When a team as talented as the Lakers decides they’re going to execute at a high level on both sides of the ball by playing focussed, inspired, and with determination there are few teams that can beat them (maybe not a single one, actually). The Blazers were no exception as they got outclassed by the Lakers 121-96. This team is now 7-0 to start the season and is seriously rolling right now.
Really this game was complete domination by the Lakers. They scored at will and clamped down on defense to the point that the Blazers looked befuddled at how to stop the crisp ball movement the Lakers exhibited while struggling to find ways to get decent looks themselves.
Defensively, everywhere the Blazers took the ball they found another layer of defense to overcome – usually unsuccessfully. When Portland found a brief crack in the Lakers’ interior defense, it quickly closed with multiple players there to dig at the ball and contest the shot when it did go up. When the ball went back out to the perimeter the Lakers swarmed even harder by trapping the ball when possible or just pressuring the ball handler into a difficult position when it wasn’t. It started with Ron Artest’s smothering defense on Brandon Roy who was locked down by Artest from the opening tip. Wherever Roy went he found Ron clamped onto him in a position to contest his every move. Roy ended the night with only 8 points and missed 5 of his 6 shots from the field only finding a rhythm when alone at the FT line.
And it wasn’t only Roy that struggled. LaMarcus Aldridge shot 33% from the floor and needed 9 shots to score his 8 points. Camby didn’t make a single basket and Wes Matthew made one of his five attempts from the floor. The only Blazers to show any life on offense were Andre Miller (20 points on 14 shots) and Nic Batum (17 points on 13 shots), but sadly for the Blazers it wasn’t nearly enough.
Not when the Lakers were scoring at will. On the evening the Lakers had an offensive efficiency of 130.1. To put that in perspective, last year the Suns led the league with a rating of 115.3. Against the Blazers the Lakers scored nearly 15 points more per 100 possessions than that Suns team. Pretty amazing display on offense by the Lakers in this game.
And, it all started with Pau Gasol. The Spaniard’s brilliant start to the season continued as Pau poured in 20 points on 13 shots and dismantled the Blazers’ defense with his passing, tallying 10 assists on the night. Every opening created by an over zealous Portland D was countered with a great pass by Pau. He ably hit cutters with hook passes and weakside shooters with skip passes. On one particular play he caught the ball while diving to the hoop and in one motion passed the ball back to the strong side corner to Artest for a wide open three. Offensively he was precise and decisive and his play fueled the Lakers. When you add his 14 rebounds to the mix and the resulting triple-double (the 4th of his career), Gasol was the best player on the floor and it showed in every way (including his team high +29).
His front court mate wasn’t too shabby either. Lamar too continued his strong play to start this year. After a dip in effectiveness on Friday against the Raptors, Odom was right back to playing top level ball. He hit 10 of his 15 shots and scored a team high 21 points and was second to only Gasol with 12 rebounds. There’s just little that Odom wasn’t doing right against Portland. When matched up against Camby in the mid post, he turned and faced, back dribbled, and buried a jumper. When the Blazers were slow getting back in transition, Odom pushed the ball to get himself a lay up. He read the defense superbly and made the correct read nearly every time down the floor. When Odom and Gasol have it going like they did tonight, Kobe can have an off night (3-11, 12 points in 26 minutes) and it doesn’t matter. This Lakers team is that good.
And I could go on and on, there were so many positives about this game. I mean, seven Lakers scored in double figures. The Lakers out rebounded the Blazers 49-25 and had nearly as many offensive rebounds (14) as Portland did defensive ones (19). Even Derrick Caracter got some extended burn (17 minutes) and contributed with 6 points, 3 boards, an assist and a block with a +8 on the night. Besides some of the fantastic games the Lakers had in last year’s playoffs, I can’t recall such a complete performance against a good team from the Lakers in some time.
So, enjoy this win. Before the game started I said that this game was a measuring stick game; a game against a team that will be a threat in the playoffs this season. And while I cautioned that too much can’t be taken from this single contest, I think this game shows that where the Lakers’ potential lies. I don’t expect them to be this good every night, but a performance like this shows what can be unleashed when everything is clicking. And that’s a scary proposition for whoever the opposition is.
Are these Lakers finally doing it?
Are they finally going into the post to initiate their offense, moving without the ball, spacing, boxing out, hustling for rebounds and loose balls, making the extra pass?
It sure looks like that.
No one beats this Lakers team when they play like this.
Simply awesome to watch.
This Laker team is ‘long’ and has got tremendous ‘upside.’ Currently a ‘sleeper’ pick after the Heat, but better watch out!
A nice win… albeit against a team as small as us that also was missing its starting Center while playing on the tail end of a back to back. I was confused as to why Roy didn’t attack at all. Was he sick? Injured? Or just scared of RonRon from the opening tip? No matter what the answer I wouldn’t blame him. We need to keep blowing out teams so we don’t have to play Lamar and Gasol 48 minutes. Theo is washed up and Character is not a Center. We need Bynum back ASAP.
Well harold, if we keep steamrolling through every team we run up against, we will not be a “sleeper” team, but a wide awake one, and will continue tearing through the league, with no mercy. I cannot wait for our “other” 7 footer to get back, that will make us just a little bit better, IMO.
“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” – Margaret Lee Runbeck
So bummed I missed the game. I’ve missed the last few and will miss a few more. Thanks Darius and others of the FB&G community. In my limited email access it keeps me at least a little connected.
I remember around this time (was it last season or season before?) Kurt (yes it was Kurt) wishing for a little more excitement as the Lakers were playing well and winning.
We then lost a few games, and doubts crept in, but they ultimately ended up wining the chip.
Well here’s to a) not jinxing this squad’s start, and b) hoping they win it again!
::knocks on wood::
The most negative comment about the Laker victory that Blazer bloggers could come up with was that they didn’t like Sasha’s haircut!
Pau is enough,Kobe is not needed anymore,relegate him to the bench!
…actually. The idea of Kobe going against the bench of other teams with Odom, Blake and Barnes around him is scary.
George Best says
The Lakers depth is what will beat the Heat or any other team in a 7 game series. The Heat might get all the press, but they do not have the depth to beat the Lakers 4 out of 7 games.
LA looks like it is having so much fun on the court, a backboard pass to Pau for the dunk by Blake really put the icing on the cake in a blowout. It is amazing watching a team play to its full potential, holding nothing back leaving evrything on the floor. I am starting to believe that the Lakers( backtoback champions) took Miami being crowned king of the league at the beginning of the season as an insult to their talent. Hears to them keeping that chip on their shoulder and proving that their can be only one king and he resides in Hollywood.
I can still remember, from before the season started, the perception that the Lakers would be good but not great on offense. Man, have they blown that and almost every other misconception about them out of the water or what? It’s not so much the 7-0 that shows great promise in this team, but how they have put that number together. If they can show this kind of versatility in being able to dominate teams in any aspect of the game in a given night, who could come remotely close to threatening this team in a 7 game series? Not to count the chickens too early but I think the realm of HCA is well within the reach of this team over the course of a season, and maybe even the magic number of 72 isn’t completely out of the question, no?
Yeah HCA is a possibility for sure.
Lakers are already (!) two games up on the Heat and one up on the Celtics.
T. Rogers says
13- Please don’t start the 70 win talk (I ask this respectfully). I share your enthusiasm. It just makes me a little nervous to start talking like that now. Too many things have to go right to hit that mark. Recently, Steve Kerr said there were a good 10 to 15 games the Bulls should have lost that season. Jordan just “decided” they would win those close games. Let’s get the games against Boston, Miami, and OKC out of the way. Let’s get the long winter roadie out of the way as well. Remember the Lakers started 18-3 last season. Then they finally hit the road, injuries came, Kobe sat a number of games and they ended up at 57-25. Let’s just digest it one game at a time and enjoy the ride.
I would be satisfied with the best record in the league. If it takes 62 wins, then so be it. Now if the Lakers get off to 50-5, then we can talk about 72 wins. But at 7-0 let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
This team will not win 72 games, the league is too good, especially the West. But with the talent they have, they should win at least 60 to 65. Though right now it is too early to worry about any of that
it’s nice to see the Lakers rolling but portland was playing its 5th game in a week, 2nd night of a back to back. no need to start projecting a 70 win season.