Lakers Lose Playing Jazz’s Game

Kurt —  April 24, 2009

Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles
The Lakers played the game in the exact style the Jazz wanted to play it, that is why they lost Game 3.

There were just 88 possessions. There were fouls galore. The Lakers strayed away from their offense because of the physicality. Bynum got in foul trouble and had a horrible game, so when they needed him to grab boards at the end Phil had him planted on the bench.

There were a lot of people in comments here and around Lakers nation that wanted to blame Kobe for not sharing the ball when he clearly was cold. And he should have passed more. But remember there are two parts to an assist — the other guy needs to make the shot, and there wasn’t a lot of that happening (the Lakers shot 40% eFG%) for the game. We saw this a lot a couple years ago, when the offense bogs down, Kobe will keep willingly taking on more of the load. You can complain that he was not sharing the ball, but it is a two-way street — how many guys were moving off the ball and putting themselves in good positions to score? Odom is the only one I can think of.

Through all of the ugliness, there are positives. Starting with the Lakers playing maybe their worst offensive game of the season and still only losing by two on the road. And the Lakers defense was pretty good overall — too many backdoor cuts given up (that is just being aware), The Lakers had maybe their best game of the series on D-Will.

Another good part was the start of the third quarter, which Nomuskles broke down with a live blog — notice that what the Lakers did during that stretch was not some magical formula; they just executed the game plan.

Start of the 3rd Quarter

11:40 – First possession of the half. Lakers start with the ball and run a play for Lamar. He loses it going up for a shot in the lane but it rolls to Ariza who finds Kobe in the corner for a three that he drills. Kobe almost never shoots that shot. Utah played good defense, but didn’t matchup quickly enough once the ball was recovered by Ariza. LAL 42, UTA 43

11:24 – Lakers play tough defense on screens away from the ball and limit AK-47 to a contested 20-foot jumper. Lakers are also lucky to come up with the rebound as Milsap is hustled for it. LAL 42, UTA 43

11:09 – Utah brings a hard double team on Kobe in the post. Lamar gave him a post entry pass and then when his man went to double, he went to the rim. No one rotates and Lamar gets an easy dunk. Lakers take the lead that will last them for a long time. Unfortunately not long enough. LAL 44, UTA 43.

11:00 – Deron turns on the afterburners and sprints to the rim early in the shot clock. Fisher can’t slow him down at all. Pau and Odom started the second half and both of them provide okay help, but neither one truly stops Williams. He slices through them and gets the foul as Odom blocks his shot. Questionable call but TNT doesn’t show a replay, so it’s hard to know. Gasol gets whistled for the foul but if anyone, it should have been Lamar. In my book, that’s a no-call. Either way, Williams gets to shoot two free throws. Williams misses the first and makes the second. LAL 44, UTA 44.

10:46 – Kobe and Pau run the sideline pick and roll. Kobe uses his dribble to weave through the trap and gets into the lane. A 10 foot jumper is uncontested and good. Boozer was guarding Gasol and needed to do a better job contesting Kobe’s shot after the pick and roll. LAL 46, UTA 44.

10:31 – Brewer fakes Kobe out of his shoes and takes it to the middle of the paint where Odom puts his arms straight up and brewer forces it. Brewer lost control and the ball goes to the Lakers. Not exactly awesome defense here from the Lakers, but they get the stop. LAL 46, UTA 44

10:20 – Kobe is matched up with Williams on the right block and backs him down. Kobe tries the turnaround jumper but Brewer comes over to help and blocks Kobe’s shot, a pretty rare occurrence on his jumpers. Great recognition and help by Brewer there. LAL 46, UTA 44

10:14 – Williams pushes the ball up court and the Lakers are lucky to escape unscathed. Williams through the ball too low and too hot for anyone to reach. It goes out of bounds. That’s a pass he’d want back. This isn’t good LA defense here. It’s just a bad pass. LAL 46, UTA 44.

9:52 – Kobe works the top of the key. Gives it up to Ariza and gets it back on the left pinch post. He shoots a standstill jumper over Brewer and it comes up short. Not a good use of the triangle offense or his teammates there. Neither team really in sync. LAL 46, UTA 44.

9:40 – Williams is again over the halfcourt line in three seconds. Williams and Boozer run a pick and pop at the top of the key. Boozer jacks up a contested jumper as Ariza flies at him and then runs past. Fisher grabs the long rebound and throws it up court to a streaking Ariza. Williams fouls him and Trevor will shoot two. Ariza makes the first one. Pau backtaps the missed second attempt. Ariza penetrates in traffic and finds odom inside for an easy layup. More of that kind of movement by the cutters can really help the Lakers beat the Jazz’s weak rotations. More of that energetic defense against the Jazz will also help. LAL 49, UTA 44.

9:05 – The Jazz give the ball to Boozer on the block against Pau. Pau holds his ground, contests, the shot and it’s a miss. One of the few times, the Lakers managed to keep in front of Boozer all night. Lamar is there to snag the tough rebound over Milsap.

8:42 – Lamar took an early three point shot that was pretty short. The rebound bounces long to Pau and the Lakers will reset the offense. Phil calls timeout to remind the team not to take those early jumpers. Kobe shoots a double teamed leaner from the left elbow and drains it. Impressive shot but not exactly high percentage. Pretty much sums up Kobe’s night. Lakers on a 16-2 run going back to the first half. LAL 51, UTA 44.

8:16 –Williams dribbles into the front court and shoots a runner drawing a foul on Kobe. Williams makes the first and misses the second. Lakers rebound. LAL 51, UTA 45.

7:58 – Some comments called for Kobe to be a distributor. He was an excellent one here. He split a double team off a sideline pick and roll. Weaved his way through a couple of players. And then made a nice jump pass to Ariza for the sideline three. Wet. LAL 54, UTA 45.

7:35 – Kobe and Pau dare Brewer to shoot from about 15 feet away and he takes them up on it. He nails it. Sagging off someone is one thing. Blatantly leaving them wide open is another. Lakers aren’t really doing anything super impressive yet. LAL 54, UTA 47.

7:08 – Kobe works at the top of the circle against Brewer and gets triple teamed. The ball goes around to the weak side and Gasol finds himself in the position of needing to shoot to beat the clock. He hits a 20 footer that is a bit outside his usual range. LAL 56, UTA 47.

6:57 – Boozer gets doubled in the post and he can choose to pass to Williams who’s camped out on the three point line on his side or Brewer on the opposite side. Option C was Kirilenko cutting to the basket down the middle of the lane. Either Ariza tipped it, or it was just too hot, because Kirilenko had it skip off his hands. Fisher makes a great play to get to the loose ball. Great play and indicative of the kinds of plays the Lakers need to be making more regularly. It’s a 4 on 1 break and Ariza gets the dunk. So far, that’s a 15 point swing in this quarter as the Lakers were down 4 to start the half. LAL 58, UTA 47.

6:28 – Two baseline screens for Utah’s shooter… Ronnie Brewer? Wouldn’t they much rather run that play for Korver (who’s not in)? Anyway. Brewer misses the jumper short. Lakers rebound because Fisher came back into the play to poke it towards Lamar. That’s two or three positive plays by Fisher in a row. The Lakers make a mess of it and Odom fumbles it. Jazz come back quickly on the other end but the Lakers recover. Jazz reset and run a pretty ugly play. The ball squirted free right to Boozer who laid it in. LAL 58, UTA 49.

Kurt

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50 responses to Lakers Lose Playing Jazz’s Game

  1. Did Bynum foul out or not out of the game? If he did not, was this a non-subtle message by Phil that AB needs to do better and could we also see a return by Lamar to the starting lineup for the next game?

  2. PeanutButterSpread April 24, 2009 at 11:05 am

    While I’m not blaming Kobe at all for the loss, no one played well except for LO who was FANTASTIC, but if the jumpshot isn’t falling, then I think it’s on the onus of the players (Trevor, D-Fish, Kobe, Shannon, etc.) to not just camp behind the 3 pt line or shoot tough fade away 2 pointers when the shots aren’t falling.

    Part of the reason why Trevor was fantastic in Game 1 was because he slashed to the rim, had a good game of layups/dunks and 3 pointers. You’ve got to mix it up.

    The offense got too stagnant. There was too much standing around and not enough cutting and making the Utah defense collapse and work.

    Ball movement, cutting, passing, etc. Those are the Lakers strength, they should play up to it. Otherwise, we become the Hornets whose offense has really stunk it up.

  3. In the grand scheme of things it’s hard for me to get too upset at this loss (although I was more than a little pissed off after Deron hit the game-winner last night). We played one of our 5 worst offensive games of the season. Kobe stunk it up like he almost never does. Pau was below average. We got nothing from Bynum. We got manhandled on the boards.

    So basically, we got almost nothing from 3 of our top 4 players, and lose by 2 in one of the toughest places to play in the league? We had no business even being in that game, much less thisclose to winning it.

  4. PeanutButterSpread April 24, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Manny –

    Drew didn’t foul out. He had 5 fouls. Phil just chose to bench him.

  5. I have no problem with letting Brewer have completely uncontested jumpers. when he shows he can hit more than one or two a game, there’s nothing to worry about.

    Anyone else wondering why Kobe or Trevor wasn’t covering Deron for the deciding basket? Deron doesn’t get that shot over them. It was too easy to shoot it over Fish.

    If that is what it takes for the Jazz to get the win at home. I can accept that. Bynum was a non factor, Boozer played the game of his life, Kobe was missing everything, and our bench didn’t provide much. We still should’ve won this game, but we allow too many Jazz runs, and TOO MANY easy buckets. That needs to stop.

    We already know the refs are going to let the Jazz hack a away, and it look a bucket at the end to beat us.

    Also, Kobe….Stop taking ill advised 3’s when we only need a 2, and there’s 3-4 minutes left. Play smarter than that.

  6. But for the ending, I was actually happy about this game, asinine as that sounds.

    Outside of Odom it seemed we were completely snakebit offensively, but we never let the game get out of hand. Instead the team did what it could defensively to keep the game close. The problem is, once they found (then lost) their offense, they lost the ability to defend. At all.

    Had they gotten or or two more stops that last quarter they’d have won despite awful games by Kobe and Bynum and a mediocre outing by Pau. Unfortunately it seemed like the Jazz scored one way or other on 70% of the possessions in the 4th (the 88 pt total makes me think my impression is flawed, but still).

    Otherwise, though, the Lakers played a game that is not their forte and fared pretty well.

    What DID worry me was the last play. I knew it would go down that way, as did every other person on the planet. Is that really all we can muster? Shove it to kobe for the contested 3? In the championship years we had more options on that play. Kobe wasn’t so much the alpha dog that he had to be force fed the ball that far from the hoop for an FGA. Isn’t 2.2 seconds enough for a few more options??

  7. Sorry, I’m going to repost basically what I posted late on the last post-

    This is regarding the idea that the Lakers played such a bad offensive game, but only lost by 2- so there’s nothing to worry about- the Laker’s probably won’t play that poorly again. That’s true.
    The Jazz, other than Boozer, didn’t play particularly well on offense either. THey were 25 under their scoring average.They were under their average on shot percentage, had more turnovers than the Lakers, etc…
    Deron Williams had 13 points on 3-7 shooting. AK47 had 0 rebounds. Milsap only scored 7 on 3 of 9. Korver was 4-13.
    So even though many of the Lakers had bad individual games, so did the Jazz.

    I only say this to the people that are writing off the result of the close game because of poor Laker’s performances. If the Jazz all step up at the same time, possibly get Okur back, a big night from D-will, even with the Lakers playing much better it could still be a close game.

    This series is no guaranteed blowout, especially without the Lakers playing smarter more focused ball.

    We can rest assured knowing that the Lakers are a deeper and more talented team, but they still will need to play much better to win.

  8. I guesss what I’m saying is that if you were expecting a blowout because of how poorly the Lakers played- well the Jazz would need to play a lot better than they did last night. This wasn’t the result of the Laker’s D game versus the Jazz’s A game. This was the Laker’s D game versus the Jazz’s B- game.

  9. JD,

    I agree about the last play. It coulda shoulda woulda bee a better play, but I also think that it went wrong. I don;t think they wanted it caught that far out, and to top it off, it was a bad pass. Too low, and Kobe had to gather himself too much after catching it. Which took away any chance to create a better shot.

  10. PeanutButterSpread April 24, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Have I mentioned how much I love LO?

    Seeing Drew in foul trouble, Pau getting tired or just struggling with other centers, it’s a blessing that we have LO.

    I think for the Lakers to succeed, we’re gonna need all 3 of them because if one or two of them is out of sorts, at least we have a third skilled tall player that can help us out still.

    I love LO and I’m glad he’s a Laker.

    Judging by how the Lakers have been playing, we need to resign LO.

  11. Kurt

    Bryant had 23% eFG, 33% TS.

    The rest of the Lakers: 47% eFG, 48% TS

    So if Bryant was only as efficient as the rest fo the team – we would win easily, probably by two digit margin.

    The 40% Lakers eFG was mainly because of Bryant’s shooting, so don’t use it to justify his game.

  12. Sometimes I think the Lakers with a lead are like Wile E. Coyote. He would get the latest and best ACME machine that would assure him that he could finally catch Road Runner. He get it started up and feel good about himself. Look at me see how well I can do this, then BOOM, he hits a wall. I know its pretty low brow analysis but the Lakers seem that way sometimes…

  13. pau’s missed freethrows bother me more than kobes missed shots.

    if he hit them, despite everything, the jazz would have never led in the 2nd half.

  14. Korver’s down screen curl killed us. Korver can do two things: run around and shoot a jumpshot. Those were just lazy recovery by the Lakers.

    With D-Will at the top of 3 point line, don’t follow Korver’s curl, because they are effective for a reason: you simply can’t stay with him on that curl. Instead, cut across to meet him on the other side, as that also allows you to intercept or disrupt a pass to Korver in the corner if he steps back after recognizing the defense. Then if Korver back cuts (after stepping back to the 3 line and seeing the defense trying to get back to him), just switch on defensive assignments long enough to discourage him from taking a layup.

  15. @K

    Deron Williams missed a bunch himself (6?) – and he’s usually pretty close to automatic. So those things cancel out in some kind of meta-cosmic way (meaning the two actually have nothing to do wth eachother- Pau still should have hit them whether or not D-will was missing).

  16. While the Lakers were in the midst of their run in the 3rd quarter, we were still missing our free throw attempts which could have effectively buried the Jazz at that point. Another subtlety, did you notice how quickly Phil called a timeout after LO jacked up an ill-advised three? We got careless in our offensive execution and the Jazz crawled their way back into the game.

    We should have been leading by at least 18-20 points heading into the 4th quarter, but a combination of a lot of little things led to only an 8 point advantage.

  17. At one point late in the game both teams were 16-26 from the free throw line. Maybe a nearby contruction site was vibrating the rims or something…

  18. I’m not one for statistics, but stats do show Odom is a hugely underrated defender and has one of the best plus/minus in the league. If you ask Odom to carry your team you got problems, but he is the ultimate glue guy.

  19. Sorry- the Jazz were 15 under their scoring average, not 25 (from my first post.) I really need to proofread before I post.

  20. that was a bad offensive performance, but not their worst this year. that was the game in denver in february.

  21. Just Kobe will shoot better next game, so will D-Will.

    Drew needs to have an impact on the game in a positive way in Game 4, both for himself and the team.

    We need to try to get quicker offense next game, especially looking to get it into the post and get a quick shot for Gasol (or Drew).

  22. *Just Kobe* was actually meant to be “not only Kobe”

  23. I’m getting quite sick of seeing so little from Pau when the games get physical. I don’t know whether he backs away, if the guards aren’t looking for him or some combination of the two, but he should be Option 1A whenever the hit a cold spell offensively. Clear out, let him work and good things should happen, so long as he’s not backing down.

    Boozer tossed him around like a rag doll last night, sometimes even legally by NBA rules. It made me think of the Finals last year, and I hate thinking of the Finals last year.

    And what’s with so many missed free throws? It was like a WNBA game.

    And Bynum’s looked awful aside from the 1Q of Game 2.

    That said, on a night when Odom really was the sole player who seemed to play his usual game, I can’t be too pissed about a last-second loss. Let’s just hope they get things right by Saturday; win it in five.

  24. the other Stephen April 24, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    they could’ve passed to LO on that last possession instead of to kobe. he probably had the positioning to make a layup within two seconds.

  25. i thought that kenny and charles had a good point about the lack of killer/championship instinct. you cannot blow a lead like that. the defense is inconsistent and guys like korver and harpring cannot get double digits. the lakers live and die by their offense, and that could haunt them now they are playing better teams. bynum’s presence certainly changes that dynamic, but there’s a good chance he’ll have foul trouble again – either because of stupid ref calls or just making mistakes (he’s still a kid) when it’s your first time in the playoffs. and i’m noticing that the jazz started roughing up pau a little more. the lakers will win in 5 or 6, but the defense and spotty bench play are a concern.

  26. JD, good point. I’ve never understood why we force feed the ball to Kobe in the final seconds – when every defender, fan, and camera is focused on him – instead of running a backdoor lob for Pau or a screen for Fish.

    As for Kobe’s shooting – yes, it stunk – but that doesn’t mean he must pass at all costs. If you can’t penetrate, be efficient. I’d rather see Kobe be smarter with his moves. Catch and shoot; jab step then a jumper from the elbow; two dribbles then rise up for the J. Any of these moves would’ve been unquestionably more efficient and effective than getting trapped on the sideline and/or running back-and-forth in the high pick-and-roll.

  27. Pau was going to the basket when the game got physical, he just wasn’t finishing. Frankly I’m not sure many people would finish at the rim w/ the physicality they were allowing. A prime example would be late in the 4th when Pau got “stripped” going to the basket, the ball landed in Ariza’s (I believe) hands and Pau then got a layup and 1. They showed the replay on the kcal broadcast and you could literally count 3 seperate fouls on Pau’s initial drive. I was impressed w/ him taking it knowing he probably wasn’t going to get the calls.

    The loss had nothing to do with the officiating, though. Poor shooting, poor decision making down the stretch, awful free throw shooting, and an incredibly weak attempt at a game by Andrew Bynum.

    All that said to lose by 2 on the road after beating a desperate team 3 straight, really not worried. Maybe next time they catch Boozer on the offensive hook and the game turns out completely different. I think we beat the Jazz handily tomorrow (and put together our best playoff showing yet), and win a tighter game when we come back home to L.A.

  28. I completely echo everyone’s comment about how valuable LO is, as well as the importance of re-signing him in the off-season.

    I think yesterday’s game also shows how Trevor Ariza and ShanWow’s value is properly set in the context of the Lakers’ system. Meaning, while Ariza and Brown will probably receive some offers in the off-season, this Lakers system is the best fit for them. Especially with Ariza, he wasn’t able to do much with AK47 on him, and when he tried to take him off the dribble, it was ugly.

  29. Maybe Pau thinks he’s back in Spain bullfighting with that matador defense he’s been playing lately.

  30. Do you guys who are criticizing Pau like being favorites to go to the finals? Because he’s the reason that’s the case.

    You saw “so little” from him when it got physical? This entire series has been physical, except for portions of the first halves of games 1 and 2. Last night, when it was very physical he shot 8-15, for 20 of our 86 points.

    Or do you mean that someone was being physical with him at the FT line, where he was most disappointing?

    What do you want from the guy? He’s been our most consistent guy all year. Would you rather have Paul Milsap? He’s definitely talented, but the lakers wouldn’t be anywhere near as good with him.

    This is ridiculous. Kobe and Bynum are both 100 times more worthwhile to call out over last night’s game than Pau, but no, it’s the fault of the second best guy on the floor for us last night, who got 20-9 with 5 offensive boards. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

  31. I made this comment in the game thread, and I’ll ask it again…
    does anyone else think the line up to start the second half was a clever strategic move by PJ? (I know Andrew had foul issues, but he only had 3 at that time).
    PJ came out with LO as the point guard, Fisher and the shooting guard, and moved Kobe over to small forward. (I think on D, they rotated LO back over to the 4) but this line up really seemed to confuse the Jazz, and this was also the time we made our strongest run as pointed out by nomuskles.
    did you notice that Fish almost always gave the ball to LO to bring it up the floor? it was as if the team was going to a specific plan where LO was the point, and the O ran through his initiation.
    am I the only one who thinks this was a plan B put in place by the coaching staff?

  32. j.d.,

    Well said! Pau has made a big difference for our team on the offensive end, and when it comes to rebounding as well. I liked what I saw from him last night, except when he shot freethrows. The freethrow misses were frustrating to watch.

    What I like about that guy is that he is in a way outmatched against the Jazz players that met him in the paint–Pau is not a bulky guy. Despite that lack of sheer mass he is strong enough to go up against them and skilled enough to do it well, not to mention that regardless of that stupid reputation he’s saddled with Pau is not a wuss, and I like the fact that he seems to get very angry when people try to push him around.

    Now, if only he could make his freethrows…

  33. Chris h- Lamar plays the guard role in the triangle regularly. In the triangle, either of the two “guards” can bring the ball up. I don’t think the sets we were running were different, and I think Phil was just trying to protect Bynum from getting that 4th foul early.

    JD- Personally, I had no problem with Pau on offense. I think he looked tired (maybe a little lazy) on defense, but that was on Phil to switch LO or Drew onto Boozer.

  34. This may have been covered in other comments but I’m in a hurry and didn’t read them all. I agree with all the Kobe had a bad game, Bynum barely played and most of the team was pretty ineffective on offense and we still had a chance to win on the last possession of the game.

    What I didn’t like was the Lakers’ inability to get stops at the end of the game. The Deron shot, whatever, dude is a genius and maybe another defender makes the shot more difficult, but he probably makes it anyway. Pau deciding to plant his feet and use his arms to play D on Boozer was just bad defense that allowed an easy dunk. Pau showed fatigue or an unwillingness to use his feet on D which also showed up on some of his flailing layup attempts. Pau should do what we saw in the first half of the season which is trying to take of someone’s hand at the wrist with a dunk attempt. LO lays shots up when he could dunk a little too often for my liking but Pau has been guilting of finessing shots up and then wasting time he could be using in heading back on D on looking for a ref to complain to.

    Kobe will bounce back. Drew will too. Game 3 will go to the Lakers and we’ll finish them off in Staples in game 5.

  35. It was a weird game. Heck, even Williams seemed to be avoiding taking shots, and all of the free throw misses (Williams missed like 4 of 5 at one point) we off the charts on both sides.

    The only takeaway of concern was how Boozer’s fierceness seemed to take the life out of Pau, although I am not sure who he would guard in subsequent series that might do same to him so could be a moot point post Utah.

    Would just hearken to Barkley’s comments contrasting the Lakers with Denver and Cleveland in playoffs so far; namely that Lakers are not showing the pose of, “We are on a mission.”

    I would caveat as YET, but would like to see them play one full game, not step on peddle, step off and rely on sheer talent.

    As that’s fool’s gold as the playoffs progress.

    Mark

  36. 30, jd, as much as I agree with Pau being our most consistent player, he was taken out of his comfort zone by the Jazz last night. You could tell when he went 1-5 from the field in the 1st quarter than the Jazz were really pushing him out of his spots in the half court.

    While I agree that Pau is our most efficient offensive weapon, this is not because of Pau alone. We may rue the 3-point shots taken by Trevor, Fisher, and mid-range shots taken off curls by Lamar and Sasha, but these are the plays that open up the middle for Gasol. We saw yesterday that Pau can be made inefficient if we rely on him too heavily in the wrong spots, which we did yesterday in the 1st quarter. It cannot be understated that the reason why Pau gets so many easy putbacks is because either A.) Andrew Bynum is on the floor, so the opposing team’s PF has to guard Pau, or B.) because Kobe Bryant cleared out the lane with a drive and kick, allowing Pau easy access to the rebound.

    It is somewhat disturbing that we can criticize Pau so heavily after an 8-15 game, which would be good by most player’s standards, but I think most of us forget that Kobe takes a lot of the tough shots for the team. In a way, Kobe takes the extra misses upon himself, allowing his teammates to appear more efficient. I agree that sometimes Kobe takes questionable shots, but I’d rather have Kobe taking questionable shots than allowing the defense to dictate to him where we’re going to go, because our role players just have not shown the consistency where we can depend on them in a big spot.

  37. @kwame, good point on switching odom to boozer, but counter is that lamar stayed out of foul trouble and was such an anchor in game (really solid in games 1-3) that wonder if he had assignment if would have gotten in foul trouble trying to out mano Boozer.

  38. PeanutButterSpread April 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    A reason to smile for me:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ649-BLmto

    these videos always brighten up my day.

  39. I agree that Pau wasn’t perfect last night, or in general. We all know his defensive deficiencies and he was taken out of his comfort zone at times yesterday- but at the end of the day he and the team adjusted on offense.

    Every player – even kobe- has his weaknesses, and I’m not denying that Pau has his. I’m just flabergasted at anybody directing actual vitriol at him. I don’t think it’s not fair to demand him to be what he’s not when what he is is so invaluable.

  40. J.D. — I think my prior point wasn’t stated very clearly.

    Pau’s been clutch for L.A. all year, but when the games get rough inside we don’t see as much from him. Some of that may be his fault, some may be that of the guards not looking for him.

    If you’ re-read my post, you’ll note that it’s not necessarily his play that’s upsetting me — it’s the lack of production that Lakers are getting out of him (meaning feed the ball through him damn near every time down the floor since Utah can’t stop him).

    Boozer threw him around because the refs let it happen, just like they let Boston push him around last year.

    The only way to stop that is for him to A) be agressive and B) get the ball consisently so the refs are forced to call it when he gets manhandled for five or six consecutive trips up the floor.

    The only other option is for Bynum to be a strong second inside presence, which lets Pau work more easily. Either way, No. 16 is key to this team’s chances.

    I want to see the Pau we saw in the fourth quarter against Boston on Christmas day, the guy who basically took the Lakers on his back and won the game. But that won’t happen if they don’t look to him, and that’s not been happening for whatever reason when the games get chippy.

  41. Pau Gasol is a .781% FT shooter in 08-09. Not bad for a 7 foot big man, maybe the best in the league, huh. He just had a bad FT night. Were there negative comments about him here, I did not read all the comments. There should not be, he is very valuable to us and we are very fortunate to have him on this Lakers squad.

  42. yao is ~85% FT shooter, he shoots tech for Rockets.

  43. what happened to Magic’s 2 SFs(lewis and turk? both play poorly in the playoff.

  44. I think both Lewis and Turk are still being hampered by lingering injuries. Turk in particular was struggling on the defensive end because of some clear physical issues. It’s sad, because essentially injuries have derailed the Magic similar (but to a lesser extent) to the Celtics, but many members of the media will use it to justify year long criticism of the Magic’s style. Cleveland may end up having an easier path to the Finals than we do, which very few would have predicted a couple months ago.

  45. the lakers play their worst game offensively in over a month, are on the road in a hostile environment against one of the best home-court teams and they only lost by two???

    i’m not worried. if andrew can stay on the court, utah has no chance. and they know they survived a scare at the buzzer too as kobe got as good a look catching and shooting from almost thirty feet out with 2.2 seconds left. the jazz still need to win game four more than the lakers do.
    ~cmh

  46. Joe Smith with a double-double. I really wish the Thunder had decided to hold on to him.

  47. Really interesting: http://lakers.freedomblogging.com/2009/04/24/vujacic-and-morrison-angry-with-each-other-in-practice/15745/

    Adam Morrison has a pulse! Or rather, Vujacic annoys the heck out of him like he does the rest of the league.

    Could Ammo be our secret enforcer?

  48. Snoop, that is hilarious.

    “Although no one was overly concerned and Phil Jackson sat in the stands with some amusement as he watched it all”

    “DJ Mbenga came to Vujacic and Morrison toward the end and just said: “For me …” in an attempt to get them to cut it out as a favor to him.”

  49. I know the discussion about game three has centered around what could be called anomalies: Kobe’s poor shooting, Pau’s free throws, a rotation that saw Bynum play less than 10 minutes, overall horrible offensive production, etc. However, there is one adjustment I’d really like to see – how we attack in P&R sets on offense. (And please note that we don’t necessarily need to do this on every play, but I would like to see this).

    In our normal P&R sets, we use Kobe and Pau. This is the best pairing because of Kobe’s decision making and Pau’s versatility in being able to pop or dive and after receiving the ball shoot or pass with equal effectiveness. However, recently (and normally this works, so I understand the tactic) we’ve seen Pau pop more and Kobe use his dribble to probe the defense and shoot the midrange jumper more. However, I’d really like to see some other options explored on this play in order to get the Jazz on their heels. Basically, I’d really like to see Kobe drive hard off the screen and try to get into the lane and score at the basket and/or I’d really like to see Pau roll/dive to the basket more in order to get closer looks at the basket for himself or to collapse the defense to free up other players on the weakside as defenders help. In the last game, especially in the closing minutes (and I believe zephid mentioned this), when we ran the Kobe/Pau P&R, the Jazz essentially put a soft double team on Kobe which simultaneously took away Kobe’s midrange jumpshot and took away passing angles to a popping Pau. Also, because Kobe was going to the sideline on the P&R, the soft double also took away the LO flash to the FT line as the topside defender (Brewer) as well as LO’s man were taking away the angle for Kobe to make the pressure release pass in that direction. It’s the main reason why we consistently ended up with Kobe forcing long jumpers with a bigger defender (the soft doubling Boozer) contesting the shot. I think if Kobe comes off that screen hard in an attack mindset at Boozer (or any other big that uses this tactic) we’ll see him draw more fouls against players who lack footspeed and we’ll also see him get into the lane to either score or find open teammates (Ariza, Fisher, ShanWOW, Sasha) on the weakside in position to shoot open jumpers. Or if Pau dives/rolls, we’ll see the same effect. This may be a minor adjustment, and one that exists on a play that is not *the* staple of our offense, but it’s a go to play in key scoring situations and I think we do need to mix it up some.