Lakers @ Cleveland – Calderon’s 3’s Cost Us the Game?

Another entertaining road game (although another loss) from the Lakers who lost 121 to 112.  There were times in the game where the veteran Cavaliers looked fatigued as the young Lakers flew from one end of the court to the other in a flash, so much fun to watch.  The Lakers owned the paint, scoring at the basket mostly from their fast breaks, and out-rebounding the Cavs by 10 (49 to 39).  The Lakers had 16 offensive rebounds which helped keep them within reach of a victory until late in the fourth quarter.

Brandon Ingram looked like the player we are getting accustomed to see (thankfully no similarity to his poor MSG performance).  My favorite BI moment was his beautiful three-point shot just before the buzzer announced half time.  He is becoming the Lakers’ closer!!  My personal vote for Laker player of the game is Josh Hart.  In his first start as a pro, Hart scored a double double (11 points, 10 rebounds) and played solid defense like a veteran.  He played strong and self assured as he guarded the likes of Lebron with skill and determination and even had a breakaway dunk with Lebron on his heels.  Lonzo Ball was active and led the  hurry up pace that is becoming the Lakers’ exciting signature style.  He was close to a triple double but needed 2 more rebounds to achieve that goal last night. I’m not going to talk about the problems Brook Lopez had on the court last night, but two consecutive air-ball free throws?  Yikes!!

I  don’t believe that the Lakers’ poor three-point shooting (9 of 31 or 29%) necessarily cost them the game; or their 18 turnovers (6 by Zo!), or Lebron scoring another triple double with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.  Want to know how we could have avoided this loss?  Guard Jose Calderon.  He shot 5 of 8 from behind the three-point line and was able to shoot comfortably in rhythm with no Laker player in the same zip code as him!  I would think the Lakers coaching staff would have told the players not to leave Calderon open as he is shooting 51% from three this season (way up from his career 41%) although it didn’t appear so from the results.  It’s okay to leave Jae Crowder open but not Calderon!!!  Do you think this is far fetched?

Next up, Golden State, then the Rockets, then Golden State again.  Can the Lakers maintain their drive and “positivity” with this upcoming grueling schedule?  I hope so!

Monday I will be at Staples Center to cheer for Kobe as both his numbers are retired with what will certainly be an exciting half-time show and to watch the rematch against the amazing current world champs.  You can read about it here on my blog next Tuesday.  Go Kobe! Go Lakers!