Monthly Archive for November, 2013

Saturday Practice Report

Kobe Bryant participated in various 5-on-0 drills and shooting exercises Saturday afternoon, as he continues to progress towards an imminent return to the court.

The Lakers went through a light practice session Saturday afternoon, in part to allow Bryant to get some work in. He has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Portland, but with the team not playing again until Friday at Sacramento, the possibility remains he could return then.

“We’ll have to see where he is,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I don’t want to anticipate anything. Those are days where he can work and see and reevaluate where he is and how he feels after the three days and then make a decision going forward. It doesn’t mean he will play Friday, it doesn’t mean he won’t. But that’s the time to evaluate it.”

Though Bryant worked out on the court, Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol did not participate in any activity because of various injuries.

Hill played just 14 minutes at Detroit, exiting the game for good early in the third quarter after landing awkwardly on his left ankle. Gasol, meanwhile, recorded 13 points and 12 rebounds in 33 minutes of action, his third double-double in the last five games.

Lakers-Pistons Postgame Numbers

Los Angeles Lakers v Detroit PistonsWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 106-102 win at Detriot:

76
Paint points for Detroit, a season-high in the NBA. The Pistons failed to make a shot outside of eight feet in the first half, going 0 for 16. On the night, they converted on 38 of 69 (55.1 percent) from eight feet and in, and just 6 of 31 (19.4 percent) eight feet and out. The Lakers only allowed eight points inside during the fourth, though, and held Detroit to 6 of 18 field goals (33.3 percent), while also forcing six turnovers.

14
Minutes for Jordan Hill, who did not return to the game after spraining his left ankle in the third quarter. Shawne Williams played most of the minutes at the four, recording a season-high 20 points, to along with nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block. Williams was key down the stretch, draining three triples in the fourth to key L.A.’s comeback.

10
Plus-rating for Nick Young, a team-best. The USC product wore a splint on his left ring finger after injuring it at Brooklyn, but came up big in the final minutes for the Lakers with four points (a layup and two free throws) and a charge that sealed L.A.’s fifth win in the last six games.

6
Three-pointers apiece for Wesley Johnson (27 points, six rebounds, three blocks) and Williams. The Lakers came into the contest first in the NBA in three-pointers made per game (10.4), and converted on 14 of 31 (45.2 percent) overall. Below is a shot chart of the team’s efficiency from beyond the arc, courtesy of NBA.com/stats.
blog_131129lakersthrees

1
Point – a free throw from Pau Gasol – from the Lakers starters in the fourth quarter. The play of Jordan Farmar, Williams and Young off the bench, who combined for 24 of the team’s 29 points in the final 12 minutes, helped L.A. erase a 10-point deficit entering the final frame.

LAL 106, Pistons 102: 11/29 Running Diary

blog_131129blakeBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest at Detroit with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Blake, Meeks, Johnson, Hill and Gasol
Pistons: Jennings, Caldwell-Pope, Smith, Monroe and Drummond

FIRST QUARTER



SECOND QUARTER

blog_131129johnson
THIRD QUARTER


blog_131129hill
FOURTH QUARTER

Inbounding in Detroit

Last year in Detroit you might remember Kobe Bryant finding Earl Clark with an inbounds pass with .4 seconds on the clock for an easy slam.

This year’s deja vu moment came as Steve Blake grabbed the ball with 0.8 seconds remaining in the half and executing the same exact play, leading to a vicious Wesley Johnson jam.

After the game, coach Mike D’Antoni said he thought L.A. could get away with it since Detroit changed coaching staffs this season. He was right.

Lakers-Nets Postgame Numbers

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn NetsWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 99-94 win at Brooklyn:

50.0
Percentage of field goals made for Nick Young towards a season-high 26 points. In four of the last six games, Young has shot at least 50 percent from the floor and is averaging 17.5 points. Postgame, Young was diagnosed with a sprained proximal inter phalangeal (PIP) joint, but maintained he will try to play through the injury wearing a splint.

17
Points for Brooklyn’s Mirza Teletovic – a career-high – with 14 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Teletovic drained three triples in the final 12 minutes and also had a key block and steal on the defensive end while Brooklyn made a late rally.

11
Straight Lakers wins over the Nets. The last time the Lakers lost to the then New Jersey Nets was Nov. 25, 2007, when Jason Kidd manned the point guard position and started alongside Antoine Wright, Richard Jefferson, Malik Allen and Jason Collins. Meanwhile, L.A. boasted a starting unit of Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Vladimir Radmanovic and Andrew Bynum.

5
Three-pointers for Jordan Farmar towards 15 points, four rebounds and three assists. Farmar converted on his first four from distance in giving L.A. its biggest lead at 48-21, including three straight to begin the second quarter. In the last four contests, the UCLA product is averaging 15.0 points and 5.5 assists on 62.2 percent field goals and 57.9 percent on three-pointers. Below is a shot chart of Farmar’s efficiency from the floor in his last four games, courtesy of NBA.com/stats.
blog_131127farmarshotchart

1
Made field goal for Brooklyn in the final four-plus minutes, after tying the score at 92. Down the stretch, the Lakers forced three turnovers and held the Nets to 1 for 9 shooting from the floor.

LAL 99, Nets 94: 11/27 Running Diary

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn NetsBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest at Brooklyn with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Blake, Meeks, Johnson, Hill and Gasol
Nets: Livingston, Johnson, Pierce, Garnett and Blatche


FIRST QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets
SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets
THIRD QUARTER

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets
FOURTH QUARTER

Lakers-Wizards Postgame Numbers

Los Angeles Lakers v Washington WizardsWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 116-111 loss at Washington:

56
Paint points for Washington, a season-high. The Wizards came into the game averaging just 37.5 points inside (23rd in the NBA), but got easy buckets in transition with John Wall constantly pushing the ball (21 fastbreak points) and finding his teammates (nine assists) for easy buckets.

52.9
Percentage of field goals made by Washington towards 116 points. For the first time in five games, a Lakers opponent topped the century mark. The Wizards had all five starters in double figures, led by a career-high 30 from Nene and 31 from Wall.

13
Three-pointers made by the Lakers, with five players making two or more. Despite Washington shooting 59.1 percent from the floor in the first half, L.A.’s hot shooting from the outside kept the game close. The Wizards made just 6 of 21 from beyond the arc, but converted on 4 of 8 in the fourth quarter (three coming from Martell Webster, who finished with 20 points and nine rebounds). Below is a shot chart of the Lakers three-point efficiency, courtesy of NBA.com/stats.
blog_131126lakersthrees

3
Straight road losses for the Lakers, as they fell to 1-5 away from Staples Center. In their last games three on the road (at New Orleans, at Denver and at Washington), L.A. has allowed 107.8 points on 45.3 percent field goals. “That’s a concern,” coach Mike D’Antoni said of the team’s 1-5 road record. “We have to learn how to win with this team that’s just put together and we don’t have one thing that we go to all the time, but we’ll get a streak. They’re playing hard and they’re together.”

2
Turnovers in the final 1:10 of the ballgame for the Lakers – a 24-second shot clock violation and an errant pass from Steve Blake. In all, L.A. committed 17 turnovers that Washington turned into 28 points.

LAL 111, Wizards 116: 11/26 Running Diary

Los Angeles Lakers v Washington WizardsBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s road contest at Washington with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Blake, Meeks, Johnson, Hill and Gasol
Wizards: Wall, Webster, Ariza, Nene and Gortat  


FIRST QUARTER



SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards
FOURTH QUARTER

LAL Stepping Up On Defense

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles LakersAfter using five different starting lineup combinations through the first eight games, coach Mike D’Antoni elected to make another change in the team’s ninth game: insert Jordan Hill and Wesley Johnson into the starting unit.

The move has paid off.

In the six games with Hill and Johnson starting, the Lakers have allowed 97.9 points per 100 possessions, which would rank seventh in the NBA.

In Sunday’s win against Sacramento, the Lakers conceded just 86 points, a season-low for an opponent. This included a 13-point third quarter in which the Kings shot just 5 for 20 from the floor.

“We’re sticking to our principles a lot, and I think they’re getting to the point where they’re not thinking about things and reacting and sticking to what we’re doing,” D’Antoni said postgame. “They’re just following the game plan really well. The last part is their effort. They want to do it. Because you share the ball on offense and everybody feels good about how they’re playing, that transfers on the defensive end and you have more team energy.”

That energy has been no more evident, particularly over the last four games, where Lakers opponents have failed to top the century mark and teams are averaging 92.3 points and shooting just 43.8 percent shooting and 31.7 percent on three-pointers.

The improvement on the defensive end has also translated to the offensive side, where the Lakers are averaging 106.0 points per 100 possessions in the last six, which would rank fifth in the league. The play of Steve Blake in particular has aided in this marked improvement, as the former Maryland product has reached double-digit assists in five of those games.

“There’s nothing better than being out there and setting up guys for shots,” Blake said postgame. “Coach gives me the freedom to do that and the offense lets you as a point guard create for people, so I’m just loving it right now.”

Despite playing the second-toughest schedule in the league (trailing only Memphis), the Lakers own a three-game winning streak and have won four of their last six. Twelve of their 14 opponents are above the .500 mark, the lone exceptions being Detroit (5-8) and Sacramento (4-9), but even without Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, the team has found success on both ends of the floor over the last two weeks.

“The repetitions in practice have gotten us in a good place,” Blake said. “Coach was tinkering with the lineups till he found something that works. We’re at that point now where it’s working, so we’ll stick with it, keep running it and hopefully we can keep being successful.”

Lakers-Kings Postgame Numbers

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles LakersWe broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 100-86 win against Sacramento:

33.3
Percentage of field goals made by the Kings in the second half, including a 5 for 20 third quarter (25 percent). The Lakers did not allow a field goal for the last four-plus minutes of the third and gave up just 13 points, pushing their halftime lead to double digits entering the final frame.

21
Points for Xavier Henry – a team-high – in 21 minutes off the pine. Led by Henry, the NBA’s top scoring bench totaled 40 points compared to the Kings’ 26. In his previous four games, the Kansas product averaged just 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in 16 minutes. “You’re going to have ups and downs,” Henry said. “As long as you affect the game in other ways, which I think I’ve done with defensive intensity and making sure I play hard every night, I’m alright.” Below is a shot chart of Henry’s efficiency from the floor, courtesy of NBA.com/stats. blog_131124henry

20
Fastbreak points for the Lakers, who ranked 16th in the NBA in that category (12.1) coming into the game. The first two came courtesy of a highlight dunk from Wesley Johnson just a few minutes into the game. Postgame, Sacramento coach Mike Malone noted this was a key difference, along with the 14 turnovers his team committed compared to the Lakers’ 10 miscues.

4
Straight games Lakers opponents have scored less than 100 points. In those games, L.A. is holding opposing teams to 92.3 points on 43.8 percent shooting and 31.7 percent on three-pointers. “A lot of effort and a lot of being in the right positions,” Steve Blake said. “We have been really paying attention to the scouting report and individual strengths and weaknesses. I think that really makes a difference when we are all engaged like that.”

3
Straight wins for the Lakers, to reach the .500 mark at 7-7 despite playing the league’s second-toughest schedule. They improved to 6-1 when scoring 100-plus points and 3-1 against the Pacific Division.