Suns Preview

Gatinho —  January 17, 2008

W-L: 26-12
PF: 109.8
PA: 104.9
Home: 13-4
Road: 13-8
Streak: Lost 1
Last 10: 7-3

The injury to Bynum has thrown the Laker’s fan base into a frenzy. What this proves is how far Bynum has come in his importance to the team. Kobe’s “We’re a championship caliber team with Andrew” comment bares out the feelings of his teammates, as well.

We’ve discussed what the Forum Blue and Gold lining of this situation can be (Kwame finds a groove and plays himself back into shape, Turiaf continues to grow) but the reality is we know that there are struggles ahead. Will staying at .500 be a realistic expectation while Drew is out?

Can Kobe show that he trusts in teammates not named Fisher or Bynum? Look for him to facilitate more tonight. Hope that he looks to facilitate more tonight and doesn’t go for the “Kobe versus the world offense” until the latter stages of the game necessitate it.

The man who is really going to have to shine over this stretch and find his way out of the proverbial woods is… Lamar Odom. His aggressiveness on offense is key. He needs to find his confidence and use this Bynum-less stretch return to the ball he played in the playoffs last year.

But we all know that it’s all about the defensive end of the floor (and rebounds). An effort similar to the Seattle game will not cut it in this contest.

The Lakers hold a 2-0 season edge because of their stingy defense, holding the Suns to under 45% from the floor.

Phoenix coming in: Phoenix has semi-struggled of late. Grant Hill will not play after having his appendix taken out. His calming force has been missed as the Suns have been a .500 team in his absence.

In their previous five games they are 3-2, but coming off a loss to the Clippers in which they scored 90 points and a loss to Utah earlier in the week in which they scored 86. So once again the theme for the day is tempo.

Update: if you haven’t seen it yet, True Hoop has a great Q &A w/ Kurt Rambis and his 80’s mustache. He addresses Bynum, the Triangle, and Kevin McHale’s infamous clothesline.



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  1. As always, the main key in this battle is for the
    Lakers to force Steve Nash to shoot versus facilitate the potent Phoenix O. That means clogging the passing lanes and giving Nash daylight to shoot. The intelligence and leadership of D Fish helped execute the first 2 battles into a W. I expect no different, even without Mr. Bynum.

    Another key:

    Do not fall in love with the 3!! We cannot go head to head with these guys and hoist the long ball. The long ball leads to long rebounds. Their transition offense with Nash at the helm is way too potent.


  2. This will hands down be a very tough game for them. No one is expecting them to beat the Suns today but if somehow they can pull it off, it would be a huge statement. 2 games ahead of Phoenix with a win tonight and we are a bit more safe heading into matchups with Dallas, San Antonio, Denver, and Cleveland. I see it being a close game and Kobe being able to pull this one out yet once again. Big game for Lamar as well to increase the chances of Shawn Marion coming in for him!


  3. I really hate using the word “aggressive” when it comes to LO’s scoring. I hate it more when LO uses the term. We don’t need him shooting more shots that aren’t obvious ones to take. Obvious shot attempts should be the goal.

    Get him to take Bynum’s place in the pick n’ roll, get the ball with him on the box more often so he can make more decisions, not just to jack up more shots on the same few number of touches he gets.


  4. Like you said, Lamar needs to step it up, if he can have the games he had during the playoffs we will be okay. 3 important things for LO is

    1. Huge Rebounding.
    2. Scoring
    3. Defense.

    Each time these guys play, lamar always had the best of the matrix, so hopefully LO brings his A game to get us over the top….cant underestimate the suns, they are still very good despite reports of them “slumping”


  5. #1 hit it the nail right on the head, we can’t fall in love with the 3. Granted, our inside scoring will be down without Drew and the points will have to come from somewhere, but hopefully that doesn’t mean every last person on the team will be hoisting trifectas all night.


  6. And I agree with #4 – Lamar (as well as Kwame) have had their better games as Lakers against the Suns – those two guys need to step up. I remember in the last game that Barbosa did not have a good game – only like ten, twelve points…usually he has games where he scores 20+ against us…we have to keep him down in scoring.


  7. the other Stephen January 17, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    when they asked Odom how/why he exploded in production at the end of last season, he replied that because he was hurt, he couldn’t take as many outside shots, and had to take it inside strong. he needs to do that. every single time i remember that he’s 6’11” i have a fit.


  8. My guess is the Lakers’ key to the game will be pick n roll defense. They managed to make ridnour-to-collison look like stockton-to-malone for long stretches of that game. with andrew on the floor opposing pg’s were more reluctant to penetrate. but the sonics ran right past fish and lamar/kwame much of the game into the paint creating easy baskets or offensive rebounds when players were open due to defensive rotation. they started to tighten up toward the end of the game, and managed to pull out the win because of it. lamar usually matches up well against marion (both 3/4 combo fwds) so kwame has to step up against amare and the guards need to keep nash and barbosa in front of them (good luck).
    to subvert my own point- we also need a big game out of the bench. phoenix is really only 6 1/2 deep right now so we have to exploit that. and maybe farmar can keep up with nash a little better than fish.
    in summation- the lakers hold the keys to win ( a good thing), but i’m not really expecting a w.
    just hoping.


  9. How about “aggressive within the confines of the offense”? I should have said “take it to the hole”.

    Please no more 3’s, LO.


  10. If I were Phoenix, I would try to force Kobe to play like he did against Seattle. Clog the middle defensively to try and minimize Kobe’s penetration, don’t give Fisher open 3’s. Take your chances on Kobe’s outside shot.

    On offense, Phoenix should try and maximize the penetration; Kwame is typically pretty ineffective against that, and Turiaf tends to get into foul trouble. The Lakers need to try to minimize that penetration, because they don’t have Bynum as a last line of defense.


  11. There are four keys to winning this game.

    1. Defensively, the Lakers must play transition defense for 48 minutes.

    2. The bench is going to have put the clamps on players like Banks, Skinner, and Diaw: minimize their impact.

    3. The Lakers must exploit mismatches: Odom can punish Marion on the low post.

    4. Kobe has to punish double teams by finding the open man; in turn, the open man must finish strong at the hoop.


  12. RE:1

    The Lakers need to do Nash what they did Chris Paul, which is what they did to Steve Nash on Christmas. 4 assists, I believe for both of those guys in those contests.


  13. Lamar needs to demand th ball and try to score in the low box as much as possible. Stoudemire is the only real shotblocker on that team, make them double on Lamar. Lamar can easily make the pass out of the double team. Also, Lamar on the move across the lane with a quick move to the basket is another way he can cause problems for them. Bynum occupied that space before, but now Lamar should be the main post option since Kwame’s confidence is in the cellar.


  14. The beauty about all this is I have a coworker who is a big suns fan, and he is scared about tonights match up even if we don’t have Bynum. The suns aren’t as great as they were the last few years. I feel that there is a shift in the West from the older veteran teams to the younger crop(see NOH and Portland). We also have to remember we have better guards this year than last year that can make steve nash work hard on the defensive end unlike Smush. I think Ariza can have a big game and do a lot of disrupting. Even though we are in kind of unexpected mode for the next 8 weeks I think we match up well against this Suns team.


  15. the guy formerly known as lamar odom January 17, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Let’s try to look at Bynum’s injury in a positive light. He is hurt but can still walk. Maybe he’ll practice the sky hook these 8 weeks. I hope he masters it. I expect to see it when he gets back.


  16. Lakers Close to Signing Webber?

    Source: HOOPSWORLD

    In Bynum’s absence the Lakers appear close to signing free agent Chris Webber.

    Word is that the Lakers have reached out and a source close to the situation says that Webber has responded positively. While he still is going through the motions of courtship, there’s a good chance he ends up a Laker in the coming week.

    Webber had a long list of teams that he was supposedly in negotiation with but the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic have both publicly made indications that he’s not a consideration. Apparently Webber would rather play for a contender in LA than a team like the Miami HEAT who are no longer an attractive option considering their record.


  17. Which player gets the least out of the most talent?
    SI Players NBA Poll

    Kwame Brown, Lakers C…… 17%
    Tim Thomas, Clippers F…… 10%
    Eddy Curry, Knicks C…… 7%
    Vince Carter, Nets G…… 6%
    Darko Milicic, Grizzlies C/F…… 5%
    Tracy McGrady, Rockets G…… 4%
    Darius Miles, Trail Blazers SF…… 4%
    Stromile Swift, Grizzlies C/F…… 3%
    J.R. Smith, Nuggets SG…… 3%
    Gerald Green, Timberwolves G/F…… 2%


  18. This is Kwame and Lamar’s chance to show their value to the team. Play big. Finish at the basket. Play like you did 2 years ago in the playoffs. That is what your team needs from you.


  19. the Lakers, by now, know better than anyone when it comes to stopping the Suns. Or at least trying to. So no need to bring things up over and over again. I just hope Lamar and Kwame return to their effective selves against Phoenix. I know the term ‘return’ is a bit iffy when describing those two, but at least they’ve all had good games against the Suns before.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind seeing Kobe vent a bit and bring his scoring self out once more. I know it’s a bit much to ask another 81 pt performance and that it will be detrimental to all but me, but seeing that 50%, 44-shot performance…


  20. What did john Lennon say? “just give Kwame a chance” or something like that.


  21. 20. Nah, that can’t be right. I think Lennon would’ve shot him in the back by now if he was alive and a basketball fan.

    I’m glad Kwame isn’t revered here like he was a couple months ago, but the pendulum had swung too far in the opposite direction since his return. Just a little bit.

    Give him a little time to get back into form, and he’ll be a tad less terrible.


  22. I think the Laker team that we have has been almost designed to beat Phoenix. The last 2 years with Smush was a disaster and it ain’t happening now. Unlike you guys, I am optimistic the Lakers will use this game as a fulcrum to the tough schedule ahead. You gotta win early – there’s no better team to do it with than same old Phoenix where beating them has extra gravy.

    As usual, the game plan is at hand. What I’d like to see is Phil using his “experiments” on this game, perhaps by playing Farmar at SG and Kobe at SF. Odom will be a full time PF today as Kwame and Ronny share time at PF. So far, the only trigger-happy guy at 3-points is Kobe. If you see that as something wrong, maybe I’m wrong. But against Phoenix, I trust his decision.

    Farmar is the Lakers future. While Bynum is the anchor like Kareem, Farmar will be the captain manning the rudder like Magic. As early as this year, I’d like to see if he has what it takes to take over games. I think the boy has it in him.


  23. In reading all of these comments about where Lamar should step, assuming he is not in a cow pasture, I almost felt like saying that Lamar should step to where he did when the Lakers “blew out” the Suns in Phoenix, which was the end of the bench–except he was in street clothes!

    Lamar is Lamar–and that is what he should remain. Asking him to “step it up” might lead to a replay of his 3-15 against Seattle with those three “oh no” three pointers that he is so famous for. We need Lamar to play good switching defense, stop the Matrix, get at least 5 OFFENSIVE rebounds, and let the game come to him. Then he might score 25! I wouldn’t want Lamar to demonstrate his football skills again, but one or two fouls fighting for rebounds and a few blocks and steals would be refreshing.

    If we remember that first blowout win, we should be asking “where is VladRad” when we really need him?

    This may be an opportunity to give Trevor some real playing time–maybe introduce him close and personal to Steve Nash from time to time.

    We need to go to Kwame whenever Stoudemaire goes to double. Kwame has already proven that he is more than up to the task–with his recent 3/4, 10-10 and clutch freethrows.

    We’re still giving up at least 5 points per game too many–and we’re a different team now.

    We need to follow Kwame’s leadership, not Kobe’s and emphasize defense instead of offense. Instead of getting back those fictitious points we lose from great Bynum offense and intimidation, we need to tighten down what we’ve been too often willing to give up. Other teams have already recently shown us how against Phoenix.

    It should be tacos at Staples every night!

    If we don’t win tacos for the fans at Staples we’re not doing our job!


  24. I guess it could have been lot worse.

    Can Kwame ever be as reliable offensibly as Bynum?

    And as I was thinking we were getting something going, we promptly turn the ball over.


  25. we look bad. Lakers look lost especially when Kobe gets the ball and everyone else just freezes up and waits for him to bail us out.

    We still have a chance but we need to start moving.


  26. man… i know i have given up expectations on kwame and lamar… but really… is it that much to expect lamar to post up and utilize his size and kwame to finish strong / make a layup?

    by now, the whole league knows about kwame’s brick hands and they seem to let him free whenever he’s taking shots.

    even the second unit looks lethargic… which makes me wonder what happened during the time off since monday…

    man… may i say deja vu? wake up lakers!


  27. this is painful to watch. it’s hard to not be pessimistic about the next several weeks.


  28. awwww! kill me.
    Seriously.. .buy out kwame right now… I HATE HIM>>>>HATE


  29. The time is now…..The time is to pray the healing gods will bless Bynum with 8 weeks or preferably less to come back. If not there’s always next season.


  30. they have no energey whatsoever. Everyone just looks so deflated.


  31. Nash already has 10 asts in the half. Everytime he does this, LA is in trouble. I look at the box and all I see is trouble.

    The next game we play will be in 4 days. I hope CWebb can make up his mind soon and begin practicing with the team so that we will be ready for next week. 7-1 in January isn’t so bad still.


  32. Kwame needs to be “Shipped”


  33. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? How bad is Kwame?


  34. Kwame travels, gets the ball stolen and misses a dunk within three minutes……


  35. 17TOs… Kwame responsible for 7


  36. wow. kwame is unbelievable….the WORST NUMBER ONE OVERALL PICK in any sport. WOW. Its so bad, it even makes me cry.


  37. whats the record for a single player in a single game for turnovers?




    Whoever said it before me, I’m feeling really down about the season now…. esp. with all the playoff teams in the west within 4 games of each other……



  39. i don’t know if you guys are noticing but this is not the Lakers team that we know and love.

    They look even more lost than ever.

    Wow, more turnover than points in this quarter for sure!


  40. I understand everyone’s frustration with Kwame. But I really don’t like to see any Laker get booed at home. The man is trying. He’s had confidence issues in the past. We need him to step up. Booing him isn’t going to help now, and it’s not going to help for the next 2 months that he’ll be relied upon.


  41. You can give all the effort in the world but its result that count. Kwame AND lamar need to know that results like this are unacceptable. Bad decisions. Bad shot selection. Just bad.


  42. LA is full of tough love. Kobe got booed in the season opener but he still stepped up. Granted it’s Kobe but we can go back to the early 00’s Lakers where Shaq and Kobe got booed too. I don’t think the booing affects Kwame at all. He’s still going to fumble some easy passes and miss his dunks either way. Might as well let the fans air out their frustration.


  43. I was just about to post that I absolutely hate seeing Kwame get booed at home, but Matt beat me to it. The guy is trying, he did hit one out of two FTs against Memphis at the end, and two out of two against Seattle in the final minute. Yes, he is having a terrible game, but you don’t boo one of your own players every time he touches the ball.

    I don’t see how the Lakers can keep him after tonight. The team had two days to practice after Seattle, and they came out with absolutely no energy, like they knew they had no chance tonight. I think Kwame might just shut it down after tonight’s game, and by shut it down I mean stop caring. It’s time to deal him.


  44. 40…its expected they perform at a above average level because of their salary. Kwame plays like a big preschooler and Lamar as we know is LO


  45. WE BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  46. wow at least the Machine turned on his on button today.


  47. Damn you guys! Why won’t you just let me go to sleep?!


  48. jellosjigglin’ January 17, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    the machine!!


  49. i was yelling THE MACHINE! THE MACHINE! THE MACHINE! when my friend told me Sasha cut it down to 10 himself. I had to turn the game back on when I heard that.


  50. farmar and sasha are fearless. I love that. I wish that Odom and Walton would just bring that kind of energy and confidence to shoot the ball.

    Kwame needs to be benched. Turiaf is playing much better right now. Start him unless we get Webber in the next few days.


  51. man although i really dislike kwame, i just feel so bad for that guy.


  52. Take away from that game: Sasha earned some PT. Kwame deserves more time on the bench.


  53. quite possibly a moral victory. at least they didn’t get blown out of the water. only kobe and LO were in double figures until jordan and sasha came alive. deal for a strong low post center until drew comes back and we should still be near the top of the conference. but mitch needs to pull the trigger REAL SOON!!!


  54. Tell me why we lose a game where Kobe scores 30 and shoots almost 50%, Odom has 19, 16, & 5, Farmar scores 16, and the team plays reasonably well on the defensive end. I’m sorry, the rest of the team besides Kobe, Odom, & Farmar didn’t show up. And this is the Suns. Luke, Fish where were you? PJ needs to meet with the team sans Kobe, Lamar, & Farmar and send them a message. This loss wasn’t because of the lack of Bynum’s presence. Lamar and Farmar more than made up for Bynum’s production and team defense was solid. I’m upset with the rest of the team.


  55. Right now I’d trade Kwame for Olowakandi, Kobe’s arch nemesis from NBA live (mulleted dude in the commercials), and a couple of pizzas.


  56. Lamar FINALLY dunked a basket in the 4th qtr. That’s what he has to do whenever he’s in close. Don’t put up that weak ass crap with english on it. He’s 6’11” for christs sake. He plays like a 6’2″ guard. It’s like he forgets how tall he is or something.
    Andrew figured it out this year. You know he had an epiphany and thought to himself “If I just rise up and dunk it, there’s not much anybody can do about it”
    If only Lamar could remember that.


  57. Sorry for the 2X post, but I really wish Kurt let me had control of the board this morning. I was thinking of writing a paragraph about kwame before the game and ended the blog with a paragraph starting:

    Where you can watch Kwame prove himself against a monster or where you can hear the trade Kwame rumors start (TNT).


  58. jellosjigglin’ January 18, 2008 at 12:31 am

    abysmal play by luke and kwame tonight, absolutely horrible. 7 to’s by kwame, and how many times did luke try to post up his man and either get stuffed or stripped? that was an embarrassing performance by 2 of our starting 5. unfortunately fish didnt bring much to the table tonight either.

    after all is said and done though, the suns shoot better than 50% from the field, the lakers less than 40 and still only lose by 8. atleast there’s a glimmer of optimism there.

    19pts, 19rebs, 5assists for LO! (granted a couple of botched layups)


  59. 52. why would you feel bad for kwame. he is making 9 million dollars this year! the least he can do is catch a ball or dunk it. i have no sympathy for someone who is making 9 million dollars and can’t do his job properly.


  60. I look at people posting Lamar’s stats and I wonder if we watched the same game. This game was lost more by Lamar than by Kwame. The only good to come out of this is that Phil can use this game to prove the Lakers can win a game without Andrew and playing poorly, if only someone besides Kobe steps up.

    This game was further proof that Lamar and Kwame CANNOT play together. Lamar doesn’t seem to realize who he is playing with and just makes great passes to a position, without realizing who he is passing to – this is a consistent problem with Lamar. He insists on giving Kwame the ball in traffic and at the freethrow line, even though this is where Kwame has the most trouble. Defensively when they are playing together one of their men is always in a position to score.

    Lamar is simply not an offensive threat because he makes too many bad decisions in traffic and is not a consistent finisher. Tonite he was continually forcing things into the middle and then getting blocked. One example was in the 4th qtr – no less – when he got the ball under the basket with 3 Suns around him and three Lakers within 10 ft. He tried to go up with the ball instead of passing to an open teammate. Bad bball IQ.

    I know his stats, but look at how he got them. He created a number of turnovers, through ill advised shots or passes, and he consistently collapsed to the middle on defense, leaving open shooters on the perimeter.

    Let’s not talk trade, because his contract runs through next year, but how about Phil being more selective when he leaves Lamar on the floor. Oh yeah! We only have one PF while Turiaf is backing up Kwame. Ahhh, if only Vlade were available. I guess we have to continue, but please be more creative in who plays when Phil.


  61. Man that game was a roller coaster ride. It was up(briefly) and then down(til the fourth) then they played with my emotions some more. I agree with a lot of what I have read so far. So I will do my best not to repeat. My biggest disappointment was with the guards until the end. You have to make Steve Nash play defense. offensive minded people HATE to play D. I know I guarded a lot of them. 20 assists for Nash will not get it done. 21 TO’s for LA not gonna help. As much as we bust LO chops, he had a good game. He hustled and worked, I don’t care he was 7-20, 13 offensive boards is quite a feet.
    Everyone have a great weekend, back at it again on Monday.


  62. we’ll see what kind of heart kwame has after tonight, PJ let him stay out there on the floor, instead of yanking him during that awful stretch. it was embarrASSing to say the least. if he has some heart, he will buckle down, focus, ask for help, learn from his mistakes, try to calm down, he just gets too anxious.
    (I’m wondering if Dr Rayeye is secretly kwames agent, he really has some “glass half full” views of him).

    the one positive from tonight is that the team came back together and made it close, time running out is what saved the Suns their W, and we all know this team is going to take some time to regroup, refind it’s rhythm, get in sync, and they were starting to show it in the 4th.
    I guess for me, the main question will be how kwame responds.


  63. While this game was lost in the 3rd quarter, the Lakers showed heart that they will be no pushovers to this Conceited Phoenix team. We showed them that we will be waiting for our shot at glory as early as this year’s playoffs to dislodge D’Antoni’s boys.

    The game had a “lost” feeling since the second quarter. I wasn’t able to watch the game but I was following ESPN’s play-by-play and boxscores. Odom showed up tonight, as he does everytime we meet Phoenix. That shows you that he is more comfortable going to the hole and being a true PF if he knows his competition. With Drew out, Lamar also covered up for the rebounds. Collecting 19 is not so-so by any means.

    However, Lamar has to put his head in his shots. Going 7-20 for a big man like him is hardly admirable. He attempted only 1 shot from 3-pts today and I think that is his quota. Unless he is feeling it like Peja Stojakovic, he is not allowed to shoot the 3.

    Kobe was Kobe today. I could not see his game face but I know he wanted this win. While the Lakers may have failed, losing ONLY by 8 was big. In fact, they did give Phoenix a scare in the 4th when we went 10-0 on them. What lost it for us was our inability to defend Phoenix’s shots. But then again, who does?

    Turnovers were a big factor. Anytime you turn it over 6pts above the league average, you are destined to lose. Phoenix had 23 too, but that is to be expected from a run-gun-run team. Lakers are a halfcourt team and they should be yielding ONLY 14 to secure a win.

    Bynum being out was magnified today. We had no one to cover the pick n roll and Kwame was being himself today too. 7 turnovers for a non-guard and for someone who only expects to be dropped a pass is NEVER good. Shot blocking was absent with Odom getting the lone block today. Overall, we lost this game more than Phoenix won it.


  64. I don’t want to bash Kwame since he’s a Laker. But IF only he had the desire to dominate (like Game 3 from last year’s playoffs) and had a mean-streak, then most Laker fans wouldn’t be bashing him. Kobe should make another video in a parking lot on “Shipping Kwame’s a** out.” It just might be the motivation he needs. Heck, it worked for Drew and made the difference in the Lakers’ surprising great start (along with the praise from Kobe). Get well soon Drew!

    Tonight’s loss showed that this Laker team didn’t give up after being down by 18, and the fact that The Machine is on his way to regain his form. The Lakers despite being depleted, didn’t get blown out. LO needs to work on making layups, but at least he was “getting all the f***in’ rebounds.” Where was Fish and Luke in this game (as Paul pointed out)? Luke looked totally lost. But one positive thing I got out of this game: Farmar can stroke it beyond the arc. Go Lakers!


  65. Remember last year when Farmar’s biggest problem was making long range shots? Practice changes a lot of things. Perhaps Kwame should practice the Rick Barry method of shooting freethrows; perhaps Lamar should also because we need 2 of 2, not 1 of 2 on a more consistent basis.

    I got the feeling that Kobe took the Phil Jackson approach to the game tonite. We weren’t going to win tonite if Kobe took all the shots, so he wanted to force the others to move when he had the ball – they didn’t – and he wanted to keep feeding different people to get someone else started. I think he had the right approach because, win or lose tonite, we need to get all the team involved in the offense before it will smooth out without Andrew.


  66. Lamar showed a lot of impressive energy tonight. If he remains that active, his offensive flow will return. I worry about his demeanor.

    Farmar’s confidence grew, and Sasha learned that his arms may be in game shape, but his legs aren’t.

    Phil is going to play Kwame back into shape. He played heavy minutes over three, but Ronny got the big minutes down the stretch.

    And even in a loss, credit Kobe for not going wacko and not dominating the offense until the end of third quarter.


  67. Some of you bloggers should wash your mouth out with soap. Kwame’s already anchored victories this year. He’s a Laker. He’s the only healthy big guy we have right now. What have you accomplished constructively by venting? These comments about Kwame are very unfair. At least think through the game and Kwame’s stats before you attack!

    Kwame’s primary job in Laker plans for a game like tonite has been to limit and control Stoudemire. Mission largely accomplished. It is our two forwards who were MIA. Kwame got 8 points and Stoudemire got 16. Kwame got 6 rebounds, Stoudemire got 7. Stoudemire was the Phoenix leading scorer coming into this game. Kwame got them both in foul trouble, and both sat on the bench in the end.

    Maybe some of you didn’t notice that.

    In 20 minutes, Luke Walton was 0-4 for 0 points, no freethrows, 2 defensive rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 turnovers. His “guy” got 19.

    The main reason that Kwame got so many turnovers is that he was put in the role of Andrew Bynum on offense–and Kwame does not have an Andrew Bynum game–nor is that supposed to be his game!

    The guy that the Lakers missed desperately to rescue Kwame on offense was VladRad. With VladRad instead of Luke, the game might have been more like the first Laker victory–and Kwame would have had fewer turnovers.

    As a “go to” guy, Lamar was worse than Kwame in shooting percentage, 7-20, and his defense was only OK (his “guy” got 20; he got 19), but he got 13 OFFENSIVE rebounds. When the game seemed out of reach, Lamar played a major role in bringing the Lakers back.

    That’s Lamar: a disaster and a savior all in one.

    The lessons of the night: Kwame is Defense–don’t give him Andrew Bynum touches. Don’t expect Lamar to be the “step up” guy on offense: let the game come to him. VladRad, get well ASAP. Great to see “the Machine” back in action.


  68. Where was Fish tonight?


  69. 61 – Yes, LO’s numbers are deceiving because lots of those rebounds came off layups that he should have made on the first attempt. The points should have been higher and the rebounds should have been lower. However, LO still helped us tonight because he got offensive boards and he was able to score.

    Kwame on the other hand… I like the guy but he’s clearly still coming off injury, which is probably the only reason why PJ is giving him so many minutes. Also, before Kwame went down he was good, not great. Right now, he’s not even good.


  70. to 68: Kwame may wear a lakers uniform but he is not a laker. I know he is coming off injury …but his play is beyond god awful. I just dont see how you can defend it. I was at the game and the frustration with this guy is unbelievable. Oh and luke sucked it up too. But the point is when is Kwame ever going to amount to anything. He makes the team worse when hes out there.


  71. Dr. Ray – I need to watch Laker games over at your house. Many of us arm-chair centers could put Kwame to shame after this game. 7 TOs and you still have the nerve to support him. I’ve had my share of bad games, but never to the affect of a +/- of -17.

    I could have sworn I heard Webber’s agent’s cell phone ringing in the background.
    Oh, hi Mitch. How’s it going?
    Not so good…. Um, is your client still available?
    Yea, but we’ve been fielding offers and decided to raise the asking price to $4 mil pro-rated now.
    What the f***? Damn. Not only can Kwame not play, but I need to find a suitor for Mihm or his salary equivalent too.
    I’ll give you a call in a few. I need to pull Isiah’s and McHale’s phone number from my rolodex.

    The triangle depends on three players. 2 wings and a post-up man. Who is going to step up and get those consistent passes in the post? LO? Vlad? Wouldn’t count on them. The Lakers may need to stray from the triangle until Bynum gets back. The Lakers cannot run the offense efficiently without a true post-up player.


  72. This pretty much sums up Kwame:

    From the L.A. Times

    In a Sports Illustrated poll of 242 NBA players, Kwame Brown received the most votes for the question, “Which player gets the least out of the most talent?” Brown received 17% of the votes, followed by Clippers forward Tim Thomas (10%), New York center Eddy Curry (7%), New Jersey guard-forward Vince Carter (6%) and Memphis center Darko Milicic (5%).


  73. I must agree with Matt, et al: Booing Kwame like that at Staples is not only classless, it’s counter productive. Great way to insure the guy will never get into a groove.


  74. I didn’t see the entire game (I’m still on vacation), but here are some thoughts:

    1) 81 Witness, Jordan won six titles in the triangle and who were his centers? The Triangle can be successful with the offense primarily from the perimeter. The Lakers just aren’t used to running it that way.

    2) The Lakers lost that game because they got away from the basic defensive tenats of playing the Suns: Make Nash the shooter (he was 5 of 15 but had 20 assists) and stay with guys at the three point line (the Suns shot 50% from there). You can’t blame Walton or Odom or Kwame individually for this, it was a team loss.

    3) With Bynum out, this team will be more subject to the ups and downs of Lamar Odom.

    4) The Lakers offense was out of synch on offense and it is up to Kobe and Fisher to get it back in rhythm. They are the veterans who need to shake the team out of this funk. This team is still a good team that can and should score plenty.

    5) I guess we should talk Chris Webber (I’m not starting a new post because I’m not sure I can do that from my blackberry very well). But anyone who watched Webber play the last two years can’t think this guy is any answer. He is a horrible defender– last season opposing centers shot 57%, had a PER of 23 (I know there is debate about this stat here but I still think it is a good offensive snapshot) and averaged 20 points and 13 boards. For comparison, Kwame’s holding opposing centers to 47% shooting and a PER of 16. But Webber is so much better offensively, you say? He is not the Webber of five years ago — he shot 48% overall last year and 34% on jumpers, his once deadly midrange game is no more. His biggest plus is still his passing, but that doesn’t make up for everything else. If you can get a time machine and get me the Webber of 2000, then we’ll talk. But I fear Mitch is as desperate as Lakers fans seem to be. And Lakers fans are talking about starting him, which would be a defensive disaster.


  75. I agree that booing Kwame for his bad play was only going to make him play worse, but my god, he turned the ball over for five straight possessions.


  76. I think what Dr Ray wanted to convey is that Kwame, in all his fumbles and bumbles, still did his job. He limited Amare to 18pts when Amare has been a beast in the last couple of games.

    7 turnovers in on your non-guard (even on a guard) is utterly terrible. This is the part where you could say Kwame failed. Still, overall, I grade him C.

    Luke meanwhile, struggled even with Grant Hill out. I also didn’t know why Trevor has not filled in but at least he had some 6 rebs. Trevor gets a C while Luke grabs the all-time best F.

    Fish, sorry captain but you’re getting a C- tonight.

    Kobe gets my nod at A-. Not a great game, not a bad one either. What impressed me most is him not exploding with all those shots. He still kept the others involved.

    Jordan Farmar is my lone star. I give him A flat for his performance tonight. Just like I said, I see beyond the horizon with this kid. Having him and Bynum makes all the difference. Ahhhh.


  77. Kobe, Lamar and Farmar all comment on Kwame getting booed in the AP recap:

    And for the record, Kwame left without speaking to reporters.


  78. Following the loss to the Celtics, this was the second straight terrible home loss in a “statement” game. What particularly disappointed me was — again — a total lack of energy and passion through the first three quarters. I thought we took the floor with the mindset that we couldn’t win. Tentative on offense. Slow on defense. The defensive rotations — or lack thereof — were atrocious. I know that we depend on Andrew as a “last resort” on defense, but that was embarrassing. Inexcusable.

    Speaking of embarrassing, the Kwame situation truly is troublesome. But with all due respect to people who are calling for Mitch to “ship” him out, what is Mitch supposed to do? Demands for a “lost post presence” are preposterous — who do you think is available, and what would we have to give up to get him? Given Kwame’s pathetic play, who the hell would want him (his expiring contract notwithstanding)? Good centers do not fall off of trees – that’s why Bynum was such a revelation. And I really don’t think that CWebb is the answer. At least the 2007 version. If memory serves me, he could barely move or play defense at the end of last year and was wholly ineffective in the playoffs. With Kwame obviously out of shape and inept, and with Luke disappearing for games on end, I am extemely concerned about this team’s ability to maintain a playoff position with Andrew out for a minimum of the next eight weeks. Scary.


  79. Let’s get Clipper-Blog-ey real quickly:
    11:40 – Kwame Brown shooting foul
    11:22 – Kwame Brown lost ball
    10:32 – Kwame Brown makes 1 of 2 FTs
    10:03 – Kwame Brown traveling
    9:37 – KWAME BROWN MISSES (open) DUNK!
    9:10 – Kwame Brown lost ball
    8:18 – Kwame Brown misses layup
    7:52 – Kame Brown bad pass
    7:16 – Kwame Brown shooting foul

    That was about as bad a stretch of basketball by one person as I’ve ever seen. Like laughably bad.

    That said, I think both camps here are actually partially right. The Kwame-apologists have a point. Kwame didn’t singlehandedly lose that us the game. Somehow during that asstastic stint (0/2 fgs, 1 reb, 4 to’s, 3 pf’s) the deficit only grew by 5. And he boos unquestionably did more harm than good (those last few turnovers/missed shots can definitely be attributed to his overeagerness/nervousness to silence them). On the other hand, the alarmists aren’t wrong. Kwame’s piss poor play on both ends does have me feeling a lil more panicky about the next two months than I did a few hours ago. He was awful. The best thing that could happen is that Mihm gets back soon, makes Kwame look expendable again, and we can cash in something for the disappointment and agony he’s caused for Lakers-faithful. And I’m sorry, going 1 for 2 at the line when a game is tied with 9 seconds ago does not forgive.


  80. I’m as frustrated with Kwame’s play as the next guy, but I really have to feel sorry for the man with the type of reception he got all night, that just isn’t right. Yes, it was a horrible performance and it was a big game, but have you forgotten the role that he played in the two playoff series against the Suns?

    I mean recently you’ve been seeing him trying to work something in the post, sure it’s something that’s hard to watch, but you really have to give it to him as it shows that he’s actually trying to do good and gain confidence. It’s obvious that he knows he is under a lot of pressure with both Bynum and Mihm out, but history shows what happens to Kwame when he is under pressure. So shame on anyone at the game who straight out booed the man, you’re taking away a players confidence like that. Take Sasha, before this year there were more than few times where you wanted to boo him as well, but look at him now, he’s more confidant with his shot and now he has a nickname!


  81. (56) (58) (79) (71) (72) other posters and many of the fans at the game,

    I stand with the statements of the Laker players (see 79 above for link):

    Much of the talk in the Lakers’ locker room afterward concerned Kwame Brown, who is filling in for the injured Bynum. Brown felt the wrath of the home crowd in the third quarter, when he missed an open dunk and committed four of his seven turnovers.

    Many fans booed Brown every time he touched the ball for several minutes before he came out for good after committing his fifth foul with 3:50 left in the third period. He had eight points and six rebounds.

    “I thought it was terrible,” said Kobe Bryant, who led the Lakers with 30 points and seven rebounds. “If they want to do that, they can stay home. He’s going to be our guy here for two months. He’s going to do fine, he’s going to play well the next game.

    “Kwame’s sensitive. You boo him, it’s going to affect him. I told him I’ve got his back.”

    Other teammates were upset as well.

    “That’s tough for anybody. For a guy who wants to play the right way, it’s even tougher,” said Lamar Odom, who had 19 points and matched his career high with 19 rebounds.

    “We all stand behind him, we have faith in him,” said Jordan Farmar, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. “That’s just not right. If you’re a Laker fan, you should support your team through the good, the bad, the ugly.”


  82. Hey Kurt, didn’t Jordan play mostly in the post for that team though? I was a lot younger then but from memory as Jordan got older and stronger he became a very capable post presence… One of my most vivid memories of 90’s Basketball is Jordan’s classic fadeaway move from the low post.


  83. I don’t want to hear anymore about how great lamar was for getting 13 offensive rebounds. Most of them were following his own missed shots….one after the other. I’d gladly take fewer offensive rebound but have him actually score more putbacks.

    I played with a stiff of a 6’8″ center in high school that did the exact same thing…..rebounded his own misses…one after the other.


  84. Perhaps it’s already been posted, but here’s a link to an article at Basketball Prospectus concerning the Lakers.


  85. My oh my how the wind has shifted.

    Yeah, Kwame was offensively wretched. Yeah, if Lamar could make a layup he’d probably average 30. Luke played as if he thought he’d get 2 points if he could get his defender to swat him.

    Calm down.


  86. muddywood,
    Hear, hear! Thanks for the comment about Lamar’s offensive rebounds. Right on!

    Lamar is a human stat machine. He just is not a pressure basketball player. He should not be in the game for the last 2 min of any half. His passing and shooting mistakes really change game momentum, no necessarily the outcome.

    I, too, didn’t like Kwame’s TOs, particularly one right after another, but, as was said above, he was trying and that is more than I could say for Walton last night. Kwame is recovering from injury and he will not be more than a one-dimensional defensive player. The fact that he held Amare down and got him in foul trouble should have been enough for all the bloggers.

    If all the Lakers need to be successful in the triangle is a big man and two wings (a-la 90s Bulls – MJ, Scottie, Horace) then they are still in a pickle. At best they only have the center and one wing man (I don’t count Lamar as more than an average compliment). At this point they only have one wing man – like the last few years. Thank gosh we have developing PGs to help compensate for the average wing players.


  87. the other Stephen January 18, 2008 at 10:59 am

    57. yeah, seriously. freaking kevin garnett is 6’11”. just dunk the damn ball, lamar. it should be no different than me reaching for the cereal off the top of the fridge. you’re taller than a fridge, right lamar? if lamar can’t dunk the ball more, i say he comes to work at my house to change lightbulbs and put up christmas lights.


  88. the other Stephen January 18, 2008 at 11:02 am

    81. it might have helped kwame a teeny bit if we weren’t booing him the whole wretched game. i don’t care how frustrating he is. i just don’t want to be like a knicks fan and discourage my own team.


  89. man luke and his back-to-the-basket-and-lean-on-defender-only-to-turn-around-shoot-jump-shot move is too predictable and marion knew it. He does it almost every game when he has no one to pass it to.

    Anyways frustrations out of the way, we lost collectively and hopefully we can come out better against denver.


  90. Like clockwork

    Lakers at home
    On national television
    Couldn’t throw it in the ocean

    So the refs help them out. Despite shooting 32% in the first half, they are gifted a 16-3 FTA advantage to help them stay in the game.

    It would be shocking if it weren’t so predictable.

    The amazing thing here is if a player is fouled while shooting it doesn’t count as a FGA, so despite the rediculous officiating, the Lakers sitll only managed to shoot 38% from the floor.


  91. Ok, to all who are upset by the booing of Kwame, relax, it’s part of sports. If Kwame had played even an average game, he would have been cheered. It is our right as fans, who pay a lot of money to see these game, to voice our displeasure when we see a performance like to one kwame gave last night. He only got booed after many bone-headed plays in a row. The crowd was frustrated with his lack of effort, consentration, and passion, not because he missed a lay-up. Booing is our way of saying ‘get this dip-sh*t out of the game!’ Are we just supposed to sit there after every mishandled ball and say to ourselves ‘lets not hurt his feelings, he’s sensitive.’ Did anyone notice after the boos started coming Kwame seemed a little more aggresive? I would have no problem if the crowd let him have it every night until he gets his head out of his ass. We have given him so many chances over the last few years, we even chanted his name in the play-offs, but he has done nothing to return the favor. All I want to see is a little effort. Of course the Laker players had his back after the game, that is what they have to do. I bet they are just as frustated as the fans though inside. I will be the first to cheer him when he plays decent basketball, but protecting the feelings of a 7 foot man who makes 9 mil a year and has been in the league as long as he has, is not my responsibility as a fan. I would rather have Slava Medvadenko in the line-up right now (the only other Laker I have ever booed).


  92. Damn #92……you beat me to the punch. But hears my 2 cents echoing the same sentiments:

    When have we become so soft that we can’t ever boo a PROFESSIONAL player? Especially a man who has been the #1 draft pick, been in the league for 6 years, and has a whopping $9 million dollar contract. Playing basketball is a privilege. Playing as a Laker is an honor, and with that honor comes the high expectation of perennially playing for a championship. Now, I agree that Kwame is sensitive and that the booing doesn’t help him when he’s trying to get his groove back after all those injuries. But at the same time, as a fan……….and especially as a season ticket holder, I’m might not paying the absurd amount of money to NOT have the right to boo. I mean the guy hasn’t showed us anything the past few years that he is HUNGRY to improve and gives a 110% effort. It’s gotten to the point where I have seen/heard on TV, radio, and even in this blog that we all subconsciously “lowered the bar” with Kwame over the past few years. When we first traded for him, we were all hoping for him to be a 15/10 guy. Then it was like 12/10……….and now………I’m sure most of you would be happy if he averaged 10/10 till Bynum gets back. The problem is that I don’t see/hear or read anywhere that Kwame is putting extra time in before/after practice to improve (ala Jordan Farmar). I never hear that he hired a trainer/coach (i.e. “mind/motivational” coach or physical trainer) to help him better as a basketball player (ala Bynum). In fact, all we see/hear during those wonderful practice clips is a quick remark or two (usually from Phil) about Kwame and his shenanigans. I mean……..his own coach who knows him and his sensitivity best, left him in there the ENTIRE time to get boo’d! Most coaches would have yanked a player…….but I agree with Phil. Sometimes a player needs to hear it and have the self-realization and self-confidence to WANT to improve himself as a player. Its time we start babying him and start giving him some tough love. A few of you have mentioned that he stepped up in the playoffs against PHX…..granted, he did better than in the regular season against PHX, but if you look at his numbers in the playoffs he only averaged 13/6 (2006) and 9/7 (2007). Hardly dominant numbers…….especially against a soft inside team like PHX. Imagine if we played San Antonio/Dallas in the first round the past few years instead of PHX.

    And regarding his teammates defending him………of course that is what they are going to do! And rightfully they should. At the end of the day, he is there teammate and as long as he is wearing a Lakers uniform…….they HAVE to protect each other. But I still don’t think its bush league for fans to boo. I think he deserved it and as a Laker fan, I truly wish and hope that he takes last night as a step toward improving as a player and a Laker. I mean, the guy has all the tools. Great body, good moves to the basket, and he probably has the quickest feet for a center in the NBA. In fact, he’s proved that he could do it when he scored 30 points and had 19 rebounds against the Kings in 2004. So he definitely he has it in him!

    But so far, he hasn’t proved he is a winner or a warrior, and until he decides to improve and fight……….I’ll continue to boo his ass in my $19k/year seats.


  93. Is it against league regulations to give Kwame beta blockers? He has total performance anxiety.


  94. Other thoughts while waiting for the next game:

    * People who think Kobe freezes his teammates out too much on a regular basis should watch this game and see how many assists his teammates stiffed him out of. From what I could tell, Kobe made an honest attempt to get his team out of their funk, and with the exception of Farmar, they just didn’t deliver. When Kobe came back out in the middle of the fourth period, he obviously decided to chuck that idea and went to Plan Bomb-From-27-Feet. Didn’t do too poorly at that, either–that contested trey from straightaway was sick.

    * No one on this team misses Bynum more than Fisher does.

    * I just don’t think Kwame is being utilized right. He’s obviously a far worse finisher than Andrew, but he’s actually a pretty good passer once he gets a hold of the ball. Against the Suns, I think they should have had Lamar play the low post, and have Kwame out on the high.

    * Luke is forcing things way too much. He is not, as his dad would say, “letting the game come to him.”


  95. The guy who used to post as Lamar January 18, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Horrible, horrible game. The Lakers looked horrible on offense. I think it can be attributed to Kwame. The offense just stagnated. His lack of catching ability makes his teammates not trust him and this plays out in other ways as well. It was very sad to hear the boos. This is not MSG!!! It should not have happened. I was disappointed when it happened. I think I’ve advocated the shipment of Kwame in this forum the most, but that was low. I expect the team to get better, though, especially in a couple of weeks when we get Radman back and Mihm, and maybe even Webber.
    Why didn’t PJ put in The Machine earlier though???? Critt was given PT before Sasha???? I did not understand that.


  96. to 92: Thank you . You took the words right out of my mouth. Well said…


  97. Sasha was a great spark off the bench but because of his injury, PJ had to monitor his playing time carefully. The team showed some life in the fourth quarter, if they played the entire game that way it would’ve turned out closer.


  98. Thanks for watching my back 92. I don’t like to boo and do not like negativity. However, I hold high expectations for myself and others. I am normally a big supporter of Kwame until last night’s performance. 4 TOs on 4 straight possessions?

    92 was right, people pay big money to watch a game and have expectations of being “positively” entertained, even if the Lakers lose. But to pay money and watch that performance; fans had every right to complain about Kwame. I even think PJ should consider starting Ronny in the next game to let Kwame know that he performed well-below expectations and will come off the bench.

    Kurt, the ball did not go inside to Amare that often (check with your stat person). I don’t know how much of the game you saw, but nearly all of Nash’s assists came from open looks 20+ feet from the basket. Kwame’s presence was a negative factor in this game. The perimeter Lakers collapsed when Nash drove and left their players open near the 3 point line. I don’t think the other Lakers counted on Kwame to provide help D.

    What should have happened though? nash drives past the PG, Kwame steps up clogs the passing lane, the PG sprints to guard the Center or switches with LO’s man. This happened several times, and we got beaten on the LO switch about half the time.


  99. Said Farmar: “We all stand behind him. We have faith in him. We’re going to need him with Andrew out. That (the booing) is just not right. As a Lakers fan, you should support your team.”


  100. So you will cheer if Kwame does well. The few times he has come through I really haven’t heard any cheers around here. We are like the sportswriters covering Kobe in 1993/94, when we smell blood we lose all sensibility and act like sharks – exactly like sharks. If we don’t smell blood we just go on our way looking for some blood.

    I am not arguing that Kwame is either more than average or that he has earned his $9m/yr. He is overpaid and the Lakers did that – it is NOT his fault they offered the contract – sorry folks. Neither he nor Lamar are likely to ever live up to their contracts so we just better get over it and evaluate them on talent and performance.

    On that score Kwame did well guarding Amare, but failed utterly trying to quiet the crowd and become more offensive. He is a defensive center, not a scorer and not a shot blocker – that is what he is in there for and for us and Lamar to act differently just creates an on-court problem.

    He is our only true center at this time – I really don’t consider C.Webb a realistic alternative – and we need to support his efforts in that direction. He is thin skinned – as is Shaq – and he does hear all our boos. Just think if Shaq ever got the continuing boos from his home fans. My opinion is that he would have publicly been demanding a trade within two weeks. We fans can have an impact on the team/game. What we should want is that our impact would be positive. Kwame baiting is not positive to the Lakers. Leave that stuff to John R.


  101. Nobody the Lakers can sign right now will be better than Kwame, considering the salary cap, who is available, and the learning curve required.

    The question is not whether you have the RIGHT to boo a player. Clearly you do.

    The question is, or should be, whether it is SMART to boo a player. The answer to that is, if you want to punish him through humiliation, yes. If you want him to play better, NO.

    So the choice is yours, Laker fans. Is it more important to you that the team do better, or that you personally express your displeasure with Kwame?


  102. 92/93, I see your points. I guess all I want to point out is that an avoidable injury, and the disappointment it has created in the Laker fan base, definitely played a HUGE role in the harsh reaction to Kwame’s admittedly poor play last night.

    We can’t expect Kwame to suddenly right issues that have plauged him his whole career. And these are things that anyone could be just as angry about 3 games ago. The reason for the anger now? An injury to the better player that plays his position and carried this team to the #1 spot in the WCF. Just keep that in mind…


  103. jellosjigglin’ January 18, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    my two cents about kwame…

    kwame has been babied for the last few years. rather than being held accountable by his teammates, coaching staff and fans, we’ve all collectively and continually lowered our standards of what we expect out of him. and despite these extremely lowered expectations, somehow he is STILL underachieving. it’s gotten to be a bit ridiculous.

    you know what? if i was at the game last night i would have booed him as well, it was an embarrassing stretch of play in the 3rd, practically a disgrace to the Laker jersey. for all of you who are worried about hurting his feelings, give me a freakin break.

    kwame is 6-11″, 270 pounds of man. he is bigger and stronger than any of us and probably and one we know. he needs to man up and grow a pair. as a matter of fact, by defending him like we are, it makes it even worse; we shouldn’t have to, kwame should be man enough to take care of his own. if you are 6-11, 270 and you can’t defend yourself and prove your doubters wrong, what chance do the rest of us have?

    kwame is making 9 million dollars for one years worth of work. if any of you are making 9 mill and are performing horribly and letting your co-workers down and your consumers down (us fans), do you expect to be babied? or do you expect to be held accountable? you’re making 9 million a year, you better be doing a damn good job for that kind of money. he’s a professional playing in the best bball league in the world, for one of the best franchises in the history of the sport. man up and fill your role with confidence and class.

    if it were up to me, kwame wouldn’t hear a single boo for the rest of his time in a Laker uniform. i feel bad for him now, and i agree that he has thin skin. but he deserved to hear what he heard last night in the 3rd. its been a long time coming. all these years of babying him really haven’t paid any dividends, maybe the booing will. what else can we do? hopefully it will light a fire underneath his ass. what have we got to lose? i can’t imagine he could play worse

    so now that we’ve got the boo’s out, we really need to be supportive and hopefully he will turn the corner. i was very pleased to see his teammates immediately come to his side.


  104. I think Kwame is very much affected by his confidence. His first year in town he got booed and stunk. Then PJ did some lobbying for him and the crowds gave him a break and cheered whatever he did right, and he had a small resurgence leading to a pretty succesful playoff series against the suns (until the LAPD decided it was a good idea to publicize allegations that lacked any proof…).

    Yes, he is easy to take frustration out on, but to do so won’t help the Lakers as a team.


  105. 99. It is clear the other lakers did not trust Kwame’s defense in the paint (in what I saw). The collapsing was bad.


  106. Check the Wizard’s fans take on Kwame:

    Scroll down to the comments section.


  107. the other Stephen January 18, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    well, i didn’t need an essay on the philosphy behind booing to convince me that kwame sucks. but let me just point you the way to helo driver at 102, who spoke my mind. i go to games to see my team win, not try to recoup the money i paid for the ticket.

    actually, i didn’t see all the other posts about booing before mine.


  108. On Chad Ford breaks down Isiah Thomas as GM of the Knicks. Why am I bringing this up you ask:

    “2004 NBA draft: Drafted Trevor Ariza with the 43rd pick
    The second round went much better for the Knicks. Ariza now looks like he was the best player on the board at that point. Too bad he wears a Lakers uniform today.

    GRADE: A-minus (for drafting Ariza) ”

    Thanks Isiah.


  109. When they actually have a draft pick, Isiah usually does a very good job. Even Balkman has panned out much better than expected. As much as the ‘talking heads’ criticize Isiah, he does have a good record of picking talent. He just can’t trade for it or develop it well.


  110. I wish Kwame could be our Ben Wallace. But you know what the difference between Kwame and Ben is? DESIRE.
    Kwame had everything handed to him at age 18. MJ was telling him he was going to be great.
    Ben was undrafted, played in europe, came back was traded multiple times before he EARNED his status in the league.
    Kwame will probably have to play for a hell of a lot less that 9mil for a while. And THEN we’ll see what kind of heart and desire he has.


  111. If you read Truehoop you probably stumbled across this.

    Check out the avg. age as weighted by minutes played. Check the bottom (oldest) teams. Right now may suck in lakerland, but the future’s miiiiiiiiighty bright.


  112. wish we can have Butler back!


  113. One more time, with feeling. C. Butler was not going to be playing for the Lakers. He was going to be a free agent, expected good money, and was going to have to play behind Kobe in the Laker scheme of things. He had already played behind Lamar in Miami.

    He was a gone talent in Los Angeles.


  114. 113. I didn’t want to be a damper on things when we were relishing our win streak, but it’s going to be miiiiighty hard to keep this team together because of salary cap concerns in the upcoming years.


  115. Well I’m glad to see I got some support for original post about booing Kwame (92). I thought I would get ripped a new one by the faithful but was suprised to see some agreed with me. I would not boo any Laker ever that put out some sort of effort. Kwame puts out no effort, and like mentioned in a previous post, doesn’t put in the work like some other players to get better. For Gods sake, what’s his free-throw percentage!?! The Laker organization is about winning. Hall-of-famers, champions, and winners. Not every player is or has to be great, just show some pride in your game and the Laker jersy you wear. Kwame insults the organization and the fans with his effort, and if the Lakers cut him outright at any point this season, I would be a happy man. Have Rambis put on a jersy till Bynum gets back…


  116. (116) Davis Luv,

    in the midst of booing and bashing Kwame, who has no opportunity to speak for himself, have you ever had an epiphany, and wondered how it could be that you, by merely watching at Staples or on TV, could have better judgment and discernment than:

    1. The Lakers organization (who traded for Kwame and extended his contract )
    2. Phil and the Lakers coaches (who started Kwame over Bynum this year)
    3. The Lakers team (who like Kwame and were appalled by your booing)

    You must think very highly of yourself.


  117. (116) Davis Luv,

    I didn’t intend for my post above to be read as a personal attack. It isn’t meant that way.

    It’s just that you (and many others) have attacked the character of Kwame without any real evidence that such an attrribution was justified in the Laker game last night.

    It’s not fair and flies in the face of evidence to the contrary–if you look for it.


  118. 118. Well c’mon, dr. Everyone here at times says they think they know a better course than those three entities. Didn’t you share my genius opinion before the season started that the Lakers really had something special? The most talented player in the world didn’t agree. Phil didn’t even agree.

    If I was coaching I’d have put Odom in Kwame’s place for that ugly stretch, and odds are things would’ve worked out a touch better.

    We all think we know something, and sometimes we’re right. Hell, the Phil’s/fan’s torture could very well be very beneficial.

    117. Kwame makes all those same errors in one game often. Someday there was a chance of a perfect storm hitting and him putting on a display like last night where one of his signature mistakes happened right after the other. Is it a coincidence that this occurred during the first big game where he was supposed to fill some very big shoes? Not bloody likely.

    He’s not going to play that bad again. He’ll probably play the best ball he’s played this season during this stretch.


  119. The difference between Ben Wallace and Kwame Brown is Ben earned his minutes and his money before he had any – Kwame was given a fruitbasket from MJ being the #1 pick.

    If we have to go back in time, where MJ was a huge part of things, the game’s hands down best player ever could not even make Kwame the player we all want him to be (even as a teammate). What makes you think Kobe and Co. can? Fact is, Kwame will be Kwame. The same way we won’t be getting 20-10 from Lamar consistently. The difference therefore is his 9m. We are angry not because he cannot play offense but because he earns 9m. Lets focus on that.

    This year we are a move away from escaping the tax. A salary cut of around 2m will almost certainly mean we will not pay the tax and we will earn the bonus for not doing so. This IMO is where Kwame plays a good part of it.

    Sure you want to take Caron Butler back, and one of you even wanted worse (Slava Medvedenko). But the question I ask is for who?

    (submit your trade spec here)

    Since Kwame earns 9m this year and 0 next year, we can simply “plan” out our moves from hereonin. Its obvious he is not capable, but who do we have? Will you risk Ronny playing 36mins at C? He’ll foul out before he gets to 25.

    The option then will be to trade him for “stiffies” around the league, perhaps 2 of them, those that have ugly contracts and belonging to teams that cannot wait to get rid of them. Is this what you want to happen? Flexibility-wise, that move very well puts us back further to tax territory and it guarantees no stability up front. Whether it be with the new atmosphere or the intricacies of the triangle itself, there isn’t much of an option out there, really.

    Lastly, I hope Kurt won’t edit this part coz this is merely a pitch, Bulls fans are dying to get rid of Big Ben. They are offering all sorts of things on their part to somehow get rid of the man. Since we badly need that kind of a player to hold down the 2 months or so, maybe its best to consider the possibilites.

    Talk about an ironic analogy of Big Ben and Kwame.


  120. Kwame and Phil’s favorite martian might do the trick… who knows?


  121. Trying to speak evenhandedly–Kwame is a poor finisher. He’s a good post defender, but a poor help defender. He does not hustle for rebounds: With his height, he should be positioning himself long before the ball comes down. Farmar is way better than Kwame at this. Watch him body up before the ball has hit its apex. That’s what Kwame should be doing. He is a reasonably able passer, with surprisingly good court vision, provided he has sufficient spacing for the pass; he tends to rush tight passes, making for difficult receptions. He does not adapt well to novel situations, so his performance at the end of games will be suspect. He’s much better when he gets into a routine.

    Psychologically, he’s obviously very fragile. That’s why the boos do nothing but hurt his performance. He’s not stupid–listen to him give post-game interviews, and it’s obvious he’s intellectually bright–but knowing that he’s got to slow down and actually being able to do it in the heat of the moment are two very different things for Kwame. Still, being bright, he has to know why the boos are coming. I suspect he doesn’t really blame the booing fans, but it doesn’t help.

    I really can’t discern any substantial work ethic in Kwame. I realize, drrayeye (118), that there’s no unambiguous evidence that he doesn’t work at his game, but the fact that there’s no unambiguous evidence that he does work hard at his game is troubling. With all his problems on the court, he should be putting in extra hours until the various moves become second nature, and this should be obvious in player comments. The fact that they don’t mention it in response to the booing is, in my opinion, telling.

    In the end, though, I don’t know of a good alternative to Kwame. He still brings facets to the game–his effective defense against low-post players–that there is no good substitute for in the Laker roster. No one else other than Andrew has the necessary size down there, and Andrew doesn’t have Kwame’s quickness in the post (although he definitely improved in that area this year).

    I’ve heard some rumblings that Andrew’s down time may in fact be quite a bit less than eight weeks, so perhaps it’s a little early to panic. In the meantime, although Kwame deserves some grief for his lack of focus, that grief–in the stadium, at least–is precisely what makes that focus even worse.


  122. @ 118

    I don’t think the intention was to attack the character of Kwame. He’s probably a nice guy. I think, at the root of it all, we are just frustrated by Kwame’s regression and the lack of effort/focus in practice that translates into the game.

    There’s a good piece in the media that demonstrates how instead of concentrating on his game, Kwame interrupted the guards and began to launch treys in practice.

    So in my personal opinion, I think the boos were justified. If he had been focusing in practice, then the boos were just out of place. However, he wasn’t. Even PJ is referring to him as a knucklehead. Maybe those comments from the Zenmeister will jump start Kwame, who knows.


  123. Could someone please explain to me what Sasha Vujacic has done as a Laker to merit the name “The Machine”? He has been a Laker for 5+ years and is just now warranting any playing time–not as a starter but as a third string guard! Yet he gets the moniker the machine because he had one game of 17 points, and seven more games of less than 6 points.

    Sasha is a good role player but he is too inconsistent to deserve a nickname.

    Does anyone remember these names “The Thief of Bagdad” (Eddie Jordan), “Point a minute man” (Mcgee) and “Clark Kent” (Rambis). Is Sasha anywhere close to these guys?

    Derek Fisher did not even merit a nickname even after the heroics of .04.

    Fickle fans boo their own team’s players!


  124. 118. Don’t forget the “meow” episode. To say that the Lakers/Phil/teammates have always been supportive of the other KB just ain’t true. But you’re going to get defensive when someone comes after a family member, regardless of how hard you’ve been on them yourself. I just worry that Phil’s usually badass “let him play through it and work it out” strategy might have backfired in this case. Would he have been more shaken in the long run by getting a quick hook after a couple bone-headed plays, or now, as the talk of the town for his hilariously bad 3rd quarter.


  125. (121) I always considered D-Fish as the nickname for Fisher since the championship years, kind of like how T-Mac is to Tracy McGrady.

    To answer your question, the nickname of “The Machine” was started by Stu Lantz and Joel Myers during the second Chicago game this year where he scored 19. Correct me if I’m wrong anyone.


  126. Sasha has been a Laker for 3 1/2 seasons. The “Machine” nickname was half tongue-in-cheek, and it caught on because he finally started to consistently reproduce in games what he has done in practice for years–make his outside shots.


  127. This has to be a wake up call for him. This is the second city that he has had his home fans turn on him. Both are usually rather supportive home crowds, too. So I think he needs to start to realize that there is a reason that he has now been booed by home fans at both of his NBA stops. And it’s not like these fans weren’t initially behind him and didn’t initially have high hopes for him. Everyone has a breaking point. Especially when you’re dealing with a player as talented as him. People want to see him do well, but when a player doesn’t respond they will eventually say “enough”. It would be different if he worked hard instead of goofing around all the time. That’s why guys like Luke and Ronny don’t get booed off the court when they make boneheaded mistakes and turnovers. Fans will support them through that because they know that for the most part those guys care about winning and losing and work their butts of in games, in practice, and during the off-season. Kwame has established no such good will. So this is on him.


  128. Sorry for the double post…But Lamar is an even better example of this. That dude is the King of the boneheaded mistake. But Lakers fans will not take to booing him because for the most part he leaves it on the floor everynight. Even against PHX where he was shooting terribly, it was obvious that he was giving it his all and hustling and all that stuff. Kwame can gain some good will by at least doing that. But he doesn’t. So again, it’s on him.


  129. I seem to remember a certain Laker SG getting booed in his first game this yr,so it’s not the first time in history a Laker was booed by his own fans.

    JONESINTHENBA(#111)home cooking brought up something very interesting. He points out Kwame has built a very impressive body. That kind of developement usually is the result of sustained hard work. So Kwame is capable of long-term,sustained hard work. Which leads me to agree w/JONES,who is advising Kwame?. Why spend so much time on builing his body and so little on improving his broken game?
    Kwame was basically brought in to replace Shaq-did/does Kwame think that to do so he needed to be a fun-loving guy off the court and a physical beast on?

    And I have to admit,I’d love to know who in the Lakers Organization decided the team was better off building around Kwame/Lamar than Butler/whoever Lamar could be traded for? Or was Kwame intended from the beginning to be a stopgap while Bynum developed? I’d love to know,but we’ll never know unless Mitch gets fired and says to h*** w/the Confidentiality Agreement.


    You are right about the comparison between Lamar and Kwame. Both are reasonably intelligent, but neither seem to have a high b’ball IQ for the strategic aspects of the game. They seem to concentrate on their own part of the floor/play and not have any feel for the flow of the game.

    We love Lamar because he appears to put out more than Kwame. However, I seem to remember a similar player (Keith/Jamal Wilkes) who was so effortless in his work that his teammates called him ‘silk’ and the rest of us called him lazy.

    Sorry about the off-topic, but we fans really often miss the small details going on within the team while we are concentrating on the ESPN highlights. Kwame is ‘hated’ by us fans because of his ‘highlights’, but excepted – perhaps not loved – by his teammates because of what he adds to the team. If we can’t get over the $9M for the rest of this year, then shame on us.


  131. Craig, I think his teammates say one thing to the media, but think another to themselves. Look at the poll of the NBA players. They think he get’s the least out of his talent. Of course his teammates are going to get behind him. It’s just like when someone talks about a memeber of your family. Even if that family member is a lazy good for nothing, you’re not going to let anyone talk bad about him, because he’s a member of your family. However, within your house, everyone is probably saying and thinking those very same things about that person. HIs teammates know that Kwame doesn’t bring it during games, doesn’t work hard in th off-season or in practice, and hasn’t put focusing on basketball as a priority in his life. It’s obvious with the product you see on the court. That’s why fans get upset. Look, can you think of any player in the last twenty years that has been booed relentlessly by his home fans at two different NBA stops? There’s a reason for this. People aren’t just picking on him. There sick of seeing a guy that has been given everything (in his adult life at least) not care enough to make the most out of all of his tremendous potential. Put the attitude of a Rambis or a Ronny Turiaf in Kwame and you have an unstoppable force. I think he’s capable of focusing enough on ball to be great. I just don’t think it’s that important to him.

    And just so you know, I’m one of the biggest Kwame supporters ever. I would never boo him at a game. I make excuses for him all the time. I really want to see him turn things around and succeed. But I do understand why other fans are through with him.


  132. 133. Yeah, I’m sure Kobe’s verbally raped him much harder than any fans in a practice or two.


  133. The Guy Formerly Known As Lamar Odom January 19, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Bynum……………………..please come back?


  134. I agree with JONES 100%. Kwame is a very tough guy to deal with and have to support as a fan. After he was booed at the game the other night, even Kobe made sure to comment and let fans know that its not ok. The only way that the Lakers can succeed is if Kwame delivers, when fans boo him at home, its not going to make the process any easier on him. Sure we can trade him but what’s that really going to get us today?? Anyone care to propose something more beneficial??

    In terms of the current roster, simply because Kwame will be on it at season’s end, i wonder what happens behind the scenes. As the team practices, what role does Kobe fill to make sure and help boost the confidence in Kwame to perform in games? Is Kobe going to step up and turn him into a player? Is Kareem going to work with Kwame while Bynum is down? If only we knew what they were doing at practice…


  135. We shouldnt boo Kwame, but he deserves to be booed. If he is booed, it is probably for good reason. He is absolutely atrocious, lazy on offense, misses easy shots too often, turns the ball over too much, and has not progressed the way he should have. If you make 9 mil a year and are so insecure that your teammates have to defend you in the paper because you emotionally cant handle what your play deserves, then he needs to sling burgers. For 9 mil a year, if I suck, you can bo me and hold up pictures of me with a scarecrow outfit on and I would understand.

    As for all the Kobe love, until he signs an extension, I wouldnt believe anything he says about staying. To me he is still undecided and like the Lakers, just letting things play out. Even with Bynums dramatic improvement, another first round exit and Kobe will make waves. If he believes in the teams future, he needs to sign and get on board the shift rather then for now follow it closely in his own speedboat ready to change course when he feels like it.


  136. I wonder what Sean Rooks is up to?


  137. how about benoit benjamin? wonder what he’s up to?


  138. Thanks for that link muddywood. Two quotes I really loved from it: 1) Kareem basically implying he won’t waste his time trying to teach Kwame because he’s a worthless student. 2) Phil saying Webber’s lack of defense and rebounding mean he won’t work for us. Distant third to Phil implying he’ll tank a couple games to avoid coaching the all-star game.


  139. Why don’t they post Odom down low instead of Kwame in the triangle. Let kwame play the weak side and go to the glass for offensive boards, and concentrate on defense at the other end. That would cut down on Kwame’s turnovers and exploit Odom’s skill with the ball.

    Throwing the ball into Kwame in the low post really hurts the Laker’s half court offense.


  140. I don’t know if this will work, but why not have Kwame pretend that he is best center in the league and that noone can stop him. He might be surprised at what he can do.


  141. 143.

    No one can stop him.

    But himself.


  142. 142. Wouldn’t that be nice if they posted up lamar more? Problem is, the ‘they’ you speak of are the players themselves since in the triangle the coach isn’t sending in plays. Know what really drives me nuts (and i won’t go with an easy kwame joke here) is seeing a player Luke spending more time in the post than lamar. for two reasons:
    1. luke has to work too hard not to get stuffed in the post. only a couple people suggested a fact from this game: luke was pushing kwame for worst of game honors. i guess his ankle has been acting up, but he was almost as lethal to the offense as kwame as for most of his 20 minutes played.
    2. lamar should be in the post, not beyond the arc.
    In reality, i think the latter bothers us all a lot more than the former. Luke understands the triangle and the value of post position, and when he sees that position vacant he almost always cuts and fills the spot. anyone remember the last time lamar took the strong side low post position that kwame and andrew usually fill? ronny knows to go there even when he’s the 4. luke sneaks in there when he can. kobe goes there from time to time. lamar? never. for whatever reason, lamar obviously doesn’t feel at all comfortable with his back to the basket. just like we don’t feel comfortable with him taking 3’s.


  143. the other Stephen January 20, 2008 at 1:48 am

    i agree with pacio. nice explanation. lamar! you need to work on your guns!


  144. Lamar Odom is back! January 20, 2008 at 3:44 am

    Don’t worry, other stephen. I’m getting “the goods” ready. LOL!

    Sorry to be off-topic here, I mean I know we all enjoy Kwame bashing since there’s a Kwame-hatin’ wagon going around but that is so last week(don’t you forget one of the Kwame-hatin’ pioneers from two weeks ago-ME!). I want to ask ya’ll a question:

    If you were a GM RIGHT NOW and had the choice of acquiring Duncan or KG…………..who would you go for????


  145. I guess the boos worked. From the L.A. Times:

    “Brown arrived early for Saturday’s short practice and worked on his post moves with special assistant coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.”

    If he does that for every practice and every game, I guarantee you’ll see an improvement in his game.


  146. LO is back…KG or Duncan,how could you go wrong w/either?
    I would have to go w/Duncan. In a PlayOff Series I want Duncan in the low post. For all KG’s athleticism,I want the guy I know will give me 25 points,a dozen rebounds and who will get my team into the bonus by drawing fouls as my anchor.(One of the under-appreciated things a good low-post player does is get his team into the bonus early and often. KG does not do this and it hurts his teams.) Combine his on-court ability w/Duncan’s seeming ability to get along w/everybody and Duncan is my choice.
    KG’s ability to guard everything from the vendor throwing peanuts to the Zamboni,his relentless example in training,practice and games and his better over-all level of health would make him better for the Regular Season,but I’m in it to win it,so I want the best player come PlayOff time and to me that’s Duncan.


  147. Lamar Odom is back! January 20, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Thanks, original Stephen, for not ignoring my question like all the other fans will.


  148. LOL, LO Is Back–I’ll take Duncan any day of the week. Much more clutch, especially down the stretch of the playoffs and in the 4th quarter. Garnett has had a tendency to burn himself out in the regular season over the years.


  149. The Dude Abides January 20, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Comment #151 was mine. I thought I was signed in, but I wasn’t.