Game Preview & Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Kurt —  January 23, 2008

Records: Lakers 27-12 (3 seed); Spurs 26-13 (6 seed)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.1 (5th); Spurs 111.0 (8th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.4 (6th)(; Spurs 104.4 (4th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown
Spurs: Tony Parker, Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen, Jeremy Richardson, Tim Duncan (they can call him a forward all they want, he plays center)

Lakers Notes: Two points taken from the comments about the win over the Nuggets.

First, not long after Bynum went down, Kwame a. suggested in the comments the Lakers should consider going small at times — Fisher and Farmar as the guards, Kobe at the three. By my count, those three were a +15 when on the court together during the Lakers run at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters against the Nuggets. After the game, kwame a. wrote:

The best lineup we got without Ariza and Drew is: Fish. Jordan (or Sasha), Kobe, Odom, Turiaf. Jordan, Sasha and Fish will keep the court spread with their threat to shoot. Odom and Turiaf will find spots when they move without the ball. We will be able to score, it is on the defensive end (especially the paint) that will be a concern until March.

I think it certainly depends on matchups, but I too would like to see more of that lineup.

The other thing was the change in defensive energy that Turiaf brought to the game. From 81 Witness:

Last night when the Nuggets cut the lead to two (with sorry Walton and Brown dragging the team down) we inserted Farmar and Turiaf, this led to a 14-3 run against the Denver starters.

Let me add to that — to start the game Walton was matched up on Melo and quickly Denver realized that and started isolating those two. When Turiaf subbed in for Walton, the Lakers went on an 11-0 run (that extended to a 22-7 run).

The lesson there — it’s always about the defense with this team.

And the laugh of the day from Pick Axe and Roll:

I never noticed this before, but now that Sasha Vujacic has grown his hair out, and apparently stopped washing it, he looks like Luis Scola’s little brother.

About those Tacos: Carter Blanchard sums up my feelings in the comments:

Has anyone ever actually tried to eat one of those monstrosities? A while back my roommates bet me 20 bucks to eat 10 of them in one sitting. I had never had them before, and I’m not one to back down from a pointless bet, so I figured let’s do this. The first one was the most disgusting thing I’d ever eaten. I was absolutely convinced that there was mustard in it. By the time I got to 3 and a half it became very clear that there was no way I could come close to finishing the challenge. And it wasn’t at all about the quantity, strictly the quality. The lesson: You can put “free” before dog feces and some people will get excited.

Best Wishes To Nene. Get better and get back on the court.

Also, I hope that Carmelo Anthony is back soon.

The Spurs Coming In: The Spurs are in the middle of their traditional “just before the All-Star break swoon.” And by swoon we mean 5-5 in their last 10, 10-10 in their last 20. The Spurs do this every year, it has no bearing on the Spurs you will see in April and beyond.

The big three continue to do well — Duncan is averaging 20 and 13 over the last 10, but his shooting has fallen to 45.8% (down from 50.5% for the season; Ginobli is scoring 20 a game off the bench and is shooting 46.5% from three in the last 10, so stick with him at the arc; and Parker is still too quick for any of our PGs (but he is shooting just 25% from three in the last 10 games, you still want him to be a jump shooter if possible).

One other guy to watch for is Ime Udoka, who has been bringing the defensive energy for the Spurs off the bench. His minutes keep going up, and if Pop is giving you minutes you are doing something right.

Last Time These Two Met: The Lakers picked up a win last month, but that game will look nothing like this game. First, Parker and Duncan sat out for the Spurs, plus Ginobli got in foul trouble and missed much of the fourth quarter. The Lakers were sloppy but got the win anyway. They can’t pull that off tonight.

In a game early in the season the Spurs dominated the Lakers, but this is a different Lakers squad in terms of confidence now, so I’m not taking much from that one either. Plus Matt Bonner had 15 in that game — if that is the Spur that beats you, you were destined to lose that game.

Keys To The Game:One thing to watch tonight is pace — the Lakers want to push it, the Spurs want to slow the game down (the Lakers average almost 9 more possessions per game than the Spurs). If one team can control the tempo, that will be a big advantage.

What the Spurs do on offense is not really complex but very hard to stop — they get the ball inside to Duncan, or through penetration by Parker and Ginobli, then if you double or collapse on defense they kick it out to the three point line where Finley, Barry and Horry (or Bowen in the corner) are waiting to shoot. It works because stopping any of the Big Three is very hard to do one-on-one (the Lakers will really miss Ariza tonight for that reason). Still, Kwame and the rest of the Lakers need to protect the paint first and foremost — the other Spurs can beat you, but make them do it and not Duncan or Parker.

On defense, the Spurs are the best rotating team in the league, so the Lakers shooters are going to have a hand in their face tonight (particularly Fisher, I bet). They still need to hit the shots and make moves when isolated.

Where you can watch: Game time is 6 p.m. (Pacific). In Los Angeles tune into KCAL (9), nationally you get ESPN. My plan is to tune into ESPN at the start, see who the announcers are then make my decision.

Kurt

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78 responses to Game Preview & Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. Carter is so right, those Jack in the Crack tacos are barley passable as drunk food.

    Kurt-great point about the Spurs rotating defense, they will not double kobe like Denver did. I think a key matchup for us to look to take advantage of is Lamar. When he is at the 4 he will be probably guarded by Oberto or Bonner, he can use his speed. When he is at the 3 Finley or Ginobli will be on him, and this is where he has to take advantage of his size.

  2. No way will those cuts into the lane be as unguarded as the last game, but I hope that kind of movement continues.

    And the inspired play. So much fun to watch. Looks like they were have a lot of fun too.

  3. Interesting piece in the L.A.Daily nes in Kobe’s MVP chances:
    http://www.dailynews.com/sports/ci_8049813
    Coupla points are debatable though,
    1.You absolutely do not compare Kobe to Adrian Dantley and tell me your being serious.Thats like comparing Kevin Duckworth to Hakeem Olajuwon.I mean,yeah sure Duckworth was decent but The Dream is on a whole other plateau of players.And I know Dantley’s more than decent but c’mon,u put him up against Kobe,no comparision..
    2.It was very interesting to see that the author slips in a line about “Kobe’s slight but noticeable erosion of physical skills”.Personally I think it’ll take another coupla seasons for Kobe to lose that otherworldly first-step that enables him to abuse defenders.But his stroke on the J is so fundamentally pure that I’m not as concerned about that as I am about him finding a sweet-spot,like MJ did later on, at or near the pinch post to reduce the wear and tear on him.Of course the big question still remains if Kobe’s ego would accept that…

  4. good point about the Spurs trying to stop D-Fish tonight, you know their scouts have prepped them that he’s hot now and dangerous. Big test tonight to see how Fish responds to them making him a focus of tough D.
    another good test tonight, (and a good opportunity), will be how Kwame plays tonight. I thought he came through in fine form against the Nuggs, turned in a pretty darn good game, (for Kwame) so…
    does he feel like he quieted his criticizers?
    (and fall back some to his relaxed self, lack of focus self)
    or does he come out with intensity?! make believers of everyone! this is a great chance to show his detractors that last game was no fluke, but a new Kwame Brown. he can continue to improve, if he stays focused, keeps up the intensity, hits his free throws, (which will help his confidence, then he won’t panic or rush when he gets the ball down low).
    another game to see the small ball lakers play hustle and D.

  5. I don’t get the TACO craziness either. They cost $1, and taste like crap. I watched the fans stand in line after the game, to get the coupons. Crazy if you ask me. Now, if staples gave you a coupon for a free hot dog or nachos at your next staples center visit, then myabe I would get excited.

  6. If we’re talking about a coupon for my preferred 2 am drunk food, how about for a Tommy’s burger?

  7. Those tacos are mmm mmm good to me

  8. Call me ghetto fabulous, but I love those tacos.

    5- “Now, if staples gave you a coupon for a free hot dog”

    O my friend…

  9. Kurt,

    Good call on the Tommy’s Burgers, but being in San Diego I’m going with a California Burrito from any taco shop ending in -berto’s. Or the carnitas at Juanita’s in Encinitas if ever anyone finds themselves drunk in coastal North County San Diego.

  10. my “4AM hangover easing grub” was on Rush street in Chicago, can’t remember the name but it had the same vibe as the Billy Goat Tavern of “cheesburger, cheesburger, no coke-pepsi, no fries-chips” SNL fame.

  11. @Andrew Z. I don’t suppose you could add Lolita’s and Los Palmitos to the SD fine dining list.

  12. LOL….these posts are great!! I never understood the taco craze either. Like Andre said….they are one freakin DOLLAR!! If you are at a Laker game, you can afford to buy two tacos at J in the B. It trips me out to see the people in the front rows chanting and getting fired up about it too. Are they serious?!! LOL

    As for tonights game….just another good test for this Lakers team. It’s up to Kobe to keep the game close heading into the 4th. Lamar needs to recognize his match-ups and exploit the weakness that is presented to him, like kwame a stated. and they need to keep the floor spread and knock down the open shots like they have been doing.

    Prediction:
    Lakers 98
    Spurs 95

  13. The thing with the “We Want Tacos” is that it is just plain fun to have something to cheer for….

    but, then again, I like the tacos.

  14. Lamar Odom is back! January 23, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Those tacos are also MIGHTY greasy.

    Go Lakers! Let’s all go for tacos tonight if the Lakers pull off a win. How about it? Maybe we can start a Laker-Blog tradition of buying tacos every time the Lakers win on the road against teams playing better than .500 ball.

  15. Lamar Odom is back! January 23, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Hey PJ (#13), are you gonna play Mbenga in the first half tonight?

  16. Besides, last game It was great to hear the Staples crowd…on their feet chanting “D-fence” and “We Want Tacos” with 2 minutes to go and the Lake Show up by 20

  17. How are y’all missing out on the 2am drunk cheesesteak?!?! MMmmmmmm.

    Greasy tacos will do in a pinch…but….Mmmmmcheesesteak.

    12: I’m looking forward to a nice balanced offensive effort tonight. Kobe can put us over the top in the 4th, but unless we see a 1/22/2006 repeat, he can’t carry us to a close game through 3 and still have enough left to bring it home.

    Go Lakeshow!

  18. With all the hate for those “tacos” it’s clear that you people don’t smoke enough pot. And I’ll tell you what I tell to my friends who rag on me for loving those bad boys – if you think about them like tacos, yes, they’re disgusting. They BARELY pass as tacos. If you just think about them as nameless, faceless, greasy little morsels, they’re much easier to enjoy. Just think about them like they are a totally proprietary invented fast food with nothing in common with a real taco but a passing resemblance. Phil says nothing good happens after 1am. Well I’d be curious to see what % of those delicious artery cloggers are sold after 1am. I’m thinking close to 75-80%.

    Kurt, did you see tacos taking over the message board the day of a spurs game? I didn’t.

  19. You won’t catch me eating a J&B taco, but considering the Lakers are 17-2 when they hold opponents under 100 points, I’ll be cheering for “tacos” every game.

  20. Andrew Z,

    “I’m going with a California Burrito from any taco shop ending in -berto’s.”

    Absolutely!!

  21. I’m a 5 rolled taco guy when I’m down SD way.

    I thought it was all about chicken and waffles in LA?

    Kobe the facilitator will be more difficult against a team that feels they have a player who can (kinda) play him straight up. There still should be ample opportunity for more Gretzky assists, though.

  22. You all should know that everything tastes better when it’s free and/or when you’ve got the munchies. The tacos from Jack in the Box aren’t THAT bad as long as you put some hot sauce, and realize that you get TWO tacos for $1. If you don’t like their tacos, try the double-cheeseburger from McDonald’s for the same price, while becoming a Dollar Menunaire.

    I look forward to a hard-fought game in the 90s. I want to see Ronny go crazy like he did on Monday, and Jordan keep up with that sweet stroke he’s got. Go Lakers!

    P.S.- I’m not a spokesperson for McDonald’s.

  23. 21. Roscoe’s — that’s another great call! I used to love that place (and a now gone place called Ship’s, where you got to make your own toast at the table) but it was always a trek. However, from Cal State Northridge and where I lived in Long Beach (and still live) Tommy’s has been a short drive.

  24. Kurt I appreciate the credit, but that was actually Kwame A. on both quotes. I actually predict that the line-up will not work against SA when Duncan is in the game. Simply because they have shot-blocking skills on the court when he is left in and the SA defense does not need to collapse.

    However, when he is out, it will work like a charm.

  25. “My plan is to tune into ESPN at the start, see who the announcers are then make my decision.”

    That’s always the case on nationally televised games for me. I take nothing less than Kevin Harlan or Marv Albert.

  26. Is the game really slow? Coz ESPN’s scoreboard takes quite awhile to update its scores.

    Off topic: Is Phoenix for real? I mean they cruise to victories against powerhouses and somehow loses to Minnesota last month. Today, they’re 15 down at the half. What’s going on?

  27. anyone got Chris Webber’s #?

  28. So – Mbenga instead of Turiaf in the 1st quarter? Really? I understand you need a big body to guard Duncan, but Mbenga’s still getting beaten up pretty easily, and he’s made a couple mistakes on the offensive end that are taking the Lakers out of their rhythm.

  29. Hey folks, What about Jeff Van Gundy as an announcer?? I’m shocked by what goes on in that announcer’s booth when Gundy is in there sometimes, and othertimes he tells a good game. I don’t know whether to hope for him to announce or not today against the spurs… GO LAKES! Can’t wait to compare Farmar and Parker!!

  30. Turiaf just fing SLAMMED it!

  31. 28. I’m with you, but Ronny has earned minutes with his play for most of the season, DJ is a big body and all, but still….

    And Ronny proves why he belongs in just a few minutes.

  32. 31-I feel you both, Ronny blocked Duncan’s fadeaway!

  33. Turiaf on the dive seems lethal. Small ball has its privledges.

    Man I LOVE this Kobe.

    I hope we take advantage of LO when he’s being guarded by midgets in the 2nd half.

    Awesome, awesome, awesome.

  34. Odom’s last second bucket makes up for that atrocious 3 point attempt.

  35. (odom’s 3 point attempt, that is)

  36. No free throws for Kobe in the first half. Hmm – that doesn’t happen very often, does it?

  37. jellosjigglin’ January 23, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    bah… the suns just lost to minny AGAIN (114-104)

  38. jellosjigglin’ January 23, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    oops 117-107

  39. Argh Kobe – the 9 point lead wasn’t proof enough that the gameplan was working?

  40. Wow…this could get ugly.

  41. Please bring Turiaf back in after this Spurs time out…please.

  42. that might have been the worst quarter we’ve had all season. i will say, however: with bynum that quarter doesn’t happen. period.

  43. Lakers need to go back to having Kobe in the low post. Why was Kwamme in there the whole time? Turiaf played great in the 1st half… Interesting decision there PJ… If we are to make a run in the 4th, expect it from a small lineup, w/ Kobe being the facilitator.

  44. man… 12 points in a quarter??? that’s just sick.

    well, if spurs could pull it off, then so can the lakers! here comes strong 4th quarter!

  45. The Dude Abides January 23, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    Ugh…not sure why Phil persisted in playing Luke and Kwame for almost the entire quarter. Our small lineup with Ronny at center is obviously the best lineup we have. I guess Phil was punishing Ronny for playing such an excellent first half.

  46. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but Odom was absolutely terrible in the 3rd quarter. Kwame a close second.

  47. jellosjigglin’ January 23, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    ugh… horrible quarter. coincidence that ronny didnt play? i think not.

  48. The offense looks so much better w/o Lamar and Kwamme drawing congestion into the paint. As long as the outside shots are consistent, the Lakers still have a good chance. But 3/11 in 3point land isnt gona get it done.

  49. Ronnie is playing admirable D on Duncan for the most part. It seems that whenever Jordan drives, the floor seems to sperad out more. Lakers might want to take the let Duncan beat you approach though considering how much better the Spurs guards are shooting in comparison to the Lakers in the second half.

  50. (47) Especially when you forget that the Spurs have some great 3 point shooters of their own and leave them wide open repeatedly. If only they had read Kurt’s scouting report which warned of leaving Udoka open for 3.

  51. Kwamme and Lamar back in. Lakers down by 7 when they came in. Lets see where this goes…

  52. That was like two different teams playing each half. Unfortunately, I was stuck in traffic in this miserable rain until about halfway through the third quarter, so I only got to listen to the good basketball on the radio while watching the crap on TV. So what the hell happened out there?

  53. Where was Lamar? He was simply non existant and even his rebounding was missing.

    21 Turnovers…….

    Points in the paint. When the Lakers had their lrage leads, they were winning the battle in the paint by almost twenty points. In the second half, Lakers simply allowed too many points in the paint to Duncan and company.

    What happened to Luke? This is becoming valid after another unimpressive game. I never thought I’d say this, but I think im actually missing Radmanovic.

    Kwame Brown was also a non factor today. All he amounted to was clogging up the paint. PJ’s decision to keep him in all of the 3rd quarter, especially with the way Ronny was playing can be seen as questionable. Furthermore, Farmar did not come in either till late in the forth.

    Finally, the form of the Laker offense went away fromw hat worked (High Screen and Rolls as well as Kobe in the Post) during the 14-0 run to start the 3rd that essentially was the end for the Lakers. By Having just one player in the post, the painted area seemed to clear up, leading to easy shots, which led to the huge early lead in the Points in the Paint battle for the Lakers.

  54. Give the Spurs credit: they really cranked up their defense in the 2nd half. That said, I’m baffled by the way Kobe started the 3rd quarter, going one-on-one, turning the ball over and forcing bad shots. It’s funny how just a few bad plays can swing a game–especially against a team like SA. First Kobe takes a couple terrible shots, then Kwame misses two easy shots, and the floodgates open. It’ll be interesting to see how they play against Dallas.

  55. 52-The game changed in the 3rd quarter where the Lakers only scored 12 points. It started with Kobe forcing the issue (resulting in TO’s and missed shots), then LO committing silly TO’s, and then Kwame being Kwame. Kwame didn’t finish with a dunk (even though there was an opening) twice, and practically got schooled by Tim Duncan. At the end of the 3rd, they were down by 10 after Brent Barry made two consecutive threes. The game sure got ugly in a hurry…

  56. Thats so annoying. I’d expect that from last year’s team, but you’d think these “new and improved Lakers” could sustain a nine point lead, or even like the other night when Denver caught up to us in the third you’d think we could re-ignite the flame and finish them off. From what they were saying on AM570 in the first half the Spurs looked completely lost and disoriented out there. It baffles me. I hope they learn from this mistake and pull a W out of their hats on Friday.

  57. PS remember those times last year when Kobe got suspended for supposedly throwing his arm at defenders while following through with a shot? Ginobili did something like that twice tonight: once when Kobe and Farmar fouled him on a breakaway and once when Ronny was trying to block his shot (I think he did block it). Anyway if Kobe got suspended for that Ginobili should too, although the league never suspended Matt Barnes the time he blatantly knocked Ronny down during a layup attempt up in Oakland but they suspended Lamar for “tackling” Ray Allen.

  58. That third quarter was uglier than Sam Cassell.

  59. I noticed that too. I dont particullarly like saying the league has biases, but if Ginobli does not even get a fine, i’d be hardpressed not to believe that there is a double-standard with certain players. Its not like Manu is a ‘clean’ player either. His flopping and other antics have already given him a reputation.. But let us see what the league decides to do in the next couple of days.

  60. As ugly as that game was, I have to admit that I often really enjoy watching the Spurs from a fan’s standpoint. It’s amazing that a club with few really spectacular players/athletes is so good. Everyone on that team just does what they’re supposed to, nothing special, and they win more often than not. You would think that pro players wouldn’t make silly mistakes, and guess what the Spurs don’t, and they actually have championships to show for it.

    20+ turnovers will not get it done against any decent team in the nba, let alone the Spurs.

    I’d really like to see +/- numbers for Kwame, Lamar, and Ronny for this game.

  61. (58)

    Kwame Brown: -23
    Lamar Odom: -18
    Ronny Turiaf: +13

  62. 57- Kwame had -23, LO had -18, and Ronny was the only Laker with a “+” with +13. Ronny held his ground pretty well against Tim Duncan. Wish I could say the same for Kwame.

  63. wow. i didn’t get to watch this one but that third quarter sounds horrendous. Sounds like those who did watch it are keying in on the play of Ronny versus the sloppy play of Kwame and Odom tonight. I wonder if Phil has a reason for sticking with Kwame.

  64. Let’s not forget that Kwame’s strength is his excellent post defense…

  65. If you took Andrew’s Inside Offensive moves, Mimh&Turiaf’s 10-15ft game, and Kwame’s Post Defense you’d have one hell of a center. But at this point I just want Bynum back.

    And if Odom does not step up during Bynum’s asbscence I feel his career as a Laker will be over come this off season.

  66. Ouch @ those +/-s.
    I would’ve liked to see Mbenga on Duncan a little more. When he was in he looked lost and confused, but it wasn’t much worse than Kwame. If Mbenga can crash the board and use 6 hard fouls a night – especially against a guy like Duncan who can be spotty at the stripe – I think he could be very useful while Drew is gone. Of course, he does seem to mess with the offensive chemistry a bit.

    At least we didn’t lose any ground on phoenix in the loss column thanks to Minny (how do they keep doing it?)

  67. The thing is, the other lakers are not used blaying w/ DJ. I think Fisher and Kobe tried to get the ball to him and the result were TO’s. Until they get some more practice in and get more comfortable with him, I cant seem him being a decent option. (Although with the way Kwame is playing, anything is better) Overall ,i’m still puzzled why Ronny didnt play at all in the 3rd q.

  68. This one I lay on Kobe for obvious 3rd qtr reasons and on Phil for really, really poor coaching in the 3rd qtr. When Lamar and Kwame together start to stink it up in the post area it is time to make a change with at least one of them immediately – not in the following quarter. That was atrocious coaching.

    After Kobe’s 1st two ‘junk’ shots in the 3rd qtr I noticed all the other Lakers were just standing around and watching Kobe. Nobody moved to get to any clear passing lanes. Phil should have subbed in someone who would move, like Sasha or Turiaf.

    I counted (well I really stopped counting) the number of times Lamar’s man was out on the 3pt line and Lamar was hanging out UNDER the basket waiting for rebounds. That’s the way to pad your stats while losing the game.

    When the entire offense is totally nonexistent is really not the time to let the players play through their poor and sluggish habits. Replace SOMEBODY Phil — please. It becomes an indication of poor coaching as much as any learning experience. How about surprising both us and the other team once in a while with a quick substitution in the 3rd qtr.

    With this team I doubt this game will prove any incentive to do better Friday. I will just dampen spirits.

  69. I was surprised that even after PJ calling an early TO in the 3rd that the Laker’s didn’t start performing at a higher level. They played with the same malaise on the offensive end.

  70. I have to admit, as much as this loss drove me crazy, Kobe and Phil, the two guys we expected to step up and make the right decisions while Andrew is down, messed up this game. Kobe forced the issue a few too many times and Phil seemed to have missed key opportunities to change the rhythm of the game by not making substitutions. Ronny has been giving this team spark in every game so far and its about time to put him into the starting lineup. Can Ronny and Bynum perhaps be the next twin towers??

  71. as to the comments why pj did not put ronny back in the game in the third quarter, doesn’t that fall along the lines of pj’s philosophy? if you got yourselves in the mess, then find a way to get out of it rather than expecting others to bail them out sort of deal?

    as to lamar… shrug. i think if kwame gets more in shape (that is actually able to lift his body off the ground), then i think he may enjoy some feed from kobe down low after kobe draws the crowd, leading to simple layups or dunks…

    i think kwame has too stiff / strong of hands… i think if he re-learns how to shoot with his left hand, he might be better off in the long run (sort of like oden while he injured his shooting hand).

  72. Didn’t see or hear the game–just the box score. I (yawn) saw that that Mr. Oh! No! Dumb! took two threes–and actually made one! Didn’t hear anything about 9 (count-em) turnovers for Kobe–and 5 for Lamar.

    From the box score, it seems like the turnovers by Kobe and Lamar (without adding in anyone else) vs. the Spurs near-turnover-free performance were enough to determine the game all by themselves!

  73. 1) Replacing Kwame with Turiaf might help offensively, but would probably hurt offensively against a player like Duncan. Making a change just for the sake of making a change, which a lot of people are suggesting, is poor coaching. You make changes when there is a reasonable expectation of benefiting from it.

    2) The Lakers need consistent play from Lamar, and decent play from Kwame, if they are going to compete this year. They need to figure out what it takes to play through bad streches to get to that point.

  74. exhelodrvr,
    I wasn’t (we weren’t) talking about making a change for change sake. During the 1st half of this game Turiaf did a better job of disrupting Tim Duncan’s rhythm than did Kwame Brown. This may not always be true, but it was true on this night. The coach is supposed to observe and understand this.

    When the team is completely flat – all starters on the floor – during the start of the 3rd qtr, it is time to make some kind of energy change. We have 3 energy/change makers on the bench at this time: Farmar, Turiaf, Sasha. At least one of them should have been inserted into the game.

    I agree the Lakers would like to get more consistent play from Kwame and Lamar, but history says that is not possible and it is Phil’s job to manage around this fact. He may not ‘win them all’ because of their inconsistency, but he shouldn’t be managing as if these guys were consistent players and could well play through their ups and downs.

  75. Its good to come here to see what really happened in the game without seeing it. I found Lamar’s quote from the LAtimes recap very telling, “We didn’t move the ball,” Odom said. “We didn’t challenge them. They were pressuring us and we backed down. We couldn’t relieve the pressure, like our offense normally does.”
    Quotes like that say defensive pressure is not a priority. They wanted the offense to bail them out. Great teams use defense to get themselves out of the rut.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakers24jan24,1,7947089.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

  76. Craig,
    Just because a move didn’t work out as planned, doesn’t mean that making that move was a poor decision.

    PJ has very limited options with this team, especially considering the injuries, the relative inexperience of the roster, and the “skill set” gaps most of the team has. His rotations were very reasonable taking those factors into consideration.

  77. People need to stop commenting on Phil’s coaching. Many of us were players. Seeing that aspect first hand makes it easier to identify and comment on individual plays and their decisions and performance. But I suspect that few of you have been coaches nor have any experience with coaching outside of the 4-6 you had in you sports career. That said, how can you really judge Phil? Few of us really know anything more than what the commentators and writers tell us about being a good coach. And even they’re full of it most of the time (see: 2 years ago when the talking heads were debating the greatest coach of the modern era; Phil or Larry Brown).

    Furthermore, coaching is much more of a long-term endeavor. Players win the battles. Coaches are supposed to win wars. Is anyone calling Pop out for having a lackluster January so far? Or just about every January? No, because he’s established a track record of winning wars, err, titles with his methods (and current squad). Phil has said many times that he likes to get younger players experience in games that matter even if it cost them a W. Who’s to say he’s not trying to get guys WE WILL NEED TO SUCCEED some confidence when it matters?

    No one here has the experience, expertise, or insight to criticize most coaches in the NBA, let alone one of the consensus elite coaches. We’re criticizing a book we don’t understand after reading half.

  78. I think PJ should get part of the blame. pops made adjustments in the 3rd on the Kwame screen and roll to remove the 2 man game away from the lakers. PJ failed to adjust his offense. Luke and Lamar just stood around and did not cut to the basket.