Since the Lakers hired Mike Brown in the off-season and abandoned the legendary triangle offense, the team has fallen from 7th to 16th in the league in offensive efficiency. Before Wednesday’s Lakers-Clippers tilt, Brown talked about the Lakers’ offensive struggles, saying that because of the veteran Lakers’ lack of speed, they “have to be an execution team,” saying “we’re a low-post/iso team.”
When asked about the chemistry between Andrew Bynum, who is currently enjoying a career year, and Pau Gasol, whose numbers have been down this season and recently said that he isn’t getting enough touches in the post, Brown said that his budding superstar center is learning how to pass out of double-teams and keep the offense flowing better, saying “it took Tim [Duncan] and Dwight [Howard] a year to get used to post double-teams.
When asked about the Lakers’ abysmal three-point shooting, Brown didn’t seem to think that a lack of good drive-and-kick or post-and-kick passing was the problems, saying “we’ve had some good looks.”
Brown also said that the team had been “a step slow” on rebounds and in transition, saying that they have been “slumping their shoulders” for the first step or two after turnovers when they “have to flat-out sprint as soon as the ball’s turned over.”
When asked about Pau’s concern that he wasn’t getting the ball in the post enough, Brown told reporters that when Gasol ran to the rim in the recent practice, established deep position, and made a short hook, he actually stopped practice and gave Gasol a hug.
The Lakers will have a chance to end their losing streak and right the ship offensively at “home” against the Clippers tonight, who are currently 23rd in defensive efficiency.
Despite giving up 19 offensive rebounds in a Game 1 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, the Heat don’t plan to get any bigger for Game 2.
According to our own Ira Winderman, Zydrunas Ilgauskas has said that he will remain inactive and Erick Dampier will not dress for Game 2. Both players started a significant amount of games at center for the Heat this season, but Dampier has been inactive throughout the playoffs and Ilgauskas has been benched after being extremely ineffective throughout the first two rounds for the Heat. Jamaal Magloire, who Spoelstra called the team’s “best rebounder” earlier in the week, will be active for Game 2.
This means that Joel Anthony, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and all the other Miami players who went through “rebounding 101” on Monday will have to keep the Heat from dominating them on the glass in Game 2. It can be done, but this is a gamble for Spoelstra and the Heat — if the Heat’s relatively small forwards can’t keep Joakim Noah and Co. off the boards in Game 2, they could easily go back to Miami facing a 2-0 series hole.
Well, hey, it was probably too much to ask for the youngster to keep it up. Two days after making himself a part of NBA history with 31 points and 31 rebounds, Kevin Love came crashing back to Earth for the Minnesota Timberwolves, only scoring 22 points and 17 rebounds in a 111-105 loss to the Hawks Saturday.
Love accounted for 44% of the Wolves’ total rebounds, and played 40 minutes. So it’s possible that the tyranny of Kurt Rambis towards the youngster is over. Love’s not a good defender, he really isn’t, but his production simply demands that he get floor time. Michael Beasley added 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting. In fact, there was really only one weak point on the team’s starters: Darko Milicic.
And boy was he bad. 2 points on 1-7 shooting, with 2 assists, 2 rebounds, and 3 blocks with 2 turnovers in 20 minutes, and it was every bit as underwhelming as it sounds. Al Horford, most often matched up with Milicic, went off again for the Hawks with 28 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks. Darko is supposed to be the defensive stalwart on this team, and he was the only starter with a negative +/- worse than -1 (Wes Johnson was just under the line).
Love, though, continues to simply battle for every loose ball, today matched with Josh Smith (who only had 10 rebounds, pssh). Sure, sometimes he yanks one from a teammate, but at this rate, Love’s on track not just to earn his minutes, but to earn minutes as an All-Star.