LAKERS -at- BLAZERS - 5/7 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 10:01 pm    Post subject: LAKERS -at- BLAZERS - 5/7 - Thoughts and :-(( Ratings

Outgunned... It’s hard to be terribly optimistic going into a game like this when you’re still missing your three best ball handlers. At times, it hurt them.

The Lakers had 8 turnovers in the first quarter and fell back by double digits early. They righted the ship and played clean during the second and third quarters, no turnovers and would eventually catch the Blazers.

But miscues, both mental and just guys trying to do things a little out of their usual wheelhouse, would catch up with them in that fourth.

Throw in the refs pulling points from them: An obvious goaltend not called on an AC layup; A no-call on what should have been an And-1 dunk by AD (ball went down through the rim, into the net and snapped back out...and then no whistle after getting hit on that); and then erasing a putback dunk by Kuz (called by the ref with the worst angle on the play).

“He made a great play,” AD said of Kuzma’s erased dunk.

That play was followed by a Dame three, a couple Laker turnovers and suddenly the lead ballooned to 10 points with just a few minutes left. Anthony Davis would go on a tear down the stretch and pull the Lakers back to striking distance. Kuzma had a chance to tie the game up with a three in transition off a Davis block, but missed.

Later, the Lakers would take a foul they didn’t need to give, instead of playing for one stop and then a chance to tie it. It was a spirited effort. We had Davis looking like a superstar once again, but the Lakers ultimately just didn’t have the guns to overcome everything against them in this one They fell 106-101.

“We played well enough and hard enough to win,” Caruso said. Despite the mental mistakes, he’s right. Flip some of those calls around that directly led to taking points off the board and they could have had that W just on those.

Davis -- -- This was the game I was looking for from him tonight. A true AD game. He had to come up big and he did. He also nearly brought the team back from down 10 late in the fourth quarter with a one-man run getting to the line again and again -- a silver lining in this one. Get us LeBron back to being LeBron and let’s go! Early on, AD had 14 points on 5-8 shooting, including 4 assists in the first half. Then he dropped 22 in the second half. We saw him bring the ball up court a few times. Such is life with a lack of ball handlers. He had some nice feeds. On one push out, he hit KCP in transition for a three. On another push out, he scored a lefty layup. He also had a no-looker in the paint to Drummond for a dunk. He’d drain a couple of threes and get some midrange scores. I’ll talk a little bit more about the spacing issues with Drummond down below, but AD/Gasol looked so much better. Hard to say anything about the freethrow shooting. It hasn’t been there this season. Think about the 5 missed FTs, the jumphook that rattled out, a three that rattled out and what looked like an And-1 dunk, that popped down through the rim, into the net, then popped out...and a foul wasn’t called. So nothing on that. A lot of little things that just added up to being too much to overcome. The Stats: He scored 36 points on 12-23 shooting (2-3 from three, 10-15 from the line) to go with 12 boards (3 offensive), 5 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers and 1 foul in 39 minutes. He was a -11.

Caldwell-Pope -- -- Good game by KCP. He had 11 points on 4-5 shooting in the first half. He attacked a couple of times for And-1 layups and also hit a three in transition early on. Hed’ swish a pull up at the FT line in the second half, get hit on a three for FTs and backdoor a man for more FTs when Gasol found him. Meanwhile, solid defense on a tough guard duo out there (a couple big threes hit on, him, though). Efficient scoring. With he had the pull-up three in transition instead of Kuz because he likely would have buried that. Some decent passing, as well. He found Morris on a bounce pass for a score. He’d weave through defenders in transition and hit McLemore for a corner three in transition. He also hit AD on a pick and pop three. The Stats: He scored 17 points on 5-9 shooting (1-4 from three, 6-7 from the line) to go with 4 boards, 5 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers and 3 fouls in 38 minutes. He was a +1.

Kuzma -- -- Wrong guy with the ball on the break for three with under a minute left. He should have known he was the wrong guy shooting threes and have been trying to get to the rim for a layup instead. He had a chance to tie it up, wide open for the three and was way short. No legs. That would have brought the Lakers back from down 10. On again, off again for Kuz. He struggled from the start of this game, missing everything. Good looks from three, just not dropping. It wasn’t the offense’s fault. He was just off. He got screwed out of a big putback jam in that fourth quarter, too. That seemed to set off a series of plays that went against the Lakers that they couldn’t quite recovery from. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 2-11 shooting (0-6 from three) to go with 5 boards, 1 assist, 3 turnovers and 3 fouls in 33 minutes. He was a +3.

Caruso -- -- A couple of points to discuss on the close of the game. He and McLemore were both confused about the clock on D on what should have been a final defensive stand and took a foul. That’s on them, for sure. Got to be aware of the situation and what your coach wants. Offensively, on that final play that AC missed an off-balance running jumper. The play looked like it was to set up KCP for a corner three. AD didn’t get a good enough screen, AC attacked, thought he’d get the foul call on the bump, threw it up and missed. Just not good execution anywhere. And, frankly, I’d rather give AD that three with how he was shooting them. Put a guard on a big and AD will shoot over a smaller man. Anyway, very poor execution in the final seconds. That marred a really good game from AC. He should have had double digit scoring in the first half, but choked two easy layups. He’d finish with 7 points on 3-7 shooting. After that, hiccup with those missed layups, he was strong. He swished a three to start the second half (started both halves with a three). He’d sink a fading jumper across the lane next time down. He grabbed a board, pushed out, changed directions on Dame and scored a layup. He then had a layup, clearly goaltended that came off the backboard. He had another aggressive attack for a layup, then another splitting defenders for a layup. Love the aggressiveness from him. In the playoffs last year, he found that good balance with when to attack. So these were some good minutes big picture-wise. We need our second unit guys to be effective when LeBron comes back. Defensively, man, did he get whistled for a cheap one in the first quarter against Dame. We reviewed it and the refs still stuck with it. Just touch ball when AC was running in a straight line and Dame kind of pushed into him a little and chucked up a shot to get the refs attention. AC had a couple of good plays, one drawing a charge on a great rotation behind the play. Another he just got body checked as he tried to close on a dunk attempt and AC went flying. The Stats: He scored 18 points on 8-16 shooting (2-2 from three) to go with 6 boards, 2 assists, 1 turnover and 2 foul sin 35 minutes. He was a -8.

Drummond -- -- Foul trouble in the first half, probably did the Lakers a favor as we went to Gasol sooner and the paint opened up a little more. If you want AD posting up low, you can’t have Drummond out there. They take the paint away for AD to attack and Drummond isn’t a scary enough lob threat like a McGee or someone that they can easily recover to. It’s just a big problem for the Lakers and it isn’t going anywhere. Throw in LeBron trying to penetrate and having to navigate that, as well. Not easy. Schröder has to be more selective, as well. Defensively, he had some issues giving up space to three shooters coming off screens. We can’t do that with the Blazers. He tightened that up more as the game went along. Offensively, he was called for an illegal screen, called for a hook in the post, so he gave back possessions. We really need to go after the offensive glass with our two bigs in those big lineups. I want pressure on the rim. If we are making them guard AD with a smaller player, they really need to become more of a menace with their size. That’s not happing. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 2-4 shooting to go with 9 boards, 2 assists, 3 turnovers and 6 fouls in 22 minutes. He was a -2.

Gasol -- -- Again, the decision should not be Drummond or Gasol. It should be Drummond or Trezz. Tonight, it was Trezz sitting out. Gasol pulls defenders out of the paint. Neither Trezz nor Drummond do that. As we go into the playoffs, the decision will also be how much will we play AD at the C spot. So what do those minutes at C look like then. They should be even fewer. Good run for Marc tonight. We needed his playmaking and three shooting out there. Look at both of the threes he made and where his man was. He was sagging back deep in the paint. Marc made them pay on those. Again, some good passing sequences from Marc, but there was a lot more of the high handoff stuff where he’d be the screener. Even he pushed the ball up court once eith our lack of ballhandlers today. I think that might have been the play where he hit KCP cutting backdoor for FTs. The Stats: He scored 6 points on 2-4 shooting (2-3 from three) to go with 4 boards, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block and 2 fouls in 23 minutes. He was a -6.

Morris -- -- Weird game from Keef. He got his scores on a layup off a feed from KCP as they worked some two-man action. He had a tip in late on an AD miss. But prior to that tip in, he was a one-man disaster for a stretch. He tried to create and threw the ball into the stands (KCP didn’t even bother trying to reach for it...just give that to Gasol, please). He then had a miss on iso next time down. He followed that up by throwing an outlet away for another turnover. I hate when guys compound errors. Several straight possessions of that at a key juncture. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 2-6 shooting to go with 4 boards, 1 assist, 2 turnovers and 1 foul in 10 minutes. He was a +6.

Matthews -- -- Fool’s gold tonight. He hit his first two threes, then missed the rest of his shots the rest of the night. The Stats: He scored 6 points on 2-7 shooting (2-5 from three) to go with 1 board, 2 assists and 1 foul in 17 minutes. He was a -9.

McLemore -- -- Defensively, it’s usually a bit of a challenge. He and AC looked like they were trying to give that foul late when we shouldn’t have. Can’t have those mental mistakes. I did like a great rotation he had in the first half to go vertical on Lillard and block him. He can get some good contests in sometimes. His first jumper of the game was way flat, didn’t stand a chance. He’d hit a wide open three later in transition in the first half and again another wide open three in the corner in transition in the second half. The rest of his shots had some sort of contest that put him a little off balance. Hopefully, we can get clicking at a high enough level where he has more looks in transition or more open ones in the half court. But we need our guys back. The Stats: He scored 6 points on 2-9 shooting (2-7 from three) to go with 4 boards, 1 block and 1 foul in 23 minutes. He was a +1.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: So many down the stretch. We could talk about McLemore/AC trying to take a foul up 3 when they had time to get a stop and get the ball back. But let’s go back further. The Lakers got screwed on a few baskets that could have made a big difference. Kyle Kuzma had a putback dunk of a Gasol missed three that was erased for offensive interference. On the replay, it looked good. On the other end, Dame hit a three. Instead of a 2-point deficit, it was 7 with 3:50 left to go. Vogel called a timeout. So many plays where the Lakers should have had points, but didn’t -- AC had a shot goaltended that wasn’t called in the second half. AD had a jumphook rattle out, a three rattle out, then a dunk that went all the way in but popped back out when the ball got caught in the net as the rim snapped back (fouled on that play, as well, not called, should have been FTs regardless). Out of that timeout with 3:50 left, we threw the ball with back-to-back turnovers to come up empty and were down by 10. Too many turnovers in the fourth and too many other little things went against them, but props to AD down the stretch, getting to the line on boards while imposing himself on the game, he cut the lead to 3 with 1:10 (7-0 run by AD). Then blocked shot on other end and Kuzma had a chance to tie. Way short on an open three in transition, wide open.

Key Substitution: Marc Gasol in this game instead of Trezz. Frankly, Drummond was barely serviceable. He was foul prone and didn’t do much of anything. But good to at least see Vogel be more decisive and not try to half-ass it with Gasol minutes. The Lakers needed his playmaking and presence on both ends.

Key Stats: The Lakers had 8 turnovers in the first quarter and trailed big. No turnovers in the second and third quarters. Then 6 turnovers in the fourth. Well, you’re missing your ball handlers. I can’t be too mad at that. But when those turnovers came, they came in a hurry.

Coach’s Challenge: The Lakers took theirs with 12 seconds left on a bogus foul call on AC as Dame initiated contact and then threw it up to force a whistle. AC did nothing on that play. Normally, it’s a pretty early challenge, but I think they were annoyed. Secondly, they couldn’t afford fouls on AC. Challenge unsuccessful. That was AC’s second foul. We could have certainly used that challenge in the fourth on a couple of those plays that went against us.
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 10:13 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB

Frustrating loss since the guys played hard. Cant complaint about the effort.

Not happy with Kuz taking the key shot that coulda tied the game. But is what it is.

Hard to win against a very talented, healthy team like the Blazers when you are down 3 of your best guys who can put pressure on the rim (LBJ, DS, and yes THT). Lakers made a good attempt, but Blazers just would keep hitting big shots.

Perplexed by the bizzare bounces of the ball and strange calls by the Refs. I felt the call v Kuz was the refs "making up" one for AD's putback which was not offensive interference, but the Blazers were losing their minds over that...Kuz's put back was more obvious a clean one than AD's to be honest.

I note your comment about the AC general take away in watching how they officiated guys guarding Dame is this: They officiate to PROTECT Dame, versus actually calling true fouls at times. Several phantom ones and ticky-tacks.

Lakers now pretty much will be in the play-in, with probably about a 35% chance to surpass the Blazers if they can find a way to 3 (or 4) of their next 5, and hope the Blazers lose at least 4 of their next 5.
"One thing I admire about Kuzma is his unwavering confidence. He truly has no idea that he’s not as good as he thinks." - Killer_Z
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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2021 11:40 pm    Post subject:

This loss didn’t bother me near as much as the previous ones. We played hard and competed. I felt we lost it on some mental mistakes and Kuz having one of his worst shooting nights of the year. AD also missed too many free throws and a couple easy shots. But we still were in it to the end, which is a big improvement over some of the other recent losses. Considering we only had one point guard it was amazing we were in it at all.

Caruso is improving at attacking the basket.

Drummond has to step it up. I felt like the rest of the team is covering for him on D (AD saved him a couple times) and he’s not giving us enough on offense or even rebounding.

Great to see AD playing a little more like himself (still aways to go).
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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2021 1:52 am    Post subject:

Coaches faces the equation of getting LBJ & AD healthy vs avoiding the Play-In games

Management and coaches decided that health is the top concerned (just as the Nets are doing, who have also lost 5 games in a row with similar injury issues

With AD looking much better

LBJ taking the needed time for an extended playoff run

TNT getting healthy and more time to breakdown/analyze their game

Dennis Schroeder back

Play In games would hopefully be warm up games before meeting the elite teams (be record)

Tricky road but most viable
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