Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  December 30, 2009

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I’m getting concerned about the Lakers defense.

That is what has pulled them through so far. Despite injuries and Bynum’s funk and and Kobe’s finger and Sasha’s shot going snowboarding with Radmanovic, the Lakers have kept winning because they had been at the top of the league defensively. But in this mini-swoon, that is what has gone away.

It is more than Ron Artest being gone. (By the way, I think Artest said, “I don’t recall” more in his 15-minute press conference last night than Ronald Regan even did.) Artest was there for Cleveland but Los Angeles’ defense wasn’t. The Lakers have gone to a more pressure defense on the wings using the big men they have healthy to protect the rim, but both ends of that have broken down in recent games. In the coming days (or by next week) I hope to have a more detailed breakdown.

This is fixable for sure. But that end of the floor is what I am watching more and more. It was the mantra here last year but it may be truer this year: The Lakers will go as far as their defense will take them.


Darius had this in the comments, and it echoes my thoughts about the growing “Kobe for MVP discussion.”

A couple of fun facts about MVP winners, Scoring Champions, and NBA Champions:

*Only three times in the past 15 years has the league MVP been on the team the won the NBA title: Shaq in the 1999-2000 seaon and Michael Jordan (twice) in the 1995-96 & 1997-98 seasons.

*Only two players in the last 20 years have won the scoring title and the NBA title in the same season. Michael Jordan did it 6 times and Shaq did it once (in his 1999-2000 MVP season).

My point is that the recent trend shows me that I don’t really care if Kobe wins either the MVP or the scoring title. I’d almost prefer that he doesn’t. We all know that Kobe (along with Carmelo and Lebron) one of the most dynamic scorers in the league. We also know that Kobe is one of the best players (along with Lebron) and one of the 2 or 3 most valuable players in the league. I don’t think he needs the hardware to justify his place in the game. If anything, the hardware that will justify his place in the game (not only for today, but for all-time and his legacy) it’s the Larry O’Brien trophy. Let him get a couple more of those and I’d be more than happy.


I still miss Ronny Turiaf

64 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. I do not like LO starting the games at the 3. It definitely affects Lamar’s game and our overall play at the beginning of games. Having a more traditional spot-up shooter (Sasha, Ammo) start the games with the first unit would make more sense in my opinion. Neither Ammo nor Sasha has deserved the right to start, but, in terms of our offensive system, it would be more effective to have a designated shooter at the 3 spot to open games

  2. 2nd unit finishing a close game, refreshing yes! I liked PJs decision to let Farmar and Sasha finish off the game yesterday. AB was doing nothing on D and Fisher was struggling on both ends of the floor (though he did knock in 2 key 3s in the 3rd).

    I would like to see lots of Farmar early since Udrih torched Fisher with speed last game. The Kings have a really strong threat with Hawes passing out of the post off a back screen and roll. With no Artest again, Sasha may find more time pestering Noch and/or Evans.

    So now the reports are coming down regarding AB. Would it be a wise decision to play him off the bench and give the starting nod to Sasha/Brown/Farmar? The Kings, Mavs, and Rockets do not have an overwhelming presence in the low post.

    • I don’t think Bynum’s ego would deal with coming off the bench the way LO has. Also, the fact that the Kings/Mavs/Rockets do not have an inside presence is all the more reason to start him — create mismatches and exploit them.

  3. I am really frustrated with the play of the current team – especially LO; not surprising considering my views.

    However, Phil seems to be taking this time to prove to all of us (his team included) that LO belongs on the bench and I suspect that he will continue this example until Ron Artest comes back. Then no one, inside or outside the team, will be pressuring him to start LO.

    He also seems to have carefully nurtured Sasha’s minutes/ego this year so that he is getting more time just when we need it. Phil’s ultimate genius seems to be getting the proper pieces to fit his system and handling them so that they can produce in the playoffs. Needless to say, this means most of us will be very frustrated with him during the season, as our patience and attention span can be measured in nanoseconds.

  4. I think part of the defensive decline can be attributed to Bynum’s slump.

    We all know he’s an offense driven player. When he’s scoring and involved it makes his defense better. When he’s playing good defense, we are a top defensive team. I think early on, our less then spectacular offense (as we know it) was masked by the great defense. The offense isn’t as smooth with Bynum and Pau out there, and we knew that. Now? The defense isn’t off setting that.

    It’s times like these that make me feel that Bynum isn’t a great fit as a starter (right now). Although it makes me feel like I’m just reacting to a slump (I usually don’t worry this early on), but the offense issues have been been like this for two years now. Right now, the slow starts offensively with Bynum are costing us against the good teams (and making closer games against weaker teams), and making the defense suffer. I know the ceiling is higher and Drew was playing great to start, but things are going to get tougher. Is this just a slump? Or a progression of a growing problem? We aren’t playing smart or hard at times.

    I don’t mean to put it all on Bynum, because the help rotations have been poor. But it’s easier to play perimeter defense when the post guys are protecting the basket better. Drew, Pau and LO have to do a better job contesting sometimes. It’s not just about easy blocks. Sometimes you have to take a good foul. Let players know it’s going to be tough to score on the inside. Think how Shaq lets nothing easy go by. That way.

    It might also help to remember the triangle. Consistent post entry would be nice. Where’s Luke when you need him?


    I just read your comment after I posted this. I agree with Kurt about Bynum coming off the bench, but it seems like it’s the right thing to do right now, but’s not about the next 3 opponents. It’s about the opponents that matter.
    (*Thanks for the edit tool)

  5. Kurt, to answer your question in the previous thread, yes, I had fun. However, I wasn’t too pleased to find out that the vendors coming by my section weren’t selling any White Russians. Having a White Russian in my seat would have really tied that game together.

  6. The defense has been troubling the last 5 or 6 games. But I think it will get better. The other issue is the poor 3 pt shooting (19th in the league which is better than I thought). Other than Sasha (who has only taken a small number of shots), Artest is the best 3 pt shooter on the team at 37%. Everyone else is in the low 30s. It makes it easier for teams to pack the paint because we don’t have any serious threats from the outside (unless its Kobe or Fisher for a big 3 at the end of a game). It would be nice to have the machine back, but the machine turned out to be a lemon. Looked good during the test drive, but broke after you bought it.

  7. Just have to say a couple of things…

    I’ve always like Turiaf’s game. Never liked letting him go.

    “Sasha’s shot going snowboarding with Radmanovic”: hilarious and so very true. But I do not regret for a second letting Vlad Rad go. Inconsistancy enough from our bench as it is.

    Kobe should have won MVP a couple of times more already, and he will only win it again if we steamroll the league to clinch the nº1 spot. But only then, IMO.

    I’m just glad we won, ’cause I thought Ellis would go for 40+ and carry the Dubs. Good thing they kinda suck.

  8. Turiaf is fun to watch, but he is not worth his current salary on our team – also we wouldn’t be able to sign Pau and Kobe. I would rather add Ron Artest than resign Turiaf. Yes, I do really like his game, but is he going to replace Pau or Lamar? Just saying…

  9. I agree, Craig. I liked Turiaf as well, but the Lakers wouldn’t match the salary the Warriors were willing to pay.

    And watching the Lakers play through these down times isn’t very enjoyable. That being said, I’ve witnessed enough of these down times with this current squad over the last few years to know that they’ll bounce back.

  10. I’ve deleted a couple of baiting comments. I’ve also deleted the responses to those comments since they no longer made sense with the original comment gone. We appreciate a good debate here and are open to different points of view. However, comment with civility and respect or your comment will disappear. You can see the commenting guidlines if you have any questions:

  11. Ronni was definitely a player the lakers wanted to keep but couldn’t. But I was disappointed the lakers let him get all those blocks. The problem with Ronni a few years back was that he tried to block everything and always picked up a lot of fouls. The lakers just had to give him a couple of fakes instead of letting him block all those shots.

    Yesterday I said let farmar play extended minutes, so far so good. Farmar can do so many things on the floor, it’s just a matter of consistency. He can play the passing lanes defensively, create and finish in the open court and knock down jumpers. Farmar really has to keep working and phil has to keep showing trust in farmar. Farmar also seems to play much better with the starting unit opposed to the second unit.

    Stop starting L.O. at the 3. He can’t defend 3’s like he used to. L.O. is 245 or so (he’s much heavier than the listed 230 and even lamar has said he’s gained weight over the past two seasons). There is a reason Lamar never started at the 3. Its because he can’t play it. Lamar is at his best when he’s causing problems for the opposing 4 offensively and being active around the basket wether its offensive boards, slashing, get put backs, or making plays. GET HIM OFF THE PERIMETER!

    And defensively, Having Ron in the game will definitely help. But really watching the lakers over the past 2 weeks, they all have poor defensive fundamentals, they don’t talk, they don’t rotate, they overplay players they should back off of, the close out on shooters late or foul them. Ron should hold a defensive clinic for the rest of the team. The lakers are giving way to many lay-ups, unlike the beginning of the season, and way to many open jumpers.

    The lakers are just in a funk, the just have to work their way out of it. And if they can keep winning games while in their funk, that’s even better.

    • I like Ronnie, but like Fisher years before he was being vastly overpaid by GSW for what he could produce. The Lakers had to let him go, but I still miss him on the bench.

  12. how much of that block was rony’s great positioning, and how much was it that kobe has a bum finger limiting his ability to power through?

  13. After watching the last few games it seems like the problem is that gasol + bynum on the floor together just doesnt function very well offensively. Neither of these guys are the type of dive/cutting to the basket type big men. They score most of their points from back to the basket postups or periods where they have the ball and shoot over the top of their defender. It’s almost as if they’re splitting a pie and whatever gasol doesnt get bynum does and theres no added benefit of having the two of them together on offense.

    There are entire sequences where bynum doesnt touch the ball on offense because gasol is getting most of the primary post up touches. It’s pretty clear that when he’s not engaged in the offense he kinda checks out in the other aspects of the game as well.

    If you look at the lineups on 82games, the gasol + odom lineup performs much better and that shouldnt be a surprise. Since odom is precisely the type of player that can benefit from the attention that gasol + bynum force on defenses.

  14. Just a fun fact for all of the sasha haters…he leads the team in 3 point field goal percentage and has actually been playing really well lately. I’d like to see Phil run the up-screen to the elbow jumper for him, something we used to do in years past. Hitting that shot has always been easy for him and would be a great way to have him gain confidence/showcase for another team IF we trade him…

  15. @16. Slo, he may have a decent at best shooting percentage but watch the man play defense, Sasha is a liability he couldn’t even guard a Statue

    • Just a question: People are down on Odom for his up and down play. Why is this a surprise to anyone? When was his play ever steady and reliable?

  16. You’ll probably delete this but I gotta say that the last few teams we played have decided the way to play us is to beat the crap out of us,and the way to play Pau is to push him out from under the basket.The refs seem to think this is OK unless the Lakers give it back.This sort of play upsets the players and disrupts the offense and defense and is responsible for all the technicals.If the league lets it go like this we’re going to have suspensions,and more lost games due to injury.

  17. The thing that gets me the most about odom this year is his sudden change into rasheed wallace. Get back into the paint lamar, way too many threes. It isn’t helping either playing him at sf where he’s having trouble staying in front of his man.

  18. Odom trying to guard wings doesn’t really work anymore. It might have a half-decade ago when people still thought he was a three, but at this point in his career, he needs to be in the frontcourt. His rather futile attempts to chase wings around the perimeter the last few games have been evidence enough of that. IMO, Kobe should move to the three and Shannon should start, assuming Artest will still be out for a game or two. It satisfies the “START SHANNON NAO” crowd and gets him more experience with the starting unit.

    As far as our offense stagnating, I agree that it’s partly our poor three-point shooting and also the loss of our pinpoint interior passing that we enjoyed so much from Gasol and Odom (Odom becoming perimeter-happy hurts this as well). That said, we all were expecting growing pains from Gasol and Bynum adapting to each other in the post. Between last year’s injury-shortened season and Gasol being out for a good chunk of the year, Bynum hasn’t had a whole lot of time to acclimate to playing with Gasol. We’re set with Bynum and Gasol essentially for the next half-decade, so I’d rather they start learning how to play with each other now than in the middle of the playoffs. That’s what the regular season is for.

  19. The getting concerned about the defense as well. I am far more concerned about not being able to watch the defense play like crap during home games. This Fox / Time Warner Cable dispute is getting serious. I really don’t want to be bothered with changing cable providers.

  20. Kurt>I’m getting concerned about the Lakers defense.

    Kurt, some folks here have been ‘concerned’ for several games now, and have been.. um.. chastised for it, by you and some others.

    I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’…

    • 24. I think it’s a matter of degree of reaction. But point taken. Long defensive post coming probably Friday, and it’s going to get a lot of play.

      For the record, I feel a little dirty about rooting for the Suns tonight, but I am.

  21. lakersfansincemagic December 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Do you have a media pass to the Lakers locker room?

    I’m thinking if that’s the case, perhaps you may be too close to the team to get an outside perspective. The advantages of being close is to see the real character of a person, and see how he’s developing up close. But the disadvantage is that you create some sort of emotional connection with the player which inclines you to defend the player.

    That may be why some of us gets chastised for voicing our concerns.

    Just a thought..

    • Lakersfansincemagic, I can get passes through and have been in the press room for about 5 or 6 games this season. (Not last night, for the record, never on Tuesdays.)

      It changes my perspective in some senses, but I worked hard to keep the same perspective and just use what I learn there through access to illuminate discussion points here. I’d like to think any discussions here have not been different because of that access — to be blunt I chastised people and was an a$%*#& long before I got passes. It’s never personal, just a matter of trying to keep the discussion at a certain level of quality.

  22. RE Odom: I agree that he’s been settling too much for the jumpshot, but I also think that this stylistic change is reflective of two things: 1). He’s got more confidence in his 3 point shot (even if, as of today, it’s not warranted). We all saw in the Denver series and the Finals that Odom was really shooting the 3 well and that carried over into the pre-season and the beginning of the regular season. But 2). Odom has been paired much more with Bynum this season and less with Pau. And, not to beat a dead horse here, but Bynum doesn’t pass the same way that Gasol does (and this isn’t to criticize ‘Drew, it’s just to state the obvious). This means that Odom is not getting those same looks off his dives and he’s not rewarded as often for his activity around the basket.

    And in addition to those two points, what I’ve also seen is that Odom is paired much more with Farmar on the second unit which means that LO does not have the ball in his hands nearly as often. When Odom gets heavy minutes, especially with Fish, Kobe, Pau, and Ron, he’s the primary offensive initiator (even more than Kobe or Fish). This means he’s the guy that makes the post entry and the guy that cuts to the middle on almost every single play. But with Farmar in the game, Jordan is the guy that brings the ball up the majority of the time and the guy that gets those cuts. This leads to more floating by LO. And when coupled with the ‘Drew affect that I mentioned earlier, you’ve got a player that is no longer playing to his strengths – off ball movement and being a mismatch over other PF’s that have to guard him off the dribble.

    I don’t want to come off as making excuses for LO because I know he could be playing much better than he currently is. That said, when a player is not playing well, it’s normally more than “player X sucks” and I think we need to find better reasoning than “player X needs to play harder” as it’s usually a bit deeper than that (not that I’ve seen too many of those comments about LO on these boards, as I have not).

    I do agree, though, that Odom is not a SF and I do think we need Ron and Luke back as soon as medically possible. Despite the poor play of our PG’s, SF really is the position with the least amount of depth. SF is also a position that is much more important, in our scheme, than PG.

  23. off-topic, atlanta is poised to win @ cleveland, 24 hours after getting a beating and on james’ birthday. not for anything wished ill or something like that, i do hope atlanta shows up in the second half and eventually wins if only to prove espn and the media that they have overhyped this cleveland team that has proven nothing much outside the regular season.

    and that they too are not good as advertised because advertising nowadays is a lot of exaggeration from the truth. so all elite teams can’t be that good. but they can be better.

    as for the lakers slump, let’s see ron-ron back and luke back to see if numbers jump defensively. bynum is in a slump only he can take himself out of.

    again, enough of feeling out each other. go play hard and deliver. kobe ain’t giving entry passes to hesitant pfs and centers who brick 3-5 foot hook shots or frontal assaults. hey maybe howard’s rolling banging hook may work.


  24. Actually, it’s good that we’re slumping now, as compared to much later in the season.

    It’s kinda nice actually too since this marks the end of our comfortable stretch, and can instill a sense of reality and some fire into the team who may have been basking in their own aura too much.

    Also, I’m seriously hoping that we are done with our share of injuries now that we’ve had some on Kobe and one on Artest, and one on Pau.

  25. Darius,
    I believe Duncan was the last league MVP who won NBA title in 2003 as well (and NBA finals MVP).

  26. Kurt, why feel dirty about rooting for the Suns?

    After all, they are playing the Celtics.

    The Suns cannot and never will hurt us; and Celtics can and have (many, many times).

  27. Sorry if this has already been shared (haven’t read the last few comment threads), but this is too hilarious not to post. Something to consider if you think you’ve ever gotten a picture and autograph with Pau Gasol:

  28. About Odom and his threes, it seemed to me from the beginning of the season that the coaching staff had given him the green light to shoot outside more, since he was shooting several a game and not getting yanked to the bench after going 1-of-3.

    Over the past 2 or 3 seasons it seemed he was almost reluctant to do so, which is why I think the coaching staff is behind his increased shooting this year. He’s not a great 3-point shooter, but your 4 dragging out his man to the 3-point line certainly will free up a lot of space under the hoop, and he’s just about accurate enough to force the defender to commit defensively.

    That said, I’d like to see him take fewer, but take up position out on the wing at the 3-point line, then drive to the hoop for a layup/dish–watching Odom and Gasol work off each other in the paint is a thing of beauty. This team doesn’t have an uber-quick point guard (other than Farmar, but I’d like to see a solid, consistent month out of him at about 20-22 minutes a game before I can count him in this discussion) like most of the teams in the league seem to have these days, for the sneakily disruptive drive-and-kick (and the Lakers may not have the shooting to do it effectively yet this year), but they do have one of the freakier-talented point forwards in the game, and using those freaky talents can only be a good thing in the long run.

  29. R, “The Suns cannot and never will hurt us; and Celtics can and have (many, many times).”
    2007 — lost to Phoenix, 4-1

    2006 — lost to Phoenix, 4-3, first round
    I got to say that being a laker fan naturally gives me that animosity most of us share for the celts’. Although, being that I was born in the late 80’s, the teams that I have watched our lakers struggle to the most in the post season as a teenager and young adult are the spurs, kings, and suns. The 2006 series was a heart breaker and after the back-to-back playoff knockouts, that has definitely put the suns in the same category I put the spurs in for teams I highly dislike and worry about. (not to mention kobe getting passed up on the mvp those years to steve nash.)

  30. #31. You’re right about that. I missed Duncan on that list. I think the premise still stands, but you’re right – it should be 3 MVP’s winning titles in the last 15 years, rather than two.

  31. 35 – Now, Finals MVP is a pretty good barometer of post season success. (Nearly perfect, actually). I’d be happy to have Kobe win a few more of those or have Pau win one or more.

    Paul Pierce, or LBJ? Not so much …

  32. I think everyone should keep in mind that we had a player last year who was given the green light to shoot threes whenever he was open, even though he shot a terrible percentage at first.

    Trevor Ariza, 2008-09 3P%
    Regular Season
    Oct: 4-5 80%
    Nov: 4-20 20%
    Dec: 8-29 27.6%
    Jan: 15-43 34.9%
    Feb: 11-32 34.4%
    Mar: 16-46 34.8%
    Apr: 3-16 18.8%
    Total: 61-191 31.9%

    Utah: 11-18 61.1%
    Hou + Den: 19-42 45.2%
    Orl: 10-24 41.7%
    Total: 40-84 47.6%

    Odom going through shooting woes now may payoff in the future. Look at Trevor’s numbers from last year; they’re terrible all the way through December, and only ok after that. Part of Phil’s genius last season was giving Trevor the green light early in the season, allowing him to develop confidence as well as form in his 3P shooting. Then, come playoff time, Trevor delivered for us. So let’s not dump on Odom too early.

  33. I’m a bit confused?!?! In the author’s post, these facts were give:
    A couple of fun facts about MVP winners, Scoring Champions, and NBA Champions:

    *Only three times in the past 15 years has the league MVP been on the team the won the NBA title: Shaq in the 1999-2000 seaon and Michael Jordan (twice) in the 1995-96 & 1997-98 seasons.

    *Only two players in the last 20 years have won the scoring title and the NBA title in the same season. Michael Jordan did it 6 times and Shaq did it once (in his 1999-2000 MVP season).


    First off, the second stat is incredibly misleading because it says “only TWO PLAYERS” in 20 years when it should state the NUMBER of times in 20 years, as the first fact does. It should state that 7 out of 20 years, the same player won the scoring title and the championship.

    Now, on to my next point, these are GREAT odds. The first stat says “only” 3 out of 15 times –well, that’s 1 out of 5 or 20%. A pure random sample would result in 1/32 or 3%. So 20% of the time over the last 15 years, a player has won the MVP and the NBA title. This is a very high number, yet in the post it is being represented as a small number. And the second number, 7 out of 20, is an absolutely MONSTER number, 35%. Again, compared to a random result of 1/32, or 3%.

    So basically what i’m saying is that these numbers are being used as though they are low, when in reality they are not only high, but out of this world high.

  34. The Celtics got punked by the Suns. Despite Laker woes, we’re at least two games up in the loss column over any other team.

    Injuries may make it even worse for the Celtics in the next few games, with Garnett, Pierce, and others out.

  35. 37, granted, but Trevor isn’t Odom, who is simply inconsistent, not insufficient and developing.

    Still, I think this is the ‘regular’ season for a reason, and since we are blessed with an uberly talented squad, I can live with constructive experiments leading to losses or short-term loss of memory, err, defensive discipline.

  36. hey Kurt, we’ve got to see that the Dude who abides gets this article from the NY times –
    it’s called –
    Dissertations on His Dudeness

    a must read about the classic film!

  37. And…… Portland’s Aldridge sprained his ankle. That’s kind of funny, even their coach is injured. Bad break. Now they have NO big man (unless you count Juwan Howard – I don’t) to hold down the paint if Aldridge’s injury puts him out of action.

    Luckily for them, Bayless is playing really good right now.

    Regarding the MVP award – who cares? I’ll take a Finals MVP over a regular season MVP, as I’m sure Kobe would, too.

  38. 39, but the MVP award and winning the championship are obviously positively correlated, so comparing the given percentages to a purely random sample is statistically unsound. I think Darius’ point is that while they may be positively correlated, they are not causal or even highly correlated for that matter.

  39. Snoopy (33),

    That is flat out hilarious.

  40. #29: the media always overreact to the latest trend lines. earlier, people were talking about who could possibly touch the Lakers (to which I thought “hmm, they must not be watching our Taco Unit.”) and how LBJ has one foot out the doors. Now it’s Cavs are #1 and what’s wrong with the Lakers.

    #35: I think the loss to the Celtics was more indelible because of the history and the fact that we got to the finals and were favored. The losses to Phoenix and SA, we were really playing above our heads anyway and weren’t really expected to win.

    For some reason, it’s hard for me to work up a good hate for any of the West team (well, maybe Denver), just as I couldn’t work up a good hate for Orlando last year. For the Celts and Cavs, now that’s some good hating right there!

    #38: I don’t think Lamar has the same work ethic as Trevor. Also, Trevor was a young and developing player; LO is a known quantity. LO is known to be inconsistent. Our best hope is that he’ll be on the upswing when the playoffs come.

    #28: it seems like the thin line between reasonable concern and excessive whining or panic is about 1.5 loss 🙂 Sure there’s some overreaction on the part of some people, but I think there’s a bit of overreaction by Kurt and others to the overreaction, too.

    We still have lots of time to fix things and we still have plenty of upside — Luke and Artest back, Kobe healing — even if there’s no roster change.

  41. Not feeling all these posts. When you talk about lack of D, Fisher name must be first. Lakers won last night because Phil finally realized Fisher can not compete. The first time this year he sat him the 4th quarter. At the time Ellis had been making him look like a d league sub. He throw the ball away 4-times and was 2 for 6 after a 1 for 7 at Phx. I am actually to a point that I am ashamed when Fish is on the court. I hope Phil sticks to his guns and contiues to play him 20 minutes like last night or we will continue to get beat by every point guard in the NBA. Fisher 38%, guys he guards 56% and 12 more points. Time to sit it down Fish.

  42. wasn’t Horry inconsistent too?

  43. I am very happy that the Suns dismanted the Celtics, as long as they keep losing, the Laker woes are OK with me.

  44. trade Bynum…. That’s all there is to it… The guy is lazy, plays with no energy and defense, keeps clogging the lane, commits silly fouls and turns around moaning and groaning about it. Please Dr. Buss, I donot see any potential in this guy.

  45. @35 – Yes, the Suns beat us in 06 & 07 (and also in 92 or 93 I believe), but so what? They’ve won a grand total of 0 NBA titles. This is the equivalent of Steelers losing to the Bengals, yes it hurts, but the Bengals have won squat when it matters. The big picture is that there is only one franchise that is the green fly in our purple ointment. That said, we have the most consistent franchise in the league, we’ve won more games, more playoff games and more playoff series than any other team and we trail the Cs by 2 titles. Regardless of this, we didn’t dip out of the league’s consciousness for most of the 90s & the first 7 years of this decade. Bring ’em on. Bring ’em all on! Go Lakers!

  46. 50, Give me Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, and Chris Douglas-Roberts, and we’ve got ourselves a deal.

  47. Don’t the Lakers still have the best record In the league? It’s amazing how a good percentage of the posters who I love on the forum are ready to write the CHAMPS, off In December after they lose a few games!! come on guys, it’s still early!! Lakers will repeat fellas stop panicking!!! LOL. Do you guys think any of these so called elite teams East or West can beat them 4 straight If everybody is healthy? I don’t, so I’m not worrying about a few bumps In the road, we haven’t even gotten to the All Star break yet!!!

  48. 51 – Gr8 Scott – Thank you, yes that was my point exactly. The Suns aren’t even worthy of contempt. Now, the Kings are another matter – but I digress.

    By comparison, please consider our grievances against the Celtics: The Lakers have been to The Finals 22 (twenty two!) times since coming to LA, and met the Celtics 10 times. The Celtics have prevailed 8 of the 10 times we’ve met for the championship since the franchise moved to LA.

    Oh, and adding insult to injury, the Celtics did it once to the Lakers when they were still in Minny.

  49. gr8 scott, The original post that I was responding to wrote the suns off as a team that never could take down the lakers in the post season. I was simply shocked by that because I have opposite feeling because of my age, I never got to see the showtime rivalry or any good celtic team confrentation for that matter until 08′. The teams that I have grown a pain to watch succeed (that I actually had to worry about as a 20yr old) are the suns, spurs, kings, and now the celts’ since the big ticket.
    When the Celts’ play anyone I hope they lose, I just have a personal loathe toward those other teams because they have been the rivals to the laker teams I have grown up watching.

  50. Here is my view on the current state of the team, copied from another blog:

    Not that anyone has the crying towels out, but the last two games illustrated my earlier points about the Lakers. They get roughed up in Phoenix, and are now 6-6, with all losses by 10 or more, against teams with winning records. Then to push it to 19-0 against teams with losing records, Phil has Pau go 45 mins with a 27/12 and Kobe go 42 and with a 44/11 AST at home against Golden State. When I talked about the “long, tough road” I was referring to the depth of the West. SAC, MEM, OKC, and even LAC are all much better–and Blake Griffin has not suited up yet. NO and OKC are, at present, lottery teams. Every team down to Minnesota, and even them sometimes, is capable of giving you a run (you can ask Doc Rivers, whose team (yes, without PP) has lost to the Warriors and the Clippers this week, if you don’t believe me). Also, 4-8 in the West is much better than 4-8 in the east.

    So, I see some problems coming unless Phil can get more out of Bynum and the bench, and thereby take some of the pressure off Pau and Kobe. By contrast, SA is rounding into form, has 9 guys contributing, and Popovich is managing Duncan’s and Ginobili’s minutes very carefully.

    I am not worried about the D per se–Phoenix and Golden State score a lot on everybody (Phoenix dropped 116 on Boston last night) and Cleveland is Cleveland, and played very well on Christmas.

  51. 55 – Fair enough Jeremy.

    I was taking poetic license @ 32; it didn’t much bother me that the Suns knocked off the Lakers in ’06 and ’07 because we were going nowhere anyway, wandering in the post Shaq wilderness. (As it turned out, neither were the Suns going anywhere except home.)

    It’s a far different matter to get beat in The Finals … eight times … in ten tries …

  52. Article about Laker D up at HoopData:

  53. well it(Darius comment) doesn’t echo my thoughts exactly.
    I would still prefer Kobe getting MVPs (he was robbed on at least one occasion) and we win it all 🙂

  54. “..It’s a far different matter to get beat in The Finals … eight times … in ten tries …”

    That’s spread over 70 years, so I suspect the impact may just have to do with the teams and the times.

  55. When I was saying that I’d prefer Kobe doesn’t win the scoring title and the MVP, that was a tad strong…

    What I truly mean is that the MVP and a scoring title for Kobe are a very distant 2nd and 3rd to any sort of team success. To me, the numbers don’t lie. It’s a difficult thing for the winner of those awards to then win the title in today’s NBA. The NBA Championship is a team award. And while the MVP award is now more team oriented than ever, it’s still usually given to the player with the greatest statistical impact on a winning team. And I think that *balance* is what gets you a title more than any one player’s individual excellence. I just got done watching “Sounds of the Finals” on NBATV and while Kobe was certainly dominant and an incredible force, it was the contributions of Gasol, Odom, Ariza, Fisher, et al that got the team the Title. And that balance and the multiple contributions that earned that championship was cultivated throughout the season by a team effort that defied any individual excellence. My ultimate point is that I’d much rather have Kobe statistics that aren’t quite MVP level (in the 26-27 ppg range with a handful of rebounds and assists) while the rest of the team contributes at a level that exhibits more balance (ie Gasol in the 20-22 ppg range and Bynum/Artest in the 15-17 ppg range). Nothing against Kobe earning accolades and individual hardware – I agree that he’s likely deserved more than his single MVP award – but I just don’t care anymore about that. Even Kobe himself has said that at this point in his career it’s no longer about the individual accomplishments and only about winning. That winning defines the player. I’m on board with that 100%.

  56. Interesting point made on the Simmons’ podcast:

    It’s early in the season, and the guys are really playing for themselves. We’ve seen Pau playing for touches, Bynum-by-day, Black Hole-by-night, and of course Kobe is Kobe; everyone knows he eats first. Same goes for Farmar, Shannon, Sasha, whoever. Most of our guys are playing for themselves, whether it is to justify their new contracts, or just flex their muscles.

    During the last third of the season, I would look to the team really trying to put it together and work as a unit instead of a group of individuals. That’s when teams start caring about winning and not just their own numbers and All-Star appearances.

    For now, all they really care about is making the highlight reel of ESPN.

  57. 62…I agree…

    That’s why the Magic led team was so beautiful to watch. When your best player tries to get everyone involved and get you the ball when and where you need it, it’s easy to play a team ball.

    Kobe has similar ability, but doesn’t have the same mindset or the attitude. Still, I’m not complaining about our team just yet. We still have the most potential out of all the contenders. If the Lakers play best to their ability, we should be able to repeat this season.

  58. jeremyLA24 wrote on December 30, 2009 at 8:26 pm
    R, “The Suns cannot and never will hurt us; and Celtics can and have (many, many times).”
    2007 — lost to Phoenix, 4-1

    2006 — lost to Phoenix, 4-3, first round
    I got to say that being a laker fan naturally gives me that animosity most of us share for the celts’. Although, being that I was born in the late 80’s, the teams that I have watched our lakers struggle to the most in the post season as a teenager and young adult are the spurs, kings, and suns. The 2006 series was a heart breaker and after the back-to-back playoff knockouts, that has definitely put the suns in the same category I put the spurs in for teams I highly dislike and worry about. (not to mention kobe getting passed up on the mvp those years to steve nash.)

    Jeremy, that’s crazy talk man. The Lakers have struggled against the Suns in the playoffs? Are you serious? You brought up the back to back losses against the suns in the middle of this decade, but those CANNOT compare to the losses against the Spurs, the 04 and 08 loss against the Pistons and Celtics. Why? Because the losses against the Suns came in the 1st round and even if we had WON those series, we have had about 0% chance to win a title.

    The fact is, whenever we are any good, i.e. have a chance to win a ring, the Suns are of no concern to us in the playoffs. The years the Suns are a concern are not years that we have ANY shot, and i mean ANY shot to win a title.