Lakers/Suns Chat: Game 4

Kurt —  April 29, 2007

It comes down to defense.

In game three not only did the Lakers switch (or occasionally trap) on the pick-and-roll, not only did they play better man defense, but they cut off diagonal and other passing lanes. They limited Suns options, and they are going to have to do that again.

Thanks to Gatinho for posting something from an interview on 570am Web site — here’s what Phil said about the defense:

Kwame… “bottled up their screen roll opportunities… We made Nash have to turn back away from the offensive end of the floor so he had to control the ball and that was the difference in the ball game. He then had to recover and reset the offense. Which gave us a chance to recover on our men.”

They need to do it again. And do it for 48 minutes. That’s my one concern, the Lakers have not been a team in the last few months to have consistent efforts back-to-back (or even quarter to quarter). We have to hope the playoffs are different.

Kurt

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102 responses to Lakers/Suns Chat: Game 4

  1. chris henderson April 29, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    gotta get the bench involved today, like at the start of the season, guys like Ronnie, Mo Evans and Andrew contributing some points. I think they can make the stand on D, but they seem lost and confused on the O end of the floor. seems like Phil knows this so I’m sure he worked on it these past couple days…

  2. I’d love the bench to give us something too, but I liked Phil shortening the rotation. We should keep some of those the same, like Shamu on Barbosa and a 2 pg lineup when they have Barbosa and Nash on the floor.

    Key to this game, and the series, remains the tempo. Lakers executed a great game plan and matched that with intensity, they have to do the same today

  3. Lakers look sluggish through their first few possessions, no one really moving, or showing any energy. Standing around (and not just to watch Kobe).

    Hope this doesnt continue.

  4. Looks like Odom AND Kwame are hurt??!?! crud.

    I really am more optimistic about this game than I currently sound, but seeing all the PHX dunks and layups so far is not encouraging.

  5. Derek Banducci April 29, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    So, Kwame had a tight back and is returning … what’s up with Odom?

  6. OK 1st quarter — the Suns didn’t get a big lead, but it was still a 30+ point quarter for the Suns, and the Lakers took too many jumpers. At least Mo is providing some O off the bench!

  7. Bynum- giving us great minutes right now, we need him until Kwame gets it together.

    Hot Mo going, Chris, you are getting exactly what you asked for before the game.

  8. Derek Banducci April 29, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Odom is really taking some poor shots.

  9. Derek,

    I agree. He needs to take it inside more. All the Lakers do.

    Also, I think the “force them into mid-range shots” strategy is working for everyone except Kurt Thomas.

  10. Walton and Mo have helped make up for Lamars foul trouble. We need to get the ball down low again, look for lamar, look for luke, not just Kwame.

  11. Not as lock-down D as Game 3 but very encouraging signs.

  12. Looks like Kobe’s wrist is gonna be sore by the end of the night. Lakers need to stop giving up open threes.

  13. Kobe’s out…we need to set up Lamar.

  14. phil takes out smush, all our energy reappears.

    Learn your lesson phil, no.more.smush.period.

  15. Well, there’s the bench contribution…Inbounds steal and a layup by Sasha…

  16. Good to see some D, some hustle. The crowd is an extra player…they should be like this every day…….

  17. Derek Banducci April 29, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    looks like phil talked to lamar about not taking poor 3 pointers. now he’s passing up wide open ones.

  18. Hands are going to be thrown in this series before it’s over, these two teams are playing to hard and tension is too high for this to go by without incident.

  19. Who is the Suns homer calling the game?

  20. sounds like jon barry, but im not sure.

  21. Must. Hit. The. Boards. Come on Lakers.

  22. Unfortunately, a lapse there at the end of the half. Two plays where Amare was just slapped at, and one where nobody ran out at Barbosa on his open three (nor was anyone really in position to do so).

    As for the foul at the end, and the fouls in general, the refs are letting ‘em play again, so there are going to be good and bad calls on both ends of the floor.

  23. We need to run some more post plays for odom in the second half, IMHO.

  24. Aggressive Odom sighting.

  25. Huy Ngo, Good call.

  26. If we give up 58 pts. in the second half, forget about it. And no more gimmes for Amare. He had four untouched chippies (as Shaq called them) in the first half.

  27. Knock Steve Nash down already. Too many easy finishes.

  28. They’ve got 8 offensive rebounds to 5 for us and 29-20 lead overall.

  29. Well, maybe not knock Nash down but body up on someone…yeesh…

  30. uh oh smush is back guarding nash.

  31. Smusher seems to be playing alright…..not helping really, but not hurting….I don’t think….anyone?

  32. Starting to look a little too easy for Phoenix on offense now…

  33. Phil is killing me right now

    1st half- bynum, mo an sasha all playing well

    2nd half- he has in turiaf, walton and smush. we have no offensive continuity, no defenisve consistency and not controlling the tempo

  34. The offense is getting stagnant. Kobe needs to try to take it inside and generate some points. Mo was hitting his shots earlier in the game, but maybe Phil doesn’t like the match-ups if he goes in.

  35. Yeah, matchups are a bit baffling…..

  36. thanks AM, now we need kobe to take over, IMHO. Hopefully, im lucky again.

  37. That’s nice to see. Odom motions the crowd to start getting into it, and then feeds off that energy to get some hustle points. Let’s see that desire from Game 3, everybody!!

  38. who needs kobe? Odom is taking over.

  39. Smush — worst shot ever! Totally killed our momentum.

  40. Couple bad passes by Kobe.

  41. Smush might have lost us the game with that attempt

  42. I dunno…that’s his shot sometimes…..we need to put Kwame on Amare. He’s killin’ us.

  43. Yeah, can’t seem to hang with the Suns without Kwame…

  44. We need Kwame back out there as Phil said on that 570 interview to slow Amare down…..geez….

  45. It’s going to take an epic fourth quarter to have a chance in this series.

  46. Can’t tell if that’s sarcasm or not Jason, but I think Kwame’s played the best D on him.

  47. Nice 6 point switch by the zebras

  48. 47 – No sarcasm. Glad to see we have a rested Kwame for the 4th.

  49. Why doesn’t Cook try to draw the charge there? The refs are obviously calling it tonight, and it’s better than a soft foul to give up a three-point play.

    At least Kobe is attacking the rim again!

  50. Kobe’s bringing it. Lets see if we can get some good D and some decent calls.

  51. Ah, OK…..yeah, I agree….

  52. That’s it boys. See you next year.

  53. obviously, I agree…with myself, ha ha….man, Jon Barry can’t seem to make up his mind what the Lakers have to do. He emphasizes Kobe needing to take over for about 15 minutes…then says but for the Lakers, it’s all about defense……Jon seems a bit baffled…

  54. Say bye now then you can’t post till October.

  55. Well, here’s the defensive lineup from Game 3. Can they pull it off again? Not if Smush/Shammond can’t bring it on the other end too.

  56. ARGH! So frustrating. We CAN be the better team out there. We just only show that 25% of the time. PHX is more consistent, more of a working machine. I truely believe playing at our best we’re better than Phoenix playing at their best. Because our best includes defense. But offensively we don’t have any rhythm, and defensively we give up too many layups and dunks.

  57. This is hard to watch

  58. Yeah, we’ve got to play more D…..that’s killed us.

  59. I’m wondering how when kobe is being double teamed/triple teamed. Theres no one open cutting to the basket.

  60. The Suns are a better team… we’ve got to admit that… they have 4 all stars… Nash one assist shy of the playoff record… and stoudemire just had his career high in rebounds

  61. Oooh, Mike Breen just made a funny…he just said Smush is a very good defender…..ha ha ha….

  62. Too bad; Odom was a little bit too strong on that tip. Nice little run by the Lakers, but it probably won’t be enough.

    Next game, there will be no excuse to not drain the tank. Even if we lose, we don’t want it to be like last year’s Game 7.

  63. 62. It’s amazing how many national announcers, who see Smush only a couple times a year, say that about Smush.

  64. Ugh. Once again, 98 points on offense (with a minute to go). But the defense…..

    1. Make Nash the shooter? 23 assists for him.

    2 Do we need to discuss the pick and roll?

    3. Let the Suns as a team shoot 51.8% eFG%.

    and we can go on…..

  65. I think the positives to take from this contest were: Kwame had a good first half, Mo Evans found his shot, and Lamar actually became _more_ aggressive as the game went on. There are too many negatives to list on the defensive side alone, though.

  66. “We CAN be the better team out there.”

    Most delusional thing I have read today.

    Well just more evidence of the game 3 fix. The Lakers cannot compete with the Suns unless the refs completely ignore all the fouls being committed. Come to think of it, that applies to Lakers vs most teams.

    One good thing came out of that game though: The kids are alright. Farmar, Bynum and Turiaf put up only 4 shots and scored 0 points in 31 combined minutes so they should be comfortable playing along side Kobe for years to come.

  67. Kurt (64), what’s really amazing is how many announcers are lazy and don’t do any research. Did you notice how all the TV guys started calling Cory Brewer a “deadly shooter” after the Final Four, when in fact he’s an average shooter who got hot for a couple games.

  68. As Phil goes from zany to looney in hisa substitutions, we need to realize that at this moment, with these players, in their current state of health, that one of the reasons Phil seems to have a few screws loose is that our Lakers may have a few pieces missing.

    Maybe in the next game, just to prove he’s completely gone bonkers, he’ll start Farmar, Smush, Shammond, Sasha, and Kobe? That should confuse the Suns.

  69. This may be easier said than done, but people need to find ways to make Nash pay for getting caught in the air (if you can even say that Nash gets “caught” there).

    When Kobe tried it a few times today, the Suns either cut off his passing lanes (not that the Lakers were in good spots either) or used their length and athleticism to intercept the pass.

    Nash is great at finding the right pass — and making it too, which is an art in itself — but the idea is to at least not make it easy for him. Any great player is going to do what he does best in the long run, but you have a chance if you can take him out of his comfort zone.

    To paraphrase Raja Bell, if Nash is going to get 20+ assists, we need to make it the hardest 20 he’s ever gotten.

  70. Should we give running with the Suns a shot? I don’t care if we don’t have enough firepower, Kobe is too worn out to handle the Suns by himself. The team has shown they can’t keep up with Phil’s strategy for 48 minutes; infact, they couldn’t even keep it up for a single minute today. Perhaps the Lakers should play like the Warriors are…they play at the Mavs tempo on the defensive end and play solid defense and keep the tempo up on the offensive end. A variation of that.

    Won’t hurt to give it a shot, our season is over anyway.

  71. Just got back from the game. Can someone tell me why the Lakers didn’t trap and switch the pick and roll this game? As well, can somone tell me why they didn’t go to Kwame Brown or Odom inside? Jeez, they blew that one!

  72. We did have our chances today. Amare had four chippies in the first half and like I was saying, Nash got into the lane way too easily. Smush couldn’t stay in front of him, I saw Ronny move his feet pretty well, Farmar didn’t play enough to really know, Sasha played him pretty tight. But Amare is the one who killed us. Andrew just isn’t hard-nosed enough on defense and he killed us. Anyway…..

  73. Jones, we’ve all been asking ourself that. But it’s a continuation of the consistent effort issues that plagued this team all season.

    CA-Born, running with the Suns is a suicide mission, it plays right into their hands. You’re right, not sure it matters, but they would get crushed if they try it. The system is in place to beat the Suns, the question has been execution.

  74. John R, please get off of this forum. Why do you have to be antagonistic all of the time? Seems like there are better ways to spend your time. We’ll enjoy the playoffs, no matter how short they might be. I also can enjoy the 14 championship banners are teams have earned.

    Isn’t Frankie Muniz looking for someone to hang out with?

  75. I really do not believe we are a good enough shooting team to beat the Suns unless we absolutely pound them on the boards. Kwame and Lamar were good, but we did not get the kind of rebounding on the offensive end we had in Game 3.

    A key stretch in the 3rd quarter (when our defense picked up), we missed free throws and a few open 3’s. in Game 3, we were getting those rebounds and getting back into our offense.

    That, and a solid game by the Suns really did us in.

    Thanks to Game 3, we live to fight one more day.

  76. I expect the Suns to come out hungry on Wednesday. It’s going to be really tough but if they win that game, I’ll give the Lakers credit.

  77. john r. we know that people on clipperblog dont like you either, but that doesn’t mean you should be over here devoting your time to repeating yourself. we get the jist of your point, move along.

    Nate- I too am baffled at why Phil changed a winning strategy. He went back to aimless substitutions and bad rotations, unacceptable.

  78. Why wouldn’t I come to the premiere lakers blog to talk lakeshow?

    There was no change to the “winning strategy”. The lakers cannot compete. They were allowed to play rough defense last game and a +16 FTA was enough to let them scrape by with the win.

    Lakers in 5 will now be the third bet in a row I have won with lakerfan at work in april alone. . His cube has so much clipper gear in it right now I fear he might snap and gun us all down soon. Why doesn’t lakerfan ever learn?

    If there is a contingent on clipperblog that doesn’t like me I can accept that. The smartest among us often hold minority opinions. This shouldn’t be surprising. Your and their anger and hatred will not deter me. I cannot allow irrationality to win.

    I see more calls for the lakers to put hard fouls on the suns. That’s really sad. The lakers I loved would never have resorted to that. You guys have become what you used to hate:
    Celtics and pistons fans. Tsk tsk tsk.

  79. John R, I have a feeling you are/were a boxing fan.

  80. JONES,

    Shammond posits an answer to your question about the defense (via insidesocal.com/lakers):

    “It’s kind of new so everybody doesn’t always know what to do or how to rotate yet […] We haven’t jumped screen and rolls or played screen and rolls like that all year. Sometimes, when you’re doing something new, you miss a few things here and there and it costs you.”

    So, the new question may be, why didn’t they do it like that all year? Or at least sometimes throughout the year?

  81. Onto other things… does anyone else feel cheated by the Bulls and Pistons meeting in the second round? I know that’s how the records settled, but to me they’re the top two Eastern conference teams. The Cavs, much like the Lakers, and a SuperStar and some other guys.

    If Houston was in the East, I think they could win the conference, and they’re our 4th seed.

  82. warren (philippines) April 29, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Yaaawnnnn. I woke up 3am here and stayed up all game. I got chilly at that point when LA was in fact in the lead. Now I feel like I’m a jinx to LIVE laker games. Its now 10am here and I just woke up from the nightmare. I think Odom was trying his best with that house boost thing he did. Very galant stand.

  83. warren- that was the coolest thing lamar has done since he’s been a laker, i was pumped after that, too bad the team couldnt reaspond with consistent disclipined offense and defense

  84. Now I’m wondering if Laker management is still willing to part with Lamar. He’s showed a lot of heart, determination, and courage. He’s had his best performances as a Laker so far.

    What can ya do, Buss still thinks we’re bringing in a big free agent.

  85. warren (philippines) April 29, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    That’s why. I was almost trying to trade him away the whole year – for KG or JO – until I saw that. Makes me wanna cry and take back my proposed deals. He has heart man. Maybe we can do Major Trade Stuff while keeping him? It’ll be very taxing for sure and I doubt it.

  86. warren (philippines) April 29, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    I must say with all the injuries bothering that guy, He has shown more heart than anyone. Banged up to the max but the guy plays on. What a guy… Maybe we switch him to the 3 spot and trade Luke instead? He was a 3 before right?

  87. warren (philippines) April 29, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Veterans who have not tasted glory should realize that LA is the best destination for that. With the current team right now, it’s hard to ignore that any personality coming in, shall experience playing time and an actual contribution. I’m referring to Grant Hill who is trying to make up his mind and the likes… Bonzi is a veteran that can come in cheap too. Maybe the both of them for the Mid-Level.

  88. ironically, the game changing moment; where the lakers lost really all of their momentum. Hss to be the offensive foul call on kwame. The lakers were rolling at this point, really going on a run. Unfortunately, we ran out of gas, and that was that. To make things worse, farmar and kobe actually tried to run with the suns; what the hell were they thinking. So thats that good luck, and there’s always next year!

  89. warren (philippines) April 29, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    What killed us in game 4 was Nash’s 23 assists. They are a superior team right now too. That’s why we can hardly hold on to our 1 point lead and much more catch up in terms of pace.

  90. 85 – Perhaps the only way is if the Nets reconsider our Kidd deal. I’m still not convinced that bringing in Kidd alongside Kobe and Lamar will work. Unless a FA like Stackhouse comes to our team to help Kobe out offensively.

  91. Oh man, Lamar did have that wicked dunk over Amare during his “Pump up the Volume” moment in the 3rd.

    I love Lamar, seems like a terrific guy. Great to root for.

  92. ^Me. :D

    Or we could consider a Luke for Maggette type of deal. Don’t even ponder that though, because it’s less than likely.

  93. Was I the only one that saw Lamar tearing up after the blowout loss in Game 2? At least, I think he was tearing up…

  94. I think Bynum is way more likely to be dealt than Odom, he’s good and all but he’s no Al Jefferson or Dwight Howard and I think his stock is inflated a bit…he still seems really awkward around the basket but he does get a good amount of blocks…but if he gets us a true pg or post presence it’ll be tough to say no..

  95. I can’t see Jimmy Buss letting go of Bynum after seeing much promise from the young fella. If Bynum truly evolves into a star, they’ll sell more tickets in the future.

    Personally, I would do Odom + Bynum for Jermaine O’Neal in a millisec. And yeah Goo, I agree that it’ll be hard to pass up… the pressure is also on Kupchak to get a deal done.

  96. warren (philippines) April 29, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    This is how I evaluate Andrew Bynum:

    Upside:
    1. He’s 19 and a whole lot to learn.
    2. He has The Captian as his coach which is the best in the business ( The greatest Center in the NBA )
    3. In 3-4 years from now, he’d have plenty of experience while still being 22 years of age
    4. Exposure is the greatest teacher in terms of playoff basketball.
    5. What I am looking for in AB is that he become more like Alonzo Mourning. He wont be what Dwight Howard will become nor be a SHAQ. But if he can be a decent defender at his size, He’s very valuable.

    Downside:
    1. The problem with potential is that it may never be unlocked too. Looking at the glass Half Empty instead of Half-filled.
    2. Andrew doesnt seem to have the “fire” or the motivation to be great. See Amare, Dwight, Kobe, KG.
    3. His trade value will further dive if Mihm is healthy next season.
    4. His trade value is at its highest now when everybody seems to “gamble” at him as being the real deal.

    All in all the downs have it. Trade AB this summer while stock is at its peak and get the best possible player from him. We could even squeeze in a 1st rounder of 09 from him. He will be better suited in a different structure than the triangle and Phil J anyway… He would be like a Darko Millicic type of player who never excelled being with Detroit.

  97. Plaschke has an article that he actually writes well (the human interest story whichi he has a knack for) on Lamar in today’s LA Times.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-plaschke30apr30,1,5091098.column?coll=la-headlines-sports

  98. Earthquake? Earthquake? Earthquake?

    You may not have noticed the strange vibrations in the earth coming from North to South over the past weeks. The Clippers didn’t pay much attention to it and got knocked out of the playoffs.

    The pundits laughed it off.

    There is a team from Texas that has been taking it a bit more seriously, but they decided it was a false alarm–until tonite. Playing before the biggest basketball crowd in California history (more than 20,000), the Dallas Mavericks felt those vibrations get stronger and stronger.

    Stackhouse came off the bench and shot the Mavericks into the lead almost single mandedly. It didn’t last.

    The vibrations got a bit stronger.

    With seconds remaining, Dirk Nowitzke made two consecutive three point plays.

    It wasn’t enough.

    Even as the vibrations grew stronger still, the Dallas Mavericks came down with the San Francisco Bay blues.

    The Warriors won again and lead the series 3-1.

    Mark Cuban vowed to never eat Rice-a-Roni (The San Francisco Treat) ever again.

    Regardless of the outcome, The Laker organization better begin feeling those vibrations. While the Laker organization stood pat, the Warriors reshuffled mid stream and transformed their team. Two of the stars (Harrington and Davis) could have been Lakers–one this year. Since mid season, with virtually an entire new team, the Warriors learned to play great team defense.

    If they can do it on the fly, not even sure they would have their superstar at all this year, why can’t we do it better as Lakers when we have time to put the team together and teach strategy? If Golden State can make strategic trades to transform and reconcile players into a team concept for Don Nelson, why can’t the Laker organization do it for Phil Jackson?

    Has Nellyball advanced beyond Zen?

  99. warren (philippines) April 30, 2007 at 2:14 am

    There you go DrRayEye. That’s what I’ve been working on since the trade deadline neared – a workable team. While we were “fine” before the break, I could see the tough road ahead. For me, the break is when we ponder IF our team can make it. The playoffs weren’t the issue then, it was matching up with the 4 biggies (in fact 5) of the West as we were 6th.

    Now that the end is near, the picture is getting clearer. There must be done or else Kobe will be knocking on the door. Body Clock is ticking, let’s not TICK Phil and Kobe as well. We understand the mechanics of business… we are not asking Dr. Buss to do a Jim Dolan thing. All we ask is that we draft the kind of team that succeeds knowing Kobe is at the top of the triangle and on top of the World.

    Therefore, we look at our team, our situation and our success. We can be perennial 1st rounders and stay that way because Kobe can score a barrage of points just to carry us to the playoffs. But come Playoff time, Its joke me no more. Kobe can’t do it alone. Neither can this team right here. There is no better example than what GSW and Nelly has displayed this season. Take a gamble, win with it. As poker would have it, if you wait too long, if you wait for a pair of Aces to appear before you bet, your chips could well be in someone else’s stack by then.

  100. warren (philippines) April 30, 2007 at 2:41 am

    Here’s what we can do:

    1. Decide on what “kind” of team we are offensively and follow the trend. If we are deliberate, then lets be. If we are a jump-shooting one like the Bulls, we can be. If we decide to run, then lets.

    2. Players are our greatest assets. Lets “use” them. If we decide to be deliberate as the Triangle would have it, we can ditch some guys and get a low post scorer/defender in Jermaine Oneal. Support the middle with a decent center or compliment JO with a decent power forward. Ike Diogu perhaps.

    3. Be aggressive. No one is untouchable except Kobe and possible role players that are best fit with the theme. For instance, the triangle starts with the high pick,, entry pass, spacing, cuts to the basket, extra pass, boom. An open jump shooter and someone who can shoot from 18ft.
    Mo Evans, Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton qualify as passers/shooters with newcomer Jamaal Tinsley.

    4. Trade Up or Trade down. Vlade Radman is under-utilized therefore get rid of him. Get a Flip Murray or something to do the job. He is cheaper and more valuable defensively I would think. Utilize the Pistons’ logjam of centers and try to acquire a Nazr Mohammed to back up on JO in case Mihm isnt completely healthy.

    5. Establish Kobe at the mid range. 12 feet is automatic for Kobe. He’ll even have more rebounds if he stays within that range. More dunks, more lay-ups, more free throws. We now have a Tinsley or Evans to run back on defense in case the other team runs.

    6. Acquire a defensive guy to be a guard defender in the likes of Trent Hassell.

    All in all we will be deliberate, a little slower, but better defensively. Kobe will be a more effective scorer as he will now have someone to depend on in terms of scoring other than go on “mamba” mode.

  101. Warren — you have to realize that if we bring in that many new people, this will take a year for all of them to run the offense.

    Jamaal Tinsley? Oh lord, please no. Have you looked at his shooting %? he’s awful.

    this kind of a shake-up is impossible to pull off.

    i question your trades but not your heart.