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Los Angeles Lakers Bench Improving Game by Game

November 26th, 2012 at 2:35 PM
By Brandon Duran

 

In the last three games for the Los Angeles Lakers, they are 1-2 but coach Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers are encouraged by the improved play of the bench. With key injuries to guys like Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Hill the Lakers’ bench has seen much more playing time then initially expected. After a slow start to the first few weeks of the regular season, guys like Jodie Meeks, Antawn Jamison, and Chris Duhon have settled into their roles in the Lakers’ offense and have improved greatly.

It started for Jodie Meeks during the game against the Kings last Wednesday when he put up 12 of his 15 points in the third quarter when Kobe Bryant was on the bench and the Lakers were looking to Meeks for points. Against the Grizzlies on Friday, Meeks had limited minutes (11) but had 6 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds in the loss. The shooting guard followed that up with 11 points, 3 assists, and 5 rebounds in the win against the Mavericks on Saturday.

Antawn Jamison scored 16 points off 7-11 shooting, and pulled down 7 boards in the big loss to Memphis. He then posted his first double-double as a Laker on Saturday with a monster 19 points and 15 rebounds. His play in the past two games is exactly what Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak expected when he signed the veteran to a one-year deal over the summer. If he continues to play this way, it will be a huge boost for the Lakers’ once the playoffs hit.

Chris Duhon was the fourth point guard on the depth chart to begin the season, but as a result of injuries to Nash and Blake he is now playing backup to Darius Morris. Duhon dropped 8 points and 3 assists against Memphis, and 4 points and 3 assists against Dallas. He has been the slowest to get going of those playing big minutes unfortunately, but because Bryant is running the offense with Nash out, the Lakers don’t need big production from the point guard position. Blake will return to action this week so Duhon’s minutes will drop but as he continues to get comfortable playing in the offense with the Lakers his player efficiency rating will rise.

Los Angeles has a pair of dangerous games left to end the month of November, against Indiana tomorrow and Denver on Friday. As they continue to get healthy, the bench will play a smaller role but their importance will remain constant throughout the season. Meeks, Jamison, and Hill will be relied on most for production off the bench. The Lakers know what they’ll get from Hill, but Meeks and Jamison must play more consistently if they want to become the top team in the West.

Tags: Antawn Jamison, Basketball, Chris Duhon, Jodie Meeks, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Steve Blake, Steve Nash

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