The Lakers beat the Grizzlies 124-105 to start the season 4-0 and dominated nearly every statistical category. They started the game sharp and carried that through the entire first half to build a lead that could only be dented, not overcome by the visiting Grizz. Below are a few numbers that stood out to me from the Lakers’ second consecutive blowout win:
*128.0 was the Lakers’ offensive efficiency for the evening. That number represents one of the higher numbers that I can remember from a Laker group in some time and is actually much lower than the 166.6 rating the team posted at halftime of this game. Basically, the Lakers dominated on offense. Whether sinking outside jumpers or getting easy buckets inside, the Grizzlies had no answer for what the Lakers were doing on that side of the ball. And it can all be traced back to the tremendous spacing the Lakers exhibited for most of the game. On nearly every possession the Lakers positioned themselves in a manner that made it extremely difficult for the Grizzlies to mark their man while still giving the needed help to over-matched defenders. This was especially the case whenever Kobe had the ball as he often had a lot of room to operate at the mid post to take O.J. Mayo one on one and score himself to dish to an open teammate. Just tremendous execution by the team in the home gold.
*Speaking of Kobe, 26 was the number of minutes he played tonight. That’s after playing only 27 against the Warriors on Sunday. Kobe’s been saying that his knee is fine and after the way he moved around the court today I believe him. But one of the reasons that he can look as fresh as he does is because his minute count is so low. Through 4 games he hasn’t played over 37 minutes once – and that was opening night – after averaging nearly 39 minutes a game last season. This more rested Kobe is able to play efficient offense which in turn makes his low minute count even less stressful as he’s not expending nearly as much energy to get his points. If there was ever a recipe for success for Kobe what we’re seeing is it. (On a side note, Kobe seemed determined to take it to O.J. Mayo tonight. He repeatedly took him down to the mid post and bullied him with strong back downs and then finessed him with a fantastic array of drop steps, inside pivots, jab steps, and face up jumpers. I’m really not sure what happened in these two guys’ past to make Kobe go as hard as he does against Mayo, but it’s been the trend ever since the former USC product entered the league.)
*14-23 was the connect rate on three pointers for the Lakers. That’s 61% from long range. The aforementioned Kobe made 3 of 5 (including 2 deep heat check 3’s that brought the crowd to its feet). Fisher was 2 for 3. Blake and Shannon combined to go 5 for 5. Even Odom got in on the act by make 3 of his 4 attempts from distance. Needless to say, when the Lakers shoot the long ball this well, they are not going to lose. Their interior play is already too good to truly stop, but if teams can’t double team to the post without paying for it with made 3’s the Lakers are essentially unbeatable.
*10th fastest to 11 thousand points, 6 thousand rebounds, and 3 thousand assists. That’s now a claim that Lamar Odom can make. Those that follow this site know my affinity for Lamar, but these numbers just show the type of all around talent that he truly is. Tonight that talent was on full display as he did a little bit of everything for the Lakers in his 34 minutes of action. He scored 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting. He grabbed 8 rebounds and had 6 assists. Best of all, he led the team in plus/minus with a staggering +28 on the night. Congrats to Lamar for reaching this milestone as quickly as he has.
*16/14/2/1/1 is a stat line that we’re all accustomed to seeing on this team. But typically it’s Odom or Gasol or even Kobe that’s putting up a gaudy line like that. However, against the Grizz, it was Matt Barnes’ statistical output on the night. That’s right, Matt Barnes scored 16 points, grabbed 14 rebounds (9! offensive), and had 2 dimes with a steal and a block for good measure. Just like against the Warriors, Barnes showed that he’s a more than capable back up on a night where Artest (again) struggled to score and didn’t have his best defensive night against a very good Rudy Gay (30 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block). I can’t say this enough, but it sure is nice to have a back up small forward again.
*Not all the numbers were positive for the Lakers, though. They committed 19 turnovers on the night, directly leading to 23 points for the Grizz. The Lakers also gave up 15 offensive rebounds, a number that can be explained away by the Grizzlies high number of missed shots but is still a bit high. The Lakers also surrendered 46 points in the paint and allowed Memphis to race out to 22 fast break points. So while the Lakers won handily, this game could have been an even bigger blowout had the team not let it’s guard down in the second half and let sloppiness ensue for most of the 4th quarter.
But in the end, this was a blowout win and I’ll take that every day of the week. While it may be too early for Phil Jackson to say that this team is off to a fast start, to these eyes they’re rolling. Tomorrow night they get their first back to back as a test, but with the low number of minutes that most of the starters played against the Grizz the team should be well rested. It’s tough to find too much fault with this team right now and, for now at least the only number that I’m concerned about are the ones that say 4 and 0 in the win and loss columns.
So, which team is going to hold us under 100 for the first time this season? Looking at the scores, it’s almost as if we’re running 07 seconds or less, and not the triangle 😉
What seems interesting to me besides everything that was pointed out was how much of a leash Shannon had in this game. Not going to argue with it since he did deserve some benefit of doubt after his torrid shooting, but PJ really seemed intent on developing Shannon, Blake, Barnes and even Ebanks to a certain extent.
That seems to be prudent, especially since we can afford it and since it saves legs… and it is really nice to have such a positive cycle going:
1. Starters play hard, establish dominance
2. Top bench members join the starters to widen gap
3. All bench lineup yo-yos with the gap
4. All-starters come out again for a bit to restore gap & dominance
5. Starters rest for good while bench develops
6. 2-3 happens more often to give starters more rest
7. Starters are fresher so they can play hard and accomplish 1.
Of course experience tells me that it’s likely that we’ll hit a slump, but let’s snowball this thing while we can…
Totally off topic:
Just out of curiosity, how does the comment system work? I log in from both work and home, which have two distinct IP addresses, yet the site knows it’s me, since I can see my moderated comments at home even if I wrote them at work 😮
I believe the comment section recognizes your e-mail address. So, if you use the same e-mail account at your work computer and your home computer to post a comment, you will be able to see your comment posted at work when you get home.
How do you guys feel about the rookies so far?
The sloppy play and lackadaisical moments in the second half are to be expected when the team is so dominant. It doesn’t help when your sporting a 28 point lead and the crowd is louder at a funeral…only in LA. Since were playing well I’ll just critique the Staples Center fans.
Glad to see Kobe can score 60 whenever he wants to.
I never enter my email address, but I see the same thing. It knows it’s me. I think it’s cookies though, because whenever I clean them out, the site doesn’t recognize me anymore.
I know it’s the early part of the season, but, complacency must never be part of this Laker squad. The quality of teams has been increasing and the Lakers through 4 games have either faced a team that lacks chemistry because of new players (Houston and Phoenix), or a team that has significant injuries (GS and Memphis). I know we also have an injured Bynum as well, but really, for a team that PJax said has “something special”, they need to take that out. Complacency must never set into us because it will haunt us in the long run (losing games and affecting HCA), let’s take care of business like B. Shaw said, much more like the Showtime team, when they were up by 30, they go on and beat them by 40, that’s the kind of message we want to send to the league, and that’s the kind of spirit the starting unit and the bench unit must have.
John Morris says
Last night you got to see a little of what both of them can bring to the table. Although I’m pulling for Character, I think Devin Ebanks had the better outing last night. He got out on the break for that alley oop from Blake and hit an open shot in transition. For Character I just want to see him eat glass like Matt Barnes. I hope to see a lot more blowout wins so these guys can continue to gain gametime experience.
Additionally, I thought the 2nd unit did a fantastic job last night. Steve Blake is the key. The ball never stops moving when he’s on the court. Even if they aren’t settled into the offense yet they still do their job by a) using the shot clock and still getting good shots and b) stopping the fast break and defending well in the half court.
I know last night was varsity vs JV but I really think the Lakers are flying deep under the radar regarding how much better they have gotten from last year. Just the depth they’ve added will win a handful of games for them this season. On top of that they still have Bynum coming back. I don’t care if he isn’t back until February. I just want him to be absolutely 100% w/o a chance of reinjuring the knee.
One last thing; I loved Lamar’s interview after halftime last night. He really sounds committed to play at the highest level of basketball that he can – consistantly we hope.
Just a comment on the Kobe vs Mayo thing. I found this little bite from Yahoo on the select team with Mayo going up against the redeemteam last summer:
“Kobe Bryant, who lives for one-on-one challenges, went at it with former Trojan and soon-to-be Memphis Grizzlies rookie O.J. Mayo, a member of the U.S. Select team, last week in Las Vegas.
“Kobe completely shut him down in the beginning,” said U.S. managing director Jerry Colangelo. “But the longer they went, the better Mayo got.”
Bryant already knew Mayo, who attended his camp last summer, and already thought highly of him.
“I think the world of him,” Bryant said. “I think he’s extremely talented. I think he has a great overall game that a lot of young players don’t have in terms of skills. He can handle, he can shoot, he can pass, he’s fast, he’s quick, so that’s the whole package.”
– The do indeed seem to have a history of going hard at each other.
One thing though that has not been noted, Andrew Bynum escaped INJURY against the Grizz, that’s a feat in itself.
Darius Soriano says
That makes sense. The telling part of that is when Kobe said “I think the world of him”. Typically, Kobe saves his best efforts for those that he respects or thinks highly of. Those players seem to bring out his competitiveness even more and he goes hard at them. I remember last season in a preseason game against Steph Curry, Kobe went hard at him too only to speak highly of him after the fact.
lil' pau says
I’m not sure where a post like this goes, but….
Kobe is presently in 12th place for all time career points at 25885. Assuming he averages 23 points per game this season (quite conservative) and plays 80 regular season games (reasonable, I think), he will finish the season at 27,633 which would move him into 6th (!) place all time. behind Kareem, Malone, MJ, Wilt, and Shaq.
Another 5 years at that pace and he’ll make a serious run for the all-time scoring record, a record I do think he will achieve given his health, the length of his contract, and his general competitiveness. Working against him of course is the likely lockout next year. Any thoughts? At the very least, it seems to me absolutely impossible that he won’t easily end up third all-time. Additionally, with Lebron now on Miami, LBJ’s career scoring #s will drop to a point where I don’t see him having a shot to catch our #24, so that might be a record that stands for a very, very long time….
Numbers can be found at:
Anyway, something to think about as we blow out team after team.
A little “Renaissance Man” video up on ESPN’s NBA front page featuring Pau.
15, that video was awesome. Best part was Phil Jackson saying “sometimes I’ll walk him into the weight room and say ‘this is the place where we gain some weight and some strength…'”
“Bryant already knew Mayo, who attended his camp last summer, and already thought highly of him.”
So…Kobe still thinks Mayo is at his camp and needs a few additional lessons.
Igor Avidon says
I love what I’m seeing from Blake and Barnes.. but can’t stand the thought that currently we have no legit bench big. This shouldn’t be a worry once Andrew comes back, but if (God forbid) anything happens where we don’t have two of our top 3 big men, things will get much less comfortable.
On a side note, I’m sure at least some of us are looking on the other coast and noticing the blowout wins for the Heat. Looking a lot like the Cavs of the last few years. Except this time, there’s a true clutch superstar that can take over once LBJ disappears again in big games. Also, the green team is legit. Rondo is a beast.
Darius Soriano says
Phillip has the morning links up:
1980s showtime. Do you know what they did? They used to blow out the routine games and let the starters rest. It was all business – a little flash and style, but mostly knock em down quick, and send in the reserves til the next one.
Haven’t seen that too much in the Phil Jackson era. But I’m seeing it so far, at least in this short season. Team of vets, team of no-BS. It has a good look.
‘lil pau @ 14 – I think Kobe ends up #3 all time in scoring. He passes MJ, which is fitting because thousands of words will be added to the “who’s the GOAT” narrative. It will pointed out, that, yes Kobe scored more points, but it took him more shots/minutes/ect. All the more fitting if Kobe matches MJ’s six rings (“but it took him longer, ect.”)
Anybody read the Hollinger article on ESPN insider. Not a Hollinger fan so wouldnt pay to become an insider but would like to know the general idea of his article.
22. Here is a link to the article
Doesnt say much about the lakers tho.
typical hollinger…use Lakers great name to get hits on his articles.