Stray Bullets: Lakers vs. Warriors 3/15

Please don't get  too caught up in the lack of size of the margin of victory last night.  Enjoy the win.  There are no guaranteed wins in sports, especially at the pro level.  No win should be easy.  No matter how you feel about the Lakers play lately, or what they need to do to get rolling.  Wins are the best way to do that.

Personally, I don't think the Lakers cared anything about playing at the Warriors tempo.  Last night marked the 9th straight win over Golden State.  Basically, this team can't beat us.  The Lakers know that, and I think they treat the Warriors games as a reason to pad stats (so to speak).  Playing like that is fun, and fun for fans to watch.  It's even more fun when you can play that way and have about a 2 ft. advantage at every position.  The Lakers toy with Golden State.  Last night played out like most games between the teams.

Click on through for the rest...

  • If you're saying,"But Rob, that's not how Champions should play weak opponents.  We should be crushing them!"  I'd like you to show you the scores from last season:
    Sun, Dec 28     @ LA Lakers     L 113-130
    Wed, Jan 7     LA Lakers     L 106-114    
    Wed, Feb 18     LA Lakers     L 121-129    
    Thu, Mar 19     @ LA Lakers     L 106-114
  • To anyone still worried about the Lakers not completely dominating the Warriors - here's how Golden State has fared against other contenders since New Year's:
    Tue, Jan 5     @ Denver     L 122-123
    Mon, Jan 11     Cleveland     L 114-117
    Wed, Jan 20     Denver                 L 118-123 OT    
    Sun, Jan 31     @ Okla City      L 104-112
    Mon, Feb 8     Dallas               L 117-127
    Fri, Feb 19     Utah                 L 89-100    
    Sun, Feb 21     Atlanta                 W 108-104
    Thu, Feb 25     Denver                 L 112-127   
    Wed, Mar 3     @ Orlando     L 90-117
    Fri, Mar 5     @ Atlanta     L 122-127

    High scores and close games are common occurrences for the Warriors.  Other teams aren't any better against them.  They suck you into their style of play, but that's fine.  They can't win.  They just entertain.
  • Here's Kobe:
    "You just want to get the hell out of here with a win," Bryant said. "You’re not going to see anything remotely close to (the Warriors’ style) in the playoffs. Not even close. So there’s nothing you can gauge in this game. You just get out of here with a win and move on."

    Seems right.
  • That's not to say there weren't things to be concerned about.  Problems lingering that will affect what happens moving forward.  Things that happen no matter the opponent nor importance of game.  Things like...
  • Shannon Brown?  I just don't get him lately.  Or maybe he doesn't get it.  Could someone please tell me why he continually goes under screens when he's defending good shooters?  Or doesn't seem to at least anticipate the screen.  He did this against Stephen Curry.  He did it against Chauncey Billups.  He does it every game. You can debate the problems of Fish all you want, but Fish is 35 y.o. and slow.  What is Shannon's excuse?  His decision making is just terrible at times.
    Never mind that he cannot make a post entry pass to save his life.  I'm getting quite tired of seeing him jack up bad shots in lieu of making the proper, easy, pass to a big man.  Whether he's knocking it down or not, most of the shots are bad ones, only he isn't bringing much else to make up for the poor shot selection, passing, or defense.  Except for bringing another dimension in transition.  he's awfully good at finishing and will try to dunk it most times, either converting or getting the foul called.
  • He did hit two big free throws late too.  Think Pau would have made those?  Me neither.
  • Farmar made a few nice passes last night that Shannon couldn't dream of making.
  • The most baffling thing about Shannon Brown though is the leash, or lack of, that Phil has with him.  I say this because of the short leash PJ has with Sasha Vujacic.  Shannon makes defensive mistake after mistake (in between missing passes and jacking up shots), but Sasha gets yanked after one mistake in 32 seconds?  I don't know what to make of it.  No matter what you think of Sasha, he has the most upside and potential to help out of any of our back up guards, given his good shooting, height, and willingness to defend (except for one man full court pressing and reach in fouls).  One thing you can say about Vujacic is he will fight through screens, or at least see them coming.
    I'd like to think Phil is hard on Sasha because he needs what Sasha can do more than Shannon, and needs Sasha to realize this.  Time's a wastin'.
  • Why does it seem like some unheralded big man has a career night against us every game.  Chris Hunter?  Seriously, Pau?  Drew?  Last game it was Louis Amundsen.  It's no wonder every team thinks they can try to talk trash and punk the Lakers. This is an recurring theme that worries me a little because it encourages team like Denver, Dallas and Cleveland more because the Lakers give up too many soft buckets to guys who should not have an impact.
  • We should have dominated the boards, considering our size advantage and Warriors style of play.  No bonus points there.
  • On offense, Pau looked like Pau of old.  He was hitting his 12-15 ft. shot, breaking out the hook shots with both hands, finding cutters.  The up fakes were there, and he looked in rhythm.  I PRAY this continues for good.  If he would just hit his FT's now...
  • The turnovers are another source of concern.  Usually we see these kjnd of careless turnovers early in the season.  As time goes on, the errant passes turn into crisp and accurate darts that lead to easy buckets and the prettiest offense in basketball.  We haven't seen that this year, and most likely, will not with Bynum starting.  So the turnovers are just sloppy turnovers.
    There have been plenty of games in which we wasted possession after possession in tight games by turning the ball over.  Can we expect them to stop, or is this something we will have to accept as a trait of this team?
  • The main culprit is Kobe.  Normally, I wouldn't be concerned about Mamba.  He's the best adjustment maker in the NBA, maybe history, but he's been getting stripped an awful lot lately.  Plus throwing passes away.  It has to be the hand, and there's no time to fix that now.  So, it's seeming more and more like that's an area where teams know to attack, and it's working for them.
  • It affect the things when refs stop calling the reach in foul, or opponents decide to trap him hard (like Denver).  We know Kobe will sometimes be forceful in his next attempt after getting stripped.  If that foul stops getting called because of his ball handling issues, or teams aren't afraid to trap or maybe  front the post to make a more difficult pass necessary, that limits an awfully lethal weapon in our offense - Kobe's ability to make plays off of posting up.
  • Was it me, or did Fish convert two lay-ups yesterday, including one going coast to coast?  Was I dreaming?
  • Fish's been the subject of posts here at SSR and Forum Blue and Gold in the past few days, and he might be playing his best ball of the year.  Thanks for reading Fish.
  • Now it's time for a "Why Doesn't Shannon Know How to Pass or Go Over on a Screen" or "Phil, Let Sasha Play More" post.  Maybe they'll work too.
  • When ABC/ESPN splits up JVG and Mark Jackson, why do we always get Mark Jackson?
  • Watching players chew on their mouthpiece every time the play stops is so annoying. 
  • Joe Lunardi lied to me and Lamar Odom.  We won't be seeing our Rhode Island Rams play in the NCAA Tournament, and he promised us they were in.  Yet again, No URI, no Michigan.  Filling out my brackets isn't so much fun.
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