Again? AGAIN? Look, I’m tired of the Lakers facing by the Thunder. This will be the 3rd time the Lakers have played OKC in the past 20 days. The two previous times the Lakers lost by 40 and 35 points. So, yeah. Instead of a game preview, I should include a map to the nearest underground shelter so fans can take cover.
To be honest, I don’t want to talk about the Thunder game anyway. Not when I can talk about the game against the Kings. That game was a loss, but I honestly couldn’t care less. And while there are some things that came out of that game — namely D’Angelo Russell’s ankle injury and Kobe’s continued issues with his shoulder — may impact today’s availability, the game itself was pretty much what most fans are looking for out of a Lakers’ game these days.
The game really did hit all the right boxes (or at least most of them):
- Kobe played well and was not overextended with his minutes. In 30 minutes he scored 28 points on 10-18 shooting. He also had some really finishes and even had an alley-oop dunk.
- D’Angelo Russell was fantastic, especially down the stretch and looked like the multi-talented #2 overall draft pick who could be an offensive force. Russell had 27 points on 11-16 shooting, including 19 points in the 2nd half on 7-9 shooting.
- Jordan Clarkson had a rough turnover on the last possession, but he was otherwise his consistent self again with a 15/5/4 line. He also had a couple of highlight level drives and finishes.
- The youth movement carried the day in the 2nd half and turned what was going to be a blowout loss into a game the Kings probably should have lost. A lineup of Russell, Clarkson, Brown, Randle, and Bass was amazing down the stretch of the 3rd quarter and all of the 4th with their strong play only broken up by Russell’s ankle sprain.
You can put whatever qualifiers on the game you’d like (quality of opponent, the let-their-guard-down nature of the 2nd half after the big lead was established), but that should not minimize what they actually did. The group defended well (not perfectly, but well), got good shots offensively, and played with a combination of urgency and poise that stood out.
And while they didn’t win, those who side with process in the results vs. process battle got a bit of fulfillment. This doesn’t mean everything went right — there were still a bunch of possessions where the Kings just King’d it up which had little to do with what the Lakers were doing — but rarely do things. You still have to find a way to compete and get into positions to win and the team did just that with the young guys driving the bus.
What does this have to do with tonight? Nothing, really. But you can’t blame me for wanting to talk about that than the very probable thrashing the Thunder are about to administer to the Lakers tonight.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.
Kobe Alert: In spite of his time off, KB is climbing the ladders of NBA history. He has moved by Buck Williams for 13th in all time games played. Next up is Moses, who is 19 games away. Kobe also got past Reggie Miller for 8th on the minutes list and is now within striking distance of John Stockton and Wilt. When you are within striking distance of Wilt for anything, you know it is significant. Kobes is now in 13th all time for 3 pointers and is within 11 more to catch Predrag. He is also close to Joe Johnson who is active. Kobe got by Terry Cummings to get into 47th for all time defensive rebounds and is now pursuing our own Bob McAdoo (he should be on the wall – HOF and 2 rings with us). Only 15 more dimes to catch the Logo. Last game Kobe became the 3rd player in history to score 33k points. The second returns from the All Star Voting are out and Kobe is still the number one getter/ He is also the leading vote getter of all time. He has been named as an All Star starter more than any player in NBA history and has been named to more All Star teams than anyone other than Kareem. Mitch has recently stated that both numbers should be retired. I have been saying this for a couple of years, however, I am not going to say the “should be”; I am going to say they “will be”. I am doing this Kobe alert especially for you BPG, even though Kobes is questionable, which really means code for he is not playing (hope I am wrong about that).
– Last game vs the Kings had something for everyone. Kobe doing his thing for the 1st 3 quarters, and the kids getting a real opportunity to make a difference playing in the 4th. I can live with that.
Andres Garcia says
Fun game. That unit played hard man. They were flying around all over the place. Bass played his best game by far as a Laker, his energy was fantastic. DAR continues to impress. No coincidence that it’s after they gave him the keys to run a p n r heavy O while he’s in there. His injury last night (while fluky) did make me re-evaluate my thoughts about the sorta limited mins he is playing. He’s still 19 playing with grown men, the strength base is not quite there. Playing fatigued would increase the injury risk i’d imagine. So 28ish mins seems about right. Next year with another offseason in the weight room, he can take on more.
@rr from the other thread, a Lakeshow era aproach, i never thought about it that way but yeah, that would work for me, we need to build a team first, im not even thinking about contending for a title for the time being, but those Lakeshow teams were well built and some elements from them helped usher the 3peat era…
My God I was cheering like crazy last night. That was one helluva game and comeback and then choke job by the team. It is pretty clear when the moment becomes too big, neither the young players or the coach can handle the pressure. I would expect this from the youngsters but not from a veteran coach. So in spite of Byron being a HC…these guys came back the way they did and then the coach of course let em down towards the end with idiotic play calls. The defense was atrocious during one point in the 3rd and then these guys just started to hustle on defense, led by Brandon Bass, and that changed the game.
Overall it was great to see Russell be assertive and confident. The kid will only become better and again, in spite of the HC and the “system”, this kid is doing what he is doing and that is the real exciting part! This game only further proves that we are a better team without Kobe and if Byron stays out the way…then we would be a 40-win team like Mitch said earlier this week.
I’m with you Darius !
Tired of Okc,..
Agree, Sid !
After last night, I expect a big drop off into a ditch.
Don’t know if I’ll watch, because it seems, like with the warriors, they are too far ahead for our kids to catch and learn anything, except how far they have to go.
A lesson they already know too well.
OKC? You guys have your priorities wrong. It is the Spurs you should be sick of. That is the rivalry that dates back decades. And with Curry gimpy, the Spurs odds keep going up. They are #2 and could be a co-#1. And then we are looking at #6 for Pops and Duncan. Focus on that. Not OKC. They have won nothing. I hate the Spurs.
@Robert, Lol,..I don’t hate Okc,.. only tied of seeing their faces, or, to be more accurate, the back of their heads as they bound by our guys like kangaroos.
3 games in 20 days is a bit much.
I like Tarik Black as much as Robert hates the Spurs. For some reason, I really believe in him. Three days before Christmas (12/22/2015), he had 24 pts. and 15 rebounds. True. It was just a D League game. But even so, he looks like a man among boys — much too good for the D League:
Am I hallucinating? Or are there others who agree that Tarik Black could at least be a solid contributor for the Lakers off the bench?
I know Black has some issues offensively, is undersized for the 5, and has seen a similar, steadier player (Bass) take his minutes. But I also think he can be a rotation guy — I felt he proved that last year.
Bass has been pretty solid, especially of late, and I assume he is part of the veteran presence the Lakers feel they need for the youngsters. But I could move him for anything of value, I’d do it and give those minutes to Black.
@ Mid, I like Tarik.
I think Scott gets these illogical biases in his head about certain players, and his attitude rubs off to form a negative vibe that affects their game.
I wish Tarik, Vander and Upshaw would all get called back as we have players on our bench that should take their places.
Most guys at the top of the DLeague could be in the NBA as easily as not–although “solid contributor” might be a stretch. The DLeague home page has a list up of call-up eligible top guys. Jimmer Fredette is 3, Earl Clark is 7, and Devin Ebanks is 19. That doesn’t mean these guys are the best guys in the DLeague, but it tells you something.
DeAndre Liggins, who has been in the NBA but never did anything, is second in NET Rating; Jimmer Fredette is second in PIE.
So…I think Black can play in the NBA, and given the Lakers roster, he should be getting a chance. But the term replacement-level exists for good reasons and most guys among the top 30-40 guys in the DLeague are replacement-level, which is why they are in the DLeague.
Clarkson….Nance….Russell…all trending up Randle is the only one not.Scott has to get some credit.
If the Lakers only had a center who could rebound and defend.Plus if Randle can just up his shooting pct to 45%…..
I’m right there with you on the anti-Spurs bandwagon. Duncan already gets too much love for my taste, so I really don’t want to see him get number 6. Hell, he’s barely contributing at this point, but he will get full credit for it. Also, I don’t really wanna hear about how great the Spurs franchise is for the next decade, or how they win the “right” way, or how they are the best team this millenium. Yada, yada, yada.
Kobe refuses to come out….Brown ready to check in….Only has 2 Fouls not 3….Does Scott know how many Fouls Kobe has?
The mustard’s off the hot dog and all over the court on the Westbrook dunk attempt.
Feel the same about Tarik Black, but Bass has been playing well…I feel the same way about Ryan Kelly, if only Julius could shoot as well.
Cameron Payne and DAR, who will be better in 5 years?
That was an insanely good pass by Kobe to Williams for the 3! Fun game!
Nance has really come on by leaps and bounds.
Can you believe this is the same team that sucked about 2 weeks ago
Kobe knocked down the ref, clarkson is playing intense, nance looks like a veteran
Freakin lou williams gots 30
Lou Williams is unconscious!
Lou Williams is having a great game tonight and a career high.
Westbrook looking so frustrated, lou is on fire
Fun game !
Just the type imagined at season start.
Man… The Thunder are committing some really dumb fouls on Williams.
Who put that cheat code on Lou? Jeesuuss is he hot or what?
Guess thete won’t be any Lou trade.
Kobe was fouled man, Damn it i really wanted this game!!!
Kobe would have gotten a foul there 5 years ago.
Ordinarily only a rookie would be subjected to a no call like kobe was on that last possession. Still. Would like to have seen kobe drive and dish/kick there.
Really hope other teams were watching. Bass and Lou are legit pieces that can help a contending team.
I think this is the 1st game against an elite team that we really gave them a run for their money, it took Lou to get stupid hot but it was a great great effort. This team is improving, we could easily be 5-1 on the last 6 games, we need to close these games man, and Kobe was fouled in that last play, that was bs, and people asking to trade Lou and that jazz, he is not that efficient but he finds a way to score and i dont care how he does it as long he puts points in the board, he was a nice pickup for the Lakers there i say it, now go ahead crucify me…
Kobe clearly tires in 4th. Has not made last shot in a few years. Might have gone to red hot Lou or Clark.
^^Kobe would have got that foul 5 years ago^^
Kobe would have blown by KD 5 years ago
J C says
Was at the game tonight.
The crowd was REALLY into it.
Fun game, similar to Kings loss.
Lou Williams had a stretch in the fourth quarter that was as good as any I’ve ever seen.
Lou is what he is, and like I said last week, sometimes he is going to go off, like tonight. But I think it is pretty clear–and was clear before the season started–that Lou and BB make more sense on a good team than on a team like the Lakers. The argument for having them around is that they show the young guys the ropes, keep the pressure off them, help the team avoid demoralizing losing streaks, etc.
This question was on Pelton’s recent chat, about Orlando:
Leo (San Francisco)
I find Orlando to be a fascinating patchwork of talent, trying to balance winning with developing their youngsters. It seems like they are doing a better job of winning than they are the latter. What are your thoughts on this? I am especially interested if they should be giving more minutes to Hezonja and Gordon?
Kevin Pelton (12:16 PM)
Well, the evidence on the importance of playing time to player development is limited at best, so it’s tough to say that those players not playing is hurting their development necessarily.But from the outside perspective of someone hoping to see those players grow, it’s certainly disappointing and it seems to be more about the desire to win now than it is teaching them the correct habits, which is the usual argument against just handing prospects minutes.
whistles swallowed by refs,nothing new.Shame on you rigged BA!
Good time to trade Lou Williams for some good youth/picks. IF Lou was younger it would make more sense to hold onto him, but NO WAY we are a playoff team in the next couple years. And of course we need defensive guys, since our 3 main young guys really don’t seem like they are likely to develop into good defenders or even average guys–its all about their offense for Clarkson/DAR and perhaps Randle as well. Honestly Nance looks like a more able defender to me.
It’s nice to see the team being scrappy and nearly getting a win against a good team. When your team loses a ton, its nice to at least see them go down as a scrappy team trying their hardest. In some respects it seems the 3 point era has turned teams into lazier teams on the offensive end. Remember when people used to set good picks and make strong cuts? Most of the mediocre teams look like they are going through the motions on offense, pathetic picks, lazy cuts. That was one thing that stood out last year in the championship games, the Cavs/Warriors were playing hard, not only on defense but also on offense with hard fast cuts, real picks, not just going through the motions waiting for an ISO. Looks like there is a good chance its Warriors vs. Cavs 2.0 this year, really don’t see anyone else beating these two teams as long as they stay healthy.
From ESPN article on struggling rookies and sophomores:
One-trick Laker: Julius Randle
Randle is another sophomore who’s not yet helping his team win. While he’s already a beast on the boards — grabbing nearly 13 rebounds per 36 minutes — that’s about where his contributions end.
Notably, Randle has struggled to put the ball in the hoop. His 40.9 effective field goal percentage is among the lowest of any NBA power forward, as is his paltry 45.8 true shooting percentage (far below the 53.5 league average). His offensive RPM (-3.19) ranks near the bottom of the league as well.
The Lakers have also played some of their worst defense with Randle on the court. Given his lackluster block rate thus far, only 0.6 per 36 minutes, it’s perhaps reasonable to wonder if Randle will ever develop into an above-average interior defender.
@Anon, The ESPN article highlight is a pretty good summary. But “one-trick pony” is FAR TOO EARLY. He’s a rookie for all intensive purposes, or I would be a bit more concerned. He has a long way to go on offense that’s for sure. Being fairly elite at something is a really good thing, and rebounds are very important. So it’s good to see that he is a “beast on the boards”.
Randle likely will never be anything but an average defender. That’s why I keep saying that we need defenders and 3 point shooters (people with high % not just guys who jack them up). Clarkson is old enough that its pretty certain he is a slightly below average defender. DAR’s ceiling is likely average. But there is a very real chance that ALL 3 of our “main” young guys end up being below average defenders at their positions.
Honestly, I think that unless we get a serious developed talent, we aren’t more than a 40win team with these young guys, or at least not until the 2020’s.
Tank Commander Scott brilliantly executing well-veiled losses now.
Not even the most discerning fan recognizes these losses as intentional.
The team gives every appearance of actually trying to compete!
Well done. Kudos Byron!
The best 5 consecutive quarters of LAL bb I’ve seen all year, maybe the last 2 years.
LNjr is still impressing and could’ve had another
“On the ELEVATOR goin DOWN!!!”
moment, after a steal, but chose to dunk soft. Classy compared to RW’s MONSTER flub. LOL.
Randle, right now, is a frustrated, really young rookie who, for probably the first time in his entire career, is having to play with other big boys who are really, really good. He’s immature on a lot of levels right now…just watch post game interviews….but his effort is there. I believe I will hold off on further criticism on him for awhile, especially in light of the support his teammates are throwing his way. No passes next year though…
JC & DAR together will be fun to watch when they both start making consistent shots. Still, JC is going to be great I believe. Even though he has turned it over more than usual for him these last two games, he still penetrates like nobody else on the team but Kobe, and he has finished more times than not. I choose to believe that DAR will be too.
Lou was huge this game and Bass was huge against SAC. Both were key in us possibly turning a corner and competing EVERY night. At the very least, Kobe, Lou, & Bass are showin the young fellas how it can be brought every game of a long season.
Kobe was fouled…….
The team,.. it’s getting feisty lately. A swag is spreading through the ranks !
I hope it reaches Randle soon. He had excellent double doubles aplenty before Murray got there, and went about convincing him that his shot was so bad, that it had to be broken down one day and reassembled.
I don’t think his shot was so bad, it worked, and I have seen many nba players with many strange forms, way more unorthodox who had solid nba careers.
Murray’s shot was imo broken.
Shooting it off his forehead, and since others could block it, instead of training to release it from a higher perch, fading back almost horizontal.
Now that’s a shot that needed fixing.
I suspect that Murray sold the front office on this crap to gain a long term paycheck.
Randle needs to wake up and ignore that fool, he already has a decent shot that worked for him.
Yes he has a lot to learn about defence and rotations ect. but he needs his scoring ability back like now, and not only for the team, but to regain his confidence.
Nothing more sad than a tied up bull who is beginning to believe he’s a rebound cow.
Fun game against a top team. I wasn’t expecting a win but to be this close on the second game of a back to back is a plus and indication that these guys want to compete. Lou was unbelievable. JC continues to impress with his ability to dribble in traffic and create his own shot. Kobe under control and looking like he’s not done yet. At some point we’ll expect them to win these games but compared to the start of the year this is so much better.
Roy hibbert has a p.e.r. rating of 11.92, which is 53rd out of 57 centers
At last, some Lakers Pride!!!!! This post is appropriate for the Lakers game against Sacramento and Oklahoma.
Those harping on Kobe’s defense must have their have eyes wide shut when it comes to Lou Williams at that end of the floor. He is a total disgrace defensively. He makes Kobe look like a 2016 2nd team defender. Lou and Nick are what becomes of players when they are marginal streaky offensive players; they end up playing for multiple teams over their careers. Their worth on the team immensely diminishes without a strong core of defensive players.
I really don’t care how hot Williams got last night every player in the NBA has one of those nights in their arsenal if given the opportunity. What’s more concerning is, can he make a defensive stop at any moment in the game? In the game against the Kings and last night against the Thunder, Lou had a chance to get a defensive rebound to give his team a better opportunity to win the game. Instead, he stood nailed to the floor allowing Thunder players to run in unfettered for a put back.
Hibbert is only 29 years old with a mere seven years in the league, yet he plays like he’s had Bill Walton’s injuries and Wilt and Kareem’s combined longevity in the game. Should have taken a chance on JaVale McGee’s on court antics over Hibbert’s expiring contract. He appears to be a good locker room guy, but sadly he falls under the player category “what have you done for the team lately.” So his return for the 2016-2017 season is only assured under a substantially reduced contract as a break glass in an emergency case only.
Randle is very predictable offensively and doesn’t put forth any effort defensively. Randle was fine coming in off the bench until Nance started replicating Julius’ rebounding but provided more versatility offensively. His confidence plummeted not because of Scott but because of Larry. In the NBA, a player always has to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity they’re given because you never know what’s in the mind of their replacement player. The Lakers and Randle opened the door for Nance to display his skills, and he’s not backing down Nance is excelling.
The only option available to Randle to regain his starting job is as the games announcers stated, “He has to step up and do the little things to earn a starting slot.”
Kudos to D’Angelo in that game against the Kings.
Jordan, in his second year and first as a possible 82 game starter, he is remarkably steady and consistent. I am immensely enamored with players developed within the Lakers organization.
Lakers will be better with basically any center…