ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 08: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends against Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on March 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Lets get straight to it
"I can’t fault my team’s effort tonight," Larry Drew said. "We ran against a really good team. We ran against a hot team."
I thought it was an improvement over Sunday's game against New York but at the end of the day it is the same result.
If you’re wondering, Drew said he decided to go with the "regular" lineup rather than the big lineup with Jason Collins because they went that route in the first game and didn’t get enough offense from it. (Collins was 0-for-1 for 0 points in the first game, if you’re wondering, although Bynum only had five points.) (That was Mike Bibby’s last game. 0-for-3, 0 points, 0 assists, 1 rebound. Ouch.) With the team struggling offensively, Drew said he thought he had to go with Horford at center.
Right call or not I will credit him with trying something. Too bad the fast break points advantage couldn't offset the significant advantage the Lakers had in points in the paint.
"I think we settled for a lot of jump shots [in transition]," Horford said. "I don’t think we were running hard enough."
This team has to find more balance. Those outside shots are much more likely to succeed if the ball in entered into the post first.
The Hawks moved the ball better than in recent games, but the Lakers made them labor for open shots and forced them into plenty of contested ones. After shooting 60.0 percent in the first quarter, the Hawks shot 33.3 percent the rest of the way.
"I definitely want to try to find more minutes for him because he has that ability to give you that energy and give you that intensity,"
Drew wanted his players to run more. They didn’t. He wanted them to attack the basket instead of settling for jump shots. They didn’t. He wanted them to play with more aggression on defense, and by the way, if you want to knock somebody down, really, it’s OK. They didn’t (and didn’t).
All evening long, the Lakers played inside-out from the post, exploiting their height advantage over Atlanta's front line and ripping seams in the Hawks' interior D. Sharing the rock, making strong moves to the hole, stepping into jumpers... all that good stuff was on the plate, and it came together deliciously in the form of 1.20 points per possession.