The Kobe Rules

Kurt —  December 14, 2006

It was mentioned by Ian yesterday in the comments, Dallas has developed its “Kobe Rules” — defensive rules that apply just to Kobe in an attempt to stop him from doing things like scoring 62 points in three quarters.

The rules are pretty logical: try to deny Kobe the ball, be physical with him, vary the double teams and looks you give him, use different guys on him to keep the defenders fresh, and make Kobe work on the defensive end of the floor.

These are obviously a take off of “The Jordan Rules,” the famous steps the Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly set up in 1988 to stop Michael Jordan from single-handedly beating his title contenders. What people need to remember is it worked — the Pistons beat the Bulls 4-1 in the Eastern Conference semis in 88, beat them 4-2 in the conference finals in 89, beat them in seven games in 90. It worked until there were good enough players around MJ (and some coach to channel the skills) that the Bulls could win without MJ scoring 50.

I bring that up because in Dallas last night the Kobe Rules were in effect, and with Odom out nobody else stepped up.

Radmanovic got the start and at times looked confused as to where to be in the offense, finishing with 5 of 9 from the floor but with just 3 rebounds and a -17. Kwame Brown was 2 of 7, just 4 rebounds and was -17. Luke Walton was 3 of 13 and -23.

Now I don’t think that alone caused the Lakers to lose — playing defense that allows the Mavs to shoot 63.1% (eFG%) was the big problem (the Lakers didn’t seem to fight through an off-the-ball pick all night). And I’ll also say that not many teams have the depth and athletes that the Mavs do to play the Kobe Rules.

But Kobe and the Lakers are going to see a lot more of this for the next month, or until Odom is back. And, unless other players step up, much like those 80s Bulls teams they are not going to win as much as they would like.

to The Kobe Rules

  1. I dont think theres a player i dislike more than Shane Battier, thats really all i have


  2. You’re a North Carolina fan?


  3. If that was the case shouldn’t he hat Christian Laetner more?


  4. I just realized that during the mavs game Kobe led the lakers, or was tied, in nearly every major statistical category: Points, Reb, Ast, Blocks, Steals, FT, FG… In fact he was the only laker with a block.


  5. I really dont think there is a player let alone a team that can shut down kobe. I mean he didnt play half as aggresive in the first half as he did in the second half against mavs and look what he did when he turned it on in the 3rd quarter no one could even touch him. Kobe can turn it on and off whenever he wants, it just seems like this season he’s trying to get the other teamates involved and right now i dont know if that is a good thing or not now that odom is hurt, but i think we can expect Kobe to start carrying his team after that lack-luster performance his teamates put on against the mavs on wed night.


  6. That will be the slippery slope that the lakers will ahve to navigate with odom out. Kobe has to temper his offense and try to get guys like UPS, Smush and RadMan going early. Just like it was valuable for the team to play without Kobe early on to learn to not be so dependent upon him, the same can happen in LO’s absence.

    It coiuld be argued that the Lakers rely on his glue (rebounds and D on guys like Dirk) more than Kobe’s physical prowess. This could be a real useful growing process if managed properly.

    Granted I don’t want them to sacrifice W’s for growth, but team wins will be more valuable down the (playoiff) road than Kobe bearing the brunt of the offensive burden.


  7. A couple of things that might help while Odom’s out. Start Farmar, he is a better defender. Depending on the size of the team we are playing, we can slide Smush to the 2, Kobe to the 3, and Luke to the 4. With this lineup, you have to start Bynum, because he is an offensive threat, the second scoring option. Yes, he is not as good as Kwame when it comes to interior defense, but he can man up against another big just fine. With Farmar at the 1, there should be less penetration from the opposing team’s point anyways. Against a Dallas, this probably won’t work. There is simply noone else on the Lakers that matches up against Nowitski like Odom. Against taller teams, the lineup will probably have to be 1. Smush, 2. Kobe, 3. Luke, 4. Kwame, 5. Bynum. Kwame is just going to have to suck one up for the team andf learn how to play the 4. In some sense, if the Lakers will ever return to dominating teams on a consistent basis, in years to come, the lineup will have to be Farmar/Kobe/Odom/Kwame/Bynum, with Luke coming off of the bench. If these players play to their potential, every team in league is scared to play the Lakers on any given night.


  8. I agree with the assessment that defense was the issue. Dallas shooting 63% was part of it and giving up 20+ pts to 3 players shows that they were not able to communicate nor make adjustments. Kobe will need to be a sniper and pick his spots while keeping the other guys in the game. Big deficits are a nemesis of ours and seems to wipe out our energy to finish strong. But I trust the coaches to prepare them well. And as a side note about the Suns and their 12 game streak. Yeah that’s nice and all but they haven’t seen the Lakers on full strength which Phil is aware of and I’m sure is preparing them for a run at his 10th NBA ring.


  9. I have a hard time getting upset about the game in Dallas. I had the game marked down as a loss as soon as the schedule came out. Not that I’m a pessimist, but Houston and Dallas back-to-back on the road is one of those cross-your-fingers-for-a-split situations.

    I actually thought the guys gave a valiant effort on tired legs and without a playmaker like Odom. If they had maybe played the game such that they tried to keep it close until the mid-4th quarter and gave their final push then instead of in the 3rd, maybe they steal the game.

    If there’s a bright side to the loss, it’s that it was as close as it was despite the Lakers’ deficiencies because of their 3rd quarter defense. They held the Mavs to 47% shooting and didn’t turn the ball over. The fact that they themselves shot only 42% for the quarter is the only reason they weren’t up going into the 4th.

    All in all, I’m not too broken up about it.


  10. I think that those who look at scoring stats or individual stats on Kobe lose the big picture–team defense.

    Just to remind you,

    When Kobe had a slow start in the first half, the Lakers trailed by a few points. After the Kobe “explosion” in the second half, the Lakers lost by 9.

    According to Mark Cuban, interviewed on AM570. the Lakers ran out of gas in the fourth quarter because it was the second half of a back to back.

    I thought that the Lakers defensed Nowitski well. In other ways the Lakers forced The Mavs to play their A game–good team defense/rebounding, not missing free throws, hitting contested shots.

    Unfortunately, they did.


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