Lakers Reach An Important Benchmark





DENVER – Coach Mike Brown never said anything to the Lakers reserves.

“He didn’t need to tell us,” said one of them, Steve Blake.

No one did. The Lakers’ bench knew it had been underperforming, on offense in particular, and that the continuing problem had become a major reason the Nuggets won Game 3 and were threatening to tie the best-of-seven series late in the fourth quarter on Sunday.

It was that fourth quarter that changed everything — the game, the direction of the series, and definitely the perception of the subs in need of an image boost.

Jordan Hill, the one consistent L.A. reserve in the series, continued his steady play with four rebounds in the period (11 for the game) to go with 12 points for his second double-double in four tries. Blake, though, went from shooting 25 percent the first 3 3/4 games to hitting three of four in the final quarter Sunday. That included two of three from behind the arc as clutch moments in the 92-88 victory that earned the Lakers a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.

“I thought the energy we got from Jordan Hill with his double-double was huge for us,” Brown said. “That, to me, was probably the biggest difference in the game, the way we played at both ends of the floor and especially in the second half tonight.”

Matt Barnes had no such success, making just two of six attempts to go to 23.1 percent for the postseason. But getting Blake going while Hill continued is reason for encouragement as the potential showdown with Oklahoma City drew closer.

“We understand if we’re shooting the ball well or not,” Blake said. “If we’re making those shots, it opens things up for (Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol). It’s as simple as that. They’re going to get double-teamed. The focus of defenses is going to be on Kobe and Andrew and Pau, and we’re going to get open shots. And it’s just up to us to make them.”

Brown doesn’t have many options other to hope for nights like this. He has shortened the rotation to where Hill, Blake and Barnes are the only reserves getting real minutes. There was nothing to do on Friday, for example, as the Lakers bench managed just nine points — six from Barnes and three from Blake.

But more performances like this from the Lakers’ backups, plus the potential return of Metta World Peace, could make all the difference this postseason.

81 Comments

  1. timothy 90 says:

    the lakers will win this series no doubt about it but making this series to game 6 will give MWP a chance to play against the thunderous okc it will give the lakers more defensive stoppers for KD.The lakers will dominate in the west if only the bench will be used accordingly with the likes of murphy and goudelock plus hill doing a great job backing up mr. bynum.Coach mike brown should know this
    Im a laker fan idont want to see my team lose. go lakers

    Lakers in 7 vs thunder and lakers in 6 against spurs and lakers in 7 against heat = nba champions hahahaha

  2. Tommy Quin says:

    Lakers 4ever!

  3. W/E says:

    damn thunder got nothin on lakers bigs, bynum is gunna DESTROY them,thunder bigs are horrible on both ends exept Ibakas shot blocking.

  4. Romesh says:

    Man, Lakers played terrible in game 4 and still won. They were frustrated at each other at times, switched on picks that they didn’t need to switch on(lazy) and took bad shots consistantly at the end of the shot clock. I dont know why everyone’s going on about how good the lakers are. I am a huge lakers fan and have been since the magic era, but I think the fans are crazy to think the lakers played well and are championship material after last night’s game. I agree that they can play well enough to win the whole thing, but last night wasn’t it.
    When Metta comes back into the rotation, I guess they’ll be a bit more solid defensively but we need him back sooner than later. Lakers should close this one out in 5 but game 1 vs OKC is gonna be a tough one. Hopefully Kobe can catch fire and drop 50 on Sefalosha and Bynum will find a way to out block Ibaka
    Lakers in 6 vs OKC (hoping)

  5. noyb says:

    Lakers will lose to Thunder, but doesn’t matter. They couldn’t beat the Spurs anyway! Spurs-Heat Finals, and probably the Spurs win (Lebron loses again!).

  6. Jm says:

    I think that the Indiana can upset the Heat. :)) If Miami survive the Celtics will the one to sent them home. Hahaha! Poor Lebron! But I guess that who ever wins the series between Lakers and Thunder will be the 2012 Champs!

    Lakers vs Celtics 2012 NBA Finals!

  7. laker crusade says:

    Lakers!!!! Can’t say what win but, GO LAKERS!!

  8. butch says:

    i still go for jordan hill and steve blake for open … and possible for barnes lookin for his first good playoff pick up game … otherwise kobe is still the main man on d next series if not pau or bynum …

  9. KOBE24_5 says:

    i agree with ppl saying goudelock need more time because honestly he a real threat from the 3 point line and as kobe already said he not afraid of taking the big shots..which is why is nickname became the mini mamba lol. we need to beat OKC though i think in a seven game series we can really wear down the thunder and i heard that perkins hip is still sore. all we need now is for barnes to start shooting like he was at the end of the season and everybody dream will come true(after we get thru the fundamental spurs)..heat vs lakers! and yes in a seven game series laker nation will prevail joel anthony and haslem don’t stand a chance against our elite bigs.

  10. Rollie Santelices says:

    YOU CAN NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE HEART OF A CHAMPION….. THAT IS LAKERS… IF LAKERS WINS AGAINST OKC, ANOTHER RING FOR KOBE THATS FOR SURE….

  11. TC says:

    I always wanted Lakers to win. However, have to admit that other than Kobe, Pau and Andrew, there’s little to cheer for. OKC definitely a better team at the moment; but then look at the Spurs, I think their 2nd unit can sweep any Eastern team (except Heat.) Heat is a no-brainer out East, but like many others, I don’t want to see them win.

    If Lakers bench can outscore other bench 40-20 every coming game, you have my vote.

  12. Wolfman says:

    Keep Hill in the rotation and replace Metta. Lakers will be fine with that lineup.

  13. J-Short says:

    The Lake Show must continue to provide the bench opportunities to score. I Goudelock coud be a threat if givn the chance.

  14. LAKERS OWNED says:

    last game against Denver was another excellent show where referees were saving LA A_S_S

    great game for Denver, they are more than capable of beating selfish Kobe and LA thugs

    Nba is not what it was used to be

  15. Lakers says:

    You know how all the dallas games were close except for one. Well for starters the lakers are a much better team then dallas and they are about 20x better at closing

  16. Karim says:

    @Francisco
    He’s still better than your favourite player….matter of fact he’s ur favourite player’s favouriteif you understand what I’m saying..

  17. Kim says:

    Coach Mike , i am begging that you play Hill, E. Banks, and goudelock instead of Barnes and Blake

  18. Armin Halvadzic says:

    I literarly started to hate Blake after watching this seasn and 3 games of playoffs against Denver because he was missing everything… he kinda made it up with this three pointer.

  19. Francisco says:

    Why the Lakers are not the Best team in the NBA if they have the second Best center and one of the BEST Skillfull power forward in the league, good defensive players like MWP and barnes, session in doing a decent job as PG, WHY?
    ANSWER:KOBE is not that good like the fans believe.Think if kobe is the best, bynum the best center in the West , GASOL one of the best power forward, THESE are key positions in the game.

  20. ts says:

    Lakers got lucky last night. I am a huge Lakers fan and it is killing me to watch Coach Brown barely squeak by the Starless Nuggets. I remember Brown doing multiple questionable things during the season but I was hoping that he would figure it out come playoffs. Sadly it doesn’t appear that way. He doesn’t give other players a chance and sticks with Barnes who can’t throw the damn basketball into the pacific right now. He plays Blake who is past his prime and has a horrible AST:TO not to mention the guy flat out can’t shoot anymore, like he use to when he was in Portland. Brown needs to play Goudelock as he can match up against the smaller Miller when Denver goes small. He needs to learn to counter other coaches coaching. Plus he needs to make Kobe play inside out. !2 shot attempts for Bynum is NOT enough. 25 shot attempts for Bryant is TOO MANY. He should be right around 18-20 and redistribute the other attempts to Gasol and Bynum. Give it to the big men and good things happen. With Brown as coach I don’t see the Lakers getting past OKC even though they have the better team.

  21. jovdelmar says:

    Like i posted in the other blogs, this series against Denver help the Lakers prepare as to what OKC could bring in the next round (fast tempo) OKC plays the same style but with better perimeter shooting than Denver.

    OKC will face entirely different team in the next round, their series against Dallas was fool’s gold. People knew Dallas is not the same team from last year with T.Chandler, JJ.Barea and others.

    Honestly, Lakers they are doing excellent job considering they have new coach, new system, shortened season, very short training camp/practice times, lots of new players.

  22. Oula says:

    Great job so far by the L.A. Lakers in the series against Nuggets. Continue pouding the ball to Drew , Pau and Kobe down in the paint. Get the rebounds and minimize the TO’s, Lakers will be in good shape God willing.Tout simplement magnifique!!!!!!!!!!! Merci.

  23. OWNED says:

    Pau, Bynum and J.hill are the only reason why OKC should be really worried,Kobe might be a non factor, hes not that efficient he gets selfish and tends to play in “hero mode” alot shooting bricks,OKC has very good perimeter players good on both ends but they really stink in the paint their bigs are horrible scoring the ball.

    • Carl says:

      But if Andrew gets 20 and 10, Pau gets 15 and 10, Jordan Hill gets 10 and 10, and Kobe still gets his scoring, what’s the problem?

  24. memories says:

    Damn, that Kobe-Blake connection reminds me of Jordan-Kerr..

  25. diehardLAKERSfan says:

    I LOVE LAKERS!! We are going to take it in Game5. just hoping that the bench will improve GREATLY.

  26. busalboyd says:

    0:22 travelling!!!

  27. Kobe24 says:

    Respect kobe & lakers!

    Comment: More at best nba forum: ->>> http://forum.infobetbonus.com/ <<<-

  28. Bruce says:

    I’m a Lakers fan but I think it will be the Heat and Spurs for the finals. Celtics just looking good cause they’re playing against a defenseless ATL team. Dominique Wilkins is shedding a tear.

  29. OKC'sNext says:

    KB’s gonna need to show these kid’s one last time why he’s the G.O.A.T… Bring on OKC. The Thunder’s gonna need to make all those outside shots they take if they want a chance to even stay close to the greatest… The paint belongs to L.A…

    • Have you seen all the outside shots the GOAT is missing, thats funny kobe isnt even the greatest laker of alltime, Magic would run kobe out the building.

      • LAL:P says:

        Hey Kevin did you see the last game between LAL against okc; were they went to double overtime, at the endo of the day who was Mr. big shot Kobe bryant, where we were losing who steped up?? At the final minutes KD didn´t hit it, I get it OKC will give LAL a hard time but its about the last play, LAL in 7!!

      • i also seen an elbow to the head have you seen harden play since hes came back, and if your down 18 every game you think you can come back with harden out there to and you will not have homecourt if it is all about kobe cool he can do his thing but the thunders best 3 are better then the lakers best 3,

  30. Aditya says:

    I want my lakers to close it out Tomorrow in game 5. I am a die hard lakers fan. i watch every game. I get very very very very very very disappointed if they dont play championship basketball and losse and loosing. i cheer loudly when they win and winning and celebrate.

  31. bleepshaw says:

    A lot has been made of the Nugget’s bench coming into this series, but really the Lakers’ bench is the difference maker. With everything I’ve read on http://www.fancloud.com/nba , if Hill and Blake can continue to show up (doubtful for Blake), then the Lakers could be dangerous!

    via http://www.fancloud.com/nba

  32. bleepshaw says:

    A lot has been made of the Nuggets bench coming into this series, but really the Lakers’ bench is the difference maker. With everything I’ve read on http://www.fancloud.com/nba , if Hill and Blake can continue to show up (doubtful for Blake), then the Lakers could be dangerous!

    via http://www.fancloud.com/nba

  33. LAL:P says:

    some of us want LA to lose the other game for us to have MWP on game 1 vs the okc! But it seems we are going to game 5 and we just got to believe that our team can make it through for game 1 against the okc. THe okc is a tough match very young but it all comes down to who wants it more I guess this game will have alot to say in this playoffs; am riding with LAL in 7!!

  34. LAhere says:

    no! lakers will finish the nuggets in game 5.. MWP will be back game 3 of the west semis.. at staples! it will roar the crowd.. yess.. i read on twitter that Goudelock is the little mamba. why is coach brown is not giving him a time to play? he;s a good shooter..

    • jmals says:

      Back for game 2, 7 games suspeneded: last reg season game plus 5 1st round. He’ll just miss series opener. As for losing on purpose to take it to 6 games is the dumbest idea ever…. we could lose game 6 plus that’s more miles on the players, possible injuries aren’t worth it. We can survive w/o Peace for game 1, we beat OKC w Ebanks and Hill in the reg season game…

  35. win says:

    lakers have to lose one more game to wait for Matta’s comming back
    or there will be no one to defense KD

    • Remember Ebanks held KD to a very low shooting percentage during the 4th quarter of the second-to-last game of the regular season. Hopefully he will be able to do some damage defensively that first game with Ron still out!

  36. jaydawg says:

    denver shoulda won last night. i want la to win but as an nba fan, the refs were giving lakers everything. should be 2-2. i want to see my lakers win honestly…

  37. Domino17 says:

    some bench players stepped up but the lakers bench will never outscore the other bench….if they do its probably an automatic win…but we don’t need the bench to dominate just to not hurt the team….keep the net score right where it is while they in the game and big plays down the stretch….

    but i don’t understand Brown….starts Ebanks n he plays well and last night he didn’t even play? and goudelock is better than blake….i don’t get it….blake was playing awful defense on miller all night , even in the fourth when he finally got some points…put goudelock in instead and give ebanks some minutes…. either blake or goudelock will have a on shooting night any game so throw them both in in the first half and beginning of third to get a feel instead of using sessions and blake together the whole goddamn time….it will give sessions some more rest too….like bynum and pau got from the play of jordan hill…..once brown finally figures out what he is doing the lakers will be so much better….

    and its so funny how so many okc fans or w.e are like oh it doesn’t matter lakers will never beat okc…the series (if it happens knock on wood) will be a lot closer than you think …at least six games no matter what

  38. TI says:

    I am a Lakers fan, but I am almost positive they will loose to OKC, maybe not a sweep like Dallas, but they will loose. If they win I am loosing a lot of money lmfao!

    • Domainsnext says:

      You are Lakers Fan??,,, You are Kidding that you are…right,

      • iMoshiko says:

        Relax…Some fans like to say their team is going to lose because they dont want to jinx them by saying that they will win. They would rather jinx a loss.

        Its ok TI, I thank you for paying for the Lakers win. Lakers in 7

  39. Ramil says:

    Just past the ball kobe

  40. biggest #1fan says:

    Laker bench still needs to play much better, if we are to have a real shot at hanging banner # 17

  41. kobe24 says:

    lakers in 5

  42. x-writer says:

    dont forget the refs,they are really bad and i dont know why they are on the side of OKC?poor dallas…maybe stern knows why ;-)

    • ledzepage says:

      Dude stop saying that in every article. You’re butthurt we get it.

    • KPS says:

      How did you make this into a Dallas OKC comment yet again and about NBA refs… and about David Stern.

  43. K.o.be says:

    well finally some of the bench step up. They still under perform.And i think Mike Brown is making a mistake by not letting in goudlock. he can shoot 3’s and have a quick release. He is quicker then blake as well. against this young denver team he could do more then blake. And why the hell did the lakers ever bought troy murphy. He performs so badly.It is time to get rid of the underperforming players in the lakers and get some fresh new ones in. I like goudlock and i like ewbanks as they perform well, they are young and have to learn a lot, but at least give them some play off minutes, they won’t dissapoint and can make a difference.

  44. Jayson says:

    There should be offensive foul on Gasol during the pick as he as moving and the referee didn’t call for a foul that resulted to the wide open 3-point by Steve Blake. That changed everything in the game, Nuggets should have won Game 4.

    • Renan says:

      It was Ramon Sessions not Blake making that three… Lakers will take it in 5 and the Thunder will be a challenge, Lakers in seven for that series…

    • Im4RmLA says:

      That was not a foul. It was a great Pick… Those damn Euro players are notorious for Flopping… LOL hahaha
      Lakers straight out Hit Clutch shots and won a well executed game in the 4th Qtr.

    • Nuugame says:

      That my friend is a good’ol FLOP. Look at the replay, even the ref was telling Gallanri to get up and go play some D. The Nuggets are simply facing a superior team.

    • LakersWillWin says:

      Offensive foul!? WHERE!? I didn’t see it! Even Gallanari said in a post game statement it was a solid screen and I should be ready for those in the playoffs.

  45. Coach Dee says:

    Another epic Finals match-up.

    Lakers vs. Celtics in 2012 NBA Finals.

    • Im4RmLA says:

      I agree… Celtics are playing great ball and look healthy. I dont see the heat as a threat out East. The C’s can take them out with Rondo’s crazy Triple doubles and Pierce stepping up KG playing Center and Allen Hittting those crazy 3’s. Good luck Heat.

      • LAL:P says:

        agree another best of the best celtics v.s lakers !!

      • Bruce says:

        Brown needs to do something drastic for the matchup with the Spurs. He needs to start all three big men: Gasol, Bynum, Hill. Then have Kobe help Sessions out at pushing Parker down middle into a forest.

      • KPS says:

        You’re out of your mind if you think the Celtics are going to beat Miami…

    • Daquan says:

      i agree 100%

      • Jom says:

        It’s NBA dude anything can happen :-) well I really hope Pacers upset Miami hahahaha

    • Carl says:

      I would LOVE that!

    • Really yall trippin have yall seen the celtics sad, the lakers can ‘t beat the thunder there more talented and better depth the thunder will run them out the gym.the thunders best 3 players are better then the lakers 3 best players, perkins will rough up pau remember finals 08, harden will d up kobe, the lakers guards can’t see westbrook, and iam not even going to talk about the scoring champ, or the real defensive player of the year.and byunm will take himself out the game with his attuitde.

      • tata says:

        Porkins will have to pretend he is tough against Bynum. Hopefully, Fisher returns to the stat lines than made him so expendable. Lakers in 6.

      • tony says:

        @Tata. You mean laker go fishing in 6! (only if they get lucky or they will be swept just like Dallas)

  46. ryde says:

    Lakers can’t beat Thunder though…
    Payback time for Fisher?

    • Im4RmLA says:

      Yea fisher barely see’s any minutes. So yea what payback?? I doubt the Thunder will beat the lakers. Yes they are playing great ball right now but I dont think they are ready for what is coming. Lakers have to much size on the interior and the Thunder’s bigs have no offense and Ibaka is only good at blocking shots, Perkins cant even make a free throw. KD and Westbrook take horrible shots when the games are tight in the 4Th qrt. With Blake and sessions hitting clutch shots and Hill Getting double double’s off the bench I dont see the thunder beating us. Lakers in 7

      • Belizeboy says:

        The minutes he does see count. Did you miss game two vs Dallas?

      • QuestionMark says:

        You do realize OKC is far different now right? KD hit a game winner in game 1, Westbrook played terrific in game 2 and 3 and Harden took over in game 4, OKC has 3 guys that can score 20+ each night, plus a Kobe-stopper in Sefolosha and good bench players, 3 out of those 4 the Lakers lack in, they don’t have a pure sixth man, they won’t have a KD stopper for a few more games, which is MWP, and they don’t have as good a bench as OKC does, plus no one on LA is as fast as Westbrook.

      • sbfern80 says:

        This series comes to Kendrick Perkins…We all know KD cannot be stopped and Westbrook is too fast. But Kobe will also get his points and so will Gasol…Kendrick Perkins got injured and will mostlikely be back for game 1…however if he injures himself again…Bynum will have his way and be a nightmare for the Thunder…half court game…Lakers all the way. just saying…

  47. Bobkitten says:

    Coach Brown needs to give more time to Goudelock and Murphy. These guys are dead eye shooters and can put more pressure on Okc if they decide to double Bynum and Kobe. Why can’t he see this. Goudelock was balling hard and is now warming the bench for no apparent reason. Hope the lakers don’t let him walk away like they did to Caron Butler, or a Trevor Ariza. They need young fresh legs for the future.

    • LakersWillWin says:

      Murphy is a liability on defense.
      I didn’t realize how great of a pick up Jordan Hill was going to be. +1 to Mitch Kupchak on that one, he is playing fantastic. THe Lakers bench really is not as bad as everyone makes them out to be, they are just inconsitent. They keep playing that way though and we are pretty much unstoppable.

  48. Domainsnext says:

    George Karl, please lighten up. I feel depressed watching you every time your team loses. It’s not the end of the world; it is just a game.

  49. Don't Beat 'em in LA ! says:

    Lakers NEED to take it to game 6 !
    Armies make tactical withdrawals, nations jostle for positioning … But this is the NBA … Nothing is fake here. No team LOSES a game by design. No team gets into lottery deliberately. The NBA is pure, and pious, and … I know, I know … JUST DO IT, DAMN IT !!!