LAKERS -at- THUNDER - 3-1-23 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

 
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2023 10:38 pm    Post subject: LAKERS -at- THUNDER - 3-1-23 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

Finding A Way... No LeBron, no AD, no DLo. This was definitely not the position the Lakers wanted to be heading into this game. So they rolled out their 33rd new lineup? That’s crazy.

They pulled out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter. Then, they went into a zone defensively with a few minutes left giving up a series of threes and the lead ended up at just 31-30 after the first quarter. Not a good close to the quarter.

Another poor close to the second quarter as the Lakers gave up an 13-1 run over the course of 4 minutes that had them down 8 at one point.

Runs by both teams in the third, but the Lakers trailed by 6 with 5 minutes left to go and called a timeout unable to keep any sustainable pressure. The team had closed the previous quarters horribly. Now, they needed to flip that on its head. They started getting stops and rattled off a 12-2 run behind Reaves and Schröder driving the offense.

They’d extend the lead to 8 off a Schröder pull-up to start the fourth quarter. OKC wouldn’t go away all night. They kept the pressure on, but there were big stretches in the fourth from Dennis, Rui and Reaves.

Somehow they pulled out the 123-117 win without their stars.

Some good words from Ham on the new guys seeing themselves as a solution for the team.

“They see what we’re fighting for and what we’re trying to do,” Ham said. “They want to make sure they are ‘not that guy’ as people like to say that ruins it all.”

Good team win. We need bodies back, though, to keep the W’s going.


Schröder -- -- Back at his old arena, he had a team-high +16 with his team-high 26 points and 6 assists. Basically, he’s taking over the DLo role for the Lakers. In his favor, we had Bamba starting, which gives the team a 5-out look and space for Dennis. (For his part, Dennis also spaced the floor, sinking 3-6 from three, but it was slow going early). He stepped on a foot early in the first quarter and twisted his ankle. We could not afford to lose him and he gutted it out. It was a little sketchy, though, after that injury. He returned after getting it taped up and had back-to-back turnovers trying to create. The wheels looked a little stiff. The shots were coming up short, as well. He went 0-6 to start this one (then hit 8-12). His first bucket was a three in the final minute of the half. Once the ankle loosened up, though, he was trouble for the Thunder. He smoked them in the second half. His first bucket, he had that spring in his step and speed to the rim for a layup. That looked normal. He’d then bury a three on a crossover. He’d hit another three with a couple minutes left in the third. Then did the CP3 swing through while in the bonus to manufacture a couple of FTs. He’d hit a midrnage pull up early in the fourth, then attack, bump a man and score a layup. He’d sink a tough turnaround. He had a big drive with 36 seconds left up 5 to draw FTs. Good job at a key juncture to manufacture points with the clock low. That also fouled out Dort. The Stats: He scored 26 points on 8-18 shooting (3-6 from three, 7-8 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers and 6 fouls in 37 minutes. He was a +16.

Bamba -- -- They didn’t want to put pressure on AD’s foot with the back-to-back situation. Ham mentioned him “setting the tone with his presence in the paint, knocking down some threes stretching the floor for us.” He drilled on a pick and pop with Beasley. Really nice short roll himself where he found Brown in the corner for a three on the kickout. Later in the second quarter, he’d hit another wing three when they left him. He drew a couple FTs off an offensive board in a crowd. The offense gets super easy when he’s drilling threes. He’d sink another three in the third and also dunk off a rim run when Vando found him. The three most efficient guys on the floor tonight were Brown, Bamba and Reaves. They combined for 50 points on 16-20 shooting. Defensively, his presence was felt early in the first. He challenged a man into an airball three. He spiked a drive like a volleyball later in the first. He’d take a foul trying to deny a score after a breakdown in miscommunication by a couple teammates. Guys were feeling him and that’s what you want. We went small to close this one with Rui/Wenyen down the stretch. The Stats: He scored 12 points on 4-5 shooting (3-4 from three, 1-2 from the line) to go with 7 boards (3 offensive), 7 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 turnovers and 4 fouls in 22 minutes. He was a +1.

Beasley -- -- The three-ball wasn’t dropping at a great rate overall, but he made three threes in the first half. Because he’s a quick-trigger gunslinger, teams have to respect him and that results in gravity for others. He got the first bucket on an iso possession to start the game, getting all the way to the rim for a score. He’d hit a three later in the first on a flare screen from Vando. He iso’d, jab-stepped and swished another three against the clock later in the first. In the second quarter, he swished a pull-up three in transition that forced a timeout. Then, he’d go cold from three the rest of the game. The Stats: He scored 11 points on 4-15 shooting (3-12 from three) to go with 6 boards, 2 assists and no fouls in 27 minutes. He was a +7.

Vanderbilt -- -- Scrappy effort, as usual. Steal on our first defensive stand, but he couldn’t finish a layup on the other end. He has some issues finishing at times. (He nearly had a monster jam early, but couldn’t finish through the contact). Beautiful read in transition to hit Bamba on the break with about a 25-foot bounce pass for a dunk as the team started to get rolling in that third quarter. That helped force a timeout. Late in the game, he sank a couple of FTs off an intentional foul. Serviceable minutes. Not superstar role player minutes tonight, but solid. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 2-5 shooting (0-1 from three, 3-4 from the line) to go with 4 boards, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 23 minutes. He was a -3.

Brown -- -- Brown channeled his inner Bron to fill that hole at the SF tonight. Early on he hit Vando rolling with a sweet pass for a dunk, very Bron-like off the dribble. Next possession he swished a catch-and-shoot three. He knocked down another a couple possession later. Then, he finished a layup off a drive and dish from Dennis. He drained another catch-and-shoot three in the second quarter. Strong 4-4 start. In the third, he and a great cross over and drive to hang and score an And-1. Okay, Troy. He’d swish a key corner three out of a timeout late in the third. He hit a big baseline turnaround late in the fourth that was the kind of shot Bron would give us, too (3 minutes left after the Thunder were making things close). He couldn’t have picked a better time for it. An efficient 19-point, 4-assist game from him. He buried four threes. The Stats: He scored 19 points on 7-10 shooting (4-7 from three, 1-1 from the line) to go with 1 board, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls in 34 minutes. He was a +5.

Reaves -- -- Didn’t he just do this a few days ago? A perfect 5-5 and made his way to the line a ton on his way to 19 points. Somehow we were going to have to make up for AD’s lost production. That meant Reaves would need one of his games, for sure. His craftiness got him to the line where he missed one FT in 9 attempts, so maybe not quite the perfect game like we saw a few ago…but close enough. The action: He worked off the high screen, absorbed contact in the middle of the lane and hit the short one. He’d swish a three a minute later working the two man game. Then, he’d steal a pass and throw it off a Thunder player on the other end. He’d hit an And-1 getting a man in jail, then jumping back into him on the shot to get the call and bucket. He hit a pull-up at the FT line working off the screen. He drew a charge in the post (gets one of those every game). Pivoting in the paint to draw more FTs. Then a series of scores down the stretch. See the Key Substitution notes below for more on that. Just an excellent job helping the team throughout the game, but closing strong, as well. Worthy mentioned his leadership after the game. It’s true. He steadied the boat tonight without their stars. The Stats: He scored 19 points on 5-5 shooting (1-1 from three, 8-9 from the line) to go with 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 25 minutes. He was a -3.

Hachimura -- -- He had a great play in the fourth, rejecting a shot at the rim on one end helping a teammate, then busting down court to take the pass and dunking on the other. This play followed a couple of other excellent plays. He had drilled a three off a Schröder kickout. Then had a good challenge at the rim to deny a drive. Then hustled for a couple of offensive boards to reset the offense. Then we got this sequence. Really good motor going during that stretch in the fourth. If I could capture any stretch he’s played as a Laker and point to it for him to learn from, I might look at that few minute stretch there. That was motor/effort and the result followed. The Stats: He scored 9 points on 3-6 shooting (1-2 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 9 boards (3 offensive), 2 assists, 3 blocks and 1 foul in 27 minutes. He was a +2.

Walker IV -- -- Brought the lunchbox and went to work on the offensive end in this one. Great job getting to the line . First touch, he attacked right and drew FTs. He got downhill off a DHO from Rui and drew more FTs. Another attack to his right to start the second quarter and he scored an And-1 layup. A couple of turnovers off drives during this stretch (but one looked like another Thunder foul). But the intention and purpose was there in his first shift -- get to the rim. In the second half, again going to his right and he drew more FTs. He switched it up, went left, got hacked and then flattened by a second defender for more FTs. He’d attack right again and get to the paint for more fourth quarter FTs. Just doing work. Got to love that intention tonight. The Stats: He scored 13 points on 2-7 shooting (1-2 from three, 8-11 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 turnovers and 1 foul in 18 minutes. He was a +7.

Gabriel -- -- Down a bigman, meant Wenyen was in the mix. Good hustle throughout the night, nothing spectacular. He scored a layup off a two-man sequence with Reaves. He scored another bucket in the fourth, missing his first attempt, then powering up his second attempt with a yell. Good effort. Defensively, we ran a bit of zone with our smaller mobile Rui/Wenyen lineup. That didn’t work great. The Stats: He scored 5 points on 2-7 shooting (1-2 from the line) to go with 10 boards (4 offensive) and 2 fouls in 22 minutes. He was a +7.

Christie -- -- Early first quarter minutes in this one. He swiped a bad pass on one end, then swished a pull-up midrange on the other just a few seconds after entering. He’d miss another tough iso turnaround on his next touch. The Lakers went to some failed zone during this stretch while he was out there, so that killed his +/-. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-2 shooting to go with 1 steal and 1 foul in 6 minutes. He was a -9.

Ham -- -- Key Moment: It felt like the game changed in the Lakers favor during a couple of stretches. The first was when Ham called a timeout with 5 minutes to go in the third. We had just given up another run and couldn’t afford to have another poor close to the quarter. The team responded with a 12-2 run. It was Gabriel, Rui, Lonnie, Reaves and Dennis. The second stretch was a burst of activity by Rui in the fourth where the Lakers extended to a double-digit lead. But that first stretch and timeout in the third was where the game changed.

Key Substitution: Great fourth by Rui, but you got to go with Reaves on another 5-5, 19-point performance. Not only was he hitting shots, setting up teammates, but you could give him some screen assists, as well. He had a big reverse layup with 2:30 left to push the lead to 8, blowing by one defender and reversing around the help. Big make at a key juncture. He’d get a couple more FTs with 2 minutes left. Again, he’s a second-year player and you just trust the ball to be in his hands in any situation. He’d draw more FTs on the defensive glass with a minute left. He drew another two FTs with 25 seconds left. No Bron or AD and Reaves was getting it done.

Key Stats: The Lakers hit 16-35 from three (45.7%), the Thunder 11-40 (27.5%). Great job getting to the line, where the Lakers made 31-39 (Thunder were 18-34). The turnovers were down, just 13 instead of the 26 from the previous night.
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Startrout
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2023 10:48 pm    Post subject:

We are so lucky to have Schroeder. Not many backup point guards can step in and run the offense without us missing a beat. His aggressive defense really helps put pressure on the other teams. And his durability and how he’s able handle so many minutes while playing hard on both ends is keeping us in games. He way out plays his contract and I really hope we can find a way to keep him next year. He’s not a star, but just a very solid basketball player.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2023 11:14 pm    Post subject:

I thought Reeves was awesome as always. He can really make plays when we need them. However, it is clear he doesn’t have the ball handling and speed to bring ball up the court against high pressure defenses the way Dennis can. So we do need to run Reeves with another skilled guard when the other team is being aggressive defensively.

Vando is always solid defensively with high energy which is so valuable. The only knock I’m starting to see in his game is that he is not great at finishing around the rim against pressure. I feel we’ve seen this several times the last few games.

Rui was looking a lot better, more aggressive. He needs to keep that up and be even more aggressive.

Beasley is showing he’s more than just a shooter. Solid ball-handler, nice floater, good passer, and even some nice defensive plays at times.

Troy’s shooting is really proving to be important for us. I really hope he can keep it up.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 12:01 am    Post subject:

Ham's "Passion Commitment and Urgency" was on full display throughout this entire roster, where only Pippen and Reed didn't play

This team seemingly embodies to "Fly Fight Win" while being "Always Ready" and "Always Above" any and all injuries.

This team is providing all the indication of being committed to Ham's leadership and the collective coordinated overall skills that will take them to the playoffs and beyond - realistically, as oppose to before Rob completely remade the team

Glad and excited to support that is committed to one goal - winning
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 12:38 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB! Excellent write-up as always!

Wow. What a team win. Much respect for the rank and file of this roster. Schroeder, Reaves and Brown stand out, well Hachimura too late, but everyone on the roster who took to the floor stepped up from what I could see.

Love hearing the post game comments from several players about communication. This was a gutsy win.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 4:16 am    Post subject:

My assessment of Bamba was different from yours. His shot was dropping in this game, and that's great. Defensively, I think he may be one of those guys whose box score stats make them look better than they really are. He'll get some rebounds and blocks just because of his size. But he's not proficient at all of the other things that are necessary on defense. Overall, he's probably going to be a neutral to positive defender, but not as impactful as he appears from the box score.

Tonight, with his shot dropping, he was an asset. Still, he took only five shots in 22 minutes. It's starting to make sense that Orlando gave up on him. He's not a bad player, but as the Brits put it, he flatters to deceive.

In the big picture sense, this game was tough to watch. That was some low quality basketball. If it wasn't a crucial game for us, I'm not sure that I could have stuck with it. Given that we were missing our three best players, we really caught a break. The Thunder were punchless, and their shots weren't dropping.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 4:35 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB. Nice win and a game we HAD to have. Its always good to see guys stepping up without our big 2. We can get away with this for a game or 2 and nothing more.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 4:41 am    Post subject:

What I noticed is that playing small actually worked in this one. We made a strong run with that Vandeblilt, Rui, Brown/Walker, Reaves, Dennis lineup. Then Gabriel came in. So we played a very small center less lineup, and it got points on the board big time and even got quite a few stops (or OKC just went cold).

Lots of energy and athleticism in these younger players. The trade saved our season. Literally can not see us winning more than 35 pre-trade. Now we're a lock to get to 39-40+ and looking at how miserable the rest of the West is I think it's more than enough to get into a 9th or 10th play in.
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governator
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 5:33 am    Post subject:

Quote:
“They want to make sure they are ‘not that guy’ as people like to say that ruins it all.”


hmm, I wonder who they were thinking of
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 6:20 am    Post subject:

I love how Dennis and Austin can go into foul merchant mode. Since they’re Lakers, I’m all for it.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 6:28 am    Post subject:

PenG_ wrote:
I love how Dennis and Austin can go into foul merchant mode. Since they’re Lakers, I’m all for it.


Apparently the league allows anyone to be a foul merchant, except Lebron, where you can hack a Shaq him all game and get away with it.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 12:23 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB! Always appreciate your T&Rs. They are part of the best things about LG.

Nice win, I like the effort and production from the new: Bamba/Rui…and the old: TBjr/Reaves/Walker/Schro plus Gabe had 10 boards in 22 minutes.

I’m still excited to have Beasley/Vande/Christie as all have shown that they can deliver more.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2023 3:39 pm    Post subject:

THX DB. Total team victory; everyone stepped up. GO. LAKERS!!
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2023 12:18 pm    Post subject:

wolfpaclaker wrote:
What I noticed is that playing small actually worked in this one. We made a strong run with that Vandeblilt, Rui, Brown/Walker, Reaves, Dennis lineup. Then Gabriel came in. So we played a very small center less lineup, and it got points on the board big time and even got quite a few stops (or OKC just went cold).

Lots of energy and athleticism in these younger players. The trade saved our season. Literally can not see us winning more than 35 pre-trade. Now we're a lock to get to 39-40+ and looking at how miserable the rest of the West is I think it's more than enough to get into a 9th or 10th play in.
Agree that our "Small Ball Lineup" was actually working well against OKC

With 10 teams with 5 games in the loss column separating them, all the teams will be beating eah other up causing continuing chaos in the standings.

From the top heavy teams with no depth (Mavs, Suns) to inconsistent teams (Clips - given that this is the 3rd-4th year that Kwahi/PG13 have been together, they have the extra pressure that this team might look very differently if they flame out in this year's playoffs - something that the other teams are not facing) to young teams (OKC, Utah, Kings) to teams with injuries (TWolves, Dubs, Pelicans) to teams with a Boxer's Chance (Trailblazers) so close together and playing each other - anything is possible and probably will happen with games having major swings like losing/making up 27 point deficits/losing 27 point leads.

**IF** the Lakers are healthy, the folks at ESPN like the chances of this Laker roster to go deep. Recognize that injuries could have this team completely miss the playoffs
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