Game Recap: 3 Thoughts on Grizzlies Beating Lakers

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1. The Lakers’ starters continue to improve as unit

If you watched the Lakers in their first 4 games, you would be excused for thinking this was one of the worst starting units in the history of the NBA. Quietly in the last three games, the starters have improved their play significantly. Carlos Boozer‘s play had been the most troublesome, as he is crucial as the Lakers’ second option offensively, but he had his best game of the season tonight with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. It might be too much to expect that kind of production every night from Boozer at this stage of his career, but his effectiveness is the key to whether the Lakers can turn around a tough start to the season when reinforcements arrive.

As a unit all five starters scored in double figures, a first this season. Wesley Johnson scored 15 points on 6-10 shooting. Johnson in recent days has vowed to be more aggressive offensively, but his all around game is what will be the source of his most valuable contribution. Jeremy Lin was solid with 12 points and 3 assists, but he struggled to contain Mike Conley and continues to dwell in the no man’s land of being neither a volume scorer or dynamic facilitator.

You can live with Lin not getting others involved when he is scoring, but the team can’t afford for him to fall back as just another cog in the offense. He must continue to step forward and put pressure on defenses by getting to the rim and the foul line.

Jordan Hill continues to perform up to the level of his contract this season. Night in, night out he has been the Lakers second best player. He took an uncharacteristic 17 shots tonight, scoring 13 points with 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He was lured into the trap of being left open while the Lakers were down 3 in the last few seconds of the 4th quarter. He took a shot that was understandable but ill advised. He missed but his lack of hesitation in taking the shot is a sign that his confidence is up.

With the brutal schedule the Lakers have been begun with and there being 75 games remaining in the season, moral victories do have value. The Lakers are improving. This isn’t reflected in the win loss column but it does provide hope that the season is far from over. They can and will be competitive this season.