(Harry How/Getty Images)
Fast-Break Points: Quick Hits of the Lakers' Week (1/25/18)
The one word never associated with the Lakers: boring.
On and off the floor, the Lakers keep it interesting, from unique skill sets and play design to off-court chemistry and the latest kicks.
Here’s a quick run-through of another week with the Lake Show.
1) Julius vs. two Celtics
The Lakers beat their arch rivals by a single point on Tuesday, and it certainly would have been a loss without Julius Randle bullying his way to 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Randle’s ability to keep possessions alive was key, especially when he managed to beat two Celtics to an offensive rebound on a pair of possessions.
And here he is tossing aside rookie Jayson Tatum for a crucial put-back late in the game.
Randle’s individual success has often led to wins for the Lakers, who are 7-7 when he starts and have four wins in his five highest scoring games of the season.
2) Flea being Flea
If any team could have a Mount Rushmore of famous fans, it’s the Lakers.
From Jack Nicholson to Denzel Washington, there is no shortage of Hollywood star power lining the court, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea is definitely on that list.
He added to his resume during Tuesday’s win over Boston, videobombing Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
And let’s not forget how the Lakers closed out a win in November after Flea broke out his Chick Hearn shirt for the jumbotron.
Lakers closed the game with a 12-5 run after Flea broke out the Chick shirt for the jumbotron. Can't be a coincidence. pic.twitter.com/AkEF782IG1— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) November 22, 2017
3) A special play and a special player
Coach Luke Walton (and his staff, including “offensive coordinator” Jesse Mermuys) have been flexing their play designs this season, particularly after timeouts.
Below, they craftily disguise a Larry Nance Jr. lob play by setting a double screen for Jordan Clarkson and a single screen for Kyle Kuzma (before Clarkson sets an unexpected back screen to free up a runway).
Nice play design on this Larry Nance Jr. oop.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) January 21, 2018
First looks like a double screen for JC, then single screen for Kuz.
Clarkson sets a sneaky back screen to make sure Larry has a clear runway for the slam. pic.twitter.com/cKc6m4AeWD
But even the best plays don’t work out every time.
Below, they run the same play against the Celtics — a team with the NBA’s No. 1 defense — who recognize it and block off Nance’s path to the rim.
So the Lakers revert into a pick-and-roll, which is where Kyle Kuzma shows his value as an individual scorer.
Kuz gets Kyrie Irving to switch on him and takes advantage of the smaller defender, hitting him with a one-dribble pull-up and saving the Lakers’ possession.
Value of a tough shotmaker: Lakers run this same play, but it gets snuffed out by a well-coached Celtics defense.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) January 24, 2018
Caruso audibles into a pick-and-roll, Kuzma gets the switch and buries a one-dribble pull-up over Kyrie. pic.twitter.com/yOnCfwxpWh
4) Hart crushing the #LakersSneakerCam
With so many players on the squad, the owner of the freshest kicks is always changing. Lately, that crown might belong to Josh Hart, who broke out some custom heat against the Celtics.
Hart’s been rocking the Kobes lately, including a custom pair for the Mamba’s jersey retirement game and the Bruce Lee-inspired Kobe/Kyrie hybrid.
5) Back on campus
There’s been a college vibe around the Lakers lately, beginning when the Utah Utes came to L.A., practiced at the UCLA Health Training Center and donned Kuzma shirts during warmups against USC.
Meanwhile, Nance caught up with his fellow former Wyoming Cowboy, Eddie Yarbrough.
The Lakers forward and Buffalo Bills defensive end had a jersey exchange after a recent game, making good on a promise to each other that each would go pro in their respective sport.
Even the assistant coaches got in on it, as Stanford alum Mark Madsen owned up on a bet after his Cardinal lost to Miles Simon’s Arizona Wildcats.