The Lakers continue their exhibition season tonight, facing the Warriors for the 2nd straight game. That first game didn’t go that well for the Lakers as the Dubs came out firing early to establish a lead they would never relinquish.
What was clear in Thursday’s game was that the Lakers simply were not able to deal with the outside shooting the Warriors offered while still being able to adequately cover the interior. On too many possessions, the Lakers were caught over helping inside, only to be a step slow recovering back to the wing while Klay Thompson or Steph Curry fired off another three pointer. Other times the Lakers were fine recovering toe the wing, but were not good at breaking down in their closeouts which led to the types of blow-by’s that put the interior defense on its heels. After the game, Byron Scott spoke about the poor defense and equated it to not playing hard enough, but what I saw was more about a lack of defensive talent against a team with superior offensive players.
Tonight, then, will be a chance to see which was actually more true. Can the Lakers stick with Thompson, Curry, Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, and Brandon Rush? Can they do that and keep the interior clean by stonewalling David Lee and Andrew Bogut to keep them from getting easy looks? My guess is that the answers to these questions will be “no”, as even the best defenses will struggle to do these things this season. But Byron Scott expects better than what his team showed the last game so let’s see if he gets it.
Here are some other things to watch for tonight and some general thoughts on what I’d like to see:
*Who plays point guard? Jeremy Lin’s sprained ankle is likely to keep him out of the game tonight and with Jordan Clarkson sidelined with his strained calf, he will not play either. Steve Nash was rested in Thursday’s game, but we have not yet heard whether he will be active tonight. That leaves Ronnie Price as the only point guard without a question about his status. The hope is that Nash plays, but even if he does his minutes will likely be capped at 15-20. That leaves a boatload of minutes for Price unless someone else steals some time there.
*Will Randle look less “lost” and get more meaningful minutes? Julius Randle didn’t look great in his first stint on Thursday and led to him only getting 6 minutes of action in the first half and not any meaningful burn until garbage time late in the game. In garbage time, however, Randle did start to find his stride and played well in the closing stretch. Randle is still earning the trust of his coach and it would be nice if he could carry forward some of that late game play to the early part of this game in order to get some sustained playing time. The Warriors offer good “measuring stick” match ups for Randle and I would like to see him get some good minutes against Lee, Bogut, and the other veteran Warriors. I would also like to see Randle play more minutes with Kobe to give both players some time playing with the only other isolation creator on the team to see if that opens up chances for both players.
*More Ed Davis, please. Davis has been the Lakers’ best big man so far this preseason when factoring in play on both sides of the ball. He’s been quite effective and efficient on offense and has shown the best defensive instincts of any player (regardless of position). It would be nice if Davis could find some extended minutes (maybe at the expense of Boozer or Sacre) to see if he can keep it going when his workload increases.
*More pick and rolls, especially if Nash plays. Regardless of what you think about Byron Scott or his offense, there is enough flexibility in his sets to simply call for the P&R and run the action if the players want to. If you recall back to the Denver game, Lin and Davis ran that action repeatedly in the 2nd half and it was key to sustaining the team’s offense so they could hold onto the lead. Nash can be more assertive in calling for the pick and playing more two man game in the process rather than simply deferring to Kobe post-ups on the wing. If the Lakers are to be good enough on offense to be competitive, they must extract more value from their point guards than what they get as spot up shooters. Considering Nash and Lin thrive as ball handlers in the P&R, they must look for this action more when they are in the game.
chris henderson says
what time and what channel?
Darius Soriano says
The game is on at 6:30pm and is on NBA TV & TWC Sportnet.
Damn i thought last year was bad… This year could be even worse since can’t even shoot & make 3s now!!
Midrange jumper after midrange jumper.
Lakers taking threes like it’s 1992. Outscored by 27-0 from three point range.
chris henderson says
noticing there are a lot of fumbled passes, and it’s because they are hitting their intended targets around shin height. gotta sharpen up the passing. of course this is pre-season, and there are folks who are not that familiar with each other yet. Plus, Mr Nash can hold a passing clinic at some point.
Are Wayne Ellington and Ronnie Price auditioning for teams in Europe? Why are they taking so many shots 6 inches in from the three point line?
I get that you are making a different kind of point, but Price and Ellington are both pretty much replacement-level guys. Lin, Young, and Henry aren’t tremendously valuable, but they are better than Price and Ellington.
Defense looks completely clueless. Missed rotations, failure to get back in transition, guards getting beat back door… Just an absolute mess.
You’re being very generous by calling Price replacement level.
I am indeed making a different point although I don’t disagree with anything you are saying. They have eyes right? If you’re going to take a 22.8 footer, take a three for godsakes.
They’re following the coach’s instructions.
Yes, but Price and Ellington are actually 6/10 on FGs, whereas KB and Nash are 3/17. So…I get what people are saying, but still.
Down 40 at the end of 3 and the opponent has 100 already. Yep that defensive focus is paying off so far.
Obviously there’s no point catastrophising a pre-season game, but this has had precious little positive to take away from it.
I’m fine with having a defensive focus (which is difficult to show against GSW), and with moving away from the rapid pace of the MDA days. But only 2 3PTA in 40 minutes? It’s not been a fun day for Laker fans that’s for sure.
I get where that is coming from, given your history on the site, but this is the 3rd preseason game.
And this roster would have a battle on its hands with a Gregg Popovich clone on the bench.
Can somebody tell what Wes Johnson does on the court to, you know help a team win?
At least with Boozer I can say in theory he could help if knocks down that 15 footer consistently. I don’t even know how Wes Johnson helps in any theory based on a plausible scenario.
lol rr – fair enough – just sat here too long and couldn’t hold back especially w James worthy making excuse after excuse for Scott and acting like this would be such a different game if Scott had Henry/Young etc…
Irregardless of who’s coaching now vs last year – and yes i realize that this is only the 3rd preseason game so I don’t give it much weight in the way of x’s/o’s and i hope Scott adjusts there – but the lack of effort is disconcerting. I mean w the exception of Kobe – no one else – including the injured guys – are really owed a starting spot so the rotation is still up for grabs. Plus a bunch of these guys are just practice fodder anyways but you’d think they would still be trying to play hard/smart to pile up some stats to get noticed by another team etc…
“And this roster would have a battle on its hands with a Gregg Popovich clone on the bench.”
– no disagreement there, this is a going to be a rougher year than last year and I expect the record to reflect that the roster is worse.
there really isn’t anything to take from this game. from what i can see, it’s mostly about assurance that the roster invites at the end of the bench really aren’t going to make the team.
What’s saddest is that this is about what I expected. If we would have had Byron three years ago with a Laker style team, everything would have been possible.. But we’ve finally got that team D’Antoni wanted. We’ve got stretch 4’s and a whole bunch of fast moving guards–no dedicated defenders, but we can run and hit those threes–except Byron doesn’t want to shoot many threes any more. Injuries starting tol mount.
Well, it shouldn’t be so glaring with Utah.
There is something to take away from every game. The Lakers were missing Kelly, Lin, Young, Henry, and Clarkson; and Davis didn’t play, either–not sure why, although presumably there was specific reason. But at the same time, Nash/Kobe/Johnson/Hill/Boozer is supposedly the group that Scott sees as his starting 5, and best plus/minus among them tonight was Hill at -23. And the shot selection is worth noting as well.
It is just early preseason, but these things still tell us something.
I often don’t keep the sound up that much during/after/between games, and usually skip halftime and post-game shows, so I didn’t hear Worthy. But while I can see why it would irritate you, Byron and James go way, way, way back and won some great battles and historical NBA Wars together. So yes, Worthy is supposed to be objective, but maybe you could cut him some slack. D’Antoni was never really “a Laker” and that is one of many reasons, along with some very legitimate ones, that such a large portion of the fanbase didn’t like him.
But while Worthy and some parts of the fanbase will give Scott a lot of room, there is another large group, which includes younger fans, saberish writers, and some bloggers/siterunners, who will not be inclined to give Scott much rope at all.
So Scott will get plenty of grief if his first Lakers team is as bad as D’Antoni’s last one was.
I find it disconcerting that Kobe is the only player on the entire team that is playing defense. And, a good portion of that was playing Curry full court. I can find a player in a pickup game at open gym that would play defense for a contract.
Nash is barely on the floor, and so far the Warriors have crowded Kobe on shots, so I’m interested to know who on this team is capable of shooting 3s consistently. If we had a young Reggie Miller on the team I’d say bombs away, in lieu of him…who?
so I’m interested to know who on this team is capable of shooting 3s consistently.
It is not so much that as it is that it is hard to run an offense in today’s NBA without floor spacing, and that it is very hard to build an offense around long 2s. One way to look at it is this: Memphis was dead last in the NBA last year in 3PA, and they took 14 a game. But Memphis plays good defense and has two good big men who can score.
Tonight the Lakers took 3 3s, but they don’t have any bigs as good as Marc Gasol or even Zach Randolph, and they have serious defensive issues. AK was talking about this on Twitter tonight.
But, having Lin, Young and Henry would/will help some with the 3P problem, although none of them is a great 3P marksman.
Holy awful Batman! I’m still in a good mood from my Cowboy’s winning in Seattle, but dang…Lakers lose by 40? Calm down everyone. We’re not 0-82 yet and this won’t be the worst defense in Lakers history. Give Scott some time to get his players all on the same page at least.
rr – honestly I don’t have so much of an issue w Worthy being an apologist for his friend this early in the season, that i can understand despite the hypocrisy in his position. What bothered me more was his assertions that if Scott had Young, had Henry, had etc.. etc… that things would be much better. This roster is I would argue considerably worse than last years – yet there is this thought that somehow Scott is “that” much better of a coach than MDA and because he runs his players into the ground via conditioning and focuses on defense that somehow Scott will be more successful? I have zero sense of schadenfruede towards this team and want to see guys succeed – I just don’t get the view that the inuured guys such as young and henry are game changers. The only reason they got significant time last year and put up #’s was because guys above them on the depth chart got hurt – and that team still only won 27 games. None of these players were worthy of being in a rotation elsewhere in the league last year except in LA due to injuries.
Quite frankly, I;m sorta indifferent to Scott right now – I recognize he doesn’t have much to work with and already is getting hit w injuries – and after games like this i think we’ll see some adjustments in his game tactics. Just wish the unreal expectations/prognostication from Worthy/Magic et al would stop because it sounds ridiculous. It’s 50/50 that Scott finishes w a worse record than MDA this year – and it wouldn’t be his fault either. And thats not me being a sky is falling fan – thats just a realistic assessment of the talent level, age, and injury history of this team.
First of all, Lakers have no match with GS, then comes injury of the reliable guards and finally, chemistry is still in work in process.I guess Lakers have a lot of puzzle to solve. Our centers are not adequate to fulfill the D that Scott wished for. while the shooters need to hone their skills with competition. Nothing you can do if the skill set are mismatched, FO should help in searching for more talents or else the team is elimated by February. I regard G S as top 5 in NBA rankings.
J C says
I hope (!) that this is a reflection of how good GS is rather than how bad we are.
Curry and Klay were remarkable.
Maybe GS is gonna go 82-0 this year.
But it was a little scary how easily Kobe seemed bottled up by double teams and no one else did much.
They better not cut Ed Davis.
Let’s see how we do against Utah.
GS is primed to get to the WCF. They have a full compliment of players that are seasoned playing together. If healthy they could go all the way.
So my post before the game was apperently deleted. So I will write it again and see what happens… You’re a smart basketball guy. I refuse to live in a world where you think the Lakers are starting Nash and Boozer, ordering the team to shoot the worst shots in basketball (long two’s) while getting rid of their best three point shooters and are trying to win the most games they can. You really think the Lakers are that stupid? The dumbest guys at the YMCA aren’t that stupid. This is a professional basketball franchise. You know they are trying to keep their pick or you must think they know less about basketball than a high school coach.
It is still early but it does appear the new system of defense will not be enough to compensate for the lack of defenders in the Laker roster.
I think Kelly may earn some playing time as a high IQ player if Randle and Boozer continue to underperform. Davis looks to be a bright spot so far.
GS: They are a very good team, so the losses are not suprising, and yes it is preseason. That said we are what we are.
Jerke: Although we have differing opinions of MD and Byron, I agree with your post. Byron is not going to save the Lakers this year, and I said as much before we hired him. He will be lucky to last long enough to see the team being competitive. If Magic and James et all build him up as if somehow he is going to be a savior even with this roster, then there will be a huge disappointment.
Aaron: your posts are very entertaining. So you say the Lakers are either tanking or they do not know what they are doing – correct?. Well – I do not think they are intentionally tanking : )
Schedule: Wow – just took a peak at the first 5 games – those games against the Suns could be huge.
I’m certainly not prescient, but I haven’t seen anything from the Lakers that I had not expected. Going back to Kobe’s extension I knew the Lakers were going to be a .500 team, at best. With that contract (in a hard cap league) combined with the team’s age and lack of assets (young talent/draft picks) you would not need to be a genius to foresee the Laker’s struggles.
However, It’s funny how the team continues to shoot themselves in the foot. The team’s weakness this year is our front line. Note, we kept Pau/Kaman last year for MDA, even though he didn’t want to use them properly. This off season we let them go for nothing. Then we hire a coach who would have used them effectively (Scott runs a runs a more traditional offense and defense). Go figure.
Instead, w are relying on Hill – who put up great numbers last season beating up opponents second team bigs. Only this season he’ll have to face opponents first string front lines. I love Hill but he is an energy big off the bench not a starting center. In other words he is a luxury item that doesn’t fit on this team. Additionally, we are also relying on Boozer who at this point in his career is replacement level at best. The backups, Randle and Davis have considerable more upside but are young and inexperienced.
Yes, it’s only three exhibition games but the Lakers clearly are what they are. They will win a fair amount of games against teams in the lower third of each conference but they will struggle against the rest of the league. They beat Denver, who finished 11th in the conference last year. And now have lost twice to Golden State, who finished 6th.
Byron said it best this after last night’s game. He mentioned that the Lakers were playing against a team (Golden State) that’s been together for years. We’ll have this disadvantage in virtually every game we play. We’re essentially the only team other than Philadelphia that is throwing together players and expecting them to compete. Check that, Philly knows exactly what they are – we just haven’t admitted it yet.
Todd: Yes, it’s only three exhibition games but the Lakers clearly are what they are. They will win a fair amount of games against teams in the lower third of each conference but they will struggle against the rest of the league.
I was one who thought the Lakers had a better team than last year. But after seeing how the Warriors went through us, like a hot knife through butter, I am beginning to have my doubts. The Warriors are one of the elite teams but its not as if they played their starters for 36 minutes. Their subs took it to us as well.
I for one am not sure if Scott’s dictate about not taking three point shots is sound. You’d usually forego the three if you have an interior player that offers you a distinct advantage. The Lakers have no such advantage (not now after losing Pau and Kaman). For the Lakers to have shot only 3 threes, while taking what seemed to be an awful lot of long two’s, is crazy. The Lakers need to use the Three as a weapon – an equalizer. There should be sets run that set up a good shooter for an open look. Maybe this part of the offense gets rolled out when Young returns.
I am still holding out hope that we are better than we have showed. But I am concerned, because we do have such a narrow margin for error. I was hoping for a fast start and Young’s injury has put that at risk. I was hoping that Kobe would be scoring at ease and he looks like he is struggling to create space. I was hoping that our front line would be an advantage but it looks like it won’t until Randle and Davis begin to assert themselves.
I agree with Aaron in the sense that the starting 5 Byron Scott put out there last night will get destroyed on both ends. If Scott didn’t know that, he has to know that now.
The starting 5 should be, Nash, Kobe, Henry, Boozer, and Davis. Nash, Boozer, and Henry would get short minutes for Lin, Randle, and Swaggy. Hill would back up Davis and my crunch time 5 would be Nash, Kobe, Young, Hill, and Davis.
Wes Johnson and Sacre would be out the rotation and I’d try to find minutes for Kelly but he would have to shoot around 40 percent from 3’s to play. If Kelly can play and Davis is as good as he looks in the preseason I would put Hill on the trading block for a young wing or a draft pick.
Jerke: Byron is not going to save the Lakers this year, and I said as much before we hired him. He will be lucky to last long enough to see the team being competitive.
Bingo. Scott is an interim solution for the Lakers. He is on board to help smooth out the last two years of the Kobe era. The Laker’s future is on the other side of Kobe’s contract extension. It’s possible that he survives Kobe but the likelihood is that he won’t be the coach when the Lakers hit their competitive stride in 3 – 4 years.
He offers a link to the Laker glory days and he has Kobe’s blessing (MB and MDA did not). Byron is a good guy and a decent coach but not one that will win without front line talent (which the Lakers do not have right now).