Archives For Game Recap

I’d be lying if I was in any way confident the Lakers would beat the Hawks, but I did believe they could compete and make enough of a game of it that they could win it. Maybe I should have been more confident. The Lakers beat the Hawks 109-94 to sweep the season series and push back up to .500 at 9-9 on the season.

The way the game started, however, it did not look like this would be the result. As he did in the first match up in Atlanta, Dwight Howard was controlling the action, catching lobs for dunks, getting drop off passes for dunks, and controlling the backboards. Dennis Shroeder was beating Jose Calderon off the dribble and it all domino’d from there, the Lakers’ defense unable to help the helper in a way which would stop the onslaught. By the end of the 1st quarter, the Lakers trailed by 11 and it looked like it might be another one of those nights.

In the 2nd quarter, though, it all changed. The Lakers’ all bench unit clamped down defensively all over the floor. Suddenly dribble penetration didn’t come as easily, lobs for Howard were contested by Tarik Black and Larry Nance with shots either disrupted or passes deflected entirely. The team then turned those defensive stops into offensive opportunities, with Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson feasting in transition and early offense. The result was the Lakers holding Atlanta to 16 points while dropping 35 of their own. That 11 point deficit turned into an 8 point lead and the team never looked back.

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.

Sometimes, it’s better to just post a highlight and celebrate a win.

To recap the play above, the Lakers, down one, ran their weave action to set up a play that was designed for Lou Williams. Nick Young, though, worked his way back to the ball, stepped in front of the pass to Lou, stole it, then fired a fading 25 footer that he drilled. Yes, that happened.

Continue Reading…

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.

The Lakers moved to 7-5 on the season with a 125-118 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. The win wasn’t pretty, but it counts the same in the standings. Standings, which I might add, are something fans of the team are actively watching for the first time in 3 seasons for reasons which have nothing to do with the status of owed draft picks or lottery positioning.

The game itself was a mix of highlights, pensive tension due to a scrappy Nets team, and fast paced action. The game offered roughly 110 possessions, which is even a lot for two teams who love to get up and down and a ton for just a regular NBA game. Within that breakneck tempo, there wasn’t always the highest caliber of basketball — especially defensively — but there was plenty to cheer about from both teams.

From the Lakers side, much of that adulation goes out to D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.

Continue Reading…

In the big picture, if you would have told me the Lakers would go 2-1 on their 3 game road trip I would have taken it happily and not even thought twice about it. I think it important to remind myself of that right now because the Lakers’ 125-99 loss to the Wolves was as ugly as the score implies. In fact, it might have been worse.

As I wrote in my game preview, I thought there might be a chance the Lakers came out sluggish and that’s what happened. The starting group wasn’t just flat, they were slow in pretty much everything they did. Slow in getting into their sets, in moving the ball, in setting screens, in closing out on shooters, in rotating to protect the paint. The result was an early hole for the bench to try to dig out of.

Typically, that’s not an issue for the Lakers’ reserves, but this game they weren’t able to really get anything going either — at least consistently. They did have a nice spurt in the 2nd quarter where they were able to apply some defensive pressure, get some stops, and then get some baskets on the other end. For that brief stint, it looked like it was going to be business as usual but then things dried up again which allowed the Wolves to take control back and close the half with a run.

Continue Reading…

Guys, I am recapping a game where the Lakers nearly won by 30 points this season. It’s weird. But also cool. The Lakers smashed the Pelicans, 126-99.

And yeah, they did have a little bit of luck on this. I will be the first to tell you that injuries are awful. Anthony Davis basically did whatever he wanted against L.A. on the offensive end. And then he hurt his back in the third quarter when the Lakers were barely up, 63-62. The Lakers did what they had to do; they took advantage and rolled for 14 straight points. The Pelicans looked lost when they lost the Brow. Davis would eventually come back but he wasn’t fully mobile and the Lakers kept their foot on the gas pedal.

The Lakers ball movement was exquisite the entire night; the Pelicans couldn’t catch up to the basketball. They also took care of the ball, too, as they only had 10 turnovers. They made the right decisions in terms of when to attack the basket, when to shoot, and when to make the extra pass or two. All in all, the Lakers went for 36 assists (tied a season high in the NBA this season). And not only did they keep the ball moving but they converted their open shots. 55.3 percent shooting overall for L.A. and 53.3 percent (16 for 30) from behind the arc.

Lou Williams and Nick Young (15 points) had a surge in the second quarter that put them up eight. That’s another thing I never thought I would say this season, either. Brandon Ingram had nine points in the second quarter. He would eventually leave the game with a sprained ankle but, by all accounts, he should be fine for tomorrow’s game. Julius Randle nearly had a triple-double (8-11-8). Jordan Clarkson, Lou, and D’Angelo Russell all had over 20 points. And the frontcourt of Tarik Black, Timofey Mozgov, Larry Nance, and Thomas Robinson all had good moments in the game. We’re still waiting for Luol Deng to break out with a really good game; let’s hope it’s sooner than later. Still, I love that there’s little to no dropoff when the Lakers go to the bench; the non-starters scored 73 points tonight!

The Lakers have now won five of six games and they head to Minnesota as they play the Timberwolves tomorrow (who are currently playing the Clippers right now). It should be a fun game between two young and exciting teams. Get your popcorn or pizza rolls ready.

It’s early but it’s been a crazy season thus far for the Lakers. And when I say crazy, I mean it in a very good way. 6-4. Who would’ve thought?