LeBron leads Lakers to 3rd win in 4, 114-110 over Wolves

LeBron leads Lakers to 3rd win in 4, 114-110 over Wolves
LeBron James says the Lakers played their best defense of season against the Timberwolves
Despite that barrage from deep, the Lakers held Minnesota to 110 points. By typical standards, thats still fairly high, but it was still tied for the lowest point total the Lakers have given up this season. When you consider how insanely hot Minnesota was from deep (especially off the dribble), thats not that bad. LeBron James agrees with that assessment.

This is the most weve defended for 48 minutes all year, and we did it against a very good team, James told reporters after the game Wednesday night.

Tyson Chandler cleared waivers this week after being granted a buyout from the Phoenix Suns, and he immediately signed a veteran minimum contract with the Lakers. Since its fairly unusual for a team to grant a player a buyout so early in the season, theres a belief that Suns interim general manager James Jones was doing LeBron a favor.

These kinds of things change on a nightly basis at this point of the season, but the Lakers are out of the bottom five in defensive rating (points given up per 100 possessions). Hey, progress!

One thing that isnt open for debate — the Lakers needed Chandler on Wednesday night. The veteran big man grabbed nine rebounds in 23 minutes and helped LA retain possession and hold a one-point lead when he tipped the ball out to his teammates after a missed shot with seconds remaining.

One theory as to why the Lakers might have been better despite Minnesotas outside shooting efficiency has to do with the type of defense theyll probably have to play with JaVale McGee and Chandler as the teams two centers.

When asked about the idea that Jones may have helped his friend out, LeBron did not exactly dispel the notion. Rather, he praised Jones for doing right by a veteran player and told ESPN he will have a spot in his front office for Jones if he ever owns an NBA franchise down the line.

Tyson Chandler makes immediate impact in Los Angeles Lakers debut

Neither McGee or Chandler are going to keep very many guards in front of them if they switch and try to pressure up. More often than not, in pick-and-roll situations in which their guy is the screener, theyll drop back into contain coverage, which opens up the ball-handler for some kind of attempt off the dribble — ideally in the midrange.

Thats a hilarious, nearly minute-long tip-drill of a possession; I urge you to watch it in its entirety. The Lakers miss all three of the shots they get up—and ornery 36-year-old Tyson Chandler, signed literally one day prior after the Phoenix Suns bought him out of his contract, just keeps getting them the damn ball back. LeBron James clangs a long three-pointer over Karl-Anthony Towns, and Chandler, tangled with poor hapless Andrew Wiggins under the rim, sneaks a hand out to slap the rebound out past halfcourt. Kyle Kuzma bricks an uncontested look from the corner, and Wiggins and Rose are too occupied with wrestling Chandler to be able to control the rebound, knocking it out of bounds and back to the Lakers. After the inbound, LeBron, gassed and completely out of ideas, pumps up a dead-legged 29-footer over Wiggins … and theres Chandler, untangling his limbs from Townss just long enough to volleyball-slap the ball back out to halfcourt, fucking again. At that point, with less than a single shot-clocks worth of time left to play, the Wolves had no choice but to foul intentionally.

One stat that sticks out, therefore, is how Minnesota shot in the paint, not including attempts in the restricted area. These are the kinds of attempts that the aforementioned drop coverage will allow. On such attempts, the Wolves shot 3-16, good for an absolutely frigid 18 percent.

Chandler cant really do much of the stuff that once made him an all-star, a DPOY, and, as ESPNs Zach Lowe put it, the guy who damn near invented the modern archetype of rim-running, lob-catching center. He cant throw down alley-oops from outer space; he for sure cant do the thing he used to do, what feels like a thousand years ago, where hed jump to contest a shot and then instantly pogo-jump a second time to haul in the rebound. But those infuriating volleyball offensive rebounds are vintage Tyson Chandler, too, and thats a more durable skill. Anti-gravitational leaping ability wanes with time and back injuries, but absurdly long arms are forever. After just one day on the job, hes already used them to help deliver his new team a win.

Better shooters will take advantage of those kinds of attempts, but against that team specifically, thats how you make up for how well they shot from deep.

Its also interesting that James mentioned 48 minutes. This is where Chandlers presence was felt. In previous games, the Lakers would have lengthy stretches where it felt like they couldnt stop a nosebleed. Now that they employ a second NBA-caliber center, those stretches will feel shorter — as James seems to be mentioning here.

Share Tweet Comment Email Copy Link Copied Even when the NBA happens to be dominated by a dynasty team, it still manages to generate plenty of excitement among fans thanks to the major trades that go down every season. Until recent years, when social media journalism became major, it was tough to get hold of the latest rumors around the league. These days, there are plenty of reporters who not only breakout major trades and signings, but also have access to inside sources regarding ongoing negotiations between teams.

All-in-all, it was a pretty good night defensively for the Lakers. Not great, obviously, but decent. The game was slower than theyve been playing all year, and you dont want to give up 60 points in three-pointers. Still, they won. Now its about building upon that effort moving forward.

Considering fan backlash as well as team chemistry, many GMs may be hesitant to pull the trigger on major trades involving star players as they could backfire in the long run, and possibly cost them their job. Many of these moves have significantly changed the landscape of the NBA as the players ended up contributing to their current team in a championship effort, or left to contend with a different franchise. Here are 10 major NBA trades that almost happened and 10 of the most surprising moves.

Video: Why Tyson Chandlers Lakers debut means so much for LA | The Jump

When you sign a seven-footer to an ultra-max deal, you are probably hoping he can drag your squad out of its perennial spot among the leagues worst defensive-rebounding teams. At the very least, youd hope that hed make it harder for Tyson Chandler to play volleyball for a whole minute. You might also be hoping that seven-footer will pull down contested defensive rebounds at a rate better than just a hair above DeAaron Fox. So far none of that has held true; the malicious Enes Kanter comparisons have taken on the depressing ring of truth.

There are some trades that may be predictable since the players involved may have fallen out of favor to land on the open market, but we have witnessed plenty of moves which came out of thin air. All 30 General Managers around the league are constantly working to try improving their respective teams through trades that make sense without giving up too many assets. While some have gotten lucky from time to time, there are plenty of deals that fall at the very last minute.

And when that seven-footer is shooting an excellent 42 percent from three, youre expecting him to have an effective field goal percentage higher than 52 percent. But Towns has been ghastly in the post, shooting just 61 percent within three feet of the rim, after passing the 70 percent mark in each of his first three seasons. Hes also just taking fewer of those nutritious, high-value shots, replacing them with more shots from deep—which is well and good, especially given Minnesotas spacing issues—but also more shots from 3-10 feet than ever before, hitting them at just a 48 percent clip. The range is obviously there for Towns, but the all-court offensive versatility thats supposed to be his calling card is harder to discern. He seems to prefer to stay outside of the fray. Bombing from deep might just be some kind of escapist fantasy.

Last nights 110-114 loss to the Lakers brought his struggles into the nationally televised spotlight. Initially Towns set out on a tear, draining his first four shots. He went on to make only one of his last 12 attempts, and that one went down with 2:05 to go in the second quarter. The second half was all tumbleweeds and bricks, no matter the defender. A solid height advantage over Kyle Kuzma didnt help. Perhaps hoping to wake up down the stretch, Towns demanded some post touches, only to fail to budge a whole wall of Tyson Chandler:

Nor did he have much better luck trying to fake out Chandler from the wing on his very next trip down the floor:

KAT is also turning the ball over at a higher rate than ever before (he had six last night), and posting a -5.5 net rating on the season, which speaks to his continuing defensive struggles. As with most things going wrong in the greater Twin Cities area, much of the blame can be assigned to Thibs, who does not exactly deploy his chess pieces in the wisest ways. Towns is currently getting fewer field goals up than Derrick Rose, which makes sense in no universe except the one where Rose somehow shoots 7-of-9 from three, which is to say, a very fucking weird universe and not one you should ever expect to find yourself in consistently.

Video: Lakers Post Game: Tyson Chandler Talks About His First Game As A Los Angeles Laker

Butler does need to get out of town so this poor kid can troubleshoot without some maniac whispering cruel nothings into his ear, but until then, this might remain pretty ugly. You dont have to be some kind of body language mystic to see that Towns is out of it. Just take a look at this moment against the Raptors Oct. 24, when he hit nothing but (the bottom of the) net, pursed his lips, and yanked himself out of the game.

And Josh Hart has been one of the key pillars of the Lakers’ young core. Through 11 games, he has logged in 12.1 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting from the field and 45.5 percent from downtown.

If nothing else, its annoying to see all of Butlers obnoxious harumphing about KAT be proven even the slightest bit valid.

Tyson Chandler Did Tyson Chandler Stuff And The Lakers WonJimmy Butler: I Rest When I Want, So Stop AskingGive Derrick Rose The Comeback Treatment He DeservesAbout the authorGiri NathanGiri NathanWriter

Video: Lakers Post Game: Kyle Kuzma On Wanting the Ball in Late Game Situations


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