NBA Analysis: L.A. Lakers Weekly Review

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In a new weekly feature here on LakerStats, we’re going to do a recap of what went on the last week of Lakers basketball, from player stats, to trends, to items of note. Basically whatever tickles our fancy to talk about. And we’re calling it “The Jigglin’ Jello” because…well…I don’t know, it sounded good, and was the first thing that came to mind…OK? It will either be written on Sunday nights or Mondays, depending on how tired this author is.

So here is the first installment, for the games of December 5-12. Enjoy, and feel free to actually comment. We like comments, at least we know someone is reading something we post.

Lakers Record Week of December 5-12: 3-1 (1-0 at home, 2-1 on road)
Wins: Washington, L.A. Clippers, New Jersey
Losses: @ Chicago
Current Season Record (As of 12.12.10): 17-7 (10-2 at home, 7-5 on road, Current Streak – Won 1)
Current Standings (As of 12.12.10): 1st Place Pacific, 3rd Place Western Conference

Best Win Of The Week
The Lakers didn’t exactly knock off any heavyweights last week, so no win really stands out as that impressive. So in terms of the three wins they had, they played their best in the Washington game on December 7. And while they gave up much of a third quarter 19-point lead, they never fell behind like they did to both the Clippers or New Jersey. Like I said, there really were no great wins to talk about. Derek Fisher’s buzzer-beater was exciting of course, but again a game that shouldn’t have been that close.

Stud Of The Week
Pretty easy here, it was Kobe. Yes Derek Fisher hit the game-winner against the Clippers, but it was Kobe who hit two big shots down the stretch when the game seemed out of reach. He also was the one of the few Lakers who came to play against New Jersey on Sunday, and really willed the team to victory with some smart plays down the stretch of that game, as well as scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter. For the week, he averaged 27.8 points, 5.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and shot 48.8% from the field (39-80). It appears he’s getting his shooting rhythm back, even though he has had some issues at the foul line the last four or five games.

Spud Of The Week
Also a pretty easy choice here, it’s Ron Artest. What is going on with Ron’s offense? Defensively there’s little to argue about, he made great plays at the end of the Clippers game and averaged almost 3.0 steals for the week, but offensively? Ouch. How about this? He hit only 7-31 shots from the floor, that’s 22.5%, and you don’t need to know much about basketball to know that’s just plain awful. He was even worse from the three-point line, hitting 1-10. He did make 3-4 foul shots, and is shooting 73.1% for the season there, so that’s OK. And I’m not picking on Ron Ron, I love the guy, but right now his ineptness on offense is a bit of liability. He needs to be able to give the Lakers more than the 4.5 points he averaged last week. He’s far too good of a player for those kinds of numbers.

What’s Going Good
In a very up and down 10 games, the Lakers’ defense has improved. Last week they allowed just 93.5 points per game, and if you take away the Washington game, no team shot more than 41.3% from the floor. They’ve been good defending the three for most of the year, and despite a few issues last week, they did a decent job from there as well. They certainly aren’t playing championship-caliber defense, but they have clamped it down a bit more in the last week.

What’s Going Bad
The offense. What happened to the team that was averaging 112 points the first 15 or so games.  They’ve only broken 100 twice in the last nine games, once was last week against the Wizards.  They only averaged 96.3 points for the week, and that’s with a 115-point night against Washington.  The main problem I see is that the three-point shot just isn’t going in like it was early on in the season. For the week, the Lakers shot just 32.9% (24-73) from beyond the arc. And without that reliable outside shooting, and with Pau Gasol just worn out up front from playing so many minutes, it has made life tougher offensively. Especially in the last two games, the Lakers have had good looks from distance, they’re just not making them. It really hurt them in the Chicago game.

Upcoming Week
The Lakers continue their road trip all week with games in Washington, Indiana, Philadelphia, and Toronto. They also expect Andrew Bynum back Tuesday against Washington, and any minutes he can give them up front will be welcomed, for sure by Pau Gasol. All these games are winnable, and frankly they should win them all. But with the way things have been so up and down, it’s so hard to know what Laker team will show up. But the only team playing halfway decent in that group is Indiana, and they’re not exactly the Boston Celtics even at their best.

LakerStats Week Prediction: 4-0 (Bynum coming back, very winnable games, I’ll be an optimist here.)

Tags: heavyweights, home 1, big shots, jello, losses, buzzer beater, rebounds