Feb 25, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Western Conference guard Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (24) chats with Western Conference forward Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder (35) at the 2012 NBA All-Star team practice session at the Orange County Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
Just like the previous week, the Lakers went 2-1 winning the first two games and then getting handled fairly easily in the final game. They beat Portland handily at Staples Center and before hitting the road for contests against Dallas and Oklahoma City. The Lakers won a close game against Dallas, despite doing everything in their power to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the final minute. They then proceeded to run out of gas against the West's best team the following night. It was a very respectable week for the purple and gold with a few positive signs as they begin the second half of the season.
Check out this week's trend update below the jump...
Effective Field Goal %
The Lakers began the week strong by shooting over 50% eFG in their two wins, but then struggled mightily in Oklahoma City with an eFG% of only 41.0%. Defensively they were pretty solid this week. They held each of their opponents to a lower than average eFG%. On a net basis they improved to 7th in league in field goal percentage differential, just barely edging out the Mavericks.
Another week in which the Lakers did not win the turnover battle in a single game. If there is any good news, it is that the Lakers managed to finish with a draw in turnovers against the Thunder (12 TO's). Of course, the Thunder are the 2nd worst team in the league, only beating out the Lakers.
The Lakers had a decent week on the glass. They were dominant against Portland, grabbing nearly 4 out of 5 Portland misses while pulling down a third of their own attempts. Against Dallas, both teams had trouble on their own defensive glass, allowing the opposition to grab 1 out of 3 offensive rebounds. Then against the Thunder the Lakers gave the up very few 2nd chances. Unfortunately for the Lakers, their lack of energy also prevented them from crashing the offensive glass like they normally do as they pulled in only 18% of their misses.
Free Throws to Field Goal Attempts
This week the Lakers found themselves and their opponents getting to the line a little more than usual. Portland took 22 attempts while Oklahoma City took 25. Oklahoma City is the best in the league at getting to the line so perhaps this isn't a big surprise, but Portland is. The Lakers did well to hold Dallas to only 16 attempts.
Offensively they Lakers got to the line at least 22 times in all three games and improved their position in offensive rank into the top 10. This improvement was bolstered by their 31 attempts against Dallas. They needed every one of them to win the game.
Offensive and Defensive Rating
The offense, which has been this team's biggest problem, improved this week. Had they not run out of gas against the Thunder it would be even more evident. A big reason for the change has been the rediscovery of their shooting strokes. They went 8 of 19 and 8 of 20 against Portland and Dallas, respectively, before stumbling in Oklahoma.
Defensively they were on par for another week of similar results before the second half of the OKC game. The Thunder put up 54 points on the Lakers in the second half as they ran away with the game and it hurt the Lakers in their defensive efficiency. The end result is a net rating similar to last week.
Hopefully the extended rest (for those players not named Kobe) of the All-Star break will help this older squad. The upcoming schedule is probably the softest stretch of the season for the purple and gold. Look for them to capitalize on it and fine-tune what has been a disjointed offense while bringing around the elite level defense we expect.