Preview & Chat: The Philadelphia 76ers

Kurt —  December 3, 2008

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers, Game 2
Records: Lakers 14-2 (1st in West) 76ers 8-10 (10th in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.5 (3rd in league) 76ers 101.3 (26th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 99.2 (2nd in league) 76ers 101.2 (4th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
76ers Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert

Lakers notes: A few thoughts out of last night’s game.

As for those saying that the Lakers are struggling with the TJ Fords and quick point guards of the league — you are right. But if you think this is just a Lakers problem, I suggest you watch any team trying to defend Ford or CP3 or the other quick PGs in the league. Nobody can stop them one-on-one, since they started calling any touch on the perimeter a foul you can’t slow these guys with one player. It takes a team, it takes bigs rotating and blocking the paint. The Lakers have their strategy and some nights they execute that, some nights they don’t, like last night. But there is no silver bullet in the form of another player — particularly a backup PG — that can solve this issue.

Another topic is Andrew Bynum and people here saying he should have been in to help with rebounding late in the game, and that the second unit deserved more run. I don’t buy the second part of that — that second unit built the lead then Farmar tried to force plays, there were turnovers galore and things needed to be shaken up. It may not have worked, but the later stages of a game you can win on the road is not the time to “let the guys play through it” as he might have in the second quarter.

You can make the argument Bynum should have been in more than a few seconds near the end, but Bynum had his chance to grab a rebound and save the game but didn’t (although Pau should have boxed out Murphy, Bynum had closed out on Rasho at the free throw line, that said Drew was not exactly quick reacting to the play at the basket). What I really like is that he was ticked he didn’t get more run.

Anyway, the lessons about last night are that the Lakers front line may be long but you can’t take a night off from boxing out and grabbing boards, and that every team has guys who can score in this league so the defense can’t rest either. Neither of those are issues that are going to freak me out 16 games into the season.

The 76ers Coming In: This is the second game of a back-to-back for both teams, the Sixers lost to the Bulls last night (but Andre Miller didn’t suffer much embarassment at the hands of Derrick Rose this time around). In fact, the Sixers game went to overtime and they won.

The Sixers are another team (like the Pacers) that are good on defense and spotty on offense.

On defense, they do well not really by keeping the other team from shooting well (opponents shoot 48.6% eFG%, 12th in the league, middle of the pack) but they do a good job on the boards, don’t foul a lot and create a fair amount of turnovers.

On offense, their key shooters should be better than this — Miller, Brand, Iguodala are all good players – but they just aren’t shooting well. That starts with Brand, a career 50.4% shooter who is at 45% this year (and not getting to the line a lot either, his true shooting percentage is 50.1%, well off his career pace of 55%).

Those numbers kind of replicate themselves across the board. Iguodala is at a 48.9% TS% (although he can still light it up for a game and comes in hot off a 25 and 9 performance with 5 assists last night in the loss). Andre Miller is at 49.1% TS%.

Young, the team’s three, is the one exception to the rule, with a TS% of 54%, the highest among the 76ers regular rotation. The other guy to watch off the bench is Marreese Speights, the rookie out of Florida who is putting up nice numbers in his 14 minutes per game.

This team really needs a shooter to space the floor, ideally a big as Dalembert and Brand occupy the same place on the floor too much.

Keys To The Game: Hopefully the Lakers learned some lessons about focus on defense last night and helping out to stop dribble penetration, because that is what the Sixers do. Their offense is not complex and it relies on guys breaking down their defender off the dribble or on pick-and-rolls. Tonight is not about innovation but execution.

What didn’t work great last night was packing the paint and letting the Pacers have some good longer looks, but that may be a strategy to stick with tonight in that the Sixers are not flush with shooters. You can’t let Brand or Dalembert get good looks inside, but if they kick it out for a jumper this is not a team that can hit those anymore.

Another night, with both teams in the second game of a back-to-back, where the Lakers depth should be key. The second unit should get some run and could get the Lakers another big lead. The question is, can they hold on to it this time?

Oh, and don’t forget to crash the boards.

Where you can watch: 4 pm start again out West, KCAL 9 in LA and League Pass everywhere else.



91 responses to Preview & Chat: The Philadelphia 76ers

  1. Great post Kurt, no need to flip out over one loss….that said, one other “complaint” I will make about last night (and several preceding games) is that our transition defense is bad. Teams are now not just scoring on Fisher’s PUJIT’s, they are scoring on turnovers (we need to cut those down too) and even on MADE baskets. This seems correctable with more effort and committment to get back on d.

  2. On a more positive note, Trevor Ariza is playing great all-around basketball and may have an argument that he is our third most important player.

  3. I want to see if Bynum has a big game tonight. Two of his better games last year were against Philly and I’d like to see him continue the trend. Dalembert doesn’t have the bulk to keep him from getting his position, plus after the quotes to the media last night he should be looking to kill tonight.

    Also, to agree with Kwame A., Ariza has been tremendous this year. He is a real glue player for this team. His game is still somewhat limited, but it is completely irrelevant because the skills he does possess (which are numerous) he maximizes.

  4. The main thing Lakers have to have in mind is achieving the best record. It’s important because we need it for the NBA championshp, barring any injuries and sudden droughts. Even when Boston lost to Indiana, it was more due to the off-night of the shooting than losing defensively.

  5. What a game last night, even though for every highlight of Kobe or Ariza there was a terrible turnover or breakdown. Even Stevens I guess… and then Troy’s fingertips, ouch.

    While I am in full agreement that it’s about learning from those lapses this early in the season, I was excited to see what the Lakers would do when finally in a close game down the stretch. They haven’t had many chances to experience a tight game this season, something that I think is important since playoff games will be like that (or at least have that atmosphere).

    Of course, the Lakers put themselves in that position with their mistakes on D and rebounding, but when they win games big I keep thinking to myself that they don’t get to learn as much about themselves in that kind of scenario. As long as they retained the lesson (we’ll see tonight), a close loss in December can pay dividends.

    Meanwhile, the Pacers also have a back-to-back… against Boston. How many other teams play last year’s Finals teams on consecutive nights this season? I’m not checking…

  6. Does anybody know that the historical difference is, statistically, in the home vs road point differential?

  7. This interesting note from Mike Trudell at

    On the plane from Indianapolis to Philadelphia last night, Stu Lantz told me that one reason Indy got so many offensive boards (19) was that L.A. was aggressively trapping in the corners, leaving an extra man free to attack the glass. It was often Troy Murphy, in part because he generally drifted around the perimeter, then slipped in late to clean up any garbage.

    Murphy’s effectiveness got me thinking back to L.A.’s other loss, when another four/five that floats on the perimeter on offense, Rasheed Wallace, did quite a bit of damage to the Lakers

  8. I honestly can’t remember a game where I was disappointed in Ariza’s play. Except maybe for that one game where he didn’t score, he’s always been solid. Even when he is playing bad (early TOs), he has a dozen more plays that make up the bad ones.

    They need to start making his jersey to sell.

  9. Hey everyone- this my first post on Forum Blue and Gold, despite the fact that I’ve been reading it for quite some time. Kurt, Darius, Read, Gatinho, etc – it’s been fantastic reading your input and opinions, which is something that the press provides (and when they do, it’s often exaggerated and overblown. See: Plashke, Bill). That said, I’d like to touch on something I’ve felt to be relatively unnoticed in the early parts of the season: the lack of dominating play by the Lakers starters. While our first unit has been undeniably solid, it should be noted that the starters have been generally unable to blow the other team out of the water and dominate them offensively. Conversely, the majority of the Laker blowouts have been propelled by our energetic, explosively talented second team. Not that this is a bad thing, of course. Our depth is, of course, unique. However, I believe that the bench’s penchant for winning games in second half during their early 3rd/4th quarter runs has masked the fact that the Lakers starters aren’t winning a ton of games on their own. It’s almost as if they’re merely keeping it close, and then watching as our second unit puts the game out of reach. Now, in fairness, I would partially attribute this to the fact that it will take longer for the first unit to gell offensively, given that they use the triangle more, are still figuring out how to use Bynum and Gasol together, and do not run as much as the second unit (thus, fewer points in transition and a decreased amount of easy buckets). What do you guys think about this? I would love to hear everyone’s position on this topic, because it’s been bothering me for a while. (That said, we’ve only lost two games, and such concern is, for the time being, completely unmerited and even a little funny).

  10. Hindisght is 20/20 and I think we are all in agreement here: The Defensive scheme the Lakers use has 2 drawbacks:
    1) Teams who can pass along the perimeter and are hot from the outside, and 2) Long rebounds.

    Both scenarios are going to lead to losses whether it’s a good team or a bad team.

  11. Count me among those strapped securely into my seat aboard the Ariza lovemobile. The guy just makes good things happen on the court. Plays hard all the time, doesn’t make stupid plays, and rarely tries to do things he can’t do (e.g. shoot jumpers off the dribble). Loved watching him manhandle Granger last night on the defensive end. Two steals at mid-court, followed by a block? That’s just abuse.

  12. I was a skeptic last season when people were hoping Ariza to become an elite defender with some athletic slash… wow, was I wrong and honestly I’d say he’s more a keeper than Odom or Farmar. (After KGB; Kobe Gasol Bynum)

    The zone is just showing more and more problems, but i’m sure that the players will learn to react accordingly mid-season. Right now we have problems with teams that have both a quick PG and big men with range.

    Can’t pack the paint as it leaves opposing big men open, and can’t follow them out since our wings get beat.

  13. Any sites for 2nites game?

  14. So did everybody’s heart stop when Ariza went down last night? I was thinking I’d rather take a loss than lose him again for an extended period. Well the Lakers lost but I think the team will (should) learn from this loss.

    Speaking of Ariza, who thinks he is Eddie Jones version 2.0?

  15. why cant you listen to the game on the am570 website!?!? thats so annoying!

  16. Kas – watch it online using one of the site listed already.

  17. , nba scoreboard then listen live seems to work for spiro and the boys at AM570…

  18. those sites arent working

  19. Its also on ESPNI guys

  20. I remember when Kobe won All-Star MVP and there was a ton of booing in Philly, and I see it again tonight – why the antagonism to Kobe?

  21. Aaron,
    When the Lakers played Philly in the Finals, Kobe (a native of Philly, or at least one of the suburbs) made a statement about wanting to take Philly’s heart (or something like that) and they turned on him. I just searched for the quote for 5 minutes and couldn’t find it.

  22. Anyone else starting to get a little worried about our PG play? Seems to always be our achilles heel..

  23. This game looks similar to last nights. Philly shooting 51% and lakers 60%. They’re going to cool off for sure…Lakers need to start playing some defense if they’re gonna pull this one out…geez

  24. The team started this season dominating on defense while being sloppy on offense. At some point the offense got itself together, and the defense promptly went back to look like last years- strong but not great (with a much bigger inside presence).

    Is this a result of the team losing focus on d in favor of offense or teams getting more looks at the d? Or am I making a false correlation?

  25. 26- I defintley think 15+ games of tape on our zone is giving coaches insight into beating it. However, I think our rotations have just been less crisp, and our PG play on defense has been below par.

  26. 26- Zones get busted real quick. And remember that in the first part of the season, other teams are also honing their offense.

    But at least in this game, it looks like we’re getting beat man-to-man rather than our zone being busted.

  27. I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, since I really don’t have time to read through, but we’ve really been having trouble with penetrating guards lately. It’s early in the season and I don’t want to get too concerned, but that’s a problem that kills the whole defense. It really needs to get corrected.

  28. For all of the things Pau does well, I’ve noticed he doesn’t pass to well out of double teams and traps too well sometimes. He tends to hold it too long when he should give it up.

  29. There is no way this type of defense can win a championship…gambling for steals, double teaming players where one on one coverage is sufficient, leaving guys wide open for 3 pointers, praying they’ll miss? Horrible….it seems we just win games by just plainly outscoring them…

  30. i’m not able to watch the game, but from the box score bynum doesn’t look like he’s having that much affect on the rebounding end considering his complaints about the lack of rebounding. can someone watching the game explain what’s going on with him? with the exception of the last few games, his dominance in the paint isn’t quite there compared to last year.

  31. Just got in a few minutes ago. Is the defense much better than last night or is Philly’s offense just mediocre?

  32. Defense is just as horrible as last nights…

  33. “Speaking of Ariza, who thinks he is Eddie Jones version 2.0?”

    Let’s not get carried away. They’re two different types of players. Ariza does the little things, the intangibles along with playing the passing lanes well, and seems to make the right play at the right time. He plays off other players on the offensive end, where Jones could create. He’s an athletic, very good player, but our love for him is partly due to surprise – if he were a 10th draft pick like Eddie Jones, we might expect even more.

    People forget how good Jones was because of his later career. Jones and Grant Hill were once considered the Heir Apparents. Jones was a solid help defender like Ariza, but he was a better individual defender (don’t forget he tutored Kobe on defense). He was a much better shooter, if memory serves, and could create his own shot off the dribble. A better player overall.

    Ariza is more of a stealth player, Jones is more of a go-to guy (albeit not the first option on a great team). They’re two different types of players. But Ariza is special and I love what he does.

  34. 34

    Based on what I’ve seen so far that doesn’t surprise me…

  35. I don’t want to be pegged as a farmar hater, I genuinely like the guy but man his defensive shortcomings are TREMENDOUS. Just keep your eye on him on that end of the floor. You;ll see he gets beat by his man every time! On top of that after his man gets around him, he stands there ball-watching. He hardly rotates to help and when he does it’s almost always late.

    As much as he can do on the offensive side of the floor, he gives up just as much on defense.

  36. are we slowly letting the phillies come back? is that why kobe is back in? i’m just watching the game cast so I can’t tell. how does it look to folks who are watching?

  37. When Kobe hit that 3, we were up 83-64. This game should never have gotten this close after that.

  38. 37

    I completely agree. Lets not get into what Deron Williams did to him in the playoffs. Factor in his sometimes questionable decisions with the ball and I have major doubts as to whether he is the Lakers’ PG of the future.

  39. I have to say I am absolutely loving the return of Bynum the hardcore dunker. He’s looking much more comfortable on that knee (and foot) and feels confident throwing it down.

  40. Derek Fisher’s shot selection is worse than Dick Cheney’s. For the love of God, pass the ball!!!!!

  41. I think Kobe should take over now..

  42. Kobe’s been taking it to the rack all game. THAT is what I like to see from him.

  43. Why do some of my comments show up as ‘awaiting moderation’? It seems to be completely random.

  44. i would like to see phil put in bynum in place of fish and move LO over to pg just to see what we can do with that line-up.

  45. Joel and me,

    You’re both right. As much as I love Farmar, he overplays the pick n’ roll. He needs to let his man just shoot the semi-open 20+ footer.

    If the pick n’ roll happens lower in the key, hey, switch on defense and call for help.

  46. Stop! Kobe time!

  47. Kobe with the 1 on 5.

  48. Seems like Kobe heard me..

  49. When you give up dunk, layup, layup, dunk, layup, etc…then the game will be closer than what it should be….gotta focus on that defense!!!!

  50. wow-there are a lotta laker fans in attendance. I heard attendance was down for Philly, glad to see Laker fans get to enjoy watching us win

  51. Not a bad win. The Lakers are becoming lax on defense though. They are slow to rotate and they do not close out on three point shooters as well as they were at the beginning of the season. The energy is there in spurts but nor for long periods of time.

  52. According to 82 games, Farmar is a better defender than Fisher (17.5 vs 21.3 pts allowed), but that could be attributed to his lack of guarding the starting point guard. However, Fisher also has the advantage of playing with Bryant and Bynum for the majority of the time:

    Uh oh, Indiana is doing it again. Trailed by 18 in the 3rd, now down only 9 in the 4th against Boston!

  53. I don’t buy this good defense leads to good offense thing anymore. For us at least, if one excels, the other lacks. Maybe this has to do with Pau/Bynum mindsets, not so sure…

    We shot 58% from the floor, 46% from the 3. That’s an insane percentage and one that would warrant a blowout, but noooo, we let the Sixers shoot 48% and dominate offensive glass.

    To think that in the beginning of the season, we had trouble shooting and finding offense. Now we have trouble with the boards and defense.

  54. Lakers: a drama in 3 acts

    Act I: lackluster defense, offense good enough to stay even or small lead.

    Act II: tightened up defense, blows game open with energy off the bench and explosive offense.

    Act III: porous defense and careless offense let opponent make a comeback. fans bite nail watching Kobe heroics as the game clock winds down oh so slowly.

  55. Well, good to see us bounce back with a W. Good to stop the bleeding quickly, though a win at Philly tonight was pretty much a given we still came in and took it.
    We need to expect little lapses in play throughout the season we were never going to be 82-0. Even if we lose 20 games we would’ve still won 62 and I can live with that tbh, that’s a pretty much guaranteed 1 spot in the west. Even the best lose sometimes, the important thing is learning from it and improving with it.

  56. we really have an overrated defense…painfully lazy…

  57. Joey,

    I have to agree with you, the starters really don’t separate themselves from the other teams starters. But maybe that is by design?. When Odom and Ariza come in for Bynum and Rad, that’s when the separation occurs. In MHO that is the best team we can put on the floor. (Kobe, Ariza, Odom, Pau, Fish/Farm). And that team does not usually go against the best 5 onthe other side… hence separation.

    I have my own thoughts own Andrew. It’s hard for to be patient with Bynum… his footwork is lacking. PLANT your feet THEN go up, Get a good base. Hate to say this, but he could learn by watching Shaq. Square yourself then Explode. He relies on his long arms way too much. But I digress, He’s so damn young, and it will come.

  58. As fans, we’re very fickle. I’ve never been extremely high on Farmar as a future starter, which is why I’m not surprised with his play as of late. He is, to me, a very good bench player. Not completely consistent, but can provide a spark. But his defense and mentality are not up to par, and they haven’t been for years – this isn’t a new occurrence.

    My beef with Farmar more than his defense is his smarts. Hollinger called it his “little man” syndrome which raised some controversy, but I can see what he means. Farmar (and Iverson) have this spunk that can backfire on them, when they try to do too much and force the action.

    That said, he shouldn’t become our whipping boy after a few bad games. If we don’t get too high on a solid bench player and start proclaiming him the star PG of the future, then we don’t become disappointed. Some good games, some bad games, some great runs, and some foolish mistakes. We should expect all of this from. He still is one of the better backups in the league, and I suppose is at least as good as some starters (*cough Ridnour*), although that says more about the lack of PGs in the league than anything.

  59. I didn’t see the game, but the box score listed Bynum as having three rebounds and five turnovers. What happened to him? Also Sasha played almost twelve minutes and didn’t take a shot. Weird.

  60. Long time, first time. Love the comments, but I think the haters need to back away for a bit. In case you haven’t noticed, 15-2 is tremendous. We’ve gotten up for the big games (NO, Houston, Dallas, etc.) and let our talent carry us in games that lack any real interest other than being one of 82. Teams with less talent have to grind much harder than we are just to have decent results. The regular season is a marathon, not a sprint. Just keep that in mind. Our D will get better, our focus will improve and we will another ring. I doubt we’ll see lackadaisical efforts when Boston, Cleveland, Phoenix or New Orleans show up on the schedule. One last thing – for all of the people looking for the free links, why not pony up the money and just get League Pass? I’ve been a Laker fan for most of my life (and never living in Cali) and for the last 7 years League Pass has allowed me to never miss a game. Kurt, Darius and all – keep up the great job and go Lakers!

  61. Just got back watching some highlights and it’s amusing actually to see such lack of excitement in the comments.

    That steal-and-3 by Kobe and the monster put-back-two-hand-dunk by Ariza were fun, to say the least.

    But for some reason, those really didn’t stand out too much watching the entire game… just our defensive lapses.

    Maybe we’re focusing too much on the non-showtime aspects of the game 😉

  62. Fisher and Farmar are so consistently playing their men to drive baseline that I have to believe that is the plan. The problem is that too often a big doesn’t rotate down far enough when the PG does go baseline. My other problem is that there is no real sophistication in how they play – they shade their men so far to the inside shoulder that if the man moves to the baseline at all then they are caught behind the player. With Miller this is death because he then just rides you into the basket with you hanging behind him – then you are either so out of position it is laughable or you foul him.

  63. I just saw the video up on Jones’ site on Kobe murdering Jordan and I started wondering: Exactly what have we been deprived of? Kobe played some real good years with Shaq and averaged 30pts per game one season with him. Who knows what kind of stuff he would have been being doing had he been the leader of the team. No knock on Lebron-he’s an unbelievable player, but I think it would’ve been better than what Lebron is doing now.

  64. Craig – every wing player on our team is blatantly forcing players to one side, but it’s kinda funny how they’re just preventing a player going sideways instead of preventing them from penetrating.

    I mean, it is one thing to ‘funnel’ and quite another just to get out of the way, which is exactly what they’re doing (perhaps in anticipation of a trap that never comes, or a body that will plant itself to draw offensive fouls?).

    Anyway, we’ll get better. I mean, if it’s this obvious to casual viewers, it will be dissected and edited for emphasis for the players to see.

  65. #9- Joey,
    I would agree that our first team has not been dominant. However, they have not been slouches either. Out of our 17 games, we’ve had leads after the first quarter in 13 of them. In 6 of those 13 games, we’ve had leads of 5 points or more, including games with leads of 10, 15, and 9. That may not sound too impressive, but I think that if you’re leading by 5 or more to start the 2nd quarter in one third of your games, you’re doing pretty well.

    Also, I think we need to understand that we don’t have a typical starting five. Based off Phil’s rotations and minutes allocation, we really have 8 starters. We have the 5 guys that actually start the game and then Odom, Ariza, and Farmar. Those 3 bench players all play about half the game (or more) and are major contributors and have all been crunch time/end of game players for us this season. So while our “starters” (the first 5 guys) may not be dominant, I would stress that it’s when that next group of 3 enters the game that we usually start to see separation and we start to impact the other team with our depth that will carry over into the rest of the game. Understand that when those next 3 guys enter the game, they not only play well and hold their own against (and sometimes play even better than) the other teams starters, their minutes overlap with the other teams 2nd unit where they can really exploit the lack of depth from our opponents.

    I understand the frustration of watching a supremely talented group (like our first 5) play teams relatively even. I also understand the concern that when we get deeper into the season or into the playoffs that our starters (at least traditionally) will play more minutes and are going to have to step up their games. However, I still think our 8 man rotation (or 9 man if you throw in Sasha) is better than any other team’s in the league and since that’s the case we’re going to win plenty of games and still be one of the favorites to win the title.

  66. Harold,

    You’re correct. By allowing the PG to drive penetrate off the P’n’R, PJ leaves the opposing big near the top of the key. The defensive scheme counts on two things: 1) The big will take a pass from the driving PG and miss a 17+ foot shot, and 2) A defender (Bynum, Odom, or Gasol) will be in the key behind Farmar or Fisher to intercept the penetrating PG creating a turnover.

    This defense eliminates the open 3 (unless the big takes it like Rasheed or Granger). If the other players stay at home within arm distance of their man, there should be no open 3 or room to penetrate. However, sometimes Kobe or the opposing big will slide over and provide defensive help. This leaves their player open with the long ball (i.e. Ricky Davis or Bell may kill us).

    The only improvement to this defense would require giving the opposing PG a semi-open look at 20+ feet. This method typically works against AI, Nash, and CP3.

  67. I like how the team responded today. Much better play. In terms of Kurt’s comment on our difficulties playing quick PG’s, to some degree I have to respectfully disagree. It is true that teams will always struggle with the CP3s and Derron Williams of the world, but the essence of the criticism on Fish and Farmar is to point out that the PG spot is the one area where our team lacks depth (we have 3-4 options in all other spots) and our PGs are simply not producing at the level required for a championship caliber team.

    I’m not suggesting that in a team as talented as the Lakers they have to be the best player on the team, rather, I’m saying that they have to contribute more. For example, in statistical areas that we would expect PGs to be the team leaders, such as assists and steals, Fish and Farmar trail others on the team: Fisher and Farmar trail Kobe and Gasol (!!!) in assists per game – an interesting fact considering that as PGs their primary role is to find the open man. In steals per game, they both trail Ariza, Kobe and Odom.

    One merely needs to look at a player like Rondo to see how a championship caliber PG should be distributing the ball to his teammates. Rondo is no Chris Paul or a Derron Williams or a Joe Johson, but he leads his teams in steals and assists (and he even put up a triple double tonight).

    I point this out because I think that that the PG spot is the achiles heel of this team. Unfortunately, I don’t see a solution for this deficiency. Short of some Gasol-like trade or a miraculous mid season signing, I think this is a reality we have to live with and the team needs to plan around. good news is that we still have a whole lot of timeto address this deficiency.

  68. Good win tonight after last night and I was not on the edge of my chair at the end of it eigther. I was kinda shocked when I saw Bynum’s total rebounds, but what can you say. I hope Kobe enjoyed his Cheese Steak tonight, he earned it.

    So Warren how are we going to keep Ariza around for the future, have you figuered that one out yet.

  69. 70,

    I think you put far too much emphasis on the amount of assists that a PG in the triangle racks up. You’re right in that it is normally the role of the PG to find the open man and get assists. However, this is not the case in the triangle offense especially on Phil’s teams. I would argue that the primary function of the triangle point guard is to take care of the basketball, make solid entry passes, and be able to knock down that open outside shot. If you take the ’99-’00 Lakers for example, Ron Harper and D-Fish both trailed Kobe and Shaq in assists per game.

  70. I like darius’ point about us having 8 or 9 starters (essentially). what I find amusing is after watching the “second” tier of our starters out there battling well into the second quarter, how discouraging it must be for our opponents to look up and see Kobe and Pau checking back in. Because our “second tier starters” play like “first tier starters” there’s no let up, a constant barrage.
    the opponents must feel like, “man, when are we going to get a break with some bench players?”
    our real bench players don’t get much burn, unless we have a 20 point lead late in the 4th qtr.
    I do feel bad for Luke, but I’m sure he’ll get some burn as the season progresses.

  71. MannyP,

    Not as if I am an expert or anything but the triangle, I believe, does not lend itself to a traditional PG oriented offense. It would be interesting to see how often a PG has led Phil Jackson teams in either assists or steals. I would say rarely or never. I don’t think a point guard is as important on offense in the triangle (particularly when you have Jordan and Kobe breaking down opposing defenses), though trying to guard other PG’s is a different story. And I don’t think we are doing a very good job at that.

  72. #70 – Others correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding of a point guard’s role in the triangle offense is that his primary responsibilities are to bring the ball up, initiate the offense, and can the open shot given the opportunity. Because of the “equal opportunity” nature of the triangle, there’s not a reliance on one person to get the majority of the assists, as there is for Deron or CP3. Hence the low assist numbers for fish and farmar.

  73. MannyP
    The triangle scheme of offense reduces the PG role and expectations. I doubt any really top tier PG would want to play in this system. This is one problem with comparing players by using statistics – they don’t account for systems of play.

  74. I’m not really familiar with how the sixers play, but do they normally make Brand the focal point of their offense? if so, then i would argue our defense played better than i originally thought, since brand was a complete non-factor last night.

  75. Kurt,

    I also disagree with you on the PG subject. While I agree we cannot stop the CP3’s and other quick PG’s around, we can at least do the best to slow them down… And I think that neither Fisher nor Farmar slow them down enough. Sometimes is just about leading the guy to where you want on the floor. We don’t need a star and the triangle negates the possibility of the PG being the assist leader (can we have a % of how many plays finish with the PG already in the corner?), but we can have a good ballhandler, with a nice jump shot (hits it when open, no more is needed) and good defensive skills. Force the opposing PG into our bigs and to his weakest side and we can become more effective instantly.

    About the 4/5 that stays outside and is able to hit the 3… well, the key is defensive rotation, but no team is invulnerable on defense against any team… If we are going to lose against teams with such players, so be it… We only play twice a year against Indiana and Detroit.

  76. This is what i like to see from kobe – That cross-over long two move towards the end of the fourth that even the Philly fans ooo-ed at. Even though Philly has tamed its Kobe hating a little bit over the years, they still bleed the sixers. To have the home crowd almost unconciously agknowledge a sick move is kind of awesome.

  77. I think our main shortage is in-game coaching. Basket has changed in the last years and many teams are using their assistant coaches. Phil Jackson’s coaching style could be educative but whne the opposite staff adjust you can only pray that Kobe and cols. step-up. I can’t forget third quarter disaster in last year finals.

  78. #79 – i loved the steal, followed by the subsequent wide-open 3, followed by him talking trash to the crowd as the sixers called a timeout. priceless.

  79. 80. This team is 15-2. Get out of the past and move into the present. And, when you have a player Like Kobe, relying on him in crunch time is the smart coaching move.

  80. Chalk up another somewhat lackadaisical win. The D has definitely been lacking of late, and I’m torn as to whether that’s more due to teams getting some film on us and starting to scheme us, or just lesser effort on our part. I suspect it’s a bit of both. For instance, our rotations have been a half-step slow for the past few weeks (indicating slightly reduced effort), but you’re seeing more of the skip passes to a spot-up shooter on the weak side that is always open against the type of strong-side zone that we’ve been employing.

    I’m also a tad confused why we were overplaying/funneling Miller so much to one shoulder or the other. To me, he’s the exact type of point guard that you *don’t* want to overplay. He’s not too quick to guard, and he’s not a great shooter, so you play him straight up, maybe backing off slightly, and force him to take barely contested 17-footers, of which he’s only going to make 40% or so. He’s at his best when he can get his body on you and get into the paint, and that’s exactly what we allowed him to do. Since both Fish and Farmar both did it I assume it’s something the coaching staff cooked up, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why.

  81. Brian,
    I agree with your assessment of Miller. It seems the coaching staff simplified the defense greatly because the players were not able to handle more last year. Now the PG apparently have only one way to play on defense and don’t take individual player capabilities into account. This may simplify the system for Fish/Farmar, Vlade, Gasol, Bynum, but it also makes us much more vulnerable when other PGs don’t fit our pattern.

    The key is that it didn’t change the win to a loss and that is probably how the coaching staff looks at the situation.

  82. Remember also that teams, the Lakers included, make few adjustments really during the season to things, but do once the playoffs roll around. The Lakers were coming off a game the night before, there would have been little scouting/prep time and no practices on dealing with Miller differently.

  83. Sometimes it does seem that we are nit picking at the team, but given that they are 15-2, they aren’t giving us very much to pick at in the first place.
    Phil is a master at strategy. I agree with what kurt said about teams not making too many adjustments during the regular season. Phil seems to see the adjustments he needs to make, but does not enact them all. I see this as a good thing since since it doesn’t overload our team with things to worry about and also doesn’t give all our looks to the opposition. Phil is also the master of letting his team play through the rough spots and, to a certain extent, I agree with his philosophy. Letting them battle through without too many adjustments has seemed to fair well for his more talented teams. Especially later in the season when they are making adjustments. When they hit those rough spots during adjustment time, they don’t panic.

    anyway, i am content with the team we are fielding now. [edited for trade talk]

  84. By the way, the planned Trevor Ariza post I wanted to do is not happening due to real life getting in the way of the blog. I know, need to work on my priorities. Sorry.

  85. I would add one thing to what Kurt said in #85.

    Understanding that we are 15-2, and what we’re doing *is* working, there is something to be said for making the opposition adjust to what we’re doing. As Kurt posted with his Strong Side Zone post and his reference to what Pelton wrote on in his post on our defense, we are playing a very aggressive defense conceptually. That means that we are dictating to the opposing offense what we want them to do. So, while it might make sense to play a particular player straight up or in a different manner than what our defensive game plan is currently showing (like the suggestions made in defending Andre Miller), we must understand that we are playing a consistent strategy to win every game against any opponent by dictating to them what we want them to do. So far, with a 15-2 record, I would say we’ve been mostly successful. Sure, there have been some lapses and some spotty execution sprinkled throughout the games, but overall I think the Lakers are playing well.

  86. I am duly impressed by the 15-2 record, but this isn’t last year when expectations were so low that almost any decent outcome would thrill me.

    This year there is only one question- can this team beat the Celtics (or whichever team beats the Celtics).

    And while we shouldn’t live in the past, those who don’t learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. HAVE the Lakers learned the lessons of the past? No. They just gave up a 15 point lead in the 4th quarter to lose a game. How can you not reference game 4 of the finals? Why did they lose? They on the glass, just like in the finals.

    Here is a really stupid stat. I understand that up front, but it’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on. Though 15-2, the Lakers are only 4-2 against the East. Nobody in the West scares me. I feel like the Lakers have an edge over almost every team out here.

    But the Celtics aren’t afraid of the Lakers, and all the teams in the East face the Celtics 3-4 times, so as a conference I think they respect the Lakers less. I think the West is more talented, but the East is meaner, and I don’t think the Lakers are as comfortable in that environment.

    The Lakers are definitely more talented, but so were the 2000 Blazers against the Lakers.

    So it comes down to Christmas for me to start evaluating whether this team is really ready to win it all. But as thigns stand if the Lakers go up 20-30 points at halftime, I’m not going to feel safe. And I guarantee you the Celtics won’t feel scared.

    So until this team proves to me that it has in fact changed, I am living in the past somewhat. I respect all their accomplishments, but am very aware of their weaknesses.

  87. I have started a new post where we can get into this thread more.

    And JD, it’s early December. The Lakers are not going to be playing at a May level now, nor should they. The Celtics aren’t, they are doing a lot of that same “flip the switch” stuff. There are months and months of lessons to be learned yet. I am trying to enjoy this team for what it is and not have every bad quarter remind me of last June.

  88. Here is the problem Phil is showing again that he cant coach, what he can do is prep for playoffs and improve a bench at the cost of wins and career seasons by the starts. Sasha, Jordan are just not reliable. Walton doesnt get used. Basically, Fisher is showing age, so if you cant get 38 plus minutes a nite from Kobe, ARiza and Pau along with Bynum you are going to see a ton of let downs. The bench is streaky overated and overwhelmed with eurtrash and headcases this laker team is overated but still capable of getting lucky in the playoffs due to kobe and pau, but I am sick of hearing excuses the last three games might of well has been losses they look awful.