Preview & Chat: Lakers & Cavs

Kurt —  December 25, 2009

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Records: Lakers 23-4 (1st in West) Cavaliers 22-8 (3rd in West)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 108 (12th in league), Cavaliers 109.5 (8th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 99.2 (1st in league) Cavaliers 103.3 (6th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Cavaliers: Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, LeBron James, JJ Hickson, Shaq

Happy Holidays: As Ramona Shelborn reminded us, today we celebrate something very special: The 24th anniversary of Rocky defeating Ivan Drago in Moscow. There is probably something else, too.

Whatever you choose to celebrate, I want to wish you a happy holidays and I hope that Santa and 2010 bring you everything your heart desires. Thank you for being part of the community here, and it is going to be a fun next six months (and beyond) at FB&G.

Now grab an egg nog, sit down and let’s talk hoops.

Quick Lakers notes: The Lakers will be at full strength, that includes Kobe who said he knee was fine.

Pau Gasol officially signed his deal, which will likely be worth about $57 million ($7 million less than had been reported before). The first thing is that the formal amount will not be known until the new CBA kicks in for the 2011 season (there’s still the tinsy little matter of negotiations) as that will set maximum raise and other thing that could tweak the deal. The good news that over the course of the contract, Gasol took less in raises — and far less than he might of made on the open market — to stay in Los Angeles. With guys like LO and Artest also playing for what might be below market value in their eyes, the Lakers have a team of guys willing to sacrifice to keep winning. That is an impressive thing.

Keys to game: Artest on LeBron, now that is a Christmas Day present I’m excited about. It is going to be fun to watch.

One other simple key to watch: The Cavs are the best three point shooting team in the NBA at 42.3%. The Lakers are the best at defending the three in the league, opponents shoot just 30.1% against them. If one team controls this area, huge advantage.

Great note from John at Cavs the Blog on the Lakers defense (and something to think about with LeBron attacking the rim):

Here’s the oddest thing about how the Lakers play defense. Even though the goal of almost every NBA offense is to get shots at the rim, the Lakers allow more shots at the rim per game than any other team in the league, and still manage to have the best defense in the league. There are two reasons for this. First of all, the Lakers are extremely good at defending shots at the rim; only the Cavs and Celtics allow a lower field goal percentage on close shots than the Lakers’ mark of 56.7%. Second, and even more important, the Lakers don’t foul. They only allow 25.6 free throw attempts per game, which is tied for the lowest mark in the league.

The Cavs offense is a lot of high screen and roll action, with LeBron and Mo Williams when he is out. It’s effective, the Cavs spread the floor with shooters and LeBron will make the pass when the defense collapses. In overtime against Sacramento, the Cavaliers offense was fairly simple and unimaginative, but it worked: LeBron would drive and the Cavs spread the floor. The key was this — Kings bigs would go to protect the rim, and Big Z would stand in the corner where he’d drain the corner three. (Ohh, sorry Joel, “short corner three.”) You have to stay on him out there, he is one of the Cavs better outside shooters.

JJ Hickson starts on Pau Gasol: Biggest mismatch on the floor. From Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus:

I’ve railed about this before, but J.J. Hickson simply is not a very good basketball player at this stage in his career, which makes it odd that he is starting and playing 19 minutes a game for the Cavaliers. They are 10.0 points worse per 100 possessions on defense with Hickson in the game, and the upgrade he offers on Anderson Varejao as a partner for Shaquille O’Neal in the frontcourt comes nowhere near offsetting this problem. Hickson should also never be let anywhere near Zydrunas Ilgauskas).

Shaq hasn’t been the defensive disaster many (myself included) expected, but the lineups when he is on the floor are not as strong offensively. It’s a spacing issue, there is just more traffic in the paint and less spreading of the floor when he is out there.

Frankly, the best lineup I’ve seen the Cavs run is a small lineup — LeBron at the four, Varejao as center. They spread the floor with three guards who can knock down shots and they are much quicker and more athletic. We’ll see how the Lakers adjust, hopefully by making them pay a price in the paint with Gasol or Bynum.

Where you can watch: I don’t know if you picked up on the subtle promotions, but ABC will have this game. Starts at 2 Pacific (check out Boston/Orlando, too, that one should be fun).



133 responses to Preview & Chat: Lakers & Cavs

  1. How do you guys think L.A. matches up with that small-ball lineup Cleveland has been throwing out there recently? Mo-Boobie-Delonte-LeBron-Andy? How do we come at that? I say Fish/Farmer/Brown-Kobe-Ron-Odom-Gasol? With Odom guarding one of the guards. They aren’t beat you off the dribble guards anyway (Delonte will make a move to the rim more than the other two will), and Odom is one of the more mobile big men in the league – although then again he is not used to defending on the perimeter.

  2. merry christmas fb&g community!

    anyways, all i really asked for this christmas was a lakers (and titans) win. i cant wait for the game to start.

    oh and thats a hilarious pic of kobe and lebron.

  3. the other Stephen December 25, 2009 at 10:11 am

    great picture. it’s especially great for dancing with the stars.

    no more broken ligaments or tendons or anything to our players, please. that’s all i hope for.

  4. ok, 4’s better than nothing
    this one’s for Warren!

    and oh yeah, can’t wait to see ‘Drew school Shaq, this will be one I watch the most today I think.

  5. Merry Christmas everyone. All I want for Christmas is a Lakers W. Kobe should show us his best Santa rendition.

  6. May our legs be swift, our defense tenacious and our jumpers tickling the twine. Should be a gr8 game and I expect us to play well. Go Lakers!

  7. 4

    I know I’m really late on this, but can somebody please explain the whole ‘this one’s for Warren’ stuff on every post?

  8. First Merry Christmas all! I hope this is a closely contested game with a Lakers win of course. But regardless of the outcome it is not particularly significant in the broader context of an 82 game season. Nice to have a quality …even though the Cavs are clearly not the Celtics. Btw, Kurt therte is a typo above where you show Cleveland as the 3rd best in the West.

    The thing I’m most interested in seeing is which Bynum shows up today. My feeling is that he will perform well.

  9. Merry Christmas everyone! 🙂

    I think it was Zephid who posted this in the previous thread: This is why we brought in Artest. Matching up against Lebron will tell us at last if we truly did get an upgrade over Ariza or not.

    Lebron’s great strength, what makes him so unstoppable, is his sheer physical talents. The man is a unique specimen of strength, size, and athleticism, and he is as unstoppable as Melo or Kobe are, if not more. Ron will not be able to stop him. However, he has the size and strength to slow Lebron down, force him towards the help and force him to take contested and more difficult shots. He also has the right mindset to do it, the determination and fearlessness to keep up, and for all his faults, he is very good at playing defense without fouling. He only needs to keep his head and stay calm, and not lose his temper when he gets called for ridiculously dumb fouls anyway, because the player he’s guarding is Lebron James, and sometimes touching him is all it takes to get called for a foul.

    This is going to be a very good game to watch!

  10. @7 For a long, long time, Warren was the first poster on almost all the posts, especially the playoff posts. I don’t know when this started but I’m pretty sure remember it when I started lurking around here during the 2007 playoffs and the summer of Kobe’s discontent.

  11. Dwight Howard has about as many post moves as I do

  12. Adding to what Misareaux said, there was also a long stretch where the Lakers were undefeated as long as Warren got the first post in.

  13. #1 I don’t think we should go small in response to the Cavs small lineup. I think we tend to do just fine when we force teams to match up against us, not the other way around. If Bynum and Pau can both be in and get down the floor, we will do damage.

    Merry Xmas FB&G!

  14. Wait, waht? Boston has 15 turnovers at the half, and they are the ones winning?

    Makes me glad I didn’t see it…

  15. Mimsy, I just turned on the game to see that Orlando had 27 points….in the 3rd quarter.

  16. My box score says they have 15 points in the third quarter so far…

  17. Oh maybe. I was just saying overall.

  18. Merry Christmas everyone from a long time reader, first time commenter, and life-long Laker fan. I’m at my sister’s for Christmas and she doesn’t have cable or an antenna, so I was wondering if anybody has a link for the TV-impaired among us?

  19. I’d love for the Cavs to go to the small lineup against the Lakers. On defense that might work vs. Phoenix, Sacramento or Orlando, but vs. the Lakers Lebron would have to guard Pau. And I don’t have to tell you what would happen there.

  20. Bynum wins the jump, he is already schooling Shaq.

  21. anyone got a good link? freedocast always lags on me.

  22. I don’t know what the Lakers are thinking on offense this year

  23. I love Lamar Odom

  24. Nice little mini-run by the guys to close to within 4 at the end of the 1st. The team is playing pretty lax defense; both Kobe and Artest are sagging and playing a little slow right now. Look forward to both of them turning it up in the 4th.

  25. Would prefer if they would turn it up sooner than the 4th.

  26. Worst offensive quarter of the year?

    They look tentative and are overthinking things. Cleveland’s not doing anything special at all….Gasol turnovers…..blecchhhh

  27. Joel, when the Lakers weren’t this good yet, everytime a gameday thread comes up and I post the very 1st post, we win. I believe the record stands at 11-0 or somewhere close and about 20 more wins via the “phone-ins”.

    Of course, this is largely due to Pau Gasol being the lineup making me look very good. But still, undefeated when it happens is something.

  28. Sad effort.

  29. ……and now we are getting obliterated by the offensive force that is Anderson Varejao…….

    Really loving this no pass take first contested jumper offense as well….

  30. The 2nd quarter is like a shootout… and we are the target.

  31. The Lakers aren’t playing with a lot of effort. They are slow and look uninterested.

  32. where are their heads??? this is some of the worst offense and defense i’ve seen all year
    from the lakers!

  33. terrible They might as well have stayed home for Christmas. Very frustrating performance so far

  34. Merry Christmas to all at Staples.

    Your present a blowout hahaha.

    this game is over

  35. 27

    Hmmm. I guess that explains this start by the Lakers…

  36. I think our boys really wanted the Celtics. They don’t wanna play the Cavs.

    Phil may need to take Kobe out and make these boys run the offense.

    Got to be honest though, it’s ugly basketball right now. But, I’ll take this over the Celtics/Magic game.

  37. 19 point lead. Cut it down to 12 or so by half. Then single digits before the 4th. Then its anyones game..

  38. This game will serve as a great reality check. We have no O outside of Kobe. Looks like we left the triangle in favor of the cicle.

  39. my guess? 15 point halftime defecit. lose by 8. if were lucky. but you never know… these lakers could surprise us.

  40. RJ 29- The offense is nonexistent! I don’t think its over but it’s going to be very hard to catch up.

  41. This is embarrassing. The Lakers (and us fans) will be hearing about this for months.

  42. What happened, I took off for a little bit and the Cavs are leading by 20, but we will prevail…

  43. this is the worst half ive ever seen.

  44. Kobes legs look dead.

  45. I’m a huge Fish fan, but he’s completely braindead today. And why in God’s name was Sasha in for so long at the start of the second?

  46. Thanks to Lebron we have two straight stops on defense. Cut to 12 to 14 and I’ll be ok.

  47. laker faith is telling me that we’ll have the lead down to 11 by the half. (praying i’m right)

  48. Fish with the veteran flop!

  49. looks like that hard foul on Artest really set him off.

  50. RON RONN!!!

  51. Ron Artest and Laker D is saving this game.

  52. That’s it Staples Center crowd, root for your team!

  53. Hey Tej, thanks for jinxing your team.

  54. 53. P. Ami.


  55. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy for us to be down by 9 before.

  56. cleveland shoots 56%

    Lakers shoot 36% Cleveland is playing hard but the Lakers have missed a bunch of chippies, especially and ones they should have finished

    Gasol and Kobe -9 each

    Odom -12 each

    Laker bigs look absolutely rattled to see opponents the same size.

    Lakers (exception of Ron Ron) a Christmas no show up to this point….

  57. Lakers only down 9? Sub Bynum out for Odom asap in the third. Shaq/Z are too slow for Pau one on one in the block. Odom opens up the floor more. No Double team to worry about.

  58. Everyone talks abouthow good the “small” Cleveland lineup is, but we made our run when that lineup was on the floor. Hopefully mike brown will continue to miscoach his team.

  59. ridiculous officiating

  60. Lakers strength over every team is our bigs….not today

    Gasol -11

    Bynum -1

    Lamar -12

    Kobe getting frustrated and dominating the ball……..

    Us at our worst so far…..

  61. Kobe is an assassin in more ways than one (subtle life-taking forearm shoves).

  62. Looks like The Black Mamba bit Mo Williams! LOL

  63. Why was that technical where Kobe slammed the ball on the court changed to a Fisher T?

  64. Gasol needs to get involved in the offense.

  65. I’d like to see the Lakers use Pau’s mid-range jumper more.

  66. The Lakers are really whining.

  67. Has Gasol touched the ball once in this game?

  68. Getting open looks but we just can’t get anything to fall tonight.

  69. Kurt I’m aware that you are not incline to talk about the officiating, but it’s just awful.

  70. Lakers have been whining with very good reason — every replay I’ve seen was a bad call against them. But missing shots is hurting us much more than the refs.

  71. Absolutely piss poor officiating from the very start. What is up with these refs?

  72. There is never a good reason to whine. Play the game and stop being so pouty.

  73. What’s the point of complaining about the refs when you’re clearly being outplayed at both ends of the floor?

  74. If the lakers lose I hope they lose big. Phil needs to really work on the teams offense.

  75. The refs are letting them play, I am fine with that, but the Lakers are just not hitting any shots today, they are shooting 37%.

  76. Agreed Joel. And the Lakers seem to be wasting a lot of energy on needless motion and activity. The Cavs have certainly worked us out of our game. The Lakers need to settle down.

  77. lol Phil.

    i always love his in-game interviews

  78. For all the Kobe vs Lebron hype this game is all about the supporting casts. Cavs are lighting it up, Mo is 7 of 11, Shaq is showing the most energy he’s had in years
    (think he’s motivated by something?), and LBJ is actually playing pretty bad for him. And not a single Laker can shoot.

  79. Just ugly…poise wise, this was what we looked like against Boston in the Finals…..

    I don’t care what anyone says, our offense is just not where it was last year…..

    We don’t get enough easy basketsin the half court, and our new, slow paced sytle doesn’t produce any points in transition…..

    Gotta go to the mantra….”23-4 work in progress…..23-4 work in progress…..

  80. Kobe going wire-to-wire tonight. How much will he have left for Arco tomorrow?

  81. Finally Kobe draws a faul, for those of us who have to watch this game.

  82. No wonder why Lakers fans are the most hated of any basketball team.

    I will not go into racial stereotypes, but I am ashamed for most of our fans.

    But as far as game-related, JVG is right: Artest cannot maneuver around screens effective enough.

    Also, why didn’t we put Kobe on LBJ earlier? Why did we go away from Kobe’s post game? Where was Bynum? How long before the stench of this loss goes away? What will I do with my ruined Christmas?

  83. *foul, my spelling is as bad as the Lakers shooting today.

  84. I guess if you made the NBA Finals last season, you can’t beat eastern confrence teams that underachieved in the playoffs… wierd.

  85. I think the Big Gift Giver bought a few houses for the refs.

  86. It’s clear that the officials did an awful job tonight, all you have to do is listen to the commentators from ESPN, but how can you dare to say that (specially in Phil’s case) if you can be sanctioned by the NBA for speaking bad about the officials. How can you (and I’m speaking to anyone in the U.S.) call yourself the land of the free, if you can get sanctioned for saying the truth???

  87. 83. I would be surprised if he didn’t.

  88. Denver, Boston, cleveland are the only regular season games in my mind with major implications.

    Lakers are now 0-2.

    This bench is now officially broken. Come back Luke…..

  89. When you get beat like this, the refs are not to blame.

  90. what a nice little christmas gift 🙂 go cavs!

  91. racial stereotypes? what?

  92. I just read the other Joel’s comment about complaining about the officials, well tell you what’s the point: when they making as many bad calls or non calls as they did today players get frustrated and end up playing the way the Lakers did today, that’s the point and we should complain, because as you have seen in the past Phil can’t, ’cause if he does you now what he will get, probably $250,000 fine and I’m sure he doesn’t want that. NBA officials sucks. U.S.A. land of the free, yeah right!!!

  93. ughhhh….where to begin?

    lakers were uninterested from the start

    odom and bynum were non-existent

    lakers forgot about pau…again

    kobe was forcing the issue a bit too much

    cavs supporting shot lights out

    next time, the lakers will definitely be fired up

  94. #85, while I agree with your sentiments, people need to stop using the “land of the free” argument. These players/coaches are essentially in the employment of the league. As such, the NBA can and does restrict them from certain conducts, and fine/suspend its “personnel” for infractions.

    Phil Jackson is the boldest of all the coaches. He might even be fined for his comments tonight. Personally, I feel someone should just take a hit and call out the BS in this game as it was. But, hey, easier said than done considering that it isn’t my money coming out of my pocket.

  95. At least the Lakers didn’t ruin our Christmas here in Australia, just the day after Christmas. Makes the devastation a little more palatable.

  96. Lakers, please take this out on Sactown. Blow. Them. Out.


  97. 92

    The problem with your reasoning is, the Lakers were playing like crap almost right from the start. It had nothing to do with the officiating. By the time the questionable calls started the Lakers had been outplayed for more than 2 full quarters.

  98. I agree with Kurt’s. Yeah the officiating was headscratching, but when you lose this badly, that’s not why you lost. The Lakers missed too many open shots, the Cavs made a few lucky ones, and the Lakers lost their cool.

  99. mo was incredible,refs made some bad calls,Kobe tried but nobody complied.
    Lakers without Kobe are unfortunately a 38-40 win team at most.sad.

  100. 85:
    coolrunnings wrote on December 25, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    “I think the Big Gift Giver bought a few houses for the refs.”

    hahahah quoted for truth

  101. Will Phil Jackson get a fine for saying that the officiating was poor today.

  102. Worst Lakers performance I’ve seen. Worst sportsmanship I’ve seen from Lakers and LA fans.

  103. The Lakers just need to forget about this game and concentrate on tomorrow, because as you saw against Chicago the other day, Sacramento doesn’t let up and they will certainly be up for a chance to beat the champs.

    In perspective, despite the abuse allowed against Kobe, the Cavs played harder and their bench stepped up, so they deserved the win.

    The Lakers have a lot of tough games in January including a chance at revenge on the 21st in Cleveland, so I don’t think we should be worried about one bad effort in a December game, even if it did sour our Christmas a bit. The feeling soon shall pass as they start a new win streak.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  104. the other stephen December 25, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Foam fingers, mate.

  105. I have to say that I’m disgusted by the behavior of some of the fans, as well as some of the players tonight.

    Still, the worst was checking the stats on my phone during the 3rd and seeing that the Lakers had taken 20 more shots than the Cavs and missed 40.

    Horrible, horrible night shooting. And if this team wants to even MAKE IT to the Finals this season, they’re going to need to better compose themselves when things go badly.

    Question: After his pretty good game the other night, where the heck did Andrew go tonight? He was nowhere, except sending Shaq to the line.

  106. post festivus grievances:
    1: being a laker fan during times of kwame brown averaging more turnovers than assists and now the confrence leaders were booed and trashed over one loss.
    2: Kobe being on a star studded team and still can’t find someone to dump a reliable pass to during a high publicity game.
    3: LO conducting himself on the court in a way that he know’s is going to get him kicked out of the game.
    4: Going to work on monday to encounter an Ohioan co-worker.
    5: phil jackson saving 25,000 dollars at the viewers expense of pure entertainment.
    6: Last but not least bad officiating but even worse attitude by the lakers when it comes to battling through a biased game.
    Other than that, it’s one loss and I hope that PJ’s apology for today’s game is translated into a very impressive run going into 2010. Also, I hope we get Clevland back on their home court later this season.

  107. Happy Holidays to FBG folks. Notes on the team and the game:

    –Give the Cavs credit for showing the Lakers different looks. The Twin Obelisks line-up seemingly baffled the Lakers, as did smaller lineups.
    –I saw a lot of issues with floor spacing. The passing angles were bad, and the paint was congested. They needed to get Artest and Fisher way out near the arc, and move Gasol away from the basket, with Kobe instigating from the elbow. I would like to have seen Gasol out along the baseline more waiting for a drive-and-kick, or facing up on Ilgauskas, instead of setting picks at the elbows.
    –Bynum appeared to be intimidated by Shaq. I did not see enough decisive high screen and roll action to make Shaq move, nor did I see Bynum facing him up enough. I think Bynum should have faced him up and put the ball on the floor, rather than trying to post him up. I would also like to have seen Bynum rolling off Shaq’s hip and looking for the alley-oop. Also, even at 37, Shaq is a still a guy you need to help out on in the post.
    –I am 100% opposed to how Phil is handling Kobe’s minutes. 44 against OKC, 45 today, 50 against Milwaukee. If Phil will not use the bench guys he has (and they have played badly. Vujacic in particular appears me to be totally done as a viable player in LA) then Kupchak needs to try to make an add and get a veteran who Kupchak wil play 15 minutes. Walton’s return may help a little.
    –There were some bad calls, but like Kurt always says, the calls go to the team that is moving the ball and moving its feet.
    –Orlando, like the Lakers, did not look much like they wanted to play today. Maybe playing at home on Christmas is harder than playing on the road.

  108. I appreciated Phil’s apology on behalf of his team ruining our Christmas.

    Bynum & Odom — OVERPAID

    Officials — EVEN MORE OVERPAID (It looked like they might be working for a Donaghy Christmas bonus.)

    Mitch — Please get us an OUTSIDE SHOOTER before the trade deadline.

    Laker Fans throwing harmless projectiles (giving the refs the finger) — like school at Christmas break — NO CLASS

  109. Stay classy, Staples Center!

  110. It blows my mind how much people seem to value something as petty as the behavior of the fans at a sporting event. Does it really matter if their behavior was petulant? So they toss their free foam gifts onto to the court in disgust and somehow that’s a reflection of the entire city of Los Angeles or a particular race? Isn’t this just sports?

    The Lakers were embarrassed on their home floor because they played lackadaisical defense, couldn’t score the ball inside early, and abandoned their offense for too many jumpshots in the face of bad entry passes and challenged layups. The fact that they have no reliable shooter from distance on their bench doesn’t help matters either.

    I have to say that those who think the frustrated technicals are something to be ashamed of need to get a grip on reality.

    If I was at the game, I would’ve thrown my foam finger on the court too.

  111. It appears my comment was eaten when I edited. Short version:

    Happy holidays to all
    Floor spacing/passing angles was a huge problem
    Bynum seemed intimdated by Shaq
    Gasol/Bynum needed to face up against Cavs’ big lineup
    Very opposed to Kobe going 44 against OKC 45 against Cle and 50 against Mil
    Bench needs a change, either in personnel or sub patterns
    Edit–it is still in moderation

  112. dave in hillsboro December 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Pig Miller gets it. So does Eric at 93.

    Does that sound contradictory? It’s not.

  113. Well played Ron Artest, I liked his physicality.. however his shooting was off..

  114. Real game is about to start. That was just practice 😀

  115. The offense is in a rut. We simply can’t shoot the ball, especially from 3. The defense was OK this game.

  116. This was a frustrating game to watch as a Laker fan. It’s true there were a lot of pretty bad calls from what I saw (Odom can’t seem to buy a break with the refs in any game though).

    But overall, the Cavaliers played better and their shots went in. When Jamario Moon makes 6 out of 7 shots including an off balance bankshot 3 as the shot clock expires, that is when you know things are going your way (if you’re a cavs fan). No disrespect to Jamario Moon though. The Cavaliers “length” (to borrow Joel’s favorite adjective) really seemed to disrupt the Lakers flow as well.

    I was waiting for LO to erupt like in last years games vs the cavs and save the day, but alas…
    It didn’t work out today, next time things will be different, let’s take a page from Phil and chill.

  117. I wonder if the Lakers will tank tomorrow’s game in Sacramento as well?

    This was shameful – I’m glad I saved my money and watched it on the teevee instead of in person …

    Phil’s a great coach, but he set the tone by whining about playing on XMas to the LA Times.

  118. This game was about as embarassing as the Celtics beating their a$$es in the finals 2 years ago. From the get go the team’s defensive effort was what set the tone of the game, they once again showed the half-a$$ effort the comes back to haunt them all the time. Forget the damn officiating both teams had bad calls go against them, they just got their butts kicked. My hat goes off to Ron Ron the man did his best to keep Lebrona non factor and he pretty much did, he forced Lebron into 6-15 shooting for 19 points before he fouled out in the 4th and offensively he was 5-11 while not great I will take that considering we need him for defense not offense. Kobe really showed a desire to win tonight despite MINIMAL Help from the bigs. Gasol returned to his scared soft form similar to when Kevin Garnett got into him and rattled him in the finals. He was going up soft against the over the hill Cavs big men. Bynum defensively couldn’t get his head out of his a$$ and let a 38 year old Shaq out play him with marginal minutes in the game. Odom once again the most inconsistent player in history with more potential than most players ever to be in the NBA. It started badly on defense and carried over offensively. Kobe while had an off night shooting had to try to do it all himself while everyone stood around watching. I dont know how many times they got into their offense (or lack thereof) and a player would make a move, get stuck or rattled and then give it to Kobe late in the shot clock expecting him to save us as he always does. Kobe shouldn’t have to play all game and hoist 35 shots to keep them in the game. Truthfully the Lakers looked like the Cavs did last year in the playoffs (Expect Lebron to do it all while everyone stood around watching). Defensively Kobe was solid and he tried to get everyone involved in the offense, hell the guy should have had a damn triple double if other players showed up and knocked down shots. And good lord don’t get me started on bench play, those guys looked so scared to be out there we would have been better off playing our starters the entire game. Farmar particularly disappointed me because of how well he had been playing lately but he just reaffirms my belief he isn’t our future pg, when we really need the guy he is NEVER there. Mitch needs to work a christmas miracle and find a way to get Nate Robinson here so we have a scoring punch off the bench, because this squad is unreliable for the starters. As far as I am concerned the ENTIRE BENCH is the taco unit. And here is the scariest fact to me, against GOOD Teams the Lakers have yet to win a game (Suns do not count) Dallas (*without Pau), Denver, Houston, Utah and Cleveland have all shown weaknesses which could come back to haunt us. My Christmas is ruined and living in kentucky I now have to hear about how much better these OHIO a$$holes think Lebron is than Kobe, at least until I hope the Lakers show some redemption in the game up in Cleveland in January.

  119. I cant believe I’m saying this but problem=Offense.

  120. lakersfansincemagic December 25, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I think giving the refs the finger was appropriate.. but the water bottle crossed the line..

  121. My impressions from the game:

    -We could not buy a jumpshot. There’s been so much talk about upgrading the PG defense, but at this point, a sharpshooter might be just as welcome. Our tremendous post game opens up outside shots, but we’re missing those opportunities.
    -Our vaunted frontline was embarrassed by the Cavs’ frontline tonight.
    -Pau appeared surprised when guarded by a 7’3″ player. (He may have done so at C, but may not have been expecting it PF). He will adjust.
    -Mo Williams torched us, not just statistically, but quelling momentum at the perfect moments. Fisher was not to blame in this case; he did (for him) a fairly solid job.
    -I was embarrassed for Maria Sharapova tonight.
    -A handful of idiots made all of Staples look bad.
    -I know some will get upset at this, but it can be argued (not well, mind you, but it can) that Kobe’s constant bitching at the officials set the tone of frustration for the rest of the team’s meltdown, as well as (in some small part) the fans.

    Kobe’s emphatic fist wave/scream thing is becoming seriously irritating, especially when it happens after every whistle. When you’re clearly outplayed, officiating is not the reason. There were a couple of moments where we started to put a run together, and the screaming at the refs and frustration killed our momentum.

    *Bottom line: This is one of those regular season games that teach championship caliber teams about themselves. It’s one of those learning experiences that’s crucial. Think about how many “slumps” we went through last year. Great teams use games like this to shore up weaknesses. We won’t see our frontline throw up a night like this against the Cavs again. This is a game that, in the long run, we may look back on and say helped us become a stronger team.

  122. not a classy game and i am quite disappointed that cleveland outclassed us on and off the court (fans easy this is just a game). no one to blame but the lakers team.

    about tomorrow, i think like cleveland, kobe will save us from a close encounter tomorrow. sacramento is that good, and that more determined sad to say. i don’t like kobe collecting mileage so early into the season. certainly this will affect his lift and that jumper in the playoffs.

    that said, i didn’t like the fire we displayed for a nationally-televised christmas game. man, were they drinking and partying all over the place last night? not classy at all. that includes our class pros like pau being nowhere close to pau tonight and drew (and am not making excuses here) who should have made the most out of what he had going into tonight.

    again, credit due to cleveland. they were all over us. they frustrated us and we (fans included) responded in such a flat way.

    but here’s the thing about this laker team. they have these dazing off stretches and they manage to pull together.

    i just hope they do better against elite teams. it’s beginning to concern me after blowout losses to the mavs, nuggets and now the cavs. we won these games last year. this has a lasting effect.

    let’s not begin with the bench talk. a lot of what happened today has to do with bench play. luke is missing and his playmaking is needed. that however, i maintain, is not enough and i believe mitch ain’t done. with teams aligning against us, we need a bench that can consistently deliver a punch game in and out. we’ve seen blown leads and the inability to change games in closer situations. am just being realistic (not panicky) that as it stands, we ain’t showtime dominating yet. am not so into the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” argument. as long as we can get better, do so.

    but am not starting the nate or whoever bandwagon here. in mitch and buss, trust.

    merry christmas guys!


  123. ok, by my count the technical foul season totals are:

    Kobe 8
    Lamar 5
    Drew 4
    Ron 3
    Derek 2
    Pau 1
    Sasha 1 (Yes, I can’t believe Sasha has a technical)

    so Kobe is more than halfway to a suspension…

  124. I see a lot of people posting that kobe had an off shooting night but in my opinion, unless you expected him to shoot like 81pt kb than he did the best he could do as a leader of the team. He had to force the issue because everyone else either seemed scared to be on nat. t.v or were baffled by clevland’s length and intensity. I had no problem with kobe taking over when he was on a team full of scrubs and I have no problem with him doing it on nights when his team wants to act like a bunch of scrubs. These games are what prove that kobe is far above all other competitors. He stayed on the court until the final minute and 1/2 and gave his best every second of it.

    Snoopy2006- I enjoyed your thread quite a bit and to prove I’m not a kobe cheerleader, I completely agree that his downfall to this game was kobe’s annoying “fist flinging.” You’re right on the money saying that it set off the momentum and even made it hard for me to hope for a come back when the leader of the team made it seem impossible to get past the officiating.

  125. A couple of things really stood out to me.

    1.) Off the ball movement
    I’m pretty sure the Triangle offense is predicated on off-ball movement and spacing, and our team sure didn’t have a lot of it today. I saw a lot of trying to force the ball into the post; this led to a number of easy turnovers when guys like Delonte West and Jamario Moon just jumped up and intercepted the entry pass into the post. The triangle has built-in releases in case the post pass is not there, but our guys just held onto the ball way too long, eating up the shot clock, and then forced way too many bad passes.

    Similarly, the Cavs off ball movement was superb, which got a lot of open dunks for Lebron, Hickson, Moon, and Varejao. Guys like Artest, Kobe, Brown, and Farmar got killed on off ball screens and back door screens. Then, our bigs were either too slow on the rotation or weren’t in the proper position to help. Pretty sure it wasn’t Mike Brown, but somebody on the Cavs coaching staff deserves some credit, because the Lakers seemed genuinely unable to adapt to these off ball movements.

    2.) Post Play
    On defense, Shaq really punished Andrew. Out of anyone in the league outside of Kendrick “Babies for Breakfast” Perkins, I think Andrew has the best chance of taking on Shaq 1v1. But, Shaq repeatedly got good position in the post and made Andrew pay with a plethora of dunks. And as always, the activity of Varejao was difficult for Gasol and Odom to handle.

    On offense, both Bynum and Gasol got manhandled by Shaq, Varejao, and Big Z. Andrew was definitely not aggressive in his post moves, which given his ineptitudes with passing, made his post game very inefficient. Part of the blame goes to the perimeter guys for not properly spacing the floor, but when Andrew gets the ball, he needs to show Shaq he’s the boss now.

    Pau, on the other hand, seemed really bothered by Big Z. A number of his shots were blocked/altered near the rim, and his mid-range shot looked even worse. This is a game where we really needed Odom to bring some energy (much like the game in Cleveland last year in February), but he just didn’t bring it on the boards or on defense.

    3.) Pace
    The Lakers played way too slow. Our front court is somewhere between 4 and 500 times faster than the Cavs front court, and we didn’t take advantage of this. The only guy who had a couple of good post positions was Artest, and that was when he was pissed for not getting fouls called for him. However, our backup guards, like Farmar and Brown, forgot that when you push the pace, that doesn’t mean you should take the first open look you get. Farmar and Brown both put up some pretty awful shots in semi-transition, where I would’ve preferred for them to wait for help and get it into the post.

    4.) The Triangle
    To the Lakers: Run it. Through Pau. A lot.
    That’s all that needs to be said.

  126. Ron Artest played the laziest off the ball defense I’ve seen anyone play on Lebron ever. Consistantly he let Lebron get open and get position without putting up a fight. Watch Lebron’s big first half dunk. Ron isn’t even picked on the play, yet isn’t even in the picture during the dunk. He stands at the foul line and watches the ball. Lebron is in the air before Artest turns to notice that he had cut.

  127. Also, all the talk about the bench being the only weakness is total crap. The real weakness is AWFUL 3 point shooting which kills the rest of the offense.

  128. i had an instructor in school and he was notorious for a famous quote…”if it looks like S#!T it ain’t gonna pass”…….well…i need not say anything more….

  129. i think we need to make a trade to bolster our bench
    Today’s game showed yet again our bench just does not stack up against the contenders. At a point in the game, the cavs were outscoring the Lakers bench 19-2. Jamario Moon singlehandedly almost outscored the entire bench today. perhaps we should go after a shooter… [edited for trade speculation]. Our bench is in desperate need of some kind of offensive lift. Neither Odom nor Farmar (who i think are the two key leaders of the bench) have done a good job running the offense when the starters are off the floor. Maybe when Luke eventually returns the bench might improve but still i think a trade like this could really help us in the long run against the the contenders (Denver, Boston, Cleveland, and Orlando) which all have better benches.

  130. But seriously, how do we get Hinrich?


    /petty, bitter, stupid, not totally our problem today (I know), simply feel like whining.

  131. Re PJ: I was reading just now and he related it wasn’t a well played or well officiated game.

    He’s partly right because the Lakers obviously played quite poorly (the Cavs played just fine). But, to imply the Lakers lost due to officiating is a total cop out, if that’s what Phil’s trying to do.

    More helpful would be to own up to what really happened: The Lakers stunk up the joint!

    Now, to be fair, the Lakers may be lacking motivation, since they are running away from the West …

  132. Horrible, frustrating, embarrassing game. This aggravates me to no end especially because it’s the Cavs. Totally soured my Christmas mood for the next hour or so…took an entire Procol Harum concert on DVD to clear the red mist away.

    Kobe and Artest were the only Lakers who showed up and acted like the game mattered to them, period. As far as I’m concerned, for effort alone, they are above reproach in this game. Kobe’s gripes with the non-calls were totally legit- even the color announcers looking at replays saw multiple times that Kobe got jobbed in the paint. It wasn’t his jawing that cost the game- it was stunningly poor play from Pau, Andrew, Fisher, Odom, Brown, Farmar…Vujacic came out in garbage time and had more of an impact than Brown or Farmar.