A frustrating loss for the Lakers against a game Heat team that was up to the challenge. After clawing their way from a late fourth quarter deficit to force overtime, the Lakers couldn’t get a stop in overtime and the rest is history. Really, this game can be broken down by a few simple numbers. For example…
16 turnovers. The Lakers again failed to take care of the ball and gave away too many chances with carelessness. The Heat may not have capitalized on all of these chances, but in a game where you are facing a team that is opportunistic and wants to ugly up the game these mistakes were costly. But not as costly as…
10 missed free throws. Before Pau’s two made FT’s in the last seconds – ones that had no affect on the outcome of the game – the Lakers were a pitiful 13-23 from the foul line. And in a game that went to overtime, I’m pretty sure that making a few more of those freebies down the stretch could have meant a different ending to this one. On the road, free throw shooting becomes even more important because you don’t have the energy of the crowd or the familiarity of your home court to help pull you through in a tight game. Generating that energy or getting that extra gear can be difficult in the opposing stadium, so taking advantage of the little things – like hitting your FT’s – matters. You know what else mattered? The Lakers not guarding the three point line…
9-19 for the Heat from downtown. That’s a nice 47% connection rate for the Heat from deep. And with Quentin Richardson making 7 threes all on his own, the Lakers just never found a way to find this guy behind the line. The biggest of which was on a possession where the Lakers found themselves up by one point with less than 15 seconds left only to see Q hit another long ball to put the Heat up by two. My quick take on this – even though Ron did an admirable job on Wade, this meant that Kobe had to check Richardson. And Q is the exact type of player that Kobe should not guard. Kobe excels in defensive matchups where he’s either on the ball or having to chase a player around the perimeter (put him on a PG or a Rip Hamilton and he is a terror). But when he’s on a player that just stands around the three point line and he loses focus. You combine that with his penchant to be a helper and play “center field” and I don’t think you can find a worse match up for Kobe than a hot spot up shooter like Q was this evening. I give Q credit because he still has to knock the shots down. But Kobe didn’t do a great job on defense tonight. He was quite excellent on offense though…
15-28 from the field, 39 points for Kobe tonight. He did find his offensive game and it was remarkable to watch him down the stretch in full on closer mode willing the ball into the basket with an array of jump shots from everywhere on the court. Even when the Heat sent a second defender to double Kobe, he found a way to get a step on his primary defender and make another jumper. When the Lakers were down two at the end of regulation with only 11 seconds to go and Kobe was dribbling up court, I was not shocked at all to see him hit the game tying shot. That may sound like I’m just another arrogant fan, but it’s the truth. Kobe making a game tying (or winning shot) this season has become almost routine. He is truly something special. Too bad we didn’t get more from Pau…
10 points on 11 shots for Gasol tonight. Can’t remember the last time I saw Pau have more shot attempts than points. I’m never one to pick on Pau and I won’t start tonight. But this was not a good game for the big Spaniard as he seemed to be playing in a fog for most of the night. He was not decisive with the ball and had difficulty establishing position against a fronting Miami defense. And while he was good on the boards (9 rebs) and did well to get himself chances on the offensive glass (5 o-reb), he was not able to convert. I’m sure he’ll do better tomorrow and/or on Sunday, but in a winnable game it hurt to not have Pau make the difference that he normally does in games like this.
Overall, the Lakers didn’t play poorly. But, they did play into Miami’s hands in several different ways and when you fall into playing another team’s style it’s going to be tough to beat them on their home court. Wade was his usual stellar self with 27 points and 14 assists. And while Artest did harass him into committing into 6 turnovers, those really didn’t lead to a lot of points for the Lakers and were mostly forgettable. Just like this game needs to be for the Lakers. They have another tough match up against the Bobcats tomorrow and that is a team that has traditionally given them problems. So, the Lakers need to have a short memory after this loss and move on. The numbers just didn’t add up to them tonight, let’s hope they do at this time on Friday.
Joel B. says
I agree with the article, except that Pau has normally played like this in close games against good teams.
The lakers were fine offensively, but they were terrible defensively (except for artest). I noticed that Pau jumps away from players when they attack the rim. That’s soft. I noticed it a while ago, but really didn’t pay any mind to it. But thats what he does when someone is attack the rim. He’s afraid of contact. There’s no other explanation for it. He needs to get serious about contesting shots at the rim or taking a charge every once in a while.
Kobe also did a horrible job defensively closing out on Q and Dorell Right. Kobe normally lets guys like that shoot, but he’ll normally start guarding them once they hit a few shots, he didn’t do that tonight.
Defense and freethrows cost the lakers the game.
Good break down. Late night last night for several Lakers per my South Beach business partner. And they played like it.
Great recap Darius. I didn’t see the game (save a minute or 2), so I appreciate the breakdown.
Another number of interest is assists. 15 for the Lakers compared with 25 for Miami. Seems like 15 assists is pretty low for a game in which the Lakers made 45FG. Did it seem like this was due to ISO/pick and roll play on the Lakers part? or was it more like there were good passes but the player who received the pass then took a dribble and made a bucket /or got fouled?
We bring out the best from the Heat, and numerous other teams, while we aren’t always at our best.
The number that stood out for me is not only the FT%, but our 3pt%.
We’re not going to be competitive if we can’t even hit 30%.
i watched the entire game and although we lost, i don’t think we play really bad.
just some bad execution in defense and offense, but overall it was ok.
our free throws is the one that cause the damage, even kobe has an off night in the free throw line.
the other major factor is our big man, although they get lots of offensive rebounds, they cannot finish.
i don’t how beasley and o’neal can easily front them and slap their balls around.
but our big needs to produce.
we lost to a team who plays harder.
Kobe had extremely poor shooting in the 3 previous games so what does everybody complain about? His offense. Reporters, Phil, ESPN, and Dan Patrick on his radio show omg his shots aren’t falling.
What does Kobe do? Practice get his jumper adjusted and tears it up offensively. However, defense decreases and people go nuts about his lack of effort on Q Rich.
He is 31, has tendinitis, still tries harder than most of the team, and it is not even the playoffs.
So i am not sure who is to blame. Haslem hit some daggers who was on him? Arroyo? Oneal FTs? How about forcing Wade to shoot jumpers and not break down our defense?
The major issue I have with alot of games this year is we are just daring teams to shoot outside shots on us, I know Lakers have one of the lowest 3p% against them in the league but against good teams you CANNOT do this. Against a good team like Orlando and Cleveland who have shooters that can absolutely kill you, and that’s the biggest strength the Cavs have against LA, they have guys who are some of the top 3 point shooters in the league.
Why didn’t Kobe guard Wade? I thought he invited this type of challenges.
As if Kobe makes the decision of who he guards. That’s what coaches are for.
smh did anybody notice the refs??? the heat shot like 200 free throws in overtime & how u call charge against KOBE when O’neal was moving??
Kobe this Kobe that from some young fellas on Lakers sites.Watch the games first,observe,respect and then fire away what you want.
A very close game,expected though because for some reason Q.Rich type players go on fire against Lakers,iffy officiating as usual (I am beginning to think this as a conspiracy-Just check Lakers/opponets’ FT s when Kobe was out for 5 games) and some bad perimeter defense added to non existent 7 footers.
Miami was at home. The home teams get the calls. Wade also fouled Kobe on the shot with less than a minute left. No stops, not guarding Q, missing free throws, and Pau coming up small are the reasons why we lost.
I’ve decided I’m no longer going to Heat vs Laker games as they have lost the last 2 that I have been at. I had very good seats last night and here are the things I noticed being so close to the game:
1. Watching Bynum and Gasol continuously miss gimme shots is even more frustrating in person when you see just how close to the rim they are.
2. Kobe played no defense not only on the shooters, but also there were a couple times where his man broke down our defense leading to easy buckets.
3. I’m glad someone else said it because i get ripped everytime I bring it up, but Pau Gasol was absolutely soft last night. There was one play where he caught the ball near the baseline and went up with possibly the weakest shot attempt I’ve ever seen and luckily the refs game him a foul.
4. I understand Artests’ defensive effort was good, but I didn’t agree with how he was playing Wade. I felt that it was a mistake to over play Wade and let him get a step by shading him because he doesn’t have the foot speed to keep up with Wade. This led to Wade getting in the lane all game leading to fouls and kick outs to whoever Kobe was leaving open.
Overall, this was an exciting game to be at with Kobe hitting all those clutch shots, but man it sucks leaving another team’s arena with their fans gloating.
It’s one thing to roam and play passing lanes at opportune moments and it’s quite another to leave your man open time after time when he is red hot from the 3 point line.
John Morris says
I watched the whole game but couldn’t hear the last five minues of the 1st half: my girlfriend got home and did her “talky-talk-talky” thing for like 15 straight minues about a bunch of stuff I wasn’t really listening to.
If Pau and Bynum would have taken charge I think it would have been a blowout. There is no way Miami’s front court should give any amount of resistance to them under the bucket. And what the hell is the deal with those two getting the ball knocked out of their hands so often lately? I’m always pretty hard on Bynum but I think Pau has been playing extra soft lately.
Fisher and the other two pg’s played well. Kobe went all Mamba and probably should have been sent to the free throw line on that last airball.
All in all not bad. I say they need to get it rolling soon. I’m not really concerned about home court throughout. I think they can win in Cleveland if that’s who they meet in the finals. I don’t want them to waste as much time going through the Western Conference playoffs this year. Sweeps in the first 2 rounds would be nice. Kobe doesn’t need to risk getting whacked on the finger by a Shane Battier anymore than he has to.
Miami was very smart to play a zone and take away the Lakers post game. Especially because the Lakers have only one good shooter (Artest) in the rotation this year.
Phillip has a new post up with reactions and some great links to read over about last nights game.
It just seems like everyone can not play well on the same night. The only person who seems to be hungry for a championship is Mr. Ron Ron. I’m not saying Kobe does not want to leave his career with more rings than Mike; however the leadership to put the fire in every players pants in not there. Someone said it…If Pau or Bynum start to take charges, we are guaranteed another Ring. This is my two sense.