As a Laker fan, you cannot help but be proud of these guys. Sure, they lost to the Utah Jazz, 96-89, but they clawed, scrapped, scratched, bit, punched, kicked, and screamed (okay, not really screamed) the entire game. Even if they did a lot of things fundamentally wrong. They kept within distance the whole time in a game that’s decidedly not tailor-made for them.
The Lakers shot a not-so-good 38.1 percent but they battled back and held the Jazz to 41.3 percent shooting. It was the little things that gave the Jazz the duke here. The pick-and-roll defense was atrocious and it was even more glaring in the fourth as George Hill (23 points) got to the rim at will. Again, the Lakers’ shooting wasn’t great but Lou Williams (17 points) hit some big three-pointers in the second half. Utah went up by as many as 11 in the fourth but L.A. got the necessary stops to deficit down to four. Unfortunately, D’Angelo Russell continued to struggle on the field (3 for 14, 9 points). He missed a three that would’ve cut the lead down to one. The Jazz would eventually win after the Lakers had to play the foul game.
The young guys didn’t play so well but they did play through it as it is all about development. The Lakers leaned on veteran help from Lou and Luol Deng (12 points and 12 rebounds). It’s also encouraging to see continued effort from Lou and Nick Young (13 points) on the defensive end. The Jazz tried to bully the Lakers the entire time but the energy by the Lakers never wavered; they flew all over the place and, somehow, didn’t get lost too much defensively. The young Lakers withstood everything the Jazz threw at them, even an 11-0 run that should’ve been debilitating. It’s just nice to see them fight through the bitter end. NEVER GIVE UP. *cue John Cena’s music*
It’s only the second game so there are going to be a lot of kinks, especially for a young team. You wish they can be more aggressive on the pick-and-roll defense. You wish they wouldn’t rush too much on their shots. You wish they would balance flying around and standing their ground defensively. You wish they would get more aggressive towards the rim if the outside shot is not falling. You wish they’d foul a little less (29 fouls by the Lakers compared to 18 by the Jazz).
But again, lots to be encouraged about. The fighting spirit is there. The defensive effort is there. The scrappiness is there. And they showed they can play an ugly game like this. If a few plays went their way, Lakers would be 2-0.
By the way, hope Brandon Ingram feels better. He received a scare in the first half after he had a “twinge” on his knee. He came back briefly but was eventually taken out for the rest of the game. It shouldn’t be all bad, though, according to Mike Trudell.
Brandon Ingram will not need an MRI or an X-Ray. He’ll check in with the training staff before practice tomorrow.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 29, 2016
Let’s all take deep breaths and pray to all the gods that he’s okay.
For now, the Lakers move on. They have the Thunder and a raging Russell Westbrook on Sunday (who just came off a 50-point triple double). We’ll see how they do then. In the meantime, be proud of this young team that they fought all the way through.
Sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.
_ Robert _ says
This game concerns me.First – this was very winnable keeping in mind Utah was missing
importantly, our best performers and leading scorers were Lou and Nick.Those two got 30 points and the four youngsters – Russell,
Clarkson, Ingram, and Randal got 22 combined.Eeeeeek.That is not what we
need.The youngsters went a combined
9/32 from the field and Russell and Clarkson also chipped in with 7 TO’s.I realize that everyone is
trying to be positive, but the year is supposed to be about development.So let’s forget about the “L”, but what is
good about a game where the youngsters do not play well at all and we are kept
in the game by Nick and Lou?It is not a
scenario we want to repeat too much.
There is no quit in this team. Good overall effort, we’ll be okay & will bounce back, one game at a time.
I’m relieved that BI was not seriously injured.
Nothing to be concerned about at all. Young teams are about as consistent as a politician’s platform. The good thing is that the effort is there. The fight is there. They aren’t laughing off losses or hanging their heads like they’ve had the spirit beaten out of them. I think we’re seeing the first inklings of that culture they’re trying to develop. This is game where Luke can show them how to lose and still grow instead of Scott just berating them or calling on them to man up. I like that we have an intelligent coach that can find teachable moments in defeat. It’s actually very refreshing.
_ Robert _ It wasn’t all bad for the young core. Randle had two blocks, did pretty well when switched onto smaller players, and both he and Nance hit threes tonight that were open in-rhythm shots. I also thought D’lo did an okay job finding ways to impact the game when his shot wasn’t falling by cutting hard and looking for his teammates and he continues to look better on defense (he picked up a couple of steals tonight). I really liked how Russel never stopped taking good, open shots either which is exactly what he is supposed to do. Clarkson struggled against the Jazz’s paint defense and Ingram barely played due to injury and I expect them both to bounce-back. I think what I’m happiest with though is that they kept fighting while the shots didn’t fall and the refs gave them no respect. It is that drive that is going to help them learn from these games rather than get buried by them.
Sam S. says
Robert: Even if all you say is true (I didn’t see the game), I think the key question when you have youngsters like we do is what happens NEXT game, right? Do they bounce back? Do they learn from what stymied them this game? As you say, don’t want to repeat it too much – and that, I think, is the crux of the challenge for young players: learning to repeat the right skills and not falling into a repetition of the same failures.
Is there anyway you can find out whether overturning JC’s 3 point basket was within the scope of the referee’s rule. I was under the impression that they can only determine whether it was a two or three. They can not call a foul after the fact, call traveling, or in this case determine whether he was out of bounds prior to the shot.
As I stated during the game, the refs were horrible. They missed Gobert damn near knock Dlo down in the backcourt, an and-1 continuation that Stu said was traveling (look at it, it wasn’t) and several fouls that were called on the Lakers that weren’t there.
Success is not guaranteed. It is a byproduct of effort and execution. The effort was there but not the execution. There will be many nights like this. They are young, undersized, and in a new system. They will get better. I have no problem with Lou, NickY, and Deng leading some nights. That’s what veterans are supposed to do. The kids are alright. Let’s not expect them to be world beaters just yet.
Tough loss against a depleted and banged up Jazz team. Those are the type of games a young core has to learn to win. The Jazz are a young team also but are further along in the process and gutted it out. Lets give them credit we had a chance to get the W but didn’t….no excuses!
_ Robert _ I would be more concerned if the young guys played as bad as they did, while Nick and Lou did nothing to keep them in the game and we witnessed a blowout. Utah plays great half court defense and you can tell it just frustrated the hell out of the team, but they kept on fighting for each other and kept it close. Every time I looked at the score I was amazed they were still within striking distance.
Would I have liked to see Russell & Clarkson hitting their shots and cut down the turnovers? Of course, but there are plenty of established veterans and all-stars that have these same type of nights from time to time. Just as we shouldn’t overreact to the Houston win, we should be careful to criticize the team for a loss against a well coached team of veterans projected to be in the playoffs.
_ Robert _ says
on a curve.As you state – it was a very
With regard to those playing “The Kids are All Right”:
That is a good song, and I am not exactly saying we are in a
However in between having “The Kids are All Right” on auto
repeat, perhaps periodically we should keep ourselves grounded in reality by
“We Won’t Get Fooled Again”.
This next 4 game stretch is important in setting the tone for the season. @OKC, Atlanta, Indy then the Warriors at Staples. Hopefully, we can go .500 that would be a good start for the Lakers. However, it is unlikely but it is doable. They can beat some on those teams if they execute and learn to get to the line.Young players tend to shy away from contact trying to make spectacular moves which usually results in bad shot attempts. They have to learn to draw the foul and absorb the contact to get off quality shot attempts against solid NBA level defense.
_ Robert _ LordMo With all due respect, I think we are grading on a curve with the young core, at least for the immediate future. The truth is that they will have lots of nights like last night over the course of an 82 game schedule because they are young and inexperienced and running basically a whole new offense and defense. As long as they keep improving I think that is acceptable for this year.
They made lots of mistakes last night while also showing tremendous improvement over where they were just six months ago. How is that for keeping grounded in reality?
Clay Bertrand says
Another observation from last night and the first game as well for that matter, is that Calderon’s shooting ability would be a welcome addition to the Laker second unit. Huertas is ok but he’s extremely limited on offense in general and particularly, he has no reliable jumper. It makes the spacing useless and allows the Defense to play off Huertas and help on Clarkson and Lou Williams.
There were several occasions in the first 2 games where Huertas gets the ball at the top of the three point arc and is immediately looking to pass—sometimes even desperately so. No triple threat…..not even a contemplation of taking a shot. Now if that is Calderon, he nails that 3 and keeps the Defense honest.
Neither guy is gonna defend much and although Huertas is younger and more lively, Calderon is clearly the much better shooter from distance. When he’s healthy, I wonder if he will take any of Huertas’ minutes. Calderon can organize and run an offense pretty well especially in limited minutes as a back up PG too so other than some potential (and probably nominal) reduction in the game speed/pace, there should be no drawbacks to playing him ahead of Huertas IMO.
Another bomber on that second unit and/or available when Russell is having an off night at the 1 would be beneficial for sure.
Clay Bertrand says
Just watched it again and I still don’t see that travel myself either……..They showed the replay and Stu still maintained it was a walk. It may have looked a LITTLE bit awkward, but he took two steps preceding the shot without dribbling after the whistle. This isn’t travelling in the NBA. It should have been a continuation play And-1.
Clay Bertrand says
MT87 _ Robert _ LordMo
Agreed. The whole stated measuring stick from the FO to the coaching staff has been VISIBLE IMPROVEMENT/PROGRESS. This means there will be an expected toleration to a degree of some of the mistakes and that the evaluation of success will be measured more from the Macro than Micro perspective.
If we are going in expecting to allow for a certain accepted level of failure, we have a built in sort of “excuse”. I don’t think Luke will ever let the youth of the team become an excuse per se. Likewise, we don’t want to have excuses for them as fans.
We just need to look at it as having UNDERSTANDING of the situation. Not making excuses…..not justifying…..just making our judgments in the context of the current state of the team and with the understanding that the extra heavy patience we have now is in the short term.
Well, they beat Houston, which was I a game I thought they would probably lose. So maybe they overachieved then and underachieved at Utah.
I think at this stage, with this team, the focus is on learning and consistent execution and effort rather than wins. Wins will be the by-product. Not to say that winning isn’t important, but would rather sacrifice some W’s if it means a shorter learning curve. We beat Utah in Kobe’s last game, but other than putting a nice bow on Kobe’s career didn’t help the young guys much.
To that end, it’s been nice to see in both games that they continue to try to run the offense even when behind in the score. At some point, the expectation will be victories and I’m looking forward to it because it will mean that we have a pretty good team.
I really feel the need to make a couple points. The Lakers only won 17 games last season. The are not a vastly improved team that added LaBrawn and Hassan Whiteside. They picked up Deng and Mosgov. They played a well coached, fringe play-off team who was bigger and more experienced at almost every position. Forget Hayward not being there, Joe Johnson and Hill were quite capable of replacing his scoring and their bigs killed us inside. Winning the first game made people forget that we were 2-6 in preseason. Stop with the high expectations and enjoy the ride. Let them learn and make mistakes. As long as they grow from their mistakes, improve as a team and win a third of their games I think we should consider the year a success.
Busboys4me I agree.I’ll be happy if they play these next road games close, very happy if they win one and shocked if they do better than that. Its hard to win on the road if you are a thirty game win team. Most of those 30 are going to come at home against teams with losing records.
Hey guys, this is the weirdest thing but perhaps it’s nothing. I didn’t get to see the game as I’m in Korea but I was watching the extended highlights on Youtube and it seems that in the 4th quarter, at one point, the official scorer didn’t credit Sweet Lou with a 3. With the Lakers down 72-70 with 9:12 left in the 4th, he hit a 3. Then with 8:33 left, D’Angelo hit a 3. However, at that point, on the screen, the Lakers score ticked up to 73. Given that Sweet Lou hit one, they should have had 76. Then, at 8:04, Deng hit a three and the Lakers were credited with 76. Can anyone tell me if the scorekeeper noticed this error and fixed it? I can’t tell from the highlight clips I watched on Youtube. Obviously momentum is important and if the Lakers had been credited with 3 more points, it might have encouraged them to go even harder.
It is way too early to be talking about “winnable” games and worrying about lost opportunities. The core are a group of young players learning how to play team defense and offense. They are very gifted in their skill sets but never really had to practice basic fundamentals. You can see that when they fail to square up on defense and instead reach across their bodies to make plays. It is there when a defensive set breaks down and they do not reflexively know what their job is when they lose their man or try to give unnecessary help. This is year one of the rebuild where the Lakers have acknowledged that they actually need to develop the young players. The past few years have been spent just accumulating them. It is already clear that the Lakers have a formidable young core and have higher ceilings than the ESPN analysts have given them credit for. Luke and his staff are off to a great start and will figure out what they need to do.
Never too early to talk about winnable games. They get no excuses bet they would not ask for any either Fred. I want the lottery pick anyway but that funny thing called “Laker Pride” always seems to get in the way around game time and I root for victory.
tnrc75 I didn’t see it in real time but the refs were all sorts of questionable. Earlier in the game they rescinded a Clarkson three-pointer out of an out of bounds play about four minutes after it happened which nobody even knew was possible.
The Clarkson 3-pointer is what he’s in reference to. It was outside their purview to make that call. It changed the hole momentum of the game. It was akin to the tuck rule call against the Raiders that propelled Brady’s Pats to theit first Super Bowl. Without the significance of course.