Author Archive for Mike Trudell

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LAL 85, Spurs 119: 3/14 Running Diary

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

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Johnson, Kelly and Gasol
Spurs: Parker, Green, Leonard, Duncan and Splitter

FIRST QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
FOURTH QUARTER

LAL 102, Thunder 131: 3/13 Running Diary

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

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Johnson, Kelly and Gasol
Thunder: Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams

FIRST QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder
SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder
FOURTH QUARTER

Lakers Draw Thunder, Again

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles LakersFresh off one of their best games of the season, a 114-110 victory over Oklahoma City at Staples Center, the Lakers draw … Oklahoma City.

It’s the rare home-road back-to-back contest against the same squad amidst the 82-game schedule, never an easy task for the team winning the first of the pair.

The difference in Sunday’s game was a career day for Jodie Meeks, who erupted for 42 points on only 18 field goal attempts. He outscored OKC 20-19 all by himself in a 36-19 edge for L.A. in the third quarter.

The Lakers also played the Thunder tough on Feb. 13 at Staples Center, leading Kevin Durant and Co. by 10 heading into the fourth quarter before ultimately falling 107-103 when Durant helped OKC outscore L.A. 35-21 in the fourth quarter. The MVP co-favorite with LeBron James scored 19 of his 43 in that final period (though Meeks can feel good that Durant needed 15 more shots to score one more point).

Earlier in the season, on Dec. 13, the Lakers were blown out 122-97 in Oklahoma City. That night, Kobe Bryant actually played point guard, as Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar were all hurt, and Kendall Marshall was still in the D-League. Bryant managed to dish 13 assists in his 23 minutes, but OKC was in control from the beginning.

Below are some Thunder notes ahead of the fourth and final meeting between the two teams:

1) OKC entirely dominated the Lakers on the offensive glass on Sunday, grabbing 19 offensive boards to a single one for the Lakers, leading to 19 more field goal attempts. That edge was only five at 20-15 in the December loss. They were 38-6 when out-boarding an opponent overall until Sunday’s loss (59-36 advantage).
2) Typical starters Kendrick Perkins (left groin strain) and Thabo Sefolosha (left calf strain) remain out with injuries. Steven Adams and Perry Jones made the start on Sunday, but combined for only seven points with six boards and one steal. Reggie Jackson, Derek Fisher and Caron Butler all played more individual minutes than both Adams and Jones.
3) Despite consecutive road losses, OKC is tied with the Spurs and Pacers for the most wins in the NBA this season at 46 heading into its Tuesday night game against Houston.
4) Kevin Durant has posted 25 or more points in 28 consecutive games, one game shy of his career-best stretch (29 games from 12/22/2009 – 02/23/2010). He averaged 35.9 points per game on 54.9 percent shooting in January with Russell Westbrook out, and became the third player in the last 30 years to score 30+ points in 12 consecutive games, joining Kobe Bryant (16 straight games in Jan. and Feb. of 2003) and Tracy McGrady (14 straight in March/April of 2003). Bryant’s longest streak of at least 25 points was 19 (once in 2005-06, once in 2006-07).
Los Angeles Lakers v Oklahoma City Thunder5) If Durant maintains his 31.7 point per game average, it’d be the NBA’s highest mark since Bryant averaged 35.4 during the 2005-06 season. He’s also on pace to become the seventh player in NBA history to average at least 31 points, seven boards and five assists: Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Oscar Robertson (twice), Jerry West, Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Durant also became the sixth player ever to reach the 40-50-90 club, of which Steve Nash is the president (four times), and Dirk Nowitzki is the only other player to reach it in the last 20 years.
6) OKC has limited its opponents to the fourth worst FG percentage in the NBA at 43.5 percent. The Thunder is currently 14-2 this season when holding the opposition to below 40 percent shooting.
7) Russell Westbrook has missed 30 of OKC’s 63 games this season due to three separate surgeries of his lateral meniscus, and is averaging 21.2 points, 7.1 assists and 5.8 boards with 1.9 steals. He’s shooting right at his career average of 43.2 percent, though his 33.8 percent from three is a career high (career 30.7 percent from three).
8) How improved is Serge Ibaka this season? He’s averaging career-highs with 15.2 points per game, 8.8 boards per game, 37.2 percent from three and 78.1 percent from the foul line and 32.7 minutes per game. He ranks second in the NBA (behind Anthony Davis) in blocks per game at 2.6.
9) Reggie Jackson’s proven himself a capable NBA scorer, averaging 13.3 points on 43.6 percent field goals, plus 4.0 assists and 3.7 boards with 1.1 steals per night. He started the 30 games Westbrook missed before moving back to his sixth man role. He matched a career high of 27 points in one of those starts (vs. SAS).
10) Derek Fisher’s been very good for the Thunder this season, hitting 40.4 percent of his three-pointers and playing his typically tough perimeter defense fighting through screens and making the proper rotations. Here’s what Durant had to say about Fish:

Q: On the time Derek Fisher has been with the team and what he’s gained from being around him and if there’s any extra appreciation from playing with him:
Durant: His toughness. He doesn’t take (stuff) from anybody, no matter who he’s guarding, no matter who’s in front of him, and it rubs off on everybody here. Of course people know about his veteran leadership, but it’s just his aura he brings to the team, just the aura of a winner. The guy has done so much in this league and he’s striving to do more. He could easily just hang them up and say: ‘I’ve won five championships, I’ve played with the best players ever to play this game.’ But he wants more. I love a player like that. I just love being around him. He’s a big brother to me and somebody I’ve enjoyed playing with him these past few years.

Q: On Fisher’s impact on the team with his shooting ability the last month:
Durant: He’s been knocking that thing down. He puts in so much work on his game. He makes big plays for us on offense and defense. When he’s not making shots, he impacts the game so much. But he knows one night he may get 10 or 11 shots, one night he may get two or three shots, but he’ll still be the same Fish with his intensity on defense, making winning basketball plays (that) a lot of people don’t see in the stat sheet or just from watching the game or people that don’t know the game can see the impact he has on our team, and I’m very grateful to have him.

LAL 114, Thunder 110: 3/9 Running Diary

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles LakersBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s home contest against Oklahoma City with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Johnson, Kelly and Gasol
Thunder: Westbrook, Jones, Durant, Ibaka and Adams

FIRST QUARTER


Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
SECOND QUARTER



THIRD QUARTER


Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
FOURTH QUARTER

LAL 126, Nuggets 134: 3/7 Running Diary

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

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Bazemore, Johnson and Gasol
Nuggets: Lawson, Foye, Chandler, Faried and Mozgov

FIRST QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets


Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets
SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets
FOURTH QUARTER

LAL 94, Clippers 142: 3/6 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s home contest against the Clippers with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Bazemore, Johnson and Gasol
Clippers: Paul, Collison, Barnes, Griffin and Jordan 

FIRST QUARTER




SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
FOURTH QUARTER

Bazemore’s Emergence

bazemore_quote1When the Lakers traded Steve Blake for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks, they got in Bazemore a player that had flashed some versatile talent in the NBA Summer League, but had barely played enough actual NBA minutes to prove it.

As an undrafted rookie free agent in 2012, even making the Warriors roster was very much an exception to the typical rule. The now 24-year-old played only 4.4 minutes per game in 61 games (a total of only 267 minutes), but showed enough promise to be re-signed for 2013-14. His playing time increased only slightly to 6.1 minutes per game (a total of 268 minutes in 44 games) this season in Golden State.

But since the trade to Los Angeles, Bazemore has nearly surpassed his total minutes in either season for the Warriors in only seven games. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has been impressed enough with Bazemore’s play to not only start the Old Dominion product, but play him a team-high 32.5 minutes in those contests.

Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles LakersHe’s used that playing time to put up 15.8 points per game on efficient shooting numbers for a wing – 46.5 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from three – while adding 3.7 boards, 2.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

“It’s been pretty good just being able to play and show what I’ve been working on since the day I stepped in the league,” said Bazemore. “It’s been fun especially coming into this situation where our back is against the wall. I’m very familiar with that. I grew up this way with not much going for you so you gotta fight and claw, and that’s how you bring the best out yourself. When things are not going well for you, how do you react? So this is a great situation for myself.”

His athleticism and energy has helped the Lakers score 24.0 fastbreak points per game, compared to the 12.7 they averaged before he entered the starting lineup, a mark which ranked 17th in the NBA*.
*Phoenix’s 18.9 FB points per game is a league high, but 5.1 shy of L.A.’s mark with Bazemore.

In related news, L.A. are also scoring more points in the paint, up to 50.7 in the last six games, which would rank fourth in the NBA, thanks in part to Bazemore’s transition game, plus his ability to get to the hoop in the halfcourt. For the season, the Lakers rank 20th at 39.9 a night.

A positive young player who’s quick to credit – and very outwardly root for – his teammates, Bazemore said he’s already taken quite a bit from his six games in Los Angeles.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned that is that I belong,” he said. “I’ve faced guys that I’ve watched destroy the league. I played against a lot of good players and (held my own). The confidence of me being able to play, I think I do belong. I still have a lot of room to grow and still have a lot of room as a player. There are a lot if things I want to fix, so that’s the fun and the challenge.”

LAL 125, Pelicans 132: 3/4 Running Diary

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles LakersBelow is a running diary of L.A.’s home contest against New Orleans with comments drawn from Mike Trudell’s @LakersReporter Twitter account, to ensure you’re covered from start to finish:

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Bazemore, Johnson and Gasol
Pelicans: Roberts, Gordon, Evans, Davis and Ajinca

FIRST QUARTER


New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers
SECOND QUARTER



THIRD QUARTER



FOURTH QUARTER

Lakers Better With Small Line Ups

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles LakersThe Lakers have struggled through an injury-riddled season during which 212 games have been missed to players, led by Kobe Bryant’s 52 and 46 from Steve Nash, eliminating any real chance of competing in a loaded West in which the current No. 8 seed is nine games over .500.

With a 19-39 record, not many of the statistics look very good for L.A., but a look at the team’s 10 most commonly used line ups reveals a point that coach Mike D’Antoni’s been making all season: the Lakers have been considerably better when they go small.

“Going small” in the NBA essentially means using a “stretch four” instead of a power forward, the former of which for the Lakers has been either Shawne Williams, Ryan Kelly or (with the current line up) Wesley Johnson.

Here’s the plus/minus for those 10 most-used groups, adjusted per 100 possessions, with offensive and defensive ratings included:

Lineup: Marshall/Blake/Johnson/Williams/Kaman (SMALL)
Minutes: 53
OffRtg: 106.4
DefRtg: 100.3
NetRtg: +6.2*
*This group outscored opponents by 6.2 points per 100 possessions.

Lineup: Farmar/Meeks/Henry/Johnson/Hill (SMALL)
Minutes: 49
OffRtg: 112.8
DefRtg: 110.4
NetRtg: +2.4

Lineup: Marshall/Meeks/Young/Kelly/Gasol (SMALL)
Minutes: 69
OffRtg: 121.7
DefRtg: 120.4
NetRtg: +1.3

Lineup: Marshall/Meeks/Johnson/Kelly/Gasol (SMALL)
Minutes: 119
OffRtg: 102.3
DefRtg: 101.4
NetRtg: +0.9

Lineup: Nash/Blake/Young/Gasol/Kaman (BIG)
Minutes: 44
OffRtg: 92.7
DefRtg: 93.4
NetRtg: -0.6

Lineup: Blake/Meeks/Johnson/Hill/Gasol (BIG)
Minutes: 152
OffRtg: 100.4
DefRtg: 107.6
NetRtg: -7.3

Lineup: Marshall/Meeks/Bazemore/Johnson/Gasol (SMALL)
Minutes: 57
OffRtg: 90.3
DefRtg: 100.7
NetRtg: -10.5

Lineup: Marshall/Meeks/Johnson/Hill/Gasol (BIG)
Minutes: 56
OffRtg: 83.5
DefRtg: 104.9
NetRtg: -21.4

Lineup: Bryant/Meeks/Johnson/Hill/Gasol (BIG)
Minutes: 50
OffRtg: 84.1
DefRtg: 117.0
NetRtg: -32.9

Lineup: Marshall/Meeks/Johnson/Gasol/Sacre (BIG)
Minutes: 51
OffRtg: 91.8
DefRtg: 130.1
NetRtg: -38.2

Before L.A.’s game at Memphis, D’Antoni explained why he thinks the smaller line ups have been more effective:

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles LakersQ: On small vs. big line ups:
D’Antoni: We want a certain type of basketball, and we’re trying to establish that and we’re trying to put everything into it. It’s clear our that the numbers say when you spread the floor and move the ball and get up and down the floor, we have a lot better chance to win. That’s what we’re going to do. We can adjust during the game. For example, if David West was killing Wesley (Johnson) (on Tuesday night), then something’s going to happen. Wesley has to come out or we have to go big orwhatever. But Wesley played well and that did not hurt us last night. It gave us a chance to spread the floor, score at a good rate and stay in the game.When Wesley got in foul trouble and Ryan (Kelly) got in foul trouble and we went big, it all caved in cause they’re a better, bigger team than we are. You have to play a little different. If you’re over manned a little bit and you try to match up, it’s not going to work out.

Q: On what playing big does for the rest of the team if he were to start two bigs vs. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol instead of Pau Gasol with a stretch four (Johnson):
D’Antoni: Well, what will happen is our floor will be closed down and offensively we’re not going to be as good. You’re not going to stop Zach Randolph that much. He’s going to get his numbers. Marc Gasol is going to be good, and they’ll beat you. Plus we want to establish our identity. This is how we’re going to play and we’re going to get better at it and we’re going to push the ball and we’re going to evaluate talent and get better at it. It’s frustrating some players and I understand that obviously if you lose playing one way, let’s play the other way. So you can get killed the other way. We’re going by numbers, we’re going by feel, we want to establish an identity and we don’t want to be all over the board every night changing something up and matching up to other teams and then just grasping the straws.

Q: On how Johnson approaches defending (bigger guys):
D’Antoni: I thought Wesley played really well (at Indiana). He needs to keep doing that and being assertive and being quick and then we’ll see. If we can’t do that, we’ll have to get bigger and try to limit them as much as we can.

LAL 103, Grizzlies 108: 2/26 Running Diary

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

Starters
Lakers: Marshall, Meeks, Bazemore, Johnson and Gasol
Grizzlies: Conley, Lee, Prince, Randolph and Gasol

FIRST QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies
SECOND QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies
THIRD QUARTER


Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies
FOURTH QUARTER