Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2023 9:43 pm Post subject: LAKERS -at- BLAZERS - 1-22-23 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings
The Comeback... I wouldn’t blame you if you walked away from this one after the second quarter. It was an historically bad second quarter.
The Lakers must have spent all their first half energy in the first few minutes of this one. They quickly pushed out to an 18-4 lead as Bron and Bryant were dropping threes right and left. But after a timeout, the Blazers started to restore order.
In the second quarter, L.A. was just destroyed 45-13. The two teams were even when Pat Bev started chirping at Lillard and picked up a tech. That got the Blazers going as Lillard was setting the table for shooters and the Laker turnovers (12 in the half) turned into dunks for the Blazers in transition.
The 32-point differential in the second quarter was the biggest in Laker history. They were down 25 at halftime after giving up 71 points.
Both teams had 21 wins coming into this game. So as mediocre as the Lakers have been, so have the Blazers.
Now it was the Lakers turn to try to dominate a quarter and get back into it. They cleaned up the turnovers in the second half (didn’t have a single one). Pat Bev turned his game around with some nice probes and passes. When he picked Lillard on a drive to ignite a breakaway lob dunk for L.A., he was fired up as the Blazers called timeout. Now, momentum had shifted, and the Lakers started turning more defense into offense.
Bron got downhill again and again to the rim. Schröder spent half the quarter at the freethrow line using his speed and craft to force whistles.
By the end of the third, the Lakers doubled up the Blazers with a 40-20 quarter to trail by just 5.
To start the fourth, LeBron sat and the Lakers would have to hold serve. Troy Brown Jr. came up big with a couple of layups and a corner three to help give the Lakers some offense. The team D contained the Blazers well and the Lakers trailed by just 2 by the time LeBron returned with 8 minutes left in the fourth. They took the lead on a Bryant three just a second later.
Bron, Bryant and Schröder had been coming up big offensively all game. Down the stretch, each of them put points on the board.
The Lakers seemed to have them when Schröder missed a three with 2:20 and Bryant grabbed the rebound and crammed it down Eubanks throat to go up 7. He followed that up with a putback dunk on the next trip to tie his career high.
Brown sealed the deal with a corner three off a no-looker by Dennis. They gave up 71 points in the first half, but scored 75 themselves in the second half for the 121-112 comeback win.
What a turnaround. Third biggest Laker comeback since 1996.
“We all held ourselves accountable for what transpired in the first half,” Ham said.
Can they turn the season around?
LeBron -- -- He started getting downhill in that third quarter. When the Blazers were on their heels, he kept them there. He didn’t settle. He was getting speed in the offensive zone for rim finishes or FTs. He smelled blood and went after it. In the first half, he had that three ball going and was hitting fades. He had 17 points on 7-13 shooting in the first half. In the second half, it was freight train mode. Get downhill and get to the rim. The buckets piled up and the Lakers rode that train to the comeback. Some good help around him this game to make this a real team victory. He’s been carrying a lot of the load, but his teammates have really responded in the last couple big wins. The Stats: He scored 37 points on 14-24 shooting (2-7 from three, 7-10 from the line) to go with 11 boards, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers and 2 fouls in 36 minutes. He was a +17.
Bryant -- -- In the second shot of the game for the team, he took a pass on the perimeter and quickly fired up a three and buried it. To me, it felt like he changed the speed on his shot motion. It was fast and he drilled the three. It’s almost like someone told him to quit thinking about it and let it fly. That he did. He had 14 points on 5-6 shooting in the first half and improved on that with 17 points in the second half. The three ball was dropping as he sank four of them. In fact, when the Lakers took the lead with 8 minutes to go in that fourth quarter it was on a Bryant three. The backbreakers, though, were on back-to-back dunks off offensive boards with just a couple minutes left to go. He was fired up, the team was fired up and those were the knockout punches. He was even a bit better defensively this one. There were multiple times where he challenged drives and was able to force a miss. We just need a little of that, and it was better tonight. By the way, the difference between how Thomas Bryant interviews after a game versus how abrasive guys like Bev and Russ interview is about as big a gap as the first half and second half of this game tonight. I appreciate that. How you communicate and connect with other humans is entirely your choice. Bev and Russ are hard to watch and it doesn’t reflect well on them. The Stats: He scored 31 points on 12-15 shooting (4-5 from three, 3-3 from the line) to go with 14 boards (5 offensive), 1 assist, 1 block and 4 fouls in 33 minutes. He was a +22.
Schröder -- -- He and LeBron were keys offensively in that third quarter. His ability to get to the line in that third was huge (I think he had 8 FTAs).. He used his speed and also some savvy with a swing through while in the bonus to manufacture points. Throw in a drive or two for scores and multiple passes to setup teammates and he was the motor in the halfcourt for the team for a good stretch of that third. In the fourth, he had two big threes -- one with 5:47 left and another 2 minutes later. Big makes. Excellent passing. The first play of the game, he hit Bron cutting for a dunk with a great bounce pass. He had some nice look off passes in this game -- one to Bron on the break for a dunk, another no-looker to Troy for a corner three late. The Stats: He scored 24 points on 6-13 shooting (2-5 from three, 10-10 from the line) to go with 6 boards, 8 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 36 minutes. He was a +6.
Beverley -- -- The game was 39-38 when Bev started chirping with Lillard and picked up a tech at the FT line. He just walked into the lane while Lillard was getting ready to take a FT and had the ball in his hands. There was just 7:37 left in the half. The Lakers just got stomped after that. Lillard then picked up a foul on him on a long jumper. He’d then start setting the table for shooters and the Lakers were getting steamrolled. In the second half, Bev turned the tables. He got an offensive board crashing the glass after a missed freethrow. He probed the lane, got a switch and lobbed to Bron over the top of Lillard. He picked Lillard on a drive and it led to another Bron lob dunk in transition. He was fired up and the Blazers had to take a timeout. He’d later score a layup on a leakout after we got a stop. He’d have the ball fall in his hands in the backcourt for another layup after the Blazers botched an outlet. He’d crash the glass again and put pressure enough that Hart fumbled a defensive board out of bounds. We’d hit a three on the regained possession. I don’t like getting Lillard fired up. I don’t like talking trash to him. You’ll pay the price. But we do need Pat to be fired up. I mentioned it a couple games back. Great to see. He told the team to turn their swag up at the halftime. “We came out and responded,” he said. He led the team with a +27. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 2-3 shooting (0-1 from three) to go with 2 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 3 fouls in 29 minutes. He was a +27.
Brown -- -- One of his better games of the season. The scoring was timely. All 10 of his points came in the fourth. Great stretch to open the fourth quarter while Bron sat. He scored 7 of his points there with a layup off a Russ pass, a coast-to-coast drive for a layup on a pushout and then sinking a three. Later in the quarter, he would knock down another three off a kickout by Dennis. Some good D as well. He dove to the floor to recover a loose ball on D and get a stop early in the game. What was nice to see was that the guys who started the game, ended up being the best players on the night and they finished the game. The Stats: He scored 10 points on 4-9 shooting (2-5 from three) to go with 2 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover and 3 fouls in 32 minutes. He was a +11.
Westbrook -- -- I like how Ham limited Russ’s game in this one down the stretch. Bev and Schröder were getting it done. Russ wasn’t having a great game. Once he was done with his fourth quarter shift, we didn’t look back. In the first half, he airballed a wide open three on one end, then Lillard hit a deep logo length three on the other on a two-for one. Then Russ missed another drive and the Blazers sank another three. Just a bloodbath. The Blazers were not guarding him on the perimeter and causing problems for others. He was a -28 in the first half. He hit a little fade in the lane in the fourth quarter and the team was able to reel in the Blazers with a +3 while LeBron got his rest. A lot of that was some of the others, but Russ contributed during that stretch. I liked in the second half, how we gave Gary Payton II the same treatment that Russ gets sometimes. We left him open and stopped others for some stretches. We got some stops off that. The Stats: He scored 6 points on 3-13 shooting (0-4 from three) to go with 8 boards, 5 assists, 3 turnovers and 2 fouls in 26 minutes. He was a -13.
Gabriel -- -- Too many turnovers in the first half. He had two offensive fouls in the first quarter and a travel in the second. He hit a short jumper off the two-man with Russ and also had a nice drive in transition for a reverse around a bigman. In the second half, he’d miss both his FTs. Bryant played so well, we limited Gabriel quite a bit. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 2-2 shooting (0-2 from the line) to go with 3 turnovers and 3 fouls in 12 minutes. He was a -2.
Nunn -- -- Surprising stat of the night might be his 6 rebounds. Good to see our guards hitting the glass well tonight. He scored a layup cutting off a Russ post-up (I think that was after a timeout). He also had a nice crossover and shielded a defender for a layup for another score. I think the Lakers had at least two airballs on open threes tonight, Nunn had one of him. His was at least after a nice crossover. The Stats: He scored 5 points on 2-5 shooting (0-2 from three, 1-2 from the line) to go with 6 boards, 1 assist and no fouls in 16 minutes. He was a -11.
Toscano-Anderson -- -- Quiet night with just a few minutes. I didn’t have any notes on him. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-1 shooting and had no other stats. He was a -3.
Christie -- -- He got to match up defensively with Dame a bit in the first half. Some possessions against Simons in the second half. Great block in transition on Hart at the rim, going up with both hands and denying him with that great length. Love seeing the quick read, but also using his advantages really well to shut that down. Kid has some nice potential and could even move up in the rotation a little more (note he had as many minutes as Nunn and JTA is now deeper on the rotation it seems. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-1 shooting from three to go with 2 boards, 1 block and 1 foul in 16 minutes. He was a -9.
Ham -- -- Key Moment: Must have been at halftime. He asked the team if they were tired of watching the same movie over and over again. Whatever was said, it was a hell of a second half. The team chipped away in the third until they finally had momentum. They held the Blazers to just 41 points in the second half. That’s 4 less than they scored in the second quarter. Heck of a turnaround.
Key Substitution: I like that he went with big minutes with his starters. They were balling. So sitting Russ and not looking back in that fourth, great job riding the guys who had it going. Everyone on the bench was a negative in the +/-. All starters were in the positive.
Key Stats: No turnovers in the second half. The Lakers outscored the Blazers 75-41 in the second half. That’s some crazy turnaround and domination. Another couple key stats: 31 from Bryant on 12-15 and 24 from Schröder on 13 shots. These were the two key minimum signings this offseason.
Great comeback victory. It was a MUST win & the guys pulled it off despite the odds.
I knew that if the Blazers let us hang around that we'd mount a comeback.
LBJ, TBryant, Schro, PatBev, Troy, WB, etc. all played well in the second half. Coach Ham is improving also.
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