Forum Blue And Gold A Lakers Blog. Thoughts, reflections, and the odd rant on the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA (even the Clippers). 2018-01-17T22:58:57Z http://www.forumblueandgold.com/feed/atom/ WordPress http://www.forumblueandgold.com/wp-content/fbg-rectangle-3-150x150.png Darius Soriano http://forumblueandgold.com <![CDATA[Lakers Game Preview: The Oklahoma City Thunder]]> http://www.forumblueandgold.com/?p=24345 2018-01-17T22:58:57Z 2018-01-17T22:58:57Z As we told you Tuesday, the Lakers have good news and bad news regarding Wednesday’s game against the Thunder. Brandon Ingram will return to action after missing one game with a sprained ankle, but Lonzo Ball remains sidelined with a sprained knee. Missing Lonzo hurts, especially against an OKC team which has such a good […]

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As we told you Tuesday, the Lakers have good news and bad news regarding Wednesday’s game against the Thunder. Brandon Ingram will return to action after missing one game with a sprained ankle, but Lonzo Ball remains sidelined with a sprained knee.

Missing Lonzo hurts, especially against an OKC team which has such a good defense and an ability to explode offensively with their perimeter based attack. Lonzo helps on both those fronts, organizing the team’s sets and creating good shots for teammates on one end, defending well and hitting the glass hard on the other. But, alas, none of that can come to fruition this game and the team will be worse off for it.

What this means for tonight is…probably another loss. Can the Lakers be competitive? Yes. I expect KCP to guard Westbrook and for Ingram’s return to help when defending Paul George. Having Lopez to do battle with Stephen Adams on both ends and Randle to, potentially, be able to attack Melo in the paint (and potentially get him in foul trouble) can also aid in keeping the Lakers close. But, the simple talent comparison positions OKC very well to win this game — potentially doing so going away.

What I can say, though, is that even if the Lakers are expected to lose this game, I hope to see a competitive spirit that leads to a much better effort than what occurred the last time these teams played. In that game the Lakers, basically, quit. They lost by 37 points and Terrance Ferguson was put on his own personal dunk contest late in the game. It was an unacceptable level of effort from the Lakers and it should be on the front of the team’s mind when they face off this game.

Believe me, I understand the talent differential. And I understand that, in the NBA, players can get hot and turn a game from respectable to not in the span of a few minutes. But, it’s one thing to have a guy (or two) take over and quite another for an entire team to roll over. The Lakers did the latter when these teams played in Los Angeles. They need to fight harder this game.

If they do that, I’ll live with the results. Here’s to seeing the Lakers play hard and smart and letting the chips fall.

Where you can watch: 5pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet and ESPN.

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Darius Soriano http://forumblueandgold.com <![CDATA[Lakers Injury Update: Ingram Expected to Return vs. Thunder, Lonzo Doubtful]]> http://www.forumblueandgold.com/?p=24341 2018-01-16T22:41:52Z 2018-01-16T22:41:52Z The Lakers suffered a disappointing, though not fully unexpected loss on Monday to the Grizzlies in Memphis. It was disappointing because the Grizzlies are not a good team and the Lakers looked generally listless, falling behind by 20 some odd points in the 2nd half. The loss was not unexpected, though, because the Lakers played […]

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The Lakers suffered a disappointing, though not fully unexpected loss on Monday to the Grizzlies in Memphis. It was disappointing because the Grizzlies are not a good team and the Lakers looked generally listless, falling behind by 20 some odd points in the 2nd half.

The loss was not unexpected, though, because the Lakers played without Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, two of their best and most important players. The Lakers are now in Oklahoma City for a game vs. the Thunder on Wednesday and desperately want good news regarding their starting point guard and small forward.

Verdict? Half and half. From Mike Trudell at Lakers.com:

The Lakers will likely get one of their two No. 2 overall picks back for Wednesday’s game in Oklahoma City.

Brandon Ingram (mild left ankle sprain) was able to go through Tuesday’s practice, while Lonzo Ball (minor left knee sprain) was not, which suggests that Ingram will go and Ball will not.

While the Lakers are leaving room for Ingram to still sit out (a return of soreness on Wednesday could do it), Ingram is confident he’ll play and the expectation is he’ll be good to go.

Ball, though, didn’t practice at all and considering the Lakers stance that they prefer players go through a practice before they get back into game action he’s doubtful to return. Which really hurts considering the Lakers are 0-7 in games Lonzo sits out and, in general, lose the verve which makes them such a fun team (even if they lose with him in the lineup).

Expanding on that 0-7 record with Lonzo out, that’s not really a fluke or happenstance based on what some of the metrics say. In the Lakers last 20 games the team has an Offensive Rating of 104.2 when Lonzo is on the court vs. 101.9 when he’s on the bench/hasn’t played. Defensively, the numbers are even better as their Defensive Rating has been 100.2 when Lonzo is on the court vs. 112.7 when he’s on the bench/hasn’t played.

Not all of these numbers are attributed to Lonzo, but I think they speak to a certain impact he’s had even if we adjust for level of competition and other factors which go into on/off numbers or a sample this size. And, as we discussed on our most recent podcast, he was certainly a big part of the team’s 4 game win streak that got snapped in Memphis.

So, even though it is great to get Ingram back, get well soon Lonzo. The Lakers need you.

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Darius Soriano http://forumblueandgold.com <![CDATA[Lakers News: Elgin Baylor to have Statue dedicated to him at Staples Center]]> http://www.forumblueandgold.com/?p=24337 2018-01-16T17:52:37Z 2018-01-16T17:50:41Z Elgin Baylor was an amazing player. He was a pioneer, a player whose style of play is a building block of the modern game. The “godfather of hang time”, Baylor was a do-it-all wing who glided across the lane and to the rim, popped jumpers from all over the floor, rebounded like a maniac, and […]

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Elgin Baylor was an amazing player. He was a pioneer, a player whose style of play is a building block of the modern game. The “godfather of hang time”, Baylor was a do-it-all wing who glided across the lane and to the rim, popped jumpers from all over the floor, rebounded like a maniac, and did it all with a flair that had not been seen before him.

As an all-time great and a true forefather of present day perimeter play, Baylor is deserving of more recognition than he gets in discussions about the best players ever.

Maybe it’s because he never won a championship. Or that his longtime teammate, Jerry West, became “The Logo” and ultimately got that elusive ring the year Baylor retired part-way through the season. Or that his long tenure as General Manager of the Clippers put a stain on his legacy, impacting how his playing career is remembered.

Whatever the reasons, Baylor could use more pub. And now, he’s going to get it. The Lakers have announced Baylor will be honored with a statue outside of Staples Center during a ceremony in April before a game vs. the Timbewolves:

The Los Angeles Lakers, STAPLES Center and AEG announced today the plans for a statue dedicated to Elgin Baylor at Star Plaza at STAPLES Center. The statue will be unveiled on April 6th during an outdoor ceremony at STAPLES Center prior to the Lakers vs. Minnesota game.

“I am thrilled that 60 years after the Minneapolis Lakers drafted Elgin, we are able to celebrate and honor him with a statue,” said Lakers CEO and Controlling Owner Jeanie Buss. “Not only is Elgin a part of the Lakers family, his contributions to the game of basketball earned him a place in the Hall of Fame. His list of accomplishments are unparalleled and I can’t wait to see his statue at Star Plaza alongside the other Lakers legends.”

Baylor will join Magic, Kareem, West, Shaq, and Chick Hearn as Lakers honored with a statue at Staples and I could not be happier about it all. A well deserved honor for a truly great player.

Now, enjoy this fantastic highlight reel of Baylor wrecking the competition.

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Pete Zayas http://forumblueandgold.com <![CDATA[Lakers Podcast – We’re Going Streaking!]]> http://www.forumblueandgold.com/?p=24333 2018-01-15T21:05:28Z 2018-01-15T21:02:37Z The last month of the Lakers’ season has been quite the rollercoaster ride, as they brushed up against the longest losing streak in the franchise’s history just 10 days ago, which was then immediately followed by their longest meaningful winning streak in 5 years. In the latest episode of the Laker Film Room Podcast, Darius […]

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The last month of the Lakers’ season has been quite the rollercoaster ride, as they brushed up against the longest losing streak in the franchise’s history just 10 days ago, which was then immediately followed by their longest meaningful winning streak in 5 years.

In the latest episode of the Laker Film Room Podcast, Darius & I pick apart their recent string of victories against the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, & Dallas Mavericks to see how much of it is attributable to a favorable schedule, and how much of it is sustainable. Within that, some interesting questions arise. Is this a matter of young guys simply figuring it out? Do Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle, & Josh Hart fit together from a long term perspective? Does that young core need to lead the Lakers to strong record in the second half of the season to pique the interest of prospective free agents…or have they already done enough?

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Darius Soriano http://forumblueandgold.com <![CDATA[Lakers Game Preview: The Memphis Grizzlies]]> http://www.forumblueandgold.com/?p=24329 2018-01-15T18:16:31Z 2018-01-15T18:12:18Z The Lakers have won 4 straight games, their most since winning 5 straight to end last season and, before that, since they won 5 straight under Mike D’Antoni to make the playoffs and ruin Kobe’s achilles tendon. So, yeah, let’s enjoy this little streak the team is on. It’s not like these have happened a […]

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The Lakers have won 4 straight games, their most since winning 5 straight to end last season and, before that, since they won 5 straight under Mike D’Antoni to make the playoffs and ruin Kobe’s achilles tendon.

So, yeah, let’s enjoy this little streak the team is on. It’s not like these have happened a lot lately.

The team will go for 5 straight today, in Memphis, against the Grizzlies. This the same Grizz who came to Los Angeles and beat the Lakers two days after Christmas to push LA’s losing streak to 4 straight games. The Lakers would end up losing five more games in a row, a 9 game swoon that inspired me to wonder if the well was poisoned and our guy Pete to give us 10 minutes of tape on the team not playing hard.

Times have changed, it seems.

The Lakers are back playing hard, but beyond that are playing together and expanding within their schemes to find longer stretches of effectiveness on both ends of the floor. Offensively they’re driving and kicking more, relying less on the P&R to set up individual offense, and working more as a unit than at any point during the year. Defensively they’re thriving in scramble situations, covering up for each other by helping the helper, and generally leveraging their length and athleticism to contest shots all over the floor.

These are things they will need against the Grizzlies today, even if Memphis’ record is bad. I don’t want to rehash how the Grizz beat the Lakers last game, but it’s important to understand that their general effort level combined with their ability to penetrate the paint (hi Tyreke Evans) and then finish inside really hurt the Lakers defense. LA will need to contain the dribble this game, but also rotate and then recover back to the perimeter to deter drives again.

Offensively, the Lakers simply need to continue to push the pace and try to control the tempo. Their ability to do this will be influenced by who is in the lineup, however. Lonzo Ball has a sore knee and an MRI revealed a minor sprain. He’s questionable for today’s game. Ingram, too, is questionable with his sprained ankle he suffered in Dallas. If neither of these guys play, it will be hard to control the pace like they want, but you’re not going to hear the Grizz giving any sympathy as they see Mike Conley in street clothes for what feels like the 100th straight game.

Of course, the hope is that the banged up Lakers can suit up and make a go of it. But even if they don’t, the Lakers need to just play hard and stick to the game plan. If they can do those things, they can compete. And, if a few bounces go their way, maybe even get that 5th straight win.

Where you can watch: 2:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet and TNT.

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Pete Zayas http://forumblueandgold.com <![CDATA[Lakers Rally, Extend Winning Streak to 4 Games]]> http://www.forumblueandgold.com/?p=24323 2018-01-14T19:54:13Z 2018-01-14T19:54:13Z It’s been a while since we had a winning streak that we all could enjoy. The Lakers won 5 straight near the end of the 2016-17 season, sending many faithful fans into a panic because the team was jeopardizing their Top 3 protected draft pick in exchange for a relatively meaningless surge during garbage time. […]

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It’s been a while since we had a winning streak that we all could enjoy. The Lakers won 5 straight near the end of the 2016-17 season, sending many faithful fans into a panic because the team was jeopardizing their Top 3 protected draft pick in exchange for a relatively meaningless surge during garbage time. The last time we could all embrace a streak like this one was in 2012-13, and even then, Kobe Bryant tore his achilles tendon in their third straight victory.

In this installment of Laker Film Room, I take a ride on the Julius Randle Rollercoaster, note some of the team-wide efforts that were lacking during the recent 9-game losing streak, and give shoutouts to a few deserving Lakers for their contribution to the win.

The goal of Laker Film Room is to provide Lakers fans with consistent, thoughtful content that helps you enjoy the game on a deeper level. I’m able to do that because I don’t work for a publication that demands that I cover the most sensational material, which typically gets the most views and clicks. As a result, I rely on the support of Lakers fans to help me produce my work. If you believe in what I do, please considering support my work on either Venmo or Patreon.

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Rey Moralde <![CDATA[Lakers Game Preview: Dallas Mavericks for the First Time This Season]]> http://www.forumblueandgold.com/?p=24317 2018-01-13T16:31:03Z 2018-01-13T07:12:36Z The Lakers (14-27) are on a bit of a roll coming into their game against the Mavericks (15-28). It’s a Saturday matinee between two of the worst teams in the Western Conference. The Lakers have won three straight after a nearly-debilitating nine-game losing streak. All three games were won by double digits, including an impressive […]

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The Lakers (14-27) are on a bit of a roll coming into their game against the Mavericks (15-28). It’s a Saturday matinee between two of the worst teams in the Western Conference.

The Lakers have won three straight after a nearly-debilitating nine-game losing streak. All three games were won by double digits, including an impressive win over San Antonio on Thursday at Staples.

Brandon Ingram has had a nice run in the Lakers’ three-game winning streak, averaging 20.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per (you can check out a lot of what Brandon Ingram did right in this fun film session by Pete). He’s also shot really well in that span as he has made .621 of his field goals. Lonzo Ball has also been pretty good since he came back; he’s reached double figures in rebounds the last three games. Ball scored 18 points in their game against the Spurs. The Lakers have been 3-1 since he returned to the court.

But there is something to be said about the Lakers’ defense in the last three games. They’ve had a defensive rating of 90.1 points allowed per 100 possessions in those three wins. That is, in a word, stingy. Sure, you can say that they went against poor teams like the Hawks and the Kings but they also beat the mighty San Antonio Spurs in that run (15 steals against them!). You hope they get to continue that against the Mavericks.

I think it’s pretty funny that the Lakers and Mavericks are facing each other for the first time this season in mid-January (they meet each other four times this campaign). Anyway, Dallas is in rebuilding mode themselves as they are transitioning the team to one Dennis Smith, Jr. He’s been a productive rookie thus far even though, just like every young player, he has his growing pains. He’s not a very good shooter right now and a lampshade might be a better defender than him. But his explosiveness (he’s got like a 271-inch vertical) and athleticism makes him one to watch in this game.

Harrison Barnes is still the Mavericks’ #1 option. He’s done a decent job, averaging 18.8 points per contest. The team will go to him in the clutch, like they did on Wednesday in their win against the Hornets. Wesley Matthews will continue to dog opponents on defense, which has been his calling card his whole career. And the team still has franchise icon Dirk Nowitzki. He is still deadly from behind the arc as he is shooting a near-career best .421. You never know when he goes old-school on you.

Of course, we can’t forget known Laker-killer J.J. Barea. Y’all remember him, right? And Rick Carlisle is one of the most cerebral coaches in the game. They may not have the talent but Carlisle has his guys ready to play every day.

Whereas the Lakers are the fastest team in the league, the Mavs like to slow it down (25th in pace). So it’s a matter of imposing the style of play in this game. What’s more, Dallas likes to end their possessions with a three. Dallas is ninth in percentage (.370), puts up the third-most threes per game (31.9 threes per contest), and makes the second-most per game (11.8). So the Lakers have to really contest those shots behind the arc.

Mavericks also know how to take care of the basketball. Their turnover percentage is the least in the league at 12.8% (12.8 turnovers per 100 plays). And the Mavericks have the second least turnovers per game at 12.6. So the Lakers really have to try and pry the ball out of the Mavericks’ hands. And if the Mavs end up falling into the hands of the Lakers’ fast pace, they might just be able to do that.

The Lakers definitely want to continue this win streak going. If anything, they would want to pummel the Mavericks into oblivion; Dallas swept the Lakers in their season series last year, which included a 49-point shellacking on Jan. 22 (something about that date in Laker history) of last season. That was the Lakers’ worst loss in franchise history so I’m sure they want to put that behind them with a win on Saturday afternoon.

While both teams are far from a playoff spot at the moment, they do have some pride on the line. Here’s hoping for the Lakers’ fourth straight win.

Where you can watch: Spectrum SportsNet at 11 AM Pacific time (if you’re in the East and have NBA League Pass, that would be 2 PM!). It’s early for us West Coasters so I hope you’re awake by then.

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Pete Zayas http://forumblueandgold.com <![CDATA[Lakers Upset Spurs, Win Third Straight]]> http://www.forumblueandgold.com/?p=24314 2018-01-13T01:01:14Z 2018-01-13T01:01:14Z What a fun night. The Los Angeles Lakers snapped their 9-game losing streak on Sunday night against the Atlanta Hawks, and followed that up with a solid win against the Sacramento Kings, but hadn’t gotten a convincing win against a quality opponent since beating the Houston Rockets on Kyle Kuzma’s big night. They got exactly […]

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What a fun night.

The Los Angeles Lakers snapped their 9-game losing streak on Sunday night against the Atlanta Hawks, and followed that up with a solid win against the Sacramento Kings, but hadn’t gotten a convincing win against a quality opponent since beating the Houston Rockets on Kyle Kuzma’s big night. They got exactly that on Thursday night, knocking off the San Antonio Spurs 93-81 in the final game of a 5-game home stand.

In this installment of Laker Film Room, I take a look Brandon Ingram’s fantastic mix of shot-making and creation both on the ball and off of it, how Lonzo Ball created havoc, and Larry Nance, Jr’s fantastic blend of effort and intelligence.

The goal of Laker Film Room is to provide Lakers fans with consistent, thoughtful content that helps you enjoy the game on a deeper level. I’m able to do that because I don’t work for a publication that demands that I cover the most sensational material, which typically gets the most views and clicks. As a result, I rely on the support of Lakers fans to help me produce my work. If you believe in what I do, please considering support my work on either Venmo or Patreon.

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Darius Soriano http://forumblueandgold.com <![CDATA[Lakers Game Preview: The San Antonio Spurs]]> http://www.forumblueandgold.com/?p=24311 2018-01-11T22:58:19Z 2018-01-11T22:58:19Z The Lakers have won two in a row and all is right in the world. Or, at least, the Lakers world. They’re having fun, they’re winning games, and their new starting lineup just got done punishing the Kings. This is great! *ominous music* Tonight, the Lakers play the Spurs. The Spurs are not the Hawks […]

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The Lakers have won two in a row and all is right in the world. Or, at least, the Lakers world. They’re having fun, they’re winning games, and their new starting lineup just got done punishing the Kings. This is great!

*ominous music*

Tonight, the Lakers play the Spurs. The Spurs are not the Hawks (league’s worst record) nor are they the Kings (tied with the Lakers and Grizzlies for the worst record in the West) — the two teams the Lakers just beat. These are the Spurs, they of the 3rd best record in the West and the 5th best record in the league. They have the game’s best coach and even when they’re without key players (which has been often this year), they win anyway.

They win anyway. This is who they are.

So, you know, celebrate the Kawhi Leonard being ruled out tonight if you want. Rejoice that Rudy Gay is also out, that Tony Parker is doubtful, and that Danny Green is questionable. These are 4 of the team’s best players and if you feel good about it, I wouldn’t blame you.

I, however, think better than to have positive feelings around having to play the Spurs. Pop could do a roster swap with the Austin Torros for tonight’s game and when they all walk out of the tunnel wearing Spurs jerseys, I’d not be happy to play the game.

So, if you came here for silver linings, you came to the wrong place. I have a healthy fear of the Spurs and the Lakers should too. In fact, if they do, it will serve them well because it should conjure the right combination of angst and determination to go out there and play hard, focused basketball. Which is what they’ll need tonight to be competitive, much less to win the game.

If you want X’s and O’s specifics or matchups to watch, I’d say it’s less about the individual players the Spurs throw at you, but instead how those pieces blend their respective talents to build 5-man groupings that simply know how to play within Pop’s schemes.

So, rather than worry about Aldridge’s mid-range talent or how he loves the left block and to go middle for drives, Pau’s ability to play inside/outside as a scorer or how he passes the ball, Patty Mills scoring punch, or Manu’s age defying gamesmanship, the Lakers need to know that on every Spurs offensive possession they will pressure the stress points of their defense. They will put the Lakers defense in decision making situations and, if they make the wrong decision or, even, make the right decision too slowly, they can (and likely will) be punished for it. The Spurs will swing the ball, they will drive and kick, and they will repeat these things until there is an open shot to be taken.

The Lakers, then, will need to be smart and be disciplined. They’ll need to be quick to react, but even more than that, they’ll need to see plays a beat ahead in order to be positioned in a way where they’re ready to respond to the next action and halt the flow of San Antonio’s ball and player movement.

Offensively, the Lakers need to push the ball and avoid the Spurs getting set up into their half court schemes. San Antonio will try to counter this by not sending players to the offensive glass, but the Lakers can still pressure them in the open court with quick hit aheads (hi, Lonzo) and by having their bigs run hard (what up, Randle). The Spurs have the league’s 2nd ranked defense for a reason, so any advantage the Lakers can gain by making Gasol and Aldridge play behind the ball, the better.

Once in the half-court, the Lakers must be smart and hunt efficient shots. The Spurs want to keep the ball in front of them and force teams into low efficiency areas of the floor while avoiding fouls. The Lakers love to hunt points in the paint and, while that will need to continue in this game, they must not force the action vs. the Spurs’ length. Making kick-out passes when appropriate and following those up with additional ball movement and made 3’s can keep the Spurs off-balance and, hopefully, put them into more rotations which open up the lanes to create good scoring opportunities at the rim.

Even if all these things go the Lakers way, a win will be difficult. The Spurs are a well coached veteran team with some really good players (even when accounting for injury). They play hard and smart and show a level of scheme commitment and understanding all coaches would love to get from their players. Beating that type of team is hard. The Lakers will see that tonight. So, I’m more hoping for a competitive game that is fun to watch than anything else. We’ll see how it goes.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TNT.

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Pete Zayas http://forumblueandgold.com <![CDATA[New Starting Lineup Thrives in Lakers 99-86 Win Over Kings]]> http://www.forumblueandgold.com/?p=24308 2018-01-11T03:17:37Z 2018-01-11T03:17:37Z Many of us figured that the starting lineup at the beginning of Training Camp would be Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Brook Lopez. It took a while, but it finally arrived last Friday night against the Charlotte Hornets. While it was less than inspiring that evening, that group has performed much more […]

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Many of us figured that the starting lineup at the beginning of Training Camp would be Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Brook Lopez. It took a while, but it finally arrived last Friday night against the Charlotte Hornets. While it was less than inspiring that evening, that group has performed much more effectively in the two games since, including a dominant performance against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

In this installment of Laker Film Room, I take a look at each of the starters, whose common thread was strong individual showings on the defensive end.

The goal of Laker Film Room is to provide Lakers fans with consistent, thoughtful content that helps you enjoy the game on a deeper level. I’m able to do that because I don’t work for a publication that demands that I cover the most sensational material, which typically gets the most views and clicks. As a result, I rely on the support of Lakers fans to help me produce my work. If you believe in what I do, please considering support my work on either Venmo or Patreon.

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