The pattern at the end of the Lakers win over the Bobcats was unmistakable — Pau Gasol would sub for Dwight Howard, then a few minutes later Howard would sub for Gasol.
There’s a reason for that — lineups with both Gasol and Howard were -22. Against the Bobcats. Mike D’Antoni isn’t stupid, he saw what wasn’t working and went away from it.
But that meant someone sat late — Pau Gasol was in the game for the key hack-a-Dwight time before the final two minutes, but as has happened before this season Howard was on the floor and Gasol was on the bench in the key final minutes. This time the Lakers held on for the win.
After the game D’Antoni tried to play this off as happened because Gasol is getting back into shape following missing eight games with knee tendonitis. Sure. But Gasol was not too happy about it, as Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reported after the game on Sulia.
“When the game is on the line, I need to be on the court. That’s what I get paid to do.”
Gasol also said: “Hopefully, that won’t happen too often.”
It should happen every time the Howard and Gasol are -22 when matched up against Byron Mullens and Bismack Biyombo.
So far, in a very small sample size, the Lakers have struggled in Mike D’Antoni’s system when those two are on the floor together. And the Lakers have to figure it out because they can’t sit one of their best players in the final minutes of games if they are going to get near their potential.
D’Antoni said they would after the game and said they would tinker to make it work with those two on the court together. I hope there are more detailed plans in there somewhere. Because it not, this could become a bigger issue going forward.
So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.
But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.
But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.
When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.
Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.
Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.
Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.
Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.
New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.
I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.
But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.