Lakers Haven’t Lost Showtime

They may not win as many games as fans have become accustomed to, but the Los Angeles Lakers are harnessing some showtime magic with the way they're playing offense these days. 

The Lakers improved to 5-7 on the season with a 114-99 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night, and did so thanks to some spectacular highlight-reel plays. 

Mike D'Antoni's teams are known for pushing the pace, and this year's edition of the Purple and Gold is no different. Entering Sunday night the Lakers ranked third in the NBA in pace, generating 99.1 possessions per 48 minutes.

If the Lakers were to sustain that pace for the remainder of the season, that mark would be the franchise's highest since the 1988-89 showtime Lakers, led by Magic Johnson and James Worthy, averaged 100.1 possessions per night, according to Basketball-Reference. 

In Sunday's victory over the Pistons, it was Steve Blake who led a lethal Lakers offense in transition, racking up a season-high 16 assists on the night. Blake has now recorded 10 or more assists in each of the Lakers' past four games. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Blake had not recorded a single game with double-digit assists in the past three seasons combined. 

And while Blake and Sunday's alley-oop partner Wesley Johnson may not be a conventional pairing, they're making life without Kobe Bryant manageable and highly entertaining.

Against the Pistons, the Lakers racked up 17 fast-break points, a positive sign for a team that entered the night ranked 29th overall in transition scoring, generating 0.95 points per possession on the break, according to mySynergySports (subscription required). 

The win also came at a particularly good time for the Lakers, who had lost two straight entering Sunday night and had not topped 100 points in either contest. 

Although things looked rather bleak ...

About the Author