Lakers D Reappears In Win Over Bucks
Posted by hiphopmama on December 7, 2008
Milwaukee 92, LA Lakers 105
This was as awkward a blowout as you will see. If you were to look just at the statistics, you might think we played a solid game: we shot pretty well (48.6%), defended decent (the Bucks shot 38%), and all five starters were in double figures (Kobe 20, Fisher 19, Bynum 14, Gasol 12, Radmanovic 11). Our point tally was in triple digits and we held Milwaukee under 100 (we are now 12-0 when we do that), and we never trailed the whole game. Furthermore, the lead was so secure in the second half that the second and third units got significant PT. So much, in fact, that Kobe was the only player to reach 30 minutes on the floor.
Yet it was a much less assured win than those number indicate. The Lakers offense looked out of whack all game, particularly in the first half when they shot 37% from the field. The defense played better, somewhat making up for some meager performances on the road, but it was as much a story of the Bucks offense sputtering than the Lakers defense stifling. Starting forward Malik Allen went out just a few minutes into the first with an injury to his ribs, and Richard Jefferson played a sum total of 9 minutes all night. He picked up a couple quick fouls and lasted a very short time after being reinserted before picking up another. By the time he was ready to come back, the outcome was all but decided and Scott Skiles went with his substitutes most of the rest of the way. Michael Redd, who has torched the Lakers a number of times in recent memory, had an atrocious game, and for that I will credit the Lakers D. Kobe blanketed him the whole time he was in there and generally made his life difficult. The defense as a whole swarmed to prevent him getting any openings and didn’t let him get that quick release shot of his going. He ended up playing 21 minutes and going 3-for-9 from the field.
Fisher’s 19 points, including 3-of-5 from three, and Kobe’s 8 assists were the highlights at the offensive end. Vlad Rad’s 2-for-3 three point shooting helped as well, especially during a key stretch when we were building up the lead. Bynum had another good rebounding outing as well, grabbing 14 boards to go along with his 14 points and 2 blocks. And Gasol narrowly missed another double-double with his 12 points and 9 rebounds. The subs were okay tonight, although they once again allowed the opponent to whittle down a big lead in the fourth quarter. Luckily, it was very late in the game and Skiles had essentially conceded by benching his starters for much of the second half.
Having watched this second unit close out (or fail to close out) many games now, I would love for Phil to take them to task for their complete lack of discipline out there, especially at the end of games. It’s all well and good that they’re playing in low pressure situations with big leads and often in front of the home crowd, but they should still comport themselves professionally and do what they’re paid to do. I know this is a talented bunch of guys to be coming off the bench, but they can’t just go batshit crazy upon entering the game. They’re not going to earn themselves any more playing time by running futile fast breaks when they should be running the clock, and it further undermines the team’s sense of composure. Among the worst culprits are Sasha Vujacic, who never met a three-pointer he didn’t like, and Jordan Farmar, who needs to keep his head about him and be more aware of what the situation calls for. I have sung his praises a lot this season, but late in games he should be the court general when he’s out there, slowing it down and helping keep things under control. Instead, he has often been the instigator for sloppy play that leads to turnovers and opposition points. That has to stop.
Okay, enough whining after a win. There are a number of positives to take from this game:
- The Lakers are now 17-2, tied for the best first 19 games in franchise history (what a stat, I know)
- The defense played well for the first time in a few games and held the Bucks under 100 points
- All five starters finished in double figures
- No one was overextended in terms of minutes, which will greatly help us late in the season and in the playoffs
- All 12 players got in the game and all of them scored
- Another game with no injuries
Now if we could just clean up the turnovers (25 tonight) I’d be a happy camper. Highlights:
And game recap:
The Lakers take on the Kings in Sacramento Tuesday night at 10 ET/7 PT. We beat the Kings in our last match-up with them at Staples, but it was a pretty weak game on our part. We gave up tons of points in early offense and let the Kings make over 50% of their shots. The Kings are even worse off now at 5-16 and coming off 8 straight losses (ouch). They have played some quality opposition in that time – including Portland (twice), Dallas, Utah, Denver, and us – but that’s an awful long time to go without a win. On the plus side, Kevin Martin is back in the line-up and averaging 20 points a game. The bad news is that he’s been playing for the entirety of the 8 game losing streak, so his presence hasn’t exactly given them much of a boost. It’s our last road game before four in a row at home and it’s not that far away, so it’s not that strenuous of an away game. Then again, the Arco fans always get up for a Lakers game, and I’m sure the cow bells will be abundant. Bring ’em on.