Preview & Chat: The Detroit Pistons

Kurt —  January 31, 2008

Records: Lakers 28-15 (5 seed); Pistons 32-13 (2 seed)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.3 (6th); Pistons 112.7 (4th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.3 (8th); Pistons 104.8 (5th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladamir Radmanovic, Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown
Pistons: Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace

Lakers Notes: On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again……

I’m swamped at work and my DSL is out at home, so this is going to be short and sweet today. There’s not much to say anyway, a hobbled Lakers team heads out for nine games in 14 days and starts out with a pretty tough back-to-back — Detroit then Toronto.

Ty over at does a nice M*A*SH* like rundown of the Lakers injuries. Luke Walton likely will not play tonight, look for Vladamir Radmanovic to get the start in his place.

Deeeetroit Bas-ket-ball: The Pistons come in as an elite team but are “just” 6-4 in their last 10 (same record as the Lakers). They’ve been getting great play from all five starters, particlarly Billups and Hamilton. Rip gets run off a ton of screens and is one of the few NBA players who loves to shoot the midrange. Last Lakers/Pistons meeting friend of the site Nate Jones had very good seats and said this about Rip:

I can tell that it has to be very annoying to guard that guy. He runs off of a ton of picks, and pushes, grabs, and slaps his way to open positioning. Kobe pointed out what he was doing to the refs and the refs started calling Rip for offensive fouls. Rip hates getting shown up by Kobe because they were rivals in the PA area during high school.

After that, the Pistons have two of the betst NBA blogs out there and you should be reading them for scouting info — Need 4 Sheed and Detroit Bad Boys.

Last time these two met: It was the first couple weeks of the season and the Lakers picked up a nice 103-91 win. But, in that game the Pistons were without two starters — Chauncy Billups and Antonio McDyess. This time around it is the Lakers missing key cogs due to injury. All that is to say, that game has little bearing on this game.

Keys To The Game: Other Lakers besides Kobe are going to have to do some scoring tonight — with the combo of Prince and Hamilton the Pistons do as good a job as anyone on slowing Kobe. Radmanovic for Walton brings some scoring into the starting lineup, they will need that tonight.

The Lakers need to be disciplined on defense. This Pistons are not a great shooting team — they are actually 14th in the NBA if eFG%, middle of the pack — but they do not turn the ball over. Detroit coughes it up on 13.3% of their possessions, the lowest level in the league (for comparison, the Lakers are 15th in the NBA at 16.2%). This is not a good night for gambles and risks, it’s a night to stay on your man and in your roll.

Along those lines is this from the always great scouting report at

In “BOX POWER” Billups dribbles down the right side as McDyess sets a down screen on Prince. Prince runs a zipper cut up the middle of the floor to receive the pass at the top of the key. As this happens, Wallace is setting a weakside pin down on Hamilton. Hamilton is excellent at reading how the defense plays this screen and he will react accordingly. Prince swings the ball to Hamilton and if rip doesn’t have the shot he can dump it in to Wallace in the low post or they can run a screen and roll. There are a lot of options to this sequence and we must have sound defensive concepts in order to stop them. Another option out of this box set is to let Prince isolate at the top of the key. He can then use his length to get a shot off..

If the Pistons have a weakness, you could say it is the bench (although youngster’s Stuckey, Maxiell, Amir Johnson and Afflalo have had their moments). If the Lakers are going to win tonight they will need to win the battle of the benches in a big way (the Lakers did that in the first meeting)

Where you can watch: Game time is 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) but the broadcast here in Southern California doesn’t start until 5:30 on KCAL (9). If you are watching the game in real time and are commenting, make a note that you have spoilers for those of us on KCAL’s clock. Thanks.

95 responses to Preview & Chat: The Detroit Pistons

  1. Important game and there are so many keys to this game. Detroit likes the half court set but there are also so many fast break options for them. Rasheed doesn’t really come off as a ‘normal’ center because of his ability to shoot the three ball. Kwame will have to be strong tonight and move plenty in order to keep up with these guys. Ronny may be better off in the middle tonight but I suppose Phil has the final word on this issue. Kobe needs to make sure to give Jordan, Sasha and Radman the chance to get the win for the Lakers with big shooting.

  2. I totally agree – Farmar needs to get some drive and kick plays…. he seems really quiet as of late.

  3. This is a game the Lakers could play well – and still get beat. We need to get into a rhythm and maintain it, win or lose. This rhythm would be one that could carry us throughout the roadie. Please Phil, if the guys get into a groove let them continue and don’t sub just because it is time to change up. The rhythm is the thing.

  4. topic: Man i hope LO can keep his aggressive play much like the NY game, although he digressed a bit, having those numbers would definitely give us a good chance. funny, every game since bynum went down seems like it all depends on odoms game. (or is it just me?)

    And what bout that TURIAF. that dude is fun to watch.

    theorymode: IMO turiaf should start at C. now i know hes a bit undersized and has that toe injury but it doesnt look like it bothers him. But brown starts and the lakers are either
    a. showcasing his “talent” for other teams?
    b. confidence builder? seems like its what he is all bout.
    c. ronny too hurt to start?

    oh 1 more thing: DEFENSE!

  5. aah i forgot im not at the office. -.-

  6. We can defintley go small on Detriot, although the way we beat them early in the season was to pound them. It’s a risk, going into Kwame early and often could be a recipe for success or disaster. The key will be to stay in the game early, then hope the small unit can push a lead out at some point.

    Getting this game not on tape-delay is one of the few advantages of being on the east coast.

  7. kwame a….i’m jealous you get to see the game in real time! I hate tape delay!

  8. Tape delay sucks big time. How about someone petition the tape delay with KCAL and suggest they show a replay later in the evening instead for those who missed it.

  9. (8) KCAL actually does replay their broadcasts, unfortunately it’s at 2AM.

  10. Yeah.. well if you watch online.. Im sure youll get the det. feed.

  11. click the lakers “p2p link” and you will get the streaming det. feed. – just trying to help a brother in need.

  12. 8. They do it that way because they get better ratings. I hate it too, but it’s always about the $$.

  13. Hey what’s going on? League Pass has no feed yet of the game!!!! it says here 6:30 CT.

  14. Kurt wrote: “it’s a night to stay on your man and in your roll.”

    I know it was a typo, but Kwame, this means you: After you set a pick, don’t just sit there, ROLL TO THE HOOP. (And dunk, please.)

  15. SPOILER (second quarter):

    The good news is the Lakers are forcing a lot of turnovers, 9 already from the Pistons halfway through the second. Of course, the fact the Lakers have 12 already themselves negates any advantage.

  16. SPOILER….

    Lakers with 15 themselves. Are they shooting for a record?

  17. SPOILER: (5:39 second)

    Kobe’s on pace for a quadruple double. Um. Ouch.

    No passion or energy whatsoever. This hurts to watch.

  18. this is dreadful. the lakers look like a bunch of toddlers out there. i haven’t seen basketball this inept in a while. they’re playing with no confidence, and mine is draining by the minute…..


    HUGE break that the lead is under 10 right now. The refs helped out a bit, but I thought it was over when it was at 17.

  20. Lamar Odom is back! January 31, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I’m gonna watch it rather late so I won’t even know who won the game even after it’s over on the west coast. But I predict the Pistons will dominate tonight and it will be a blowout. Of course, I hope I’m terribly wrong and the Lakers win. Pistons by 14, but only after the Lakers get some buckets in garbage time. Pistons biggest lead=24.


    17 TO’s in the first half. 40% from the field. Down less than 10 at half. That’s pretty lucky.


    First off, excellent resilience by the Fisher, Kobe, LO, Radman, Turiaf line-up. I think Phil needs to resort to having Kwame come off the bench. Too much upside for Turiaf to not get the majority of minutes. Especially without a true center on Deeeeee-troit’s roster.

    Secondly, the Detroit announcer is a real whiner, and needs a good talking to by John Wooden. He blames the referees for the Lakers comeback (down by 7). Detroit plays aggressive basketball, that’s been their style and MO. After the 5 minute mark, the Pistons came out flat. Every player seemed content with the lead. Also, if you need the referee’s help to win the game, do you deserve the W?

    Lastly, Kobe is proving tonight why he deserves to be the MVP (unless the Hornets keep pace, then I give it to CP3). 24 needed to make better decisions and corrected himself after the rest.

  23. SPOILER: I cant watch the game and I was wondering about the first half. Are the Lakers just playing horrible defense or is the high shooting % because of all the turnovers and hot shooting from detroit?


    don’t turn off your KCAL broadcast, cause in the third quarter the Lakers are within 4.

  25. SPOILERS!!!!

    Great move by LO. Strong to the hoop, on the left side, no hesitation. Followed by another great move by Kobe. He is the master at the hesitate, then quick drive.

    Fish and Kwame need to be more aggressive. Rip and Rashweed have 3 fouls apiece.

  26. I dont know how many more times I can watch Kwame fumble the ball… it’s so painful to watch

  27. Kurt, what’s with the SPOILER? Don’t get it…

    The Lakers are holding Detroit to 15pts in the 3rd and scoring 27 of their own. They are playing well and what a time for Kobe to launch his scoring barrage.

  28. Kobe is on the verge of a triple double… not a very good one though.

  29. What a 3rd quarter for kobe and the lakers!

  30. warren-the game is on delay in L.A., so people are saying spoiler so they don’t ruin it for those that watch it on tape delay.

  31. Pistons finally woke up. Lakers need to be careful wth the basketball now.


    man… kobe just seems a bit off today! forced shots, terrible passes (or the lack of capable receivers), not guarding the ball, etc., etc…

    yes, while it’s easy to criticise, it is a bit too apparent… i guess that’s also indicative of piston’s excellent defense.

    still… a bit frustrating start in the fourth.

  33. Wow, what a game!!!

  34. wow, what a game. my heart has been racing every possession this quarter

  35. Me too Kwame!!

    We need a stop now more than ever. Everyone must box out on the miss. Very important here.

  36. Awwww Crap!!!


    JUST LIKE PHOENIX GAME 6, thanks for getting the board Lamar, first Tim Thomas, now Prince. ouch.ouch.ouch.ouch.that one stings, gotta move on and try to beat Toronto

  38. spoiler.

    f@#% LAMAR ODOM!

  39. Lamar air-balled!!!! You gotta be kidding.

  40. Lamar sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. trade his a$$ now!

  42. I don’t know about you other guys, but I’m not sure if this “spoiler” idea is working.


    Last 15 seconds. Lamar lets Prince get o-board, Lamar leaves Prince open for 3pter, Lamar messes up inbounds play and gives ball to KWAME BROWN, gets ball back and airballs. wow.

  44. What the hell is up with our end of game plays? This is two losses in a row because we can’t write 1 frickin play to get Kobe the ball and a clean shot?! Are you Serious?!

    That’s pathetic.

    The worst laker losses are the ones where Kobe’s own team doesn’t give him a chance to do what he does best. It makes me sick.

    For those of you who would say that was a planned play to go away from Kobe, which in some sense I guess would be maybe OK if he was doubled…. Why was LO inbounding. What they ran was a great second option (forget that LO looked off an open Kobe first)…. assuming the inbounder can shoot. Say… Farmar. Or Sasha. Or FISH.


  45. spoiler…

    man… well fought battle… too bad we didn’t come out on top. sure i’m pissed at lamar, but i just can’t fault him for being forced to be in that position… as kurt pointed out on numerous occasions.

    one thing i’ve noticed is that lakers seems to be excellent at making role players into star players. tonight it was stuckey, though his numbers are not eye popping, i think he managed to make farmar look foolish on the court.

    it really hurts that we gave up so many second chances in the 4th… as we had to rely on kobe’s incredible outside jumpers, pistons got easy layups on the other end. what’s more… when it counted, prince knocked it down…. it is what it is.

    good job pistons.

  46. I think Lamar is asking to be traded. It seems he doesn’t want to be on this team anymore or something. After last years playoffs I thought he was a keeper, but his play lately is completely unacceptable. 22 days before the deadline, hopefully the lakers at least consider putting him on the block.

  47. Lamar Odom was inbounding the ball? Who’s the best option for inbounding?

  48. Painful loss. We could have won the ball game.

    Missed free throws did us in. I hate losses like this.

    Didn’t they have a foul to give? Why didn’t they use it?
    Why let the Pistons shoot the three?

    They should have just fouled and get the last position either with a tie (assuming 2 FTs are made) or with the lead (assuming one or both FTs are missed). Whatever the case maybe, they are in a win-tie situation instead of the win-loss. Crap. I remember other teams using such ploy against us.

    I hope the play wasn’t really made for Lamar. If it was, then what the ____ is that?

    This really sucks!!! Bad Friday (in Manila) for me, Warren and the rest of the PI contingent.

  49. LO sleepwalks through the second game and the most important shot goes to him I have been a Laker fan since the 60’s and have never seen a bigger choker. It is very painful watching him during the game because he gives little to no effort. Need to get him out of LA.

  50. Wow, that was a heart-breaker. No one expected the Lakers to win this one, but they really had it. If Rony just hits his second free throw, if the balls bounces differently of Sheed’s miss…agh.

    Actually, when you look at the box score it’s remarkable the Lakers were in the game at all. Our front line was 4 for 16 and combined for a whopping 16 points. Sasha and Farmar only scored 7 points and were a combined 1 for 5 from 3. Even Kobe, who had a tremendous game had *11* turnovers, many of which led to easy baskets for Detroit.

    The Lakers showed a lot of grit tonight, we should be proud of them.

  51. let’s all face it, phil jackson is the most overrated coach in the history of team sports.

  52. Man, im not blaming it on this at all, cause the lakers should have one this one without this call anyway, but what was with that bogus goal tending call on ronnie??? That was a clean clean block, and was definitely on its way up

  53. Mike in the Mountain West January 31, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    I didn’t watch the game but I’m not too upset with this loss. The Pistons are an elite team and we resemble a MASH unit more than a basketball team, including missing our 2nd best player (if tonight didn’t convince you our order of players is Kobe, Bynum, Odom, then nothing will) so I was expecting a loss here and I’m pretty psyched we only lost by a point.

    It’s clear that Bynum’s absence really hurt us. He anchors us offensively and defensively. By being so efficient he opens it up for the rest of the team and takes the pressure off of Lamar to score and lets him do all little things, like rebounding, assisting, and playing defense. Lamar is an extremely versatile player and I think, at least at one time, he was a stronger but his offensive game and Kobe’s offensive game don’t mesh. They both need the ball in their hands to create and with Kobe as his teammate his game has kind of withered. But since he is so versatile when he does have the pressure to score he can be very effective on this team. I think a poor man’s Marion is a good way envisioning Odom’s role.

  54. Mike in the Mountain West January 31, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Wow I really butchered that last paragraph. For some reason I left out several very important words. My basic point was we can’t rely on Odom as a big scorer because his offensive game and Kobe’s offensive game conflict. Nonetheless, Odom is valuable to our team as long as we have a strong second scorer, e.g. Bynum, because he helps us in many other ways and has occasional scoring outbursts.

  55. relax. it’s a game all of you wrote off as our loss in the post below. just goes on to show how important ‘bringing it’ is in this league. any given sunday, as the saying goes, but it did hurt after seeing a rather well choreographed 4th quater couple nights ago.

    although an L is an L, a 1pt loss is much better than a blowout. just try to imagine things had bynum played instead of Kwame, etc.

  56. Again, when you look at the stats, it’s hard to believe this was a game we should have won: FT 24-35, Turnovers 22

    People will rightfully point the finger at Lamar for being Lamar on that last sequence, but Radmanovic wasn’t doing us any favors out there either. He has 5 TOs, most of them of the pathetic variety, and on defense he got abused right and left.

  57. I have said before that we don’t want Lamar in the game at the very end. This game proved my point, both defensively and offensively.

    This one HAS to be on Phil. No more excuses for mister 9 rings. He f**ked up another game at the end with his precious substitution pattern.

    We know Lamar will cheat on defense – he does it all the time. We know Lamar will clutch up at the end – he does it all the time.

    Lamar is a valuable Laker – he is just not an end-of-game player.

  58. Although you’ve gotta admit it’s good to see we hung in there with them until the very end, especially on the road. If Andrew, Trevor, etc. were healthy we probably would’ve had them, and it probably wouldn’t have been as close of a game.

  59. let’s not forget that at the beginning of this game, most of us predicted that detroit will rout us….

    to have a chance to win this game (we really should win this, if not because of several dubious decision by the referees), we really should take what’s positive from this game…

    at one point, we were down by almost 20 points, but we managed to fight back and make this game a winnable one.

    to think that we missed our best center, our best perimeter defender, road game and yet still make this game interesting in the end, should shows a lot of maturity of our beloved team.

    i am really looking forward to the time when bynum and ariza returns. we will show what we are really. for the moment, let’s just support our team with positivity. GO LAKERS!

    51. although i don’t always agree with pj’s player selections or his plays, i think he actually mention something really important to begin this trip. i agree with him that this long trip should create better bond within the team. i would even say that it shows already in this game (actually i think our team has shown the chemistry this season way better than several years back)

  60. the game is not lost with the last shot….but can someone tell me why lamar is taking it? I don’t know about pj’s selection of players in the last seconds. Don’t you want guards out there who can actually hit the rim? Bad loss for the lakers…

  61. Mike in the Mountain West January 31, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    57. One word, NO.

    We don’t need Kidd and I don’t want Kidd. He’s an even worse shooter than he has been in the past and his turnovers have skyrocketed this year. We are fine at the point. If we need anything it’s a better frontcourt and if Mihm comes back strong we might not even need that.

  62. I’m certainly not going to blame the referees for this loss, as Ronny’s goaltending block was damn close to a pin, and the Lakers shot more than twice as many free throws as the Pistons. We just missed too many of those FTs, especially both Kobe’s and Ronny’s misses in the final minute. Lamar can’t be blamed for the long rebound to Prince, and then he was forced to choose between defending a Billups layup (after Fish closed out too quickly) or a Prince three. He chose to defend Billups, and Prince hits the open three. Perhaps after Billups drove by him, Fish should have high-tailed it to the corner to guard Prince.

    The most glaring error is the coaching staff’s, in consciously deciding to leave Farmar and Sasha on the bench for the final 4.4 seconds. Seriously, don’t they know their own personnel? Why not make the Pistons defend one big and four shooters? A lineup of Kwame, Ronny, Lamar, Fish, and Kobe won’t get it done when you need one shot and you only have 4.4 seconds. I just don’t get it. The same thing happened at the end of the Cleveland game. Does Phil simply not believe in the merits of putting his best shooters on the floor for the final possession when you need one shot?

  63. Kobe was trying for the fancy pass throughout the game – resulting in more turnovers. Lamar was doing the same thing in the 1st qtr. These were the two guys who put us in the biggest hole to start the game. I agree with getting everyone involved; just not when there is no clear, easy pass, and against a very good defensive club.

    Detroit isn’t a very great shooting team and this kept us in until we could close ranks. I think our 3rd qtr was one that may bring the team together for the remainder of the trip. However, Phil’s obstinate adherence to his ‘tried and true’ formula cost us again tonite. Tonite’s game was lost in the last 2 minutes.

  64. Eddie, maybe I misread your comment but it struck me as a trade proposal. If you think I’m wrong, feel free to resubmit them, but we are not going to get into trade suggestions in these posts.

    That includes any Jason Kidd discussion. I have axed several Kidd trade suggestions.

  65. The fact that the coaching staff cannot draw up a respectable final play in, now, two consecutive games is just embarrassing. I don’t know why someone in the media doesn’t specifically ask Phil why Kwame and Lamar are on the floor instead of Sasha and Jordan. And, sorry, I cannot adhere to the view of those who praise the Lakers for “only losing by 1.” Fact is, it’s another LOSS. Do you think Kobe Bryant was getting changed after the game with a smile on his face because of the Lakers’ “effort”? Please! With Bynum and Ariza out for weeks and the Lakers plummeting down the tight Western Conference standings, they HAVE to win games they are leading in the fourth quarter, let alone the final 20 seconds. Devastating loss.

  66. Guys (and gals) let’s not send Lamar out of town quite so quickly. It was like watching a game of Dodgeball in the first half, as many times as we gave the ball away. At one point it was like three or four in a row. It got to the point where you could see the Pistons were in our heads and the Lakers had no self-belief…..if we make one shot off one of those possessions rather than turning it over, we win. And as Craig W said in 64, the last two minutes, I thought that was bad play-calling out there the last couple minutes. We gave up so many second chance points in the second half and that also did us in. But I really don’t know why another bomber isn’t out there to take a long shot for the last play. I know the previous play, giving up one of those offensive rebounds, is totally unacceptable, and I would imagine there were other unacceptable plays. Certainly there were a lot of missed free throws, by Ronny, but more than that, by several guys….but let’s not pin this loss on L.O.

  67. Scot, losing to the Pistons by one on their court, after giving up I don’t know how many second chance points, missing that many free throws, and making over 20 turnovers, coming back from 15 down in the second quarter when I think Laker teams of the last couple of years would just have faded….these guys stuck it out. They lost to a good team. To me, the fact that they fought that hard bodes very well for the rest of the trip-though the end (Charlotte, Miami, Atlanta) looks easier than the beginning.

  68. (66)

    Quote from Kobe after the game:

    “It’s a tough loss because I felt like we had the game, but we made mental errors down the stretch,” Bryant said. “But I’m encouraged and if we keep playing hard like this on the trip, we’ll be all right.”

    He doesn’t sound too devastated.

  69. (68) Although I hope you are right, I respectfully disagree. After the San Antonio loss, people said, “We played three great quarters and just lost it in the third.” Same comments after the Dallas game. After the Cleveland game, some trumpeted that we were up in the fourth and just played a few bad last few minutes. At some point, you just have to WIN. The team needs victories while AB is out to make the games matter when he returns. If we lose tomorrow night, what’s the excuse — the second night of a back-to-back? Good teams don’t make excuses. They win. The repeated mental errors — particularly in the second halves of games — are consistent enough to have me concerned about our future performance.

    (69) With all due respect, you are crazy if you think Kobe’s made-for-press statement after the game reflects what he truly believes. Kobe said all the right things after every loss last season, and then we learned about his true frustration when the season ended and he finally sounded off on the team’s need to intrude. Don’t be so literal! The great #24 would be #24 if he weren’t seething after tonight’s give-away loss.

  70. Last night Cleveleand is down by one late and they get the ball into Lebron’s hands to make the play. I don’t care if Kobe has 20 turnovers in the game, he needs to have the ball to either shoot or pass. It has to go through him, and Phil has to get the play call and the personnel able to execute that.

  71. Kobe may well be seething over his 11 turnovers, but I don’t think he’s seething about this loss or his present team. You can tell by his body language that he’s enjoying himself out there. He see the light at the end of the tunnel–he has himself a dominant big man in he making with AB. Now he just needs to develop the supporting cast. This is all big picture stuff that means more than any single win or loss this season. Starting next season we should be in position to be legit title contenders.

  72. This game wouldn’t be close without #24. Yes, this is a tough loss to take. Heartbreaking. However, I agree with Kobe and the team should be pleased with their effort. They were without AB, Puke, Trevor, and Mame. The team has stepped up and challenged themselves on the mental side of the game. It is up to PJ to mentor them the rest of the way.

    Think about it, Detroit has to be worried now. If they could only beat an injuried riddled Lakers team, how good are they?

  73. Witness: “They were without AB, **Puke**, Trevor, and Mame.”

    Unfortunate typo, or clever skewering? 🙂

  74. 70. And you have the corner on knowing exactly what Kobe thinks because….

  75. Scot (70) – you’re citing straw men of “people said” and “some people said”. Look, the sky is not falling, Peter is not crying wolf…….like I said, we caught up to a very very good team…..we nearly won. I don’t know who exactly is expecting us to rise in the standings. Reading (although not as much as I’d like here) the sense I get from most sensible posters is that the Lakers are hoping to go .500 while Andrew is out. I don’t know how we’re doing so far…but on this trip it’s hard to say there will be a tougher game than at Detroit, especially without Luke also. So really, if you want to self-flagellate and write off the season, go right ahead….but don’t press it on the rest of us.

  76. I gotta say though, don’t know if you guys were watching Chuck on TNT, but after the game he was saying “people say ‘I hate watching Detroit, they’re boring,’ well, not if you like good basketball.” I agree… me it’s a thing of beauty watching the precision and efficiency of Detroit; same with San Antone. And the Lakers, I’d say, are more exciting than those teams, if not as efficient yet.

  77. Couple of ways of looking at the lakers last 5 games or so.

    First the optimistic view. We are w/o a [allstar calliber] player in Bynum and w/o arguably our best perimeter defender in Ariza. With them, we probably would have on these close games considering every game there seems to be several points where if Bynum were present, on the offensive end for an effective finish to a screen and roll or on the defensive end as the last line.

    However, ultimately a win is a win . Momentum is momentum. To me, the inability to get the ball to Kobe is simply puzzling. If one looks around the NBA, one can see Hedo taking the shot for the Magic, Durant for the sonics, and LeBron for the Cavs. They have specific plays designed for them and all such plays culminate with them taking the shot (on top of atleast touching the ball for a considerable portion of the time.) However, the Lakers can not seem to get the ball to Kobe or allow him to make a play. This to me is simply troubling. I do believe some of the blame needs to go to Phil, as the coach. I believe someone noted that he himself said hat the +/- in the beginning of the 3rd can be attributed to the coaching staff. And lately, in too many games, we’ve simply been outplayed at the start of the 3rd (most notably in the Spura/Mavs games.) Furthermore, how is it that the plays do not allow for the best player to recieve the ball? I mean honestly, if the point is to show confidence, try it at a point where the result does not absolutely affect the absolute result of the game. Again, as far as confidence goes, I doubt bring Kwame in and taking him out 30 secs later (in the cavs game i believe) is the best way to instill confidence. A bit of the blame do have to go the players if the play was indeed designed for Kobe, since the Lakers have negelected to use TO’s.

    All that being said, I think this strech is important for the Lakers and some players such as LO and Kwame since they do seem to be affected by personal momentum. I also think this is a time for Phil to show us the ability that got him to the HOF. In the end, wins are wins, and must be taken as wins and losses as losses unless something notable comes across that negates the effect on the loss. I have not seen anything in the losses that have made me rethink a win factor in the recent losses though.

  78. Don’t put too much stock into what Chuck says. Its well known that he often comes to work drunk. Often it is easy to tell, but I remember one quote of his after he made some ridiculous statement…”sorry guys, i wouldnt have said that if i was sober”
    Kenny forces a smile…the camera turns away…cut to commercial

    Anyway, if LO hits that shot it is brilliant, he misses and it is abysmal. But the staff has to know the odds of LO hitting that shot are miniscule…one cannot even argue the ‘oh we are giving them clutch experience for the playoffs’ anymore. We are losing our seeding with these ‘experience builders’!

    People are saying that the Lakers fought hard this game, but it was really only Kobe fighting hard (and maybe Fish and some Rony thrown in too) while the rest tagged along for the ride.

  79. For those of you who can’t get home in time for these early games or are still at work, is a great place that streams live games for free.

    As for the game, great second half effort, but that was on Odom for not getting that defensive rebound in the end.

  80. Just read the article by Brooks stating that Bynum is the MVP of the Lakers this year, and I am beyond livid. Anything and anyone can take Kobe out of the MVP race for supposed “just” cause. First, it was Shaq then it was Kobe’s offcourt antics now it is Bynum, are you “expletive kidding me.” Yes, we are all pleasing surprised and excited that Bynum is playing better than any of us expected (don’t act like you didn’t want to trade him for Kidd or KG just last summer) however, he has put up numbers for 20-30 games and is now injured. How is that MVP worthy?

    The Lakers would have won the game against the Pistons had: a. the Lakers so called deep bench stepped up. Where was double digit scoring from Farmar and where the hell was Vujacic? Oh yeah, one good game by Sasha equals 7 games missing in action. b. not insert VladRad into the starting lineup. c. one other player gotten 10 points. d. not gotten 11 turns by Kobe, but what do you expect when no one else steps up and the defense is keyed to stop you.

    KG’s team won tonight without him and he only has two bona fide all stars with him, yet he is the front running favorite to win the MVP award. Even CP3 has Wallace and West to aid him consistently.

    Kobe is this year’s MVP sorry Garnett! Does anyone believe that the Laker’s minus Bryant plus Bynum would have won the same amount of games this season?

  81. The Lakers can not last two months with moral victories, its time for some of those veterans to earn their keep. No surprise that the two veterans Fish and Kobe played well, they understand the sense of urgency. When will Odom, Radmonovich and Kwame join them? Lakers can not pin all their hopes on a second year player because even with Bryant and Bynum several other players must become consistent.

    In the mini battle of the Bruins, Afflalo outplayed Farmar.

  82. Haven’t we seen this often enough – coaching staff!!!!! – to know we are not going to get clutch performances from Kwame and Lamar?

    Yes, Lamar should have gotten that last rebound. Yes, Lamar shouldn’t have helped out on Chauncy when he was only going to score two points. Yes, Lamar shot an airball at the end.

    When exactly is all this a new revelation?

    I understand why Lamar might be in the game near the end. What I really do not understand – and hold the head coach directly responsible for – is having Lamar and Kwame in the game on the last play.

    No excuses, no bs – apparently no comment – this game is on the coach for not having the best five players on the court for the last play. It almost doesn’t matter whether we won or lost, but win or lose with the best chance to win PHIL!!!







  84. (75) Kurt, all I’m saying is that I think it’s pretty naive to think that Kobe walks away from a tough loss like that — after a series of tough losses — feeling chipper. What competitive player would? And, as Kevin Ding reported in today’s O.C. Register: “Bryant, who had 39 points to Odom’s six, walked off the floor looking at Coach Phil Jackson and saying in frustration, “What are we doing?!” before shaking his head repeatedly.” To me, that is far more credible than an “all is OK” statement given to the press 30 minutes after the game. I’m not suggesting that Kobe wants out or things have deteriorated to the point of last summer. All I’m saying is that it surprises me that fellow fans can come away from a 5th tough post-Bynum loss continuing to only see through rose colored glasses when, in fact, at some point this team needs to start showing some mental strength and winning some tough games against good competition without Andrew.

  85. 85. I don’t think there is any doubt that Kobe is frustrated, but it’s a long way from there to the total doom and gloom some around here seem to have. I’m frustrated too, but again look at the Lakers five losses without Bynum: Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, Cleveland and Detroit.

    The Lakers have not been executing well in tight games without their #2 option. So they lose close games to good teams. Frustrating, certainly. But not why you start making panic trades or predicting the end of western civilization (or even the Lakers playoff chances).

  86. I agree with the idea that the Lakers need wins but let’s take out your lung, your toe nails and maybe give your knee arthritis (In effect making you as injured as the lakers are right now) and see if you come close to matching your normal everyday productivity. It’s just not going to happen until you learn to compensate for the injuries. It takes time and it takes patience.

    Lamar was in because he’s hard to defend on the inbounds play. If farmar was taking the ball in, they would stick prince on him to prevent him from passing the ball in and you get an even worse shot with the receiver going away from the basket towards halfcourt, or you get a steal.

    Phil left the lineup he left in because that’s the lineup that had mostly been playing towards the end of the game and had been playing reasonably well. Farmar wasn’t having a good game (getting abused on defense by stuckey and billups). Sasha wasn’t having a terrific game either. He was the anti Machine through most of the game. Catch. Shoot. Brick. Remember, we only needed a free throw to tie and a deuce to win. We didn’t need jump shooters with 4.4 seconds left. That’s plenty of time for kobe or lamar to make their way to the basket and get a layup or foul. Phil opted for a more balanced attack (both inside and outside threats) to make the Pistons play honest defense and hopefully create a one on one situation or a double team. He got exactly that. Lamar had an open look. Obviously Lamar is bettering going to the bucket but you can’t fault Phil or the coaching staff for coming up with a play that got a relatively open shot.

    There’s plenty of blame to go around (cough turnovers cough) but things I did like:

    -Ronny’s persistence on Defense and his jumper on offense.
    -Fisher’s defense on Billups
    -Kobe’s ability to break down the double team off the pick
    -Lakers hustle even when they were down by 17

  87. good points nomskules about the inbounds, Prince would’ve bothered most of our other players. My main problem with the inbounds play was that Billups was guarding Kobe. Even if he was on him tight, Lamar has to throw the ball to him, Kobe has 4 inches on Billups, and should’ve got the ball.

    A win tonite and I think the team will be satisfied with the start of the trip.

  88. Lamar Odom is back! February 1, 2008 at 11:48 am

    It was a very disappointing loss, but I liked the way the Lakers played. We were very very sloppy. I didn’t like that. When we were down 17 I thought my prediction would come true (Pistons win by 14 is what I predicted), but the Lakers never gave up. Great game for Kobe, even though he turned it over many times. I really think it’s a psychological thing when they go into Detroirt. They haven’t won there in years and the fact that it’s Detroit makes it worse. Half of those turnovers were unforced (or at least it seemed that way). And I don’t know if it was good Laker defense or bad Pistons offense that forced all those turnovers on Detroit’s part. But I’m happy that the Lakers fought until the end. I could not believe it!!! This means that we’re closing the gap on ELITE teams, and that makes me glad.

    I really don’t know what Phil is thinking at the end of games. Why put Kwame and Ronny in on the last play? Why not surround Kobe with 4 shooters??? I can let Odom slip into that play, but definitely not Kwame nor Ronny. I’m just surprised that Kwame didn’t fumble the ball on the inbounds pass. That’s the low expectations I have for him when it comes to catching a pass. I really really don’t know what Phil is thinking.

    Anyone care to shed some light into Phil’s mind? Anyone get into his head yet?

  89. #81, I agree completely. Except for Wallace, I think you meant either Chandler or Peja.

  90. Regarding the inbounds: yes, that’s why Lamar inbounded the ball, because of his size…and yes, Lamar’s reputation is why the Pistons didn’t guard the inbounds passer. The Pistons wanted the ball in Lamar’s hands at the end of the game, because they are very aware of his poor decisionmaking in the clutch. He took a 15-foot runner on one foot from the baseline instead of going to the hole.

    With more shooters on the floor, we would have had several more options, all of them better than Lamar taking the last shot. My opinion is that Phil knows this, and is trying to develop Kwame’s and Lamar’s confidence for the postseason, at the expense of possibly sacrificing regular-season victories.

  91. nomuskles,
    Yes you can blame the coach. Who else to blame when he is the one determining who will play the last play?

    Having Lamar throw in the ball sounds good until you realize that the team would force the ball back to Lamar as soon as it came in – assuming they were able to cover Kobe. Heck, I would rather see Vlade pass in the ball, but I think I would prefer Sasha – who is 6’7″+ instead of a player who has had problems in the clutch his entire career.

    If Phil is trying to raise Kwame & Lamar’s confidence at this point in the season, against a top flight defensive club, then we really need a new coach. I am not lobbying for a change, but Phil better not say anything about ‘building confidence’ or I will change my position.



  94. I am in DC and I went to the game.

    It was a good game. That is all I will say.

    And no, Pau did not play, but he was there