HEAT -at- LAKERS - 2/20 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:43 pm    Post subject: HEAT -at- LAKERS - 2/20 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

Down to the Wire... Wes Matthews stood at halftime after missing a three he thought he should have made. Teammates tried to encourage him. He’d get a chance for redemption with the Lakers down 2 with 25 seconds left.

Wide open as the Heat were scrambled in their coverage on LeBron, he missed the open wing three again.

After a foul and Laker score (Wes with a putback), the Heat would throw a horrible, cross-court inbounds. LeBron knocked it away. AC scooped it up and we had a chance to tie or win with the clock rolling.

After AC dumped it off to Bron and unfortunately, brought his man over to double LBJ, LeBron dished it to Caruso. AC had a good look on a jumper at the right sideline at the buzzer...but came up short. Now, it was Caruso’s turn to be disappointed in a perimeter shot that didn’t fall.

With LeBron struggling at times in this game, it was a scrappy effort for the Lakers just to be in the position to win. They missed quite a few shots down the stretch and that will leave a bad taste in their mouths.

“If you are knocking down shots, you are going to have a great night against this team. If not, it’s going to be a long night,” Vogel said.

Long night for the Lakers and they came up short, 96-94. Their record without AD is now 5-3.


LeBron -- -- A lot of pick and pop with those inverse guard screen actions as the game went along. Bron had 15 points on 5-12 shooting in the first half. He sank a three and got to the rim with some consistency, especially if he got some sort of mismatch in early offense. The part of the game dried up on him, and he was also getting extremely frustrated with the officiating (not getting back on D at times). He tried to orchestrate the offense from the perimeter, hunting for switches or guys popping or rolling. But our penetration went away as did our points in the paint. On that last play, you saw AC give it up, LeBron drew the double and gave it back, but AC couldn’t hit. They put Bam on him defensively with no AD out there to start and then used him off LeBron to cause problems later, including on that miss by Wes as LeBron drew defenders. We just couldn’t hit our key shots down the stretch (LeBron 1-8 from three). The Lakers scored just 17 points in that fourth quarter, the Heat just 15. The team struggled without LeBron on the floor tonight. Missing too many pieces and our offense is still clueless. The Stats: He scored 19 points on 7-21 shooting (1-8 from three, 4-4 from the line) to go with 9 boards, 9 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 5 turnovers and 3 fouls in 37 minutes. He was a +11.

Caldwell-Pope -- -- Good lock and trail defender for us against this team, which is important with their high screens that turn into three shots. He did foul a three shooter with an ill-advised challenge. But better game from KCP. Mic’d up tonight. I don’t recall that ever happening. Good to see his shot get going in the first half. We found him for a wide open three and he answered. “That’s cash,” he said after knocking down one of his first half threes. He passed up a couple of threes later on those pick and pop sequences, but Gasol found him for a corner three on a kickout. KCP came up with a key defensive stop, getting an elbow on the perimeter with 25 seconds left down 2 and making sure the refs saw it. I hope he starts turning the corner. The Stats: He scored 11 points on 3-5 shooting from three (2-2 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers and 2 foul sin 35 minutes. He was a +4.

Kuzma -- -- Strong start from Kuzma, probably the best player on the court on both ends early on. I give him more credit than Nunn early because Kuz was scoring tougher shots. He had 11 points in the first quarter, hitting a couple of threes including a tough turnaround to beat the shotclock on an inbounds. He also attacked from the corner for a throwdown finish over the help D. He reversed with some spin off the glass, then hustled back to recover on D and deny a drive, then later broke up a lob on that same defensive stand. So some quality two-way ball early on. He did have a couple breakdowns defensively on the switches, but late in the game some better moments on D. Down the stretch, he missed an open three with 2 minutes left, but he’d power in an And-1 layup off a pass from KCP as Kuz cut from the corner. But then he’d miss another three with 46 seconds left. Hit one of those threes and it might be a W. Overall, though, good game from Kuz. The Stats: He scored 23 points on 8-21 shooting (4-11 from three, 3-5 from the line) to go with 4 boards and 3 fouls in 34 minutes. He was a -6.

Matthews -- : -- Interesting game from Wes. The hot takes will probably ignore that this really does look like an important upgrade against the Heat if we were to play them again. In fact, we probably sweep the Heat if we had him last year. How’s that for a hot take in return. One of the key matchups to watch tonight was Wes vs. Butler. Wes played Butler well in the playoffs, and we struggled with that defensive assignment in the Finals (Green/KCP/Kuz could not guard him). Wes did not bring the right focus early on, which might have made it tougher to tell if he’d hold up in a series if you go off first impressions. The mistakes early, however, were just a lack of fundamentals, not vet-like at all. He wasn’t locked in. He gave up a lazy putback to Butler, ball watching. He took a poor angle defensively and gave up a straight line drive. After he and Kuzma had miscommunication on a play and we gave up a layup, that forced a timeout. Then he gave up another putback score with no box out. So really an awful first stint. His second stint against him was much better. But as the game went along you could see Wes forcing Butler to pass off on drives after gaining no advantage. Only LeBron/AD could give that to us in the Finals with any consistency. He then started to get some stops and force turnovers. But we were able to leave him on an island at times and not get consistently overpowered/destroyed like Green/KCP/Kuzma were in the playoffs. What that did for the Heat last year was activate their shooters against us or get abused by Jimmy. So this is an upgrade and I’d love to see the Heat again in the playoffs with a healthy roster. Offensively, scratching out a couple of threes helped the team get some much needed floor spacing. He and LeBron ran that two-man action quite a bit. We talked about the miscues and the big putback in the intro above. Near double-double from Wes. The Stats: He scored 10 points on 4-10 shooting (2-7 from three) to go with 8 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal,1 block and 1 foul in 31 minutes. He was a +6.

Gasol -- -- This is not a series I would think he’d play in with AD out there. But it was interesting watching AD coaching him up on the sideline on defensive schemes since he’s familiar with how they want to defend certain plays (I’m guessing a couple of those lob sequences early on). But Marc worked it out tonight. He hit a couple threes, which is key. But I think defensively even after we started to get on the same page, the team held the Heat to quarters of 23, 22 and 15. No AD allows the Heat to do some things with Bam that can cause issues defensively with certain switches and paint packing. AD’s mobility and all-around game takes a lot of that away. The Stats: He scored 6 points on 2-6 shooting from three to go with 5 boards, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 24 minutes. He was a +3.

Harrell -- -- That was a quiet 18 points. The box score doesn’t even feel accurate. But he was able to finish around the rim. He scored a layup, rolling to take a pocket pass. He scored on a lob finish on an ATO where THT found. He rim runned to draw FTs. Got another mismatch on a rim fun for a score. He powered in another layup. THT found him again in the second half on a high-low pass keyed off LeBron. He got another dunk off the short-roll feed from AC. He hit a tough turnaround in the paint. And he knocked down a floater when LeBron worked the KCP screen action. So, yep, 18 points off the bench in his 24 minutes. And they probably should have got to him a little more when LeBron wasn’t out there. The Stats: He scored 18 points on 7-12 shooting (0-1 from three, 4-4 from the line) to go with 10 boards, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 24 minutes. He was a -7.

Caruso -- -- Uggh. He could not knock it down at the buzzer. And as LeBron said, I wished it was a three instead of a two. AC hit the real issue on its head after the game. He brought his defender over to LeBron on the pass off, instead of clearing out to the opposite side. But he did help cause that turnover as part of his inbound D to force a bad pass. He said he tried to shadow Butler as the inbounds defender and that was key. Not a good game from him. He didn’t score and had a tech, so a negative in the scoring column there. A couple of nice passes in this one to Harrell for scores, one a pocket pass for the layup, another on the short roll to find him for a dunk. But he’s definitely showing his weaknesses and what will keep that contract lower. He’s a star in his role, but out of it? That’s why you put him around stars. Perfect player for that. The Stats: He didn’t score on 0-3 shooting (0-2 from three) to go with 1 board, 4 assists, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls in 20 minutes. He was a -5.

Horton-Tucker -- -- I think if we were in a more organized playoff situation, he might have been able to cause more problems. There are guys on the Heat that cannot cover him at all, but we need to put him in a good floor balanced situation to do that. Good to see THT knock down an open three. It’s been a while. His second three, though, looked like a miss as soon as it left his hands. Some good passing moments with Harrell. That’s been slowly getting better as the team just gets more reps. We made him the trigger man on one ATO play where he lobbed to Harrell. He had another find, hitting a cutting LeBron as THT probed baseline. I think we really need to figure out how to put the ball in his hands more to get in the paint and cause problems because when LeBron isn’t in, we struggle offensively. But teams are definitely scouting his weaknesses as pointed out previously. The Stats: He scored 5 points on 2-3 shooting (1-2 from three) to go with 2 boards, 3 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover and 2 fouls in 17 minutes. He was a -8.

Morris -- -- The talk of Demarcus Cousins, it might not be Gasol that he would take minutes from but Morris and possibly THT, as we’d go big more in our second unit. I’d be surprised if we get him because it’s redundant in some ways (still no rim protection), but you could run him with Trezz off the bench. And there might be some chemistry with AD since they’ve got history. Anyway, Morris was awful tonight. He missed all three of his threes and also had a frustrating couple of turnovers. One a poor post entry pass. Another getting stripped on the short roll. We’ve seen how he played a key roll against the Heat in the Finals. Again, he hits his threes tonight, maybe a different outcome. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 0-3 shooting from three (2-2 from the line) to go with 1 board, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls in 17 minutes. He was a -8.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Let’s go with the miss by Wes late. Gasol/LeBron/Kuzma/Wes/KCP unit. Timeout with 25 seconds left. The Heat put Bam on Wes expecting to switch if LeBron set a screen. They left Wes wide open and he couldn’t knock it down. We don’t have a lot in our playbook and were running those inverse screen actions all game, so it was a bit anticipated by the Heat. Also, I mean, no AD on the floor you can pretty much put most focus on LeBron defensively.

Key Substitution: Anytime LeBron sat. We were -13 without LBJ, who wasn’t even playing great. It just shows how limited our offense is right now. Got to get more practice time in.

Key Stats: The Lakers made 13 threes tonight. In 45 attempts. Super perimeter-oriented, half-court game with no penetration. In the playoffs we’d run some screen-the-screener actions. We’d get LeBron into double gaps to attack. We’re just so far away from that right now. It is what it is. Time can fix it. Just 5 points on the break for the Lakers tonight, as well.
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mhan00
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:58 pm    Post subject:

Morris has been unplayably bad most of this season.

We need DS back ASAP. Lebron needs someone to help him create on offense.
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A Mad Chinaman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:51 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB

Team seemingly didn't play with enough pace (noting that DS is not playing), maybe opposing teams have scouted them to limit these opportunities. However, this should mean that the Lakers should have a rebound advantage, but it hasn't come to fruition

Look forward to the counters that THT will start to highlight

Wondering when they will place Gasol on the low block to force double teams otherwise Gasol will just hit his gimmes!

AC was shooting better a few games ago, wondering if he is subconsciously a little tired
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DrDent
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:17 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB

This could be a long stretch of frustrsting games coming up if their 3 ball collectively continues to elude them
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wolfpaclaker
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:09 am    Post subject:

We got out scored by 13 in the non Lebron minutes in this one.
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pio2u
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:59 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB!
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PenG_
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:05 am    Post subject:

We were 12/32 from three through the first three quarters... good for a respectable 37.5%.

Then went 1-13 in the 4th quarter. Our shooting is just killing us.
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DrDent
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:37 am    Post subject:

PenG_ wrote:
We were 12/32 from three through the first three quarters... good for a respectable 37.5%.

Then went 1-13 in the 4th quarter. Our shooting is just killing us.


I recall a couple games from last year where the lakers shot over 40 3's and did not hit a respectable % either, I believe they lost those games as well - point being, you are correct. With AD. Without AD (even more so without). If you cant hit your shots, you are going to be screwed, especially if coming from behind.

I think we may just have to sit back a second and perhaps look at this team and say - 3 ball wise, did they really get better (collectively; I know individually % wise a couple guys doing better)? AB, Rondo, DG, Dwight/Javale out, DS, Wes, Gasol, Trez in...% wise Lakers probably not really move the needle much at all. Short offseason, not like folks had time to work on their game. Biggest difference this season is no crowds. Lakers team 3 shooting last year was just above 34%; this year it is about the same (was 35% going into the game). Lakers last year were also vulnerable when their 3 ball wasnt falling and if they were forced to shoot it over 30 times.
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danzag
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:15 am    Post subject:

Heartbreaker. Ugh.

Thanks, DB.
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sonic the laker
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:55 pm    Post subject:

I agree with the misusage of THT, and I've spoken of it on separate posts. I believe the same of Kieff. I refuse to believe that there is some sort of huge skill gap between Kieff, and his brother, Marcus. But, look at how Marcus is consistently producing for the Clips. Kieff could be doing the same for us...IF he were being utilized correctly. Vogel and co. were doing the same thing to Kuz, last season. Putting him in positions to fail, instead of to succeed.

Last season's team may have been a better fit, for Vogel. Vogel is a defensive coach. Not an offensive minded one, like say D'Antoni. Last season's team generated offense, from stifling defense. This year's team isn't molded that way. This team has more offensive weapons. But, what use is having all that offense, if you don't have the ability to use it, as a coach?
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