Hello Lakers Nation.
Trevor lain here for lakers nation dot com.
And today we're talking about three things that we learn from the Lakers big win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Now, one of the three things is not the fact that the Lakers now in first place, which is just amazing fact in and of itself, the Lakers are in first place in the Western Conference now have won five straight games in a row, have pulled their record 25 and one in the win over the Spurs is a big one because that was a team that is considered be one of the playoff contenders in the Western Conference.
Know a lot of people don't have them pegged as a title contender, but there are always a tough team to go beat, and the Lakers were managed to get the job done in San Antonio.
We're gonna dive into my three big takeaways from this game in just a moment.
First quick shoutout to response, sir.
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Okay, let's dive into it.
Let's talk a little bit about the three big things that we learned from this win over the San Antonio Spurs.
And first and foremost I know, Surprise, surprise, Dwight Howard.
What an absolutely monstrous performance from Dwight Howard.
The Lakers wind up winning 103 to 96 that probably does not happen without Dwight Howard out there for your Lakers.
He was absolutely tremendous of there on the floor, making plays on both ends, things that we didn't think we would see out of Dwight Howard this season.
He was blocking shots, getting steals.
His hands were super super quick.
There he was able to do things on both ends of the floor to impact the game.
I guess that's the bottom line here.
Stat line was incredible for Dwight. Ah, perfect.
Seven of seven from the field, 13 rebounds, two assists, two blocks in just 21 minutes.
Finished with 14 points.
Look after the game.
Frank Vogel, Lakers head coach, had mentioned that he had planned to go back to Kyle Kuzma, that he was gonna go put, put Kyle Kuzma back in.
But White was playing so well, he had to leave him in there.
Incredible stuff from Dwight.
He made a difference.
He was a rim protector.
He stopped opponents at the basket.
He was able to to deflect shots.
He was able to score in the post.
His left handed hook shot was even working.
He was getting up above the rim and finishing tip dunks.
This was a throwback performance from Dwight Howard. Amazing.
You know, every game we talked about how LeBron and Anthony Davis are gonna be there.
They're gonna do their superstar things.
But what they need is that other guy.
They need 1/3 guy each game to step up.
And some nights it's been somebody different.
Some nights we've seen games where even Troy Daniels has stepped up.
Some nights it was Danny Green this game.
It was Dwight Howard.
Dwight Howard stepped up.
It was absolutely tremendous.
And what a find What have fine for the Lakers.
How fortuitous was it that the Lakers managed to stumble across Dwight Howard after losing DeMarcus cousins.
He has been a difference maker for this team.
And, yes, I was one of the people that was hoping that they would get joking Noah or someone like that.
I thought that if it was better that the personality was better.
Look, hey, I'm curious to see if you can keep this up.
Can he continue this in the dog days of January and February, when the going gets tough? But for right now, you have to give half to give credit to Dwight Howard for just how good he's been.
He's been saying all the right things.
He's been doing all the right things, making all the little plays, boxing out, setting hard screens, rolling hard to the basket, doing all the things that a role player big man needs to do, and he has been 100% tremendous.
I am blown away by what we've seen by Dwight Howard, and if I want to get you a little bit too fired up here, I'm gonna put a big disclaimer on this right now.
There's a small sample size.
We're only six games into the season, and this is not sustainable.
Okay, but as of right now, if you were to take Dwight Howard and you put him in the Lakersstarting lineup with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Avery Bradley, Danny Green and White, those five together right now that grouping has an offensive rating of 137.
9, which in and of itself is absolutely ridiculous and a defensive rating of 63.3.
That means this group is not only scoring at an incredible rate, insane efficiency scoring, but they're also almost impossible to score on there.
That good defensively.
That is amazing.
Now again, it's not going to stay that way.
It won't it can't.
It would be impossible, But you have to start thinking.
Does this mean that the Lakers should maybe consider tossing Dwight Howard into the starting lineup after all of that same group, which a veil McGee in there actually has a negative net rating negative 1.
9 net rating compared to a huge positive net rating when Dwight Howard is in there again.
Tiny sample size, all that kind of stuff.
It's not really at that big of a difference, but there's No question that Dwight is outplayed.
So should he be in the lakersstarting five? That's something Frank Vogel will have to consider.
I don't think it's a given.
After all basketball.
It's more about who gets moat the most minutes.
Yeah, having the starting spot does have some prestige to it and everything.
But Dwight's been getting the most minutes, as is.
Vogel's already made the shift there, whether or not he'll actually want to change up the starting lineup at this point with the team winning has yet to be seen.
But bottom line.
Amazing performance from Dwight Howard and, hopefully, Weaken Seymour of that from him moving forward because he has been absolutely critical to the Lakers.
Second thing that we learned about this Lakers team.
The grit, the hustle, the determination.
We haven't seen this on a Lakers team in a long, long time.
Even on the opening play, the ball winds up in into Martin Rosen's hands.
It looks like he's got an easy layup.
LeBron James chases him down, doesn't just give it to him blocks.
The shot was the gold sand.
The ball hit the rim first or hit the backboard.
First it was a gold said.
But it was really close to the point where the refs didn't notice it, and I don't really care about that.
I care more about the fact that LeBron put in that effort.
It's LeBron James on the defensive end.
It's Dwight Howard.
It's Anthony Davis, Avery Bradley flying around all over the place.
The Lakers look tremendous on the defensive end against the Spurs.
In fact, it wasn't until the Lakers started making their own mistakes on their offensive end that the Spurs offense got going in this game.
It took the Lakers turning the ball over, making silly mistakes, doing things like that, taking bad shots that led the long rebounds, then run outs for the Spurs.
The Spurs couldn't score on the Lakers when their half court offense was set because they did such a good job flying around all over the place, contesting shots.
Their defense was absolutely stifling the Spurs.
It was when the offense for the Lakers started to struggle that the Spurs offense was able to come to life because they were able to get into transition.
Impressive stuff from the Lakers defense and again, you've got to give them credit for just having that grit and that grind.
The Spurs came all the way back and caught up at 90.
If this was last year's team two years ago, any time in the last six years, the Lakers probably lose that game because the Spurs come back.
They catch back up to 90 and the Lakers have so many young players that they panic.
They tense up, and you saw that we saw that play out for years.
But now this Lakers team has veterans, has guys who have been in these situations before.
Guys like Danny Green, guys like LeBron and Anthony Davis and all these other players, guys who are used to being under pressure and they don't panic.
The score got tied at 90 90 in the Lakers.
Just said, Okay, we'll kick it up a notch and they did, and they pulled away and got the win.
They didn't panic.
They didn't freeze up anything like that.
It's a lot of fun seeing a Lakers team that has that kind of confidence in themselves and what's scary is that they have that kind of mentality.
This grit and grind, and yet you can punch us in the mouth, but it's not going to keep us down.
They've got that it factor to them and we're six games into the season and the offense is struggling at times, and that's leading to opportunities for the opponents.
What happens when that chemistry starts to really click on the other in the floor? What is this team look like then? And that is a scary thought for teams matching up with the first place Los Angeles Lakers.
Final thought final thing.
Don't start booing just yet.
I know if you're watching, the video version is you just can't Abia ce Kobol Pope's picture pop up on your screen.
Can t v ous Caldwell Pope.
Not as bad as we all make him out to be.
Bear with me here, put down your torches and pitchforks.
I know KCP has been terrible, terrible, altering certain stretches of this season.
Most games, in fact, he has been bad.
There's no getting around it.
He has not been a good basketball player for the majority of this eh NBA season.
But let me tell you this KCP is not as bad as he's been He just isn't.
This is a veteran player.
This is a guy who has been around now.
Understand what I'm saying here? Am I saying contagious? Caldwell.
Pope is a great player.
Am I saying Kim TV's Cola Pope of the starter? No, I'm not saying that either.
I'm saying he's an average N b A player, and that's what we've known about contagious Caldwell Pope for a long time.
I don't think in a small sample size, we can just assume that contain these colorful pope is always going to be this bad.
Okay, as bad as he's been.
In fact, we saw signs of life against the Spurs, hit some big shots, did some good things defensively out there on the floor.
Five of nine shooting, two of five from three on Lee.
One board, one steel, 14 points.
Yes, he played 40 played 28 minutes.
It's not like he's lighting the world on fire.
It's not like he's going on grabbing a ton of rebounds or deflecting a bunch of loose balls and getting steals and things like that.
But my point is that he's okay.
He's a decent eh? NBA player.
He's not the complete negative that he was through most of the games of this season.
So far, I do expect that we're going to see a positive regression to the mean from Kentavious Caldwell, Pope.
We're going to see more games like we saw against the Spurs this evening and that we'll see a KCP that can at least contribute.
And depending on Avery Bradley's injury, we know that he got kicked in the knee, had to go to the locker room, couldn't finish the game out against the Spurs, Frank Vogel says.
Don't worry about it. He should be fine.
But he's day today, right now.
So in their next matchup against the Chicago Bulls, we could even be seeing KCP in the starting lineup in Avery Bradley spot.
Avery Bradley is the better player, the better defender.
I like what we see from him a lot more, but what I'm saying is KCP Let's not vilify him just yet.
He's had some bad performances and if those continue, then yes, there's gonna be cause for concern.
But he also has performances in him.
Like what we saw against the Spurs, where he's perfectly competent and he can get the job done for you.
Okay, so again, give Casey pee a little bit of leeway here.
Let's give him a chance to show that he is still a veteran player that can produce for your Los Angeles Lakers.
All right, guys, that's going to wrap things up for today.
Appreciate everybody watching.
Let me know in the comments down below.
What were your takeaways from this game? And do you disagree with mine? Am I foolish for thinking that KCP can be okay out there on the basketball court? Or should I be grabbing my tortured pitchfork and ready to run a mountain town like a lot of Lakers fans are right now? What do you think about Dwight Howard? Can he keep this up? And how much fun is it watching this Lakers team? I said it last show.
I'll say it again.
Lakers fans enjoy this time because of how long it's been since we've had a Lakers team that's felt quite like this.
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My name's Trevor Lane.
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