Preview & Chat: The Phoenix Suns

Kurt —  December 28, 2009

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Records: Lakers 24-5 (1st in West) Suns 19-12 (5th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 107.3 (14th in league) Suns 114.4 (1st in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 99.3 (1st in league) Suns 110.8 (27th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Suns: Steve Nash, Jason Richardson, Grant Hill, Amare Stoudemire, Channing Frye

The Lakers Coming in:No Ron Artest tonight, he was not cleared by doctors to play. This is a head injury, nothing to mess around with long term (just ask the NFL… what, they say nothing is wrong? Riiiiiight.). Get Ron Ron better, that’s what matters.

This means the Lakers will go extra big with Odom starting against the small Suns (who play well at home).

Great post from Kevin over at TrueHoop on how much you can really take from a regular season loss:

If I’m the Lakers, I want to use this loss to the Cavs to better understand why my team entered Sunday night tied for 15th in the NBA with the Houston Rockets in offensive efficiency rating. How can a team as long and skilled in the post as the Lakers have this much trouble finishing at the rim? Is there something amiss with the spacing, even though the unit operates in a system that thrives on space? Are the Lakers becoming needlessly impatient trying to pound the ball inside instead of drawing defenders to the perimeter, which would get them cleaner looks underneath? Addressing these questions over the next 50 games seems like a very doable exercise.

The Suns Coming in: After a hot start to the season, the Suns have cooled off and are a pedestrian 4-6 in their last 10 games.

West All Star staring center Amare Stoudemire (and you know that grates on Bynum) continues to play well, averaging 22 a game in the last 10 shooting 54% from the floor, while adding 10 rebounds. Steve Nash continues to play amazingly well, also averaging 22 a game in the last 10 but shooting 64% (eFG%) and 40.9% from three. Plus, he can still pass as well as anyone who has played the game.

Outside of those two however the Suns contributions have been less consistent. Channing Frye can shoot the three, Dudley has his moments, but overall the shooting of the Suns has slumped off. And when you don’t play good defense, you can’t have shooting slumps.

The Suns will have the lightning quick Leandro Barbosa back tonight.

Blogs and links: A couple good Suns blogs out there, Valley of the Suns and Bright Side of the Suns.

Keys to game: In the Lakers two previous wins this season over the Suns, they were at Staples catching Phoenix in the second game of a back-to-back. That will not be the case tonight, and I expect this one to be closer.

The Lakers still know the secrets to beating the Suns. Just to recap in short:

• Pound the ball inside on offense, and have the bigs run the floor and get good deep position. If the Suns double, make them pay.

• Let Steve Nash dribble and be a jump shooter but try to cut off the penetration where he kicks out to an open Hill or Richardson for the three — if Nash scored 20+ but the other Suns do not get involved offensively they are not as good a team.

• Do not run with them. Take layups and attack the basket on fast breaks, but no PUJITs. See point number one about pounding the ball inside.

• Do not let Leandro Barbosa get going. That means cutting off the outlet pass to him — if you let him get the ball and a head of steam to half court you are not going to catch or contain him. Stop him before he starts.

• Defend the three-point line.

Where you can watch: 6: pm start, you can watch on Channel 9 here in LA and listen on 710 ESPN radio.



163 responses to Preview & Chat: The Phoenix Suns

  1. Great article Kurt, but what does PUJIT mean?

  2. Pull Up Jumper In Transition.

  3. Have there been any cracks in the armor re: the Lakers media blackout surrounding the Artest injury? This isn’t the first bizarre box-related mishap to afflict a Lakers star: anyone else remember Kobe ‘cutting his hand opening a box in his garage’ when all the Colorado ugliness was going down?

    I don’t mind being lied to, but at least show me some respect by trying to make it original.

    Tonight and tom’w combine for a very tough B2B– very curious to see how the Lakers handle these two fast-paced offenses in two nights.

    Hey, and by the way, Andrew, Amare’s playing circles around you right now.

  4. It seems like, because he’s Artest, everybody assumes it was something other than him tripping over a box. Maybe. Or maybe he did trip over a box. I’ve seen or heard nothing outside that story, so believe what you want.

  5. Thanks Kurt, and thanks Psalo for allowing me another opportunity to share the PUJIT video:

    It’d be great if Bynum took the matchup with Amare a little personally tonight, what with the All-Star voting part of it but more importantly the overcoming the recent malaise part of it. It’d be nice to see Kobe not have to go nuts just to get a win, but I will say I did have a dream where the storyline of 09-10 was not the emergence of Bynum and the overall dominance of the team, it was Kobe raising up yet another level with the supporting cast ever more refined to support, leaving 10-11 to be the year where the team gels as a unit all season long. Yes, dreamy… my brain is on holiday vacay too, apparently.

  6. I havn’t seen a lot of the games so far, but the ones I have watched, the Lakers seem to have a case of dead leg syndrome. Kobe, Pau, and Ron don’t seem to be getting normal lift when they attack the rim, especially in the 4th quarter. This might contribute to our poor FG percentage at the rim.

    It might make sense, I know if I was Phil and I had a home-heavy schedule, I’d be running some brutal practices between games to take advantage of the opportunity to condition.

  7. Kobe played some really heavy minutes in the past two games. I am thinking his jumper might be a bit flat tonight, but I really don’t care. This guy somehow wills the ball in to the basket and some may criticize him for taking shots outside of the flow of the offense as a result. For me though Kobe has reached that stage where he is aware of that line where his determination can jeopardize team goals.

    Anyways I am on the Bynum is a scrub bangwagon. His jump hook hasn’t been working at all and the up and under move is not seen at all. He has lost all confidence he gained by dominating midgets in preseason ball.

    Going to need a solid 20 and 15 night from Pau if Drew sux to pull out the win. The Suns will be seeking revenge over the first 2 losses and their latest defeat.

    Hoping for a win, but even Vegas is on the fence on the favorite.

  8. Any news on Kobe’s elbow? I’m sure he’s gonna play anyway.

  9. Yeah, the last two times we played the Suns we won by like 20 points each game, this one will not be like that at all, I expect another fun and exciting game tonight between two good teams in the Western Conference. I am going to pay attention to Bynum tonight, to see what and how he plays.

    Go Lakers…

  10. I think Bynum needs to back down 1 more step deeper, get the opponent under the basket a la shaq, then rise and dunk…instead of rise, reach and dunk.. he has the bulk to do this… ball handling and quickness are the issue.

  11. Statistically, Channing Frye has been dynamite at home, but has fizzled on the road. That’s one challenge for LA tonight: prevent Frye from becoming a factor.

  12. The kind of luxury we have.

    We’re not satisfied with wins, we are not satisfied with blowouts, we will only be satisfied if each player on our team play to their potential every single game.

    We practically won it all with just Kobe and Pau last season, with a little Fisher and Ariza sprinkled here and there. If Bynum can be a tad bit more reliable than Odom, we should be good.

  13. Prediction: Bynum will have a big game.

  14. as for the preview, couldn’t have said it better. interesting how bynum defends the perimeter. maybe pau gets frye for length and speed purposes while bynum will mbang with amare down low and everywhere nash finds him.

    looks like tmac is for sale to a team who has use for him and with enough dump salary to boot. not looking nice for this former all-star. talk about fall from grace. do you think the knicks have added incentive for taking him? do the rockets settle for just expiring contracts? 23.4 M is a lot of cap space. imagine yao, the houston mob and a reliable guard or maybe bosh/amare for a new twin tower lineup. anyhow, not bringing speculating.

  15. Any links tonight?

  16. Here’s to Drew’s big game tonight… he should eat Frye or Amare alive.

  17. Odom’s knack for missing layups never ceases to amaze me.

  18. Like PJs game plan. Lakers need to keep taking it Amare.

  19. You know what this Lakers team really lacks now imo… chemistry. We have a lot of weapons, but they aren’t really working well together as a unit.

    Maybe we are just missing Artest though.

  20. kobe’s shot flat as predicted

  21. We will see a lot of the bench tonight it looks like.

  22. Is that Robin or Brook Lopez out there?

  23. honestly our problem recently is no one can shoot whether its layups of jump shots simple as that

  24. Y does PJ have this line-up running the triangle? This is the last line-up that should be getting in the triangle!

  25. As far as I’m concerned Lamar should never shoot a jump shot unless he is wide open with 1 second left on the shot clock. He is too tall to not post up these smaller Suns players.

  26. That was the biggest flop ive ever seen. Wow

  27. I know it’s Robin Kurt, I was being facetious. 😛

  28. send the starters in

  29. Little homerish on the calls here. Not usually one to complain. But Dudley didn’t even get touched.

    Lakers need to start taking the ball to the hole, stop jacking up shots, and they will start getting more calls.

  30. I see that Channing Frye has been studying flopology at the Vlade Divac Institute.

  31. something tells me they’re saving gas for golden states…even at the expense of this game.

    if kobe wins the game again for us… we are in a deeper slump. just a slump.

  32. I love how the most undersized players just out hustle the lakers players because rebounding is just really all about hustle and desire

  33. Joel, and that guy with the long hair is Mike Miller… not Amundson 😀

  34. man our bench is a pain to watch on a night they should show up and prove us wrong

  35. Goran Dragic really is Nash’s hero… that guy is holding the fort and extending Nash’s career. If he had such a guy back in 2007, the Spurs would have stood no chance.

  36. man these commentators are homers.

  37. I think Sasha is mentally unable to understand how to play defense

  38. bynum what was that? stick to smart play, you’re doing good!

  39. Drew needs to monsterize that dunk… not finesse a floater up.

  40. Brown has really that step-back jumper down pat.

  41. I mean dear god that was the single worst attempt I have ever seen at a charge attempt by Channing Frye

  42. I came in about six minutes into the second quarter and I am not impressed. This is either a testimony to what Lamar brings to the bench or to what Ron brings to the team as a whole…

  43. Is it just me, or has Farmar been playing better D than Shannon lately?

  44. now we’re making dragic look like steve nash. we look lazy defending these pgs when they blow past by our D

  45. we’re doing okay actually, we just need some D

  46. mbenga!

  47. My mistake, I should have clarified… my complaint at #39 was with regards to defense. 🙂

  48. 81 Witness I would tend to disagree the defense Shannon played on Tyreke Evans the other night was some of the best I’ve seen on him all year, tonight he just isn’t having any help with weakside defense and there seems to be a lack of defensive rotation among the bigs

  49. To bad Bynum picked up that 3rd foul, good to see Odom back in.

  50. on offense, fisher is in a slump. we need pg production today badly…we’re still in this

  51. stop, KOBE TIME for the nth time!

  52. seeing kobe wear that sleeve brings back championship 08 memories.

    how exactly does the sleeve help his arm aside from the obvious which is to compress and keep blood flowing?

  53. should we start worrying about the jessica simpson effect on lamar’s play?

  54. Pau HAS to demand the ball and the team HAS to give it to him. He has gotten easy points tonight. We can not simply depend on Kobe

  55. i like mbenga’s play on D. he’s all over the place. kurt, system running slow tonight?

  56. I would love to see DJ just knock Amare on his ass instead of him walking in for a dunk (even though he missed it)

  57. Biggest Stats of the first half. Lakers out rebounded 27-22, huge foul advantage for the Suns with 17 on LA to their 9 and only 6 assists in the first half.

  58. I know that he’s well-liked around here, but it really amuses me, that DJ is playing in the NBA… To be honest, there are few teams in Europe who would even have him in the roster.

  59. Lakers halftime stat: Lakers not named Kobe or Pau shooting a combined 29.2%.

  60. Great stat Kurt, that’s how the game looks out there. You should throw Ammo in there too with his 50% shooting LOL

  61. In Mbenga’s defence: He doesn’t care what his numbers are, he knows that if the coaching staff likes what he does he gets to stay in the league, and he does want to stay in the league. That makes him one of the better team players we have access to, and if you combine the above with his height, strength and pure mass, you get a large body that doesn’t mind taking a hit. I can think of worse players to have come off the bench, starting with a certain K. Brown…

  62. dave in hillsboro December 28, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    12 of our 17 fouls are on bigs, 3 each on Odom, Bynum and Powell, 2 on Gasol, 1 on Mbenga. Not all of those fouls were good calls, either.

    Also, I didn’t see the scrum or whatever it was that resulted in a Brown foul and double technical on Brown and Frye. Anyone know what happened there?

  63. Amare is just running shooting drills out there right now it’s embarassing

  64. This is a healthy pace for the Lakers. Keep taking it inside.

  65. I’m sorry if Derek is shooting this poorly put Shannon or Farmar in his inability to knock down a wide open jumper is killing them

  66. Was that an Ammo sighting?

  67. All ball? did those Suns announcers really not just see the replay he hit Kobe in his hand as he was trying to follow through

  68. That was Ammo making the smart play, recognizing the mismatch (Nash on him), sealing him off and making the bucket.

  69. These phoenix sun’s homer announcers are ridiculous. The replay on that J-Rich foul shows him hitting Kobe’s hand while the announcers were saying “all ball…that’s a reputation call”…lol.

  70. a bit of frustration over there dfish. not needed right now. kobe and pau doing a batman and robin. i like seeing ammo more on the floor. the guy knows his role and so far not much of a liability on D

  71. These Refs are really starting to make some crappy calls

  72. anyone with a working link?

  73. fish needs to sit down. give the ball to kobe time.

  74. so sick of fish and odom

  75. I don’t care how this turns out. The Lakers look like they really don’t care about anything resembling defense. It’s not just Fish, but Fish does look like he has been cooked and served.

  76. Moronic pass by Odom and I’m starting to wonder how much it would harm us to skip the whole PG position in our lineup.

  77. The Lakers clearly didn’t read Kurt’s keys to the game, particularly the keys for defense. This third quarter has been atrocious.

  78. The Lakers look out of synch right now. Do they have a run left in them to pull this game out?

  79. Maybe I’m going to get this delete because Kurt doesn’t like even a little ranting about the refs, but not calling Frye’s traveling in his off rebound after missing the 3-pointer, and calling traveling to Pau, is not bad refering, it’s plainly bias…

    Right know they’re letting Pho getting away with murder in every double to Pau…while no letting the slighlest contact in the other side…

    At the end this is heading to another blow out loss versus a top nocht team. I would love to read a deep analysis from our gurus with the explanation for this losses.

  80. I can handle bad offense, but there is no excuse for bad defense because with good defense you would still be in this game.

  81. Commentators (PHX) on the feed I am listening too are open mic during commercial breaks.

    One just said to the other… “This is a crazy league. How can you play like that against Golden State, and then play this good against the best team in the league?”

    So true…

  82. I just started watching, but we’re seeing some exceedingly poor offense and exceedingly poor pick and roll defense from the Lakers. There’s absolutely no rhythm on offense, we’re not hitting perimeter shots to open up the middle (which led to Pau getting doubled and having the ball stolen), and it seems like there’s just no off ball movement

    On defense, we’re switching on screens, probably to deal with Nash, but this keeps putting us into mismatches and leading to open three point shots on rotations. I don’t understand why we don’t trap Nash hard on the screen and force the ball from his hands. Our players are tall enough and long enough that Nash shouldn’t have any easy passes.

  83. the offense has to go through kobe with bynum being additional firepower. cut cut cut

  84. Memo to the Lakers: Phoenix is pretty good at shooting 3s.

  85. Without Kobe in this game the lakers are down 30

  86. kobe’s handle of the game is now jordanesque. he is a mile above everyone on the court.

  87. Down to 14, good…

  88. Seriously – how amazing is Kobe? If his left hand got hurt, I bet he’d start hitting shots with his ass or something.

  89. My god, Kobe Bryant one man comeback

  90. This is extremely frustrating to watch. It’s not that we’re lacking effort, we’re not… we’re lacking stable and calm execution, and that will ultimately kill us against any good team out there.

  91. WTF.

  92. if phil takes kobe out now game over

  93. Okay looking at the replay there wasn’t that much contact there, but they still should have given Kobe 2 free throws on general principle.

  94. i don’t like the look on kobe’s face…if i were phoenix. that “block” will not be forgiven. we’re subpar, they’re scoring at will and we’re not down by 25.

    kobe’s got one push left in him. take it to the hole, get them in penalty. that strategy never failed a good FT shooting team.

    and why can’t i talk about anyone other than kobe? because everybody else has to deliver. let’s go LAKERS!

  95. I don’t get the Lakers bad shooting, which goes back many games. They can’t make anything in the paint.

  96. My opinion about ourselves as fans, all Lakers not named Kobe, and Kobe…

    I think that we get spoiled by the constant, maximum intensity that Kobe plays with. He simply wants it so bad, and plays so tough, and has such a huge ego-driven style, that all others pale in comparison.

    It isn’t that Pau, or Andrew, or Farmer, are not playing hard and competing hard, it is that it SEEMS less because we constantly see Kobe at his peak.

    At least, that is what I think happens to my perceptions of the team.

  97. someone get on the face of the frontline. what in the world is that penetration D? rebound guys, rebound!

  98. absolutely terrible defence, gasol just looked at the ball go to lopez

  99. #92,
    While I admire your devotion to our team, that still doesn’t change the fact that Laker players not named Kobe have been shooting poorly for about a month now…

  100. That possession on defense sums up why the Lakers have been getting their butts kicked against good teams. Jordan just lets Dragic walk into the lane untouched and Pau blocks a shot but decides not to go after the rebound a foot away from him which enables talentless monkey Robin Lopez to score an easy layup. You stay classy Laker Defense

  101. is anyone getting tired of watching team after team out hustling the lakers? i mean they win a majority of those games but it seems like the lakers expect the ball to come to them and have no challenge… other team’s players go after the ball.

  102. No doubt Mimsy, no doubt… but I don’t think it is effort or desire, I think it is simply a slump.

    Someone call up Crash Davis… we need a rain out.

  103. I hope it’s only a slump. Though if it is, it’s a disturbingly long one…. 🙁

  104. Please pull Sasha. Put in Brown!!

  105. do the refs know the rules on a jump ball? the jumper can not be the first to get the ball that is what the Lakers announcers are saying

  106. I think it’s really a bench issue. Look at the numbers- once again our Bench is getting clobbered by the opposing team’s bench.

  107. Wait, the Suns get tacos too? Oh, now it’s ON!!!

  108. Hahah- I love that the conditions for Suns’ tacos is for them to merely score 99, but for the Lakers, they have to break 100 and hold the other team below 100.

    Clearly we expect more out of our team than most.

  109. What is with all these Laker players closing out on shooters with their hands down????? How the hell do expect to contest a shot without raising your hands????

  110. anyone want to defend the 3 point line?

  111. Game over Kobe is out no chance in hell of coming back, glad the Suns announcers even admitted it they said the Suns couldn’t have played a better game and well the lakers couldn’t have played worse. But why the hell is it that when this happens we get blown out by huge amounts . . . . . . . . Because we dont play defense

  112. The Suns are making the Lakers look like a rec league team. They’ve run two plays all night and it continues to work.

  113. Ugh. The way this is going, I’m going to need to break out the single malt early…

  114. he pulled kobe… i wonder if phil’s conceding this one in order to “teach a lesson” to the rest of the team…

  115. What with the Lakers’ play and the officials not knowing the rules, I switched over to the Vikings/Bears game. It is more interesting.

  116. On the other hand, sometimes it is simply a painful beating.


  117. #110,

  118. This is crap.

  119. Kobe out for 2 minutes = game officially over

  120. It just seems as if there is no effort. I mean, Lamar shoots and bearly hits the rim. Many Lakers are not even hitting the rim. They seem care free.

  121. Shameful… I don’t remember the last good game the lakers played.

  122. Well, it is on PHX’s home after we dealt them two huge losses, and it’s after us pulling out of a 2OT game at Sacramento, so I’m not too upset that we’re losing/lost.

    What I am upset about is that, judging from the box score, we really really didn’t show up to play… how can we have less rebounds than the Suns, and how is it that both Bynum and Pau are less efficient than 7-finger, stiff-elbow Kobe?

    It’s not like the Suns are known for their defensive presence in the paint!

  123. I see the Taco Unit out there… that means I can go watch my Christmas BluRay movies now, right?

  124. Its looking ugly tonight, hopefully they bounce back tommorrow at home. Its making for some interesting tv I must say. I cant wait to see what is to be said about this half@## effort tonight. Generally LA plays bad defense and good offense, now it has become bad offense and bad defense.

  125. 100, the bench played fine this game. It’s not as if it’s 5 of our bench guys playing against 5 of their bench guys. We always have a couple starters in their with the bench. Outside of Kobe, it’s tough to claim that any starter had a legitimately good game.

    Our team defense is broken, that’s the only way Jared Dudley scores 19 and gets +25 for the game. Obviously there’s some big miscommunications going on, because Suns are wide open for threes left and right.

  126. Highlight of the night: Adam Morrison behind-the-back pass to DJ Mbenga. That made me laugh hard. Sort of appropriate for what’s going on on the court

  127. Well Pheonix can’t brag yet. Lakers are missing one of their starters.

  128. Zephid- no offense but, that’s nonsense. At the moment I made that post the Suns’ bench was outscoring the Laker bench 40-18. That’s not “fine”. That’s basically the margin of victory the suns are going to win by.

    Anyway, I hope Kobe is not allowed to come back in this game. He gave his effort. And it’s definitely not his fault this game turned out like this. Everyone else deserves to run ladders @ 6 a.m. sharp.

  129. I’ll say it again changes have got to be made by Mitch I don’t care what the Lakers record is, these are trends that have been resurfacing against good teams all season long and I dont even consider the Suns that good they had been getting their butts kicked as of late. 7 – 6 against teams .500 or better is not getting it done. This team has become a two man show on offense (Kobe and the sometimes present Pau) and a no show on defense, it is as simple as that.

  130. 1. I am in agreement with all comments above this one. Our presence in the paint was lacking, and out over-all effort was badly lacking. Our bench was sleep-walking.

    2. I apologize if I am overly pessimistic now, but this reminds me of the Cavs last year, and that worries me. They had a great record, but the teams they lost to were the good ones… Celtics, Magic… us. I don’t want that to be the Lakers this season. Someone, please, reassure me?

  131. I thought Pau played pororly all game, especially on D.

    On the other hand, the Vikings-Bear game is pretty exciting!

  132. Our bench players have taken 18 shots total; the Suns bench has taken 28 shots. Our bench players, when they play, are not in the flow of the offense because we’re going into the post and our post guys (Kobe, Pau, Bynum), are putting up shots. So it’s unfair to expect them to score as much as the Suns bench.

    The Suns offense has worked by exploiting the Lakers poor pick and roll and transition defense, leading to open three point shots and offensive rebounding opportunities, which their guys have converted. You cannot pin the Suns bench scoring so much purely on the bench, because it’s not as if we play bench v. bench; the starters were just as guilty of poor defense as the bench.

    Did our bench play great? No, but the starters are just as much, if not more so, to blame for the blow out nature of this loss.

  133. 134. Scoring isn’t the only factor to judge our bench by. I didn’t see the game, only going by box scores, but the bench in general seemed productive in terms of shooting percentage and +/- (compared to the starters).

    Anyway, I just don’t get our ‘bigs’ not performing… maybe there is an inherent problem with trying to fit three 7 footers on one team.

  134. anyone else expect kobe to go circa 2006 in these next few games, i cant say i woujld blame him

  135. dave in hillsboro December 28, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Oh well.

    Hopefully the Warriors will give the Celtics a hard time tonight and run their legs out.

  136. I really feel at this point we paid the wrong guy during the offseason, I have ZERO confidence in Lamar because quite frankly he cannot shoot he got hot in the Finals but that was a miracle. Trevor has shown us that we went after the wrong guy.

  137. 138. It’s funny you say that because I was just thinking of that a few minutes ago, this team as of late has looked about as reliable as the teams before Pau came to the Lakers

  138. Just seemed to me like the Suns could not miss a shot tonight, everything seemed to go in.

  139. The Lakers won’t have to wait long to get this defeat out of their system with a game tomorrow against the Golden State Warriors. It will be another test to see how the Champs respond after their performance tonight.

  140. 142

    I think you might want to have a glance at Ariza’s numbers for Houston.

    FG% – 37.5
    3PT% – 31.9

  141. 146. I agree with Lakers8884 Look at the team he is on he has to be THE man for them he gets double teamed and now gets one of the best defenders for opposing teams each night. I’ve watched Houston play alot this season he has been reliable for them. Now just imagine how wide open he would be on the Lakers with Kobe getting double teamed and how much better he would be shooting. I love Lamar but he just isn’t getting it done and he hasn’t all season.

  142. Yea, and if we didn’t have Odom, we’d be seeing a lot more Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga on the court. And frankly, I don’t think any of us want to see more Josh Powell or DJ Mbenga unless we’re winning by 20 with less than 5 minutes to go.

  143. Zephid, your right but that’s why we got Artest he is strong enough to guard many bigs in the league he has done so many times before in his career.

  144. I blame Kurt. Once you got Pau out eating Euro food and talking palates… he turned soft.

    All Kobe cares about is hearing how tough he is for playing with a stung elbow and broken fingers… bloody selfish.

    That Kardashian girl needs to get her claws out of LO.

    Lets not forget the elephant in the room. Artest is just crazy enough to have tossed himself down those stairs… which means he probably did.

    Phil can only win with either Jordan and Pippin or Shaq and Kobe, or Kobe playing with, uh… only a broken pinky. He can never win with Kobe playing with a broken finger that involves his shooting.

    Okay… done with that.

    The spacing is horrible. The effort is weak. Entry paces are being telegraphed and shots are looking flat. This tells me that focus is the issue here and I am very interested in comprehending what triggered this malaise. Looking back it seems to have slowly effected the team since right after the home win against Utah, which coincides with the time the Lakers went on the first real road trip. Bynum seemed the first main player effected but I agree that in the last few games even Pau is looking tired. It’s one thing if LO loses focus, but if the whole team is playing with a rung bell the games look really ugly.

  145. Mimsy, the reason not to worry is that it is still December. As was in the post, the Lakers are making mistakes but there are a lot of chances to get it figured out. Phil’s teams don’t peak in December, nor do we want them too.

    But they need to be more disciplined tomorrow night.

  146. The problem is, we cannot afford to make Artest another Kobe… if our success as a team stands and falls with Rons health, that is yet another weakness we can’t afford…!

    It’s all well and good to have the best offensive player in the league on our team, and even better to have the best defensive join forces with him. But if our success as a team stands or falls with either one of them, we have a serious problem. The Celtics are still winnings games with Pierce out injured. We lose Artest and we get blown out by the Suns?

    Excellent points. I will attempt to curb my pessimism until at least past Easter.

  147. i’m rooting for the warriors tonight. a 1-2 knockout by lac and gsw is just too good. lakers seem to like being tied with the celtics’ record.

    and yeah, i don’t mind kobe going supernova. extremely gratifying and i hope the team takes this as a lesson. phil just gambled on the 4th tonight and it was right he let kobe sit out. we were no longer playing to win. credit to kobe, several times he fed to the post instead of doing a little heat check. i applaud him for that and comment on our inability to run smoothly inside against the suns. this is the phoenix suns!

    kobe’s gonna get beat out there all by himself if you’re gonna stare at dudley or amundson box you out and then have the and 1.

    i take bynum’s play as a step forward. hope he does the same to gsw bigs AND big time centers. pau will get his numbers back. his intensity and mad skills will carry him. ron-ron and luke please come back. we need our sfs. GO LAKERS!

  148. You have to give Mitch credit. He only signed Lamar for 3 years – the 4th is a team option.

  149. dave in hillsboro December 28, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I’m not going to be anywhere near the panic button until the playoffs, and hopefully I’ll never even have to think about using it. The regular season is fun to watch, and it can give you a sense of how teams play each other, but it really doesn’t guarantee anything.

    I can tell you this: if the Lakers keep playing like they did tonight and on Christmas, then they won’t have the best record in the league by the end of the season. Then we won’t have to worry about the bug that bit the Cavs last year at all, since we’ll have a whole different disease to deal with.

    A better comparison than last year’s Cavs, which is already a bad comparison, since they are totally different teams with totally different approaches, would be the 2000-01 Lakers. In 2000-01, the Lakers came back with a slightly different lineup than the previous title run and struggled at times in the regular season, finishing second in the West behind the Spurs. Then they went on to tie the best record in the playoffs, going 15-1, sweeping every team except the Sixers, who needed an exceptional performance from AI to win that game in overtime. Yeah, that was at the depths of the Leastern Conference and no one thought the Sixers had a chance–and if Shaq had made more than 10 of his 22 free throws, maybe it would have been a clean 16.

    The point is, as Kurt says, you have to enjoy the journey. We still have the best record in the league despite a couple of ugly losses. We’ve had some good games this year–two of them against Phoenix, who were probably due to beat us (and Artest’s absence probably helped them). The Lakers will get it together come playoff time. Every rollercoaster has a scary downhill, and that’s what makes them fun. So just enjoy it. We’ll get to see the view from the top again soon enough.

  150. Does anyone remember when we were all complaining about tacoing everyone?

    I miss that.

  151. I have mixed feelings toward LO, but we needed him with Pau out in the begining of the year and he started again tonight for us, right? He did pull 13 boards tonight, the way LO is playing is typical of him, I am glad we have him than not, IMO.

  152. Look on the bright side… Denver lost to Sactown… Boston is losing to the Dubs.

  153. I was hoping to have a light at the end of the tunnel moment by reading post. But it seems that everyone is confused about what is going on in LaLa land. You cant put a finger on one thing or another, it is an accumaltion of several little things that have snowballed into bigger issues causing lack luster performances like tonight. LA is looking old on the court, from LO looking as if he’s aged 3 basketball seasons, to our players looking lost at both ends of the court. I thought only the beans would look this old, but it has seemed to rub off on the purple and gold. Heres to a five hour energy drink to every player 2morrow, may it spark some intensity and desire to be the top dog in the league.

  154. Correct me if I’m wrong.. This is off memory, lakers are 18-0 against sub 500 and 6-6 against teams with a winning record… Only 6 and 6!

  155. I think the problem with the offense is poor 3 point shooting leading to poor spacing.

    LO is second worst in the league among those with 50 plus attempts (and is taking twice as many as last year). He’s not alone. Check out 43, 45, 51, 56, and LO at 57. Thats just in the Western Conference.

  156. New post up. A “fun” live blog. Heh

  157. it’s kinda sad when the only good thing nba-wise going is the celts losing.

  158. no worries,there will be games like this especially after we beat them by a total of 39 in two games.Besides,like Cleveland they were shooting lights out tonight.Irons are too kind for laker opponents these days 🙂

    Phil took Kobe out early though.