Archives For Game Recap

A week ago, it was D’Angelo Russell putting on a show against the Cavs and scoring a career high to carry the Lakers (though, it came in a losing effort). Friday against the Timberwolves it was his backcourt partner’s turn. Jordan Clarkson poured in a career high in points (35) and made three pointers (8), in a fantastic shooting performance which propelled his team to a win. Watching him knock down shot after shot really was a sight:

Continue Reading…

To say I was conflicted heading into the Lakers matchup with the Suns would be an understatement. From my game preview:

I’d love to talk to you about the matchups between the young players on both teams. How I always look forward to seeing how D’Angelo Russell plays against good friend Devin Booker. How I’m interested in seeing how Julius Randle deals with the athleticism and length of Marquese Chriss. How I want to see how Brandon Ingram matches up with TJ Warren. On any other night under most other circumstances, those things would matter much more to me.

Tonight, though, these lottery implications really do take center stage. This isn’t to say I am rooting for the Lakers to lose. I’m not really capable of doing that. It’s just not in my heart to do it. But, my head does understand how these things work. The logic side of my brain fully grasps how much the standings game matters here and how it can impact things in May when the lottery order is determined.

This is the battle I think all Lakers fans are facing each night now, me included. I want the young players to do well. I want competitive games where the team plays hard. I’d even like them to win a few more games simply to feel the reward of hard work and see the correlation between effort and positive results. How those goals bump up against the realities of the draft picks the team still owes are a difficult situation to navigate from a rooting interests standpoint.

After the game, those conflicted feelings remain but I can say it still feels good to see the young guys play well and the good feeling of seeing the team win a game still remains. Especially when it’s buoyed by a fantastic performance from D’Angelo Russell who continued his trend upwards and strong play since the trade deadline.

Continue Reading…

So, there’s a lot that happened in this game and whenever (or at least pretty often when) that’s the case I’m going to go to a bullet point recap. Sorry, I’m a blogger so I love bullet points. If you want the pure numbers, though, the Lakers beat the Knicks 121-117 and snapped a 12 game road losing streak in the process. They also got their 1st win of this five game roadie and with two games left they could actually have a winning record on the trip. I know, I’m getting ahead of myself.

On to the bullets…

Continue Reading…

The Lakers may not be a “good” team, but they’re at least as successful as last season and there are still 31 games to play. By beating the Denver Nuggets 120-116 on Tuesday night, the Lakers earned their 17th win of the year in game #51 — equal to last season’s disastrous 82 game total. If nothing else, then, this win symbolizes a bit of progress even if the dips and struggles since the team’s 10-10 start still weigh heavy.

Continue Reading…

The Lakers stopped their five-game skid as they trampled the Indiana Pacers, 108-96. It’s too bad that it came with a price.

D’Angelo Russell was lost for the game after he sprained his MCL on his right knee. He also has a calf strain to add to those pains. D’Angelo will have an MRI tomorrow. We also received a scare from Nick Young as he hyperextended his knee but he ended up returning to the game.

In the meantime, the game wasn’t exactly pretty as the game was mired with turnovers. The Lakers had 23 while the Pacers had 20. What the Lakers had the edge on, though, was hustle as they outboarded the seemingly-disinterested Pacer team, 51-37.

We saw a litany of missed transition hoops and dunks throughout the game. But the Lakers went on two separate surges in the second half that broke them away from Indy. They went on a 12-0 run in the third to give themselves a double-digit lead then L.A. countered with eight straight points after a Pacers bucket to start the fourth. The Lakers outscored the Pacers, 35-22, in the third as Indy stumbled their way in that period with seven turnovers.

Lou Williams led the Lakers in scoring with 27 big points; the Pacers simply couldn’t stop him. Julius Randle broke out of his offensive slump with 16 points. Brandon Ingram looked smooth as he sank three shots from behind the arc on his way to 15. Nick Young also had 15 despite being slowed by the knee. Jordan Clarkson was chaotic in the game with 7 turnovers but he did get 12 points and 5 steals. And Tarik Black contributed greatly with 8 points and 13 rebounds. We’ll forgive Timofey Mozgov for missing like 20 dunks but, at least, he grabbed a ton of boards (11), set some mean picks, and did his job inside the paint.

In the first half, the Lakers couldn’t stop Al Jefferson, who scored all 20 of his points in the first half. But the Pacers never really got it going in the second half. Paul George did end up with 21 points but Ingram essentially played him to a draw as George got some of his buckets late. Myles Turner scored 15 points but he had a hard time stopping Tarik Black. Jeff Teague had six turnovers and Thaddeus Young was mostly invisible. If anything, Sue Storm would be envious on how invisible the Pacers were in the second half of that game.

The Lakers are one win short of matching their season total from last season and we’re only in January so the team has that going. L.A. will play the Mavericks next on a Sunday matinee in Dallas. Hopefully, they can continue to build momentum there. If you still have postseason hopes, they’re four games behind the 8th seed Nuggets. Hey, if the Sixers can suddenly go on a surge, why not the Lakers?

Let’s all wish D’Angelo a speedy recovery. Let’s hope his injuries aren’t too serious.

“Not much to say… can’t be mad. The other team is just that much better.”

That was from commenter LKK during/after the Lakers’ loss in San Antonio to the Spurs on Thursday night. While I do think there were some things to get somewhat upset about, I think LKK captures about how I was feeling while I was watching San Antonio build their lead, then extend it, then maintain it until the final buzzer.

In fact, right around the end of the 1st quarter, I actually said out loud (to myself, since no one was in the room) that “both teams are showing their quality, the Spurs are just showing they have more of it.” Beyond that, they were also showing that they know how to exhibit that quality for longer stretches within a game.

So, no, I’m not that mad about the game. I’m not happy either, of course. The team played poorly for the 2nd straight game and lost. Does the fact that they lost to a very good team on the road soften that blow a bit? I guess, but when you see the final margin, whatever softening occurred goes away. Losing by 40 is bad times regardless. There’s not much spin to be able to put on that type of game.

Continue Reading…

The Lakers were like ice cubes in the middle of the Sahara. The Blazers took advantage of the Lakers clanking everything late. Portland won with the final tally, 118-109.

L.A. overcame cold shooting in the first quarter as they got to the line 15 times (making 13). The bench came in and got hot; they blazed through the second quarter (har har!) with 38 points. They got hot shooting from Jordan Clarkson and the Blazers had trouble with the combo of Tarik Black and Thomas Robinson. L.A. led by as many as 14 points but the halftime lead was reduced to 9 points.

Portland came back with an 18-4 run and it was a back-and-forth affair for a while. But I like what D’Angelo Russell did. He went to the post and made some great turnaround jumpers. He scored 10 of his 22 points in that all-important fourth quarter.

Unfortunately, that shot by Russell was the last field goal for a while for the Lakers.

Evan Turner took advantage of Lou Williams and was straight fi-yah in the fourth quarter. At the same time, the Lakers played like they were in the freezer for the next few minutes. L.A. went 5:09 without a field goal. On the other side, Turner, Damian Lillard, and C.J. McCollum couldn’t stop making shots. By the time Julius Randle made a lay-up, it was too late.

I question a bit of Luke Walton’s rotation choices. Would’ve liked to see more of Tarik/Robinson on the floor in the second half. Lou Williams got stuck against a hot Evan Turner (15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter); it would’ve helped to have a better defender on Turner (Ingram?). But once again, panic reared its ugly head on the youthful Lakers core. They started putting up quick shots when they couldn’t get anything down. It was discouraging, to say the least. Yet another blown lead by the Lakers.

C.J. McCollum led Portland wih 27 points while Lillard (who played his first game in a while) scored 21. Turner (20 points) and Allen Crabbe (14 points) were able to counter the usually deadly Laker bench. In fact, Portland tied L.A.’s bench in scoring at 39. On L.A.’s side, Russell had 22 (although he went a gross 0/8 from three) while Jordan Clarkson had 21 points. Randle didn’t shoot well but he did finish with 17 points and 9 boards. We know Lakers were without Larry Nance, Jr. but Luol Deng was also scratched out. Brandon Ingram replaced Deng in the starting line-up. He played very well in the first half; that spin move in the first half he did was pretty.

Lakers continue to have a tendency to leave those three-point shooters; the players continue to melt on those back picks and those high screen-and-roll plays. Also, I wish that the Lakers would make an immediate change if they see a match-up problem (going back to Evan Turner here). On the positive side, they took care of the ball (11 turnovers). It’s too bad that their offense just… died in the last six minutes of the game.

The Lakers are 13-26. If you’re still looking for that 8th playoff spot, they are 4 games behind the Sacramento Kings for that ever-so-coveted spot. It’s too bad that this wasn’t a blowout either way; the Lakers are back at Staples Center tomorrow night as they take on the Miami Heat. This could be a schedule loss but the Miami Heat aren’t exactly a good team so they have a chance here.

Growing pains. That’s what the Lakers have to go through. And I don’t mean the Seaver family.

Well, I had mentioned it in the preview. The Lakers have trouble playing consistently in all four quarters. In fact, this game was a tale of two halves. The Mavericks bulldozed them in the second half and went on to win, 101-89.

Los Angeles started off well enough. They had runs of 15-0 and 10-0 and looked ready to break the game open; L.A. led by 11 at one point. The Mavericks hung around, though, as they kept forcing the game to slow down every time they got the ball. The Lakers countered by trying to turn it into a track meet. They ran out on breaks and in the halfcourt, they passed the ball around. Nick Young made all four of his threes, D’Angelo Russell scored 13 in the first half, and the Lakers led by seven at the half.

Then good Laker ball stopped after halftime.

The offense stalled and we saw the same frustrating rock pounding and lack of movement. On the other side, the Mavericks picked them apart with high screen and rolls all night. I said that the Lakers had to communicate often on defense as they tend to get lost in switches, which leaves for open threes. And I also mentioned that Dallas shoots a lot of threes. The Mavs made them pay as they cashed in on 14 of their 31 shots behind the arc (Lakers only made seven). The Lakers have played like this all month but this seems to be the most glaring loss out of all of them.

Going iso for the Lakers really played into the hands of Dallas. Mavericks wanted to play it slow and it’s exactly what they got in the second half. Dallas made the most out of their possessions and they outscored Los Angeles, 31-13, in the third quarter. For a 5:19 stretch in that period, L.A. did not score. The Lakers would only go on to score 32 points overall in the second half.

Wesley Matthews led the Mavs in scoring with 20 points. Harrison Barnes wasn’t as great in this game but he still did damage when he got the ball on the block; he had 17 points. But I had mentioned the guards that didn’t play in their first meeting that could have big games. Devin Harris went for 14 points while Deron Williams had 11 dimes. Dwight Powell energized the Mavs with 14 points and Dorian Finney-Smith made some big shots on the way to 12 points. Andrew Bogut was on a minutes restriction (he played 22) but he was immense in stopping the Lakers from doing damage inside the paint. Dallas also outboarded the Lakers, 42-34. (By the way, Dirk Nowitzki was a late scratch due to an illness.)

As for the Lakers, Julius Randle led the squad with 18. Nick Young started off hot but didn’t really put up too many shots after the first quarter; he had 17 points. Russell only scored two points in the second half after going for 13 in the first half. Jordan Clarkson actually played decent with 15 points and Thomas Robinson seemingly was the only guy hustling with 8 points and 10 boards. They probably could’ve gotten more points if… oh, I don’t know… they moved a little bit?

As we’ve seen in a lot of games this month, the Laker players seemed to be content to just stand there and pretend like they’re lampshades. Yes, I know they’re young and inexperienced. Heck, they’re probably even overconfident after they went 10-10. It’s like they think they can rest on their laurels and win games. No, they won games because they all worked together and weren’t being lazy and careless on both ends of the floor. You can’t make a delicious dish without putting the work in the kitchen. You can’t get the woman or man of your dreams by just watching and not talking to her or him. And you can’t win a basketball game by being flat-footed. A lot of basketball is predicated on movement. But everyone knows that and the Lakers should know that.

Either way, that’s the last game for the Lakers in 2016 (2-14 in December! Ouch!). Hopefully, 2017 will be better for the Lakers (and for a lot of us; I understand a lot of people have lamented how bad 2016 was). So Happy New Year, people, and stay safe.