Archives For

This wasn’t exactly the most watchable basketball game. Whether it was or not, it didn’t really matter to the Lakers as they lost for the eighth straight time, 107-97.

The ball movement was very lacking in the first half. Not only that but the second quarter proved disastrous to the Lakers. They went 4 for 19 (.211) from the field, including an 8:49 stretch where they missed 14 straight shots. L.A. also only had three assists in that first half. Neither team shot well in the first half and there were so many stoppages of play due to the number of trips to the charity stripe.

The Lakers showed a bit more life in the second half, going on a 10-0 run to take the lead. The third quarter ended emphatically with a Larry Nance, Jr. slam. Someone tell Robin Lopez that he no longer has a twin brother.

Then the Lakers’ well went dry again. They didn’t make a field goal in the last 6:18 of the game. The Nets took advantage of that and their shot-making, though not very good, was enough to beat the Lakers. Not only was the game hard to watch for the most part but for the Lakers trying to get out of this slump, it was extremely disappointing.

The Lakers only had 11 assists and that’s partly because of the Lakers’ woeful shooting (.385). The Nets didn’t shoot well, either (.384). It felt like I heard a lot of glass shattering in this contest. There were a lot of trips to the free throw line but the Lakers only shot under 62 percent on that department (21 out of 34). The Nets went 30 for 40 (75 percent). Plus the Nets outhustled the Lakers in rebounds, 61-49. Trevor Booker made up for the corpse of Brook Lopez by going for 18 boards. Three Nets had 20 or more points (Lopez, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Sean Kilpatrick).

L.A. had balanced scoring as six players had double figures (Lou Williams had 16 to lead the way). D’Angelo Russell never got going (2 for 10 from the field) because he got in foul trouble early. Julius Randle continued to struggle on his shot (2 for 8). Timofey Mozgov played well as he went for 12 and 13. And Nance, to go along with that electrifying dunk, had a good game that doesn’t show up on the numbers. But the Lakers just didn’t have enough on the offensive end. You’re not going to beat any team if you go on extended droughts like that and if you only score three points in the latter half of the final quarter.

As mentioned, it’s the Lakers’ eighth straight loss and it’s not good for the morale of the team at the moment. They lost two winnable games on the road against the Kings and the Nets. They do have another chance to redeem themselves as they go against the Sixers on Friday. Hopefully, Coach Luke Walton can get the team back to what they were doing before the long slump. They oughta move the ball more, be energized on defense, and get back that fighting spirit that was their signature for the first 20 games.

And it seemed like yesterday when all their troubles seemed so far away…

This game couldn’t be over quick enough. The Lakers got smashed in their game against Houston. The final score? 134-95. I haven’t seen them get messed up like this since… well, okay, Friday. But this was just a massacre.

The downfall could be traced all the way back to the first quarter (which really has been their downfall throughout the season; it’s like the Lakers play every game like they’re climbing K2). While the Lakers were keeping up with the Rockets’ extraordinary run-and-gun offense that basically outlaws midrange shots, L.A turned the ball over so much that it was like they were being all Santa Clauses 18 days early. 9 turnovers in the first quarter won’t get it done. The Rockets scored 43 in the first 12 minutes while the Lakers scored 27.

Houston cooled off in the second and Brandon Ingram (12 points), Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Lou Williams all made some shots to cut the deficit to seven points. But that was as close as they got. Lou made an incredible shot from afar before the halftime buzzer to cut the deficit to 12 but that was really just a small bandage that stopped the bleeding temporarily.

L.A. couldn’t stop the Rockets from getting into the paint (68-52 edge by Houston). They were already bad at closing on shooters and we know Houston specialized on three-pointers. Rockets went on a 22-6 run in the third that ballooned the lead to 28. That basically put away all the hope the Lakers had on winning this game. The Rockets kicked the Lakers while they were down and they put a boulder on them to make sure they didn’t recover.

The Lakers shot well early but they got really careless after halftime (they only shot .391 at the end while the Rockets finished at .543). They ended up having 28 turnovers, which ties an NBA season high (the Rockets had 20 but their talent was so overwhelming compared to the Lakers). Houston also outboarded the Lakers by 13. Eric Gordon (26 points) made 8 of the Rockets’ 15 three-pointers. Patrick Beverley had a double-double (10 points, 12 assists). And James Harden did his usual damage (25 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists). Seven Rockets scored in double figures. The Lakers were led in scoring by Lou Williams once again (24 points) and Randle had a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds). But the Lakers defense was so bad and they were so careless that you might as well have five poodles play on the court.

Luke Walton started Marcelo Huertas and Jordan Clarkson in a more conventional line-up (instead of Brandon Ingram and Metta World Peace, which they did against Utah in a giant line-up). But besides a fleeting moment in the second quarter, Clarkson never got going (3 for 13, 7 points). And Huertas was just overmatched despite a pretty good statline (10 points, 7 assists, 5 steals).

The Lakers are now 10-14. They’ve lost four straight and the injuries have really taken a toll on them. They were without D’Angelo Russell, Nick Young, Jose Calderon, and Tarik Black. It was good that Larry Nance, Jr. was back but that obviously wasn’t even close to being enough against Houston. All they can do now is throw another game in the garbage and focus against Phoenix on Friday at Staples.

Let’s just hope they don’t throw too many games into the garbage bin if they wanna keep the playoff dream alive.

Well, the Lakers fell short in a tale of two halves. The Grizzlies were able to trip up the Lakers in a game that ended in a wacky manner, 103-100.

Memphis was depleted as they were without Zach Randolph, Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Vince Carter, and James Ennis. The Lakers, who were playing their fourth game in five nights, were without Nick Young, D’Angelo Russell, and Larry Nance, Jr. Early in the game, Jose Calderon pulled up lame. He left the game with a right hamstring strain.

The pace was frenetic in the first half. The Grizzlies did their best to keep up as Troy Daniels (fourth-year player out of Virginia Commonwealth) had the green light to shoot from the outside. With Julius Randle in foul trouble, Lou Williams and Luol Deng (playing at the 4!) carried the scoring load. While Daniels surprisingly led the Grizzlies with 23 points, Lou was scorching with 28 points in the first half.

The Grizz slowed the game down and the Lakers, with the possible combination of fatigue and the Memphis defense, succumbed to a lot more isolation and one-on-one plays. Memphis was able to bear down and cause turnovers in the halfcourt. Still, Lou and Lu stayed hot in the fourth. Luol Deng played his best game as a Laker with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. Lou Williams went for 40 points on 20 shots.

It was a little back and forth before Troy Daniels made a key three to give Memphis a four-point lead. Marc Gasol would follow it up with a sweeping hook before Williams made a three-point play. After a Grizzlies miss, Lou put up a quick three that missed badly with 20 seconds left on the game clock and 16 on the shot clock. In the ensuing possession, Deng stole the inbounds pass. Randle got fouled on a three-pointer by Gasol with 5.9 seconds left. Julius missed the first two free throws before missing the third on purpose. Still, the Lakers got the offensive board but Jordan Clarkson missed a corner three. Memphis got away with the win.

We can look at this as a schedule loss. They might have ran out of gas; we know how much the Memphis defense can take out of teams in addition to the Lakers playing their fourth game out of five nights. The Lakers only scored 38 points in the second half and only Timofey Mozgov scored double digits (13 points) other than Lou Williams and Deng. We hardly saw the ball movement that Coach Luke Walton preached in the second half. We all know the Grizzlies like the grit and grind. Grounded. Grimy. Gross. Growl. The Lakers turned the ball over 18 times.

You’re probably not familiar with most of the Grizzlies players other than Marc Gasol and Tony Allen. Gasol did a lot of playmaking (19 points, 8 assists). But you gotta watch guys like JaMychal Green (16 points, 13 rebounds), back-up point guard Wade Baldwin IV (7 points, 9 assists), and the aforementioned Daniels (31 total points!). Just because you’re not familiar with them doesn’t mean you should just leave them firing away. There were so many breakdowns defensively by the Lakers in the second half. It could be fatigue or whatever but Memphis is not going to blink an eye and feel sorry for them just because their opponents are tired.

Just remember that the Lakers got beat by this guy:

No disrespect intended, Troy. You played a hell of a game. For tonight, Elvis Presley is not the king of Memphis and neither is Jerry Lawler. It’s Troy Daniels.

It’s back to the Staples Center on Monday after a 1-3 road trip for the 10-12 Lakers. We’ll see if they can get it right against the Utah Jazz.

So this is one game you want to throw in the trash. The Raptors worked the Lakers, 113-80. The 80 points are a season-low for this young team.

All you needed to do was watch the first half. The Lakers were down, 15-4, at one point. They did cut it down to six by the end of the first but the Raptors shot the lights out in the next 12 minutes. Canada started out 16 for 19 in the second quarter, which I’m sure got Celine Dion singing. The Lakers never got it going on the offensive end and they got killed on the other side of the ball. Toronto took advantage of the Lakers hedging too far and had some ball movement that got L.A. chasing pretty much all night.

Even when Toronto came back to earth in their shooting, the Lakers couldn’t take advantage. L.A.’s turnovers certainly didn’t help; they had five in the third (16 overall). It resulted in an ugly third quarter which saw the Raptors barely win it, 15-14. That’s good for the Lakers in a close game but not so great when they were down 21 in the first half. The Raptors were back to burning the rim in the fourth and the Lakers never had a chance. T Dot never trailed in this contest.

While DeMar DeRozan (16 points) and Kyle Lowry (24 points) did their usual damage, Lucas Nogueira (13 points), Cory Joseph (14 points), and Norman Powell (16 points, and he replaced a resting DeMarre Carroll in the starting line-up) all took advantage of the Lakers’ porous defense. The Raptors shot over 54 percent. As for the Lakers? They can’t shoot under 35 percent, play poor defense, and expect to win. It doesn’t work like that. Also, hope that Larry Nance, Jr. is okay as he bumped knees late in the game.

The Lakers continue to get off to poor starts. In 21 games this season, they’ve only won the first quarter five times. Coming into the Raptors game, the Lakers were 27th in scoring (24.5 points per) and 26th in offensive rating (96.0 points per 100 possessions) in the first quarter. And we all know the team usually finishes strong. Maybe they need to make some tweaks in the starting line-up and put in some more scoring with Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell out. Brandon Ingram led the team in scoring with a career-best 17 points.

All you can do is move on to the next game. But at least, for the Lakers, it’s almost immediate as they travel to Memphis for a game tomorrow night. The Lakers are 1-2 in this current road trip and 10-11 overall. I guess it could be worse, right?

The Lakers got punched in the face by the New Orleans Pelicans last night. Not only that but they also lost Nick Young (for 2-4 weeks so it’s not as bad as we thought it was going to be). They already didn’t have D’Angelo Russell. But somehow, the Lakers pulled this one out against Chicago in a second game of a back-to-back, 96-90.

But this game was so ugly. I watch a lot of NBA games and this might be the ugliest one I’ve seen all season. In the first quarter, it felt like the Lakers were playing basketball underwater. They kept turning the ball over and this would go on all game. They were once down, 28-14. It looked like it was going to be a rout.

The Lakers bench came through as always, though, as Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Lou Williams, and Larry Nance, Jr. made plays on both ends. While it was frustrating that the Lakers couldn’t get over the hump in the second quarter, the fight that they showed was admirable (once again) as they looked dead in the water a bit earlier.

Continue Reading…

For the third time this season, the Lakers and the Warriors played against each other. Unfortunately, this contest was way more like their meeting two days ago than the one early this month as the Warriors clobbered the Lakers, 109-85.

The Lakers were missing players once again. We know D’Angelo Russell was out but so were Julius Randle (hip) and Nick Young (toe). Even though the Warriors went on a 13-0 run early in the first half, the Lakers withstood that storm as Jordan Clarkson led a run that cut the deficit to three. But the Dubs ended the first half with a 9-2 run to take a double digit lead. It was actually a near-miracle that the Warriors only led by 10 after two quarters because the Lakers turned the ball over 12 times (they would end with 18 giveaways) and shot only 36 percent at the time. The Dubs did play pretty sloppily as well but with the discrepancy of talent between the two teams, they can overcome their mistakes.

Continue Reading…

To keep up with the Western Conference champions, the Lakers needed to bring their A+ game. And without D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, it was going to be a monumental task. Yeah, they had beaten the Warriors before but a lot went right for the Lakers in their first encounter against them at Staples Center. The Lakers upset the Dubs in a 20-point blowout.

This one was decidedly different; Darius noted being defeatist in his preview earlier. Quite frankly, I didn’t blame him. Any adjustments that Luke Walton made didn’t seem to matter (Brandon Ingram replaced Julius in the starting line-up). The Warriors went on a barrage early after the Lakers opened with two Jose Calderon jumpers. While the Lakers survived the first wave, they couldn’t withstand the storm the rest of the night. The Dubs scored 80 points in the first half and the game ended in a romp, 149-106. The Lakers did this to the Warriors on their tail end of a back-to-back and the Warriors did it to the Lakers today on L.A.’s tail end of a back-to-back. So, really, we know who to blame here: the team that they each played in their first of a back-to-back, the Oklahoma City Thunder (I kid, of course).

Once the Warriors piled on, it threw the Lakers off their game. There were some rushed shots instead of the ball movement Coach Walton has preached. The Lakers were overwhelmed by the frenetic Warriors play. Granted, the Lakers didn’t seem to play much different defense from their first meet-up. They died a lot on those Warriors picks that got the shooters open; it’s like they all exploded upon contact. The difference here is that Golden State caught straight fire with their threes as opposed to throwing bricks through windows at Staples. This is one of the things the Lakers have to fix defensively as they seem to make a habit of giving up on chasing shooters this season.

For all intents and purposes, they didn’t do so bad offensively. But remember that the Warriors are on another stratosphere in terms of offense (they shot 62 percent!). Again, teams have to bring their absolute best when going against the Four Horsemen of the Oracle. Stephen Curry is the two-time MVP. Kevin Durant was the MVP before that. Klay Thompson is the most prolific three-point shooter outside of his own backcourt partner and Draymond Green will rebound, pass, swat, scratch, claw, chop, and kick through everything. The Warriors may not have the depth of the last couple of years but trying to stop four all-stars in the same line-up is like trying to stop the Gilmore Girls from drinking coffee; it’s super tough to do that.

For some positives, Brandon Ingram scored a career-high (16 points) in this game. Lou Williams (along with Jordan Clarkson and Ingram) led the team in scoring as he continues to play the best ball of his career. And they didn’t do so bad from three (8/20, .400). Of course, the Warriors obliterated them in that department (19/36, .528); Stephen Curry (31 points) wasn’t going to miss all his three-pointers again (he went 7/12). Kevin Durant went for 28 points, Klay Thompson scored 26, and Draymond Green had 9 rebounds and 11 assists. And the ball movement Walton emphasizes each and every game? Well, his former team was sublime in their passing. The Warriors had an incredible 47 assists. So yes, this was a crushing defeat but it also shows the Lakers where they are in the current NBA food chain. They’ll pick themselves up, learn from it, shake it off, and move on.

And you wanna know the great news for the Lakers? They get to do this again with the Warriors on Friday! This time, they’ll be at Staples so maybe the bizarro will happen again. The Lakers do hold a two-game winning streak against the Dubs in SoCal!

Even with this loss, I’m thankful that the Lakers are actually .500 by this time; I don’t think anyone expected that. I am thankful for all of you readers and all the writers, especially Darius (and Kurt Helin!), of this site. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. And don’t drink too many certain beverages because of this loss.

So it was really cool to see Tim Duncan and David Robinson duel it out with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant… wait a minute. Let me start over.

The Lakers fell short against the Spurs, 116-107. But it’s not like the Lakers laid down against the very strong San Antonio Spurs. Even when the Spurs shot lights out, the Lakers once again showed their fighting spirit. And every team that has gone against them has to be frustrated that this young team just won’t go away.

The team didn’t exactly get off to a sparkling start; they fell behind, 9-0, and wouldn’t score their first basket until about four minutes into the game. They seemed out of sorts with D’Angelo Russell not playing (a late scratch with a sore knee). Jose Calderon started to not upset Luke Walton’s regular rotations and he played 13 minutes and scored five points. San Antonio led by as many as 13 points in the first half before Lou Williams, Luol Deng, and Nick Young provided the offense the Lakers needed. While the Spurs were making nearly everything, the young Lakers forced some turnovers (Spurs had 9 of their 12 turnovers in the first half) to make up for it. They would eventually tie the game at 52 after two quarters.

But the Spurs couldn’t stop missing. San Antonio made 11 straight field goals and went on a 12-0 surge. They would lead the Lakers by 17 early in the fourth. L.A. wouldn’t die, though, as they cut the lead down to 5 with seven minutes left.

LaMarcus Aldridge (23 points) would land haymakers on the Lakers as he made three straight buckets. A Kawhi Leonard (23-12-7) three would boost the lead to 11. But back-to-back threes by Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson quickly cut the deficit to five (a Julius Randle foul shot would cut it to four). San Antonio would have the last laugh, though, as Tony Parker (who went old-school with 16 points and 7 assists) made a clutch jumper to boost the lead from four to six. That’s some TP for your bunghole.

It’s encouraging for the Lakers to play like this, even in a loss. The Spurs shot 56 percent (Lakers were under 45 percent) from the field and dissected the Lakers defense with their trademark passing; they had 30 dimes in the game. But the Lakers fought back every single time (until time ran out), seemingly getting every loose ball and making a counterpunch when they were in the corner. The Lakers outboarded the Spurs, 45-34, and pummeled them on the offensive boards, 15-3. Lakers also won the battle in paint scoring, 36-28, since the Spurs don’t have great interior defense anymore. But the Spurs just overwhelmed them with their smarts and experience.

I can’t say enough on how good Lou Williams and Nick Young have been this season. Williams wasn’t all that great defensively but his quick and efficient scoring (24 points) made up for it. Young made some big shots and had 22 points. Clarkson had a big second half and had 20 points overall. Luol Deng played his best ball as a Laker in the first half (10 points then but nothing after). Julius Randle put in a quiet 13-9-7 line.

It’s the same ol’ slow start for the Lakers but also the same ol’ strong finish. A lot had to go right for the Lakers to beat the Spurs and they nearly did it. Can’t say enough about their fighting spirit.

Let’s see if that fight carries over for the 7-6 Lakers in their next game against the hot Chicago Bulls on Sunday at Staples.