Archives For Los Angeles Lakers

After getting dismantled by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, the Atlanta Hawks returned home to face the 1-9 Lakers. Los Angeles has been terrible on the season, and their league-worst defense offered an easy opportunity for the Hawks to bounce back. That wasn’t the case, as the Lakers came out firing, and put Atlanta at a disadvantage early.

The Hawks defense was awful, allowing Kobe Bryant and company to get whatever they wanted on the offensive end. LA dropped 31 points in the first quarter, and they had one of their most efficient halves of the young season. Paul Millsap scored 13 of the Hawks’ first 15 points, but had to go to the bench due to foul trouble. The rest of the team could only muster up seven points in the first period.

Things didn’t get much better for the Hawks in the second, as the Lakers started to pile on. The Hawks started to show some life on the offensive end, but defensively they struggled for the second straight game. The Lakers were moving the ball more than they had all season, and Atlanta’s rotations weren’t sharp. Nick Young came off the bench in his first game and burned the Hawks, seemingly hitting every shot he took. The Hawks trailed 67-52 at the half, and things weren’t looking good for the home team. Continue Reading…

FINAL

LAL(11-13) 100 – 114 (13-12)ATL

Key Performers:
A. Horford (ATL): 19 pts, 11 reb, 5 ast
N. Young (LAL): 23 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

After slightly struggling on the boards and on defense in the first half, the Hawks completely turned up the energy in the third quarter to completely take over the game. Kyle Korver had 11 points in the quarter, and the entire team was swarming on defense and using that energy to get out in transition. Coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game, “In the third quarter, I thought out aggressiveness and our intensity on the defensive end set the tone for a good second half.” That type of focus was also shown on the offensive end, as the Hawks only had ONE turnover in the entire second half; a far cry from the 27 turnovers they had against the Knicks on Saturday.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: Gasol had some good looks against Horford early, but if Horford is going to play center, this is going to be expected from seven-footers like Pau. Overall, Horford had his usual consistent night, putting up 19 points and 11 rebounds. He was particular fun to watch in transition, has he took the ball up the floor even more than usual in this game, probably because of his speed advantage over Gasol. 9/10

Paul Millsap: Good bounce back for Millsap after his struggles against the Knicks. He had more steals than turnovers tonight (four to two) and he had an extremely solid offensive night with 18 points on 13 shots. The only negative for Millsap is that he did seem to do a poor job boxing out in the first half, which was a big reason the Lakers were doing so well during that time. The problem did correct in the second half, though. 8/10

Jeff Teague: So Robby, Sekou Smith, and I were criticizing Jeff Teague before this game. Why? Because we saw his shot chart and noticed that he’s making less than 50% of his attempts at the rim, which is well below the league average. Coincidentally, another point guard that has this same problem is… Brandon Jennings. Now, scoring troubles aside, Teague did well at orchestrating the offense against the Lakers, especially in the third quarter, where he had six assists. What he did in that quarter that was so successful was partially a team effort, but Jeff made his move extremely quickly in the pick-and-roll, allowing his man to get freed up for the shot attempt. For Jeff to be successful, he has to continue to be quick, decisive, and aggressive in the PnR. 7.5/10

DeMarre Carroll: Since I’m the main force behind the “WHY IS DEMARRE DRIBBLING?” campaign, I should be the first to point out that he did not turn the ball over at all this game. He did, however, take eight shot attempts in the first half (probably not the greatest thing), one of which was a wide open floater from about three feet out that he clanked off the rim. =/ Defensively, he did very well when he was on Kobe, usually keeping the Hall of Famer from getting into the lane. 7/10

Kyle Korver: It was a rocky start for Korver, who missed four open three-point attempts in the first quarter. He did recover from that and scored all 11 of his points in the third quarter, nine of which came off of three-pointers. The streak is now at 94 games with a made three-point field goal. 7/10 Continue Reading…

RECAP: Lakers 105, Hawks 103

Bo Churney —  November 4, 2013 — 1 Comment

FINAL

LAL(2-2) 105 – 103 (1-2)ATL

Key Performers:
P. Gasol (LAL): 16 pts, 13 reb, 2 ast
K. Korver (ATL): 22 pts, 2 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

At one point, the Lakers had a 21-point lead in this game. Los Angeles started 7-for-10 on three-points, and the Hawks were having trouble getting to open shooters in transition and off the pick-and-roll. That shifted in the second half, as Kyle Korver’s shooting and an engaged defense allowed the Hawks to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. The Lakers escaped, however, as Jordan Hill was able to come up with a key offensive rebound, which then led to two Pau Gasol makes from the free throw line. Kyle Korver got the ball on the last possession for the Hawks, but it was blocked by Gasol.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: He was strong on the boards and was a terror for Gasol on defense, but Al’s offensive game just wasn’t there today. I don’t think that was entirely his fault (see Teague’s grade), but the Hawks definitely need Horford to be more assertive in the offense sometimes. Al had some key turnovers late in this game, and it would be nice if he could start consistently making free throws again. 6/10

Paul Millsap: Paul was missing free throws (along with the rest of the team) in the first half, and generally had a poor showing to start the game. But like he’s done so far this season, Millsap rebounded in the second half to the game, scoring 10 points and grabbing five boards after the break. Personally, I’d like to see the Hawks try and establish Millsap in the paint earlier in the game than they have been 7/10

DeMarre Carroll: Per the usual, DeMarre had a couple of nice off-ball cuts and a couple of nice passes, but foul trouble limited his effectiveness in this game. He picked up his third foul in the third quarter, which meant that Cartier Martin took most of the SF minutes in the final period. 4/10

Jeff Teague: Jeff only had two turnovers, but was 7-for-18 from the field and was, in my opinion, bad at running the offense of the pick-and-roll. And several plays off of a Horford screen, it seemed like Jeff held onto the ball for too long, passing up a wide-open Al on the elbow to essentially reset the offense. He definitely wasn’t make those swift passes that he did in the first two games. 5/10

Kyle Korver: Kyle was HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT from the field tonight, hitting all six of his three-pointers and eight of his 10 shots overall. Kyle’s 30-foot jumper with 1:16 left was absolutely breathtaking, and Kyle’s flubbed last play can’t cancel out his performance in the second half of this game. 10/10 Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 45-37 (7th in West)z-lakers

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Chris Kaman (free agent), Nick Young (free agent), Wes Johnson (free agent)

Key Losses: Dwight Howard (free agent), Metta World Peace (amnesty), Earl Clark (free agent)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 35-47 (11th in West)*

What to Expect: So much of LA’s season depends on when Kobe Bryant comes back from his Achilles injury and if he can still contribute at the highest level like we are so accustomed of seeing from him.

Just my thoughts on the matter: Kobe will be slowed a little bit, but he’ll still easily have the game to be a high-scoring player. His post game was as good as we’ve ever seen from a guard last year, and I expect him to be more reliant on that than ever. However, his ability to get to the basket will definitely be effected. I think he ends up with less free throws and buckets around the rim than in the past, but he’ll still have enough post and mid-range game to get his 20-plus points per game. Continue Reading…

FINAL

LAL(34-32) 92 – 96 (35-29) ATL

Key Performers:

K. Bryant (LAL): 31 pts, 7 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl
A. Horford (ATL): 14 pts, 14 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Missing Josh Smith, Jeff Teague and Zaza Pachulia, was there any other way you could have seen this going? Atlanta played inspired basketball, led by Al Horford, and controlled the pace of the game. They got into their sets quickly, spread the ball effectively and in crunch time against one of the game’s all-time closers, walked away with a win, breaking a three-game losing stretch and possibly turning around Atlanta’s season.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Johan Petro: It wasn’t quite the “Petro game”, but maybe the “Petro three quarters”. The 7-footer controlled Dwight Howard on defense for much of the night, and added 10 points and 11 rebounds in just 26 minutes. 7/10

Al Horford: Al was handed the keys to the team, for just a night, and played remarkably on both ends of the court. The Lakers chose to defend Horford with Metta World Peace for much of the night, which the forward responded to by simply backing him down and taking him to the hoop. Horford finished the night with 14 points and 14 boards, driving Atlanta to the huge win. 8/10

Dahntay Jones: It won’t show up on the stat sheet, as he missed all five shots he took, but Jones smothered Kobe Bryant for much of the night, only allowing three of Bryant’s 11 makes.  6/10

Devin Harris: Harris really stepped up to the challenge for the shorthanded Hawks Wednesday night against the Lakers. Thin at point guard, Harris played the second most minutes (34) and was the driving force in the fourth quarter to give and maintain Atlanta’s lead. His nine-straight points in the fourth quarter propelled the Hawks to the streak-snapping win. 8.5/10

Anthony Tolliver: Everyone produced for the Hawks Wednesday, even Tolliver, who popped off nine points and six boards in 24 minutes. He did, however, play porous defense on World Peace, who scored 20 points and snagged eight rebounds. To be fair, Tolliver played a good bit of help defense on Bryant, which generally left MWP open in the corner or near the rim. 6/10 Continue Reading…

Long road trips are never easy for any team in the NBA team, and the Hawks are no different. On this latest road trip, the Hawks have gone 3-2, which is not bad at all. However, they have lost two straight to the Suns and the Lakers. Tonight they face a very tough Denver team on a road back-to-back, which is the hardest regular season game to win for any team.

If the Hawks are going to win tonight they’re going to need to fix some problems that they had in last night’s game against the Lakers. For instance the Lakers went 10/21 (47%) from three-point range last night. That is inefficient defensively and you are going to lose a lot of games allowing this to happen. When you get 34 assists on offense in one game, you need to win that game.

You need to execute down the stretch; the Hawks, for as well as they played last night, just didn’t defend the three-pointer and they didn’t execute when they needed to the most. The game was relatively close down the stretch and it was a very winnable game. If the Hawks had just executed correctly (particularly on that final play), I’d be spending more time on the good things they did, like the assists, the way the offense ran, and the amazing shooting. Instead, I’m talking about the bad things; thus is the ways of the NBA.

The Nuggets are going to be a tough team for Hawks as they are not coming off a back to back and are one of the best home teams in the NBA (25-3). The reason I was driving home the 3 point shooting issue: the Nuggets shoot 14 three point attempts per-36 minutes. This isn’t a huge number, but it’s enough that if they get warm from there, it could be dangerous. The Hawks defense will need to be on top of their game defensively, because the Nuggets share the ball; they are third in the league in assists per game (24.3), and that passing can really give a lot of teams a headache.

The Hawks want to finish this road trip strong and they have a chance to do that tonight. As long as they defend a little better and play offense the same way they did last night, it’s not insane to say they have a good chance at winning tonight.

FINAL

LAL(30-30) 99 – 98 (33-25) ATL

Key Performers:

K. Bryant (LAL): 34 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast
A. Horford (ATL): 24 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

The comeback Hawks tried to be magical again, erasing a double-digit deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Of course, Kobe Bryant wasn’t going to have any of that. Bryant scored the Lakers last six points, including a thunderous dunk, and a driving layup past Josh Smith to seal the game in the final seconds. The Hawks did have another chance to take the lead, but in true Hawks fashion, it was blown by player miscommunication.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Josh Smith: This might have been the most Josh Smith game ever. (I think I’ve said that many times before, but whatever) He was actually efficient from the field (9-16) and had seven assists, but he missed all six of his free throw attempts and turned the ball over six times. Of course, he also let Kobe punk him down the stretch (Josh probably shouldn’t have been guarding him), and then failed to control the ball on the final play. Very Smoove-like, indeed. 5/10

Al Horford: Al extended his streak of 20+ point games to 10, which is good, but it still felt like Al didn’t take full advantage of the situation he was in. The points are good, but he seemed overpowered on the boards at times when he shouldn’t have been. And, of course, since I usually kill Josh on this, I have to point out that Al missed some buckets in the fourth quarter that probably should have dropped. Not a bad night at all from Al, just a bit disappointing from what could’ve been. 8/10

Kyle Korver: The three-point streak climbs to 51, and that wasn’t all; Kyle was a huge reason the Hawks were able to get back into this game. The team was able to get him a lot of open looks, and he knocked down quite a few of them. It’s of my opinion that he could have had more, but you can’t fault him for a 6-13 shooting night that much. 6/10

Jeff Teague: Speaking of leaving something to be desired, Jeff wasn’t exactly a killer out there for the Hawks. He didn’t turn the ball over a ton like he usually does when he has a bad night, but his erratic shooting in the first half is what helped the Lakers build the double-digit lead that they had. Dwight Howard is regaining his form on defense, so you can’t exactly fault Jeff for not being able to get good looks in the paint, but he has to make up for it by making jumpers if that is what he is going to do. 3/10

Devin Harris: Hey Jeff, take note of what Devin did this game before he starts cutting heavily into your minutes again. Devin made most of his shots, got to the line more than Teague, and had six assists against zero turnovers. Considering they both excel at the same style of play (attacking), you really can’t chalk this up to Devin being a “change of pace” from what Jeff should be doing. And while I usually don’t like using single-game +/-, Devin was a plus-24 and Jeff was a minus-25. That’s something that should not be happening. 8/10 Continue Reading…

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Welp, there goes my dream hire for the Hawks after the season.

D’Antoni was selected over Phil Jackson and will sign a four-year deal with the Lakers. Unlike most people, I like this hire, as I think Phil was asking for too much, and that the triangle would essentially turn Steve Nash into Derek Fisher. D’Antoni’s system that is highly reliant on the pick-and-roll should work with Nash, Gasol, and Dwight with almost no problems. As long as Kobe still gets his shots, no one in Lakerland should be upset with this decision at all.

The biggest criticism facing D’Antoni is that he won’t fix the Lakers’ defensive struggles. I actually disagree with this notion; while his Suns teams weren’t the best at defense, his Knicks’ defense with Tyson Chandler was one of the best in the league last year. People will try to attribute that to Mike Woodson, despite the fact that Woodson’s Hawks never finished in the top ten in DRtg in his tenure in Atlanta.

D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix were always average defensively, even though his starting bigs were Amar’e Stoudemire and Boris Diaw. I think he’ll be fine with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol clogging the paint. Continue Reading…