You’ll have to pardon the condensed preview today…
The summer league playoffs started on Wednesday and the Lakers, as the 3-seed, got a 1st round bye. Their opponent Thursday night will be the Cavs who beat the Celtics for the right to move on. So, randomly enough, the Lakers will face the summer squads of the NBA Finals teams in back to back games.
In any event, we’re now at the point where I’m not just interested in how individual players perform or the general performance of the team within the context of the schemes, but whether or not the Lakers actually win. I’m all for team building and the confidence of the young guys growing and, at this point, a nice little run in these playoffs would help in this area — even if only slightly.
With that, a win would be nice. Per the previous games, there is a formula for how the Lakers win in this environment. It’s really a 3 step process:
1. D’Angelo Russell goes off at some point. The earlier the better, but if at any point during the game Russell scores 8-10 straight points or 13 out of 17, the Lakers have a good shot of taking control.
2. Defense and Rebounding. With Nance, Zubac, Brown, Ingram, and Russell the Lakers have a ton of length in their starting group. Then they bring in guys like Auguste, Varnado, and Fall and they actually get even bigger and longer. These guys can disrupt passing lanes, contest shots, and clean up misses.
3. Get in the open court. A few highlight reel plays not only gets the players going, but the fans. Vegas has been filled with partisan Lakers’ fans who love nothing more than to see their team win. This type of energy really helps the Lakers get going.
If any of two of these three things consistently go the Lakers way, they are likely to win. If it’s all 3, they likely do so by double figures. Can they do it again tonight? Here’s hoping. Now, a few more things I will be looking for…
- Can Brandon Ingram get it going some? Ingram has said he is letting the game come to him. The coaches have praised him for this. I too am on board with him not forcing the issue. That said, I would like to see the flow of the game tilt more towards him to see if he can get some easy looks and knock some shots down.
- More Zubac, please. I love how this kid plays. His enthusiasm, his work defensively, the way he’s being assertive offensively. More of the same from him tonight would be great.
- Bounce back from Nance. In Monday’s game against the Warriors, Nance only played 17 minutes and didn’t really make an impact. I’d like to see him return to the form he showed in the first two wins. The hustle is always there, but more activity with the ball, more impactful plays. He’s more than capable.
- Russell keeping his confidence high. He’s been the best player on the floor every game. Continuing that trend is what I’m looking for.
- Zach Auguste minutes. Auguste got squeezed in favor of Varnado and Fall in the last game. Hopefully he finds his way back into the rotation in this one. His activity on the glass and in attacking the rim in the P&R offers a nice spark.
- Two or more 3’s from Anthony Brown. We’ve written how his offense is a work in progress, but he’s a capable shooter who just hasn’t hit shots yet. I’d love to see that change tonight.
All in all, a good game is what I’m hoping for. A win would be the added bonus. Getting both would make my night.
Sitting courtside across from the bench in white lakers cap. My first time courtside. I am excited to watch. Go Lakers
Alot of teams are sitting players, ben simmons sat out for example, are all our guys playing?
matt24 looks like they are all playing
Nance has been watching film of Draymond Green I think
Ingram is aiming the 3’s while he adjusts. A little more arc, a little less thought, and those are all day.
I am so high on Zubac right now
Russell’s not making the pass, let alone the extra-pass right now.
Main observation is that Anthony Brown has a broken jump shot, they were not even close and it has been like that for a while. Hope Nance is ok for regular season.
According to las vegas Cleveland Browns have a better chance to win the superbowl then the lakers have at winning the nba finals
These are the type of games that we can expect from a young team. This has still been a very productive SL for the Lakers. I like what I’ve seen from Russell, Ingram, Zubac, and Nance. Hopefully this wrist injury doesn’t set LNJ back too far.
BuckFoston russells playing isolated basketball, same as under scott, what the heck is going on
How good is Zublocka…? Mosgov/Deng sounds like Jimmy trying to keep his job…”see look, we won 21 games…” but, I’m really exited about watching Russell/Clarkson/Ingram/Randle/Zubac/Nance grow, and become contenders in 4 years… Hey Jim, at least wear a Laker hat; nobody thinks you’re funny.
If mosgov lives up to his contract everyone will be shocked