THE GAME: Lakers vs Clippers
Tonight is the 20th Lakers game of the season, and I have to admit something: I have no clue what to make of Lonzo Ball.
If you assure me that he will be an All Star next season, I could see that. If you promise me that he won't even be in the NBA in five years, I could see that too.
I have not been this uncertain about a rookie since another UCLA player, Kevin Love, was starting out in Minnesota.
Here's how I see it with Lonzo:
- He seems to love going after rebounds. He's averaging 7.5 per game, tied with Larry Nance (a forward) for the team lead, a full two and a half boards more than Brook Lopez, who might be my least-favorite center to ever wear a Lakers jersey.
- He is averaging 7.1 assists per game, good enough for seventh-best in the entire NBA. (The number would almost certainly be higher if Brook Lopez was shooting better than 45%, the worst season of his career. Lopez is the fourth-worst shooting center out of 45 qualified centers in the NBA this year. But enough about that numbnuts.)
- He already sees the floor in transition better than most point guards who have been playing in the league for years. I imagine this is what Magic saw in Lonzo to begin with.
- I have no idea what the hell happened to the kid who looked like he was having the time of his life last year running the show at UCLA. Lakers Lonzo looks like he would rather be doing almost anything other than playing point guard for the purple & gold.
- Likewise, his confidence appears to be shot. I can't think of a single point guard who has ever been successful in this league while looking dispassionate and unconfident. Of course, there could be a reason for his lack of confidence, which leads us to...
- Lonzo has the ugliest fucking shot I have ever seen, a hideous unfolding lawn chair of a shot that is currently going in at a rate of 31.5% (and 25% from three). Furthermore, the way he shoots, from his left hip, means he cannot get the shot off when going to his right. There is pretty much no room in this league for any player - and no room at all for a point guard - who can only go in one direction. If Lonzo retools his shot, he can be successful. If not, I fear he won't be a starter by this time next year.
NOTES ON THE FOOD:
- I think I've mentioned this before, but just in case I haven't: Every once in a while I go to Walmart and walk around to see what kind of foods they have for sale that you can't find anywhere else. On a recent trip I found a bag of "Spicy Chicken Fillets."
- I defrosted one in the microwave - 2 and a half minutes at 50% power - and then dropped it into a vat of hot oil to crisp it up.
- The chicken went onto a plain, soft white bun before I sluiced it with a bit of "Asian BBQ" sauce from Hoboken Eddie's.
- Then I topped it with a scoop of Spicy Chopped Veggies from Dave's Gourmet Korean Food - a local business that sets up at farmers markets around the Southland and makes some of the best veggie products I've ever tried.
- And then, to cool all the spiciness down, a squirt of Creamy Street Sauce.
- It was the best fried chicken sandwich I have had in months.
NOTES ON THE GAME:
- Even with the losing record, the Lakers at tip-off are second in the Pacific Division, one-half game ahead of the Clippers. (Of course, everyone is looking up at the Warriors, which will happen until the day the season ends.) I have been wrong about the Clippers - I thought they were going to be a better team with Chris Paul's departure.
- Brook Lopez starts out missing his first four shots, none of which was particularly good, and one of which was a three-point attempt.
- I really like Ingram's aggressiveness this season. Yes, it is developing at a slower rate than I would like, but as he continues to gain muscle, I think he will continuing driving to the hoop more and more.
- Lonzo misses a layup and then makes a three on the same possession. Nothing makes sense about him right now.
- I had to run out to the grocery store to do a favor for someone. When I got back, the Lakers were leading by four with a couple of minutes left in the first half. I was not surprised to see that the bench had done the work.
- KCP missed a three then followed his shot all the way to the rim to tip it in. I cannot tell you how much I loved that. (Not surprisingly, not a single Clipper tried to box out.)
- Lonzo, Lopez and Ingram all have four fouls and we're only halfway through the 3rd quarter.
- The Lakers just had a 4-on-1 break and they almost blew it. Thankfully they salvaged it.
- Austin Rivers just committed the most blatant lane violation I have seen in years and the refs missed it. The Clippers got an undeserved two points there. I wonder if that will be the difference in the game.
- Ingram blocked DeAndre Jordan on the defensive end then got an assist from Lonzo for a dunk on the other. That's the kind of two-man game I'm hoping to see from the two of them for years to come.
- The Lakers go ice-cold down the stretch and make some idiotic plays and the Clippers win by 5.
- Former Laker Lou Williams scored 42 for the Clippers.
- Check out the +/- for the Lakers starters tonight, not a single one of them was positive:
- Now check out the +/- for the bench, not a single one of them was negative:
- I don't think I've ever seen that before. That is straight-up pathetic and the starters should be ashamed of themselves.