One of the goals for the Lake Show on this Grammy road trip is to find an identity. Tonight’s 93-89 grinder in Denver might have proved the recipe for success.
Step one is to get Andrew Bynum involved early and often. When Drew is getting touches in the paint early the offense opens up late. Clearly Mike Brown sent a message to this team that the offense starts from the inside-out.
The Lakers controlled the tempo by getting Bynum going. Drew dropped 15 of his team-best 22 in the first half on his way to the 12th double-double of the season for the first time All-Star. Feeding the beast is a proven formula, nice to see the Lakers embracing it. However Andrew alone is not the key to road victory.
Step two in the Lakers’ recipe for success is playing stifling defense. Here is where you see Coach Brown’s vision of what this team can be. Whenever the Nuggets got something going on offense the Lakers adjusted and took it away.
Al Harrington was killing Troy Murphy off the dribble. Time out. Insert help defense on Harrington. Problem solved. Same goes for Ty Lawson.
Of course it also helps to have a little luck. Danilo Gallinari never got it going despite having some open looks. Still, it is on the Lakers to hit the boards as part of their improving defense.
Pau Gasol might not be putting up All-Star numbers while he’s finding his place in the offense. That’s why his 17 boards were so vital tonight. If he’s not involved in the offense then the Spaniard has got to find other ways to contribute.
Now step 3 in this recipe for success is where it still gets a little troublesome for the Lakers.
Andrew Goudelock keeps showing more each game. His 13 were by far the most production Coach Brown got from his second unit. As well as G-Lock is playing the Laker bench is no match for one that packs the punch of George Karl’s.
Harrington’s eyes get big against the purple and gold. His 24 off the bench bested Andre Miller’s 16. Those two alone lapped Lake Show bench production. We’re still waiting for Mitch Kupchak to make a move to add depth so the bench isn’t part of the recipe for success just yet but I see Goudelock working.
Right about now the final phase in closing out a win on the road would be holding on for dear life.
The Lakers gave away another lead late thanks to more careless turnovers, bad offense and some questionable officiating. Human element of officiating not withstanding, the Lakers are still sloppy in the clutch.
As you’d expect, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher hit some big shots late. They also had some moments of madness that resulted in extra possessions for Denver. A couple of costly calls by the refs left this game on the table for the taking. Luckily Denver wasn’t as hungry as Los Angeles.
This road trip is all about defining this version of the Lake Show. Tonight the Lakers played a complete contest from start to finish that capitalized on their size advantage. As a result they were able to dictate the pace of the game. Toss in some great defense and a physical presence on the boards and you’ve got yourself the third road win of the season in 10 tries.
Not a pretty thing but a win against a quality opponent, the kind of stuff momentum is built on. No doubt this road trip will define these Lakers. This game might be the moment we see that definition coming to light.