NUGGETS -at- LAKERS - 5-20-23 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 8:08 pm    Post subject: NUGGETS -at- LAKERS - 5-20-23 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

Toast... Once again, the Lakers got killed out of the gates on transition D again. Miss a shot (they did that a lot going 4-18 early), and the Nuggets were down on court with speed. You would think with the urgency needed in this game, the Lakers would bring the required effort from the start. Instead, they trailed by 14 in the first quarter.

And here we are again. In that first quarter, Murray dropped 17, the Lakers just 20.

The Lakers cut the lead to 6 while Murray sat to open the second quarter. He came back off the bench smoking. We tried putting Bron on him to switch the screens. Finally, we called timeout and brought Dennis back in.

They were able to tie the game up before halftime (despite a series of no calls in transition that they were upset about and a bloodied up Scott Foster, who got hit on one of those breakaways as LeBron ran into him). Murray would finish the half with 30 points, and the Lakers trailed 58-55.

The Lakers were down 5 after picking up Jokic’s fourth foul with 7:24 left left in the third. You have to win these minutes. Bring in your best lineup. Go at it. Instead, they kept in the starters, who are not their best lineup. After a minute, however, they sat Vando for Dennis. Rui came in a possession later for Bron…so now LBJ out. The Lakers tied it up on a Reaves three a few seconds later. That forced a timeout.

You really needed to go all in to close the third quarter. Throw your best at their MVP-less roster. But turnovers, led to threes. Eventually, KCP would end up torching Lonnie for a stretch.

When the dust settled, the Lakers trailed 84-82 heading into the fourth. They only made up 3 points while Jokic sat for 7+ minutes.

The Lakers brought Russell back to start the fourth. They sat AD with Jokic on the floor. They managed to get away with it, and would finally take a lead briefly after AD returned.

But back-to-back threes by the Nuggets and the Lakers were down 5 with 7 minutes to go. This very much needed to be like your game 7. Lose these minutes and you are toast. Ham went with AD, Rui, Bron, Reaves and Dennis.

But the Nuggets answered with a third straight three and they’d rattle off a 13-0 run to go up double digits. Toast.

The Lakers fell 119-108 and are 0-3 in the series. They couldn’t protect the home court.


LeBron -- -- When he focused on posting up or getting downhill to get to the rim, good things happened for the offense. They were deadly. He had 7 assists in the first half. It felt like we weren’t quite as methodical with that as we were in the first half. Bron actually got his three ball going in this game, sinking a couple big ones at the end of the third quarter. He hit back-to-back threes to cut it to 1. Those were his first threes in the series. Crazy. It helped, but it felt like fool’s gold. We played him a lot of minutes trying to get this one. The team was a -7 when he sat his 5 minutes of rest. Interesting attempt at an adjustment defensively early on. In the second quarter, he took on the Murray defensive assignment so we could switch those high screens. The team was not quite quick enough on some of their decision making in that scenario, but they were looking for answers to try to cool Murray down after he smoked them early on. The Stats: He scored 23 points on 8-19 shooting (3-9 from three, 4-7 from the line) to go with 7 boards, 12 assists, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls in 43 minutes. He was a -4.

Davis -- -- He had 15 on 6-11 shooting and 11 boards in the first half. He was more aggressive with the space the Nuggets had been giving him previously and got to the rim more. He picked up his second foul with 10:40 left in the second quarter, but was able to avoid picking up that third. With Jokic getting his third foul late in the half, AD needed to go at him in the second half. We were able to get that fourth foul and that opened up the post a little more for our bigs to get some things done, but we didn’t not get after it with AD like we could have. AD’s defense down the stretch left a bit to be desired. That run by the Nuggets seemed to break his effort/intensity. The Nuggets did a good job milking the inverted screens with Jokic/Murray. Murray had DS on him in the post and the screens would force some switches and confusion at times with AD. The Stats: He scored 28 points on 11-18 shooting (6-8 from the line) to go with 18 boards (5 offensive), 1 assist, 2 blocks, 1 turnover and 3 fouls in 42 minutes. He was a -12.

Russell -- -- The Nuggets wanted to play him off the court. All the data in the first two games showed there was really no lineup that he was in that was successful. So Ham benched him in that second quarter as the team fought their way out of the hole. He was a -12 in his 9 first half minutes. I thought for sure Ham would sit him to start the second half. He didn’t. So we played with ankle weights in the second half. The stretch that killed me was when we picked Jokic’s fourth foul early in the third. Right then you need to go with your best lineup. Win those minutes at all cost. We were a little slow to rotate guys out. We then brought Russell back to start the fourth. Why? This is just not his series. That’s the way it is. In fact, it’s been so bad that he’s been badly exposed and this absolutely should impact his contract this offseason. He made his first shot, a wing three on a Bron kickout. He missed everything else. Just 3 points on 1-8 shooting in this game. The stats speak for themselves. The Stats: He scored 3 points on 1-8 shooting (1-6 from three) to go with 3 boards, 4 assists, 3 turnovers and no fouls in 20 minutes. He was a -12.

Reaves -- -- He had 15 points on 4-6 shooting in the first half (6-6 from the line) in the first half. Great job getting into the paint and drawing FTs. He dialed in his three range as the game went along. There was a stretch in the third where Reaves kicked to D’lo for a three, who missed. He got it back, went right back to him for another three and D’lo missed again. Russell appreciated it. On the subsequent inbounds as we had maintained possession, Reaves then hit a three himself. I wish he was a bit more selfish and aggressive this game, we needed him to make up for others. But he still balled. He’s a dog and has really proven it as the playoffs went along. He needs to go down firing in the next one. Try to drop 35-40. Some turnovers this game (a bad lob pass into a crowd on an ATO situation late where we really needed a bucket). Defensively, he had one of the bigger plays of the game to end the first half. He was working hard to box out Jokic on the glass and drew Jokic’s third foul of the half. Key stretch I felt was when we sat Reaves late in that third quarter. KCP went off on Lonnie. KCP was a great pickup for the Nuggets. He killed the Lakers in this series. The Stats: He scored 23 points on 7-10 shooting (3-5 from three, 6-6 from the line) to go with 7 boards, 5 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers and 2 fouls in 40 minutes. He was a -15.

Vanderbilt -- -- He was a -10 in his 7 first half minutes, starting again. That’s where he finished. Really a nothing game from him. He got a dunk off a great AD board and outlet to ignite the break. He’s not a screen navigator defensively. What the Lakers really need from him is something like Tayshaun Prince -- a guy who can hit threes, but also use his length to guard your point of attack. Two-way minutes. Vando gives us one-way minutes and sometimes if the matchup just isn’t right, even the defensive side can be so-so. Vando and Russell combined for 5 points on 2-12 shooting as starters. Not enough of the little winning plays (steals, deflections, blocks, boards, hustles for loose balls). The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-4 shooting (0-1 from three) to go with 1 board and 1 foul in 14 minutes. He was a -10.

Schröder -- -- Murray started taking Dennis into the post early in this game. Ham went away from him, but brought him back as others were struggling to cool him off. Dennis battled and helped hold the line for the Lakers as they reeled in the Nuggets in that first half. You knew, though, that the Nuggets were putting that in their back pocket for later when the game was on the line. They worked on some Murray/Jokic two-man actions with Jokic handling the ball and Murray posting up. That caused problems for the team. I’d really like for us to make Murray work more on D, but that’s not happening with our guards. Dennis made a long jumper, standing on the three line, and hit a floater for his two buckets. The Stats: He scored 5 points on 2-5 shooting (0-2 from three, 1-2 from the line) to go with 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 6 fouls in 25 minutes. He was a -6.

Hachimura -- -- Predictably, he led the Lakers with a +7 in his 17 first half minutes. He took on the Jokic defensive assignment in the half. The Nuggets didn’t really explore Jokic in the post. They were looking to set Murray’s hot hand up off high screens, so that helped some defensively. When he did try to shoot over him, Rui was able to get a hand up and a decent challenge. Jokic had 5 points on 2-8 shooting, 4 assists and 3 fouls in the first half. Man, first play of the fourth he fumbled a kickout right out of bounds. Hard to get momentum in a game when we have those kinds of unforced errors going on. He would, however, hit a wing three shortly later as the Lakers took the lead. He’d also be the guy who broke up the Nuggets run with a baseline jumper. I guess it doesn’t matter starting Rui in this series any more. The Stats: He scored 13 points on 5-12 shooting (1-3 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 6 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 34 minutes. He was a -3.

Walker IV -- -- He had 8 points on 2-3 shooting in the first half, making a couple of wing threes (one off the Bron post, the other over the zone). A key stretch in the third quarter when we sat Reaves. Lonnie got the KCP assignment and KCP was keeping the Nuggets afloat with scores. You have to win these minutes. KCP won them instead. I miss him. He was part of the core four (with AC) of our championship team. Really wish we had KCP or AC in this series to handle Murray defensively. It’s clearly one of the missing ingredients this time around. Smart, smart pickup by the Nuggets. The Stats: He scored 9 points on 2-5 shooting (2-4 from three, 3-4 from the line) to go with 1 boards, 2 assists and 2 fouls in 19 minutes. He was a -3.

Beasley -- -- He missed a garbage time three. The Stats: He was 0-1 from three and a +2.

Brown -- -- In for the final minute. I’d probably prefer him to Vando in the starters, but just because Vando’s not the answer. Not because Troy would do anything special. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-2 shooting (0-1 form three) to go with 1 board. He was a +2.

Thompson -- -- Garbage time. Guess Bamba isn’t going to play at all this series. The Stats: No stats. He was a +2.

Harrison -- -- He had an assist in garbage time dribbling around. The Stats: He had 1 assist and was a +2.

Christie -- -- No meaningful minutes. The Stats: He had 1 offensive board and was a +2.

Ham -- -- Key Moment: Bron said it was the back-to-back turnovers from Reaves and Russell with the Nuggets hitting threes on the other end. I think it was those 7+ minutes where Jokic sat and the Lakers couldn’t beat the rest of the Nuggets squad. You got the MVP out. You’ve got all your guys. This is when you take control of the game. They failed to get it done against the Jokic-less Nuggets. They deserve the loss as a result.

Key Substitution: I thought for sure we’d change up the starters to open the second half. Nope. Ham went back to his starters to open the second half. Sketchy minutes with Vando missing a wide open three, Russell airballing and fumbling a dribble away. We needed to come out with force and purpose, but continued to bumble along.

Key Stats: Nuggets had just 1 turnover in the first half (Lakers 7). L.A. kept them off the offensive boards in that first half, holding them to 0. Finally. They’d give up 5 offensive boards in the second half, that hurt. The Nuggets would only have 5 turnovers in the game. That’s really getting it done on the road. You do that, you will win road games.

Coach’s Challenge: With 7:24 left in the third AD missed a layup with Jokic challenging. The refs called a foul, Jokic’s fourth. Denver challenged. Unsuccessful as Jokic’s legs caught AD’s. Four for Jokic. With over 3 minutes left, Ham challenged a defensive foul on Schröder for holding Jokic on a rebound, trying to get his fifth. Seemed like Dennis would be able to tell you whether he held him or not. Pretty obvious jersey pull and the challenge was unsuccessful with Lakers down 8.
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Halflife
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 8:15 pm    Post subject:

Huge fan of reaves and Rui
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 8:18 pm    Post subject:

Great season. I appreciate everything and everyone on this team.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 8:25 pm    Post subject:

Disappointing end to the season. Great restructuring of the roster though at the deadline. We wouldn’t have even made the play-in with the team prior to all the moves.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 8:25 pm    Post subject:

It was like playing with ankle weights.... damn. I was fortunate enough to be working while this game was airing. Go out fighting next game.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 9:00 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

I'm honestly mixed with Ham's decision on D'lo. Here's why:

On the one hand, D'lo has been utter garbage in this series and it has cost the team dearly. He is shooting under 35% from the field, 2-14 from 3, and has a +/- in the series of -51. That is utterly disgusting for a guy who was a big part of creating more floor balance to get them to this series and averaging 17 ppg, 6ish assists, and shooting close to 40% from 3.

But when you take him off the floor, now what do we reliably have offensively. You can goto DS,and he brings aggressive D, but his offensive game does have limits if he cant pressure the rim consistently. Rui can shoot but isnt the ball handler dlo can be.

I posted this earlier, but D'lo and Vando have been rendered ineffective by the Nugs, causing Ham to try and adjust with what he has. Malone has not had to change anything with his lineups or rotations.

Putting all that aside, am frustrated with the L, but honestly? Sign of a championship caliber club is how you do when its close in the 4th and game time running out. 3 straight games in the 4th this game has come down to sequences where the Nugs have just simply outplayed the Lakers in critical 4th quarter stretches. Says it all right there.

In the end, Nugs have proven they are the better team. Have had to make zero personnel adjustments.

In the end, it happens. Western Conference Finals I think to me was the likely max destination for this squad for a number of reasons. Still proud of them...but I would ask just one, big favor...

Please do not let Nugs celebrate winning the Western Conference on our homecourt. At least push this to 5 games. My biggest concern is if team just mails it in Monday.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 10:02 pm    Post subject:

DB,

Thanks again.

Well it has been a wild ride and it is about to come to an end--unless the Lakers do the impossible! Hopefully the Lakers win 1 or 2 games to be respectable.

The Lakers have a lot of decisions to be made this offseason.

DLO is a guy I probably would not bring back. Good in the regular season-but he could have stepped his game up more than he did. He was a terrible fit in the Nuggets series. I would probably save the money and look elsewhere.

Lakers did an amazing job just to unload Westbrook to be where they are now-but winning is our goal and it looks like we are going to fall short.

Maybe next year?????????????
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 10:11 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB. We've made a miraculous turnaround with the midseason trades, but it was too much, too soon all along.

We just don't have enough pieces yet. Rui has been great at times, and Reaves has been a revelation. Although DLO has been garbage in this series, he played well enough in the first two rounds, and I think we still need to resign him to a reasonable contract because a sign-and-trade for Kyrie or Dame is simply unrealistic and would gut our team.

We need two more dead-eye 3-point shooters, and ideally, they should be 3-and-D guys, plus better depth at center (coach, please play Bamba next season if he's still here).

Denver has a really, really nice team. I like how that team is constructed, and we're simply not good enough yet.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 10:24 pm    Post subject:

I would keep Reeves and Rui, they are young and will continue to improve. Both are capable scoring 20 points on a nightly basis. You can see why DLo gets traded from team to team. You simply cannot rely on him, he is not even the 3rd best player. He has totally disappeared in this series even missing wide open 3s. I would trade LBJ, he is obviously on the down. Lakers cannot rely on James to win a series, James can win 1 or 2 games but not the series. I hope Pelinka can do some magic in the off season to built this team around Reeves, Rui and AD. It was a wonderful all things consider, we are just not ready to win. Nuggets core has been playing together for a few years bow. They are the hot favourite to win with the MVP in Jokic. To win the championship for the next few years, you need to figure out a plan to beat Nuggets as they will be around in the next 2-3 years.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 10:35 pm    Post subject:

As an aside, we do have a 17th pick - hopefully we can grab a solid talent there.

Regardless of what happens with this season, we do have some young pieces that make the future promising.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 10:38 pm    Post subject:

Jokic is the best player in the series (despite the poor shooting night), Malone is the better coach, Murray is the better role player, and the Nuggets play better defense. Other than that, we're clearly the better team. =/
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 10:58 pm    Post subject:

joeblow wrote:
Jokic is the best player in the series (despite the poor shooting night), Malone is the better coach, Murray is the better role player, and the Nuggets play better defense. Other than that, we're clearly the better team. =/


Is all good Joe. Honestly, the fact this squad looked so pathetic to start this year then go to the WCF? And if D'lo was just averaging what his regular season was who knows, maybe we are up 2-1?...

Not too shabby.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 11:03 pm    Post subject:

The only way Lebron can be an effective player at his age is playing in a small ball 5 role (like Draymond). He should not be a perimeter player anymore.

So I think the lakers really need to look at for next season:

C- Lebron
PF- AD
SF- ????
SG- Reaves
PG- ????

Rui is a good guy off the bench. But def need a perimeter bucket getter
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 11:19 pm    Post subject:

Difference between 2020 and 2023? Denver got a hell of a lot better and the Lakers superstars got older and more injured. Unfortunately we also no longer have the big bodies like Javale McGee or D12 who might have slowed down Jokic.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 11:27 pm    Post subject:

Lakers should MAKE SURE that the Nuggets do NOT win on our court!

It would have been a miracle for this team to get to and win the NBA Finals this year. To have a team that started 2-10 in the Western Conference Finals was a great achievement.

In a playoff series, it allow teams to expose and take advantage/exploit any weaknesses that the opposing teams have - in this case, starting with DLO and Vando. Indirectly, this team highlights what is needed to effectively compliment an aging HOFer (LBJ) who can't carry a team to victories (though he can win key/strategic games) and inconsistent Superstar (AD) who is unable to carry team while being the most invaluable impactful player on this team.

LBJ wanted to be Da Man that allow players that don't have any/minimal playoff experience the confidence to just play by giving them the confidence that all they have to do is be close and allow LBJ to close. This playoff series has exposed that LBJ can no longer carry a team against the elite teams (there is a reason why the Nuggets have been the top seed in the Western Conference - they are an elite team). LBJ taking consecutive 3pt shots at the end of the game (rarely did the early in games) that provide indications that he was totally gassed hence unable to attack the paint (maybe he is still hampered by ankle/hamstring injuries).

Does AD have "Da Will" to make a consistent impact on games. He can, but Jokic is clearly better than him (along with being better than Embiid - The MVP). Answer to the question is no. This uber talented players who is among the most talented NBA players accomplished a great deal in the very fact that he played in all the playoff games - kudos to him. Our expectations is that he is consistently impactful during the playoff series where reputations ar made. He is not yet that player

Lakers, as a team, hasn't grasp the concept that the Miami Heat consistently brings - consistent/in-you-face mentality (aka Black Mamba Mentality). They have Jimmy Butler who is consistent on how he plays to win (see LBJ taking consecutive 3pt shots usually at the end of games, a change in the way that he is playing the game.

It was written (https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/the-lakers-are-finally-feeling-the-downside-of-the-russell-westbrook-trade-as-they-fall-down-3-0-to-nuggets/) that
"That deal sent Westbrook out and brought in D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. For three months, the trio were fan favorites at Los Angeles. Russell swung the Memphis series with his 3-point shooting in Game 4. Vanderbilt's defense on Ja Morant and later Stephen Curry was essential. Beasley helped keep the offense afloat when LeBron James was hurt in March and April. The starting lineup featuring Vanderbilt, Russell, James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves outscored its opponents by 37 points in 77 minutes. In one move, the Lakers seemingly managed build an entire supporting cast around their superstar duo.

That supporting cast has largely been absent from the Western Conference Finals. Vanderbilt has played 41 total minutes across the three Laker losses. Beasley hasn't even seen the court outside of garbage time. And Russell? He's now shooting 8-of-27 for the series. The Lakers have lost the minutes he has played by 53 points and won the minutes he's spent on the bench by 31 points.

This Lakers season was defined by the Westbrook trade, and yet it was the players who weren't involved in it that have largely carried them throughout this postseason. Nearly 82 percent of all Laker points in the Denver series (276 out of 337) have been scored by just four players: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura. Three of those players have been around since opening night. The fourth was acquired for scraps in January. The two other players getting consistent minutes in this series, Dennis Schroder and Lonnie Walker, were added in the offseason. '

There's quite a bit of irony in all of that. The Lakers may have already had most of the championship supporting cast they needed even before trading Westbrook ... yet they still needed to trade Westbrook for it to emerge. This is especially true of Austin Reaves, who spent most of his shared Westbrook minutes languishing off of the ball but who has emerged as this team's point guard of the future since the trade. He closed the regular season averaging 16.5 points and five assists per game post-trade. He's been even better in the postseason. Schroder and Walker have benefitted for the same reasons.

But championship supporting casts need more than ball-handlers. More than anything, they rely on role players that can credibly contribute on both ends of the floor. This was the downside of the Westbrook trade. The Lakers turned one undeniable negative into three potentially positive players. Those positives shined for most of the post-trade portion of the season. But just as the regular season and the early rounds are defined by strengths, the late stages of the postseason are defined by weaknesses. The Lakers know this well from having played Westbrook in the postseason. They refused to guard him on the perimeter in five easy games in the 2020 bubble.

Yet they ultimately used his contract to trade for three players with very easily definable weaknesses. Beasley and Russell can't defend. Vanderbilt can't score. They are not two-way players. In this series, they largely haven't even been one-way players. Russell, who has struggled in the playoffs throughout his career, can't make a shot and is creating next to nothing for his teammates. Vanderbilt is getting screened off of Jamal Murray frequently, and it's allowing Murray to torture the overwhelmed Russell on the other end of the floor. Beasley needs to make 40 percent of his 3-pointers to justify any minutes given his defensive weaknesses. He hasn't come close since arriving in Los Angeles."

-

Do I think that Buddy Hield would have done much better - nope. He is just a bad defender (probably worse than DLo) and would have forced him off the court - who would you hide him with. Since Buddy Hield has never been in the playoffs (https://www.landofbasketball.com/player_comparison/buddy_hield_vs_dangelo_russell.htm), it would be hard to project what Buddy Hield would have done

That DLo didn't bring an angry edge/passion to this game is revealing. Allowing the opposing to play him off the court, even when the Nuggets players openly admitted this when interviewed possibly mean either 1) He doesn't have the basketball/physical skillset or needed mental toughness (think Jimmy Butler) to make the opposing team eat their words by elevating his game.

Myles Turner would have been a rental since he was up for a new contract and where would you play him. If at the 5, then AD is at the 4 until crunch time that Turner would not be happy with (see Thomas Bryant). Bamba could have been a good substitue for Turner but got injured.

Hopefully Beasley will find a rhythm to get his feared 3pt shooting prowess make an impact on the important games. Lonnie Walker obviously had a magical game and could be an important role player, but he is not a starter on a legitimate playoff contending team.

Vando needs to make 1,000 shots per day/every day during the off-season if he wants to get consistent PT. The playoff has highlighted and exposed his weaknesses in shooting and all teams now know how to play hin off the court.

Props to Austin (Powers) Reeves - He is Da Man!

Rui was a great revelation and a much better fit than Myles Turner in countless ways.

In Games 1-3, Nuggets just wore down the Lakers late in the 3rd quarter.

In Game 4
Will DLo continue to let the Nuggets play him off the court?
Will Vando attack the basket on offense and limit Jamal's effectiveness on offense
Will AD punish Jokic on offense, supposedly Jokic's "weakness"?
Will AD (who wanted to be the DPOY) able to limit Jokic on offense
Will the Lakers win the battle of rebounds
Will the Lakers have less TOs than the Nuggets
Will LBJ carry the team to victory/shoot less than 3 3pt shots and none in the fourth quarter

We've gone farther than a
* team many touted to win The Finals because they had the most complete roster with two superstars - (Clips)
* former NBA Champions (Dubs)
* team with this year's MVP (76ers)
* team that have two of the most explosive offensive players (Suns)
* team that had the consensus best NBA player (Bucks)
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 11:37 pm    Post subject:

lakersken80 wrote:
Difference between 2020 and 2023? Denver got a hell of a lot better and the Lakers superstars got older and more injured. Unfortunately we also no longer have the big bodies like Javale McGee or D12 who might have slowed down Jokic.


Exactly this. Also you can just see it with Denver and their players that they are ready. They don't get rattled by the deficits and runs the opponents eventually make. They make timely shots, good decisions and play solid defense. It's their year.

As for the Lakers, I tip my hat, they put up a hell of a fight this season.
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PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2023 11:59 pm    Post subject:

Nobody wrote:
lakersken80 wrote:
Difference between 2020 and 2023? Denver got a hell of a lot better and the Lakers superstars got older and more injured. Unfortunately we also no longer have the big bodies like Javale McGee or D12 who might have slowed down Jokic.


Exactly this. Also you can just see it with Denver and their players that they are ready. They don't get rattled by the deficits and runs the opponents eventually make. They make timely shots, good decisions and play solid defense. It's their year.

As for the Lakers, I tip my hat, they put up a hell of a fight this season.


Yup. But here's a wonky stat-line / thought:

If you just swap the contributions in each game between D'lo and KCP (points wise), Lakers are up 2-1.

I mean, if you would have asked going into the series which guard would have a 21 point and 17 point game, and the other a 3 point and an 8 point game...

Sort of mind boggling in a way. Put another way, outside of AR, no other laker "roleplayer" starter is really contributing. While Nugs (Porter and KCP) are.
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2023 12:35 am    Post subject: Re: NUGGETS -at- LAKERS - 5-20-23 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

DancingBarry wrote:


Thompson -- -- Garbage time. Guess Bamba isn’t going to play at all this series. The Stats: No stats. He was a +2.


They said Mo could be back game 4 or 5 :-/

Thanks DB

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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2023 3:01 am    Post subject:

Yeah, Denver is that good. Props to those guys and thanks P & G for a better season than I ever thought possible.
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2023 3:56 am    Post subject:

DrDent wrote:
Nobody wrote:
lakersken80 wrote:
Difference between 2020 and 2023? Denver got a hell of a lot better and the Lakers superstars got older and more injured. Unfortunately we also no longer have the big bodies like Javale McGee or D12 who might have slowed down Jokic.


Exactly this. Also you can just see it with Denver and their players that they are ready. They don't get rattled by the deficits and runs the opponents eventually make. They make timely shots, good decisions and play solid defense. It's their year.

As for the Lakers, I tip my hat, they put up a hell of a fight this season.


Yup. But here's a wonky stat-line / thought:

If you just swap the contributions in each game between D'lo and KCP (points wise), Lakers are up 2-1.

I mean, if you would have asked going into the series which guard would have a 21 point and 17 point game, and the other a 3 point and an 8 point game...

Sort of mind boggling in a way. Put another way, outside of AR, no other laker "roleplayer" starter is really contributing. While Nugs (Porter and KCP) are.


I was never a fan of DLO so I don't really have a clue what happened to him, but that is a mind-boggling stat. Also have to factor in Vanderbilt who - for all his defensive prowess - is a huge liability on offense. A 38-year old LeBron in his 20th season would have to play at least 5 years younger to overcome that.
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2023 4:01 am    Post subject:

I have seen this series with the constant questions in my head.

Why are we helping on Joker, and leaving shooters and cutters open? Why are we putting smalls on much bigger wing players? This is why Denver is beating us. We're playing them exactly how they hoped we would play them.

Don't get me wrong, even if we played them "right" we may end up losing in 6 or 7. But we do have the match ups to at least win some games. We've played them the exact opposite of how we did in 2020. It's as if AD and Lebron too forgot how they beat them.

This is not a small ball team with a scrub like Tillman/Looney as their best post option. They have legit 270 pound heavyweight 5. They have Porter/Gordon as versatile athletic wings. They have KCP at the 2. We have schemed completely wrong in this series through 3 games. We needed to put bodies on KCP/Gordon/MPJ (Or Brown) and not help on Joker.
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2023 6:16 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

1. Denver is a good team. They are talented and are taller / bigger than a lot of the teams we played late in the season.

2. Denver's role player played better than our role players and and their roster allow Denver's coaches to play to their strengths rather than take players off the floor.

Time to look forward to next season.

IMO DLo, Mamba and Beasley are gone. DLo is a free agent saving $30 mil. Bamba has a non guaranteed $10 mil contract. For whatever reason the coaching staff did not give him a chance to shine and he got injured before the playoff's. Beasley shot himself off the team. A shooter who shot 27% from 3 and 29% from the floor who has a $16 mil team option next year will be let go. Yes they may offer him a smaller deal but it is likely he will go to another team where he will get some playing time. If all three leave the Lakers save $56 mil.

If the Lakers are smart they will give an offer of the max allowed under the CBA to Reaves and match any other teams offer for his services. He comes up big in big games and has no problem taking the shot when the game is on the line. Also, the FO needs to start working on negotiations with Rui. We have a team option for next year so he is not going any where but after next season Rui becomes an unrestricted free agent who will get a lot of love from other teams. It is going to cost but these two are worth it.

Vanderbilt, Christie and Harrison are under contract for next year so they will be back along with Swider and Pippen Jr.

Gabriel, Schroeder, Brown and Walker will be offered contracts with small raises but may go elsewhere depending on what other teams offer. Brown will likely not get much love and Schroeder was putting his self into position to make some more money until his poor offensive performance in the playoff's. Walker is the wild card. He was benched early in the playoff's but his play against GSW and DEN is going to have some teams interested in him. Right now he is a toss up for me. Could go either way.

So here is what we got.

Under contact=7: Lebron, AD, Vanderbilt, Christie, Harrison, Swider, and Pippen Jr.

Likely back = 2: Reaves and Rui

Likely gone = 3: DLo, Bamba, Beasley

Could go either way = 4: Walker, Brown, Gabriel and Schroeder

Assuming Reaves and Rui come back and 2 of the 4 could go either way guys stay, the Lakers are up to 11 players plus their draft pick this year giving them 12.

Vando needs to work on his three point shooting, Reaves needs to work on his conditioning and Rui needs to work on his handles this off season.

Lakers need a physical enforcer who can score in the low post if LBJ, AD or Rui get injured / need a break and a strong perimeter defender who can slow down the ton of guards in the western conference (Steph, Ja, Murray, Booker, Dame, etc). Would be nice is he could hit the occasional three.

Just me but I would look at Jae Crowder, Josh Richardson and Dario Saric.

Peace out.
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2023 6:21 am    Post subject:

Assuming we don’t make the finals it will be easier in a month to look back and appreciate the season. However, it is so hard to be competitive for a ring and being this close and so far laying an egg is lame. This year was the window due to so many factors breaking our way. Bringing back this same team will result in better regular season we hope, and I know we are stuck with certain guys but it will be a waste of another year. Assuming we don’t come back and win it all this year of course.
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2023 6:40 am    Post subject:

This series has really shown the limitations of the players we got back in the (100% necessary) Westbrook trade, the limitations of LBJ and AD as they get older, and -- most worryingly -- the limitations of Ham as a coach. I get that he's inexperienced and learning on the job. I think he did a solid job adjusting in the first two series. But my word has he been completely exposed in this series.
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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2023 8:55 am    Post subject:

DrDent wrote:
Nobody wrote:
lakersken80 wrote:
Difference between 2020 and 2023? Denver got a hell of a lot better and the Lakers superstars got older and more injured. Unfortunately we also no longer have the big bodies like Javale McGee or D12 who might have slowed down Jokic.
Exactly this. Also you can just see it with Denver and their players that they are ready. They don't get rattled by the deficits and runs the opponents eventually make. They make timely shots, good decisions and play solid defense. It's their year.

As for the Lakers, I tip my hat, they put up a hell of a fight this season.
Yup. But here's a wonky stat-line / thought:

If you just swap the contributions in each game between D'lo and KCP (points wise), Lakers are up 2-1.

I mean, if you would have asked going into the series which guard would have a 21 point and 17 point game, and the other a 3 point and an 8 point game...

Sort of mind boggling in a way. Put another way, outside of AR, no other laker "roleplayer" starter is really contributing. While Nugs (Porter and KCP) are.
Nuggets did get better, as evident as their long-standing reign of being on top of the Western Conference for much of the season.

In this series:
AD (who wanted to be Defensive Player of the Year/DPOY) was having problems with Jokic on defense that resulted in Rui/LBJ being the most effective against him with Tatum-like (on one night/off one night) performances when we needed Butler-like (consistent in-your-face/never-say-die commitment) results. Can the uber-talented/oft-injured AD be The Face of the Lakers, acknowledging that he is an invaluable and strategic factor in the future success of the Lakers?

LBJ (one of the greatest of all-time) seemingly change from a plan/scheme that was proven throughout the season and in the beginning part of playoff games in this series from penetrating the paint/posting on the right block to taking shots that the Nuggets were content on him taking (bailout 3pt shots) that was the weaket part of the team while limiting the effectiveness of AD (along with others) to rebound while highlighting our weakness (transition defense).

JaVale/D12 (or any other available NBA centers) in this series would not slowed down Jokic more than Rui or LBJ. Jokic didn't go off with production from scoring and assists while being the rock that seemingly always stop the Lakers' long runs with skills that has drawn the consistent praise from Shaq to Sir Charles to many others. Even with Jokic in foul trouble on our first home game in this series - Nuggets proved that they are the better team

Role-Playing Starters
DLo's ineffectiveness on offense didn't come close to compensating on his deficiencies on defense. What is more alarming is that DLo did NOT respond to the openly expressed challenges that the Nuggets publicly stated. Reason why Ham gave more PT to DS (and even Walker)

Vando's ineffectiveness on offense was replaced by Rui's effectiveness on offense and defense.

For the Future
Rui can/has shown that he is our version of "Porter" in the future

KCP showed a consistency that he didn't have with the Lakers and kudos to him. Brown is a similar player (potentially) but his ineffectiveness/inconsistency on offense made him a liability on offense. Beasley's ineffectiveness on defense AND offense made him unplayable in any series (surprisingly since he was effective/much more effective when LBJ was injured.

For a team that started 2-10 and late in the season was in 13th place resulting in being in the NBA's version of the Final Four and being relevant while scrutinized as if they had this squad for the entire season - kudos to the team and HUGE PROPS to Rob.

Who will show the greatest Laker Pride and not allow the Nuggets win on our court?
Will Beasley or Brown embrace/produce in their opportunities - if provided by Ham?
Will the best version of DLo step up after being punked by the Nuggets?
Will AD/LBJ consistently drive the paint to the END of the game with no bailout shots?

Ironically/Realistically/Logically(??), my belief is that the Heat (https://halfcourthoops.substack.com/p/miami-heat-defense) would provide the best challenge to the Nuggets because they are consistent/passionate/devoted/obsessed/relentless to "Buying In" on one overall plan of playing and always attacking that allowed them to recover from the lost of Herro and Oladipo with their particular "Next Man Up" production from Strus/Vincent/Love - Not the Celtics (who have more talent and experience - East Coast version of the Clips)
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