. In relevant NBA trade rumor mill, a Griffin-for-Melo swapped is supposedly in the works. I like that deal despite wanting Melo for the Lakers.

    Also, Jazz trying to sell a pick to Cleveland perhaps? RJeff + pick –4– Bynum is the kind of deal the Cavs want, but they really need to buy Pau if they want to show Kyrie they are all about winning.

  3. WWL – I had to laugh last week when I saw Marshall get #12. Hopefully he keeps erasing the memories of that other 12 from our minds.

  4. Nothing against the kid, Kendall Marshall, who had an excellent game tonight. But as I mentioned when he was first brought up from the D-League, if given the opportunity, he’s bound to look good due to the system that D’Antoni incorporates. Especially if individuals are knocking down shots, being that Marshall is a pass first PG as Darius alluded to. Also doesn’t hurt that Utah, a terrible team and on the second end of a back to back, was the opponent. With that being said, I’m hoping for similar results from the kid come Sunday night against B. Shaw’s Nuggets.

  5. Paul has a separated shoulder and will miss 3-5 weeks.

  6. Warren, if the Clippers want to make a trade and want the late prime and decline years of Melo saddled with a max contract they can go right ahead, i dont want Melo on the team, thats exactly the kind of player the the Lakers dont need going fwd. Another 30+ player with a humongous contract? No thank you

  7. This game was a game of 2 even teams. Wish i could see a long term positive for our injury decimated squad but i cant. In a little unrelated note, the Lakers have been dropped of 2 national tv games already why? Bc there is no Kobe, and people wonder why he got the 48 mill.

  8. Do teams get extra money for Nationally televised games or is it just a PR thing?

  9. The revenue from national TV games is divided up among all the teams and the league AFAIK.

  10. “Just when we thought we were out, he pulls us bak in…”

    It remains weird to root for a team that ought to stop winning and get in the lottery.

  11. It’s a breath of fresh air – even against a struggling Utah team – to see Gasol and Marshall (!)
    playing with heart and enthusiasm.
    Marshall looks like a player. Great court vision and a true PG: unselfish.
    I’m interested to see how he performs against some of the better teams.
    Great win for a team that desperately needed one.
    Go #12!

  12. Perfect time to ship Gasol,harkening back to 2009-2010 days,a mirage.

  13. What a difference a “real point guard” can make…even one w/ limited talent.

  14. When you are shown on National TV, in our case international tv, you get to expand your brand and sell more merchandise. At the same time, the teams playing get a portion of the tv proceeds. The biggest thing however is that if the teams playing are primetime marquee matchup, tv advertisements will be at an all-time high and those are the $$$ generators. No one advertises on Jazz vs Bucks games.

  15. A sigh of relief!
    Sincerely hope that K12 (or Kbutter5, it seems) turns out to be another in a long line of top-drawer ballers out of UNC! Of which we all know our Lakers have had their share!
    (& that dish to Williams for a 3 at 8:16 of the 3rd Q was saweeet!)
    Happy for ya Pau, please keep it up against the Nuggets! (to you naysayers, I respectfully request that you give the dude a break for a few hours at least)

  16. “Marsh madness” super fits. 20 poi ts .20 points and 15 assists means he was responsible for 50 points and 6 rebounds while shooting 50 plus percent! Hey that’s a new category like the double double or triple double. The 50 /50! Im a tank advocate cause i dont believe we win a playoff series if we slip in somehow(rather have the draft pick please thankyou.)but houston ithink we

  17. Found our point guard.

  18. Exactly Warren, Kobe’s popularity and tv ratings power generates more than the money they are paying him. Even if the Lakers are not that good even with him healthy, people want to see Kobe Bryant play.

  19. Please lets stop appointing Marshall ” our next pg” or whatever already, people are going to be aware of him now that he had a couple of good games and specially after last night. He was under the radar, now teams are going to pay a lot of attention to him.

  20. True Fern and he also was going against a rookie in Burke. Marsh does have talent though and I could see him and Jordan running the team next year. The lefty righty punch could be cool.

    Yes that means moving the Breakable Steve’s. Really all us long time fans need is a floating branch in the water to latch onto.. That drowning feeling from last week was bad.

  21. Almost forgot is this the start of

    Ken -Sanity?

  22. Analytical piece on Marshall’s game from Rob Mahoney at SI:

    You can also click the link in the mini-window to Darius’ Twitter account in the sidebar.

  23. @Fern Melo imo would catapult the Clippers into the finals, or at least into the conversation. CP3 would still control the ball most of the time and Melo would prosper as a floor spreader 4. Good move if they can do it.

    I didn’t get to see the game last night, but the stat sheet sure looked awesome for Marshall. It’s good to get a win….however, now that I’m fully on board for the unintentional tank this year, I would like to see a couple losses for every win. 😉

  24. This win was huge to break the losing streak. Upcoming schedule is almost comical and not in a good way.

    So is it Ken-sanity or Marshall-Madness? I think on his board it should be Ken-sanity I am sure you agree Ko? : )

  25. Stu Lantz kept harping on it during the game…”Read and React,” and that’s what Marshall was doing out there.

    He had great awareness of what the defense was giving him and consistently made the right play. Plus, he was not afraid to shoot when the moment called for it and finished well at the basket. One of the quirkier looking shots from downtown, though. Hits them from deep.

    Will be interesting to see how the matchup with Ty Lawson plays out on Sunday. Can’t wait.

  26. @KenOak, Melo is a great scorer thats it, mediocre rebounder and most important a putrid defender and never proven that he has what it takes to win it all. The Clippers can have him i dont care and in 2 or 3 years time will be saddled with the same conundrum we have with Gasol right now. Better them than us. And i still dont believe they will win it all with him. For all the talk about CP “leadership” he never guided a team past the second round.Him, Melo and specially Doc are hugely overrated.

  27. Good game by K-Marsh last night. I was not expecting him to go off the way he did. But at the same time, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here. Yea, the guy had a great game, but is the consistency there? That is a serious question the Lakers have to ask themselves going forward before they get excited. If they’ve really found something with K-Marsh, then great let’s use it. But if he’s only going to show up for 1 or 2 games a month, I wouldn’t get too excited.
    The Lakers need to seriously evaluate their personnel right now. They played the Utah Jazz (one of the worst teams in the league) and found a winning combination; but, this combination may not work with other, better teams (i.e. OKC, Houston, Portland,). Trading Pau Gasol may still prove to be beneficial for the Lakers and they should definitely still explore that option. Upgrading at point guard would always be a plus for the Lakers (seeing as how they haven’t necessarily had a true point guard for the last 20 years or so), and they could use some attitude in the paint. Jordan Hill, who for some reason is extremely undervalued on this Lakers team, has been doing all the dirty work in the paint. As a fan, I couldn’t ask for more from this guy. He attacks the glass with reckless abandon and he has an effective offensive game. The Lakers would be fools to get rid of this guy. Period. But adding some more attitude in the paint like a Zach Randolph or a Joakim Noah would really help the Lakers. No one is scared of LA, and having a bruiser in the paint would help demand a little more respect from their opponents.

  28. My lord, I have little doubt that Melo would ruin this team. If trading Blake to the Knicks makes it less likely that the FO signs Melo, do it. We don’t need another ball-dominant scorer who does not play D. We need long, explosive players who work hard on D, shoot the long-ball, can put the ball on the floor and can continue to grow. That is the baseline. Obviously, if we are drafting in the lottery we want more than that but Melo is not filling our needs. Rather, he compounds our problems.

    The nice thing with Marshall, the guy get the ball on point and in rhythm. Guys who consistently do that add percentage points to a teams shooting. CP3 does it, Nash does it, Curry, LeBron… I’m not trying to put the guy on their level. He is clearly a talented guy and I hope we are seeing a guy who worked on what he needed to do in the D-League and is now going to grow into a floor general (not to mention floor spacer… dang he shoots from deep). His shooting form is going to limit what he does but if he has found a way to counter that then by all means, save a seat for me on the Kendall Bandwagon.

  29. I think the “The Lakers are imposing Marshall Law” is the way to go.

  30. If the Knicks do this trade it would be the smartest move they have make in the last 20 years, im not a big fan of Blake, another overrated player but would net the Knicks the kind of player the Lakers need, under 25 and with space to improve, knowing the Knicks they still will fumble building a team around him not that i care i looove the Knicks FO in entertainment is the gift that keeps on giving but they would make the Clippers older and in 2 or 3 years they will have another “Melodrama” the Lakers need to sign FAs not far over 25 enough of 30 somethings. The years to do that is 2015 and 2016 not next summer.

  31. Avereno: “let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here.”: Well – since the nickname discussion was led by Ken, rr, and myself – I don’t think anyone is going to accuse us of getting ahead of ourselves. Darius is probably falling out of his chair at the lack of pessimism : )
    Fern: 2016? Remember when you told me to “Hold on Cowboy” with regard to my 8 year thing : ) Well this is year 4 and you are mortgaging 2 more so that makes 6. I guess you are guaranteeing me a title in 2017 or 2018? Else the record will be ours : ) I think we need to gettiup : ) Not that I necessarily disagree with your logic.

  32. @Fern
    Do you know how many superstar players that there are who have never won it all? Quite a few my friend. I think that trade would be a win for both franchises. Clips would get the go-to guy that they need and the Knicks would get a young athletic guy who excites the crowd. BTW would Griffin even get much playing time if he played under Mike D’Antoni?

  33. How about “the Marshall Plan” (although Marshall law has a nice ring.

    KenOak….Blake could come off the bench for 12 to 18 MPG if he promised to take 1000 threes a day during the offseason first…Shawne Williams would still start though

  34. Warren, why do you want ‘Melo on the Lakers? Seriously, I would be interested in knowing why.

    On an unrelated general note, I don’t understand why the Lakers “tanking” continues to come up as a subject. The Lakers won’t need to tank to reach the lottery. Oh, and by the way, a lottery pick isn’t a sure-fire remedy to mediocrity or worse. See: Cavaliers, Cleveland; Kings, Sacramento; and many many others.

  35. @mindcrime
    lmao! Exactly…Blake can’t stretch the floor, therefore he isn’t worth playing on offense. :/