Second Unit Providing A Lift

Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby Kobe8Fan on Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:59 pm

Image

Published by Trevor Wong on March 2, 2013 3:10 pm in Practice News

The Lakers bench, oft-criticized the past few seasons, seems to have found a rhythm.

In Thursday’s 116-94 win over Minnesota, the bench combined for 52 points, 46 of which came from Steve Blake, Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks.

“We’re playing with the ultimate confidence,” Jamison said postgame. “We’re relying on each other. We know what our roles are.”

Post Saturday’s practice, the 15-year veteran elaborated on the bench’s play.

“We have chemistry and a closeness with each other,” Jamison explained. “That’s been the difference as far as my play and the way the second unit has been playing.”

Their roles, as Jamison noted, are more defined compared to a couple months ago. With coach Mike D’Antoni transitioning in and trying to implement a new system less than a month into the season, he also had the task of mixing and matching the right combination of player lineups.

“The hardest thing was having to go through the whole bench to find the combinations of what I liked, and who I liked,” D’Antoni told Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell in early February.

Jamison sat six straight games because of DNP-CD’s in late December and early January. Meeks found playing time sporadically during one stretch in January sitting out two games, while seeing less than 10 minutes of court time in seven others. Darius Morris was in and out of the starting lineup. All the while, Blake was recovering from abdominal surgery, Steve Nash was healing from a lower left leg fracture and the Lakers lost Jordan Hill to season-ending hip surgery in the process, too.

“There was just a lot of stuff we didn’t get traction,” D’Antoni said. “There were a lot of injuries and a lot of things just didn’t go well.

Times are much different now.

L.A. has won 12 of their last 17 to pull within one game of the .500 mark at 29-30, and sit just two-and-a-half games back of the final playoff spot.

“We really had to be patient,” Jamison said. “We knew we weren’t playing up to our standards and what we were capable of doing.”

That patient approach, has, in fact, helped aid in the Lakers turnaround – especially the play of the second unit.

During the month of February, Jamison averaged 13.2 points on 48.5 percent field goals, while also hitting one 3-pointer in 12 of 13 contests. Meeks poured in 9.2 points and nailed 23 triples at a 41.8 percent clip.

Blake averaged 5.8 points and 3.4 assists on 46.6 percent field goals and 45.5 percent from the 3-point line, but his impact on the court cannot be understated, even though the numbers don’t show up in the box score.

“He’s getting more comfortable with the team and what we do,” D’Antoni said of Blake after Saturday’s practice. “He is a very disciplined player. Defensively, he’s always in the right spots. He’s tough. He settles us down offensively. He’s always trying to make the right play. Sometimes you won’t see it if you don’t watch film and what we’re trying to do. But if you’re a coach, you appreciate all the intangibles he brings.”

Since Blake returned from abdominal surgery on Jan. 29 against New Orleans, the Lakers have posted a 10-5 record. In those 10 wins, the Lakers have posted a defensive rating of 96.6. Extrapolate that to an entire season and that would rank second in the NBA behind the Indiana Pacers.

Continuing that type of play over the next 23 games is the key, but even D’Antoni acknowledged this is the most comfortable he’s felt about the Lakers performance all year long.

“Without a doubt,” he said. “We’re finally figuring out rotations and getting guys comfortable and where they fit. It’s just trying to figure out what fits better. Obviously there were some problems before trying to figure out what this team needs to win. But I think we’ve got a pretty good formula down.”


http://blog.lakers.com/lakers/2013/03/0 ... ding-lift/
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Re: Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby abeer3 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:15 pm

lost amidst all the criticism for the team this year has been the fact that had their team been healthy, their bench would have been good--a stark contrast to preseason predictions.

hill, clark, jamison, meeks, and blake is a solid support unit. at times, they've been forced into roles too large for them, and two of them have been unavailable for long stretches.
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Re: Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby jodhus on Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:56 am

some of you may disagree but I believe Steve Blake had a lot to do with this recent wave of bench success as the facilitator off the bench. as well as Jamison just being the cockroach(as per kobe) and picking up opportune baskets.

Having said that, their biggest contribution is on the defensive side. They get the stops that they need and hand off the "momentum baton" back to the first unit.

The second unit just seems more cohesive than the first unit as of late.

If nash can knock down those spot up shots and mwp shoot around 45-50. I think we might have just found our ticket to the playoffs as 6th or the 7th seed.....
Last edited by jodhus on Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby wcsoldier81 on Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:06 am

They are making shots ... simple as that ... Meeks and Blake can bring good D against average offensive players too ... Jamison starts taking charges here and there...

I don't think they all keep shooting at a 40%+ from 3 though ...it's not a realistic expectation ... we need good games from 2 of the 3 on a nightly basis ... especially on the road.

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Re: Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby Doc Brown on Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:59 am

The only thing that the 2nd unit sucks at is...

Rebounding
Protecting the paint
50/50 balls

Losing Hill really really hurts. He would have all 3 of the above covered and would be getting us 2nd chance points. He might be a role player, but his impact on this team was great.
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Re: Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby trodgers on Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:15 am

Last year I looked at the bench and thought we'd be good. I was wrong. This year I looked at the bench and thought we'd struggle. I was wrong, apparently.

This team has really forged together, and I credit D'Antoni for that. He has really done a much better job of assigning roles and (at least if Jamison is to be believed) communicating his expectations to players when the roles fluctuate.

I now EXPECT Jamison, Blake, and Meeks to play well when they're in. That's three players off the bench I think we can count on. Hill would've been a fourth. We're building depth.
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Re: Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby tigerjeterkobe on Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:52 am

Yeah, I am sick of hearing about the Lakers underachieving and being possibly the biggest chokers ever.

If the Heat were without Bosh (Gasol), Battier (Hill), Chalmers (Nash) and Eraser Head-Coles (Blake) each for 30 games, and Wade missed about 10 games and played others injured (Howard), would the media crucify James if they were around 500? Or would there be excuse after excuse after excuse?

I am not a huge Blake fan, but he is better than Morris and Duhon (though I think Morris is better defensively, and Duhon has some speed and vision that Blake lacks on occassion).

Imagine the Clips without Paul and Bledsoe and Jordan and Lamar for 30 games. Knicks without Felton and Kidd. GS without Curry and Jack. Etc.

I agree, losing Hill and Gasol (plus having Dwight miss some games) resulted in a 6 or 7 games swing for us. But not having a decent PG (with Nash and Blake out for so long) to help set up Dwight, Jamison, Clark, Meeks, Ron, and Meeks (all of whom have trouble creating for themselves), has resulted in a 10-12 game swing. Kobe couldn't do it all himself, and still score, and still defend the other team's best player.

Injuries happen. But to lose your starting PG and back-up PG for nearly 30 games, and your starting PF and back-up big off the bench for basically 60 games is ridiculous. Not even the Celtics have lost as many key players.

Well, at least we got to see Clark develop.... I am just sick of everyone piling on Kobe and Howard and not recognizing the abnormal amount of injuries.
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Re: Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby therealdeal on Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:12 am

trodgers wrote:Last year I looked at the bench and thought we'd be good. I was wrong. This year I looked at the bench and thought we'd struggle. I was wrong, apparently.

This team has really forged together, and I credit D'Antoni for that. He has really done a much better job of assigning roles and (at least if Jamison is to be believed) communicating his expectations to players when the roles fluctuate.

I now EXPECT Jamison, Blake, and Meeks to play well when they're in. That's three players off the bench I think we can count on. Hill would've been a fourth. We're building depth.

Well said.

It was put really well in the article about how it wasn't just the injuries, it was the injuries while we were already trying to find a rhythm. It just made the process so much slower. But now that we've found a rotation (albeit a short one), we're really clicking.

Doc is right, losing Hill was a huge blow. Having him with that second unit would have really helped our defensive effort while they're in the game. I think with a full camp and a little more luck on the injury front, our team would have looked better this season and especially the bench unit.
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Re: Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby trodgers on Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:16 am

^ If that hill injury hadn't happened, I don't think we would have seen Clark though. Is it impossible that Hill comes back this year? Getting him for the playoffs would be sick.
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Re: Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby therealdeal on Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:23 am

trodgers wrote:^ If that hill injury hadn't happened, I don't think we would have seen Clark though. Is it impossible that Hill comes back this year? Getting him for the playoffs would be sick.

True. Although we still might have seen him because of the Gasol injuries.

Latest word is that Hill would be on track to come back in June. :man1:
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Re: Second Unit Providing A Lift

Postby Lakerjones on Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:56 am

Jamison has been playing incredibly well over the past month. Really nice to hear him talk about the improved chemistry of the second unit and the comfort level they have now playing together. Blake really has been instrumental in their good play lately too. Meeks remains the inconsistent guy in terms of his shooting, but he gives consistent effort all around when he comes in so you really can't complain. And he's still hitting the three at a pretty high clip. I've said all year that I've liked our roster. But I do feel like we should sign either another Big who can play 4/5 and spell some minutes for Clark/Howard, or we should get a serviceable backup SF. At this time it I think it would be wise to expand from 8 man rotation to 9. Clark is starting to wear down from all the minutes and is losing some of his effectiveness. We still have a very tough month or so ahead of us with 12 road games before we get Pau back.
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