LAKERS -at- WARRIORS - 10/8 - Thoughts and :(( Ratings

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 12:04 pm    Post subject: LAKERS -at- WARRIORS - 10/8 - Thoughts and :(( Ratings

LeBron and Westbrook... They finally hit the floor together in the third preseason game. The team looked out of sync, turnover-prone and not terribly sharp, but at least we saw them in action.

“They’re getting the necessary work,” Vogel said of Russ/LeBron.

They played half a game while AD sat. They clearly need a lot more time together.

“I thought Russ was maybe trying to create, play too unselfishly on some plays,” Vogel said. Westbrook had 6 turnovers, most of them coming in that first quarter as he played a bit tentative and was trying to find guys without fully committing to pressuring the rim.

It’s a work in progress for sure as the Lakers had 27 turnovers as a team on their way to the 121-114 loss to the Warriors. We did see continued purpose in sets that were designed to get guys downhill. We have some thoughtful play design in these first three games that really does focus on having all five players on the court playing a role and occupying defenders. LeBron also talked about the team moving the ball more from side to side, which is an element of that.

All of this is designed to reduce moments that defenses can sag off guys like Westbrook or THT. It also tries to cause problems for bigs plugging the paint when we have our non-shooting Dwight/DJ lineups out there (a ton of lobs tonight, by the way). We want as little help defense on our superstars as possible, and if they help, putting guys into high-scoring opportunities as the next result. A lot of work to do, but these themes have been one consistent element amid all the messiness of preseason.

We still haven’t seen all three of those superstars on the floor. Vogel said he hasn’t made any decision on who is playing on Sunday.

LeBron -- -- I am not sure he had a drive to the rim while Russ was on the floor. Again, this is the big picture worry -- the floor shrinks and LeBron has to settle for jumpers. There was a little sagging off Russ off ball, but I don’t think that was really the problem here. Like LeBron has said we are in the process of putting a new offense in, and if you are thinking big picture, you have got to wade through the muck of preseason before that process picks up speed. Of course, we also ran with traditional bigs tonight versus AD on the floor, who rested this game. The spacing of a traditional big combined with Russ will have an extra man or two clogging the paint. Pull AD out and start making him a threat from the perimeter and the lane clears up. So I anticipate, you see AD with LeBron/Russ lineups. Then LeBron working with a traditional big when Russ sits. You saw some of that with lineups like Dwight/Melo/LeBron/Ellington/Nunn. Shooters and a traditional big. I’m looking forward to the two-man combos with LBJ and his guards. He and Monk had a nice little sequence that LeBron scored off the pass for a bank. There was just one Russ/LeBron two-man sequence that I recall (LBJ missed a three). But you’re looking for switches or gravity of certain players on those sequences to leave someone open. Just one half of ball for LeBron. We saw some moments of him in transition where he’s that freight train downhill. Looking forward to our speed game picking up. The Stats: He scored 9 points on 4-12 shooting (0-3 from three, 1-1 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers and 1 foul in 18 minutes. He was a -2.

Westbrook -- -- Oof. Turnover machine for a night.. “It’s not indicative of how he’s looked,” Vogel said of Russ’s play in practice compared to this one. To me, he wasn’t really playing at full speed. He was thinking the game. He really just didn’t commit to pressuring the rim and ended up trying to pass to teammates for turnover after turnover who weren’t fully open. It really caused problems early on with most of them in the first quarter. No worries. But we need to get the reps in now to get the rust off. Vogel rotated Westbrook/LeBron in the first half to make sure they had one of the playmakers on the floor at all times.When they played together, there was not a lot of chemistry in the mix yet. As mentioned above, I don’t think LeBron had room to attack the paint. There was a sequence where Russ came over and set a screen for LeBron that led to LBJ taking a three. I think we’ll see a lot of that inverse two-man action with the two, hoping to get switches and maybe Russ with a 4 on 3 advantage after taking a pass off it. We ran some nice sequences for THT that I think we will also use for Russ.They allowed THT to get downhill off screens while occupying help D. If you can get teams to help over the top of screens like some of these are doing, that’s what we want to get our ball handlers downhill and attacking. In any event, game one for Westbrook. This was not the type of overpowering, attacking, getting to the rim kind of ball we were used to. At times, you didn’t even know he was on the court. But it’s coming. You can see some of the intention with what we’re doing. His first bucket as a Laker took a bit, but you can see that vintage Russ power game at play. He bumped a defender off on a drive and scored a layup. The Stats: He scored 2 points on 1-7 shooting to go with 7 boards, 4 assists, 6 turnovers and 1 foul in 17 minutes. He was a -8.

Bazemore -- -- He got the start along with Monk. If he can consistently shoot threes like he did tonight (3-7 from beyond the arc), that bodes well for playing in starting and closing lineups. His 26 minutes were second on the team today. We will likely lean on him to fill a good chunk of time on the floor with Ariza out. All Baze’s makes from threes tonight were corner threes. They came off a couple of swing passes and one kickout by Russ. As Russ gears up, I expect a lot of Russ-to-Bazemore threes throughout the season and in big moments. The Stats: He scored 11 points on 3-9 shooting (3-7 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 5 boards, 2 turnovers and 4 fouls in 26 minutes. He was a +3.

Monk -- -- Better defense in this one (yeah, it could only improve). The scoring was down, but I was pleased to see the defensive end of the floor a bit more effective. Offensively, again, that turnover-prone ball will drive you nuts. I mean 6 turnovers for a guy who should not have that much playmaking duties...not good. He threw a pass down low to DJ instead of up at the rim, he telegraphed a kickout, threw a lob away, threw an inbounds away, he telegraphed another kickout, he fumbled a pass away...just too much. That’s the stuff that I don’t know is really fixable other than not putting him in situations where you are relying on it (which we will more when our primary playmakers play full games). He did have a nice iso into a lob for DJ. He worked a two-man game to find LeBron for a bank. But we’ve seen quite bit of instances in prior seasons where that turnover-prone stuff persists, which is why I’ve mentioned it in the previous game recaps. Scoring wise, he got the Lakers first score on a catch-and-shoot wing three off a LeBron pass...but was mostly quiet the remainder of the game in that regard. The Stats: He scored 5 points on 2-6 shooting (1-4 from three) to go with 3 boards, 2 assists, 6 turnovers and 1 foul in 21 minutes. He was a -9.

Jordan -- -- Quality game from DJ. The defense was about as good as can be expected. He had some solid moments in drop coverage challenging shots and shoring up the boards. Just a rebound shy of a double-double. Offensively, he looked really spry, finishing to athletic lobs (one over his head reversed, another one-hander in transition). Russ and Rondo set him up for those. This is really the kind of minutes eating bigman action we want throughout the regular season. The Stats: He scored 10 points on 4-6 shooting (2-3 from the line) to go with 9 boards, 1 assist, 2 steals and 3 fouls in 22 minutes. He was a -2.

Howard -- -- Excellent game until about the last two minutes when he choked a dunk and gave up some scoring, but prior to that he was the stuff of Warrior bigman nightmares. He was just too big, too strong for them. We didn’t even have AD out there and he made us look dominant with our size. Six of his 12 boards came on the offensive glass, giving the team quite a few second-chance points. That allowed him to lead the team with 23 points in his 24 minutes. He got to the line a ton, as well, and that came off just getting that deep position under the rim and guys unable to defend it. Defensively, some good challenges to force misses, including a nice rejection of Green under the hoop. He really should have had 27 points in this one, but he choked a point-blank layup early in the game and then a key uncontested dunk off a great setup by THT late in the game. He had three lob dunks all from different passers. Good to see teammates recognizing the advantage. He picked up another preseason technical. This time from the bench in the second half. The Stats: He scored 23 points on 8-11 shooting (7-11 from the line) to go with 12 boards (6 offensive), 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers and 3 fouls in 24 minutes. He was a -1.

Nunn -- -- He had the most minutes tonight and played steady ball. Nothing spectacular. He hit a corner three in transition off an LBJ kickout. A nice attack off the three line where he took contact and scored a layup before the shotclock expired. So in both those scores showing he can be an off-ball threat with the ball in your stars hands or he can be a guy with the ball in his hands when you need to bail out the offense. Defensively, he had a nice chase down block. I wasn’t expecting that kind of effort from him in a preseason game, good to see. He was, however, really sticky at times on screens defensively, giving the Warriors some time and good looks. That’s where you really miss a guy like AC who busts up those opportunities throughout a game. The Stats: He scored 13 points on 5-13 shooting (3-8 from three) to go with 4 boards, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 turnovers and 1 foul in 27 minutes. He was a +0.

Ellington -- -- I’m really not sure what his role will be with the team. I was thinking as kind of a Kyle Korver, designated shooter, who you can find some minutes when the matchups are right. That may be the case, but that D is just so poor at times. On the one hand we have some lineups that really, really need floor spacing threats. On the other, your stars need guys who can make those little plays defensively on a consistent basis. Ellington got his points getting fouled on a three again in the game. That’s the second time in three games, I believe. You should probably add that consideration to the effectiveness of his three shooting when looking at basic 3-point stats. The Stats: He scored 3 points on 0-2 shooting (0-1 from three, 3-4 from the line) to go with 2 boards, 1 assist, 1 block and 2 fouls in 20 minutes. He was a -8.

Anthony -- -- Still not dialed in on that three ball (0-4 in this one). And a number of those attempts were wide open looks he couldn’t connect. Gimmie that three ball, Melo. That’s where you will kill teams most this season. I like some of the iso work in the mid post (he had a nice face-up drive and reverse), but I really need that PF spot to give us some threes. I’ve seen enough of Kieff last year going game after game missing three after three. I want that three-shooting PF! We played pretty awful when he was on the floor (-15 in 12 minutes). If he could have just hit a few more looks that would have kept the damage down considering how many attempts he had. Defensively, he played reasonably out there but ended up mismatched on Curry a few times. He also had a late perimeter reaction to give up a three. The Stats: He scored 4 points on 1-7 shooting (0-4 from three, 2-2 from the line) to go with 1 board and 1 foul in 12 minutes. He was a -15.

Horton-Tucker -- -- Some of our horns sets are really doing a nice job getting THT the ball on the attack (which, as mentioned, could easily be Westbrook). His best play of the night we had Rondo in the horns at the left elbow, Dwight at the right with THT in the right corner. The team ran an exchange on the left side with the ball in Rondo’s hands. As our two perimeter players ran that split action strong side, THT came off a Dwight screen weakside and Rondo found him curling into the paint for a dunk. The timing was a little off on the play, but it still worked well. This type of action occupies the help defense on one side of the floor as the ball then moves to the other. The screen by Dwight had the defender fighting over the top, and that’s what we want. Anytime we can get defenders going over the top against Russ, LBJ, THT and we can get downhill, it’s trouble. Intelligently designed action. After that make by THT, he then swished an iso fade next time down to cut the lead to 3 with over 4 minutes left. He could have tied it with 2 minutes left but missed a three. He sank a three earlier in the game as he popped out behind a screen straight away and drilled the catch-and-shoot. Yes, please. More, please. Some good work with Dwight, setting him up rolling for FTs or going behind his back on the two-man action to hit him rolling for a layup (props on Dwight staying perfectly in the pocket on that as they both headed to the basket). He also had a sweet underhand lob to Dwight off the high screen. No minutes in the first half. None with LeBron/Russ in this game, which is a big question mark.Just how will it all fit? Strong outing, nonetheless. The Stats: He scored 17 points on 5-10 shooting (1-3 from three, 6-9 from the line) to go with 3 boards, 2 assists, 1 steal,3 turnovers and 3 fouls in 20 minutes. He was a -4.

Rondo -- -- Having him on the floor right now really helps the flow. He organizes the offense, makes the proper reads and passes. That’s a big value at the moment when continuity and cohesion are working against us. He sank both his threes he took. He found DJ for an And-1 lob. He found Dwight over the top of a smaller defender for a dunk. He hit THT curling for a dunk. That’s your vet floor general. Like anyone this time of year, not without some miscues with some timing on things or expecting someone to stay/move when they do the opposite. The Stats: He scored 8 points on 3-4 shooting (2-2 from three) to go with 5 boards, 6 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers and 1 foul in 18 minutes. He was a -2.

Reaves -- -- “He wins possession on both sides of the ball,” Vogel said. Hey, when you are playing some perfect ball out there that will get you noticed. He sank his first three attempts from three. Defensively, he was reading the floor, anticipating and disruptive as a result. He’s just been so consistent in that. The feel for the action as a rookie is pretty impressive. I always think that late-round picks or undrafted guys really must have some kind of freakish ability in just one area. That way they can lean on that and find a role. Reaves just really seems comfortable with the game, the speed at this level, anticipating what’s going to happen and that’s saying something. You really shouldn’t see that kind of poise from a rook. I love that he will be around LBJ/Rondo and can be a sponge. I suspect he and Rondo will be on the bench quite a bit, so school will be in session. You can see why he got the contract and made the roster. These are skills he showed in college (three shooting and hoop savvy) and they are translating. He led the team in +/-. The Stats: He scored 9 points on 3-4 shooting from three to go with 2 boards, 2 steals and 1 foul in 16 minutes. He was a +9.

Vogel -- -- Key Moment: Just getting LeBron/Russ out there was probably the key for this preseason game. But game-wise, I think Dwight choking that dunk was probably the play that hurt the most when trying to close this one. THT had been kind of the driving force in the comeback. So good plays by others, but this drive, draw and dish to set up Dwight for the uncontested finish took the wind from the sails a bit.

Key Substitution: LeBron sat while Russ stayed in the game, then with 3 minutes left in the first, LeBron came back in as Russ sat. I suspect that will be the rotation and how we slide into those non-LeBron minutes during the first quarter. LeBron played about 4 minutes to lead off the second before sitting again for Russ. We then ran DJ, Bazemore, Ellington, Westbrook, Nunn lineup. Maybe you have AD in there again coming off the bench instead of DJ. So the non-LeBron minutes always have a good portion of AD/Russ. To close the half, we then bring LBJ back in after a rest to unite all three with a couple of shooters.

Key Stats: The 27 turnovers is about as bad as it gets. These guys need a lot of reps.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 1:21 pm    Post subject:

Thanks for the analysis, DB!

We have a few preseason games left, for further evaluation. But, other than a potential 3pt threat, Ellington has been an absolute minus on the court. Add to that, he's been shooting poorly, so far, along with his abysmal defense.

Chaundee Brown has had more of an impact on the court, than Ellington. He's a better, more willing, defender. And, he ca shoot pretty well. Him, and Reaves, have been a joy to watch. I would seriously consider waiving Ellington, and replacing him with Brown.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 2:10 pm    Post subject:

Thanks DB !!!
Lakers need to build a freaking team !
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 2:34 pm    Post subject:

I thought Reaves was impressive, the kid can play. He was under control, made good decisions, was hustling his butt off on defense, reading most of the plays well, not turning the ball over, and hitting his shots. Even with a couple mistakes he looked better that most of vets in the game. Hopefully, he can keep it up. He might actually see the floor a little bit this year.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:48 pm    Post subject:

Shout outs to:

Bazemore- Every time I envision our best lineups it includes Bazemore. He has the prequisite defensive mindset, bball intelligence, and can shoot the 3.

Nunn- I like the fact that he's been steady from the start, which for me means he can only get better. He's displaying nice handles, good to very good athleticism, and good court awareness.

Reaves- Yep, he's going to shine. But not in any particular area. He can shoot the rock. He has good size. He is bballIQ ready for the pros. He plays the game the right way. A gem...for free!

Dwight- The only mistake he made was leaving last year. I honestly was pissed with both the FO & Dwight to allow anything to stop us from having him help us try to defend our title.

Rondo- My & Coach Vogel's ultimate security blanket.

THT- He's 20! He's 20! He's 20!....we signed him to a four year contract. Based on what he's doing at 20, imagine what he'll be doing halfway (22!) through that contract. This investment by the FO was prudent.
Thanks DB!
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2021 6:27 am    Post subject:

You know not really liking where we are at in preseason, but I also did not like how we looked last preseason or the one before that.

Vogel does not have good preseasons, and seems to use it just to get players to understand defense and get in shape. The offense is also ugly. It's his style, so we have to be patient.

That said, I would like to see one or two games where we see AD/Bron/Westbrook get some reps with 2 shooters around them. We need to see what that looks like, to have an idea how they can play.

Wish that comes soon.
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