Thursday, October 30, 2014
Tags Posts tagged with "Lakers offense"

Lakers offense

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Photo Credit: NY Daily News
Photo Credit: NBC LosAngeles
Photo Credit: NBC LosAngeles

The Los Angles Lakers seem to have turned on a switch as of late.  A switch that has the power to turn dismal teams into championship ones, a switch that could very well put the Lakers into title contention.  OK, probably getting ahead of myself there, but nonetheless The Lakers seem to have figured it out these past few games, and the one constant change from those 3 games has been Kobe Bryant.

Kobe isn’t ashamed to consider himself a scorer, and the one guy on the team who can always be counted on to hit clutch shots and make timely buckets. Unfortunately there is that horrible statistic floating around the sports world that states The Lakers are better when Kobe Bryant doesn’t score more than 30 points.  Back in December of this season that stat line read that The Lakers were 1-9 in those very games.  Yikes, that’s quite the horrifying statistic, and I for one thought it was a fluke and that the stat really didn’t mean anything because Kobe was shooting nearly 49% from the field.  When someone shoots that well it makes it hard to believe those shots are unnecessary.

And then suddenly he changed, The Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant, changed.  He changed his game for the sake of the team and boy has it paid off in the best way possible.

Photo Credit: Espn.go
Photo Credit: Espn

The Lakers last four games have been phenomenal (except the collapse in Phoenix) and a lot of it, if not all, is due to Kobe’s new game he’s bringing to the table.  Instead of shooting his average of 21 shots per game, he’s dialed it down to an average of 13 shots per game, and he’s making 53% of those attempts over the last 4 games.  Not only is he adjusting his shots per game but he’s also averaging 12 assists and about 8 rebounds per game over this span.

These kind of changes to Kobe’s game are unprecedented, (Kobe’s career averages are 5 assists and 5 rebounds per game), we have never seen him dish out this many assists in his entire career, it’s just not how he plays basketball.  These near triple-double numbers are exactly what The Lakers need right now and it seems to be paying off in wins.

Kobe Bryant has changed his game by passing up typical “Kobe” shots and instead sends sharp, zooming passes down the lane to a wide open cutter, or he drives to the hoop and kicks it out to an open man beyond the arc.  It’s this type of play that wins games and boosts that ever so elusive team chemistry and moral.  All Laker players are benefitting from Kobe’s unselfish play, and with everyone getting their touches and shots, one can only assume it’s a matter of time before LA gets on the right track.

Unfortunately the team lost their momentum a couple nights ago in Phoenix as they blew a 13 point lead with 9 minutes left in the fourth.  Regardless of the collapse, this is the way the Lakers must play in order to be successful and really make that push to be where they should be.

Photo Credit: MySanAntonio.com
Photo Credit: MySanAntonio.com

Kobe Bryant is a scorer and the one who always takes the open shot if he’s got it, and the fact that he has changed his game so drastically for the betterment of the team is fantastic.  As long as The Lakers continue to play team basketball, find the open man, and play a strong defense they will find themselves close to where they’d like to be.  Unfortunately the hole they dug themselves up to this point in the season is more than likely too deep to get completely out of, but they can fill it in a bit with the style of play they are exhibiting.

The Lakers will be tested again tonight against The Minnesota Timberwolves and I hope to see the new look Kobe Bryant out there on the court.  If the Lakers falter back to their old ways we may as well throw the rest of the season away, as most of you already have.  The Lakers seem to have found a silver lining in this disaster of a season and if they can look to that during hard times they will be successful and begin to chalk up some W’s when it counts.  Here we go Los Angeles, let’s see what we’re made of.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

This is turning out to be a season for Pau Gasol to forget. His stat line is a career low, his minutes aren’t where they should be, and he’s already missed eight games with knee tendonitis. Clearly Pau isn’t in full form, and his true potential has not yet been unlocked in Mike D’Antoni’s system.

So with these problems existing, D’Antoni invited Gasol out to dinner at a local Manhattan Beach restaurant to clear the air and talk about how Pau is going to fit into D’Antoni’s new system, according to the LA Times.

Pau had some clear issues he wanted cleared up with D’Antoni. They were as follows:

1. He no longer wanted to be benched in the final minutes of crucial games, or any game for that matter.

2. He wants the ball more in the post instead of on the perimeter, where he is less comfortable.

3. He wants D’Antoni to trust him with the ball in his hands.

Gasol had most recently been benched in the final minutes of the 101-100 win over Charlotte. Being a two- time NBA Champion, Gasol felt he should be playing in these crucial minutes in order to help his team pull away with a W. Sources familiar with the conversation say that D’Antoni agreed to no longer bench Gasol in the final minutes. D’Antoni’s new system also calls for more spacing on the floor, which means he wants Gasol to be out on the perimeter more than in the post where Gasol is most comfortable. And finally, Gasol wants to be trusted as he feels he has earned that trust with the 2 championships he’s been apart of in LA. D’Antoni then had this to say regarding their meal together:

I thought he was great and gave me a lot of insight into a lot of things. It was more of a feeling-out process and what makes him feel comfortable. He’s a very intelligent basketball player. Why wouldn’t I get his opinion about a lot of things?”

Overall this system isn’t quite the perfect fit for Gasol, as he is a post player and this system calls for him playing the perimeter.  However D’Antoni wanting to share a meal with Pau and talk things over shows the great deal of respect that he has for Gasol.  More from that dinner can be seen from here.  Hopefully things get better as the season wears on, and Gasol and D’Antoni can meet halfway with their different ideas of playing basketball.  Bottom line, this dinner was beneficial for both parties, and things should be looking up for Gasol from here on out.

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No one will mistake the 2011-12 edition of the Los Angeles Lakers for the “Showtime” teams of the 80′s, who were known for their high-flying, up-and-down, entertaining pace. Through the first 9 games of the season, the Lakers average just 8.9 fastbreak points per game, good for 25th in the league.

Lakers guard, Kobe Bryant, says that this should not be a surprise to anyone:

I mean we’re not a transition team by any means so you wont see some of the fluidity that you see from other ballclubs…we’re a very slow team so you’re not going to see fastbreak points, things like that so a lot of games are going to be ugly”

The Lakers open court woes can be attributed to a couple of factors. Number one, the age of the core members of the team. The average age of Lakers players who actually play significant minutes is just over 30 years of age (30.1 to be exact), which easily makes them one of the oldest teams in the league. Number two is their head coach, Mike Brown. Brown is a disciple of San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich, who is known as a defensive-minded coach who preaches a tough, ground-and-pound type of offensive pace that at times have garnered his teams’ the label of “boring.” Brown took that same philosophy with him to Cleveland where his Cavaliers were one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, while boasting one of the more snooze-worthy offensive attacks.

Age and offensive philosophy notwithstanding, at the end of the season all Laker fans will care about is the number they see in the win column, no matter if the final score is 135-120 or 75-70.

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