SUNS -at- LAKERS - 5/9 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

 
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DancingBarry
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2021 9:45 pm    Post subject: SUNS -at- LAKERS - 5/9 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

This AD... “The beast is waking up,” Alex Caruso said afterward.

In a possible preview of a first-round matchup, the Lakers faced the Suns tonight. Quick roster check: They sat Kuzma and Morris to go with LeBron and Schröder. Back in the mix, THT.

In the first half, they ran the offense through AD. He drew doubles, scoring over and through them while also moving the ball to shooters for scores.

In the second half, the Suns looked to zone more. While the Lakers didn’t attack it great, their shooters kept them clicking as they dropped 39 points. AD would drop a dozen in the third.

As the Lakers extended the lead to 23 to open the fourth, AD took his rest. The Suns started chipping away at the lead as they attacked our other bigs off the screens. They’d pour in 18 points in the first 4 minutes.

Vogel brought back AD to bring them home. In the final couple of minutes, he was everywhere on the floor. He dove to the floor for a loose ball, secured a big defensive board, hit FTs, block a three and then put the exclamation mark on the game as he threw down a reverse And-1 lob dunk.

The Suns have two very big problems facing the Lakers -- LeBron Jame and Anthony Davis. They really don’t have an answer for them. They found some productive things against our backup bigs that they could run up some points on, but they may not be available to them when the Lakers have a full roster. The Lakers won 123-110.


Davis -- -- A beast tonight. He just stuffed that stat sheet and there’s a bunch of hockey assists he won’t get credit for, too. We ran a ton of offense through him in the first half. The Suns were sending doubles, not always quick, which would give AD a little time to work and he did, pouring in 22 points on 8-15 shooting. Just 1 assist in the half, but a number of hoops from the Lakers off AD doubles. They didn’t always make the right counter on the pass, but they made clean passes. Clean passes got the defense scrambling and the Lakers were scoring efficiently off of those. (KCP had two threes, AC had a three and FTs...11 potential points off those 4 passes). I also like that AD didn’t always pass, but looked to score before doubles could close on him. It wasn’t that they were perfectly executing, but they were able to effectively score against that type of defense with more than half their points in the half by working through that hub in the offense. Without our playmakers, that was mission critical. He picked back up in the third quarter, but the Suns would zone some to take away that effectiveness against the doubles. He had 12 points and 3 assists in the third quarter. The third assist, they sent help to him while he was working off the dribble in the middle of the floor and he hit McLemore in the corner for the open three, great read against the double kind of looking off the D before finding him. He sat early in the fourth and the Lakers couldn’t hold court. He returned and restored order as he tightened up the D (Suns with 18 points first 4 minutes, 15 points next 8 minutes). Great job getting to the line again and this time, he knocked them down at a high clip. The high number of FTAs just show how aggressively he’s playing. The Stats: He scored 42 points on 13-27 shooting (1-5 from three, 15-17 from the line) to go with 12 boards (3 offensive), 5 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers and 1 foul in 41 minutes. He was a +26.

Caldwell-Pope -- -- Steady, quiet, two-way game. He had 9 points and 3 steals in the first half. He sank a couple of threes that started with AD in the post and drew some FTs in transition. The seals where swiping passes and poking balls loose with good hands. In the second half, he had another three on a strong side kick from AD. He sink another three with THT found him, and he’d hit some FTs lately. Really good defense by the Laker starting guards. Part of that is dependent on the bigs to do their job so our guys can recover. Booker was a -22 tonight, KCP a +22. The Stats: He scored 17 points on 4-9 shooting from three (5-5 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 2 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls in 35 minutes. He was a +22.

Drummond -- -- Foul trouble had him tag teaming with Gasol early on. Gasol got picked on for fouls, as well. Just having his big body out there so that the Suns have to put someone smaller on AD causes some problems. Again, it’s hard for him to have big scoring night when there’s no real playmaking guard action for him. Great job on the offensive boards (7), although I don’t know if you should count the ones on his own missed layups. But possessions are key and you’ve got to have our size matter. Nice seeing a little chemistry with the high-low feed to AD for a dunk. He blew that read a few games ago, not this time. Also another good feed on a kickout against the zone for an inside-out three to McLemore. The Stats: He scored 6 points on 2-7 shooting (2-2 from the line) to go with 10 boards (7 offensive), 2 assists, 2 turnovers and 4 fouls in 20 minutes. He was a +3.

Caruso -- -- Aggressive AC is causing teams some problems. The scouting report is telling them one thing and the last few games, AC is showing them another. He’s made it a point to put pressure on the D and he did that tonight with the 17 points and 8 assists going up against CP3. The Lakers had a couple defensive assignments they were subbing in and out with the Suns. AC’s assignment was CP3. Anytime he’d go out, AC went out. CP3 back in, AC back in. He screwed that up in the third quarter when he was tagged with foul after foul (looked like a clean charge he drew on one). But just like that up 18, we had to sit him for a long stretch. It was a weird couple of minutes with instant whistles, one after another and not by fouling CP3. His D on Paul was strong all night. He had 9 points in the first half and 2 steals. He got to the line a few times, but missed too many in that first half (2-5). He’d hit a corner three that started on an AD double. On one possession, he kept running the screen as CP3 kept going under all the way back into the paint, then AC attacked for FTs. He went to the rim strong a few times in the second half, one turning the corner and muscling in an ANd-1 layup against the help D. Another, just a full court And-1 after a made basket. Guys trying to get up on him and pressure him were paying the price. Passing wise, he found Wes on a kickout for a three and a backdoor cut for And-1 layup. Late in the game, he hit AD with the pocket pass for the layup (watch CP3 looking foolish on that one defensively). AC also found AD for that lob dunk in the final minute. He also broke up a lob himself earlier getting up to deny a big and knock it away for a steal. Great game. The Stats: He scored 17 points on 6-11 shooting (1-3 from three, 4-8 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 8 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers and 5 fouls in 32 minutes. He was a +9.

Matthews -- -- Out of the rotation to starting. Nice thing about vets like Wes and Gasol is that they’re pro’s pro’s. They know their game and are able to sacrifice time without losing that game. He sank a couple of threes in the third quarter. One was a deep one to bail out the offense against the clock. He’d score a big And-1 layup on a backdoor cut that caught CP3 off guard. That was a savvy play to get some points when we needed it. The Stats: He scored 9 points on 3-5 shooting (2-4 from three, 1-1 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 fouls in 33 minutes. He was a +13. The Action: Miss orner three in tran. Swing to AC on kick for a three. Miss good look at three. // He hit a wing three on a kcikou from AC. Hit deep three to bail out offense against clock. Big backdoor cut and AC hit him for And-1 layup against CP3, made FT.

Harrell -- -- They were a -9 in his 7 first half minutes. Really, it was all in about a minute and half of the close of the first half when we brought him back in and the Suns scored aggressively. The sketchiest minutes of the game were when Trezz was on the floor. We ran some big lineups with Gasol where Trezz had to be the PF on D, so that was a switch for him. Late in the game, he got aggressive trying to defend on the perimeter and it sounded like the Laker bench responded to that trying to get him motivated to play that way. Some good finishes around the rim. I loved him abusing CP3 for a putback when those two found each other matched up. Still, I just couldn’t wait for him to sit in this one. The Suns found their momentum when he was on the court. He said he’s dealing with a lot off the court and his time at the game is great to get away from that. Not sure what’s going on there. The Stats: He scored 12 points on 4-6 shooting (4-6 from the line) to go with 3 boards (2 offensive) and no fouls in 15 minutes. He was a -9.

Gasol -- -- Drummond started and when Ayton/Drummond got into foul trouble, we then brought in Gasol at the backup C. Shortly later, we saw Gasol/Trezz for the first time on the court. Offensively, Gasol is the PF and stretches the floor. Trezz stays at C. Defensively, they switch. The Suns started attacking Gasol a bit off the high screens and getting into the midrange or forcing switches and pulling him out. He got tagged with multiple fouls had his fifth by the end of the third quarter. It was just a bit too easy for the Suns. If the Suns found something, it was to go after our bigs when AD was off the court. They got increasingly efficient as the game when along. Really quiet night offensively for Gasol. He’d get fouled 35 feet from the hoop for his only point. The passing wasn’t really taking apart the D. I’m much more comfortable with him on the floor with that second unit versus Trezz. When you get LeBron back that will be even better. The Stats: He scored 1 point on 1-2 shooting from the line to go with 6 boards, 3 assists and 5 fouls in 18 minutes. He was a +10.

Horton-Tucker -- -- He’d sink a deep three when the D went under a screen early on and then also swish a baseline pull-up. His other score was a beautiful drive where he muscled a bigger man backward on the gather, took his step and scored the layup. That’s his man game right there. The down side in this game was some poor decisions against the zone at times. He had a pass in the second half that looked LeBron-like in that he looked off the D to get them leaning one direction, then hit the shooter on the kickout. The Stats: He scored 7 points on 3-7 shooting (1-2 from three) to go with 2 boards, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers and 1 foul in 21 minutes. He was a +0.

McLemore -- -- Designated zone buster tonight. When all else fails against the zone, get a shooter in there who can just drill over the top. He did that for a couple of big ones in the second half, then helped the Lakers to one of their biggest leads of the night by sinking a corner three on an AD drive and kick to close a quarter. Defensively, we definitely missed our starting guards. He did get whistled for what looked like a bogus foul on a three shooter to give up FTs, He was just standing there. The Stats: He scored 12 points on 4-8 shooting (4-7 from three) to go with 1 board, 1 turnover and 1 foul in 22 minutes. He was a -5.

McKinnie -- -- A brief stint when our bench was struggling to defend while AD sat in the fourth. Nothing to report. The Stats: He was a -4 in 3 minutes.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: AD going after a long offensive board in a crowd then diving to the floor before CP3 could get it to recover and call a timeout with 1:26. Then he secured a defensive board to get another possessions, then drew a foul while pushing it up. Some daggers don’t have to be made shots but just getting the ball for key possessions. He made the FTs on that to put the team up 10 with 1 minute left. He’d then block a three on the other end. His exclamation was a reverse jam And-1 lob with 35 seconds left. Wow.

Key Substitution: Bringing back AD and AC in the fourth after the Suns started scorching the second unit was key. They restored order and you could see the D raise several levels with their presence back on the floor.

Key Stats: A lot of whistles tonight. The Lakers made 32-41 from the line. A lot of that was AD was just getting after it, but they played aggressively as a team. Another key stat, the Lakers had a 14-3 advantage on the offensive glass. That size is going to make the Suns think a bit.

Coach’s Challenge: Once again, to save a foul on key personnel, we had to take a challenge at the very end of the first quarter. AD reached to strip Booker and they whistled him for a foul. It was nothing but ball. And like that, they were done for the game early again. They won the challenge and saved the foul and FTs. we didn’t win the jumpball so lost the possession and AD ended up picking up a foul on Booker anyway and a jumper to CP3, sigh. Thankfully, we built a big enough lead it didn't come down to needing the challenge late in the game.
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parsons777
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2021 10:02 pm    Post subject:

1st? good win
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2021 10:04 pm    Post subject:

Good game, good write up...
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2021 10:42 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB

Two solid performances in a row by the team, this time they took it home. AD was a big problem for the Suns. The supporting cast did their thing.

Not sure why Dre keeps missing easy shots around the hoop...not sure Ive seen him gather and dunk this year yet (without already having forward momentum)? He's had some issues adjusting with AD in there...far from that guy who rolled over the Jazz a few saturdays ago.
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2021 11:06 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB! It's always a pleasure to read your T&R, specially pleasant after a W.

Our team was a -13 for the 7:14 AD sat.... I wish we could've closed without having to play him so many minutes, but he looked really strong tonight.
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 4:18 am    Post subject:

Thanks, DB!

AD ON DA WAY
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 5:00 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB! Awesome game by AD. But I hope Bron gets back on Tuesday and lightens the load.
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 5:28 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB )
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 7:02 am    Post subject:

Whew!

Thanks, DB!
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 7:22 am    Post subject:

our defense when locked in is ridiculous. Big and physical
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forzaCOREA
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 7:42 am    Post subject:

Are we simply a better team without Kuzma? His inconsistency is killing me. He will have one good game followed by 3 poor games.
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 8:17 am    Post subject: Re: SUNS -at- LAKERS - 5/9 - Thoughts and :-)) Ratings

DancingBarry wrote:
The Suns have two very big problems facing the Lakers -- LeBron Jame and Anthony Davis. They really don’t have an answer for them. They found some productive things against our backup bigs that they could run up some points on, but they may not be available to them when the Lakers have a full roster. The Lakers won 123-110.


Well said, DB.
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 10:27 am    Post subject:

Thanks DB. Great win. I found this interesting from the azcentral sports section:

Quote:
Countdown to playoffs: Suns postseason hopes already over after falling to Lakers?If Phoenix opens its first playoff run in 11 years against a healthy LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the defending NBA champions, odds are against the Suns advancing, especially after the way they lost Sunday to the Lakers.

Duane Rankin

Arizona Republic

One game shouldn't turn a championship contender into a first-round exit.

The Phoenix Suns have the league's second-best record, but Sunday's123-110 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers has brought out the skeptics who say they can't handle the defending NBA champion in a possible opening postseason series.

Even Monty Williams felt like the Lakers (38-30) put his Suns (48-20) on notice.

"Played a team we might see in the first round and I felt like they were sending us a message and I think our guys heard it loud and clear," Williams said.

There is definitely cause for concern.


LINK
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DancingBarry
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 12:56 pm    Post subject:

forzaCOREA wrote:
Are we simply a better team without Kuzma? His inconsistency is killing me. He will have one good game followed by 3 poor games.


I agree that he's inconsistent, but we're also asking him to do a variety of stuff. He's been playing positions 2, 3 and 4. And he's been given more responsibility in ball handling duties as kind of a 1 with our current issues. It's not easy to have your role change from day to day. So one day he might be trying to score, another he's grabbing boards and playing D, another he knows we need to get the team to move the ball more. I think it's been a learning process for him this year and he will probably look back at this year and really dive into how he can be more consistent like vet players.

What I really want from him this year is to see him just make more winning plays in the playoffs. Last year, he disappeared a bit too much. He tried to find some things like grabbing boards. This year we've seen stretches of great rebounding, shotblocking, playmaking and scoring. When we get to full health, he's really going to take a backseat to our stars. So how can he bring all these things to play when he's on the floor and playing around them? No doubt scoring will be down, but I want to see strong effort/winning plays go up. Get more of that Caruso into his game. I've been seeing bits of it, to be honest, so I'm optimistic. Rick Fox always talked about the team and himself trying to play with intelligent effort. It's what good vets learn to do and I think Kuz is kind of on the verge of that, but not quite there yet. But it has really improved this season.
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forzaCOREA
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 2:49 pm    Post subject:

Wow the legend himself replied! Thank you for educating me. I guess I did not realize/appreciate how Kuz has tried to be a professional and team first. Let's go Kuz!

DancingBarry wrote:
forzaCOREA wrote:
Are we simply a better team without Kuzma? His inconsistency is killing me. He will have one good game followed by 3 poor games.


I agree that he's inconsistent, but we're also asking him to do a variety of stuff. He's been playing positions 2, 3 and 4. And he's been given more responsibility in ball handling duties as kind of a 1 with our current issues. It's not easy to have your role change from day to day. So one day he might be trying to score, another he's grabbing boards and playing D, another he knows we need to get the team to move the ball more. I think it's been a learning process for him this year and he will probably look back at this year and really dive into how he can be more consistent like vet players.

What I really want from him this year is to see him just make more winning plays in the playoffs. Last year, he disappeared a bit too much. He tried to find some things like grabbing boards. This year we've seen stretches of great rebounding, shotblocking, playmaking and scoring. When we get to full health, he's really going to take a backseat to our stars. So how can he bring all these things to play when he's on the floor and playing around them? No doubt scoring will be down, but I want to see strong effort/winning plays go up. Get more of that Caruso into his game. I've been seeing bits of it, to be honest, so I'm optimistic. Rick Fox always talked about the team and himself trying to play with intelligent effort. It's what good vets learn to do and I think Kuz is kind of on the verge of that, but not quite there yet. But it has really improved this season.
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