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Lakers shoot themselves in the foot

by archysport

LeBron James turns 37 today, in his nineteenth season in the NBA, with (literally) more time to live in the League than outside of it. His longevity is adding, a fight against the logic of which he continues to emerge victorious, one last (¿penultimate?) glorious take on an encyclopedic career, of legend. For the first time in his career, LeBron has surpassed 30 points with more than 50% shooting in six straight games.. The Lakers have only won one, in Houston and a day before the collapse in Memphis (104-99) that prevents LeBron from blowing out the candles with a smile. He scored 37 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and delivered 7 assists. And he equaled his personal 3-point limit, 8 in 14 attempts., a march that reaches for the third time and to which it has not arrived since 2014. But the Lakers lost, again, unable to have two alegrías in a row. And they are 17-19.

In negative and still many weeks ahead without Anthony Davis. And waiting for Ariza, Nunn and even a Reaves who has played very well when he has played. Anything is worth hope in such a precarious state. Always with problems, always inconsistent, the Lakers advance with more risk of being left out of the playoffs than of being among the hopefuls. At least, until we see what happens between now and the market close, on February 10. But the construction of the squad and the distribution of salaries makes it very difficult to imagine thunderous swings for the key moment of the season. A frustrating team, to which something always happens to him. When not directly competing, it drowns in decisive collapses. When he shoots, he doesn’t defend. When he defends, he adds too many losses … Always-happens-something, there is always one reason, a couple of excuses at hand.

The Lakers played for almost three full quarters at a very good level against a very tough opponent. They got to be 14 up in a third quarter in which they scored six triples. They had the dagger in their hand … and they fell apart. They let the Grizzlies get hooked on the game in the final stretch of that third quarter (closed at 78-83) and conceded a 12-0 run (from 87-92 to 99-92) in the last stretch in almost four minutes. left already in intensive care. Still, they had options at the end: Westbrook missed a layup, LeBron a triple and a penetration, Jaren Jackson blocked Bradley … and, in the last attack and still within three (a play with three missed scoring options) himself. LeBron embolized himself and gave the ball to Tyus Jones. Later, Bane sentenced from the personnel line (104-99).

The Lakers added 18 losses, and that was their cross despite their 15 triples. Y they threw 8 free throws … but 29 for the Grizzlies. Only Ja Morant threw 12, four more than all his rival. Carmelo Anthony did not have the aim this time 24 hours before, in Houston, Monk was good again in attack, Stanley Johnson in defense and Russell Westbrook (16 + 10 + 12) chained his third triple-double in a row. Do youSo that? Dwigth Howard returned to play, gave solidity, but did not step on the court in the fourth quarter. And another great LeBron game went down the drain of a team that is an ongoing contradiction. Malik Monk put it like this: “I hate to say things like that, but we are still a new team trying to find their place. This shit is frustrating, we have to have more cohesion as a team, find solutions“Time is running out, the market close is approaching and to believe in these Lakers it is increasingly necessary to believe in magic as well.

On the contrary, the Grizzlies (22-14) are four from the West, the best of all the others, the rather amorphous batch that follows Warriors, Suns and Jazz. Those from Tennessee always compete … and win almost always. This time they were against the ropes, but they were saved by their franchise player, a Ja Morant who is shooting towards the All Star. The point guard held his team first, grabbed the game first and threw it later, with two triples in a row (93 -92 to 99-92) and the decisive actions in the final stretch. He finished with 41 and 10 rebounds, a 6/7 in triples and well accompanied by Bane (20 points), Jaren Jackson … still without Dillon Brooks, the Grizzlies continue to rack up victories and stick together goodies like this one, with a comeback included in which a fit of fury was enough in the last quarter. More than enough against an opponent whose feet are pure mud. Or not even that.

The Suns and the Jazz do not fail

As the Lakers roam like a banshee The Suns keep winning games and thinking about the assault on the ring that slipped through their fingers in the last Finals. After two losses in a row, rare thing, they beat the OKC Thunder completely in the frame despite keeping the visitors alive until a key final quarter (30-16, 115-97 final). Devin Booker had 38 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists with a 6/12 triples. One of the big news for Arizonans is the emergence of Jalen Smith, who is having good minutes in a much-needed inside rotation that remains without DeAndre Ayton. Smith, a draft number 10 (2020) targeting pufo, is finding its place (this time 12 points and 14 rebounds).

In another simple a priori game, the Jazz, the third in contention in the West, did not fail either. The Blazers are foxes, and their transparent defense hardly put up opposition against an opponent that reached 120 points without forcing the machine and without Donovan Mitchell: 105-120 final with 22 points and 14 rebounds from Rudy Gobert, 15 points per head for Conley and Bogdanovic and great game from the substitutes of Quin Snyder (21 + 6 Rudy Gay, 15 + 11 Whiteside, 19 + 4 + 5 Clarkson ). It’s 25-9 for the Jazz, two games behind the Warriors and Suns, and a terrible 13-21 for the Blazers, a game and a half behind the cheap 10th place in the West. Damian Lillard and Norm Powell each scored 32 points.

Mavericks crash in Sacramento

In the last game of the day, the Mavericks held another one of those invaluable wins without Luka Doncic, which follows the COVID protocols. All they scratch without the Slovenian is gold, which is why this loss in Sacramento was especially painful, against the weak Kings and in the last second: 3-pointers on the horn, from the right corner, from Chimezie Metu, and 95-94 final. It was a very weak game, in which the Mavs did not take advantage of their good start for a lousy second quarter (35-13). Jalen Brunson (25 points, 6 assists) and Kristaps Porzingis (24 and 7 rebounds), shot some Mavs with many casualties, who nevertheless had the ball to sentence, but Porzingis did not hit the mark and left some Kings alive who gave themselves the final joy with Metu’s triple. They remain at 15-21, leaving the play-in zone. For the Mavs it is 16-18, eighth position in the West.

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