The Lakers lost to the Kings on Tuesday, a game which saw Lou Williams go supernova in the 4th quarter to bring the team back from a double-digit deficit to nearly pull out the win. Williams’ last second heave was wide right, but his work up to that point was thrilling even though I was frustrated by the number of possessions he was using and the time D’Angelo Russell spent on the bench because of it.
That, right there, is the double edged sword of Lou. I will write more on this later, but Lou is so good at what he does that he deserves to play. When he gets his game going it’s hard to take him out and he’s able to turn some rough moments into good ones so quickly it’s easy to give him a long leash in order to find his rhythm. We saw that last year under Byron Scott and we see it this year with Luke Walton.
The other side of that coin is that no one is changing Lou’s game — certainly not him if he’s left to decide on his own. He’s made a career out of playing this way and there will be few extra passes, few instinctive possessions to move the ball on, few extended stretches of consistently dialed-in defense. You accept those parts of his game because the other parts he does well he does really damn well. And while he’s doing those things well, he’ll be keeping either Russell or Jordan Clarkson on the bench. These are the consequences and where the tipping point is for any fan/analyst/critic on any given night probably won’t be known until you’re there.
I was there against the Kings even though he went nova. But I digress.
All of this has little to do with the Suns, tonight’s opponent. I won’t say much about them because, honestly, as much as I love breaking down the game and everything which comes with it, a zoom out tells us that this is the last game before the All-Star break for the teams with the two worst records in the western conference. That’s not to say this game doesn’t matter, but the timing of it and the expected quality due to these facts makes it less meaningful to me.
Yes, you can talk about the Devin Booker/Russell match up, how well Eric Bledsoe is playing (really well), or the battles of both teams’ young forwards (Marquise Criss, TJ Warren vs. Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram). These things intrigue me and, during the game, I’ll be paying special attention to them. But heading in? Yeah, I’ve got little to say. Maybe the game will surprise me. But the last game before a long break which will likely have a bunch of guys getting ready to go on vacation hints at something less dramatic. We’ll see.
Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.