Box Score: Lakers 99, Warriors 87
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 120.7, Warriors 106.1
True Shooting %: Lakers 58.1%, Warriors 47.2%
The Los Angeles Lakers played their seventh straight game without Kobe Bryant but quite frankly didn’t need him. The Purple and Gold came out looking to dominate the interior and showed a great level of energy on the road despite playing last night against the San Antonio Spurs.
So takeaways from the game?
Andrew Bynum was a beast early in the game, bulldozing through defenders and also spinning away from them early in the game to put up 17 points in the first quarter. Pau Gasol complemented his center with his scoring, rebounding and exquisite passing on his way to an impressive triple double.
The tag team combined for 53 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists on 19-for-30 shooting and helped the Lakers score a staggering 62 points in the paint.
As impressive as the tandem was against the Warriors, they managed to– brace yourself for a Phil Jacksonism — share the spotlight with their teammates. Indeed, the interior passing allowed players such as MWP and Devin Ebanks to get some great looks at the rim and it also created good ball movement which resulted in multiple high percentage shots and 34 assists on the night.
Even more impressive, the Lakers didn’t panic when they saw the Warriors’ zone, and instead kept the focus on getting the ball inside to Bynum, Gasol and World Peace to do damage in the paint instead of camping out and firing away from deep. The Lakers only attempted a mere 14 shots from 3-point range, many of which came towards the end of contest when Brown emptied the bench.
Typically this would be where we discuss where one or two things that went wrong in the night’s performance, but after watching the Lakers blow out the Warriors, we’ll go in another direction: Metta World Peace.
It’s not that he played badly, but rather that he was a bad man tonight, making things difficult and unpleasant for his opponents. He chased Klay Thompson around and made life tough for him when matched up with him, but he was also a bull on the block given his size and strength.
World Peace was able to seal his defender on a few occasions down low — by the way, MWP occasionally went down there with both Bynum and Gasol on the court — and muscle him around for easy scores; but instead of simply looking to score, he also did a great job of distributing the ball to open players as evidenced by his nine assists.
He was plus-21 tonight and that certainly jives with what was observed on the court. His intensity on both ends of the floor was certainly important and it went a long way towards determining who would hit first, and that was the Lakers.
The Lakers did a good job of defending in the half court and forcing Golden State to shoot contested midrange jumpers off the dribble, which are difficult to convert. However, Mike Brown’s group did a poor job in the first half of getting back in transition after misses and turnovers. The Warriors used that to their advantage by getting out in the open court and creating some terrific looks at the rim.
Even if the fast break in itself was done, Golden State’s ability to run out and get into early offense meant that they could find driving lanes with the big men slowly retreating back into the paint.
This issue was corrected in the second half but is nonetheless troubling given that the Dubs didn’t have a top-notch point guard speeding up the tempo and flying down the court.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Lakers defense was less than stellar when the second unit made its way onto the court. Golden State’s bench was able to produce 29 points on 13-for-28 (46.4 percent), with 22 of those coming in the first half alone.
The Warriors’ activity level was superior to the Lakers in the second quarter, but the road team came out of halftime seemingly reenergized and intent on dominating the paint on both sides of the ball, which eventually led to a blowout.
With games against elite teams on the horizon (@San Antonio on April 20th and versus OKC on April 22nd), these lapses may prove costly if they do not get addressed.
With that said, a double-digit victory on the road with your best player sitting out isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world now is it?
Pau needs to rest
Pau needs to rest
Pau needs to rest
Pau needs to rest
How does LAC get more fans than us on this website? hooptag.com… That’s not right!
Clippers look damn good. They are playing some of the best basketball in the league right now. Even getting down by double digits doesn’t effect those guys. We are going to have to put in work because they might not lose until the playoffs. We need the 3rd seed. We do not want Memphis in the 1st round. Oh and yes, PAU NEEDS REST!!!
It would be nice to see Hill get some run and rest Gasol against Sacramento.
Was not able to watch the game thanks for the write up. Saw the stats, I thought the game was a blowout? How come Pau still played 34mins?
Probable play-off paths for the Lakers depending on the Pacific Division title:
as the 3rd seed: DAL-OKC- SAS/LAC/MEM
as the 4th seed: MEM-SAS-OKC/LAC
The Lakers only have homecourt in the first round except for maybe a Conference Finals meeting with Memphis in the first scenario.
I think either way to the Finals is very tough, it becomes a question of how one views the Mavs come play-off time (they might fall behind Denver to 7th, making a finish ahead of the Clippers more attractive). They match up worse with the Lakers than the Grizzlies do on paper. On the other hand, with Carlisle on the bench probably saving some wrinkles (more zone etc.) for when it counts, they won’t be an easy out either.
I like the first scenario better for the first round, but I’d rather meet the Thunder as late as possible. What do you think?
Pau is the ONLY Laker to play in all 63 games this season. Kobeless Lakers are now 5-2 (.714). These guys really held it down while their captain was out. Can any Laker fan really say they were disappointed by the team results (5-2) in Kobe’s absence? Would any Laker fan have bet $100 that the Lakers would post a better record in Kobe’s absence?
These guys deserve a big hand. They believed in themselves when few others did…including many of their fans on this site.
Welcome back Kobe. Laker title #17, closer & clearer than at any time this season.
I must admit that Zi am both shocked and amazed at Ron Artest(peace has gone away). Not only his improved shooting but his command of the offense while Kobe is gone. The guy is directing people, making outstanding passes, making quick plays around the basket and sealing off guys for his shot.
I was ready to amnesty Peace earlier and I would be big tine wrong. As long as Kobe accepts this new Ron along with Andrew this is a completely NEW team!
We went from 5 on 4 on defense with Fisher and 3 on 5 with Fisher and old Peace to a very good 5 on 5 against anyone.
I rated this team 6th in NBA at all-star game now I feel they are a top 3 team with a real chance to come out of the West. As long as Blake and Murphy pay less then 2 minutes a game that is!
Again… I don’t get too into X’s and O’s very much on this site, however… I discussed how teams, after getting destroyed by Bynum after sending hard double teams his way for 2 months, decided to give him the Shaq treatment starting a couple nights ago against the Spurs. That means sending extra defenders as soon as Drew puts the ball on the floor. Mark Jackson actually said as much during the game last night. This was very effective against Shaq since he wasn’t as comfortable shooting over defemders from 7 feet out. He also would pick up tons of offensive fouls bulldozing through those soft doubles because he didn’t want to shoot over them instead trying to fight through them. As I said yesterday this strategy I just don’t see being very effective against Bynum. He is very patient in the post and has no problem fading away and shooting over a couple defenders. Last night was an extreme examlple as nobody was close to Drew’s size and strength. Having said that, it’s obvious that doubling on Bynums first dribble is an absolutely awful strategy against this long amd skilled big man unless your help defender is just as long as your primary defender who ideally needs to be at least around Drews length and size. Bynums offensive game isn’t a
Shaq’s… But it isn’t Tim Duncan’s either. He is a hybrid. Which makes him even more difficult to defend. If the team keeps up this fantastic ball movement the Lakers will be almost impossible to defend. Which brings me to my second and final point…
Kobe Bryant is very good. If you hadn’t noticed the Lakers ball movement was at its best with Kobe in the lineup this month. That shouldn’t be a suprise to anyone as he is a much better passer, shot creator, and distributor than Ebanks or Barnes. with Kobe in the lineup the Lakers start five guy who can pass, dribble, shoot, and create (now that Ron Artest is back). And if you didn’t know already… Few NBA teams (if any) have had this kind of offensive fire power in their starting lineup.
Yes… To me the only team that can play with us is OKC. So yes… If we can hold off on facing them till the WCF that would be advantageous as its possible OKC would be pset by a Clippers or Memphis tea. But to be honest… I don’t really care who we play all that much. No team scares me out there. This Lakers team is legit.
IF (I would make that word ten times bigger but for the limitations of the CAPSLOCK feature) Kobe’s return features two things (1) Kobe being right physically and able to shake off the rust; and (2) Kobe being able to integrate his game with how well the “rest of crew” has played in his absence (i.e., ball movement, high assist ratio, etc) LA can do some serious damage.
If Kobe is still hurting (like he was last year) or if there are problems getting him back in the mix, all bets are off.
The second statement is NOT an indictment of Kobe, and NOT one more example of the morons who say LA is better with Kobe sitting on the bench–this team’s success may hinge a great deal on the performance of the Twin Towers, but all hopes for a championship rise and fall on how well #24 fits the mix. For all of the times Kobe goes into gunner mode, there are at least that many times where his teammates go passive and dump the ball on him late in the clock–a “chicken egg” debate for another time. In any event, hopefully the past seven games have given guys like Blake, Barnes, and Ron confidence to be assertive even when Kobe is back on the floor
Fun Fact of the Day: How about this… In the not so recent history of Los Angeles… the only Lakers to score 30 points in just three quarters of play? Nick Van Exel, Kobe Bryant, and now Andrew Bynum. This coming exactly a week after Andrew became only the fifth Laker to grab 30 rebounds joining Wilt, Kareem, Mikan, and Baylor. Not a bad week for the kid.
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up.