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Lakers find groove for second game in a row… bring on the real test (Miami)

Jan 16, 2013, 2:07 AM EDT

Milwaukee Bucks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

It was a gimmick — after the Lakers ugly loss to the Thunder last Friday night, Mike D’Antoni said that the Lakers season really started Sunday night.

Well, the Lakers are 2-0 in their “new” season, and both wins looked a lot more like what everyone expected of the team this season — Dwight Howard playing dominant defense and still chipping in 31 points, Steve Nash setting guys up, Kobe Bryant getting open looks (on his way to 31 points also) and Antawn Jamison knocking down open looks off the bench (10 points).

Los Angeles pulled away in the third quarter and cruised past Milwaukee 104-88. It makes then 17-21 on the season.

Next up: The Miami Heat. And while Miami is in a bit of a rut themselves this is the real test of if the Lakers are starting to finally put it together or if this was just a couple of nice games.

What made the Lakers look good for a change was their defense. Milwaukee came in with the small but quick backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, the Lakers decided to challenge that with length — Kobe was on Jennings most of the night, Earl Clark was on Ellis. It worked, the Lakers blew up the Bucks pick-and-roll much of the night. The result was Jennings was 4-of-14 shooting and Ellis 6-of-16 and while they combined for 29 points they didn’t really change the game.

The weakness with the Lakers plan was that Steve Nash has to guard somebody and that ended up being Luc Mbah a Moute. But he tried to post Nash up to little success, thanks in large part to the help from Howard. Mbah a Moute finished the night 3-of-10.

Meanwhile, the Lakers showed some good ball movement against a quality Bucks defense — 20 of the Lakers first 22 field goals were assisted. There is starting to be an obvious comfort level between Nash and Kobe, with the latter getting more good looks than the ones he had to work so hard for earlier in the season. They are also getting Howard some easy baskets at the rim.

But the Bucks hung around — down just 7 at the half — because of offensive rebounds. The Bucks had 18, or to put it another way they got a second chance on 36 percent of their missed shots. Larry Sanders had four. It just didn’t help that much.

Mostly because the Bucks shot 35.8 percent on the night.

Some of that was Howard blocking (four) and altering shots in the paint. Some of it was improved Lakers perimeter defense. Some of it was just the young Bucks missing wide open shots. The Bucks offense has been up and down all season. This was down. And the Lakers get some of the credit for that.

Next up for the Lakers is the Miami Heat. That is a much better test, is the kind of win that can be a confidence boost for a team looking to go 3-0 on the start of its season.

  1. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    Happy? Yes. Rejoicing? No.

    Lakers should start beating teams considered to be contenders.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:09 AM

      take any win you can, they have to build off this, they will have
      to win a lot more games to even crack the elite 8.
      I don’t know if you want to take on contenders just yet.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:28 AM

        True that, but hey, the sched is set and they have to take on whatever they face. The Lakers have no other choice, no other way but take it seriously one game at a time.

    • 00maltliquor - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      Foul….honestly, I think they are finally gonna turn it around this time. They may lose against the Heat in this next one, or maybe not (I still wouldn’t put money on it straight up without a spread), but I have a gut feeling we on the rise.

      • loungefly74 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:21 PM

        “… I think they are finally gonna turn it around this time.” agree, same here, Malt…though that statement reminds of a cartoon skit…and it makes me laugh…and sob. hehehe. you might know this one:
        Bullwinkle: “hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat!”
        Rocky: “but that trick never works!”
        Bullwinkle: “this time for sure!”
        “Roooaaarrr!”
        Bullwinkle: “think i need a new hat!”

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:18 PM

        Malt, I still have faith that our team can still see this through. I still like our chances.

        But obviously, the swag of winning games aint there for this season… for obvious reasons.

        If they get into the Promise Land this season, I won’t even be spouting out “I told you so!” to all those haters.

        Well, if they don’t, I will just go play golf instead. LOL!

  2. jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    yet another ‘whoop-de-doo’ article about the lakers beating a horrible team.

    YAWN.

    why dont you guys hide my comment again? can’t take the heat for your crappy article selection?

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:16 AM

      I could actually share the same sentiments that you have despite me being a Laker fan…

      … but even in sports websites like this one, money talks and economics are also involved here. Point being, the more hits they get, the more income comes in. Lakertalk = $$$.

      And you know what? You actually helped validate that Laker articles do sell.

      • jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:18 AM

        i made that point on a past article but they hid it, because they know im right. chicago is the third biggest market, new york, first, yet you rarely see articles about those teams.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:25 AM

        Don’t get me wrong, dude. I would love to see other articles that are non-Lakers. But I be damned, even in some of those threads, Lakers still get mentioned somehow no matter how skewed the relationship is. Duh.

        I don’t want to sound like a Laker apologist, but that’s just the way of the business world I guess.

        What they could do perhaps is have every team a section in the website and get writers for each team.

      • jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:29 AM

        Im not a Laker hater, any team with a good style of play is fun to watch. I just want to clarify that. Showtime lakers? golden. kobe-shaq lakers? golden. Kareem is my top pick for center ever with that devestatingly gorgeous hook of his, i even was a fan of smush for a tiny little bit of time.

    • davidly - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:40 AM

      It’s the Baloominati!! WAKE UP SHEEPLE !!!
      Yeah, they “hid” you’re comment.

      Sorry. Just teasing. Seriously, though, j-no, I am against the likes of the corps which runs this place as anyone (bringin’ good things to death, as they do), but banishing sports blog criticism by their admins is the least of anyone’s worries ’round theshere parts. It actually has more to do with a glitch in their system; sometimes comments disappear. All they care about is clicks. And at the end of the day, that’s what keeps us from spending more time worrying about the sh** that matters.

    • 00maltliquor - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      @ jnoah13

      You may have typed a profanity or took too long to type out your comment before you hit send. IDK why that happens, but it happens to me allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the time. It’s quite frustrating.

      Sometimes it even post on the screen, but only to you. No one else can see it. You know it because you could be the 5th comment but the comments number amount will only say 4.

    • loungefly74 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      @Foul…you nailed it, buddy. the Laker articles generate the talk.

      jnoah, there are other articles on here…but no one (fewer people) comment on those. it’s business, man. don’t take it personally. hehe. kidding.

      • jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:11 PM

        no profanity. wordpress is kind of ancient i guess. must just be the stupid people giving these constant articles the time of day. once the lakers are over .500, we can talk.

      • loungefly74 - Jan 17, 2013 at 7:48 AM

        sure…but there are a lot of Laker fans on this site, such as me. i’m happy they generate articles about anything and everything with the Lakers.
        c’mon man, you posted on these articles…lets not call anyone stupid.

  3. dko83 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    Steve Nash: one of my all time favorite players, one of the greats.. but the lengths the Lakers have to go to hiding his defensive short comings is… not good for them.

  4. jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:13 AM

    i mean how many teams get an article after almost every game? answer: none. its getting ridiculous. how many times have you guys skipped articles about any other good game? all the time. all the damn time.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:20 AM

      Simple.

      Your team needs to get the numbers.

      With the Lakers, they elicit extreme feelings. More often than not, it’s either you love them or you hate them. And both sides of the spectrum have the numbers and they actively participate and contribute to the numerous hits a Laker article gets.

      And those hits translate to moolah.

      • jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:24 AM

        this is the only basketball site i can view at work, where i am at for 80 hours a week. I dont have time to read anything at home, besides sam smith who i always make time for. they can write as many articles about the lakers as they want as long as other teams get their say as well. i have no idea whats going on with the warriors despite the way better record they own. if your team is horrible, i dont want to hear about them.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:27 AM

        I feel your pain and frustration, dude.

        Props to your Warriors, by the way. I like how they are doing in this season. Mark Jackson’s investment on his team is paying off.

      • jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:31 AM

        its the commitment to d that has most impressed me, from the rare glimpses i see of them. im a huge fan of defense, id rather watch a bulls game against the celtics where the score ends up 77-69 over a suns/rockets game with a score of 120-111.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:35 AM

        The scary part is that they are relatively young… they should keep their core and continue polishing from there.

        They remind me of the Thunder on the rise.

      • jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:40 AM

        im iffy on curry’s ankle. im always cautious with those, bogut is a walking injury waiting to happen. lee is playing well, and im a big fan of barnes. carl landry and jarret jack were great signings, but i can’t jump on their bandwagon yet. they have a few steps to hit first.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:45 AM

        Hey, with the way your boys are playing, they are doing a hell lot of chemistry. Pick your poison.

        Injury? Bah! That’s EVERY TEAM’S problem it seems. We all have to deal with it.

      • loungefly74 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        mad respect to the warriors.

        well…the Lakers are the “Yankees” of the NBA. they have nationwide appeal.

  5. jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    change the name of your blog to prolakerstalk if this is gonna continue. unreadable. so many typos and error all the time. wheres your editor? is he a mop that just sits in a chair?

    • daddyghi - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:46 AM

      and while you’re at it, you might want to throw in proknickstalk as well…

    • slowclyde86 - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      The fact remains: You still take the time to read the articles and post to them. If you don’t like the site, then vote with your feet and leave. Is someone putting a gun to your head, forcing you to click through to Laker’s articles. Bizarre.

      • jnoah13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        i never comment on articles, or read lakers articles. frustration on my part.

  6. BigBeachBall - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    Artest is playing out of his mind….

    • davidly - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:44 AM

      That dude should be on the first D-team every year, seriously. He may not be the most consistent offensive guy, but sometimes he gets blamed when the rest of his team leaves him alone playing D. Love or hate his lapses in humane decorum, he likes to play defense. I love that in a player.

  7. sperminat0r - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    lol….Lakers beat two mediocre teams…..they will get crushed by Miami Heat. The lakers may not even make the playoffs

    The clippers are the new face of the NBA team for Los Angeles now.

  8. davidly - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    My three scents (cuz I’m a loser & don’ got nothin’ better to do):
    Smell test) Sure, this is a test of sorts, but slightly more of a test for Miami in the sense that they’ll see if they can do that whole “gear switching” thing the b-ball people love to talk about when it comes to title repeaters. For the Lakers, it may represent whether or not they can bring the heat against the Heat, but after this game, nobody is gonna be wondering whether or not Miami will have their legs come June.

    The Stank) Like BigBeachBall said above, MWP is the man, simply because he’ll always be the one getting the least credit, even though he garners his share of the most attention.

    A whiff)
    – when the Lakers have more assists than KB has shot attempts: 13-7
    – when Bryant takes as many or more shots than his team has assists: 4-14
    (2 of those wins being Charlotte & Washington, and another 2 when an opposing team’s player does the same (Kemba Walker, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony))

    Now how’s that for ‘nalysizin’?!

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      With a post like this one, you can say that the Lakers will lose and yet decent Laker fans won’t be up in arms or calling you out about what you said.

      • davidly - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        True that. I aims to please. On the other hand, most fans of any team pro’ly read it, think wtf, and move on.

        Hey, at least I don’t just post a link, saying, ‘My on the subject’:
        http://davidlys-most-awesomest-site-ever.hoops
        That’d be a guaranteed forty thumbs downseses in the first ten minutes.

  9. dannymac17 - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    good for them.

    they should feel good winning 2 in a row after dropping 6

    give them the title, this season is a WRAP

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      Your sarcasm bites, dude. LOL! I’m still a Laker fan and will continue to be.

      But I’m happy as well for the Clippers. They have finally arrived. Doormats no more.

  10. omniusprime - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Beating two lowly teams is nice but it does not prove that they can be contenders. Beating the Heatstroke would be a good sign to us Laker fans to have playoff hopes, but shorthanded I doubt that Dumbtoni can inspire them to that kind of greatness. Finally the Lakers played some good defense, well except for Ancient Nash who can’t play defense to save his life.

    That idiot Winderman wrote some nonsense about trading Kobe, I wouldn’t even bother to read the article because the headline made it clear Winderman is totally crazy. Trade away Ancient Nash because he is the weakest link in the team. Trade away Steve Flake because he’s the sorriest excuse for a backup point guard ever. Bring in a great young point guard like Kyrie Irving, bet he’s getting tired of being a loser with the Cadavers.

    Go Kobe!!! Go Lakers!!!

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      GROOVIN……………………………………

    • bougin89 - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Gasol for Irving would probably work out.(Insert obvious sarcasm font)

  11. spthegr8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    @omniusprime
    Let me start by saying, I’m not trying too be an a$$hole. But maaaaan, what are you talking about bruh???? Kyrie Irving is gonna be the best Pg in the league in a couple of years. Do you really think “great young point guards” are that easy too find??? Cuz if they were, I’m sure everybody would have one then, right??? It’s kind off hard too take you seriously when you post so much nonsense. & just what trade value does Steve Blake have??????

  12. 00maltliquor - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Brandon Jennings on being guarded by Kobe…

    “I don’t think I’ve seen anybody put that much pressure on a point guard full cour for a whole game. It was probably the best defense somebody’s ever played on me since I’ve been in the league.”

    Hells yeeeeah! Kobe can’t play defense #FOH!

  13. magicbucs - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Congrats lakers and laker fans you’re now 17-21……

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