The Lakers’ Kuzma is the outstanding rookie tonight, not the Celtics’ Tatum

Lakers win their 6th at home and demonstrate to the league that these young pups are a defensive force to be reckoned with.  It could have been much easier if they would have made their free throws.  They shot 44%, missing 15 free throws but still came away with a one point victory.

Everyone played hard and helped to seal the deal but the real story here is Laker rookie Kyle Kuzma versus the Celtics’ Jason Tatum.  Tatum was as sub par tonight as Kuzma was at the top of his game.

Congratulations to Kuzma and the Lakers for this great win against our arch enemies!

Lakers 5 in a row at Staples !

Another fun game today as the Lakers protect their home court against the visiting Knicks.  A better outcome than the last meeting in Madison Square Garden where the Knicks won in overtime.  In that outing, Porzingis had 37 points but today the Lakers hold him to 17.

The Lakers stand-outs today are Julius Randle with another double double (27 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and shooting an outstanding 65%), and Jordan Clarkson with his own double double (28 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds and shooting 63% from the field).  Way to go, Jordan … 10 assists will get it done!  Several other Laker players were key in the victory  . . .  Nance with his constant energy and intensity  (13 points and 5 rebounds), Kuzma (who scored 15 points in just over 10 minutes before taking a seat after re-injuring his finger) and Lopez who put in 4 of 6 three-point shots! (welcome back, Brook, where you been?)

It was definitely a team win today.  BI played but was not his usual self as he is still recovering from his ankle injury, but the other players stepped it up and came up with the victory, again minus Lonzo Ball.

I can’t talk about today’s win without mentioning Alex Caruso.  He was very  pivotal in today’s success,  playing with pace and passing the ball (he had 8 assists).  His experience with the South Bay Lakers is showing as he looks comfortable and in charge on the floor.  Coach Walton, we want to see more of this young man!!!!

Lakers fans – Cavs lose to Thunder in similar fashion

I was surprised today to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a similar fashion as the Los Angeles Lakers did just a few days ago.  Again, the consistent story line was the disparity in the number of offensive rebounds.  The Thunder had 16 offensive rebounds (5 from Adams and 4 from Roberson) to the Cavaliers’ 3!  To lose on your home floor 148 to 124 must be very disheartening for Lebron and the Cavs fans.  People following the NBA are not surprised when the Lakers are the recipients of a blow-out home loss, but not so with the Cavaliers who have “the king” and other respected veteran talent.

As a Lakers fan, I have to admit I enjoyed the Cavs’ loss thoroughly!

 

 

Clarkson saves the day while Lakers are awful from FT line!

Congratulations, Jordan Clarkson, on a great game at Staples Center against the Indiana Pacers, scoring  33 points  (a very efficient 14 of 19) 7 rebounds and 7 assists.  It’s a miracle the Lakers won the game 99 to 86 as they were recipients of an embarrassing new NBA record for a winning team from the free throw line (a shocking 2 of 14 which translates to 14%).   How can a professional basketball team shoot 55% field goal percentage and 14% from the line in the same game?  Wow!!!!

I know, a win is a win, but as I have  said before, the odds of winning a game are much improved when free throw shots  go in the basket!  After all, they are ‘FREE” throws!!!!!

 

Lakers @ Thunder – Rebounds? Huh?

Well, do we all agree the Lakers can’t win without Lonzo Ball? And the mounting injuries are such a shame.  Let’s hope that Lonzo will be back Friday and KCP’s and Kuzma’s injuries are minor and Ingram did not re-injure his ankle.  And where is Jordan Clarkson?  Are the trade rumors getting to him?

In tonight’s game at Oklahoma City vs the Thunder, the Lakers had more assists, almost the same number of steals and blocks, shot almost the same field goal percentage, had a better three-point shooting percentage and the same number of turnovers.

But the statistics that most reflect EFFORT quickly show which team came to play and which one DID NOT:                                                                            

Tired Face on LG G5

               

                                                                Thunder                   Lakers

                                 Offensive Rebounds                        21                                 6

                                 Defensive Rebounds                       33                               24   

                                 Free Throws Attempted                12                                  4          

      

Very, very disappointing fellas!

Coach Luke Walton – Love it when you don’t pull punches

Tonight, in the 114 to 123 loss at Memphis Grizzlies, Coach Walton said it all (maybe willing to let it rip because he was coaching tonight with the flu):

“We weren’t physically, mentally ready to match what Memphis brought tonight,” coach Luke Walton said. “And that’s disappointing because that doesn’t have to do with anything but the toughness to be engaged in a fight. … We let them kind of punk us all over the floor.”

 

Lakers Can Stop Trade Considerations By Buying Out Deng

Let’s talk trade rumors circulating in the media involving Randle, Clarkson and now Larry Nance Jr.

Message to Laker brass:  Nance is a fan favorite.  We love to watch him “sky” to slam dunk the ball; he plays mean defense and gives 100% every time he is on the floor.  He’s not someone you trade away, he’s the type of player you trade for!

 

Why trade Randle and Clarkson?  They are valuable assets for the Lakers now and going forward and Nance too!  All three have considerable up-side and fit in well with the other players.

And the Lakers don’t need expiring contracts to make cap space for the possibility (key word possibility) of signing superstars next season.

Here’s what they do … they bite the bullet now and get rid of Luol Deng’s contract with $36 million remaining.  Buy him out and say “bye bye”.  I don’t know exactly how they accomplish this but that’s what lawyers are for.

With Deng gone and no trades, here’s the roster for next year:

Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Hart, Randle (with a new deal), Clarkson, Nance, Ennis, Bryant and Zubac.

By getting rid of Deng’s awful contract and signing Randle to a new contract, the 2018 team salaries will be roughly $51 million with the NBA salary cap reportedly to be $101 million.  So that leaves the Lakers with $50 million to sign free agent De Marcus Cousins who should be happy with a new contract that pays him $31 million the first year.  The  Lakers will then have more than enough, $19 million, to fill the remaining slots with good role players.  I would like to see them sign a back-up point guard who plays with pace and loves to pass the ball (sorry Ennis, but that’s not your game).

THIS ROSTER GETS THE LAKERS DEEP INTO THE PLAY-OFFS, KEEPS THE FANS HAPPY AND SHOWS THAT THE LAKERS ORGANIZATION SUPPORT A STRONG TEAM CONCEPT, THE WAY TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN TODAY’S NBA. 

 

 

Coach Budenholzer cost his team a win vs. the Clippers!

Monday night I caught the end of the LA Clippers home game vs. the struggling Atlanta Hawks.  With slightly over two minutes left, Atlanta’s coach, Mike Budenholzer, directed his players on the floor to begin fouling DeAndre Jordan the minute he touched the ball.  The Hawks were up by by 5 at that point and were out of fouls so this sent Jordan to the free throw line where he made one of 2.  This happened two more possessions with Jordan  Related imagefouled while rebounding the ball and he made all four of his free throws.  The Clippers ended up winning the game even though all the momentum had been in the Hawks’ favor with two minutes still left.

I’ve seen Budenholzer try this tactic before and I’m pretty sure it never works.  On top of that, DeAndre Jordan is shooting a much improved 61% from the FT line as compared to his career average of 44%.  Does Budenholzer think his team’s defense is so bad that he opts for “Hack-A-Jordan” rather than trusting them to get stops?  Or is he unaware that Jordan’s free throw shooting has  improved considerably?  I really felt for the Hawks’ players because they had lost badly the night before in the same building to the Lakers and, with only ten wins on the season, this was a great opportunity for them to get a quality win.

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – not earning his paycheck and hurting the team!!!!

I point to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s terrible decision making as one of the primary reasons the Lakers have been in a tailspin, having lost nine consecutive games. Now in his fifth year in the NBA, he was signed to a one year deal with the Lakers who expected KCP to be a defensive stopper, a three-point shooter and “a veteran who the young Lakers will learn from and emulate”!

The Lakers’ $18 million player (making similar money to Klay Thompson, De Marcus Cousins and John Wall) scored zero points in twenty minutes in the upsetting loss at home to the Hornets Friday night. This is the culmination of bad choices starting last year while still playing for the Pistons when he was charged with driving under the influence. Then he failed to take the drug/alcohol tests required as part of his sentence. This resulted in a 25 day sentence in a Seal Beach jail where he was allowed to leave jail for Laker practices and California games but not allowed to leave the state for away games.

Exactly what are the young Lakers supposed to learn or emulate from this bad behavior? Since KCP began serving his 25-day sentence, he has been playing very poorly, his on-the-court body language has been disgusting, he looks so distracted and he has been scoring considerably below his career averages. Add to that the other Laker starters out due to injuries, KCP playing poorly at home and not playing at all outside California, is it any wonder the Lakers have dropped to last place in the West?

KCP. shame, shame on you!!!!!!

NBA Free Agent Superstars – Lakers don’t need Lebron in 2018

January 26th, DeMarcus Cousins suffered a full tear to his left Achilles tendon which will keep him out the rest of the season. Several superstars came back from this injury but were never the same, such as Kobe Bryant, Elgin Baylor and Patrick Ewing although all were much older than Cousins at the time of their injuries. One exception is Dominique Wilkins who maintained his points and rebounds stats before and after. Wilkins was 32 at the time versus Boogie who turns 28 this year, he was shorter and weighed less (Wilkins at 6’8″ and 230 lbs. vs. Cousins at 6’11” and 270 lbs.) Only time will tell what the future holds for this very talented superstar!

BOOGIE, stay positive and work hard during the long, difficult rehab process.  I have faith in you and still want to see you in purple and gold starting next season!!!!!