Preview & Chat: The Sacramento Kings

Kurt —  December 9, 2008


Records: Lakers 17-2 (1st in West) Kings 5-16 (12th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.9 (3rd in league) Kings 103.7 (21st in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 100.2 (3rd in league) Kings 112.9 (29th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Kings Beno Udrih, John Salmons, Francisco Garcia, Spencer Hawes, Brad Miller

Lakers notes: Mike Trudell rocks. If you are not reading his work at the official Lakers blog, you need to click that link and do it.

Today’s Lakers note is courtesy him, comparing Andrew Bynum performance pre and post his foot injury.

Pre-Injury: Oct. 28 to Nov. 26:
Games: 13
Minutes: 28.8
Points: 11.5
Rebounds: 8.7
Blocks: 2.38
Assists: 2.0
FG%: 52.7% (58-of-110)
FGA: 8.46

Post-Injury: Nov. 27 to Dec. 8
Games: 6
Minutes: 31.8
Points: 17.3
Rebounds: 9.3 (including his season low three boards at Philadelphia)
Blocks: 1.3
Assists: 1.8
FG%: 60% (39-of-65)
FGA: 10.8

To be clear, I’m not saying that Bynum’s foot injury has made him play better (that would be a ridiculous theory). My point is simply that the foot hasn’t affected him while he’s continued to get better, improve his game conditioning and get almost back to where he was before the January 2007 injury.

The Kings Coming In: The Lakers catch a break as Kevin Martin will miss the game. Again. Martin has already missed a dozen games this season, and teammate Francisco Garcia is trying to take that record away from him, apparently.

Which is why it is odd that coach Reggie Theus is rumored to be on the hot seat. J.D. Hastings made good points in the comments:

What exactly did Theus fail to do that he was supposed to? Did the Maloofs really think the Kings would be good this year? With Artest gone and injuries to several players?

Why now? What is a lame duck interim coach going to accomplish this season? Since they have to pay Theus anyways, why not just let him see the squad through. Maybe he gets them playing well enough to be hard to beat by the end of the year. Anything else is delusional.

Just how bad is it in Sactown? Just check out this quote from Mikki Moore today:

“You don’t know what direction (the organization is) going in. They might be doing this so they can have a higher draft pick for next season. You never know.”

I really feel for Tom Ziller. One of the best NBA bloggers on the planet. He should not have to suffer through this.

Divac to get number retired: When your team struggles, remind them of the good old days. The Kings are going to retire the jerseys of Chris Webber and Vlade Divac in a few months.

The last meeting: Back a few days before Thanksgiving, these two teams met and apparently had a gentlemen’s agreement to play All Star Game quality defense for the night. The Lakers took the lead in the second quarter, pushed that up to 19 and eventually won 118-108.

The Kings, with their three big men in Brad Miller, Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson, all of whom can shoot from the outside, created a problem for the stay-at-home, protect the paint Lakers that night. It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes the coaching staff make tonight.

Keys To The Game: Yes, the shooting bigs were a problem last game, but so was the fact the Lakers gave the Kings a lot of easy buckets by turning the ball over and playing bad transition defense (and credit the Kings for hustle here). Both of those things need to be remedied tonight, and both really are about focus on the task at hand.

The Lakers need to run the triangle offense tonight (that would be a nice change from recent games) and go inside-out with it. Miller and Hawes cannot handle Bynum and Gasol on the blocks, so exploit that. Second, the Kings don’t defend the three well, so inside out should get good open looks for Fish, Radman and others.

Finally, the Lakers need to defend the pick and roll better. Beno and Bobby Brown (Fullerton shout out!) killed the Lakers with that last meeting. The Kings can run it well because the bigs can both roll or pop after setting the pick, but again this comes back to the focus of the Lakers.

Where you can watch: 7 pm start because they are in Sactown. KCAL 9 here in LA, and no national broadcast (the fans want LeBron on NBATV tonight).

Kurt

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136 responses to Preview & Chat: The Sacramento Kings

  1. chris h. should be happy about the game not being on NBA TV.

    I like that we’re starting to see teams for the 2nd time now. I gives us a gauge on what we’ve improved on and gives us a template for breaking down the other team and fighting back against the things that they did the last time to hurt us. Should be fun tonight.

    Also, I also feel bad for Ziller.

  2. In regard to Bynum, I would think that a feasible cause for the change in his stat line is his personal attempt to be more assertive on the offensive end. In the L.A. Times’ Lakers FYI on Nov 17th, Bynum said:

    “I’m just not being aggressive. I think I need to go out there and be aggressive and assert myself on the block. I don’t think I’ve even scored with a post move yet this season.”

    Here is the break down before and after this statement (as opposed to the before and after the foot injury analysis above):

    Before Nov 17th:
    Games: 8
    Points: 9.9
    Rebounds: 8.9
    Blocks: 3.0
    FG%: 45.5% (30-of-66)
    FGA: 9.1

    After Nov. 17
    Games: 11
    Points: 15.9
    Rebounds: 9.2
    Blocks: 1.4
    FG%: 61.5% (67-of-109)
    FGA: 9.9

    Basically it’s the same take away as from the analysis above: that he’s scoring more and more efficiently.

    But one thing here that might not be apparent above is that he’s getting far less blocked shots. Maybe he’s expending a little less energy on the defensive end? Or maybe he was just on a tear averaging 3 blocked shots for the first 8 games of the season? Or maybe the foot injury has hurt him on the defensive end moreso than the offensive? Something to keep an eye on though.

  3. It sounds as if Mikki Moore is pointing the finger at Petrie (GM). I also wonder if PJ will change up the defense tonight to compensate for the bigs. The first time the Lakers and Kings met this season, the Kings’ bigs were not hitting from the outside.

    I’d also like to see a focus on the Lakers getting penetration into the paint. Hawes, Miller, Moore, and Thompson are all foul prone. Udrih does little to stop the penetration and I haven’t watched Brown enough to give you the 411 yet.

  4. I was at the last Laker game and was fortunate enough to have excellent seats (about 3 rows behind the backboard on the floor). From this great spot, I had the pleasure of being able to watch our Laker players up close and observe their playing styles.

    Anyway, with regard with Bynum, it was fun to watch a kid – a mere 21 years old – hang tough with men much older and stronger than he was. Sure, he got pushed around a bit and sometimes he was unable to hold on to his position under the basket, but – for goodness sake – the kid is only 21 years old. With this in mind, I would have to say that my higlight of the night was when drew put up a thunderous dunk despite being fouled hard. Man, you could feel the fire in his eyes after he finished that dunk.

    Although physical dominance is a point that Andrew needs to improve upon, I think many of us forget that even Shaq didn’t turn into the behemoth he was with the Lakers overnight. Bynum, like Shaq, Kareem, and other great centers will struggle against older. stronger and more mature players until he becomes older, stronger and more mature himself. Except for the occassional Dwight-Howard-like phenomm, this is just a fact of life for most centers. Thus, as Kurt alludes to in his post, we need to adjust our expectations for the young man accordingly and understand that Andrew (and his numbers) will continue to improve as he gets older and gains more muscle mass, so for now let’s stop expecting him to be as dominating as a 29year old Shaq and just enjoy the ride.

  5. I think the Lakers will treat this game as a statement game from a defensive standpoint. I expect them to prove a point to the Kings that last game was a fluke and try to shut them down.

  6. thanks Darius, yeah, I’m happy tonight. I checked earlier, and saw the game listed on Broadband, whew, I guess the fans didn’t vote this game to be the “game of the week” (I guess this happens on Tuesday’s?)
    about tonight, it’ll be interesting to see if they keep Brad Miller out around the perimeter, thus keeping ‘drew out there too, limit the shot blocking, second line of D.
    seeing that photo of Shaq and Vlade made me remember the year our great GM Jerry West almost died (of stress) doing the business of shedding salaries, (Peeler and Lynch) and trading Valde to Charlotte for their 13th pick, which turned out to be Kobe, and with the shedded salaries, he was able to outbide Atl for Shaq…what a year that was for a GM move, eh? (there was a lot at stake, as he had no guarantee Shaq would come).
    what do you think was better? that series of moves for Shaq and Kobe…or the recent series of trades that got us Farmar, LO, and Pau for Shaq?
    I’ve gotta go with the Shaq/Kobe moves, cause that brought 3 titles, and the remnants of that (Shaq) is why we are where we are now.
    Jerry West was truly the best GM of all time.

  7. Bandwagon L.A But one thing here that might not be apparent above is that he’s getting far less blocked shots. Maybe he’s expending a little less energy on the defensive end? Or maybe he was just on a tear averaging 3 blocked shots for the first 8 games of the season? Or maybe the foot injury has hurt him on the defensive end moreso than the offensive? Something to keep an eye on though.

    ….or maybe Drew is getting a rep and players are avoiding him

  8. Off topic, but I wonder if Shaq will play tonight against the Bucks. The Suns have already lost 2 (or 3?) games while they “rest” Shaq and the Suns cannot afford to give away too many games this year.

    He’s only 36 and is paid 20 million a year to be a full time professional athlete, there should be no reason he can’t play back-to-backs.

  9. 9. They don’t play him in back to backs. So, play him tonight against the weaker team and go for the win, or tomorrow against the Lakers?

    Plenty of sympathy to Shaq today for the death in the family, though.

  10. Yes, I didn’t know about his great grandmother’s death.

    I wondered about the same thing, maybe better to secure a win against the Bucks, but he would look like a wimp if he sat out against the Lakers, assuming of course that he is around to play in either game.

  11. Blocks are tricky to count anyway. And if a player has to change his shot from a layup/dunk to a floater/teardrop that is inherently less likely to get in (of course we are spoiled by some who just get that to go in far more often than dunks by Vlad), that should be a semi-block too ;)

    Anyway, Jerry West’s trade for Shaq & Kobe was great, but the series of trades that brought us Pau/Ariza has the potential to rank up there too…

  12. I’ll confess to being slightly taken aback upon hearing the news that Sacramento will be retiring Vlade Divac’s number. I recall him being a solid contributor to a very, very good Kings team, but hardly a transcendent player. I guess the standard there may be a little different than what we’re used to in LA …

    Regardless, my thoughts will be with both Shaq and Vlade tonight … former Lakers big men who gave me a lot of happy moments (um, Shaq obviously provided me a few MORE of those moments, but still).

  13. Chris H,

    The Lakers outbidding ATL for Shaq might be a bit of an overstatement. That would imply Shaq had intentions of going to Atlanta. Shaq to LA was a done deal the whole year.

    By the way, I finally got to see Mayo play in an NBA game, and he looked good. I can see him in a Laker uni one day. Smooth.

  14. 5 – I agree with the general point, but I have to disagree with the specific examples used. Shaq was one of the most NBA-ready centers when he entered the league in 92. His offensive polish and combo of athleticism and power were unparalleled. Remember, he started off with a ridiculous 24/14 average. Yes he struggled against Hakeem in the Finals, but Hakeem is an absolute legend, top 5 center of all time (and higher IMO), a guy who also shut down an experienced D-Robinson and Ewing. So Shaq’s performance in the 95 Finals can hardly be chalked up to inexperience, but more the level of opposition. Bynum, on the other hand, is not playing against Robinson, Mourning, Ewing, Hakeem, but average-to-awful centers (although it is true Shaq had 3 years of college experience). So Shaq performed far better at a higher level of competition. Obviously Bynum is nowhere near Shaq and shouldn’t be compared to him, I was just pointing out that Shaq actually entered the league more NBA-ready than most centers.

    But the general point is correct, Bynum will continue to improve, and most centers (and PGs) have steeper learning curves.

  15. Manny,

    I am sorry to say but Bynum is not Shaq and never will be. Shaq at age 21 (rookie year) averaged 23ppg, 14rpg and 3.5 bpg and as you mentioned he matured and got even better. Bynum is a great talent, but just not the physically dominant specimen of Shaq, who had one of a kind explosiveness and athleticism for his size. The only thing that Bynum does better than Shaq is shoot free throws and hit the 8-10 foot jump shot.

    I am a bit perplexed that you are calling the exception to big men struggling at young ages a “Dwight Howard-like phenom” rather than a Shaq-like phenom, or Kareem-like phenom.

    Last year Dwight Howard won his first playoff series in his fourth season with the NBA at age 22.

    Shaq was the NBA scoring leader and reached the NBA Finals in his third season at age 23.

    Kareem won a scoring title and the NBA championship in just his second season at age 24.

    I don’t meant to rant, but to group Kareem and Shaq, who have 10 rings, as struggling against older centers in their youth and then to say that Howard is the exception, when he has done nothing in his career, is just a bit upsetting to me.

  16. any place to watch nba games online ?

  17. We do tend to forget that Bynum was the youngest player ever drafted by the NBA and that he had barely a year of high school competition under his belt when drafted. He had an awfully long way to go to even play. We have to give the kid some props for the progress he has made. His body had a great deal of baby fat when drafted, unlike Lebron or Howard – who were boy-man beasts out of high school. This compared to Shaq with 3yrs of college.

  18. Bynum made leaps and bounds last year and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know who he was out of high school. I wanted the Lakers to draft Sean May. I was horribly wrong and I am very happy Mitch made the right decision. We now have the 2nd best center in the league on our team. I don’t think that he has reached his peak and I am excited with his continued development. However there is no reason to compare him with Shaq. Those expectations are not warranted and that is my only point.

  19. #16:

    Well said.

  20. I think there’s 1 key thing that’s missing in today’s big men – the offensive polish, the complete repertoire of moves. In the “great” era of big men, you could center offenses around Hakeem, Shaq, Kareem, Robinson. Today we certainly have “talented” big men (Dwight, Bynum) but not ones who can create on the offensive end consistently. I think that’s what I miss most about the 90s, I really want another back-to-the-basket scoring big man. Yao is the closest we see in today’s era.

    (I’ll admit I’ve seen very little of Bosh, although my impression is that he scores from the perimeter more than in the post)

  21. Snoopy,
    “His offensive polish”

    I disagree with that. Unfortunately, I don’t think Shaq ever had “offensive polish.” He never put the effort in to develop that.

    S Nicholson,
    If Bynum wants it enough, he will be better than Shaq, because Shaq didn’t come close to realizing his potential. At this point of their careers, though, Shaq was definitely much better.

  22. Any links for the game ?

  23. So much for that not turning the ball over thing from the preview. Lakers off to their worst start of the season.

  24. Sorry to repeat myself:

    Spencer Hawes = Michael Phelps

  25. What’s up with the headbands?

  26. When was the last time the Lakers started a game playing good defense?

  27. I like the headbands.. maybe they’re just trying to switch it up a bit?

  28. Lakers shoot a dismal 38.5% in the first quarter, but are only down 5. They should, should be able to turn that around.

  29. The second unit is looking good so far…

  30. Jordan Farmar from downtown.

  31. If they’re going to play 1 craptastic quarter every game, I’d much rather it be the first than the 4th.

  32. Oh Drew, why you gotta humiliate MIkki Moore like that?

  33. Anybody have an online stream for the game? Channelsurfing.net seems to only have audio

  34. For some reason I can’t get any of the Flash feeds to work. Oh well, I guess that means I should *work* not watch ;)

  35. Bobby Jackson looks like he’s discovered the fountain of youth or something.

  36. Lamar needs to focus

  37. If they’re going to play 1 craptastic half, I’d much rather it be the 1st than the 2nd.

  38. I am not watching the game…Why is it that we have let up 58 points? Is it what Kurt alluded to about them stretching out our “pack-it-in” zone?

  39. 37- He is going against the same defender he faced during his heyday.

  40. no defense and no offense.we keep getting better.we are becoming experts in making crappy teams and crappy players look great.

  41. 40 points in the paint!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. damn, I could have been watching the SAS-DAL game instead of that first half.

  43. 43-by one of the worst teams in the league with martin out and coach about to get fired…

  44. Well at least it’s good to see Farmar hit a couple of treys.

    exhelodrvr,

    As much as I would like to believe Bynum can be better than Shaq, I just don’t. No matter how hard he works, Bynum does not have the explosiveness that Shaq had and after Bynum’s knee injury I don’t think he ever will.

    I do think Bynum has the potential to be a 20-10 guy and an All Star, but we are getting way ahead of ourselves comparing him to Shaq. I think you may forget how dominant Shaq was, because he is now a shell of his former self.

    To say Shaq didn’t come close to realizing his potential is a bit over the top.

    Consider some of his accomplishments: 4 Championships, 3 Finals MVP awards, 2 scoring titles, Season MVP award, Rookie of the Year, Led the league in Field Goal Percentage 9 times and is 3rd all time in playoff blocks and rebounds.

    Shaq is a top 5 center of all time. Bynum is a talented young man with plenty of potential, but saying “If Bynum wants it enough, he will be better than Shaq” is like saying “If Durant wants it enough, he will better than Jordan”

  45. Thanks for the link Aaron!

    But looking at the game, maybe I was better of not watching. Oh well, let’s see if we can get a win and turn this into yet another “don’t fret over a December game” type thing.

  46. The Laker starters don’t look good and Lamar isn’t a leader of the 2nd unit – to much fumble bum. No b-ball brain. Thank goodness Gasol can still score.

    Someone better up their effort in the 2nd half or we will really save Reggie Theus’ job.

  47. Aaron thanks for the link…hopefully new viewership will reverse the ugly tide

  48. Odom is the second unit’s Space Cadet, just as Radmanovic plays that role for the starting 5.

    To be honest, apart from Kobe, Fish (PUJITs aside), and Gasol, most of the players in the rotation don’t seem to have a great ‘b-ball brain’…

  49. Shaq is definitely not a top center of all time and no he did not realize all his potential. He has had more talent than most any other center, but his highest rebound average was his rookie year. He did enough to be dominant, but never developed his talent further – therefore he is surely not in the class with Wilt, Russell, Kareem, Akim. Maybe his is next, but he is not in the same conversation. Too bad because he had the talent.

  50. Geez, Kobe play within the offense!

  51. and we want Boston??

  52. bynum is not active enough in getting rebounds.

  53. Did I say Kobe had a great b-ball brain? I may have to revise that statement…

  54. Very nice D VLADEEEE

  55. The kings commentators are bascially calling Salmons and Garcia the kobe stoppers…wow

  56. was that a double dribble?

    Vlad continues to amaze me.

  57. The Lakers should be called queens if they lose to this team

  58. Kobe is having an off game on both sides of the floor.

  59. Kobe is killing us on defense…can he not guard someone please????

  60. 58

    I’m afraid it was, but unfortunately I’m never amazed by the Space Cadet.

    Pau has been outstanding though, he is keeping the Lakers in the game right now.

  61. Kobe seems to (for the past few games) relying to heavily on baseline help on defense. He practically gives it to his opponents and does so liberally enough for them to get to the basket before the help can even get there.

  62. Kobe 3-14…wow

  63. Isn’t Kobe supposed to be 1st team all-defensive team and he’s relying on help defense? Wtf? Move your feat damn it!

  64. kobe play some bball please…anything.. defense or offense

  65. Kobe’s defense is just puzzling. Why would you want to funnel Salmons into the lane when that is exactly what he wants to do in the first place? Give him room and encourage him to take the outside shot!

  66. Adam, I think that’s been our defensive motto for the season thus far.

    “Let the man through before help can come.”

    Not sure if it’s good or bad knowing that your team is talented enough to mount a comeback regardless of the score differential and also knowing that they just won’t play with a sense of urgency.

    It must be un-cool to play your heart out, it seems. Anyway, keep pounding it inside! It may be boring and uncool, but Sac seems to have no answer.

  67. Brad Miller’s flopping this game has been amazing. He’s drawn three fouls now by falling down as soon as someone touched him. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

  68. *3 fouls that I’ve SEEN. maybe more.

  69. Have the lakers totally abandoned the triangle offense? I have a sick feeling they’re gonna lose this game…

  70. You know something is wrong when Brad Miller is beating people of the dribble for layups.

  71. did they score every point in the paint???
    we really have great defense…highly underrated.against which other team would the kings be able to score like that….????

  72. Stop! Kobe time! (Hopefully…)

  73. See, THIS is why I like to express doubt about kobe verbally when he’s struggling. His ears burn and it motivates him to shut me up.

  74. How was that not a travel on Hawes?

  75. At times I feel this Lakers team will go only as far as Kobe will take it….

  76. Whats up with the Lakers D. The kings are getting to the basket at will. Its almost as if the Lakers are purposely letting them get right to the rim.

  77. We still have to see if that’s for better or for worse

  78. Thanks Stu! I’ve been asking that as well.

  79. we made garcia and salmons look like MJ tonight..

  80. What irks me is that we are not playing with our hearts. Our shots might not be falling but we are not determined to see that theirs dont fall too.

    We have adjusted a little by not funneling Salmons to the baseline but they are moving the ball well and hitting some threes. It just doesnt look like we can take this one. We need to play a perfect 4th quarter and even if we win i am not sure we deserve it

  81. it seems the key to beating the lakers defense or lack there of is to pull bynum out of the paint with a good to decent center who can shoot away from the basket. it pretty much guarantees that you can have free drives to the basket. i’m sure the celtics already have this scheme drawn up.

  82. 82 – hopefully it won’t be too exposed if Bynum will be guarding Perkins for the Cs or Wallace/Varajeo for the Cavs…We shouldn’t see him on KG much but Zydrunis could pose problems

  83. Then again, we’ve gotta get there FIRST

  84. BTW- The Cavs set an NBA record by winning a 9th consecutive game by 12+ points tonight.

  85. it is really irrelevant fot this team to be talking for the Celtics and Cavs right now….

  86. sorry my bad…i guess they should focus on beating the kings first.

  87. ugh…how many points are we going to give up? it’s over 100 and there’s still 7 mins to go. ugly!

  88. Why do we keep giving up 3s? The last seven or eight games teams have been raining down threes from the weak side. If that’s really just an inherent weakness in our defensive scheme, it’s a horrible one to have.

  89. They are having a Pistons type night.

  90. lakers d is soooo over-rated. kobe needs to stop shooting those 3’s and get the ball inside. kobe is going to cost us this game in the 4th.

  91. The lakers have been exposed!!!! 17-2??? Can you say overrated!!

  92. So… our defensive theme tonight is…

    1. Let your man through before help comes.

    2. Once he gets in, chase him and leave other wings.

    3. If he passes out to an open shooter, panic and flail.

    Good stuff. Not sure if the sequence just before could be tagged to Bynum (who was replaced) or Kobe (who was nowhere near the shooter).

  93. don’t worry…we are deep….deep…

  94. Kobe is not the same player he was last season..he can’t even impose his will to get them a win…

  95. 17-2 or not, these last few games form a disturbing trend. The Lakers simply aren’t running the offense, boxing out, or giving maximum effort on defense, and as a result games against inferior teams are far closer than they should be. (OK, so this game isn’t close at all right now but you see my point.) They seem to taking the ‘we’re so talented that we will eventually get the W’ approach and the results speak for themselves.

  96. Great, we’re seeing all the signs of an imploding team.

    1. Defending with hands not body
    2. Shooting 3s when you’re not supposed to.

    Our body language speaks of having given up.

  97. They have come unglued…wow. Kobe going one on one in every possession…guys not playing defense…missing wide open jumpers…man, i thought they played their worse game against Detroit..this has to be the worse this season..i see a trend…

  98. really i think we’ve been lucky to get some of the last few wins not so much because of our offense or defense, but more cause some of those teams were having an off-shooting night like the bucks. if their shooting was on or decent we would be seeing more losses cause we don’t protect the 3 very well and tonight we’re not even protecting the paint. forget it, we’ve lost. the kings will have their 1st win at home in how long? 8 straight losses?

  99. I think after this game would be a good time to start worrying. These last quarter crap out is getting on my nerves.

  100. 7-22 for kobe. bench the guy already and let the team play.

  101. This game is an example of lack of effort by the Lakers. Losing loose balls, giving up offensive rebounds, committing turnovers, failing to close out shooters are all caused by lack of effort. Admittedly, Brad Miller pulling Bynum away from the basket helped the Kings immensely, but the Lakers are going to have to learn how to counter that.

    I think the guards have become too relaxed on the defensive end. They all think “hey, I’ve got two seven-footers behind me; even if my guy blows by me, he’ll be running into two man-towers.” This would work, if the player driving to the basket was thinking to shoot the ball, but often that is not the case. Our strong side zone traps on penetration, and this causes offensive players to be wide open in the corners. All the dribbler needs to do is pass it to the corner, and bang, three points.

    Keep in mind this is with John Salmons and Francisco Garcia taking threes. Imagine when it’s Eddie House and Ray Allen, or Daniel Gibson and Mo Williams taking the shots.

  102. They need to go back to the drawing board on playing defense. What happened to playing good old fashioned one on one hard nosed defense. These guys are athletic right? Gambling style defense doesn’t work…look at the Nuggets last year? And why are they double teaming guys like miller and hawes when they don’t have to? which leads to wide open jumpers…this is so sad….

  103. Wow.. first time I’ve seen someone hating on the Lakers here on FBG.

    Mr. anonymous, no need to rub salt into our wounds tonight… we can know for ourselves if we’re beat already or not.

  104. Are the King’s toying with us, missing FTs on purpose?

  105. To be blunt, Anon is a fool trying to pick a fight. Don’t waste the time.

  106. The Lakers need to start developing good habits (executing the offense, playing solid contain defense, boxing out) and stop relying on their talent to win them games. When injuries, fatigue, and bad shooting nights become issues you need to be able to fall back on those habits. When you can’t, teams like Sacramento, Washington, and Indiana light you up for 100+ points. It happens way too often to be considered 1 or 2 ‘off nights’.

  107. One of those ‘anonymous’ posters is definitely a troll.

  108. This is funny. Before the Lakers almost lost to the Wizards, or even before the loss to Indiana, many posters have pointed out the flaws of previous games. What did they receive in return? A bunch of replies, including Kurt’s, saying something along the lines of, “We’re 15-1 (or whatever the record at the time), and you people STILL complain?”

    Well, look around, you condescending elitists. The Lakers have narrowly won many games. A lot of the games were not blow-outs midway through the 3rd quarter, or even early 4th. A sudden burst of scoring towards the end of games creates a false illusion of domination over the other team, and many of you happily obliged to call us whiners for nitpicking.

    Losing to Indiana, almost losing to Washington, and finally losing to a Sacramento Kings who have lost eight previous home games, is it time for you to pull your heads out of you-know-where now?

  109. And also, the crunch time lineup of Fisher, Bryant, Ariza, Odom, and Gasol is not working. Ariza and Odom are not outside shooters, so when the Lakers have to come from behind, teams just leave those two to double the post or Kobe, and then let them shoot open shots (which neither are stellar at making). Although I love Ariza’s hustle, when he’s not getting steals or offensive rebounds, he just doesn’t help the team. With the team down 10 with 8 minutes to go, I would much prefer to see a lineup of Fisher, Bryant, Radmanovic, Bynum, and Gasol in the game. Fisher and Radmanovic give two excellent three point shooters, while Bynum and Gasol can defend the paint and get rebounds. This way, when Kobe attacks the basket, not only do we have a better chance of collecting a miss, but he also has better shooters to pass to.

  110. ugh. championship contenders? not with the porous defense that they’ve played all season. wins (and good offense) have covered up their persistent lack of toughness up to now. kobe needs to d-up his man and stop getting the rest of the team into trouble. the bigs need to lay out a few of those penetrating guards instead of touch fouling them. pick-and-roll killing them. deep team, but we’re still missing a tough, dirty, enforcer type to lay down the law.

  111. If Lakers expect to have the best record at the end of the season, they can’t be losing to teams like this…

  112. What we’re missing is not a tough, dirty, enforcer.

    We’re missing passion, and the body language is all wrong.

    Unless these guys get their act together, we’re going to see a lot of comments and bickering over effort, minutes, touches and plays real soon.

  113. It’s December and the team is 17-3. This is about April, May and June. If the defense is still out of whack then, I guess complaints will be valid. The season is a process. Be patient and tolerate the occasional foul up.

  114. have you not seen the trend? allowing big numbers in the 4th? playing bad defense and an unfocused offense. allowing bad teams an opportunity to beat us and barely pulling through some of those games. losing big leads? we’ve been doing this for the last 5 games at least. uh…17-3? april, may, and june? if we keep up this trend we will have to be playing our very best to just win our conference.

  115. I believe those “You STILL complain” replies weren’t meant to sway other people to the belief that the Lakers are a flawless, dominating team, but rather a wake-up call to be thankful for the current standing and good fortune the whole team is having in the season so far.

    Most of the people here saying that are just telling the nitpickers not to complain that much because mostly that sucks the fun out of enjoying our team play, whoever badly it is for a said night or so.

    We can see for ourselves that the Lakers are having problems for the last few games. Heck, the regular posters here like Darius, J.D., etc. keep addressing them all the time, and offer their thoughts on them. I think that’s really far from the people here being elitist.

    If some of you guys were offended for being called “whiners”, keep in mind that the only thing being implied in that context here in FBG is that people should just roll with the team, just because of the awesome potential we have and the equally awesome ride we can have this season with the Lakers.

  116. I kind of agree with e, but without the accusations. Fact is that our record says 17-3, which is awesome, but our play indicates the season could take a sudden turn for the worse if current trends continue.

    Simply put, the defense is NOT WORKING. The traps and overloading and all that Rambis put in this season has been thoroughly analyzed, broken down, dissected, taken apart, etc. by other teams. It’s clear that if they are just patient enough, make a few extra passes, they get a wide open look. Now instead of playing solid defense that forces the other teams into contested outside shots all night, the Lakers D over-exposes itself by trapping and doubling – looking for that steal.

    I’ve been watching the Celtics and Spurs a little bit, and their brand of defense is very different. They don’t bring a lot of double teams or traps when they don’t need to. And it’s clear they play the odds… if John Salmons wants to do his pull up J, he can do that all night – he won’t hit more of them than layups. Instead, Kobe gets over aggressive on him, and lets him go to the hoop again, and again. Spencer Hawes wants to post up Duncan? Go for it, let’s see how good you are. What do the Lakers do? Bring a double team IMMEDIATELY, like his name is Yao Ming.

    Until this team fixes its defense, it will be a 55-60 win, West-finals/maybe Finals team. I know that’s pretty good already, but it’s plainly not acceptable to most LA fans

  117. I am sure the frustration we are seeing in here is just as obvious in the Lakers locker room right now…The fact is we need to start displaying the “good habits” (offensive flow, defensive committment) now, during the season. This is when we should at least be displaying the principles that will make us champion contenders.

    Toughness is still an obvious question and there’s a sense of the “give the ball to Kobe and get out of the way” still. That is not how good teams win or get ready for the playoffs. We are 1/4 through the season, so we should be seeing progression, not regression…We need to make adjustments now, and I’m sure Phil is going to start pulling the trigger and sending a bit of a sense of urgency to the young club.

  118. Well said DTC…I totally agree with your assessment on their defense…

  119. I wonder if all those games Kobe played over the summer after playing into June last season are starting to catch up with him allready…

  120. DTC, to me the defensive problems have been more about the execution than the system. The goal of the defense is to stop penetration, to guide guys who can penetrate into traps and help. Now, two things go to that. If the guy you are trying to stop from penetrating has a weak outside shot, than lay off him, dare him to shoot it. But, the best way to take away penetration is to be up on the man you want to stop, in his face. Basically, take away that first step, don’t let a quick guy get that first step by playing off him because you are letting him get where he wants to go.

    The Lakers have done a questionable job of recognition of what type of player they are guarding, and the bigs have been spotty on those help rotations. They have won a few games in spite of that, but I think everyone is right about the need to start building good habits.

    That said, this was still game 20. There is plenty of time to build those habits.

  121. the bottom line is every team in the league has problems and vulnerabilities. i for one would rather have them be exposed now with plenty of time to be fixed, rather than in april or may.

  122. Lets see if we can sum the Sacto offense up. Bynum/big was pulled out on Brad Miller. Sacto runs high pick and roll. Guard either makes layup, hits a cutter, or makes inside out pass for a three.

    On defense, Sacto blanketed Kobe, who reverted to one on one basketball. Lakers abandon triangle offense altogether. Sacto gets many turnovers on Laker desperation passes.

    If we must name names: VladRad and Gasol have respectable games. Kobe, Ariza, and Odom–not so.

    Sacto has played the Lakers tough before, but this game appears to be a reversion to very bad Laker habits from previous seasons.

  123. ugh…but a loss to the kings who haven’t won a home game in 8 tries. very upsetting. the kings! i much rather it be the clippers or warriors. hopefully we learn something and improve our commitment to defense as much as we do our offense.

  124. The Kings are a bad match up for the Lakers because their centers play a perimeter game that draws Bynum and Gasol out to the three point line and opens up the lane for drives and causes the Lakers defense to break down leading to easy lay ups or open three pointers. Same thing happened against the Pacers and their perimeter oriented bigs and Detroit and Rasheed’s three point shooting from the center position. Teams with quick penetrating guards and perimeter oriented bigs will continue to be a problem for the Lakers as Farmar and Fisher will never be ball stopping guards, so if Bynum and/or Pau are out on the perimeter those guards are going to have a field day and just chop up the Lakers on defense. Against teams like the Pacers and Kings the Lakers are usually able to make up for this match up issue by outscoring them. But when the Lakers shots aren’t falling, you’re going to have issues like this.

    Come playoff time the only teams that could try and kill the Lakers with that strategy are Utah (With Okur…but disregarding pace, they are a terrible defensive team that the Lakers usually just outscore), Boston (if they go small and play KG at Center and sit Perkins…which I doubt), San Antonio if they go small with Duncan at Center (They aren’t really comfortable doing that, and Duncan is still reluctant to stay on the perimeter), and Detroit (On the long shot that they made the finals and Rasheed was playing at the top of his game like he was the last time the two teams played). But anyhow, expect the Lakers to struggle against teams that have perimeter oriented centers the rest of the year.

  125. On the bright side…Reggie Theus will be sending the Lakers a very nice Muffin Basket for saving his job

  126. 1. Stu expressed doubts about this trap-overload defensive philosophy for the first time tonight. Is it possible that defenders are getting to the bucket so easily because this system has us spaced too far out to help or simply out of help positions?

    2. Is there a website where I can get hustle stats like charges taken? I feel like the Lakers don’t take very many, but have nothing concrete with which to support that.

    3. What do people think of the “jumbo” unit getting some run? (kobe, ariza, lamar, pau, bynum) To me, these are our five best players and I wonder if they might not eventually make our best fivesome?

  127. Dr Ray,

    Did you watch the first quarter at all? Vlad got torn to pieces by Francisco Garcia. He scored the first 9 points off of Vlad errors. Didn’t close out, didn’t fight through screens, heck, he just stood around on defense instead of helping.

    Please, I implore you, watch the game tape to see what I am talking about. Vlad was awful. A few treys won’t change how much he hurt this team.

    One improvement I saw tonight was that Farmar actually played some D tonight. He fought through screens and did not give up on plays. Fisher too, the help wasn’t consistently there though.

    How many times did we see Lakers stand around and let the Kings shoot uncontested 3 balls? Just disgusting.

    The Lakers have a long way to go. Fortunately for them, it’s early in the season. I think this loss will do them more good than harm. They know they are not invincible against weaker teams. Let’s see how they rebound against Phoenix on ESPN tomorrow.

  128. ‘GREAT START TO A PROMISING SEASON’, this was the title of todays Laker Insider e-mail that I received, even after tonight I still agree with that.

    JONESONTHENBA, you seem to be right on with what will be happening to the Lakers this year against certain teams.

    The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

  129. there’s nothing wrong with dreaming as long as you try to realize those dreams. the lakers can dream about the championship all they want, but unless they work to get there, it’s not happening. i’m sure the suns, kings, blazers have the same dream….

  130. I think the Lakers’ problems right now are in a big way due to confidence, specifically having too much of it. When the Lakers started the season, they came out with a boulder on their shoulder looking to prove to the world and to themselves that they could be the champions. After coming out with a strong record and exceptional stats both offensively and defensively, they seemed as if they were done proving that they were the best, and already took that position for granted.
    It is EXACTLY the same attitude that lost the 3peat Lakers their 4th championship. Those Lakers (mostly due to Shaq) would cruise in the regular season and try ‘flip the switch/turn it on’ in the post-season. The Lakers we have now are cruising during games against weaker teams, thinking that they’ll ‘flip the switch/turn it on’ at some point, make a good run and win the game anyways. I think they have done this to the point that even when they ‘flip the switch’ they’ve regressed from the point they were at 8-9 games into the season. They won’t even be able to just flip the switch against good teams either, where 48 minutes of consistent play is going to be needed.

    The Lakers need to focus on their defense. Like Kurt, I personally like the scheme we have and think the current issues lie in the execution of the defense. Like JONESONTHENBA said, some strategies are obviously going to work better against out defense, and from our losses he’s done a good job of pin-pointing the exact teams we’re going to have problem against. Any time you have Bynum out of the post, the final line of defense will be missing and dribble penetration will be easier. That said, we need more work on rotating faster (the Celtics were AMAZING at that last year in the finals) and closing out on 3-point shooters.

    As far as game notes go
    -Sasha had only 1 FGA. I’m pretty sure it was Bill Bridges who pointed out that stat as mild indicator of our ball movement, and I love the idea. Bad ball movement tonight!
    -Ariza definitely looked less confident shooting the jumper than he was in the early season. He took too many jumpers this game.

  131. 81,

    We just don’t agree.

    Don’t be so quick to assign responsibility to VladRad. The defense needs to be a team, helping defense. VladRad played that role quite well, getting 2 blocks by coming from the backside–one spectacular. Bynum got none. Their overall stats were almost identical for this game. It was Odom that got lost and was standing around.

    Phil had enough confidence in VladRad to put him in at the end of the game–which he almost never does.

  132. Hassan,

    That’s the philosophical difference between the Lakers and Celtics on defense. The Celtics will pack the paint and let bigs like Hawes and Miller shoot jump shots. They’d rather give that up than open up the paint. The Celtics rotations in the Finals weren’t that great. The Lakers just couldn’t hit open shots in the Finals. When they did hit their open shots (Sasha in game three), Boston had to stop doubling Kobe and packing the paint in order to cover Sasha in the corner. Missing shots wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if the Lakers could have stopped the Celtics on the other end.

  133. Dr Ray,

    I think you really need to re-watch this game and see how badly Vlad’s defensive lapses hurt us. Simply saying you disagree with me doesn’t address the simple facts: Vlad killed us on D. How many times did Vlad gamble with steals and get burned by leaving his man open? What about Kobe.

    Everyone knows that PJ wants his players to play through bad situations. I.e., He left Farmar in the game after he picked up his fourth and fifth fouls (I personally disagreed with the ticky tack calls as well). He wanted Vlad to play through his defensive lapses too.

    The team at the end consisted of Vlad, Kobe, Farmar, Sasha, and Gasol. PJ was hoping to rain 3s and steal the game. See the above comments for further support.