Ah yes, the Lakers are fun again. If that wasn’t apparent during the first 6 games, then the game vs. the Suns surely must have sold you on the fun revolution. The Lakers beat the Suns 1119-108 in a game that the Lakers dominated for most of the game. The Suns hit the Lakers with some runs in the 3rd and 4th quarters respectably, yet the young team was able to hold its own and keep the lead.
This game was a winnable one. The Suns were 2-4 and the Lakers just beat the Golden State freaking Warriors. It is fair to say that they were the favorites, but their was still some worry within the team. After a huge win like the one against the Warriors, one would expect the team to be riding high, but they were playing with high energy the whole game.
The team showed its inexperience in the amount of sloppy possessions they had. This game was not a game for those who hate turnovers and fouls. This is not an impressive win based on the scoreboard or the opponent, it is instead a reflection on how strong minded these Lakers are and how poised they were after beating one of the best teams ever. They managed to withstand a 39 point outburst by 2nd year sensation Devin Booker.
They did it by having another great performance by the bench and having some players continue to play well. Both Nick Young and Julius Randle had great games, Lou and Clarkson provided a much needed scoring punch in wake of the absence of D’Angelo’s shot. Black continues to play his behind off on the boards. Heck, even Thomas Robinson played some quality minutes for the team. It’s with all of this that the Lakers were able to get this victory. A true team effort with some fun moments towards the end.
Here are the top 3 players of the game:
Julius Randle: 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assist
Nick Young: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist
Jordan Clarkson: 18 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist
Better get to the film before supernova Devin Booker blows up the galaxy
Nick Young’s good defense tour continues as he bothers Bledsoe’s shot so bad that he misses the whole rim. D’Angelo then pushes and gives a pass with a little English right into Deng’s hands for a wide open 3. Altering shots and creating turnovers have really allowed for the Lakers to push the basketball and get good looks.
Randle’s finishing has been one of the major headlines for the Lakers this year. He absorbs the contact here really well and like in the Warriors game, he a creates a nice little shot for himself that he has been able to hit. He does a nice job of not trying to completely overpower Dudley and instead dribble his way to the rim.
This is what is known as expanding your game. The Lakers run a nice double screen and D’Angelo notices the room Dudley is giving Randle so he dumps it to him. From then Randle shows that those 1000 jump shots that he was shooting weren’t for nothing.
The thing that has clearly improved is defense. The Lakers are using their hands and being active. With the addition of Mozgov, rim protection is now a thing. It allows for players to not just stroll in the paint all the time. Here JC and Moz force Booker to go baseline and then D’Angelo knocked the ball out of Brandon Knight‘s hands. The Lakers then perfectly double teamed and forced a turnover.
Tarik is not the perfect player. He has a lot of flaws like size and the lack of rim protection. The reason he is the back-up center is because of a sequence like this. He hits the glass hard and creates multiple chances on offense. Even though he missed, he fights as hard as any player on the court. A true blue collar player.
Nance took a nasty fall and hit his head on a hustle play. Hopefully he recovers from his concussion soon and is a full go for the Pelicans game.
With a series of hand-offs on this creative set, Clarkson was able to get free and so that Black could set a screen and let Clarkson finish at the rim. The Black pick and roll goes way back and 2 years later it is still effective. Clarkson’s floater game is probably the best in the league.
(Editors note: This is my favorite set the Lakers have run this year)
Black as a pick and roll big is his best role. Ingram’s play-making here is the main talking point in this game. He uses his length to drop the pass into Black’s hands for the easy shot. Ingram’s quickness really allowed him to turn that corner and it was quite impressive.
Oh yes, more defensive highlights. It is odd to see to a good defensive possession like this, but man Ingram has been quite the defender this year. He also had the steal on the deflection and then Tarik got mad that I said he couldn’t protect the rim and block that shot like it was Byron’s face.
This was totally the Julius Randle show and he showed a little bit of everything in his arsenal. We all know how deadly Randle is in the open court with that handle and improved finishing. He goes right at Chandler and finishes right over him. His quickness and strength make even a big body like Tyson quiver in fear.
Randle play-making for the win. He did a great job of pushing and using his off hand to make the pass. Yeah that’s right, Randle actually used his right hand. Clearly he was trying to get rid of the left hand only stigma that Twitter gave him.
D’Angelo continues to dish some really incredible passes that look a lot easier than they really are. They run a pick and roll and Russell drops a pass between 2 defenders and straight into the hands of Mozgov. Mozgov does what we payed 4 years 64 million *cries* for and finished at the rim as a role man.
Ingram’s good defense tour makes another stop with a great weak-side block using his length which leads to a transition basket right at the rim. Also unselfish Lou shows up too.
Words can’t explain this play…………..
If there is one thing that Lou can do well, it is draw a foul. He finds contact and sells the foul every time. He times it perfectly and it gives him 3 free points. In a game that got close at one point, it is good to have a veteran that can get points to stop the bleeding.
D’Angelo didn’t have a good shooting game at all, but he made up for it with his play-making and pretty good defense on ball. Here he rips the ball away from Warren and starts a fast break which leads to a Nick Young 4 point play. D’Angelo gets the focus on him and leaves Nick alone to shoot the 3 and make swaggy plays like drawing the foul after the fact.
D’Angelo may of struggled shooting, but he made plays when they needed to be made. Here he drains a 3 and injects some ice in his veins on his way back. One thing that you can certainly say about Russell is: When the game gets tight and plays need to be made, he isn’t afraid to take the shot or gamble for a chance to create a turnover.
Randle also showed some more range by hitting this mid-range shot with the shot clock expiring. It is great to see his game expanding and if he can keep shooting it at a consistent rate, the Julius for Most Improved Player show will be just getting started.
Julius had himself a game. There was a lot of trash talk going on late in the game and then he got a moment with him one and one. Julius laughed and instead of trying to score on Chandler, he made the right basketball play and set up Jordan Clarkson with a 3. That’s right people, the Los Angeles Lakers are fun. Showtime 2.0 is loading……………..