NUGGETS -at- LAKERS - 5-18-23 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2023 9:00 pm    Post subject: NUGGETS -at- LAKERS - 5-18-23 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

Still Not Locked In... Denver did what they had to do, defend home court. Now, the Lakers have to return the favor.

Multiple times in this game the Lakers pushed a lead out to 10 or 11 points. But poor transition defense and poor process quickly gave away those leads.

Up 10 with over 3 minutes left in the third, the Lakers gave up a very quick 8-0 run and saw the lead erased over the next minute.

To open the fourth quarter, LeBron got into a three shooting battle with the Nuggets and lost badly. With Jokic hanging back in the paint, the Lakers lost their focus on how to attack that or pull him out to the perimeter and wasted multiple possession.

Meanwhile on defense, they kept AD into the paint off the ball, but failed to chase shooters off the three line. It was bombs away for the Nuggets and they pulled ahead by 12, their biggest lead of the game.

They’d battle back as Reaves returned to the game and hit a three, Bron got to the rim for scores and AD hit a three to cut it to 5 with 3:37 left. Down four, LeBron stole the ball in the backcourt, attacked the rim and failed to convert (one of many missed opportunities from him at the rim in this one). That was the final straw. The Lakers fell 108-103.

The Lakers had opportunities to take both of these road games. Let’s see if momentum can switch in front of our home crowd.


LeBron -- -- Really irritating game tonight. Killed me. He struggled badly finishing at the rim in the first half. He choked a point blank layup, then shortly later had an uncontested leak-out dunk and he lost the handle as he went up for his reverse dunk. (He’d also get a couple of no-calls in transition on the break that he should have shot FTs on, as well). With 28 seconds left, he missed a layup after stealing the ball in the backcourt down 4. That could have cut it to 2. So many missed points at the rim in this game. Just getting a couple hoops off those missed ones would have made a massive difference. So issues inside and now let’s talk about outside. To start the fourth quarter with Vando in the game, we had Jokic parked in the lane. Vando would set screens for Bron and he hoisted threes and missed (the advantage here on those plays is not Bron ballhandling or shooting but another Laker who can actually hit threes). After Vando sat our offense turned into a three point shooting contest over a couple minutes with Murray vs. Bron. Bron finished the game 0-6. We lost that badly as the Nuggets went on a run. They also picked on Bron’s perimeter D shooting over him. Defensively, I liked some of his work on Jokic late in the game as we kept AD off him. He showed some good hands. I didn’t like his perimeter pressure when he had to switch off that to shooters (the Nuggets ran some ram screen action that require him to switch off to get on Murray if no one is able to stay with him, which was the case). With AD back in the paint, you need to chase Murray off the three line into the paint. The Stats: He scored 22 points on 9-19 shooting (0-6 from three, 4-4 from the line) to go with 9 boads, 10 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers and 2 fouls in 40 minutes. He was a +4.

Davis -- -- Just 7 points on 1-6 shooting in the first half. We’ve got to have better than that. He missed some chippies for sure. In the second half, I didn’t like how we allowed Jokic to plug the paint and guys didn’t get downhill on him in that drop coverage. AD missed some midrange, but I want to see guys attacking that. Hopefully, they do in L.A. and get more from it. Late in the game, we tried to pull Jokic to the corner. AD did hit a three, but I think they will gladly live with Bron and AD trying to beat them from the three line. Really poor process here. Defensively, we did a better job in this one, obviously, but the team really needs to chase guys off the three line to him when he’s on the backline. They shot over us and didn’t allow AD to be engaged defensively. The Stats: He scored 18 points on 4-15 shooting (1-3 from three, 9-11 from the line) to go with 14 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, 4 blocks and 4 fouls in 41 minutes. He was a -10.

Russell -- -- The Nuggets are trying to play him off the court defensively. They were attacking him in the last game, got him on his heels and made us pay. A little more fight in D’lo in this game with some steals and a block. Still, when it came down to it in the fourth again, he was off the court. Let’s see how he bounces back at home. I’ve said it in every series. I feel like he needs that home crowd to help get him going. Unfortunately, we’ve started all these series on the road against some really, really good home teams. Still, we need more from Russell. Early in the game, he got KCP to sit getting two fouls on him in one possession. That was probably his best contribution, but he was a little more aggressive and that helped. A lot of actions were initiated off some two-man game with Russell. He made one three, a step-back from the wing. Lakers shot a poor 8-30 from three. The Stats: He scored 10 points on 3-8 shooting (1-5 from three, 3-4 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 33 minutes. He was a -16.

Reaves -- -- We go from D’lo with the team low -16 to Reaves with the team high +13. We were taking punches while Ham had him on the bench in that fourth quarter. Once again, he added another 5 threes, just torching it. Yes, one was a bank again, lol, but one of his misses was also another half court heave. I would have loved, loved, loved the ball in Reaves hands when Bron was going into chuck mode in that fourth. I don’t know if Bron was tired or what, but Reaves would have executed better. Late in the fourth, I swear Reaves looked off Bron on the wing. The two of them have really good chemistry, but you could also see Bron discussing with Reaves something that didn’t work on one of those two-man sequences they run. We needed another guard to step up in this one besides Reaves. Didn’t get that. We could have also used that blocking foul that was called on Reaves that was clearly a charge. The Stats: He scored 22 points on 8-16 shooting (5-9 from three, 1-1 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers and 3 fouls in 36 minutes. He was a +13.

Vanderbilt -- -- We went back to going bigger with Vando in for Schröder to start. First play of the game, he helped the team come up with a loose ball and had an uncontested dunk. He’d get some FTs shortly later on a roll to the hoop. That was it for his scoring. In the fourth, you could see how the offense came to a halt with Vando on the floor. Jokic stayed in the paint instead of caring what Vando did (especially when he set screens for Bron). He should have set screens for a shooter. That would have pulled Jokic out of the paint. I like that we went bigger at least, but the -10 is pretty typical numbers for Vando’s production. I’d prefer the positive numbers off the bench. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 1-2 shooting (2-2 from the line) to go with 2 boards and 1 foul in 17 minutes. He was a -10.

Schröder -- -- Poor shooting game from Dennis as he went back to the bench. Not a lot of opportunity for him getting to the rim in this one with our schemes and lineups. He missed from three and some missed pull-ups. He’d score on a floater in the third quarter with about 4 minutes left for his first score of this game. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 2-9 shooting (0-3 from three) to go with 6 boards, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 30 minutes. He was a +5.

Hachimura -- -- He crushed it, making 8-8 before missing his final two shots. He had an offensive board and putback. He got downhill and reverse around Jokic. He took a swing pass in the corner, attacked baseline and scored a layup. He hit a wing three on a swing pass from Bron. He iso’d and hit a pull-up jumper from 17 feet over Green. He reversed in transition. He blocked a shot on one end and was fouled on the other for FTs. He finished a lob cutting backdoor on a read with Bron for the dunk. The Stats: He scored 21 points on 8-10 shooting (1-2 from three, 4-4 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover and 4 fouls in 30 minutes. He was a -5.

Walker IV -- -- Just one bucket, a floater late in the game. Very quiet night. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-3 shooting (0-2 from three) to go with 1 board, 1 assist and 1 foul in 13 minutes. He was a -6.

Thompson -- -- In for a final possession of the first half to save AD from foul trouble and match up on Jokic. Lakers held ground for that possession. The Stats: No stats.

Ham -- -- Key Moment: I felt like he used his timeouts multiple times in that second half when the Nuggets were looking to make runs. There was a stretch of just over a minute with 3 minutes left in the third where the Lakers got thumped. But the key moment was that 20-5 start to the fourth. The Nuggets ran Jokic and Murray while we sat AD. But really, it was our process and shot selection. We settled offensively. Defensively, we didn’t run three shooters off the line. This was especially bad when AD was in the game.

Key Substitution: Rui again was killing it off the bench. The Lakers had a 17-6 advantage on the bench in the first half. All 17 were from Rui.

Key Stats: We lost the offensive glass 11-4 again in this game. The break was 22-21 in favor of the Nuggets. Some of our transition D is simply atrocious. Hopefully, it tightens up back at sea level, but I’m not going to get my hopes up.
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pio2u
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2023 9:13 pm    Post subject:

THX DB!
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joeblow
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2023 9:23 pm    Post subject:

Props to Rui and Austin, I guess. They were the only completely on-point Lakers tonight. Even when they couldn't put it altogether every play, they were at least usually making the right play.

AD... man. How can he miss sooooo many baskets in such an important game. A lot of props go to the Nuggets defense on him, but that only goes so far. A lot of the whiffs was just him. Mentally he was done near the end, throwing the ball to the other team and everything. Still, he failed at doing the right thing most of the time, which is more than what we can say about the next two....

Coach Ham and his idiotic three-guard line up fetish needs to take a VC day next game and let a fearless assistant coach take over the reins. His lineups continue to be uneven at best, but he REALLY compounds the issue by not taking control of THIS guy:

LeBrick James. Objectively speaking, he easily makes the dumbest decisions more than any superstar I've ever watched in team sports. This is not an over reaction in the moment because I've felt this way for awhile, and even expressed it once or twice.

By "dumb", I am saying that despite his great skills and his high level basketball IQ, he consistently and intentionally makes the worst decisions over and over again. He is way too smart not to know that he is awful at three point shooting in these playoffs, but he refuses to stop doing it!

It makes as much sense as having Steph Curry go for a lot of points in a playoff game by consistently posting up Embid in the paint. I mean, that's not his game, so why would he do something so dumb like that over and over again?

Question:

Why doesn't Ham man up and put this player in his place?! Not publicly, of course, as long as it is deliberately. Pat Riley would not let him get away with this garbage approach to playing the game if he were the coach, and neither would Popovich.

Another question:

If coach Malone of the Nuggets was allowed to call one Laker play that we run down the stretch of a close game, is there any other play he would demand other than LeBron taking a three point attempt? No, Dennis throwing it over his head at the half court line doesn't count because that's not a play that the Lakers run... but "LeBron for three!" is the call more than any other Laker shooting from deep, and it is killing us!

There are almost eight billion people on this planet. If only a mere 10% of them would copy and paste my sig into their social media accounts, someone of influence is bound to read it and can perhaps salvage what's left of this Laker post season by getting that guy and his dumb approach to the offense under control.

Lastly, if DLo never plays another millisecond in this series, I wouldn't be upset.
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2023 9:55 pm    Post subject:

I'm sorry, i just don't think Denver is leaps and bounds better than us...I just don't.
We are evenly matched IMO...We had to play on their home floor and that benefitted them, as well as more calls going their way instead of ours, which is stupidly, a thing, where the home team just gets better calls..
I think we should win both at home, and we deserve a HELL OF A LOT MORE CALLS at home, to make up for Jokic's soft, lame, cowardly flops.
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mad55557777
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2023 10:13 pm    Post subject:

We lost the game because of the stupid 3s by lebron and AD. The Nuggets will take those all day.
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2023 10:27 pm    Post subject:

Uhh, this sure felt like the game they were poised to take. They were controlling the pace and playing with purpose. Until the meldown.

You just knew LeBron was off when he had those back to back blunders at the start of the game - the rim-blocking wide open layup and the dunk when the ball slipped out of his hands.

You've also got to tip your hat to Denver. 3 years ago they would've folded with the leads and determination the Lakers had. It looks like it is their year.
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slavavov
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2023 10:40 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

On one hand, right now it looks like Denver just has more talent than us, especially offensively.

However, we have held them down defensively for long stretches. In the fourth quarter of Game 1 and in the first three quarters of this game, we held them to 28 or fewer points, which is pretty good. Jamal Murray shot pretty badly in the first half.

One problem seems to be that when Denver gets hot, we cannot match them and stay afloat to prevent it from going on a run. I know no one wants to read this, but in the modern era, sometimes your best defense has to be a good offense. Sometimes you have to win or at least stay afloat with your offense until you can find some kind of advantage defensively that allows you to take control.

Reaves is playing great, but none of our other guards is doing anything offensively, and we're getting offensive production from just four guys. That just won't cut it in these championship-level games, and it's why i started that other thread saying we need more accurate shooters.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 12:01 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

I literally was stuck at ye olde office and just got home. Followed the game on the internet. Have not watched it, however, so unable to give my own 2 cents.

I will say this - very dissappointing the team controlled the game for most of it and...just let go at the end. You have to wonder if the fact LBJ didnt get to rest this game (so to speak) like he "sorta" did in game 2 vs Griz and Dubs will hurt him for game 3.

I dont get AD...4-15, and everything I followed up on with that is he missing chippies.

In the end, the team just may not have enough for the Nugs. Again, I will reiterate what I posted many times before - the lack of a big aside from AD that the Lakers will use may end up being what ends this season. I have no doubt AD would be overall better if he had another reliable big to help play with him at times and give him relief, like in the bubble.

With that said, look, it aint over, but if they do lose the series, I'll just say they went a hell alot further then I predicted at start of season.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 12:06 am    Post subject:

Nobody wrote:
Uhh, this sure felt like the game they were poised to take. They were controlling the pace and playing with purpose. Until the meldown.

You just knew LeBron was off when he had those back to back blunders at the start of the game - the rim-blocking wide open layup and the dunk when the ball slipped out of his hands.

You've also got to tip your hat to Denver. 3 years ago they would've folded with the leads and determination the Lakers had. It looks like it is their year.


Your points bring up something I notice with Championship caliber clubs.

Before Phil came, Lakers were a good team, but would lose to more disciplined teams, like the Jazz. The Jazz would seemingly play this consistent B to A- level basketball. Whereas the Lakers would play many minutes at an "A" level, some at "B"...and then where the seperation occured (in the wrong way), they played at a D or C level.

This Laker squad is alot like that in many ways. The fact is neither the Grizz or Dubs play at a consistently high level over 48 minutes either. But this Nugs team does. It may just be this Nugs team is like that old Jazz team...not GREAT...just really consistent, never too low, never too high, and their leads grow when their opponent goes to D level basketball for a few minutes.

p.s. and no shade is being thrown on that Jazz team, or a comparison of this Nugs team to them. The Jazz had to face Lord Jordan; otherwise they likely would have won a ring. Nugs have an advantage in that there is no Jordan coming out of the east.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 4:10 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB. The Lakers had a great chance to win either Game 1 and Game 2 and lost both of them. This game falls squarely on LBJ and AD's shoulders. Their lack of efficiency as well as questionable decision making cost them last night's game. They looked really fatigued which does not bode well for them or the team moving forward. I really hope I am wrong but the series is done. I could see us splitting in LA and being closed out in Denver. Last night was especially the game to win and the team led by our two stars did not capitalize on the opportunity. Last night was a really devastating loss IMO.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 5:41 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB.

FWIW my three points as to why we lost.

1. Poor shooting by our superstars. AD and LBJ were 13 for 34 from the floor for a combined 40 points and 23 boards. These are the stats I would expect from one superstar in a conference finals, not two.

2. Leaving Schroeder on Murray instead of bringing Vando back in. Schroeder is a pest defensively but not a stopper.

3. DLo disappearing again. He drew two fouls on KCP in the first quarter but stopped being aggressive after that.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 5:55 am    Post subject:

This game was there for the taking. But:

Disengaged "bad" AD.

LBJ with some of the most head-scratching plays of his Laker career.

Seemingly premature onset of exhaustion from the two above players.

D'Lo constantly getting roasted on both ends of the floor.

Ham's mystifying lineups, continuing to go to what we know doesn't work.

And the worst transition D known to mankind.

You can overcome 2 or 3 of these things, but not all of them at once. The last part of the game was the perfect storm of ineptitude and will likely be responsible for ending the Lakers' season. I think we rally to take game 3, but wouldn't be surprised if Denver run away with it from there. Jokic is outplaying AD, Murray is a more effective second banana than LBJ, and Malone could outcoach Ham in his sleep.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 8:05 am    Post subject:

Can we possibly run more offence through Hachimura? He was super efficient but when he had the ball. Felt like he didnt get enough touches
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 8:06 am    Post subject:

Laker7 wrote:
Thanks DB.

FWIW my three points as to why we lost.

1. Poor shooting by our superstars. AD and LBJ were 13 for 34 from the floor for a combined 40 points and 23 boards. These are the stats I would expect from one superstar in a conference finals, not two.

2. Leaving Schroeder on Murray instead of bringing Vando back in. Schroeder is a pest defensively but not a stopper.

3. DLo disappearing again. He drew two fouls on KCP in the first quarter but stopped being aggressive after that.


Cant agree more about Vando. We lost to Murray today and he was not as hot when guarded by Vando
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 8:47 am    Post subject:

These teams are so close, I could see us winning the next four after regaining momentum at home. Could we do stupid stuff again the next two games? Sure.

We looked physically tired in the first half of the first game. Then we looked mentally tired in this one. Hopefully, the home crowd and sea level makes up the difference.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 9:07 am    Post subject:

Felt like we should have won last night, but the team went brain dead in the 4th quarter. Maybe the worst game from a mental standpoint I have ever seen LeBron play.

Hard to stomach for sure, need to win both home games to have any shot in this series. Get it to 2-2 and I am still confident.

Obviously Game 3 is a must win.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 9:25 am    Post subject:

Felt like we had the plan but we got distracted/confused
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 11:16 am    Post subject:

Denver is 19-22 on the road this season...

Can the Lakers take two?

Can LeBron make a 3-pointer?
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 12:14 pm    Post subject:

Oh man, what a heartbreak. And it's not like we're getting blown out, those are close, winnable games.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 12:41 pm    Post subject:

danzag wrote:
Oh man, what a heartbreak. And it's not like we're getting blown out, those are close, winnable games.


These are Huge losses. Blow outs would have been better for us. Bron and AD both played 40 plus minutes.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 1:59 pm    Post subject:

DancingBarry wrote:
These teams are so close, I could see us winning the next four after regaining momentum at home. Could we do stupid stuff again the next two games? Sure.

We looked physically tired in the first half of the first game. Then we looked mentally tired in this one. Hopefully, the home crowd and sea level makes up the difference.


Interesting.

Thanks, as always, for your coverage!
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 4:03 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 4:59 pm    Post subject:

winghin8 wrote:
Laker7 wrote:
Thanks DB.

FWIW my three points as to why we lost.

1. Poor shooting by our superstars. AD and LBJ were 13 for 34 from the floor for a combined 40 points and 23 boards. These are the stats I would expect from one superstar in a conference finals, not two.

2. Leaving Schroeder on Murray instead of bringing Vando back in. Schroeder is a pest defensively but not a stopper.

3. DLo disappearing again. He drew two fouls on KCP in the first quarter but stopped being aggressive after that.


Cant agree more about Vando. We lost to Murray today and he was not as hot when guarded by Vando

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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 6:01 pm    Post subject:

DancingBarry wrote:
These teams are so close, I could see us winning the next four after regaining momentum at home. Could we do stupid stuff again the next two games? Sure.

We looked physically tired in the first half of the first game. Then we looked mentally tired in this one. Hopefully, the home crowd and sea level makes up the difference.


I hope you are right DB. Thing is, our fellas concern me in close games in the 4th, primarily due to being unfamiliar with one another. They are at a disadvantage to Denver who has guys playing much longer together, and to a degree that is likely why the Chicken Nuggets won past 2 games (sigh, we lost to Chicken Nuggets!)

In any event, I've sort of come to terms the Nugs just could be the better team, but I am sure as hell going to be rooting for the fellas to find a way to get back into this.
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2023 7:01 pm    Post subject:

This one hurts because we had the game under control. Denver had lost confidence and we had taken the crowd out of it. But then LeBron decides to start shooting 3’s, which of course all missed, then the Nuggets run it back down for a score. It gave them energy and got the crowd going and just to make things even worse AD starts jacking up 3’s too. We totally forgot how to play and what got us the lead, just to go for stupid, low percentage “hero ball” shots. This is the same old story that we’ve seen LeBron doing all too often, but on steroids in this game.

Someone has to tell LeBron he’s open for reason… don’t shoot 3’s! Let Reeves or DLO or Shröeder run the offense and DLO, Reeves, Rui to do the long range shooting. And don’t change how we’ve been playing at the end of games, keep attacking and playing the way that was working for us all game up to that point.
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