Lakers begin roadtrip with a loss
Final Score: Heat 89 Lakers 87
I know this was a tough loss to swallow and this is not how we thought we’d begin the road trip but as frustrating as this loss was, there were many positives from this game.
- Our defense in the first half looked active and was better than any of our showings in the past month. We held them at 89 points and 43.8% shooting even though Wade and co. shot lights out to begin the game. The Heat commit the least amount of turnovers in the league (12) and we forced them into 19 tonight. We got back on defense and limited their running game as they scored only 7 fastbreak points.
- Wade was hot early on but he didn’t have any easy looks. He knocked down a long contested J over Odom with the shotclock winding down. He knocked down a fallaway 12 footer when Kobe shut down his baseline drive and then he knocked down a contested 17 footer. The easiest look he got in the first half was on a tip in otherwise we made Wade work for most of his scoring opportunities
- Bynum and Gasol were active early on and helped Kobe/Ariza trap him in pick and rolls and push him to the sidelines. Wade was confused with this double team in the first half and tried to make plays from right where he was and his airing passes resulted in a couple of Heat turnovers.
- Farmar made his presence felt with 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in the first half as his 5.22 he logged in the first half resulted in a +6. He committed a couple of offensive fouls but they could’ve easily been blocking fouls. He finished the game with 12 points and more importantly played hard on the defensive end. Cook knocked down some shots on Farmar but he contested it whenever we could and it looks his meeting with Phil paid off.
- Kobe was brilliant in the first half as he was going head to head with Wade. He was in attack mode all night and drove the ball in whenever he could find a small crease. He backed Wade down during an iso and got an easy finger roll. Then he went right by Shawn Marion for a layup and knocked down a couple of jumpers off the dribble. He was looking to drive it in most of the time and when his drives were cut short from help defenders, he found teammates open on the baseline for jumpers. Pau and Fish were the recipients of his drives in the first half. He finished the half on a layup after beating 3 defenders off the dribble from the top of the circle. If we're gonna run more Pick and Roll with Kobe and Gasol we should do it directly at the top of the circle where we have plenty of space to operate. Kobe can either zip by these guys if they're playing too tight or make a bounce pass down the middle to Pau for an open J.
- His D top notch as well as he forced Wade into committing a backcourt violation and then pressured him into dribbling the ball off his foot in the 4th. Wade did knock down a handful of jumpers on Kobe but he made sure he put a hand on his face and contested it.
- Sasha did nothing in the first half mainly because we were riding Farmar’s hot hand but The Machine came out strong in the 4th as he knocked down a couple of crucial baskets to help us come back from the 12 point deficit.
- Ariza played tough defense on Wade and he dove on the floor for the loose ball at least 3 teams according to my count. Unfortunately one of them was recovered by Wade and he ended up knocking down a 32 foot buzzer beater to end the third. Trevor also drained a couple of jumpers when Pau and Powell were doubled in the post.
- Pau had a decent game with 13 points and 11 rebounds. One of the things I like about Pau is his ability to outrun other bigs and this resulted in a couple of dunks tonight. One early in the game off a great bounce pass from Luke and another one late in the game from Fish. He’s definitely making the effort and running out there on the break so I hope we look for him more because more often than not he makes a positive play. He also made a nice block of Chalmer’s layup after he zipped by Fish
- Fish had a solid game with 13 points and knocked down the long range shots available to him.
- You gotta give it to our team for being resilient. They were down 12 in the 4th but they fought back and that is defintely a good thing.
- Our 3 point defense still needs some work as the Heat shot 8 for 18 from long range or 44%. Fish was the biggest culprit as he went under the screens and this gave Cook and Chalmers wide open looks. Then he proceeded to double Marion on the post, while he was guarded by Luke and that resulted in another Chalmers three pointer.
- 8 of their first 14 rebounds were on the offensive side and that’s why they were able to stay in the game when The Lakers were shooting lights out at the end of 1st/beginning of 2nd.
- Another thing that kept the game close for the Heat was turnovers. We had all sorts of problems feeding our big guys in the post (Hey at least we were looking to pound them inside!) and the forced entry passes resulted in most of the 12 turnovers in the 1st half.
- What happened was smaller guys like Beasley and Joel Anthony fronted our big men and they were communicating to their guards. So when the Lakers pass it around the perimeter to the corners where we can make a pass over the top, the Heat players were ready to pick off the pass. I can remember at least 5 times where the Heat made proper rotations to blindside our big guy and intercept that pass away. We had trouble feeding the post the rest of the game and I’m disappointed that Phil didn’t make any adjustments. We should’ve tossed it to Pau at the free throw line where the second defender has to decide whether to go to Pau to contest his J or give Bynum the open dunk. But we just kept forcing it in and never established any sort of presence inside.
- Out of those 5 times I mentioned, on 4 insteances it was Luke's guy looking to double frombehind. Chalmers did it twice – resulting in a steal and a deflection to Marion and Wade did it twice. The 5th time Anthony was able to pick off a pass that was well short.
- I don't know whats wrong with Bynum. Is it an injury, is he tired, is he not focusing, I just cant put a finger on it. For the past few games he's been having trouble finishing a the rim and he's playing too soft.
- Odom was a liability out there especially in crunch time. He was in foul trouble all night and just couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm during the game. He missed 2 free throws early and then Kobe set him up for an easy look inside in the closing seconds but he went up with little aggression and got his shot rejected…twice. In order for us be a championship contender Odom needs to bring his A game.
- We went 10 for 19 from the free throw line…including 4 for 8 in the fourth. Little things like missed free throws and turnovers always end up being the difference in winnig games and it did.
- We need to play with more energy to start halves…we were sleepwalking in 1st quarter and 3rd quarter but we were more active in the 2nd and the 4th.
- Was Phil waving the white flag in the 4th quarter when we had a 12 point deficit? I don’t know why he waited till the 5.15 mark to bring in Pau and Kobe while playing guys like Powell and Radmanovic who did nothing during the first 6 minutes of the 4th.
- Miami is a better team than their record shows but still we should’ve dictated tempo and won this game. We made a lot of correctable mistakes while improving on things that have been our Achilles heel (defending the pick and roll and controlling the glass). What if Kobe's shot went in? Would the outcome be different in OT? What do you guys think?
- I can't decide who won the duel of the elite shooting guards since both of them didn't guard each other in long stretches but Wade won the most important stat - a win.
Edited by MDI, December 20, 2008 - 02:56 AM.