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Even In A Loss, Lakers Resolve Provides Optimism Reviewed by Momizat on . [caption id="attachment_87060" align="aligncenter" width="2128"] Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports[/caption]"We got some guys who can fight, and that's all you c [caption id="attachment_87060" align="aligncenter" width="2128"] Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports[/caption]"We got some guys who can fight, and that's all you c Rating: 0
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Even In A Loss, Lakers Resolve Provides Optimism

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

“We got some guys who can fight, and that’s all you can ask for,” said head coach Mike D’Antoni during his post game press conference after the Lakers 114-108 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, a team tied with the Spurs for the best record in the Western Conference.

At the end of the day, the night ended with another tally mark in the loss column, but Sunday night’s loss provided a bit more depth than the other eight as the Staples Center crowd was sanguine after the final buzzer, giving the team a standing ovation after watching them claw their way back from a 20-point deficit to begin the fourth. Here we have these bizarro Lakers — a team staying competitive in games despite of a conjectural lack of talent — receiving standing ovations from a Staples Center crowd after a loss.

Down 20 heading into the fourth, D’Antoni stuck with a lineup of Xavier Henry, Jodie Meeks, Wes Johnson, Shawne Williams and Robert Sacre for much of the final period, with Williams only leaving because he fouled out. Point-by-point we watched as the Portland lead was whittled to 15 to 10 to five to one by a band of misfits that includes the 60th overall pick from the 2012 NBA Draft class and a guy who wasn’t even in the NBA last season in Williams.

No, the Lakers weren’t able to pull away with the win last night, but they provided a performance that a fan base can appreciate, one to rally around. The Blazers had the talent to close the game with a couple of huge three pointers from Damian Lillard and Wes Matthews in the final minutes of the game to keep the Lakers from taking the lead, and ultimately the win — but watching the mettle, the grit of this Lakers team compete with the best in the league is one of those strange performances in sports that will stick with you.

“I consider it a good fight,” said Henry when asked if he was encouraged by last night’s performance. “We didn’t come out well, but we ended the game as hard as we could. We showed people something today.” Henry was tasked with playing a psuedo-point guard role as Jordan Farmar went down with a hamstring injury early in the game and Steve Blake was struggling on the defensive end keeping up with Lillard. And it was Henry, a guy completely out of position, who ended up leading the charge in the Lakers comeback, including a break away dunk for which he received a technical foul after a distinctly malevolent, scowling look toward his opponent.

Henry scored a career high 27 points on nine-for-12 shooting, and even made seven of his 11 free throws to help keep the Lakers competitive. One of his closing mates on the night, Sacre, also recorded a career-high with 12 points as he continues to earn more minutes.

“That goes to show what kind of characters we have on this team,” Sacre began after being asked about coming back from a 20 point deficit. “We have tough guys who are willing to get better and never quit on anything. That’s the mentality of this team, and it’s great to see that we have those tough guys on this team.”

Sacre on the floor closing out the game against Portland also shows that he’s indeed one of those tough guys. There’s no telling what we’re going to get from this team on a night-to-night basis, but it’s becoming exceedingly more apparent with every game that we’re going to get something from these guys. There have been nine different leading scorers in 18 games for the Lakers this season on a team with a rotation that goes 11 deep. This isn’t a talented Lakers team (comparatively), but there’s room for optimism, which is more than what was provided before this season began.

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Robert Sacre Talks Career High Night In Loss To Portland


About The Author

Phillip Barnett loves cookies and difficult sozialisierbaren basketball. You can follow him on twitter at @imsohideouss.

Number of Entries : 323
  • Daryl Peek

    Dave McMenamin ‏@mcten8m
    The Lakers announce Jordan Farmar has a tear of his left hamstring. Out approximately 4 weeks.

    Gotta go get someone if Nash can’t show he’s ready this week in practice. THIS SUCKS ON SO MANY LEVELS!! Farmar was the leader of the bench mob SMH

    • Zimmeredge

      told you so Daryl. sprained ankle confirmed for Gasol too. that’s really bad news.
      lucky Nash is on his way back.
      so now we’re talking, who will get in?

      • Daryl Peek

        Mild sprain for Gasol. WW Kobe do? LOL

        If Nash can play I say they still don’t look at picking someone up at PG. Kaman will likely play given Gasol may choose to sit out VS. play through it, like say Kobe or Nash would.

        • Jim213

          IMO, If Nash can play call Toronto to make a trade or get a third team involved to acquire another PG. IMO, even if Nash returns he won’t give the team too much and will be coming in and out of the lineup until he fully addresses his ailments = taking time off.

          • Zimmeredge

            even if Nash can play, nobody will bet on him. High contract, injury prone… what kind of a franchise are we if we can’t respect a hof?
            we have good fa pg. Baron Davis, Gilbert Arenas, Kendall Marshall to name a few.

          • Daryl Peek

            No trading Nash at this point. Gotta hope for the best that’s all

          • Jim213

            Disagree, best to trade Nash. Next season Kobe $23 mil + Nash’s $9 mil which likely comes in playing no more than 20-24 minutes a night given he won’t be retiring even with all his bad ailments.

            Thus, $32 mil total applies towards salary cap. Best to trade Nash to assure that other players remain Lakers given that the team has BETTER solid depth now which they lacked.

          • Zimmeredge

            there’s no franchise who’s ready to pay for that 40y-o guy right now.

          • Jim213

            A few teams have expressed interest for Nash. One being Toronto which is likely for marketing purposes mostly. The best they can do is a player for player trade with the raptors now IMO.

          • Zimmeredge

            given his wage?

          • Jim213

            That’s who I’ve been thinking about at least temporarily. R Gay makes too much to risk $19 mil on as if Lowry can be acquired and given that he’ll be a FA 2014 as long as he can be acquired an agrees to a year extension then the team will have something to work with for now.

            This will at least give the team a year to see if lowry can fit the mold of what they’d like down the line though he needs to improve on his game which includes his shooting. But if he doesn’t work out then he can be used in another trade (value) to try to acquire a more suited elite PG one that may be available come 2015 FA. (IMO, only a plus with this move aside of acquiring value).

          • Zimmeredge

            i don’t see the Raptors trading Lowry for Nash they will be the loosing team on this one. even if lowry do not sign a new contract this summer. he’s too good right now. we must wait this summer for him.
            what i can see is we keep Nash but the one who gets traded is Kaman. so you trade Kaman for a combo guard (Fredette?) or a pf/c (Monroe). then you look for a FA point guard (Arenas, Davis, Marshall) or pf/c (Odom).

          • Jim213

            IMO, it’s still possible but it’ll depend on what Nash can contribute. I don’t believe that Lowry will resign with the raptors so like everyone has done as of late they’ll want to get something out of it rather than nothing.

            However, if something actually takes place then some $$ will actually need to go to the Raptors to cover some of Nash salary as their just under the cap by a million if correct.

          • 0ishi

            can’t we just amnesty nash???

          • Jim213

            Looks like it was a one time deal with the new CBA agreement. However, the team can defer his salary the following season if he medically retires though doubtful.

        • Zimmeredge

          wait & see for Kobe. but sure he’ll play pg when he gets back.

          we better get a pg. we can’t trust nash or kobe as soon as they get back from injury. can’t play them too much!
          it’s time to press the panic button. i don’t get it Daryl. do we have to wait until Nash gets injured again? or Kobe? or Blake?
          it’s too risky the more they play the bigger the risk.

          • Daryl Peek

            There are other options on roster that the coaches have and are prepping to fill the short term void. Again if Nash is unable to go this week then yes get someone in here. Keep in mind we can only carry 15 and with Gasol potentially down and Hill hobbled their are other needs also.

          • Zimmeredge

            we dropped Harris for a purpose. other needs? We have Ryan Kelly who can play.
            short term void? playing with Nash and Blake for a month knowing that kobe gets back from a devastating injury and that we have to protect him. Who will lead the floor with alongside Blake? Meeks? Henry? D’antoni needs a true pg to run his offense.
            again it’s too risky to play certain players heavy minutes when they are not used to play that amount of minutes for a long stretch. A Month my friend… a lot can happen in a month.
            trade kaman for a good interior or a good combo guard (Fredette?) then bring in either a pg or pf from the fa or a d-league player.

          • Daryl Peek

            Who’s been leading? Your talking as if we’ve had an all-star we just lost?!? If and this is a big IF, Kobe and Nash come back the team will be fine at PG. When did the Lakers need to have a thousand PG’s all of the sudden? Should we expect Kobe to fill that role? NO but can he at times? Yes.

            Again, if Nash and Kobe are back, no additions are needed but if either is still out we need another body.

          • Gregory Choa

            Agree.

          • Zimmeredge

            we need someone even kobe and nash are back together.
            all of a sudden? every team… I mean… EVERY TEAM IN THE LEAGUE have three point guard.
            Kobe CANNOT play big minutes (20 minutes). Nash CANNOT play big minutes (20minutes). Blake CANNOT sustain that amount of minutes for a whole month. I mean the guy was all sweating last night. He might have lost 10 pounds! lol Meeks is a shooting guard. he is not a combo nor a point. Henry too.

          • Daryl Peek

            Go listen to Blake’s post game interview from last night. He basically lays out the fact that there will be no additions in his opinion. Gasol confirmed this in his post game interview also. We know they don’t make that call but I’d be willing to bet D’Antoni and the FO are on the same accord as they are.

          • Zimmeredge

            so we gonna wait if Nash is reliable. if he injured himself then we will make a couple of phone calls. At least, for once can we prevent things to happen. we might go through thinks but in the end, further down the road, you’ll pay the price.
            I can remember my laker team having four pg (Nash, Blake, Duhon and Morris) last season and, in december, having a lot of trouble with both Nash and Blake out…

          • Daryl Peek

            Yes they are. IMO

          • Zimmeredge

            knowing that Bryant and Nash are not sure they’re able to play? don’t you think you put to much pressure on their shoulders as they are coming back. And playing Blake 40 + minutes is also a lot of pressure.

          • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

            that is rather unlikely that Blake plays 40+ minutes… Henry can take some of those minutes as what we’ve seen the whole 4th quarter of last game. And If Kobe is available by friday, he will also take some of those PG minutes… so mostly likely, Blake plays around 30 minutes of PG duties on Friday.

  • Martin Susman

    I would play Sacre as a starter, let’s see if the 60th pick in the draft can make this team as areal bench center, let him play, let him learn, let his youth & desire show through. Play Henry, Young, Sacre so we can see if they will be resigned next yer to real contracts. (Yes Farmar will & should be resigned). DUMP Gasol, Nash & Blake if you need a throw in.

    • Andrew

      I never liked the thought of dumping Gasol, but in this case I think it’s just time. I love Pau and Steve and what Pau has meant to the Lakers and Steve to the NBA but we just need to get younger and talented. However, I think we keep Blake. He’s played extremely well in Nash’s absence, and has produced at a decent starting level coming from a career bench PG. They will probably keep Henry, Young, and Wes Johnson next year, and I hope they do give Sacre more of a chance, especially given that coach D’Antoni doesn’t like the way Kaman fits into the system and Gasol and Hill are downed.

  • hookedonnews

    I’m beginning to think Kaman is in D’Antoni’s doghouse. Maybe Sacre has just been better in practice and is proving he can play when he’s gotten a chance. Kaman probably should have kept his mouth shut about his minutes and not liking small ball. I guess we’ll see in the next few games whether Kaman is getting playing time. I know that MDA likes unselfish players. They are key to making his system work. That game last night was great. They deserved a standing ovation for that effort.

  • JohnC

    LA Lakers play like a team this year, that’s the good news. The bad ones is the lack of balance between the offense inside and outside. The most skilled offensive big guy of the league is averaging just 14 points a game. I believe Gasol, Hill, Kaman (who does not have minutes) could be exploited in a more productive way, they are not mere defensive tools.

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