Mavericks 94, Lakers 80: Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...
That'll take some shine off Tuesday's ring ceremony, no?
More commentary below.
Allow me to summarize that which was positive in tonight's effort from the Lakers:
Shannon Brown. 12 points on 5-7 from the floor, three boards, two dimes, two steals in 21:43 of PT.
That is all.
Moving along, all that's left is a Festivus style airing of grievances, and as Frank Costanza might say, "I got a lot of problems with you people!"
-Generally, opposing teams will always have some sort of shot available to them in any given possession. The defense's job is to limit palatable options at the offensive buffet. At least as the screen and roll was concerned, the Lakers provided Dallas with the dinner spread at the Bellagio. Plenty of choices, all very tasty. Mid-range jumper? Sure. How about an alley oop? Check. Dribble penetration? Go for it. There just wasn't any continuity in how the Lakers defended on the perimeter. Some of that was caused by foul trouble and the rotations that came out of it, some from a small Dallas lineup, some from general disorganization and lack of communication. All if it was pretty bad. When they did get stops, too often the Lakers gave up untimely offensive rebounds.
-On the other hand, 80 points won't win many games outside the Big 10. Talking with Lakers assistant Brian Shaw after the game, he noted the Lakers did a very poor job managing their offense, particularly when the Mavs went with a zone. It was one pass, then a shot or an attempt to go one-on-one. There was no ball movement, no ball reversal. The Lakers stuck to one side of the floor, often goaded into threes that didn't fall (through three, the Lakers were 5-18 from beyond the arc). Lamar Odom was particularly off kilter. While he started strong on Dirk Nowitzki, as the game went on I felt he got lost in that matchup and forgot the game around him.As you'll see in the video below, PJ agreed. LO's final line (10/6/7) isn't awful, but his five TOs are more indicative of his performance tonight than anything else in the box score.
Without Pau Gasol in the lineup, the Lakers need to be more conscious of ball movement and shot selection. Tonight they went the other way. Kobe noted below that the Lakers haven't had many opportunities to play against a zone (this being the second game of the year and all. Talking to Shaw, he told me they haven't practiced against it much, either), but he expects as things go along, they'll improve. Gasol is particularly effective against the zone, since he's such a versatile operator out of the high post, able to pass and shoot out of soft spots.
-In his press conference, PJ noted that Ron Artest wasn't able to adapt to the game in front of him, playing more aggressively than the refs allowed and getting himself into early foul trouble that essentially neutralized any positive impact he could have on the game. The same point could be made about the rest of the team. The lack of connectedness was palpable.
-Derek Fisher shot the ball poorly (2-9, including some wonky shot selection) and struggled to contain the quicker members of Dallas' backcourt. Not good. But while Brown had a strong game, Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar weren't any better than Fish. Over the course of the season, the Lakers will need more support from the crew of backup guards if they're to make the rotation work. Farmar looked good against the Clips, less so tonight. Sasha was a non-factor in both games. Fish needs to improve, and so do the guys behind him.
-Kobe Bryant, coming off an 11-26 performance Tuesday, was 6-19 Friday night, with three turnovers against a pair of assists. It wasn't a particularly strong game, and I noticed at least a couple people on the live blog expressing some concern over his field goal percentage. I certainly wouldn't go hitting the panic button quite yet. Remember, Kobe shot poorly to start last season, too, and we all know how that turned out. Focus instead on his 21 trips to the line over the first two games, an indication he's still plenty able to put pressure on the opposition. When he goes to the stripe regularly, good things happen. The shots will even out with a larger sample size. They always do.
The same can be said for the Lakers, really. Tonight they were bad, over the course of the season, they'll be good. That doesn't make night's like this any more pleasurable for fans, nor does it excuse LA's performance Friday night. It might help keep your Saturday from being ruined, though.
Among other issues, I thought one of the major aspects killing the Lakers against Dallas was rebounding, specifically on the offensive glass. Judging by the box score alone, you would think a 13-13 offensive rebounds apiece would signal a perfectly equal degree of success. But that only reflects the ends, not the means. After the first quarter, theLakers had grabbed six offensive boards against just one for the Mavs (which just happened to coincide with a three point deficit, the lowest for the Lakers of any quarter). From there, they allowed Dallas a dozen more over three quarters. That's just not acceptable.
As he's often known to do, Lamar Odom used a football analogy to describe what went wrong. He compared rebounding to gang tackling a running back. When everyone joins forces to prevent forward progress. Going all out as a unit to ensure a first down isn't surrendered. "Tackling as a team," as Odom put it. In LO's eyes, rebounding is all about "second effort," particularly when you're trying to deny a second chance for your opponent. If I may take LO's sports mash up one step further, theLakers didn't focus nearly enough energy towards protecting their red zone from Dallas' glass eaters.
Phil Jackson, on Brown, LO, the flow of the game the quality of Thursday's practice:
PJ, on Artest, LA's mistakes, Dallas going small and playing zone:
Andrew Bynum, on the game generally:
Kobe, on playing against the zone, their energy, and Gasol: