This is the eighth in a series of posts grading the Lakers on the 2011-12 season.
Player: Steve Blake
How he performed: 5.2 points on 37.7% shooting in regular season; 6.3 points on 41.9% shooting in the playoffs.
The good: At least for one round of the playoffs, Blake provided everything the Lakers always wanted from him. He nailed critical three-pointers at opportune moments. Blake sank three consecutive threes to open Game 1 against Denver. He followed up with a dagger three-pointer to clinch the Lakers' Game 4 win. Blake played out of his mind in Game 7, in which he posted a playoff career-high 19 points on seven-for-11 shooting. And at least for one game in the second round, Blake carried that through with a 12-point effort on a four-of-five shooting clip.
Relatively speaking, Blake looked more comfortable and effective this season than last in running the offense and looking for his shot. Before suffering a fracture in his rib area, Blake opened the first 12 games averaging 7.3 points on 40.2% shooting. He also had a few signature moments in the regular season, in which he posted double digits in nine different games.
Most important, Blake remains a consummate professional, and he consistently works after practice and before games on his shooting, ball handling and playmaking. He's measured, as every other player, on the bottom-line results. But Blake is genuinely taking the right approach in striving for improvement.