Other People’s Thoughts

Kurt —  March 27, 2008

Just a couple of quick thoughts from other people that I liked today.

First up, the incomparable Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie about last night’s ugly loss:

I’m going to chalk this one up to Los Angeles’ lack of effort, and a bit of hubris. The first part seemed pretty obvious. The latter has to do with my observation that this team thought it could jump-shoot its way back into things, starting at about the 11-minute mark of the first quarter.

The Lakers refused to run its usual offense, from the inside-out, and the Bobcats pounced and moved the ball and attacked and shot and ran and won.

I think the Bobcats game was one where the absence of Gasol and Bynum was a big problem, and combine that with the feeling they should walk through these guys and you have a loss. Without two of the team’s three best players, the other guys cannot take any nights off.

Next, I liked this observation from Sports Guy Bill Simmons:

During regulation of Monday’s Warriors game, (Odom) went to the line in the final few seconds with a one-point lead, endured a few taunts and standing-in-front-of-him maneuvers from Davis and Jackson … (Follow-up to that story: In that same game, the Lakers were up two with four seconds left in overtime when Kobe got fouled. Three interesting things here. First, none of the Warriors came within 10 feet of him as he was preparing to shoot the first free throw. Second, he stared down all the Warriors around him, drained the first free throw and muttered “Game over, game over” to everyone who would listen. Third, he made the second one and that was that. The lesson, as always: It’s good to have Kobe Bryant on your team.)

To me that is less about Odom than the fire of Kobe and the fear and respect he instills in most of those who play against him.

Finally, I think we should talk a little about Kobe’s technicals. No doubt he has been talking — and talking back — to the refs more this season. I think it’s a function of his passion — he’s back on a team that can win and he is fired up. Every little thing matters to him. And while I understand that fire, he needs to understand you need to pick your battles. Not every one is worth fighting to the point of ejection. Or now, suspension for a game. Being a leader is not just getting in the ref’s face, it’s knowing when to back off. I’m sure he and Phil have and will again will discuss that.

to Other People’s Thoughts

  1. that game left me really annoyed. The Lakers didn’t bring any energy (VladRad sticks out in my mind). The only person who seemed somewhat determined was Lamar. Kobe was also into it some of the time, but his gambles on defense really hurt us.

    If raymond felton could play against us every game, he’d be an all-star.

    About the technical, that last one was lame. At the worst it was a delay of game. Fisher could’ve got a technical at the end too for throwing the ball at the ref. I will say that Kobe had been demonstrably complaining all game and so maybe the technicals were a cumulative thing. Not sure. One thing the refs could have done would be to give him a technical and then say, “hey man, we need you to calm down. We’re doing our best and we can only call what we see. Let’s not earn that second technical tonight.” To me, that would be good reffing to let Kobe know he’s being annoying to the point of getting tossed.

    In any case, the technical situation had nothing to do with us losing. Our shoddy defense and our love of the outside jumper had everything to do with our losing.


  2. sorry for double post, but kurt, could you make the banner at the top of the page clickable again? It used to link to the home page of FB&G but now it’s just an inactive graphic.


  3. 2. That’s one of the remaining fixes. Should be done at some point today. Right now we are on an older version of this template.


  4. This is the first year championship level people have developed around Kobe. I don’t by that he didn’t make his teammates better – most had career years while playing with him – but there was no illusion about the quality of the team around Kobe.

    Kobe has made an effort to lead by example before this year, but now he is developing broader support leadership skills. It would be foolish to think he could develop these skills without going through some mistakes. A big mistake this year, I think, is that he takes the outside world personally when it affects his team – this means other players ‘attacks’ on his players and the official’s inconsistency regarding his team’s actions. He has moved to the position of being overly sensitive and reactive – hence more technicals.

    I think we will have to live with much of this for the current year. Next year, I suspect, will see a different and more mature Kobe in this regard.


  5. Great loss by the Lakers. What we needed to do most at this point in the season is spot the Hornets a 2 game lead in the loss column. Given how that team hasn’t been taking any days off and the emergence of David West, I think the best thing we can do is not put pressure on them. Its also great for Kobe because the latest MVP rhetoric has whoever comes in 1st in the conference getting the MVP (between Kobe and Paul). So this game could ultimately cost Kobe the MVP, the Lakers home court against the tough Hornets, and maybe more if Kobe manages to get suspended.

    Great job!


  6. fire is only good if you can control it. if not, it burns you, as was the case with those techs.

    but it’s hard to judge from the outside. Kobe is a veteran, and although he’s young and seems hotheaded, full of himself, etc etc, he is not a dumb player. he may not be in PJ’s level, thinking of all the manipulating he could do with a timely tech, timely ejection, etc., but surely it must be more than just venting or letting his competitive fire show.

    if adhering to the ‘respect the refs and they respect you’ theory, where a ref ‘rewards’ players who are silent or who become silent after being very vocal…

    is Kobe planning to become very silent in the playoffs and get the nod from the refs? i doubt he’s thinking that far, as much as I doubt his summer rants were anything but mere venting, but intended or not, it may work if Kobe shuts up during the playoffs.

    and, like everything he didn’t intend this year, it may be yet another thing that could bring us to the next level.

    … well that was way optimistic even for my taste.


  7. you know when you spot the other team a double digit lead, then battle your way back into it, (we did get as close as 3 points last night) that takes a lot out of the team, and wears them down.
    we’ve done this now for 3 straight games, with the middle game going to OT.
    this team just looked tired last night, from the opening tip.
    kobe was kind of walking through the first quarter, maybe he was saving himself for the second half push, maybe he was wanting his teammates to step up…
    but the result was his man was torching us, it was like we had 4 players on the D end, and that made us fall too far behind.
    I bet the scouts in the league are saying the lakers are tired and play them with aggression, hustle, physical, and they can be beat.
    we need Pau back…
    and then ‘Drew…


  8. I know this is a bit out of context, and maybe everyone has seen this already, but I saw this on Basketbawful and thought it was awesome.



  9. I think sometimes Kobe knowingly gets the T just to send a message to his team (the ejection in Seattle comes to mind) and other times he’s just so frustrated with the officiating that he’s willing to take the T if it means getting a point across to the refs. Last night he was really asking for the first one, and I’m pretty sure he knew it was coming and he probably thought that he’d squeeze a few calls out of the refs after jumping on them. The second T was just lame, though, and there’s no way it should have been called (same with the tech on Luke). I think a lot of those techs that Kobe knows he’s going to get will go away now. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Phil pick up a couple more here down the stretch arguing with the refs on Kobe’s behalf.


  10. This LIttle Pinky March 27, 2008 at 10:20 am

    It’s going to be interesting to see Kobe control himself as he walks the boundary of suspension. This could be the best thing for him, making him play through bad calls and not complain. I just hope he doesn’t turn that energy into sulking, but rather puts it into focusing on what’s happening at that moment on the court. If it makes him a better player, then I only wish that those technicals would carry over into the playoffs.


  11. I could really care less about Kobe ranting at the refs. What really bothers me is the way he has gone back to playing defense, or lack thereof. He is hanging out in the passing lanes, so when he plays against a guy who moves off the ball, that guy goes for big numbers. He switches on his own accord, leaving teammates to scramble, and then screams at them for not reading his mind. Kobe has got to get back to sound fundamental defense, or we need our bigs to cover our perimeter leaks.


  12. uhh, is anyone else seeing the site like i am? zeke strikes again? this is way worse than yesterday…


  13. yeah… but hey, at least we have numbers. ::tongue in cheek:: Good luck Kurt in fixing the site. Don’t get fired by spending all your time on it though.


  14. Deleted last night’s game off the DVR ASAP.


  15. Didn’t get to see last night’s game but heard the Lakers on the radio get back to 84-81 while in the car and thought, well, this could be a nice comeback win. Apparently they came out flat. To me, hubris sounds about right as a reason for such a bad performance against a team the Lakers should be smacking. There’s no excuse for that. I do think the Lakers are getting a bit tired perhaps and they are missing Pau and Andrew a bit. Still though, that’s a minor reason, seems to me. Reading the comments here and post-game accounts, sounds like a terrible effort. Re: Kobe’s T’s: I think you’re absolutely right Kurt-Kobe is absolutely dialed in from a competitive standpoint. I think he can back off if he needs to but I don’t have any evidence to support that. I just think he’s smart enough to take a step back and talk to himself and say Kobe, there’s a fine line between firing the team up and hurting the team. I think he knows where that line is. We’ll see.


  16. We will look back at this game and laugh when we win the title in a short while.


  17. I can’t speak to specific matchups or in-game “WHYs” but I was worried about this game from the get go.

    It seems to me that over the past couple of years (i.e., even before Richardson joined them) the Bobcats play the Lakers pretty darn well. I think back to last year, a game that we lost in overtime where every time I expected us to beat them down and close it out, they just came back and finally beat us.

    Some competitors defy logic, and the Bobcats seem to fall into that bucket for the Lakers.



  18. It was hard to watch the game last night. I live on the east coast and to stay up until 1-130 am (I get up at 5:30 for work) I would like to see the Lakers beat the bobcats. Lousy effort but they looked tired.


  19. I did not watch the game, so take this as just the second hand info that it is, but I’ve read in a couple of places that people believe Kobe’s second T was a result of him kicking the ball back to a ref. Supposedly it wasn’t easily noticed on TV.

    Not sure if that’s indeed true, but if so, it would explain why he got it if it didn’t look like he deserved. There are many little gestures of that type where refs are instructed to immediately call a T and are not to use any judgement (example: defensive player throwing the ball off the padding under the backboard after a made basket is an automatic T, regardless of how innocuously it was done)


  20. Kurt, you said you were looking forward to seeing the celtic/sun game last night. What were your impressions? On a different but somewhat related topic I moved to Miami 4 yrs ago and I told anybody who would listen to me here what an ingrate Shaq was. All the fans are pissed as hell at him here for being so classless. There is no doubt that many Heat fans have suddenly become Laker fans.


  21. I completely agree with Kwame A (#11). Kobe has been slacking the past 2 weeks on defense (aside from a few spectacular defensive individual plays). His team defense is atrocious (along with everyone else’s). Kobe needs to set the tone on team defense early and that is when everyone will follow his lead and step up.

    I also think that Phil needs to do a better job with his substitutions, rotations, and coaching. I don’t understand why Luke is getting so much burn when he clearly is not playing remotely well. No comprende why Phil has a longer leash for Luke than he does for Ronny or Vlad Rad. Granted Vlad missed a few gimmies yesterday, but he is still more of a threat than Luke will ever be! And he’s the type that can miss 4-5 shots, but make 4-5 in a row (ala Sasha!). Even yesterday, Phil puts in DJ Mbenga……we go on a run……and then he substitutes Kobe for Mbenga when Okafor and Nazr or on the floor! Of course, on the next 2 plays…….we get outrebounded on 2 possessions. I’m not saying Kobe should not be in the game, but you could’ve taken out someone else instead of DJ. For all his genius……we still haven’t figured out pick n roll defense (going back to 2000!) and the necessity to stay at home with shooters. In fact, I think we have one of the worst “last play of the game” design out of any team in the league. How many times have we botched the last plays of the game (including defensively – i.e. give up a 3)? Its mind-blogging when we do have the best closer in the game. I can’t even remember the last time kobe had a buzzer beater!

    Anyway, it is a bit frustrating and I know he has 9 rings (blah blah) and has a method to his madness. I still strongly believe that he is the best coach for the playoffs, but I’m starting to see some chinks in his armor. We are not a veteran team (sans Kobe & Fish), and sometimes he just needs to call a freakin’ TIMEOUT!

    Having said all this………….we are still going to win the championship:)


  22. The D.J. substitution bother me too. D.J. had been playing well, and the Bobcats were playing big, yet Phil takes DJ out and goes small with Lamar at center.

    I honestly do not think this will be, in the bigger picture, that bad of a loss. This shows the Lakers they can not play down to their competition, somthing they have been pretty good at this season. Also, I personally do not care anout New Orleans as long as they are not on our side of the Western Conference bracket, such that we do not play them till WCF, IF they make it that far.

    But yeah, I deleted this game from my DVR quite rapidly.


  23. I’d chalk this game up to cumulative stress from everyone stepping up with Gasol and Bynum out. There were no easy baskets out there last night, and there haven’t been for awhile. I just hope we don’t burn anyone out doing this. It’s more just fatigue – the heavy play is leading to nagging injuries that aren’t getting time to heal. (Ronny is the obvious example, with the increased minutes, the knee problems and probably lots of other things we don’t know about.)

    As far as Kobe’s complaining after every shot, I always thought he (and other players of this generation) learned that from Michael Jordan. And as much as I love watching Kobe play, sometimes his “scream on every shot” technique makes me think he can have a lucrative second career on the women’s tennis tour when he retires from basketball.


  24. 21. I have it on the DVR and am going to try to watch it tonight.


  25. I think no Warrior wanted to make him mad hehe.


  26. Many points with which I agree here,
    especially the fatigue + hubris.

    I’ll agree that the past few games seemed to have
    sapped some juice out of the team, and when one
    is tired the bonehead plays are sure to increase.

    I felt like they were pacing themselves last night
    to save energy and expected to shift gears in the second,
    but they also tried to save energy by avoiding mixing it up
    in the paint and shooting too many outside shots.

    The problem with that is they had no power in the legs
    to be able to make those shots, and as with GSW, they
    spent even more in transition defense as all those
    brix bounced out to the opposition and they were off
    to the races.

    Hanging out around the arc also doesn’t put the op
    in any foul trouble to exploit.
    Sure you gotta mix it up near the rim,
    but you might get a brief rest during the free throws
    and stop the clock too.

    Rocking the Laker colors is not enough,
    ( nor the flashy lob passes when a bounce will do )
    playing smartly and efficiently when one knows
    one is tired can dispatch the opposition,
    maintain the psychic superiority AND
    lessen the further wear and tear.

    Per DJ, I am puzzled too why Coach doesn’t use
    that big phys presence more and stop wearing Ronny out
    against the taller trees.

    I distinctly recall when I moved here in 2000
    how the broadcasters and press alike complained
    of a “lack of killer instinct” on the part of the Laker team
    and that was including the many vets on the squad
    at the time, many of whom have been venerated
    for their contributions once they started winning championships.

    Then the concern was “playing down
    to the level of lesser competition” resulting
    in bushwa losses that ultimately affected
    post-season prospects.

    Recently we have seen that complacency that sets in
    among many players in the league after they secured
    long-term contracts.
    We seemed to have cut those types loose
    from this team, but LAL still have to contend with
    the mental and physical conditioning that is needed
    to play out not only a full 48 min. but a full regular season.

    That old saw of the regular season not mattering
    definitely does not hold true this year,
    when top contenders might have expected to coast
    through the last dozen games left on the sked.

    MThompson also cites the “Beat LA” factor
    that gives teams some motivation
    even when they’re out of the running.

    There is no comparable glamour in beating
    the Bobcats or the Grizzlies, so the Lakers
    must create their own psychic scenario
    to bring that energy to the full 48.

    – 5 –


  27. What’s the best way to save energy? Have the ball… Play serious defense and run the clock down on offense. That will save energy for the playoffs… But we refuse to understand that.

    Also, going small is really not smart… I’ve played inside positions before being undersized, and despite running less, by the end of game I was exhausted… The pushing and the shoving takes a toll on you…

    Phil and the coaching staff are to blame, and the players, for all the defensive mistakes…


  28. I don’t think too many people would mind Mbenga getting minutes over Walton, primarily to give Lamar some protection and help on the boards and the interior.


  29. 20 – After watching the clip again, I’m 99% sure that he did in fact kick the ball back to the ref. You can see the ball bouncing in his direction, then the camera zooms in on his upper body. He doesn’t pick up the ball, and you can see him take a hop like one would do going to kick the ball. He gets the T almost immediately afterwards. I think the tech was for the kick.


  30. Was my first game I ever got to attend live. Had a great time even with the loss. I’m really happy because if I’d watched it on the TV I’d have hated it.

    We looked a bit worn down. The hubris comment also fit, we thought we could just roll over them. Kobe had a little fire, Odom too, but it was missing from the team in general. Almost everyone looked like they were having an off night.

    Was very disapointed DJ got yanked and not resubstituted. We were getting killed inside and he was the only one that showed spark down there. Normally giving him 5-7 minutes is as much as he should get (he got 5), but he deserved more in this game, especially since we had no legs and no size last night.


  31. oops, got minutes wrong. But we still needed DJ in for probably another 3-5 minutes of gametime.


  32. Not Charlie Rosen March 27, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Thing is, Kobe regularly kicks the ball back to the refs…happens all the time. He’ll even dribble it a bit with his feet, showing off his soccer skills. So either it’s not supposed to be an automatic T but pissed off the refs last night, or it is and they just only call it when they’re pissed off at Kobe for his complaining.

    Just saying, though…Kobe gets emotional, but a large part of it is the refs, and not just whether they’re making good calls or not. The better refs are aware of the emotions involved, and deliberately walk away when someone is blowing off steam, and only T someone up when the player tries to override that ignore and gets in their face (see: Rasheed Wallace, Ron Artest). Last night’s crew was awful…not their calls (or not just that), but you could see by their body language, they looked like substitute teachers who are getting mortally offended for being told they’re not doing a good job (maybe because they know they aren’t doing a good job, and are embarrassed that everyone else knows too?), and then took it out on their most vocal critic of the night.


  33. Suns/Celtics

    1. The Suns played hard. They really wanted to win this game.
    2. Amare was simply unstoppable in the first half
    3. Nash’s lack of quickness was more exposed than ever by Rondo (who’s pretty good).
    4. Shaq looks as good as he did during his championship run with the Heat. But with a better FT motion.
    5. I’m now convinced that Doc actually was a pretty good coach all along. Just didn’t have the players.

    But the most memorable aspect of the game was the Celtic’s second half defense against the Sun’s high pick and roll between Nash and Amare. I think Amare had had 22 points in the 1st half missing 2 shots. The Nash/Amare high PNR is the single most difficult play to stop in the NBA and the Celtics simply shut it down. I think Amare had 2 points in the 3rd when the Celtics basically put the game away. All of the other teams should spend the next 3 practices just studying and practicing what the Celtics did on defense.


  34. My buddy at the game said Kobe did kick the ball to the ref, moderately hard, the ref caught the ball, thought about it for a bit then decided it was a tech. My guy really didn’t think it was worthy.


  35. 34-Imagine if Shaq shot free-throws like he has the last couple weeks, he would’ve averaged 35pts a game easy, maybe 40. As far as Nash, he is inhibited by the lane being occupied by two bigs, and he is also headed toward the twighlight, less speed, more turnovers than ever. Still, Suns and Hornets are emerging as the main two threats besides the Lakers.


  36. The NBA has had a huge influx of new refs the past few yrs. As a group I think they are still learning how they will call the games. One thing that is starting to stand out is they will let defenders do just about anything if they are physically up tight to the player they’re defending. But if they are a couple of ft away any extension of the arm is getting called-be it a slap,hand check,block,whatever. Extend an arm and it’s a foul.
    This is frustrating players who get bodied and whacked in close w/no foul called,but a hand-check will get a call. But it does have its own logic-if a player is going to commit to playing tight D,the refs will let him-if you’re going to play off,you have to let the offensive player make his move. A more cynical view is the refs are calling the obvious fouls and letting the close ones slide,calculating they can slide from a bad review by saying their angle didn’t give a clear view. The result is inside it’s extremely physical while out on the perimeter it’s a no-touch zone.
    Another prob for the older stars is the League has changed the way bigs are allowed to defend the paint. Refs have been told that a defender who jumps straight up-and down-and who holds his arms vertical is not fouling an offensive player who initiates contact. Couple of yrs ago that was a defensive foul. Now it’s supposed to be an offensive foul-altho the refs generally leave it a no-call.
    So Kobe escapes from a defender who was leaning and shoving him,drives the lane,evades the floppers lying in wait,elevates to basket,collides w/a defender who has left his feet and gets no call. On the ensuing defensive series he extends his hand and barely makes contact w/his man and gets called for a foul. The Ts become alot more understandable,but still Kobe has to realize “it is what it is” and focus on the game,not the calls.


  37. A bit unrelated…

    Note to Kobe: Stop taking 3’s!

    He is horribly inconsistent from the 3 point line.


  38. Kobe is shooting 34.6% on threes this season, which is a good percentage. I’ll agree that he takes a few too many under pressure and the team would be better off running the offense and getting other looks on ome of those rather than just throwing out to him with 6 seconds on the clock and expecting a good look. But I’ve got no problem with him shooting the three.


  39. Stephen

    Good post. I would argue that the refs are horribly inconsistent whether they call the blocking foul or let it go when the offensive player jumps into the defender going straight up. This AntiWade rule is absolutly right and they should enforce it more. Having said that have you noticed that Chris Paul throws his off arm out every time he drives to the lane? Watch this move will be controversial youtube material before the playoffs are through.

    Now how to stop the flopping. Don’t think you can stop the on-the-ball flopping. But I would vote for banning charges on help defenders in the lane. In the restricted area or not, if you flop as a help defender this should be an automatic blocking foul. It is an abomination to see the likes of Nash (and to be fair, Fisher) sliding under as a help defender to take the charge, especially when the offensive player is just passing off. Be a man, block the shot or get out of the way.


  40. Kobe’s game depends on the three. well, that’s a strong statement, but him taking (and making) threes is what makes him more difficult to defend. Besides, although Kobe is an above-average rebounder, that’s not really his role and he isn’t obliged to hang out near the rim as much as say, Lamar.


  41. Ill tell you Guys I think most of Kobes frustrations arent with the overall team play But its with his own shooting. I cant tell you how many times this season Kobe has tweaked or out right sprained his ankles. Hes played hurt all season long it seems. (Groin pull, ankle sprains, bruised hip, torn pinky on his shooting hand) He has no lift at all on his jump shot and I think its getting to him alot. And when he does drive the into the lane hes not getting the calls like I think we all know he should. For some reason he just doesnt get the same respect Jordan and or Wade or LBJ gets. His foul shot has been off quite a bit as of late as well which says a lot about his mental state when he does get the call. He doesnt talk much about that pinky But that may be bothering him a bit as well. So combine the pinky and his hurting ankles and we can see why hes so frustrated. He tried his damndest to get us back in the game scoring I believe 15 points in that 3rd quarter. But with no 7ft center protecting the paint and his bum ankles he just couldnt get us over the hump. I give him a lot of credit for just being out there when most would have sat out a few games. Maybe a week off would help him heal up before the real banging begins come playoff time.


  42. 40-My least favorite flop is the offensive player flop-i.e DWade and Manu. I think if refs just swallowed the whistle for an entire season, it would deter people from emulating. We have a whole generation of players who want to drive, flay and get 2 free throws. I actually think refs dont call this one for Kobe as much as other elite players, and plays into Kobe getting mad.


  43. Kobe is an excellent 3 point shooter. However, he would have a better 3-point shooting % if he was more judicious. It is quite easy (and comical) to predict when Kobe is going shoot a 3. There are a few instances where Kobe is guaranteed to shoot a three:
    1. When he makes at least 2 or more three pointers in a row…..you know the 3rd one is coming (the proverbial “heat check”).

    2. When Kobe feels like the other team is making a run and we need a bit of breathing room (i.e. when we are up by like 5 or 7). 80% of the time it usually leads to the other team scoring and reducing our lead.

    3. When our team is making a comeback (especially when we are bring the lead down to 4 or 6- i.e. Bobcats game), and he lets go a quick 3 rather than go with the momentum of the team.

    4. When an opposing player makes one or two 3’s in a row, he feels obliged (especially if its a superstar) to ante.

    All in all, I agree with Kurt……..I don’t generally mind Kobe taking a 3 if its within the confines of the offense and especially if he is hot! But sometimes he forgets to use it as a tool to free him for a drive to the lane and he gets caught up in his own individual brilliance…..thereby having a low shooting %.


  44. 39 – I think anoni is partially right here – Kobe is extraordinarily streaky as a shooter in general, but especially from behind the 3-point line. He’s very willing to attempt to shoot himself out of slumps, which can sometimes be annoying. However, periodically he’ll be playing well, but still be cold behind the 3-point line (where he is at his most streaky). At those times, he needs to play within the offense instead of trying to jack up 3s.

    I don’t have the numbers, but I would wager Bryant has one of the most ‘clustered’ make/miss charts, in that his makes very often come in streaks and so do his misses.

    Plus, 34.4% from 3-point isn’t really all THAT good. That’s 5th-best on the Lakers alone, behind Vujacic, Fisher, VladRad, and Farmar (the top 3 of whom are over 41%, and Farmar’s at 38%, all 4 pretty significantly above Kobe). I don’t have the exact rank, but 34% is somewhere around 120th in the league, out of players who have taken at least 50 3s (thank you 82games.com).

    I rather agree with anoni, Kobe shoots too many 3-point shots given the number of better shooters on the team, and the fact that he’s not really all that good at it in general relative to the rest of the league.


  45. One more random thought:

    Is it me or does the ref completely ignore the fact that Chris Paul carries on most of his drives to the basket (i.e. last night’s game vs. the Cavs……the last play where he drove and kicked out to West). He’s not the only one of course……..Ginobli and D. Wade are guilty as well………


  46. Is it just me or is Kobe getting crankier with that pinkie? I know he’s playing through pain but I think that pinky has something to do with it. He seems to be complaining every call that does not go his way…

    Imagine yourself with the sprain or with some sort of a bruise… aren’t you crankier than usual?


  47. There’s a lot of factors contributing to last night’s loss, but I’m going to put the blame directly on Kobe’s shoulders. I guess you can consider this a Kobe-bash – and I’ve already been known to bash Kobe before – but please bear with me.
    Kobe made several plays in the 4th before he was ejected that cost the game for us. (in ascending order of significance)

    1. Bad shot selection : a three without moving the ball after Carroll made one. A tough shot over Okafor where he had virtually no room and no forward momentum that resulted in an airball.
    2. Losing his cool : the Lakers just trimmed a 14-pt lead down to 5 or 6, and then Kobe receives two T’s in a 2-minute span. Way to kill the momentum and breathe life into the Bobcats.
    3. Pathetic Defense : as Kwame A. pointed out, I’ve been increasingly frustrated with the lack of commitment to defense Kobe has shown. Everything I wanted to say is in Kwame A’s #11 post so I will not repeat them here. The “random switch” is the one thing I still cannot understand.

    As the obvious leader of this team, Kobe’s lack of leadership cost us the game last night. He should have been more patient b/c I felt the Bobcats were succumbing to the pressure and were beginning to lose the game down the stretch. He definitely and blatantly hit Carroll in the face with his hand that resulted in a 4pt play and an ejection for Kobe. To me, Kobe just didn’t want it last night. He didn’t like that they were down multiple digits to one of the worst in the NBA and he didn’t like that he couldn’t take it easy on defense b/c J-Rich and Carroll kept running the baseline screen to death. That’s why he basically gave up on the team like he has done before on a handful of occasions and used the 4pt play as a sad excuse to be excused from the game.


  48. The Laker loss to the Bobcats at home should drive home the fact that without Gasol, the Lakers are a .500 team–not much better than Sacramento or Portland. Worse, the Lakers have all of the regressive tendencies of the last two years. It even brings out regressive tendencies in us, as we watch these games, diseased with Kobe-itis, talking MVP, choosing our favorite token Laker to throw under the bus–lately Luke Walton.

    An interesting contrast is Houston, who continue to win even as Yao is gone for the season. During the last 10 games, Houston has been 7-3, whereas the Lakers are 5-5.

    One difference is that McGrady has done a much better job of just being a member of a team without Yao than a certain player on the Lakers without Pau. In their most recent game against Minnesota, McGrady got 23 points and 9 assists. They won by 11. Bryant got 27 points, but Vladrad led the Lakers in assists with 4 against Charlotte. Lakers lost by 13.

    There has to be something wrong with the Lakers when Kobe is taking threes–and VladRad is making assists.


  49. Warren Wee Lim March 28, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Kurt, the Memphis-LA game will be shown on national tv tomorrow on a delayed telecast. Game time is 1030am Philippines time but the channel shows it on 1130 due to the NCAA sweet 16 games. I will not turn on the websites that has any”spoilers” to the game so that I can enjoy watching it as if it were live.

    Since I probably won’t be there to comment on or before the game, here are my thoughts:

    1. Memphis is a young team that relies on its ability to run. On defense, there’s not much to offer. With a Darko, Warrick, Miller frontline, I expect the Lakers to abuse them inside. Odom for another 17-rebound night?

    2. Rudy Gay is truly a sensation to watch. He got the jump and he got the range. This guy will be big. Book it.

    3. Conley is a stud but I don’t think he will learn too much under Iavaroni. The Larry Brown rumor would definitely help this kid.

    4. Memphis currently owns the league’s 3rd-worst record. I think there is a chance they will land the #1 pick since they were “robbed” of it last year. They basically had a 25% chance of landing the #1 pick (better than anyone for owning the worst record) and was guaranteed to pick no later than 4th. Guess what they got? 4th. Also, I think there is a God in the NBA. The proverbial Basketball Gods MIGHT grant them the top pick for giving us Pau Gasol. For what its worth, I want them to get it more than any other team. So that the Pau Gasol to LA deal won’t sound as bad anymore. For the top pick, I recommend they get Beasley. Whos doesn’t? But in case they don’t, they ought to trade down the #2 to get the #3. Then get the older Lopez…

    5. If you were Memphis, what’s the point in holding on to Mike Miller? Ship his a$$ out. LOLz.

    6. I understand Darko is still very young BUT is Memphis trying to make history by hording 2 top-three pick flops?

    7. I’m excited to see Kwame and Javaris play. These 2 guys own a place in my heart and I want them to do well. I personally think Javaris will still be a rotation player once he gets it figured. A backcourt of Conley-Critt-Gay would be athletically sickkk.


  50. Bill Bridges,
    Thanks for compliment. Flopping is going to be w/us for a while. Partially to give defenders something to use,partially because of the influx of Euros and partially because Colangelo on rules committee had quick players,but few shot-blockers. I have noticed recently fewer flops getting calls unless the flop was sold just right. In several recent games the defender flopped,no call and suprised-looking offensive player made easy shot. If the League will allow flopping,I suggest changing offensive fouls to an O1 where there’s simply change of possession and an O2 where it’s also a personal foul-w/the O2 being if offensive player just runs thru a defender.

    The refs let stars who repeatedly use a particular move do so,regardless of whether it’s legal or not. Watch LeBron’s feet on most of his running dunks and he’s taking three steps,Kobe and T-Mac change pivot ft on their turn-around Js,etc. What it comes down to is if the move looks smooth the ref’s allow it,if it looks out of place it gets called.


  51. For those that care, Zeke and Warrior fans are off the hook. Our site problem seems to be coming from Germany.

    Damn you Dirk!


  52. 52-Guess Dirk needed something to do with his newfound free time. Also, his boy Cuban hates bloggers and Kurt, you are friends with his new mortal enemy Henry, so….


  53. Something I haven’t seen mentioned much, which I think is awesome, is that Pau is also working with Kareem.

    From the Daily News a while back: “Gasol wasn’t happy about the physical abuse he took Tuesday from Sacramento’s Brad Miller. Gasol watched a replay of one hard foul before Sunday’s game and received some advice from assistant coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on how to defend himself.”

    On yesterday’s Practice Report video on Lakers.com, you can see Kareem (I think) feeding balls to Pau as he shoots mid-range jumpers.

    Finally, Pau from the Memphis Commercial Appeal on what it’s like to be tutored by Cap: “It’s unbelievable. You respect guys that have been there at the highest level. In this organization, you’ve got the best of the best. I’m privileged. The whole thing is pretty amazing when you stop and think about it.”

    See (via TrueHoop): http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/mar/28/Gasol-at-home-in-Lakers-purple/


  54. 39 – Kurt

    The percentage is not bad, but he is taking too many of them. If you look at the game logs, he’s had quite a few bad games from 3 point land. He’ll have three bad games from distance, then a great one. The trend is more evident in last season’s game logs.

    In the last 3 games he’s taken 20 three’s! Interestingly enough, he took nine of them Sunday against the Warriors. That’s not what you like to see, especially when you’re going against the game plan.

    Someone mentioned that most everytime a 3 is the first shot Kobe will take.


  55. sort of off topic, but has anyone noticed how shaq always seem to burn bridges?

    i mean he did that with the magic initially… then with us… and now with the heat.

    people used to accuse kobe of destorying lakers dynasty… well… after dust settled… who is the one that’s destructive to the team?

    shaq is shaq, but only problem is only he can motivaate himself… which explains how he can suddenly play bulk of minutes in phoenix…


  56. 56 – The reason he takes a three as his first shot ofter is probably because he likes to come out strong and check his heat. I hear what you’re saying about the inconsistency on a game by game basis (rather than the season stats which show he’s been fairly accurate for someone who scores as much as he does). Also, if you take into consideration that he takes the last shot of period ends (which is often a three), his percentage would be a little better.

    I actually find it very hard to criticize Kobe’s offensive game (or defensive for that matter) due to the fact that he is so good and can adjust to do anything that is required on any given night. I’m least worried about Kobe jacking up threes and much more worried about our younger guys doing it (Jordan/Sasha) if they start to lose their touch.


  57. I know it’s over and the game seems like it was weeks ago, but Stu Jackson came out and said the foul called on Monta Ellis on the collision with Fisher was a bad call. He said after reviewing the replay, that the tape showed Fisher pulling down Monta Ellis. Check out TrueHoop’s Friday Bullets for the article.


  58. 58 – I saw the same thing at TrueHoop. Any chance they replay this game the way they did with Heat-Hawks earlier this year? I’m doubting it, but does anyone know the rule here — could they replay it? And, if so, considering the closeness of the Western race, especially for Goldem State right now, wouldn’t that game be much more important to replay than the Hawks-Heat game was?


  59. I don’t think you can replay “bad calls”……otherwise we’d be re-doing a whole mess of games!

    Anyway, don’t you guys think its time we added another ref to the game? Given the game has gotten more athletic and quicker, there should be at least 1 more ref. Someone suggested that there should be a ref perched up on a high chair (like they do in tennis) on each side of the court. I don’t know if that is a good idea but something has to be done. I have this eerie feeling that refs in the playoffs are going to unnecessarily decide a few crucial games with bad calls or no calls. It might lead to the whole “Delaney” issue coming back and rearing its ugly head. Hopefully, it won’t happen to our beloved Lakers!

    As for tonight’s game…….looking forward to seeing Critt.


  60. 59- I don’t think so, because the Hawks-Heat error was not subjective, it was a clear technical/clock issue. The only reprecussion I could foresee is the ref getting a slap on the wrist. All refs are awarded points, that dictate who gets to ref playoff games, maybe Delaney gets docked some points.


  61. Stephen (#51)….thanks for the input. However, it’s not right. I’m not saying Kobe doesn’t get his share of superstar treatment…….but I think he is one of the most fundamental players in the game and more than not……he totally follows the rules. But carrying the ball is more egregious than barely shifting your pivot foot. It gives you a ridiculous advantage. Imagine if Farmar was allowed to do that. He’d get to the hole all the time! Secondly, if you don’t correct it……..it becomes a habit for that superstar and he becomes a repeat offender. I rather have the refs clean up the game otherwise it just breeds more controversy and hypocrisy (especially with instant replay and a myriad of camera angles).


  62. Memphis preview post up.