Lakers/Nuggets Game 2 Chat

Kurt —  May 21, 2009

Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers
I expect this game to be similar, yet very different, from game one.

Similar in the sense that I expect it to be close. Maybe this series will have its blowout game — all series seem to — but for the most part the games will be close and the difference will be execution under fire.

How I expect it to be different is in how the Lakers attempt to dictate the game — this time they will go inside and attack mismatches with Denver’s front line. If Nene is on Gasol, then Bynum needs to tear up Martin. Clearly the Lakers wanted to do that last game but were taken aback by the fronting strategy and energy that Denver put into stopping the post entry passes.

As there always are in the triangle, there were counters to what Denver did but the Lakers didn’t seem to execute them. First, I expect the Lakers will try to get Bynum and Gasol (and even Kobe) running and trying to get early position deep (and hopefully they will get the ball this time, the Lakers did not reward running bigs last game). Also, look for the Lakers bigs to move from week to strong and get the ball as they do, look maybe even for the bigs setting screens for each other.

What the Lakers need to do is attack — they started doing that at the end of the last game and that is when they got calls. Before that, Denver got the calls because they attacked the rim. (Hopefully the officiating is a little more consistent for everyone tonight.) But off the dribble or pass to the post, the Lakers need to get to the rim.

When that happens the Nuggets will collapse, and that is when Fisher/Farmar/Sasha/Ariza/Walton need to make them pay with threes.

The Lakers can score off the Kobe/Gasol pick and roll, that is a deadly combination, but the Nuggets are a good pick-and-roll defensive team, so hopefully there is not a steady diet of this.

Defensively, the Lakers need to do better early in the clock and in transition. The Lakers need to do better finding Billups and Melo in transition and not letting them make the play.

Denver wants to get fast break points but when that is not there they almost always set a drag screen (a big behind the play stops up for an early-in-the-clock pick and roll) and after the deliberate pace of the Houston series the Lakers did not adjust well to this. Billups is not going to have another off game shooting like that, especially if the Lakers bigs do not do a better job on that drag screen. The Lakers bigs need to show out, take away his jumper and easy path to the basket, then recover,

I don’t expect Melo to be as hot, but he won’t be cold either. He is playing well right now and the Lakers need to just make him work for his points. Whether it is Ariza, Walton or Kobe, somebody needs to step up and step out on him a little. And that may be hard because I expect Denver will start having him attack from the top of the key, where the Lakers rotations are not as paint-by-numbers.

The Lakers need to continue their domination of the boards. And the bench needs another good night

Bottom line, I think Bynum is going to be a good barometer for the Lakers this game. And I hope Ding is right.

523 responses to Lakers/Nuggets Game 2 Chat

  1. Mason,

    No worries. 🙂 Let my “craziness” go on.
    Anyways, Laker fans, who gets the blame tonight?

    I do think it was Fisher for taking quick shots and ill-advised ones.


  2. This game was lost in a three minute stretch. With 2:40 in the first half, the Lakers were up 13 points. From there our offensive possession went like this:

    Kobe missed jumper
    Kobe missed jumper
    Odom missed layup
    Brown missed jumper

    FIne, sometimes you get stopped four times in a row – but what did we do at the other end?

    Nene to Martin for a dunk, poor position on defense
    Kleiza 3, again fell asleep on defense
    Kleiza 3 after multiple offensive rebounds
    Billups free throws.

    In four possessions a game that’s under control becomes a nailbiter. You cannot have those sorts of lapses in the playoffs, especially at home. Would have loved to see a timeout – but Phil “let them play” themselves right back into a close game.


  3. Dude Abides – You need the rug back. It really tied your comments together.

    As for the game, I’m actually going to disagree with you, Joe. Look at the last 5 minutes of the game, Denver possessions. Tough shot by Martin, bad foul call on Lamar to give Nene 2 free throws, a steal by Ariza, a miss by Billups, a miss by Carmelo, a missed layup by Billups that bounces right back to him for the putback, a bad foul call on Gasol to give Billups 2 free throws, a broken play where a bad pass bounces off of Fish’s arm straight to Nene, and then it was intentional fouls to stop the clock.

    There isn’t a truly bad defensive possession in there except maybe the drive by Billups where he got the putback.

    The Lakers’ final 8 offensive possessions (last 3 and a half minutes of the game) went as following: Fish pass stolen by Martin, absolutely awful missed shot by Ariza, ridiculous Kobe 3 that goes in, terrible missed 3 by Fish, a Kobe jumper from the “Phoenix Game 4” spot, the jumpball/violation/Ariza fumble, a drive-and-dish to Gasol for 2 free throws, and an air ball by Fish to end the game. In 8 possessions, that’s 2 TOs, 7 points entirely generated by Bryant one-on-one or PnR, and quite possibly one of the worst endgame performances I’ve ever seen by D-Fish.

    But yeah, it was their defense that lost this game by giving up one layup, a pair of broken plays, and a bunch of ticky-tack foul calls at the end of a Western Conference Finals game over the last 5 minutes.


  4. Joe A-

    I’m only blaming the refs for having a poor handle on jump ball procedure. There’s no excuse for that. It’s like a player missing free throws. Calling fouls is harder, but sometimes it’s obviously wrong, like jacking up a contested jumper early in the shot clock.


  5. Ariza was 6/7 with 20 points and had a plus minus of -11

    Fish 1/9 was +2

    Sasha 0/4 +2


  6. wow why is everyone acting like the series is over….LA can win in denver, have a little faith in the team guys. we should have won this game but we didnt, it happens. we shake it off and go forward. The officiating has to get better though, how do the lakers not get favorable calls at home?


  7. @Jane

    Kobe does get an unfair amount of criticism for selfishness, but IMO he gets a huge benefit of the doubt when it comes to closing games that makes up for it.

    Last game, it was all about Kobe’s “will to win”, etc… no one remembers the games like this where it doesn’t happen…


  8. VoR – this is clearly a case-in-point where non-adjusted plus-minus REALLY doesn’t tell the story.


  9. Give Denver credit, they battled and made their free throws.

    But the Lakers definitely got no help from the officials. How do you miss that violation on the jump ball in crunch time. I’m also not sure how every Denver player gets away with the slapping.


  10. I really thought that having Bynum this year would make a BIG difference for our team, and get us over the hump (so to speak).

    That’s what I kept on trying to tell myself after we lost to the Celtics last year _ if only we had Bynum.

    But now that we have him … I think that he sorely lacks playoff experience and that’s probably the reason PJ has not been playing him too much.


  11. Mason- I think even the jump ball complaining is pretty weak. They’re never gonna call that at the end of a game… it’s just reality.

    There’s a procedural violation on every other free throw technically- and players always jump early on jump balls. And in the end, Smith cutting through didn’t make a difference anyways. Ariza got the rebound, and then he coughed it up.

    Let’s move on, admit we didn’t execute- and get ready for Denver in Denver.


  12. Joe A. – I’m not sure what more Bryant’s supposed to do, here. He was all of LA’s offense late; he had one poor possession, granted, but he generated almost everything positive that they COULD get. And it wasn’t like he was completely dominating the ball – Ariza, Gasol, and Fisher certainly had opportunities, and wasted them. Fisher in particular.

    I love Derek. But he was the -largest- reason the Lakers lost this game, I feel quite confident in saying. Not the only reason. But the biggest contributor.


  13. If Smith isn’t already BEHIND Ariza, Trevor can slide back. Because of his positioning, Ariza has to attempt to go forward, and ends up falling over Melo’s leg (there was no foul there).

    That’s like saying it wasn’t ridiculous to not call a foul when Gasol got shoved into the crowd, because he wouldn’t have gotten the rebound anyway. True, but it’s not as if there isn’t a defensive possession to follow, with your center now closer to the concessions than the guy he’s supposed to guard.


  14. Well, the Lakers proved me right the half-arsed way.

    Knew we were going to go on a lead and start strong, hoped we won’t let them crawl in, and definitely didn’t even want to put the words “and lose.”

    Oh well.

    We stole it from Denver last game, we got this one ripped off, so poetic justice in a way.

    Let’s get a split in Denver.

    Too bad that we missed the sight of a massive bandwagon switch by the pundits.


  15. Everyone should just chill, Phil Jax will name drop his classic jabs at the referring and the NBA will panic and swing the calls toward the Lakers in game 3.

    Let’s not forget, Kobe LOVES Colorado and he owns the Pepsi Center!


  16. Where was Bynum in the 2nd half? Looking back I’m wondering why this kid didn’t get minutes down the stretch. 50% fg, +7 differential… why was he sitting again? last i checked, we won the 1st half.


  17. A few mistakes I saw from Phil, whom I am actually dangerously close to considering washed up…

    1) Bynum and Gasol were KILLING their frontcourt. Bynum had rhythm, was clearly enjoying his game, and Gasol was his usual self, in fact even better than usual on the low block today. That’s the biggest reason we dominated the boards in the first half and Bynum had some really pretty put-ins close to the basket, plus he played strong to get position. So what do we do in the second half? Not play Bynum at all, and completely stop passing into Gasol in the low-post in the fourth quarter.

    2) Why in God’s name, when you’re down by three, would you design a play for Fisher and not Kobe, especially when Kobe has hit two threes STRAIGHT IN MELO’S FACE earlier in the quarter and is clearly feeling it?

    Contrary to most people who think the two teams are about evenly matched up in almost all respects, I think the Lakers are clearly stronger in terms of talent because they’re much BIGGER. We saw Gasol and Bynum dominate today and there’s no reason our size shouldn’t decisively dominate the boards and the post scoring…if our coach decides to let our size play. Bynum is NO LONGER IN A RUT, in fact he’s been playing really well since about Houston game 6. If we keep feeding our bigs and letting them boss around Denver’s smaller frontcourt, we should win by all means. I still think this series is ours to lose.


  18. Don’t anybody let this ruin their Friday; why on earth should they? This is basketball at its blood-spattered, howling best. Savor tonight’s lacerations, because lacerations turn into scars, and scarred men tell the best stories. But not scared men. This series will probably go to seven games, but I have no doubt of the outcome, and the ecstasy of winning that kind of fight is the nearest you come to heaven. So tonight we saw hell a little, big deal. It’s worth it for the contrast. We’re going to take these guys, and God help whoever comes out of the east.


  19. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    souraying at hend ee nobody will be called for blatantly ignoring jump ball rules? Why shouldn’t everybody just pull a JR then?


  20. @Underbruin.

    Your reaching. Face it. If the teams were reversed, I have a good feeling you’d be making the opposite arguments. I see the same stuff from fans of every team after every tough loss.

    And I’m not starting a Kobe-clutchness discussion here. That’s wasn’t my point.

    Go read the ESPN boards after the Orlando/Cav’s games yesterday to see the kind of things Laker fanboys were saying about that game. You’ll see what I mean.


  21. Gasol’s incredibly talented and one of the best offensive minded forwards in the league…

    That being said, he shrinks in big games and the stats are empty when you’re missing free throws in the clutch and complaining instead of playing defense. A team’s second best player needs to be consistent and keep his composure. Kobe can’t win by himself


  22. What did Kobe need to do to get to the line in the 4th quarter tonight? Let’s count the ways:

    1) evidently getting your head swiped on the perimeter doesn’t work.

    2) what if there was a jump ball and kobe had recovered the tip (despite an obvious violation, but let’s leave that aside), then tried to dribble out but was tripped and shoved over? Would that necessitate a foul call? Whoops, guess not.

    3) man, I’m really at a loss here – what if I look at what the nuggets did to get to the line? Wait, I see Chauncey Billups dribbling right, then dribbling left, then dribbling right, running into the stationary big man, then falling back off balance and getting a call!

    Lesson learned – always be out of control in your dribble and run into others.


  23. Sure the Lakers lost, but I don’t understand the negativity and blame game stuff that’s going on here. If PJ is 41-0 (or whatever) in playoffs when winning game 1, then he’ll know what to do when it counts.

    I do agree that I would have felt much better had Shannon Brown taken the last 3-pointer – make or miss, but D Fish has shown in the past to come up with big plays at the end of games…


  24. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    hahaha wireless keyboard fail


  25. Underbruin, I agree with you fundamentally, but your cynicism makes me say that I don’t fault teams for losses, but I look at the winning team for their way of winning. The Lakers did not make the plays down the stretch that they needed. We executed poorly and Denver played like they want to play in the finals.


  26. Why is not anybody hating aginst Odom. That guy cannot play defense without fouling. Time and again leaves his man to double and gets burned due to that. He is a liability offensively. No jumpshot. Poor finisher and gets called for offensive fouls half the time he drives to the basket. He has no post moves. The only thing he can do is rebound and that too not particularly well. We were getting so many offensive rebounds when Bynum and Pau were in the game. With Lamar in the game our net rebounding was negative. The 4th quarter we were outrebounded by a big margin.


  27. Frankly, I do not understand why Phil is scared of putting Bynum in the 4th quarter. I cannot see any reason why Lamar should be playing more than him.


  28. Things I could not explain:
    – Fisher 28 min., Shannon Brown 17 min., Farmar 6 min.
    – Pau Gasol 17pts, 17rbs, 5-8 FG, yes, 8 shots.
    – Bynum, +7 on the night, 18 min.


  29. The Lakers bigs played better but I still didn’t feel they made their mark in this game. This has to change because otherwise it’s all on Kobe.

    I have to give credit to Carmelo and Nene, they both really improved their game. I never worried about them before but now they are forces to be reckoned with.

    All in all, this was a 50-50 game and you’re always taking your chances when it gets like that. I have confidence the Lakers can take at least 1 game in Denver but the Lakers need to raise their game to beat this worthy opponent.


  30. Joe – Actually, no, I wouldn’t. I have no way of proving that to you, granted – these are all just words on a computer. But I’ve been on the ‘winning’ end of a number of calls that I’ve decried (I’m a UCLA fan – see the handle – and had to explain to dozens of my ‘brethren’ about how lucky, and BS, the end of that UCLA/Texas A&M game was in ’08).

    Ariza was put into a much tougher situation because there was an extra player in his area, one that shouldn’t have been there based on the rules governing jump balls. I don’t know what more to say, because it’s a pretty reasonable statement, I think. You can disagree, obviously, and do.

    As for the Kobe stuff, my point is, you’re saying “nobody remembers where it doesn’t happen,” and I’m saying that nobody remembers games like this where it DOES happen, but through other factors he still loses. Bryant was brilliant in the closing minutes of the game. He, and his team, lost through a combination of a talented opponent, a couple of bad bounces, and a couple of boneheaded plays by his teammates. LeBron is absolved, and people talk instead about how transcendent he was despite his team’s failings. Bryant’s work will be forgotten despite his own excellence (he was better tonight than he was in Game 1).


  31. Joe A., I agree with you. Underbruin is just making stuff up.

    Lakersfan88, tonight was not the night for Gasol bashing. He played the way we’ve been wanting him to play all year – tough, high activity level, contest and rebound. If he would’ve made those free throws, then he would’ve played a perfect game. That’s just too much to ask.

    Billups missed free throws too and so did LeBron yesterday. Are you going to say they shrink in big games and 49-6-8 are ’empty’ stats?


  32. I mean the Lakers shot 14 free throws in the 4th. The Nuggets shot 16- but 4 were to stop the clock. I think it’s hard to argue that the Lakers were being more aggressive with the ball.

    I’m not saying there was some bad calls, but it didn’t decide the game.


  33. Don W –

    … Seriously? You say I’m making things up and then defend a guy who takes 8 shots as the 2nd best player on the team?

    Funny, I would have thought Gasol would have been up for shooting more often than Linas Kleiza. Guess I’m mistaken.


  34. Oh, I’m not arguing the officiating was one-sided in general. I think the Lakers were the victim of a couple bad calls late, but that’s not really different than when they were the beneficiaries of some calls early.

    I do believe that the missed call on the jump ball had an effect, though. That’s a totally different claim – it’s one thing to say “they got help” or not, but it’s another altogether to acknowledge an incorrect call but claim it didn’t matter.


  35. The Dude Abides in #368…

    …has it exactly right. The Lakers have too many of their players performing below expectations right now. Kobe (and to lesser extent Gasol) are the only two Lakers whom I expect to contribute up to their potential every night.

    And even with that the Lakers are still in this. That’s something at least.


  36. SBCinAZ – You’re looking for Ariza to score 20 points on 8 shots every night?


  37. Joe A-

    There’s stepping into the lane a hair early and then there’s what JRS did. It was the equivalent of the free defending man on a free throw crossing the lane just before the shot. You’re smoking something strong if you think that that, even in the last minute, wouldn’t (with competent officiating), draw a lane violation. To ignore things like that invites them, so you’ve got the call them. These guys just flat didn’t see it. I have a theory why, however. It was a slightly abnormal play in that the ball was missed at the top of its flight, and so it didn’t go into play until a little bit later. If they were anticipating the normal play – a tip at the top, they didn’t have a chance to see the violation, because they’d already taken their eyes and focus away from the ball and were operating under the assumption that the players were free to move. I guarantee that when they see their game tape, they’ll kick themselves for missing it. Like I said – it’s the refereeing equivalent of missing a free throw.

    Oh… And JR Smith went right to Ariza and put pressure on him, so don’t try to claim that he didn’t make a difference.


  38. Our guards not named Bryant were 5-22, we need better from them in Denver.


  39. It also surprises me that Phil still gave 28 minutes to Fisher. I thought Farmar played very well in the limited time he played. And Shannon Brown also played quite well in his 17 minutes. I buy it (though I am not 100% confident) that Phil wanted to get Fish for the last 5 minutes of the game for his veteran savvy. But why bring him back in the 2nd quarter when both Farmar and Brown were performing admirably. And in the 3rd. There is no reason Fisher should be playing more than 20 minutes at this point. He has not been shooting well the whole playoffs. Same goes for Sasha. It’s good that Phil did not bring Sashs back in after his debacle in the 2nd quarter.


  40. That was a horribly, horribly officiated game. I’m not saying thats why they lost, but man were the refs terrible…


  41. Underbruin, you need to get out more.

    (And I really don’t want to turn this into this debate….)

    Go read the ESPN boards from yesterday’s Cav’s game.

    It’s nothing but Laker’s fans saying: Kobe had the will to win, Lebron didn’t. That’s the difference between ’em.

    Kobe would never let his teammate shoot the last shot in a game that mattered. That’s why Kobe’s clutch and LBJ isn’t.

    It doesn’t matter that Lebron had an amazing line, the loss is 100% on him.

    Ad f’n nauseum.

    They’d be absolutely killing him if turned the ball over like Kobe did in the crunch time.

    The jump ball thing was very very minor. Anytime your making vague hypothetical arguments like player A could have backed up had player B not been in his vicinity… you’re stretching it.

    Anyways- I’m done. Let’s hope the next game we don’t have to discuss this kind of stuff.


  42. Second straight 50-50 game, the ball didn’t bounce our way tonight. Looks like this thing will be a dog fight – i’d feel a whole lot better about the series if we took game 3. I’ll be avoiding sports media all day tomorrow.

    Laker fans everywhere will be piling on Dfish tonight… I just don’t understand what’s going on with him. I can see he just is not the same guy physically, but mentally, he is making bad decisions. One example tonight was the late 2-1 fastbreak he ran with Ariza. Instead of splitting the defender and forcing him to make a decision, he passed it way too early, and Ariza was fouled and went 1-2 at the line. That situation could easily have been a dunk or even an and-1.


  43. Underbruin-
    I just hate it when refs in any sport miss calls that aren’t judgement related. Is the man/ball on the proper side of the line? It’s a simple question really. Oh, well. Another day.


  44. j. d. hastings May 21, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Ugh. Okay now that I’ve put my hand through a couple walls. Yes, the Lakers could have done themselves some favors by guarding Linas Kleinas at any point, and Sasha and Fisher’s shots both going MIA is a huge problem. AND I don’t understand why Farmar (who I thought played well in the 2nd quarter) or Bynum didn’t get more chances in the 2nd half.

    And if I missed early calls that favored the lakers, then I guess I have to accept the make ups, but I can’t accept calling Gasol for a foul when Billups leaps sideways into him as Gasol stands still, and I can’t accept 3 separate refs ignoring an egregious jump ball violation on the most important possession of the game. Without those two plays, the lakers still might have lost, but with them they didn’t really have a chance and had to start fouling, so barely had a chance.


  45. Joe A. Dude you are comparing ESPN fan boards to this forum. Nobody on this board ever said that. And, IMO Kobe played incredibly well in the clutch tonight. Better than Lebron did yesterday, because Lebron did miss several free throws in the last seconds. But neither did the Lakers lose because of Kobe nor did the Cavs lose because of Lebron.


  46. Joe A-

    Not to be a jerk about it, but who really cares what a bunch of yahoos who claim to be Lakers fans said on the ESPN boards about LeBron and the Cavs? Those boards have been pretty awful almost since their inception. Besides… The ECF is the ECF and the WCF is the WCF.

    How can you say a jump ball in the offensive half with 19 seconds left down two is “minor”?


  47. As much as the drinks are hitting me, the lack of a finish at the end is killing me. I hope Hollinger has a 2,000 word column tomorrow about getting the ball into Kobe’s hands in that situation.

    Granted, it is not easy when Anthony is guarding him, but there are five seconds on an in bounds, and Walton freaked out and inbounded too early.

    When he passed in, we still had 2-3 seconds left on the in-bounds clock. If we had two seconds, Kobe still has time to cut from the weak side and get off a last shot. We all have seen Kobe finish off so many opponents. The final Laker possession couldn’t possibly frustrate me more. Phil is the coach I’d want on my team, but I’d like to see an assistant step up and give a play that would make a difference.


  48. Joe A – I understand your desire not to get into the whole LeBron/Kobe thing. I agree. I’ll simply respond – I’m not interested in what the ESPN boards have to say. I’m more interested in the national media discourse, as they tend to actually drive commentary more than the average fan. And the most common theme I saw was “LeBron awesome, teammates shrink from moment, SUPAHMAN, etc”. I think we’re talking about 2 different groups of commentators on that one.

    As for the jump ball thing, I think this is an ‘agree to disagree’ item. I just rewatched the clip, and Melo doesn’t even really contest Trevor’s corralling of the ball, only Smith does, which is what gets him off-balance and moving the wrong way – he doesn’t have to jump forward to bring in the ball otherwise, and at such a crucial juncture that missed call could have made a big different. I don’t think we’re too far off here, in that there’s still a thousand-and-one ways the Lakers lose that game. But I do believe that Smith’s presence on that side of the court caused the TO, and was due to a procedural violation that was pretty blatant to boot.

    Anyway, I certainly am right with you in the hope about Game 3.


  49. Well the discussion was about public perception, wasn’t it? Because I don’t see anyone on these forums saying the bad things about Kobe that people here are complaining about either…


  50. I actually don’t remember Smush Parker playing as poorly as Derek Fisher right now, and I HATED Smush Parkers game.

    It’s not just the missed 3’s either, it’s the inability to fight thru picks, the inablity to make an interior pass, and the fact he’s a huge liability on fast breaks because he might be the worst NBA finisher in history.


  51. I know that after any loss it’s natural to try and assign blame..Gasol? Fisher? Odom? Phil? The refs? Okay, I guess. Some or all of them could have done some different things that potentially change the result.

    However, from my perspective, we just didn’t do enough to win. Based off how the game was being called, we fouled too much. As a team, we went away from what worked in the first half (on offense and defense). I mean, where were the the cuts? Where was the ball movement? Where was the trapping? Where was position D? All of those things were sporadic or non existent in the second half, especially in the closing minutes. Like I said, we didn’t do enough. All credit to Denver for playing with poise and making the plays that they needed to in order to win.

    Also, look at the difference in bench production from last game to this game. In game one we outscored them 27-16. This past game that difference was only 22-21 in our favor. And then Kleiza made a huge impact for them and we didn’t have that one defining performance from a support player (besides Ariza, but he’s a starter) to help us get over the hump. You add to that Billups’ tremendous performance and ability to control the game in the final minutes with his ballhandling and FT making and we lost. Really, I’m over it.

    As for the next game and the remainder of the series, we must do a better job of getting our bigs easy buckets. Pau got 17 points on eight shots because he lived at the line. But I’d like to see him actually get some *buckets* rather than get fouled on putbacks or on rebound tries. Don’t get me wrong, those plays are very nice and I don’t want those to end, but I do want him to be able to get up more shots. He’s not shooting because we’re still not running the sets in a manner where he is the guy with the ball in a position to get up a good shot. And that’s the execution that went south in the second half. I also want sustained effort from Drew. Yes he had a nice first half. But where was that same urgency when the third quarter started? It wasn’t there – at least not all the way. And what I see is Phil treating Drew like he treated Farmar after acquiring Brown – if he doesn’t see what he wants from Drew, Phil will pull him and play the guy that contributed to our Finals run and was a major key to our regular season run when Bynum was injured. Phil can live with Odom’s ups and downs because they’re never based off effort. Drew needs to take some notes on that and earn back some of that trust from Phil. From my perspective, if Bynum just goes hard for every minute he’s in the game, he’ll get his number called late in the game. But if he doesn’t show Phil that he’s got that spark, he’ll sit because Phil has another option in LO (just like Phil found he had that other option in Brown). I just wish it wasn’t this time of year where there was so much uncertainty with a guy that (I think we can all agree) we really do need.


  52. #431

    No Underbruin, I’m not expecting Ariza to perform as great offensively every night as he did tonight, but that’s the point really.

    Every team has certain things they expect their players to do *routinely* but not every night (sometimes they’re better, sometimes worse on a given night). Ariza was better tonight on offense, but too many of the role players (Sasha, Farmer, Odom, Fish, etc) aren’t playing up to expectations often enough right now. It’s one reason the Lakers as a team are so inconsistent.


  53. Kurt – If you are moderating like you are, cant you bring the most recently moderated comments to the most recent comments of the blog? That way they don’t get stuck 7 comments behind as the chat progresses.


  54. This is a weird series, with one game looking as if it were a mirror of the other game. But still one thing that struck out the most about this game is Linas Kleiza. If he is out of his season slump against Lakers, then we’re in deep S*^&.


  55. Well Underbruin, find me the media story that gives Kobe the blame for not taking over a game at the end (when he always gets 100% of the credit when he does) and I’ll agree with you.

    You can’t complain about the foibles of other teams fan’s without looking at your own. That’s my one and only point.


  56. Joe A – That’s a tad unfair (“I don’t see anyone on these forums saying the bad things about Kobe that people here are complaining about either…”). This is a Lakers blog. He was saying an LA blog wasn’t putting down LeBron. To really make your point, you should be able to say the same thing about a Cavaliers blog concerning tonight’s game, if you want to be equal in the ‘lack of criticism’ category.


  57. time to cut the cord on fisher. he should not be playing more than 15 min a game.

    pau needs a heart transplant. kobe was a stud tonight.


  58. Underbruin, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

    This is what I was responding too initially:

    “What’s funny is that more than the loss, I dread all the banging on Kobe and talk of “softness” that will take place in the next few days that is totally unwarranted. I feel like Bron got minimal heat for the Cavs loss because his individual line was so good, but if Kobe had the same line tonight…selfish city.”

    All I was saying is that Kobe just gets his benefit of the doubt in other areas (although admittingly my argument did meander a bit)- the whole ‘cold-blooded assassin’ meme that never gets questioned in the Mass media.


  59. Darius – The one thing that worries me, though, is that Pau seems to have lost that 15-footer. Not that he can’t make it at all. But he rarely seems to take it anymore, and it’s nowhere near as automatic as it seemed during stretches in the regular season. He’s hesitating on it, which allows opposing bigs to play off him more and protect against his drive.


  60. A few questions to ask:

    Why does Kobe still have to carry the offense?

    Why is Fisher still our starting point guard? “Experience” does not negate taking bad shots and getting beat by every other point guard in the league.

    Why was Ariza put back into the game so late in the 4th quarter?

    Why is Carmelo allowed to tap Kobe on the forehead, multiple times?

    How could a referee affect the outcome of a game so much?

    What does Gasol have to do in order to avoid a foul if Billups runs into him and falls down?


  61. Comments getting moderated… might show up eventually.

    Anyways, I’m not in the PST, so I’m off to bed.


  62. Night Joe A. Here’s to dreams of a victory in Game 3.


  63. Bruin – He hasn’t lost it, he has just gone away from it. That is a byproduct of the gritty Denver defense. They have a tendency to get teams to play to their pace.

    He still has that shot, he just needs to take it. He needs to know his offensive skills and tendencies. He is a very good shooter. He should stop showing hesitation with pump fakes and just shoot the ball. Make the shot. I think he knows it too, and I think he’ll make a sick showing in Denver.


  64. Adam – From your fingertips to Pau’s ears, one can only hope. =P


  65. Darius,

    Your points are spot on (I mean, when are they not!)

    Gasol’s effort on the offensive glass was fantastic (it’s one area where we can have a distinct advantage against Denver). However, the number of good shots during normal offensive exectution weren’t nearly often enough.

    When Gasol is scoring, and getting good looks, it causes the defense to break down, making it that much easier for others to get good looks. Gasol’s effort wasn’t the problem tonight, but he and the others (plus coaching staff) need to find ways to consistently get Gasol those good shot attempts.

    Gasol had, I believe, 8 shots tonight, and a number of those were on offensive putbacks. He needs more shots.


  66. Bruin – He’ll find that “grace”. Just wait for it..but dont wait for an “i told you so”


  67. Bruin,
    Pau hasn’t been playing his normal offensive game all playoffs. It’s not that he hasn’t been effective, but he just hasn’t been doing all the things he did during the season that made him effective. When the year started and he was playing with Drew, his jumper was very sharp. However when Drew went down he went to more of a post up game and shot a ton of jump hooks and then shot the jumper on step outs off turn and face moves from the mid post. But now that Drew’s back but his minutes are so inconsistent, Pau’s playing some inbetween game that I really don’t recognize right now. He’s not really shooting his jumphook and relying on a turnaround jumper that is a decent shot but not his money shot. And while he’s found some of his spin moves against Birdman, he’s still not using his full arsenal. Also (and maybe I buried the lead some on this), Pau doesn’t have that explosive first step that he had during the regular season. I noticed this against Utah, but thought that Boozer was just doing a good job on him. But it’s been three straight series now and I’m seeing the same things. With a diminished first step, players are now able to play a bit closer to him and challenge his jumper more. And not only that, he’s not making guys pay by driving by him. Anyways, I just wish he’d go more to his jumphook just because he’s got plenty of counter moves off that shot and it makes him so much more difficult to guard with that full arsenal.


  68. Darius – You think he’s finally wearing down? (Trying to bring that lede out for ya!)


  69. 432. Underbruin, I’m not even going to argue with you about the jump ball play, because you’re apparently not going to stop talking about it. Let’s just say I disagree with you that that play was on JR, or that it made such a huge difference.

    As for the Gasol argument, I was defending him for the missed free throws in the context of costing us the game. Could he have played a better game? Sure. So could’ve a lot of other people. He wasn’t the reason we lost.

    I do agree with your comments in 451 about his jump shot failing him. He’s hesitating in the post as well, which is probably why he couldn’t get very many shots off.


  70. Everyone relax this wasn’t one of those horrible losses like the ones we experienced to the Rockets. This was just 3 points, and quite frankly it could’ve swung either way. If any team is capable of winning on the road, it’s the Lakers. I think they will at least split in Denver.

    However, the funny part about these past 2 games have been the irony.

    Did anyone notice, how LA stole the game from Denver in game 1, and in game 2, Denver stole the game from LA? Guess it makes a fun story line for the NBE (National Basketball Entertainment).

    The score at halftime almost worked the same way; LA had a big lead and gave it up to 1; in game 1, Denver had a big lead and gave it up to LA to lead by 1.

    The huge Trevor Ariza steal changed the momentum of the game. Tonight, even though he played good, he turned the ball over in the last seconds.

    I dont even know what to say about the refs anymore. I think it’s pathetic what the NBA is trying to do. Quite frankly, I’ve talked to a lot of people who believe that the NBA does this on purpose to make the series longer. This was very much LA’s game and if it wasn’t for that STUPID 2nd quarter brain fart we could’ve won easily.

    Before everyone starts complaining just relax. If Denver can win in LA for the first time in 12 tries, we can win in Pepsi Center.

    We basically did everything that we did right in the 1st half, wrong in the second half.

    Gasol, Fisher, an Odom really need to step up, it has become unbearable to watch.

    And Phil jackson has to play bynum more, it’s common sense. I dont care what you have against the guy, you are trying to win a championship, not to become friends.

    BTW, Ron artest was at the game, that guy is BAD LUCK haha

    We got game 3!


  71. Darius, is this that first step you’re talking about?



  72. The reason why Gasol hasn’t been getting his jumper going is because he hasn’t tried to. He has not been agressive. He has focused on defense and rebounding more, diverting to Kobe on offense. This is leaving him hesitant when he gets the ball on a well operated pick and pop. That hesitation hurts LA. Next time he gets the ball with space, I expect him to shoot it and make it.


  73. Bruin,
    While that’s not my argument, it’s not something I’m dismissing. Despite the fact that Pau is an amazing athlete in terms of endurance, he’s played more high level basketball over the past two year period than in any other time of his pro career. Last NBA season, he played 87 games including the playoffs. Then over the summer he barely rested before joining his national team for the Olympics. This season he played in 81 regular season games (the majority of those at Center) and has now played in another 14 playoff games (for a total of 95 games!). That’s a lot of ball. Like I said, I’m not conceding that he’s worn down, but I’m not dismissing it either. It’s just one more reason that I’m with Kurt on Bynum (and not Odom or our PG play) being the X factor in this series. Drew is the guy that can take some pressure off Pau in the paint on offense and defense and on the glass. And it’s that presence that can decide a series, especially one with good, but foul prone players in the opposing front court.


  74. Don – I’m on record earlier as believing that Fisher was the biggest contributor to the loss. They were all involved, even Bryant (that fumble to the jump ball ended up being super-costly, obvs – he tried to split the double-team one too many times).

    I just feel like Gasol isn’t taking advantage of some of the looks he -is- getting. There was a possession late in the game (I think it was after Brown chased down a long rebound) that Gasol ended up with the ball WIDE open 8 feet from the hoop, but he passed it to Odom who got a bit of a bailout foul. I may be remembering the full sequence wrong, but I do remember Gasol having an absolutely fantastic look and passing it up. If you’re the #2 on a championship team, you have to get up a shot there.


  75. Stat of the night: Lakers not named Bryant were 6 of 24 outside the paint, 1 of 5 in the fourth quarter.

    And Phil clearly still trusts Fisher more than Brown or Farmar. Which makes me both sad and nervous.


  76. Bynum had 1 foul and he only got 18 minutes?
    “Lakers outscore Nuggets 36-18 in the first half keyed by Bynum, are outscored 20-16 in the second with ‘Drew on the bench.”

    And when will Phil finally listen to me and put Lamar on Melo


  77. Bruin, Darius,

    It’s possible that Pau is worn down some, but his effort and energy on both defense and the glass was solid. It seems to me if he were seriously worn down those areas of effort would decrease before his effort at getting shots would.

    I wonder, sometimes, if even great players like Pau can just become hesitant offensively because they’re so concerned with taking bad shots and hurting their team in the playoffs (especially if they haven’t been deep into the playoffs alot). It can be easy to say to yourself not to ‘force’ the issue, and wait for a ‘better’ shot which doesn’t come. This could even be more true when on a team with a SuperStar like Kobe, where you don’t want to take shots away from him by ‘wasting’ a possession with a ‘bad’ shot.

    I”m just spit-balling, really! Pau just needs to take more good shots. He has the talent.


  78. That was the worst game I’ve ever seen Fisher have, the problem is that’s the third time I’ve said that this playoffs. I think he’s gassed physically, that can be the only explanation for his game completely falling apart like this.

    Phil Jackson has to decide if the Lakers can win an NBA championship with Derek fisher as your starting point guard


  79. Darius – Also, he’s been the minutes-played leader on the team for the season, to boot! That’s my biggest worry with regards to his sluggishness (and I do think you’re right, he has slowed a half-step). That he’s just wearing down a bit. Kobe has made “making an impact while taking half the game off” almost into an art form. Gasol doesn’t have that luxury in multiple ways (less experience, defensive assignment in the paint, more time with the bench mob), so I could easily see him just getting tired – the short rest after the Houston series probably didn’t help.

    I definitely think Bynum’s important. But PG play has basically been the determining factor for the Lakers this playoffs, it seems. When the Lakers, a) get good minutes from theirs, or b) hold down the production of their opponents’, they seem to win:

    UTA 1 – DWill goes 4-14.
    UTA 2 – Williams goes off, but ShanWOW has a stellar 15 minutes
    UTA 3 – Fish and Brown a combined 4-12 (no Farmar) – though admittedly Williams didn’t dominate this game
    UTA 4 – Fish and Brown score combined 22 points on 13 shots, while DW goes 6-14.
    UTA 5 – Williams goes 4-12 for 14/6/2 with 4 TOs (easily his weakest game of the series)

    HOU 1 – Brooks rolls (7-14 for 19), while Fish goes 3-10 and Brown and Farmar vanish.
    HOU 2 – Brooks and Lowry combine for 5-22 and 13 points, while Fish/Brown score 19 on 12 shots.
    HOU 3 – Farmar and Brown play stellar (20 points on 9 FGA, Jordan with a 12/7/5 with 1 TO). Brooks has just 7.
    HOU 4 – Everything went wrong. But Brooks was by far Houston’s best player (12-20 for 34/4/3). Fisher was awful (1-4 for 2/0/2), Farmar was meh, Brown was good in mostly garbage time long after the game was over.
    HOU 5 – Brooks and Lowry combine for 5/18, 6 asst, 3 rebs. Though Fish struggles, Farmar and Brown both play well, Jordan in particular (4 of 7 for 12/6/2 with 1 TO).
    HOU 6 – Fish sucks again (1 of 7, 2 pts, 1 asst). Brown struggles (0/3, 1 reb, 1 asst). Farmar actually played well (5/10 for 13 pts), but again largely in garbage time. Brooks goes off for 26/4/3 on only 13(!) shots.
    HOU 7 – Only game this series where PG play didn’t correlate with the winners. Brooks was bad, Lowry was good, Lakers got nothing.

    DEN 1 – Billups was okay, but 5/13 for 18 points is far from his best game. Fish had one of his best games in the playoffs, with 13 points (on 13 shots, mind), but also with 6 AST and a couple boards.
    DEN 2 – Fish was Bee Are You Tee Ay Ell – BRUTAL. Billups was great (27 points on 15 shots and money late). Brown was okay, but not stellar (8 points on 3/8, 2 reb, 1 asst, so/so defense). Farmar was an afterthought (6 mins).

    I’d say out of the 14 games, 13 correlate almost entirely with the fluctuations of point guard play.

    Also, Fisher has been horrific this entire playoffs. I didn’t realize just how bad until I looked at the box scores:

    31/84 (36.9%) FG – 9/37 (24.3%) 3Pt – 2.33 AST/G – 1.75 Reb/G, in just under 27 minutes a game.

    Getting good minutes from Bynum is important, true. But Fish is a sub-replacement level PG right now, by a wide margin. Brown and Farmar have both been far better.


  80. Laker fans complaining about the last jump ball, don’t forget the refs blew the initial call. It should have been nene and gasol, not billups, and if it is nene the nuggets win the tip anyway.


  81. Hey Andy, hypotheticals are for bored people. Allow the truth to seep in as is appropriate. Just know the Lakers aren’t slowing down a bit


  82. Well, I’m certainly glad the refs are in a conspiracy for the Lakers, otherwise not one but two Nuggets might be putting up Dwayne Wade-like free throw numbers… oh wait, they are? Nevermind then.

    More seriously, the Lakers are kind of depressing right now. This is not the same team with Fisher, Farmar and Vujacic all non factors. We need those guys to hit shots, or we’re extremely hard pressed to win this series.


  83. I can’t get passed the media insisting LA can’t win in Denver. Gentlemen, give me a break. We swept them last year, and don’t tell me that doesn’t matter a bit. I know we aren’t facing the same team, and our team knows that. The truth is, if we can’t win in Denver, we aren’t a championship team. It’s our turn to prove our worth. We’re about to define the word amazing


  84. actually, ignore my last sentence of rambling


  85. Underbruin, those were some very interesting PG stats, I believe we may go down because of PJ’s insistency of keeping Fisher at the helm this year, but so be it, he is the coach not the fans, right?, and I certainly do not have 9 rings to my name. I sincerely hope I am wrong with what I just said about the Lakers this year.


  86. We are winning in Denver. Who doubts it? A minimum of one game and possibly both of them.

    I don’t think a lot of people realize that the Lakers are not only a good team on an objective level, they are a team that knows how to get good when it counts.

    I think a lot of people are underestimating players like Kobe or Gasol. Kobe is the best player on the planet and he’s obsessed with winning a ring this year. Gasol is one of the most skilled and experienced international players ever and has a World Championship gold medal, an Olympic silver medal and European Championship silver medal hanging from a picture’s frame corner on his living room.

    If anything, we have entirely too much talent in one team. People are not getting enough minutes to explode and get confidence. That is one of the reasons we’ve lost some games along the stretch. If people like Sasha or Farmar can manage to climb out of the slumps they’re in, and Bynum gets back in shape, the are no basketball team on this planet that can beat the Lakers.


  87. From the post-game press conferences with Phil and Kobe: The last play of the game was designed to go to Fisher because Jackson thought Denver would foul Kobe as soon as he caught the ball and they needed a three.

    It came very close to working, except for a great play by Nene to get a piece of the ball. And say what you want about Fisher, but he hit two critical short-corner threes in game 1.

    FWIW, someone asked Kobe point blank whether he wanted the ball on that last play, and I thought he answered the question well in saying that, while of course he always wants the ball, he thought it was the right play and he’d do it again.


  88. In game 1 the Lakers executed better down the stretch, got some lucky bounces and made their FTs. In Game two Denver executed better, got the beneifit of some calls and lucky bounces and made their FTs. In games this close its all about execution and the team that executed better has won both games. No reason the Lakers can’t win in Denver, but someone will have to make some outside shots. I think Brown and Farmar should probably get some more minutes. I just think Fisher’s body is worn out and its affecting his shot and decision making.


  89. 488

    1. It came nowhere near close to working. With 4.3 sec on the clock, Fish receives the pass and immediately turns and goes into a shooting motion like he thought there was 0.4 sec on the clock. Nene only put him (& us) out of his (& our) misery. The final terrible decision that capped a game full of him making terrible decisions in pretty much all aspects of the game. I’m outright shocked at Fish.

    2. Kobe did kinda say that, but I don’t remember him saying “it was the right play”. I also thought it was odd that he referred to him as “Fisher”. It’s always “Derek” or “Fish” with Kobe. I may be reaching there. In any event, that last play call was a terrible coaching decision that capped a game full of terrible coaching decisions. I’m beyond shocked at PJ.


  90. What is up with Pau and pressure freethrows? This has been going on since last year. Missing freethrows in the 4th qtr. was huge last night. When the Lakers missed I could just feel Denver telling themselves, they don’t want this game so lets take it from them. I know Pau was not the only one missing and I’m not blaming him for the loss, but you can just see him breaking down mentally as he shrugs his shoulders and blows into his hands. I’m saying to myself here comes a miss lol.


  91. @ 437,

    JR Smith actually over ran the play and went right between Melo & Ariza. It was a violation but it had no effect on the play. Melo’ put pressure (or tripped) Ariza.


  92. I’m very discouraged as a Laker fan. Of the four teams remaining, the Lakers are playing the worst basketball. Yet they’re the ones with arguably the highest expectations, which only compounds their problem. DEN and ORL have already progressed beyond last year — they’re essentially playing with house money — and CLE is looking to go further and has every reason to believe they will. The Lakers are only hoping to get back to where they were, and looking very uncertain doing it. The psychology is very bad for them.

    Their inconsistency which fans have been trying to rationalize away is real and not going away. There’s a reason they took 7 games against a seriously undermanned Houston team. Their role players are not going to miraculously step up. The best you can hope is one player other than Kobe and Gasol plays well. That is, if Phil doesn’t bench them.

    Even the two guys carrying them are not the same players last year. Kobe has lost a step, I believe, and Gasol is looking uncertain. He’s not taking/making the 15’er that used to be automatic and missing FTs. I think he’s also run down from the huge minutes he’s played all season long. Why did he get only 8 shots? It’s been a problem all year and I don’t see them suddenly working it out.

    They have more talent than heart and grit. Where did the team of that amazing road trip vanish to? They deserve the soft label. Laying a guy out doesn’t change that; it just looks like overcompensation. It’s not just about being physical; it’s about collectively sucking it up and getting it done.

    and I’m sick of Phil being beyond reproach b/c he has 9 rings. A little thought experiment: where would they be now if, say, Popovitch had been their coach all year?

    Nothing would make me happier if the lakers made me eat my words. But at this point I think we’re looking at Denver in 6.


  93. Bruin,
    I think PG play is important as well. And just like during the Houston series, I’m not going to defend Fish – he’s playing poorly. However, we know that PG is not a strong position on our team. Even if Farmar/Brown (or Fish) are playing well, we would never say that we’ve got an advantage over Deron or Billups (and maybe even Brooks with the way that he’s improved and also considering his specific strengths as a player and how those are the things that we struggle to defend). But we would never say that we were at a disadvantage with Bynum at Center. I think we would all agree that we’ve looked at Bynum all year as a player that is a difference maker and a key to us winning a title. Not as *the* main guy, but as a guy that is capable of doing things on offense and defense that lessen the load for Kobe/Gasol. And while we get that some nights, other nights we don’t. I think Phil could play him more, but I can rationalize why he doesn’t – if I was a coach, I might sit him too. So like I said, I agree that our PG play has been below standard and that we need steady production from that spot (but that’s the same with any position). However, Bynum is a guy that we *need* in order to advance. So to me he’s the X factor.


  94. After sleeping last night, my referee hate has toned down to referee regret – regret at the state of the league for fostering such inconsistent and often incompetent refereeing despite continual fan protests. Sometimes I wonder if I would still care about the NBA if Kobe wasn’t around (because it seems like it sure doesn’t care about me). But that’s a separate discussion.

    What I wanted to address is that sometimes the ball just bounces the other way and you lose. I’m thinking of 2 instances in particular – one play in the 1st half where kobe and ariza had knocked the ball loose and were heading downcourt, but Luke (i think it was him) was unable to recover it and outlet, so instead of being a 2 on 0 fast break it ended up being a Kleiza wide-open corner 3. 5 point swing. And, of course, Chauncey penetrating late, not finding anyone, throwing it up for grabs, the ball somehow ending up in Nene’s hands who hits Kmart wide-open for the layin. When we’re not recovering those loose balls, I guess we don’t really deserve to win.

    Also, In game 3, I really hope we initiate our offense with a sense of purpose and much much earlier, preferably with a pass to Gasol. With Chauncey at the helm, the Nuggets rarely had awful offensive possessions, where they pounded the ball on the perimeter until 5 secs on the shot clock, then jacked up some wild contested shot. We did, especially in the 4th, and that was a huge blow.


  95. I was interested in getting some statistical evidence to back confirm/deny a claim i see kicked around sometimes.

    Does Gasol shrink in the playoffs?
    Obviously his free throw % drops, but what about everything else. So I calculated his per minute production numbers based on what he’s given the Lakers (I didn’t include anything pre-Lakers. )

    Here you go:

    Reg Play Change
    FG 0.20 0.17 -14.6%
    FGA 0.35 0.32 -9.4%
    Pts 0.52 0.44 -15.3%
    Reb 0.25 0.26 1.6%
    blocks 0.03 0.05 49.9%
    ast. 0.10 0.08 -13.6%
    FT 0.12 0.10 -17.9%
    FTA 0.15 0.14 -7.1%
    FG% 57.3% 54.0% -5.8%
    FT% 77.4% 68.4% -11.7%

    I will add that I think it’s not uncommon for player’s stats to slightly dip somewhat Reg season to playoffs. Kobe’s do to for example- and no one is going to claim he shrinks in the playoffs.


  96. KD is amazing. Everyone should be reading his recaps. He even convinced me that PJ’s play for Fish on the last play was nothing short of a very good call.


  97. Sorry- it’s hard to format these things in the comment box:

    Reg / Play / Change
    FG: 0.20 / 0.17 / -14.6%
    FGA: 0.35 / 0.32 / -9.4%
    Pts: 0.52 / 0.44 / -15.3%
    Reb: 0.25 / 0.26 / 1.6%
    blocks: 0.03 / 0.05 / 49.9%
    ast.: 0.10 / 0.08 / -13.6%
    FT: 0.12 / 0.10 / -17.9%
    FTA: 0.15 / 0.14 / -7.1%


  98. Do you guys think the heavy minutes that Pau had played during the reg season after Andrew was injured is affecting his play right now? Granted, JVG mentioned that he’s one of the best big men in the NBA that can sustain high-minutes of action, but he looked out of gas towards the end of the 4th quarter.

    Also, I never thought I’d say this, but Kobe looked tired last night as well. Yes, he split the double-team beautifully for that game-tying jumper, but on the next possession, Nene was able to swipe in at the ball when Kobe tried to split the double-team once again. And the two tough 3’s Kobe made in that 4th quarter was a reminder of his talents, but also showed that he was tired and did not want to attack the basket.


  99. The Fish point appears to have been covered, but I’d also like to throw this out there: I think teams are baiting him to go to the rim. I can only think of three consistent below the rim finishers in the league (Parker, CP3, Monta Ellis) off the top of my head, but regardless of how many there are, D Fish is not one of them, yet I have consistently seen him drive into the lane only to get smothered. He is definitely tired. The mind is the first thing to go and I feel like we might be able to absorb his struggling shot but not his uncharacteristically bad decision making.

    That pass he tried to make when he was open for three to Pau underneath wasn’t necessarily a bad decision, but he made it off balance and it never had a chance of getting to Pau.

    Bottom line: Sasha (does he even hit his shots at 10 AM anymore?) Bynum and Fisher are struggling mightily. If one of those three returns on any given night, I think we can win in 6 or 7. If two or more come back to form, Denver’s won its last game of the season. If none come back, we are in BIG TROUBLE.

    Finally: The JR Smith violation on the jump doesn’t bother me nearly as much as Carmelo SHOVING ARIZA to the ground after he retrieved the ball. One second Ariza is upright with two hands on the ball, the next he is on his face and Denver is racing up court.


  100. Turning point: Up by 7, about to go up 9 D-Fish goes on an unauthorized drive to the hoop. Denver comes down and scores (67-62), D-Fish proceeds to make 2 more unauthorized drives to the hoop and Denver is right back in the game. I know the team made lots of mistakes and the refs sucked, but we had a chance to put them away in the 3rd quarter, and good Phil Jackson teams put people away in the 3rd quarter.


  101. It’s almost as if Derek Fisher read somewhere how he’s a terrible finisher and is determined to prove them wrong. That’s the only explanation for his forays to the rim. To me it’s the equivilent of somebody telling Pau Gasol he’s a bad three point shooter so he proceeds to jack up ill-advised 3’s to show his game is “well rounded”.

    I’ve haven’t like Fishers shot selection the whole year, but now since he can’t hit anything it’s a disaster.


  102. I think Fisher thinks his reputation among the referees is such that any ill-advised, unauthorized drives to the hoop will automatically draw fouls. Which is ridiculous, because no ref is going to bail out (or should bail out) drives as out of control and hopeless as Fish’s.


  103. Excellent information Joe. A. This does not surprise me at all. I think that most thin framed low post players(Gasol/Odom) will struggle offensively in the playoffs against physical defenders because they have trouble obtaining and keeping good low post position against muscular defender. I think both of these players will struggle offensively from this point on(as they did in the Houston series), not because they don’t have enough heart, or skill but because they dont have enough muscle/weight.

    To me this again illustrates our single biggest tactical error in this playoff run so far. That is the notion that Bynum (in the fouth quarter of games) is not essential to our success. The fourth quarter is when you need him the most. He is our only low post player with enough weight and musle to hold low post postion. This put tremendous pressure on the undersized Denver defenders.

    I know he blew a couple of defensive assignments to start the third quarter. I believe that PJ was right to pull him initially. But PJ definitely made a tactical error in not going back to him after his point was made.

    There is no point in treating Bynum as if we can do without him this year. We will not servive this series without his size and strength in the fourth quarters of the next few games. In addition, we have no chance without him (in fourth quarters) if we are lucky enough to advance and find Dwight Howard waiting for us.


  104. Referees know that Fisher is a bad finisher so they are not able to bail him out when he’s driving recklessly to the cup, and I don’t blame them either


  105. Archon/Wisegloat: I think both of you guys are right. My problem is, Fish is displaying insane behavior: doing the same thing over and over and hoping for different results. At this point, it is close to the time where he has to be the bigger man (ala Luke) and tell Phil he shouldn’t be starting (or finishing games).

    There is no more time to hope he snaps out of it, and the same is applies to Sasha. These two guys were so key last year, they opened up the whole floor. Now they are killing the Lakers on offense, not only with their misses, but with their shot “selection”.


  106. And I know Fish hit a couple big shots in Game 1, still, that doesn’t change my feelings about his PT and his contribution. I love Fish, and has served the Lakers proudly, but he is hurting the team right now.


  107. “Unauthorized”… I like that one. Unfortunately, everything Fish did last night was fully sanctioned. The last 5 min confirmed that.

    This is Fish’s 13th year, he’s a champion. Why is he trying to make plays he’s not capable of in the WCF? He’s the worst finishing PG in the L. That’s not even a knock, it’s a fact. Play within yourself. I can’t fathom what he thought he was doing last night. My Fisher jersey is in my closet right now, but hurting the team is hurting the team.


  108. I suggested this lineup after Game 1, so it is not in reaction to the loss, rather the matchups. Why don’t we try to use a backcourt of Ariza and Kobe and let Luke play the 3. This way Walton can play Melo, Kobe can guard Billups and Ariza can roam off of Jones or guard JR. I think Walton has been our best defender on Melo and I think Kobe has been our best defender on Billups. I also think Walton can help get the ball in the post on O and post up players smaller than him.


  109. I don’t know why Phil will not play Bynum more. When he was in the game, the Lakers lead most of the time. Bynum is a plus for the Lakers. Let the Nuggets adjust to our roster instead of playing to what they have. I have questioning Phil’s coaching decisions. He should play Shannon Brown instead of Fisher. FIsher is a veteran and the Lakers can use the veteran leadership on the bench. The team that should be on the floor for the Lakers should be Shannon Brown, Kobe, Lamar, Bynum, and Gasol. That is still an athletic team, where every person can be a threat on offense and can also be very effective on defense. This is a championship lineup.


  110. I agree that Bynum should get more minutes and Pau should get more shots. But both of those guys complaining in the press concerns me a bit. Hopefully that gets cleared up, and quickly.


  111. how about Bynum calling out the SSZ?


  112. I think one of the Laker’s problems is that they don’t have a go to vet in support.

    When I say go to what I mean is a guy you know is very unlikely to make mistakes when it counts. Not going to take over the game- but will make a big play here or there without the equalizing mistake here and there.

    Think Robert Horry.

    Think PJ Brown/Posey on the celts last year. Bowen on the Spurs.

    The lakers supporting cast are all capable one way or another of making a big play- but how many of them can you trust to not make a bonehead mistake in return?

    I think having a player along these lines would be a big help for the Lakers. Imagine for example if you could swap Powell for Joe Smith, etc…

    Maybe those types of players are actually few and far between?


  113. I don’t know what Phil is thinking right now? He is losing his Zen. I can’t believe he is starting to praise other coaches. There is no killer instinct in Phil anymore which is affecting the team. Someone should ignite a fuse under Phil to get him to coach the right way.


  114. Kwame a. I like that starting line up. Melo needs a stronger defender on him. He is a great scorer so we can only hope that luke could slow him down. Trevor and Kobe are both good help defenders.


  115. Lamar Odom should be guarding Carmelo. Odom has the length that will bother Carmelo and the strength to pound Carmelo. Odom is quicker than you think.


  116. Joe. A. The Lakers have everything they need on this roster to win a championship this year. But to do this we must trust the Farmers/Browns/and Bynums. If we trust them now they will make mistakes, but in the end I think they will deliver.


  117. I hesitate to critique Phil Jackson since he’s one of the most successful coaches in professional sports, I will say that he’s giving some players a longer leash then one would expect. For example,

    Sasha: If I were the coach I couldn’t in good faith play Sasha anymore, it’s almost 100 games into the season I think we have enough of a sample to say Sasha isn’t coming out of his shooting slump this year, and needs to spend the summer evaluating his game and working on his jumper. I think his shot selection last night was a slap in the face to his teammates too, I suspect last night was the straw with Phil, we will see…

    Fisher: He has many playoff scars and has been a valuable contributor on championship teams but you cannot win an NBA championship with your starting point guard playing the way Fish is playing, you just can’t.

    Walton: I understand why he’s playing, he is the only guy other than Kobe that can consistently make a pass into the post, but teams aren’t even guarding him, does his superior passing make up for his lack of shooting touch, I wonder….

    Lakers are getting nothing from 3 of their top 8 players, and we don’t know game to game what we will get from everyone else besides Gasol and Kobe. It might be time to shorten the rotation and force Bynum to play through his issues…


  118. I’m not saying they are incapable of winning with the current team. I am just speaking of a theoretical that I think would make them better. Trying to identify a weak-point as an intellectual exercise.

    Speaking on how talent is not as one-dimensional as the best plays a player can make.

    Anyways, It would be much more reassuring to rely on someone who has consistently delivered in the past then someone who we are hoping will in the future.


  119. I am convinced that if we continue to rely so heavily on our underachieving veterans we will come up short.


  120. Instead of talent in that last post you could also substitute skill:

    Speaking on how ‘skill’ is not as one-dimensional as the best plays a player can make.


  121. Finally a new post up.


  122. Don’t get me wrong khjohn. I’m not trying to find an excuse for playing Fish. He definitely not the kind of mistake free vet I’m talking about.

    In some seasons past maybe, but not now. A big part of it is knowing to not do more than you’re capable of.


  123. Lebron saves the Cavs season!!! But I want to see If the media will criticize them like they do the Lakers for blowing leads.