For the second straight season, the Lakers finished the regular season in Sacramento. Last year, it was potentially the last game in Arco Arena Power Balance Arena with the team potentially moving to Anaheim. This time around was trillions time less dramatic as Mike Brown sat his starting five and played a nine-man rotation that featured six guys who has had at least one stint in the D-League.
Suffice to say, the 113-96 victory for the Kings doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, and I really won’t spend much time dissecting the most pointless game of the year for the Lakers.
Coming in, Kobe was 38 points away from passing Kevin Durant for the scoring title. While I have no qualms with Brown sitting the Kobster, it certainly took any intrigue out of a game that ended with little to none. Darius mentioned in the preview that tonight might be a good time to catch the young guys considering many of them probably won’t see much playing time until either the Summer League or next year’s Pre Season.
- Darius Morris came in the first half and seemed confident pushing the ball at every opportunity. When he did get a bit of playing time at the beginning of the season, he was tentative in half court sets and often indecisive with his dribble. Tonight, he seemed a little more comfortable in transition and recorded nine points and five assists.
- With Kobe gone, Andrew Goudelock took it upon himself to make sure that someone was on the floor to take some ill-advised shots. With nothing at stake, Goudelock decided that it would be his night to see if he could get hot and record a career high. Neither happened, he was four-for-12 with 11 points.
- Jordan Hill had a decent night on the boards (8), but wasn’t exactly stellar on the offensive end (also four-for-12) and missed a couple bunnies around the rim.
- Devin Ebanks had one of the better shooting nights of the young guys (seven-for-11) and scored 14 points to go along with five rebounds. He didn’t do anything we haven’t seen him do over the course of the last couple of years, but he did well with the added responsibility without any of the starters playing tonight.
Both Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts both played decent (a combined 28 points and 16 rebounds), which would be fantastic if their numbers were coupled with good games from Kobe, Pau and Bynum as well. But with those two being your two best players on any given night, you’re going to lose by 15+ points. Ramon Sessions started off slow, (three turnovers within the first seven minutes of the game), but picked things up as the game continued and didn’t turn the ball over in the final three quarters.
Josh McRoberts caught a nice alley-oop dunk from Steve Blake. Terrance Williams threw down a hard dunk over Jordan Hill. And Tyreke Evans had a nasty spin move around Goudelock that reminded me of the spin move he gave Ron Artest a couple years ago. But outside of that, there really wasn’t much to talk about or take away from tonight’s game. Tomorrow, we’ll begin to look forward to the Lakers 1st round match up with the Denver Nuggets.
As inept as Ron was early on there’s a major hole on the perimeter now. Kobe’s going to have to play all around great every game to match denver’s guards.
anti Dwyer Abbott says
”With Kobe gone, Andrew Goudelock took it upon himself to make sure that someone was on the floor to take some ill-advised shots.”
Sums perfectly ESPN vs Kobe Bean.Way to go..
All I need to see. Eyenga should be the back up SG in the playoffs. It’s almost that easy. By default really. He is the only 6-6 guy we got.
@Aaron, I think he will. We might even be able to get away with a back-court of: pg, Sessions, off-guard Eyenga and small forward Kobe. But, only in certain situations and for limited minutes.
More than anything though the Lakers are going to have to play lock-down defense in every game, in order to move on. Once they solidify the reputation of a defensive team their offense will get easier. Teams will stop thinking that they can play against our two superior 7-foot players with inept big men.
TV sports announcers are similar to police in movies and on television–good cop bad cop. Two go for a team and two go against a team until it looks as though one team has an advantage. At which point, three will be for a team and one against. No matter how many speakers they have on a program the mix of opinion will be 2-1.
Look out for the Lakers, Spurs and Celtics. Three mostly-veteran teams that know what it takes to win the crown. But, this is something every one knows, right? The obvious.
Craig W. says
While everyone is rubbing their eyes over last night, one thing continues to bother me – and I continue to comment on it – Mike Brown insists on playing Blake with Sessions and that is a combination that has zero chance of stopping a slow freight – even a small slow freight.
I don’t have a lot of criticism of Mike Brown’s rotations or coaching this year, as I think it was pretty good, considering the circumstances. However, he simply has to stop using this combination. Of course, adding Goudelock makes the situation worse – so Brown really doesn’t have many choices – but the Lakers have to have some size and defensive chops in the backcourt at all times in the playoffs and the trio of Blake, Sessions, and Goudelock is guaranteed get us burned, each and every time.
Game went as expected. Only surprise was seeing Eyenga on the floor. Like what I saw. Hope he gets a solid look next season. Not too crazy about seeing him & post-season virgin Ramon Sessions manning the backcourt together next week.
Game #1 of MWP suspension: meaningless. Glad to hear Harden has been cleared to practice. MWP not being available for Denver will extend series to six games. Meaning he’ll be available for the 1st game of the 2nd round in OKC.
Interested about this Denver matchup – since we don’t have our best perimeter defender for basically the whole series.
Kobe’s gonna need to check Gallo – but then we are going to have problems with Andre Miller and Ty Lawson.
Bynum might actually have to step up and prove his worth for us to win this series. It will be the first time he’s ever done that if he does.
@Craig W-He might have to occasionally put Morris in there for defensive purposes because our other three guards are ineffective on defense. At least Derek Fisher offered up his body on defense (when he could). We need to start using our guards like most people use their centers. We have 24 fouls between all four guards. If we use those fouls and not give up and one’s, make them earn their points from the line instead of unmolested drives to the lane: 1) We slow the game down. 2) Make them good strong fouls, maybe that will deter their drive to the basket.
In case you all have not been laying attention. All the games against Denver were close, within 5 points or so.
Denver has won 8 of last 10 and 4 in a row. At home they are hard to beat because of altitude and with 10 deep the run teams trying to catch their breath. Kobe has not shot well there and we could be 2 players out without Barnes. Also they have 2 good PG and we have none.
Anyone who is crying sweep or 5 games is not rational. This will be a 7 game series with home
court being the difference.
Save this and read it back as I can guarantee this is not a easy series. Also they have a big coaching advantage. Karl will run us to death and double Andrew all game. Brown will walk the court and look confused.
Lakers in 7.
Craig W. says
The altitude issues – SLC is at the same approximate altitude as Denver – are most apparent on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. Even Denver has some problems when they play on the West Coast and go home the next night.
There will be no back-to-back games and we are planning to play a series, not a single game, so this will not be as much a factor.
That said, you are still correct. And you are also correct that this will be a tougher series than some fans expect. Of course, many of these same fans expected us to sweep Dallas last year, not the other way around.
Agreed on all issues. Karl is smart. He knows the height advantage and how to double AB and get in his head. He also know that 2 of our guys get back slow and sometimes you can add Kobe to that.
He will run 10 at us and we have only 7 guys to count on now.
Edwin Gueco says
Eyenga and Morris have the speed, athleticism but no defense…. they need more time to intern in NBA or more minutes played to get them into the rhythm of the game. G-lock lost his mojo, he gets trapped often by dribbling too much like in college hoops. However, if Lakers can play these three in the playoffs, they have a role as a spot players only with one objective: Eyenga for rebounds or blocking the passage of a PG; Morris as a sacrifice to shadow Lawson; Goudelock as a perimeter shooter on last few seconds at the end of each quarter except the 4th Q.
Agreed with Ko. This will be tougher than most people expect. I won’t try to put a # prediction on the series because it’s hard to know what kind of Lakers team will show up.
I expect the Lakers to win. But if everything doesn’t come together – e.g. if Bynum focuses on offense only and rotates late on Lawson’s penetration into the paint – I can also see the Nuggets getting ahead in this series very quickly. Bynum will have to be focused on both sides of the floor, because you know Lawson will get to the rim easily in this series. Surround him with good 3-point shooters, and it’s the type of team that can give us fits. There won’t be any easy rounds this time.
Darius Soriano says
Want to chat? We’ll be having one with the fine folks from Round Ball Mining Co. in a little bit less than two hours.
Paul L says
Lakers will have to be on their A game to get past Denver with no MWP and a hobbled Barnes. I don’t buy the argument that Denver doesn’t have a star player and therefore can’t win. They have a ton of players with PERs in the 17-20 range. They also have speed and 3 point shooters which together give the Lakers fits. Plus they have lots of competent bigs to defend Bynum and Gasol. Karl is not too proud to send doubles at Bynum which decrease Bynum’s efficiency exponentially.
Not having Ron hurts. Ebanks will have to guard Miller sessions, blake can’t and barnes has a bum ankle. Ebanks doesn’t have experience but has length that may bother miller. But having ebanks hasn’t stretch the floor in halfcourt and lakers don’t want to run vs this team.
The biggest unknown is Sessions he hasn’t played in the playoffs before. Some doubts go out the window if he has an impact on these games. His biggest contributions will be keep his turnovers down and make his ft’s. If not kobe plays pg.
Denver wouldn’t dare double pau the way there going to double drew this series he’ll pick them apart. Stick bynum on the weakside have him crash the offensive boards. Stick pau on the post not many pf can guard him none on denver at least. Biggest advantage this series is pau with no ron have to use him wisely.
Lakers were barely able to create turnovers this year with ron. His on ball defense and quick hands led to steals I don’t see that happening with him gone so offense possessions will that more crucial. His sf post ups will be missed and ability to get teammates shots his own unique way. A lot of pressure was on the starters to dominate with denver’s bench now even more so. Both bigs have to dominate their man pau can’t do that on the perimeter.