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Lakers sharpen good habits from start to finish in 112-57 victory over Cleveland Cavaliers

58738811Reaching out his hand, Lakers forward Lamar Odom politely grabbed from a reporter a box score of the team's 112-57 victory Tuesday over the Cleveland Cavaliers and scanned the sheet.

His eyes darted up and down the page, poring over numbers that revealed the Lakers' (28-11) complete dominance over the Cavaliers (8-30) in what marked their fifth consecutive victory. It showed L.A. setting a franchise record for points allowed to an opponent since limiting Charlotte to 66 on March 12, 2002 and established the team's third-largest margin of victory behind a 56-point win over Detroit on Nov. 12, 1966 and a 63-point victory over Golden State on March 19, 1972.

The box score showed that the Lakers beat the Cavaliers in pretty much every statistical category including points in the paint (52-28), field-goal percentage (53.5%-29.9%), rebounding (53-42), assists (25-12), turnovers (12-19) and quarter-by-quarter scores, data Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has argued tells how sharp the team has played. And the box score showed how the Lakers' entire starting lineup and two reserves cracked double figures, ranging from Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest (15), Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Odom and Shannon Brown, as well as Derek Fisher (10).

But it wasn't until Odom saw the common thread among the entire roster that his eyes lit up.

"Everybody took a shot," Odom said to himself before offering what that reveals about a team performance. "That lets you know offensively we're in a rhythm. It also lets you know you're on a defensive rhythm because everyone is involved in the game."

Yet the Lakers still remained mixed on what exactly this victory means. Jackson walked up to the lectern for his postgame press conference and delivered this opening statement: "I don't know what to say about this game." He then rattled off several qualifiers, such as LeBron James' departure, Cleveland featuring seven players on the injured-reserve list including a season-ending right ankle injury to star player Anderson Varejao and the the Cavaliers' record to take into consideration. In turn, James tweeted: "Crazy. Karma is a .... Gets you every time. It's not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!"

But this game signified more than just the Lakers' exploiting their overwhelming talent level, securing free tacos for fans and causing the 18,997 at Staples Center to give them a standing ovation once the buzzer sounded. It reflected a fresh attitude on how the Lakers have prided themselves on sharpening up habits, regardless of the opponent.

"We're not trying to show anybody up," Bynum said. "We're just out there executing our offense from one through 14. It worked out for all of us. Even in the fourth quarter, they were playing defense, continuing to move the ball on offense and everything was going well."

58738808The result -- a blueprint that may be unrealistic for the Lakers to replicate all season but an approach they should strive for beginning Wednesday on a second game of a back-to-back against Golden State. Ball movement ranged from Bryant's backdoor lob to Bynum, Bryant's pass to Gasol that led to a one-timer to Bynum in the lane and a give-and-go between Steve Blake, Shannon Brown and Devin Ebanks.  The Lakers demonstrated marked improvement of their execution in a defensive scheme installed about a week and a half ago that emphasizes forcing players to drive baseline instead of the middle of the lane, the backcourt to guard the perimeter and the frontcourt to remain close to the basket. And the Lakers maintained an intensity that was lacking when the team lost four times to sub-.500 opponents and mailed in victories against plenty of others.

"You don't ever imagine something like that," said Bryant, whose two field-goal attempts in the first half revealed the team's strong offensive rhythm didn't require him to carry the load. "You just go out there and do your job and we did it for 48 minutes tonight."

One of the lasting images of this game might be Bryant's off-the-backboard lob to Bynum, Gasol's one-handed slam, Artest's awful layup attempt that appeared to be an intentional setup for Fisher's tip-in, or Brown's half-court buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter ("They're so supportive of me. They give me the ball. They got confidence that I'm going to make something positive happen with it.") But the tangible benefits points to the Lakers taking pride on improving various nuances.

"The actions are still the same actions that a team uses," Jackson said. "What we're trying to do is we're trying to get our guys doing the right thing, know how to play the defense, know how to get into rotation, know how to push the ball, how to control the ball and the movement of the ball off the dribble."

Bynum said those habits have been present because of an increased intensity in practice. Jackson noticed that it has had a trickle-down effect on their defensive stance and how they attack the rim. And Odom argues that the Lakers have focused on sharpening up what he calls "intangibles."

58738810But it's also how the Lakers addressed this context setting up challenges within the game to help themselves maintain their edge. When the Lakers entered the locker room with a 57-25 halftime lead, very little of it centered around the Cavaliers' offense marking the lowest scoring total the Lakers had allowed since yielding 19 points to the Clippers on Dec. 14, 1999. They instead talked about maintaining solid ball movement and limiting the Cavaliers to as few points as possible. And they followed through with that goal, granting every starter with the exception of Gasol an entire fourth-quarter's rest. 

"It was team ball tonight on the offensive and defensive end," Brown said. "Defensively, we talked, we rotated, we helped each other, we got blocked shots, we got steals. On the offensive end, we got ball movement. The ball got in the right person's hand and that person made the play."

At the end of it, however, Artest still remained unconvinced. Consider his various takes, including his thoughts on the Lakers' record-setting night ("They had some guys out. "I don't want to judge our play on that game."); on whether the team's improved defensively ("It's still hard to say. We need a stretch run against a bunch of teams, good teams."); on what he needs to see before he knows the Lakers are playing well ("I don't know. I'm not really feeling a good answer with where we're at"); or on how he feels his role will change with Matt Barnes' expected eight-week absence after having surgery Tuesday on his lateral meniscus tear in his right knee ("I've been on teams where I've had to carry the whole load. I don't know where I have to fill in anybody's role. But I can't wait to get Matt back.")

For one night, Artest's contention to just move on to the next game proved valid. But how to get there? The Lakers explained the details on the court and they provided the answers in the box score Odom held.

"We're starting to grow and we're starting to get on a roll and play good basketball. As a team, our focus is there," Odom said.

-- Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photos (from top): Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, tries to get past Cleveland forward J.J. Hickson during the first half of the Lakers' 112-57 victory Tuesday at Staples Center. Lakers Center Andrew Bynum dunks during the first half. Forward Lamar Odom controls the ball under the basket during the first half.

Photo credits: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (44)

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Wow.

where the trolls @ now

So that's what 48 minutes of contiguous Laker effort looks like! I had forgotten.... That is all us 'nervous Nellie's' (NOT trolls) wanted! I don't care so much if they have put out the full effort and lose to a better team on some given night.


Let's see how they do when they get a tough opponent after MAYBE getting into some decent habits on these lesser opponents! We'll have a chance soon - 1/17 through 2/10 !!!

How do you spell 3-Peat? L.A. Lakers.

Lets not get too excited. The Cavs are not a good team to begin with, and they have key injuries. When this Laker team wins against a few quality teams in succession, I will start to have confidence in them again.

Lakers fans observe ... Andrew Bynum is improving.
7-9 FG/FGM.

As Bynum improves the Lakers improve.

If Bynum gets his game back to pre-injury level Lakers are dominant.

Neither Miami nor Boston can stop Beast Bynum.

Only possible Bynum antidote is Dwight Howard.

(If Bynum's game improves beyond pre-injury level ... OMG!)

I thought I was watching a video game last night.

Boom-shakka-lakka!


DBDH!

Bynum is playing great.
I still have concerns about Blake and Brown.
They play little D and Blake has no offense.
We'll see.

Wow. when kobe focuses on defense like he did tonight, he is the best on ball defender in the game. Defensive-minded Kobe makes the lakers unstoppable.

From an earlier post, a very "intelligent comment" by KobeMVP888:

"shooting the basketball is not Luke's role on this team."

Posted by: Stefan Martin | January 11, 2011 at 11:55 PM
====

Pardon me. It's not his "primary" role on this team. Nice nitpick though. You know exactly what I meant and if you disagree with that then that tells me all I need to know. I skipped the rest of your post.

Yeah, they beat the Cavs, but only because Grandma wasn't available for B. Scott to put in against Fish!!

OK, that was completely uncalled for, but how could I resist after yesterday's D. Fish bashfest from an unnamed poster that used to be DFish.

I thought last nights game centered around the 2 Ds. Defense and D. Fish!!

JR

PMaz & others ,

Defending the PG position is the Lakers biggest weakness.
Fisher and Blake are dominated by fast and/or big PG's.
Brown can't stay with the best PGs either.

Lakers need to upgrade.

Since Lakers are luxury tax conscious

Javaris Crittenton may be a possibility.
He is a free agent.

Should Lakers sign him JC would take defense seriously as it would keep him on the floor and in the league.

Tom Daniels - you took my word. WOW!

I'll give credit where it's due: liked AB's stat line - 7/9 - that's the % I like to see when you are @ the basket.

Team defense was excellent. You can still see them honing in and having some drop-offs but it's a beautiful sight to see.

Tonight's high octane GSW team will be a good test of team defense. And the Lakers energy level should be there since last night's game was essentially a practice game that counted.

Looking good Lake show, looking good!

I was thinking about going to the game tonight but I think I will stay home and listen to the very lame GSW announcers heap massive amounts of praise on the purple and gold.

Cheers all - PLG

Good focused effort by the Lakers last night, they did what they were supposed to do to a weak, undermanned opponent. I think the 5 Lakers that finished the game (Shannon, Joe, Derek C., Ebanks and the Blake) could have beaten the Cavs' starters last night.

A lot of talk around the media about how valuable LeBrawn is. The spin is how the Cavs went from the team with the best record last year with LeBrawn, to a lottery team without him this year. There's a lot of truth to that.

But, this Cavalier team is also almost completely overhauled from last years squad. Also gone are Shaq, Big Z, Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair. Injured are Daniel Gibson, Leon Powe, Varajeo and Anthony Parker. Jamario Moon just returned from injury. So it's not just LeBrawn's departure. There has been a tremendous turnover in the Cavs' personnel. And a whole lot of bad luck with injuries.

Really classy of LeBrawn to "tweet" some salt into the Cavs' wounds last night. He even had the gall to talk about "karma". The way he handled "the decision" will eventually lead to some bad karma as well. Count on it. But that's why he's LeBrawn and not LeBrain.

RE-POST

Three-peat chase practice season update.

After 39 games:

1992-93 Bulls: 27-12
1997-98 Bulls: 27-12
2001-02 Lakers: 28-11
2010-11 Lakers: 28-11

KobeMVP888,

So you're not one who does nit-picking, you sure bro??

I can show countless instances where you have nitpicked on posts by LAKER TRUTH and others.

Its like coal calling the kettle black LOL!!

Mamba24......... It's time for you and Utz to come back and celebrate with your Lakerholic friends!!! You've been gone tooo long. I don't know what really happened but the way were playing now, you won't see Laker Hater's and Troll's for awhile until we start losing. The Laker's are winning, ROLL TIDE!!!! The last time I asked you to come back you listened to your elder, now don't let me down!!!LOL

Here's a link to the story about how LeBrawn "tweeted" his delight about his former team's misfortune.

http://tinyurl.com/5wpzb32

A class act....not!

I have a more down-to-earth example. You and your spouse are going away for a long weekend. Do you leave your young child with a 14-year-old rookie babysitter with so-so grades, no experience with a baby sibling of their own, can't drive, or do you go with the seasoned vet... GRANDMA?

Posted by: 63 Footer | January 11, 2011 at 06:50 PM

----------------------------

You're always in good hands with Grandma....thus my song for today:
This is the epitome of soul............

Bill Withers - Grandma Hands
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxjNauWYFfc&feature=related

Laker Tom... That Bynum is a BEAST!!!He looks refreshed and ready to 3-peat.. And nobody looks happier than Pau to have the big guy back.

KobeMVP888,

So you're not one who does nit-picking, you sure bro??

I can show countless instances where you have nitpicked on posts by LAKER TRUTH and others.

Its like coal calling the kettle black LOL!!

Posted by: Stefan Martin | January 12, 2011 at 07:30 AM
=====

Go for it. If I'm the "pot calling the kettle black," then I am proud of it because you don't see me focusing my attention on trashing our Hall of Fame head coach or belittling our back-to-back championship players. But please comb the archives and show everyone how I nitpick. Oh, and while you're at it, take it out of context, exaggerate it and distort it. It might be interesting reading. Then again, it might be boring as ISH.

@Bronx Laker fan - I agree Lebron didn't show any class with that tweet. But let's not let Dan Gilbert off the hook. Lebron is responding to Gilbert's comments about a curse following him to Miami.


@MVP - Thanks for the 3peat record tracking.

112-57?

ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?

Such a treat to watch a focused Laker team.

I feel better now ever since the Cavs ruined my Christmas last year.

1,2,3 Ring.

@LRob...

Yes, Gilbert is no angel. But I thought that LeBron left some friends on the Cavs. Guys like Gibson, Williams, Hickson and Varejao. I'm surprised he takes such delight in their misfortune.

Is it OK that I actually felt sorry for Cleveland? My son and I were actually hoping that they'd make shots.

What a beatdown.

That said, I loved the execution! Defense, offense, rebounding - all of it! And Drew - well, he's KILLING it! I love it how he just takes the ball out of the opponents hands. Truly just smoking hot.

In a game where we could have easily played down to the level of our competition we ran the offense and won. Let's keep it up!

GO LAKERS!!!!!

What can you say about that defense. I am very curious to see how they respond tonight. Will they continue to emphasize defense like this? I was a little surprised how long the starters were in the game, but I am sure Phil had a reason.

@oregonian - per mike trudell's tweets last night, starters were kept in longer to maintain momentum

One more thing........Lebron's tweet shows how insecure the guy really is.

karma is a double edged sword

when the Lakers have ball movement like they did last night against the LOWLY cav's, they're virtually unstoppable! 7 guys in double figures. memo to the coaching staff and players. KEEP MOVING THE BALL AROUND, IT WORKS!

Really classy of LeBrawn to "tweet" some salt into the Cavs' wounds last night. He even had the gall to talk about "karma". The way he handled "the decision" will eventually lead to some bad karma as well. Count on it. But that's why he's LeBrawn and not LeBrain.

Posted by: bronxlakerfan | January 12, 2011 at 07:29 AM


Such a treat to watch a focused Laker team.

Posted by: OCisMambaCounty | January 12, 2011 at 07:48 AM


@bronxlakerfan- Hey my brother, we're cool, so, what I'm about to say, I don't want you to take out of context. Everyone's got an opinion, and I'm not going to tell you what's cool to say or not, I'm just one man, not my place to judge anybody (a lesson my grandfather taught me; R.I.P.).

Lebron, while his decision was dubious (along with that commercial), I wish he would have handled it differently. He didn't kill anyone man, didn't injure anybody and while I'm studying to get my business degree, I find it, difficult as an inspiring entrepreneur that Dan Gilbert would write a scathing letter like that and ostracize a big portion of the players and the union.

Maybe Lebron is despicable, egotistical, blah, blah. That doesn't take away he's a fantastic, other wordly basketball player. Like when Wilt Chamberlain, stole every girlfriend in the locker room and took them home. Didn't take away he was a bad man on the court.

@OSicMambaCounty- Interesting choice of words. I watched the same game you did, wouldn't call it a treat, more like an embarrassing display of Basketball IQ. I literally thought they'd have to dig up James Naismith, use about 200 pounds of smelling salts to ask him if that kind of play is possible?

I am glad the Lakers won, and they showed off superior defensive chops. I never want to see another game played like that again. The Cavs players afterwards said they were embarrassed, they showed more emotion on their twitter account than on the court, disgraceful!! And people don't feel sympathy for the players or the fans or the organization; Byron should be the one getting the sympathy, he's the one coaching 'em up, and he has to watch them play like Keystone Cops. I hope, I hope, I never see another game like this again, bad for Basketball, bad for the League in general.

LeCreep's tweet was ridiculous. Nothing more to say about that because I am trying to restrain my tongue.

What a beat down. I watched the entire game and I still couldn't believe it. Yes, Cleveland is really bad, but we played extremely well. I kinda felt a little sorry for them, but only because of LeCreep.

Is there any worse fastbreak than won guided by Artest and Fish. Wow, just wow.

Bynum had a nother solid game, patrolling the paint ans swatting everything in sight. He had five blocks and changed many more.

I still don't understand Phil. He had Pau and Lamar out there at the start of the fourth when we were up by 50! Makes no sense at all to me. Why risk the potential of injury?

You have to love the effort! In the past, we have let them back into the game in the forth quarter. Not anymore! No quarter!

Andrew is playing better than ever. I think that slam on Amare was the begining of the end - for the rest of the league!

Simple little change on defense - push them towards the outside instead of funneling them in. Keep Drew near the basket - if his guy tries to pull him out, rotate! It seems to be working... ;-)

Kobe was unbelievably perfect. I am sure Magic is very proud.

I can't wait to play Miami and San Antonio again. Payback!

Everyone on the roster played (and took a shot) and we still stomped them!

I am feeling the team spirit.

I am a Lakerholic.

@KobeMVP888, nice use of season records to put things in perspective.

I think the earlier losing streak has motivated the Lakers to develop an aggressor mentality, which I think will benefit them more than being comfortable in front in first place and looking back.


Just think how bad we would have beat them if Barnes was healthy.

These are the dog days of the NBA or, maybe the DVR days of the NBA? Poor Byron, poor Cleveland. Anybody that's ever played understood the look in their players eyes. No pity, maybe a bit of empathy. After all, they had to endure the LeBron circus.

GO Lakers!

boynamedsue

That's exactly why I'm tracking the three-peat teams ... perspective. I think too much is made out of the necessity of beating quality teams in the regular season. In the end it is about health, being prepared for every situation, and getting a decent seeding. The 1992-93 Bulls won 57 games and didn't have HCA against either the Knicks in the ECF or the Suns in the NBA Finals. The 1997-98 Bulls got hot and won 62 games, but did nt have HCA against the Jazz in the NBA Finals, who also won 62 games. The 2001-02 Lakers won 58 games, but did not have HCA over the Queens in the WCF.

It's a very tough road, no doubt. So I try to keep things in historical perspective. After all, that is what this team (three-peat/dynasty), this franchise (#17) and its superstar (an MJ tying 6 rings and second three-peat) are chasing.

Just a great post MM.

"It reflected a fresh attitude on how the Lakers have prided themselves on sharpening up habits, regardless of the opponent." MM - this is the biggest thing I took from yesterday's game.


"Everybody took a shot," Odom said to himself - Ball Movement was excellent

"We're not trying to show anybody up," Bynum said. "We're just out there executing our offense from one through 14. It worked out for all of us. Even in the fourth quarter, they were playing defense, continuing to move the ball on offense and everything was going well." Bynum - genuinely excited about being back and being THE DIFFERENCE!

"You just go out there and do your job and we did it for 48 minutes tonight." #24 - it's as simple as that!

"It's still hard to say. We need a stretch run against a bunch of teams, good teams." Artest, keeping it all in perspective!

A toast to the Lakers' New Attitude

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ADuyKTRMfw


i love when LBJ tweeted about Karma.

LOL. wow. irony.

DEFENSIVE MINDED KOBE = UNBEATABLE LAKERS. PERIOD

>>>Should Lakers sign him JC would take defense seriously as it would keep
>>>him on the floor and in the league

Not this ghost again.

The Critter was a poor defender. He's athletic enough that eventually he could LEARN to defend, but while he was with the Lakers, he was very bad. Out of position, not hustling back when the other team was fast breaking, just not all there on the defensive end.

I specifically remember posting a long diatribe with video examples showing how much better a defender SASHA was than Crittenton. Let it go. Javaris should have stayed in college for 3 more years to improve both his game and his maturity. Instead, he's an iconic example of a player that came out too early, didn't make it in the league and is done after his rookie contract.

@Sean....

Totally respect your opinion. I'm not ostracizing LeBron for leaving Cleveland. My problem is that even if what he tweeted was directed at the owner, Dan Gilbert, what he said still casts a shadow on his hometown area and the former teammates who he professed such love for last season.

Like everyone else (except the trolls, of course), I loved the effort, the improved D (and the new D system), and the record-setting result, but let's wait to see how it goes tonight against a more serious opponent. I think the Warriors will be a great test for us, not because they're the toughest team out there, but because they are the prototype of the kind of team that has given us fits for years...smoking hot shooting/quick guards (Ellis & Curry). If the new defense and new 'tude can stop these guys, it's all over. Start getting the team measured for rings.

And best of all, if we do a beatdown again...no trolls. Yeah, those dudes are hangin' out, muttering to themselves in their plain, brown paper wrapped jug of Mad Dog 20-20, and just praying that we trip up again so they can come in here, to the hallowed halls of the WORLD CHAMPION LOS ANGELES LAKERS and get their kicks by trash talking us.

LAKER AMIGOS, LET'S RIDE!!!

Totally respect your opinion. I'm not ostracizing LeBron for leaving Cleveland. My problem is that even if what he tweeted was directed at the owner, Dan Gilbert, what he said still casts a shadow on his hometown area and the former teammates who he professed such love for last season.

Posted by: bronxlakerfan | January 12, 2011 at 02:35 PM

Can't argue with that reasoning, brother.

I'm too disappointed that he keeps digging at the scar(s). Look, I love Lebron as a player, as far as all this nonsense non-B-Ball stuff, I ignore it, and, it's completely up to anyone to have an opinion about this crap. That being said, I think, if most people just ignored his off the court twitter, his lack of an education (not knowing what the word contraction means) for saying stupid things, he would retreat away from social media, cuz, right now, he knows when he says something or write something, people are going to react. People should stop reacting to what he says or does off the court, he's not funny, he's not smart (in the general use of the word; the man is full of intelligence for Basketball) and he stays in his bubble, whether he's paid attention to or not.

@Corner J
"And best of all, if we do a beatdown again...no trolls. Yeah, those dudes are hangin' out, muttering to themselves in their plain, brown paper wrapped jug of Mad Dog 20-20, and just praying that we trip up again so they can come in here, to the hallowed halls of the WORLD CHAMPION LOS ANGELES LAKERS and get their kicks by trash talking us."

You go on with your bad self!!!!
UNLEASH THE KRAKEN!
GO LAKERS!

fmkt - Thanks for the love!


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