A Couple Thoughts On The Losing Streak

Kurt —  January 8, 2010

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Just a couple thoughts from the comments, starting with Zephid:

• Didn’t like the fact that Kobe was fighting for position in the post, Farmar watched Kobe fight for a good 5 seconds (after picking up his dribble too), only to pass it on the release to Brown on the other side (which he should’ve done immediately when Kobe wasn’t open), only to receive the pass back from Brown, and try to force it into Kobe again. When Kobe finally got the ball, he charged into the lane with 3 Blazers converging, forced up a shot hoping to get fouled, then did the whole fist throw jump in the air deal when he didn’t get the call. I don’t like that sequence. At all.

• Here’s a fun game.
Player A: 6-13, 13 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 fouls, 1 TO.
Player B: 4-8, 8 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 foul, 1 TO.
The game is called: Guess Which Player is Juwan Howard, and Which Player is Andrew Bynum.

• One thing I hate, however, is when a shot goes up and no one is in a position to rebound. If Kobe wants to jab and pump and jab step his way to 40 pts, I honestly don’t mind, so long as guys are in position to rebound after he launches. We saw it in the last 6 mins of the game where Lamar and Bynum both got good position to rebound Kobe misses and had some putbacks to cut the lead. Completely the opposite of late in the 3rd and early in the 4th where Kobe just jabbed his way into a contested jumper, only to have 5 Blazers surrounding the net and not a Laker in sight to grab boards.

Stanley added what I thought was a great point:

Along with the obvious defensive lapses, the Lakers are having problems recognizing what to do when the primary option is deterred (i.e. post fronting / hard doubles). Having Kobe play 40+ minutes each game and taking questionable jump shots outside the offense with a bum finger also doesn’t help the learning process and Bynum’s growth as a passer from the quick/hard double.

Kurt

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63 responses to A Couple Thoughts On The Losing Streak

  1. You would have thought our front line had an advantage in this game, Portland’s is defineately decimated at the moment, sure we are without Gasol, but still.

    “We made too many wrong mistakes.” – Yogi Berra

  2. Kobe had 37 shot attempts? Only making 14 of those attempts. What is that? Other Lakers had 13, 11 and 9 attempts. Are they not helping out or Is Kobe just not trusting his teammates game? I see Bynum fighting for inside position while the guards play hot potato. LO only had 15 points. Yes Kobe is forcing his shots but maybe it’s because his teammates are indecisive with the rock and can’t create an offense that leads to scoring. All I often see is the typical perimeter campers waiting for the outside dish for that open 3 pointer that only gives us fans hope for a possible comeback (based on the previous 2 games). No penetration and no inside game. Kobe and Gasol hold the only consistent offense and one half of them is in spectator mode. Let’s hope Brown, Fisher and Artest step up because if we have to rely on Bynum and LO to carry the team when Kobe goes 14-37 then we’re in trouble.

    Go Lakers!

  3. Didn’t watch the game due to a little thing called work (I guess in the end I was better off) so I can’t comment on the Portland game specifically.

    However, Kobe shooting so much (and so poorly) brought me back to a quote from a few days ago in which Kobe apparently said that Bynum had to recognize that there was ‘a pecking order’ (on offense).

    If Kobe said that, it is pretty unsettling: Why does there have to be a ‘pecking order’? Doesn’t that reek of Shaq vs. Kobe zeitgeist? Shouldn’t the pecking order be ‘hit the open man’?

    Without Kobe the Lakers are a semi-good playoff team looking for their Cinderella story. With him they are the champs looking to repeat.

    Yet, I can’t help but feel that Kobe’s identity is firstly and lastly that of a scorer; not dime-dropper or ‘facilitator’, not a defensive-stopper, not a hustle guy, not an intangibles guy, not a glue guy, not a chearleader or role player, not a leader even (i.e. role model, team player) but a scorer.

    I often feel if he were to take a step back on the offensive end, ‘his guys’ (another anachronism from the Shaq days) would respond, especially if he focused on consistently doing the dirty, unheralded work on the defensive. And that ‘his guys’ would follow suit and be more disciplined in running the offense if their leader held himself accountable to the same offense constraints.

    (Can’t you almost hear Jordan Farmar saying to himself ‘If he can win the game with pull up threes… why can’t I”?)

    Kobe’s game is what makes the Lakers a potential dynasty but it also makes them far from perfect.

  4. @3

    Kobe does all of what you have written.90% of the games even with a bum and injured hand and elbow and bent knee.He shoots around 47-49 percent and leads the team in assists.37 shots is occasional and means he is pissed.If he was 18-37 and the game was won,what would you say?I don’t like to voice it but I smell agenda towards him from some people.Maybe I am wrong but at least he fights.Wish he played 47 minutes yesterday.If there is a chance of Lakers pulling wins w/o him,then he should rest at least 5 games.

    However real question is 40 to 10 FTs.Is it even possible in NBA to see a reffing like this?First Cleveland than Suns than this.Repeat would be tough this year.

  5. cahuitero — i agree that kobe’s drive is primarily that of a scorer. you put it well in such a few words. he is known as the mamba and the assassin primarily because of that (which we expand a bit and call his drive to win).

    however it must be noted as well that kobe has made significant improvement in other dimension of his game and his role be it as leader, facilitator or defender (though he drifts from being the 1st team all-defense we know he can be). i disagreed with george karl (and i don’t usually do) when he said lebron had this high kind of intensity and drive that eventually trickles down to others and that kobe did not have it. kobe undoubtedly has that, not at his youth but like mj he has that.

    bottomline, he had a bad night. he has worse lines than that and this season can still be his finest yet. bad because the volume of shots taken got them off rhythm the rest of the game. it must be examined what led to that. some cite officiating, some cite plain and simple lack of aggression. i’ll leave that to those who saw this game and to good ol basketball sense.

    that said, a lot of things are inexcusable with that game, signs of trends that kurt et al are better at putting to perspective. nothing to panic about. as i said earlier, i wouldn’t want orlando’s problems. their team looks as disinterested if you can say that and the overloading of good players is getting into the great players’ minutes. celtics and spurs have health concerns. cavs are yet to be tested. all the rest can not match up with our talent level.

    i believe when pau and luke are back, we will hit an upswing and realize majority of what this team had shown us. yet still, keep an open mind about things to come. GO LAKERS!

  6. Eric.. from what you’re saying it seems like gasol isn’t the only one in spectator mode..

    Are we celebrating PauGasol day here at FB&G btw?

  7. There needs to be a pecking order in the offense — You want Kobe and Gasol taking more shots than Fisher. You want your best players taking more shots. But, when the other team stacks up to take away option one, you need to go to those other options who should get good looks. Then they need to knock them down. To use Fisher as that example, he hit 4 of 9 from three, Artest 3 of 4. But the Lakers stopped swinging the ball, they went to isolation, they got lost when they couldn’t get the ball in the post. It has been ugly to watch the last couple games. Just stupid mental mistakes (like handing the ball to a guy in the back court).

    And again, we’re talking offense, but the bigger problem is defense right now. And it was again last night (although, Portland was also just hot from the midrange and deep).

  8. Kurt,

    Sorry, but I am not sure how to contact you outside of the comments. Just wanted to get this off my chest, and I hope that you are not too offended.

    I think you have done an obviously amazing job with Forum Blue and Gold, and I thank you for all of your efforts and time.

    That said, the negativity in these forums lately is incredibly depressing. I suppose it was inevitable with the influx of people (which is a great thing for you) from the “True Hoop Network” and all of the ESPN exposure, but it still discourages me to see the vast bulk of comments becoming snide and sullen attacks against the current world champions who also happen to have the best record at the moment.

    Bynum is now “The Brown Dwarf”? I know that is meant as a subtle jab, and a morphing of “The Black Hole” nickname that got tossed around, but honestly, both of those are not only demeaning and full of contempt, but they are also offensive and insensitive.

    Fisher is the source of all of our woes? Really?

    Even the Sasha jokes, which I have certainly made as well, have gotten personal.

    Maybe it is the constant media circus finding its level of expression here in the comments, but I am growing more and more concerned that a really great site is rapidly becoming just another gossip and bitch page.

    I hope that Forum Blue and Gold can turn this around.

    Anyway, thanks for hearing me out.

    -3ThreeIII

  9. Chownoir (was J) January 9, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Regarding Zephid’s comment about Bynum, I think consideration needs to be given to the treatment Bynum was getting from the refs and his teammates.

    Bynum got absolutely no calls inside last night from that blatant rake across his arms right in front of the refs to quick 3 second calls. Meanwhile Portland was getting some ticky tack calls. Kind of hard to battle inside if the other team doesn’t get called for loose ball fouls over the back by you are going to get it.

    Also Portland was very conscious of Bynum and always shading a guy towards him and dropping down hard on the double. Lakers weren’t doing a good job with entry passes as usual. Bynum wasn’t forcing it deep into the double teams. He would kick it back out again but not get another pass in the repost.

    Kind of hard to complain that Bynum is being a black hole then when he shows patience in passing back out and not forcing it to then complain about his lack of aggressiveness.

    Juwan also hit a couple of ridiculous shots. Look I’m not blaming the loss entirely on officiating. Lakers had lots of mental mistakes and were out of sync. But Bynum and LO could not buy a call at all last night until mid 4th when Lakers were down huge.

  10. On the bright side, the top 4 contenders all lost yesterday.

  11. 3. I don’t think Jordan Farmar takes dumb shots because he sees Kobe doing it and follows suit. I think Farmar is taking dumb shots because he knows that if he doesn’t take them he’s not getting a chance again soon, since he’s just going to have to hold the ball and wait until Kobe gets into post position.

  12. when the Lakers are struggling, the team gets into a vicious cycle where Kobe tries to do it all by himself and everyone else reverts to standing around spectating. I think Kobe needs to exercise more discipline and stay with the offense instead of Kobe trying to take over the game. If he can’t do that, then Phil has to make him. Kobeball should be used in limited spurts and situations. It’s better to lose as a team than to lose with one guy playing. You have to think long term, not just this game.

    And I’m not talking about Kobe passive- aggressively stop trying to score either. I’m talking about running the offense and continuing to get guys involved, even if they’re not knocking it down. If Kobe can shoot 33%, why can’t Brown or Farmar?

    This has always been my frustration — Kobe is a great player but the dynamics between him and his teammates has always been slightly dysfunctional, as opposed to Magic or Duncan and their teammates.

    Here’s a thought experiment: what if Kobe were out and Pau were playing? The Lakers would probably have a worse record (for one thing, no Kobe buzzer beaters). They would probably have lost the Porty game too. But I’m pretty sure they’d be playing better basketball over all, be much less frustrating to watch, and would’ve beaten the Clippers at least.

  13. Point Lakers are 6 and 4 in the last 10. They are .500 aganist teams with winning records. They play Dallas, Spurs, Cavs, Celts on the road and Orlando at home this month. That could be a 7-loss month. My question: What do they pay Phil $12 million for? Clearly not to call time outs to force Koby and Fish to stop shooting(47 shots) and throw the ball into Ron, Lamar and Andrew (30 shots). Try coaching Phil and contol the out of wack ego of your front court. Portland and Clips Coach figured it out. Double Koby, leave Fish open and run the ball on slow Fish and lazy Bynam. Its called coaching. Hope its not an NBA trend. If so Lakers don’t get out of the West this year.

  14. I agree with Three, it is disappointing to see Kurt re-print the Brown Dwarf insult on his main post.

  15. He’s had better nights, but was Bynum’s double-double on almost 50% shooting really that awful?

  16. Having Kobe play 40+ minutes each game and taking questionable jump shots outside the offense with a bum finger also doesn’t help the learning process and Bynum’s growth as a passer from the quick/hard double.

    ___

    I (and others) have brought up Kobe’s minutes before, and even with his peerless conditioning and all, I think it is an issue. I thought the decision to have him go 47 against Sacto was particularly bizarre. Whatever struggles the other title-driven teams are having (Celtics lost to the Hawks again last night), no other contender is using their 30-and-over starters in the kind of volume that Phil is using Pau and Kobe in. It has occurred to me that perhaps Phil figures with Jim Buss in the saddle now, he is not coming back.

    I said last year during the playoffs that while I am sure bringing in 12.7M and playing for the Lakers is quite a life at age 22, this is very clearly not the best team for Bynum’s development. Phil, for all his acumen, is IMO not really a guy to develop young players at this stage in his career. Add that to a superior low-post player and a great scorer with an intense personality on the wings, and you see what you see. Part of that is on Bynumhimself, but he is still just a kid.

    @8,

    I see your point, but I would also say that given the Lakers’ talent, payroll, and team age, it is clear that the standard for them is “best team in basketball.” If they are not playing as such, people will complain. At the same time, the reality is that without Pau Gasol, this is about a 50-53 win team. They are, I believe, 10-5 without him now. So, the losses to the Clippers and the Blazers are not really that surprising.

    ___________

    Yet, I can’t help but feel that Kobe’s identity is firstly and lastly that of a scorer; not dime-dropper or ‘facilitator’, not a defensive-stopper, not a hustle guy, not an intangibles guy, not a glue guy, not a chearleader or role player, not a leader even (i.e. role model, team player) but a scorer.

    I often feel if he were to take a step back on the offensive end, ‘his guys’ (another anachronism from the Shaq days) would respond, especially if he focused on consistently doing the dirty, unheralded work on the defensive. And that ‘his guys’ would follow suit and be more disciplined in running the offense if their leader held himself accountable to the same offense constraints

    _________

    I definitely agree with the first paragraph, and have more or less said as much in the numerous Kobe-psyche arguments I have been in on other sites. As to the second, I am more skeptical. While Kobe is no doubt the psychological and structural focal point of this team, I think that at times both his fans and his detractors focus on him too much, attributing everything that happens in Laker games to him. That said, Odom and Bynum were 13/22 from the floor last night and Brandon Roy was 9/11. I don’t see the game, but the numbers indicate that lot of this game is on Kobe.

  17. It would seem to me Kobe doesn’t trust Bynum inside very much, but quite frankly against good teams with good inside post players I dont either. He is still young and he has unpolished and uncertain post moves that lead to bad shots or poor decision making. Kobe is trying to do what he’s done for years, lead by scoring yet nobody else seems to be able to get into a flow of the game thereby enabling teams to focus on doubling Kobe. But like Kurt said the biggest issue here is defense, the Lakers scored a good amount of points last night on the road they just were not able to make defensive stops which is what enbles you to win games when your down.

  18. Last night was a bad showing for our defending champs that had an opportune chance of braking a losing streak against a team that hasn’t been a contender for almost 10 years. With that said, I did like the fact that we fought back. Kobe lead the team in the late 4th qtr. with his full court intensity on Roy and took over the offense with an “I’m not going down without a fight attitude.” Amongst Kobe, was our two (active) star calibre bigs who were struggling all night but in late crashed boards and made vital put backs to bring the game back in single digits. This doesn’t mean I’m proud of this game or that I’m fine with this loss but it does mean we didn’t just let a blowout happen when we were down by 20 with 6:30 remaining in a game (or whatever it was). The “If” factor in this game was equally defense and sticking to the offense that worked instead of panicking and taking wild shots or Kobe going into “me against the world mode.”
    A few thoughts I have from the comments: Many comments are ensuing that if our team plays extremely well (peaks) in January that we will lose momentum (or something to the effect) by June. To my knowledge, it takes at least a season (or two) of aging or a major injury for a team to fall out of its peak abilities once it reaches it. (i.e spurs or celts’ of last year). I would like to see this team come together as soon as possible, not just hope that the term “playoffs” work some kind of magic on this team. If ther was som type of choice in when I’d want the team to peak, of course I would choose April-June but we can’t just expect its going to happen that way. This team needs to reevaluate their defense and choose what offensive sequences work best when they have a specific squad out on the floor. Between Brown being a terrible post passer and Farmar works best in a pick and role sequence (especially with Bynum), It is close to impossible to affectively run the triangle. This team is very talented but not great for the triangle. I’m at the point where I think we need to either tweek the system or tweek the roster. I for one know that things don’t jus fix themselves. The playoffs don’t have to start tomorrow for us to fail; all we need is to do is not react proactively.

  19. These losses and problems are very frustrating, BUT they are “growing pains.”

    That fact alone gives me some comfort. We still own the best record in the NBA, and we’re experiencing difficulties in our quest to get better. Nothing has changed. We had growing pains in each of the past two years. I would much rather the *need* to get better now, than be at our max and hope to maintain that level for 4-5 more months.

    History has shown us that we’ll work the problems out. I have faith in that.

  20. @13

    Standing ovation on your comments! Yes, finally someone bringing up Phil. I constantly see him yell at his bench players but rarely at his starters. It’s as if its taboo and forbidden to do so. Hmm, I wonder if it was put in his contract. Phil seems to only attack his bench and refs. What’s up with that?

    @8

    Your comments I respect however FB&G gives us the freedom to comment regardless of intent to express how we feel. That’s the beauty of it. What Kurt et al have done here is allow for us to vent. I think it’s great coming from a fellow blogger myself. FB&G has not turned into the Jerry Springer show, for me it’s turned into the Dr. Phil show at times, letting me release the frustrations that come with being a fan by typing away and letting go. By doing so and reading everyone else’s comments I gain perspective and always see the bigger picture in the Champion Los Angeles Lakers. We are the best sports franchise of the decade damn it!

    Isn’t blogging exactly what you explained to be in your comments? I mean, if I were to sugar coat everything and look past the Lakers flaws then I would be in denial. It’s okay to talk about the bad. Take a look, Kurt et al write more good articles than bad ones and he can’t control the passion his fans bring to the commenting table. I personally come here majority of the time for my Laker insight. Why? Simply because of FB&G’s perspective bust mostly because of his fans. These comments don’t follow the standard, “Go Lakers, Kobe’s the best!” or “Lakers rock, Gasol is the best!”, no, these people keep it “real” and “raw”, again regardless of intent.

    Go Lakers!

  21. Also, you can see that the players are apprehensive about feeding Bynum in the post because he is lazy about sealing his man. Really, unless you are double-teamed, it doesn’t matter how good or bad a post-entry pass is. You should be jostling for position such that the defender is always on your back. The offensive player has the position. and, in Bynum’s case, the player is longer and stronger than his opposition. The post entry passes aren’t deflected by help defenders, they are deflected by Bynum’s man, because he doesn’t seal properly. Look at Artest…feeding him in the post is a much easier proposition because you don’t have to throw him a pinpoint pass every time, because he keeps his man on his back.

  22. @cahuitero – There is an offensive pecking order and it goes Kobe, Pau, Ron and Lamar (tied), THEN Bynum. They do not need 15 pts a game from him, the Lakers have enough offense as it is. They NEED him to get 10 boards and to protect the rim.

  23. There is a little bit of “fool’s gold” in Kobe playing so well this year. He has been so efficient and tough in playing through the injuries that it is easier to slide into the kobe-centric mode on offense than it should be in an 82 game season.

    BTW, last year before he got hurt, Bynum played WITH Gasol in the lineup and was a monster.

    On the positive side, with Portland that hot and shooting so many free throws, it was an achievement to keep the game as close as it was.

  24. 5) Even when Kobe has a good night “volume” shooting, it’s doesn’t develop the offense for his “off” nights. And Kobe having a good night shooting is still usually not better than an average night shooting for Gasol and Bynum.

  25. I think that on offense, Kobe doesn’t have a lot of respect for his teammates skills, with the exception of Gasol. So when Gasol is out, Kobe plays outside the offense significantly more. (When the opposite should actually be happening!) WHen Gasol is playing, Kobe’s respect for him keeps Kobe within the offense more.

  26. @exhelodrvr – I completely disagree. There is nothing lacking in the Lakers offense. Despite shooting only 43% and taking only 10 FT (They were only 5/10 from the line), they still got to 98 points.
    The only reason the Lakers got back into this game was due to Kobe’s assists in the 3rd quarter (two to ron for 3’s).
    The real issue in this game was that we got outboarded by a team without their two true centers…inexcusable. Also, don’t be fooled by the Lakers offensive rebounding numbers…a lot of them came from bricks when Kobe started driving to the hole in the 4th drawing 3 defenders for easy offensive boards.
    The only person who needs any real offensive development is Shannon Brown, cuz, let’s face it, this is Derek Fisher’s last year as a starting PG and Farmar may be a starting PG…in the NBDL. Seems like he’s moving to that position, basically taking Sasha’s minutes away and slowly eroding Jordan’s too.

  27. I think a moderate approach is best. We cannot pretend there is nothing wrong or that injuries are the only cause of this slump. At the same time, we have to realize that we’re missing the piece that makes this triangle function. It’ll be easier to judge where we are (which is still far from where we need to be) once we have our full roster.

    Here’s what worries me a lot more – why does the triangle collapse as soon as Pau is gone? And even more concerning – even when Pau is in, why do we not run our offense consistently through him? Why have our other players forgotten how to run the triangle? I think our problem starts from the top-down. Kobe’s reverted more and more into the triangle-less version. Fisher, our other veteran, has toned down the PUJITs but overall this team is still not running the offense. And all it would take is using Pau as the #1 touch (and not shot) option and cutting and moving around him.

    Unless I’m mistaken, if the triangle is run properly, there should be 3 players in position. Like Zephid noted, it seems like we’re out of position on the boards far too often, an obvious symptom of our system failures.

  28. First, I think the notes that the “brown dwarf” comment should not have made the main post were valid, so I removed it. While I and other regular readers here may understand the context, others may not and it could be read the wrong way, not as intended.

    Second, people blame Phil around this time every year. He does not coach in a traditional way. As I have said before, we all watch a game like last night and we want to yell at the players and shake them out of their complacency, because that is human nature. That is how my coaches made points, it is how almost every NBA coach makes their points heard. Not Phil. He lets the players learn their lessons on their own, with subtle guides and nudging. You may not like that, you may want him to rant and yell and make his point. But the fact remains his system clearly works. That is not to say things are going perfectly, but do you really think he and the staff don’t see that? Do you think you’re a better basketball mind? To suggest Phil is the problem and can’t rectify what is wrong with this team is to ignore history.

    Finally, the comment tone. I will say that things have been more negative here, for whatever reason, but that is a reflection of Lakers fans across the Web this season. I, frankly, am frustrated by it. I am a pretty avid NBA fan and I read other sites and boards for teams, and you don’t see this kind of frustration with teams from their fans in Memphis or Sacramento or even New York. I think it’s frustrating because this team did win a title last year and that should cut them some slack in my mind. The Lakers have the best record in the NBA, and that should get them some slack. But I end up deleting comments last night about how Roy is so much better than Kobe and we should trade for him. There is no patience at times. That is not to say there are not issues to be resolved — clearly there are — but there seems to be a lack of perspective. As if this team is incapable of improving. As if this is a finished product — every team that is a contender will be different between now and May. Do we not trust the players and coaching staff to turn it into another title team? Did they not prove with almost this exact roster they can? By the way, 29 other teams want your problems right now. I think that is the frustrating part — not that people point out problems, but that the tone of that discussion implies this team sucks. That a title end result is the only thing that can be enjoyed and the journey is meaningless. That is what frustrates me.

  29. How about a little credit to the efficiency of Brandon Roy?

    It’s not like the Lakers dropped a game they were supposed to win. They dropped a game to a good team whose star played exceptionally well.

    My problem was also with Phil. Watching the Lakers for a stretch there seemed like I was watching a Warriors. No offense, just dribble dribble then an ill advised jump shot.

    The Lakers just seem to be out of their groove. I’ve watched this team long enough to learn that we should just wait it out and not panic unless they don’t get “it” back in the next few games.

  30. I think the Lakers offensive problems are both simpler and more intractable than just the Portland game.

    Teams have figured out that if they just ‘pack the paint’, the Lakers *probably* won’t beat them with outside shooting/3-pointers.

    When both Kobe and Gasol are healthy, this doesn’t work because Gasol is enough of a shooting/passing threat and Kobe can create enough offense that teams will pay.

    When Gasol is out and/or Kobe is hurting, then the Lakers struggle.

    Gasol + Odom makes for good high-low action. Bynum + Odom means one of them is in the post and the other is just standing around.

    Kobe penetrating with the normal starters means a threat at the rim (Bynum) and three decent shooters on the perimeter (Artest, Gasol, Fisher).

    Kobe penetrating with the current lineup means that teams can sag off Odom and muck things up.

    The failure of Lakers management/coaching to find/develop another player who can consistently dribble-penetrate (and force defensive rotation) or hit 3-pointers (there are 60+ NBA rotation players who hit 3s better than Ron Artest’s Lakers-leading 38.3%) is coming back to haunt them.

  31. Re. 29:

    Totally agree. There are problems with the team at the moment, but you’d think that the Lakers had just lost their 10th game in a row, rather than their 2nd. The fact that we’re forced to call 2 losses in a row “The Losing Streak” because we haven’t lost 3 in a row in almost 2 years now should cut this team a little slack.

    No team is perfect day in and day out. The Celtics in the 50’s, the Lakers in the 80’s and early aughts and even the Bulls in the 90’s all lost games or barely won games they were supposed to win handily.

    It’s a process, and for the past 20 some-odd years Phil Jackson has done more with that process than anyone else.

    The team with the best record in the league, 2 of the best players in the league, and arguably the best coach in the history of the game has hit a rough patch in the middle of the season. It’s not time to panic. There is nothing wrong that isn’t fixable.

    Every championship road has some potholes, and I expect that the Lakers will get through this patch and come out better on the other side. It just requires a little patience.

  32. I think it’s the lack of Pau that’s causing Kobe to shoot this much.

    Kobe doesn’t see anyone worth passing to now that his standard has been set to Pau…

  33. Omg, I thought my usage of Brown Dwarf was soooooo funny. Maybe it’s because I’m a massive dork and into jokes like that, but I could see how it could be offensive taken out of context.

    But c’mon, he let Juwan Howard grab 10 rebounds. Juwan frickin’ Howard! The dude is 6’9 on a good day. He’s like 40 years old. I was expecting a 20 and 20, Moses Malone style line from Andrew considering he was being guarded by LaMarcus “Yea, Physical Contact Isn’t Really my Thing” Aldridge and Juwan Howard. Some of that is due to Kobe’s massive ball-hoggery (LBK/DBK), but Andrew needs to see that Kobe is getting manhandled on his drives, and get into position to either receive a pass or collect rebounds, neither of which I saw until the last 6 minutes of the game.

    Yea, he couldn’t buy a call in the game, but if you can’t buy a call, and your opponent is getting ticky tack fouls called for them, then you gotta start hammering people for real when you foul them. Tell the refs “that isn’t a foul, this is a foul,” Crocodile Dundee style.

    Frankly, wasn’t a terrible performance by Bynum, but I expect more from him than to play Juwan Howard to a draw.

  34. >The Lakers have the best record in the NBA, and that should get them some slack.

    that’s one recurring theme in these troubled times (that’s the other).

    but I think the thing that’s behind the gloom and doom is this thought: what’s the record going to look like at the end of the extended road trip, if they keep playing the way they’ve played the last couple of weeks?

    so we could wait and see, or we could speculate. now, which one is more satisfying?

  35. - lol, Brown Dwarf – the astronomical object! Did people think it was a reference to his skin color and his inability to rebound? That would be funny, too, albeit slightly insensitive. If that’s the case, to clear Zephid’s name:

    “Zephid wrote on January 8, 2010 at 8:10 am

    I am looking forward to seeing Bynum eat Juwan Howard alive. If he doesn’t, I will strip him off his Black Hole title and change him to the Brown Dwarf, cuz he ain’t got no fire!”

    And if people still find that offensive/insensitive, then developing a sense of humor would be my advice.

    – Some people may point to the Lakers’ early heavy home court schedule as a reason for the Lakers’ leading record, but here is something to check out:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/stats/rpi

    In short, our current win %, opponent’s win %, and opponents’ opponents’ win % taken into account, we still lead in the Relative Percentage Index.

    – What I have been saying is that people should be allowed to point out and discuss flaws/bad games – without overreaction, agreed – without receiving the typical responses of “So what? It’s (whatever month before April).”

    – Also, did you guys know that in the past seven seasons, Fisher has only missed games (eight in 2004-2005) in ONE season? Talk about durability.

    – PS. How do I italicize and bold in here?

  36. Let’s face it. Repeating is hard, maintaining a sense of purpose when you’ve just hoisted the trophy is supremely difficult, and the NBA season is full of highs and lows.

    Still, this has been a weird season to date, what with Kobe (at times) seeming to revert to old Kobe, Pau hurting, Bynum looking dominant then in a funk, and Fish sinking.

    As a Lakers fan, it’s hard to watch at times but I hearken back to last year’s playoffs when several times, it looked like the Lakers were gonna get rolled, only to find their purpose, fix their cracks and seize the gold.

    It’s a veteran team, and PJ certainly coaches for the end goal (winning a championship), not the in-game goal, which is maddening as a fan, but like Kurt says, the results speak for themselves.

    You can see that the intensity is not fully there right now, but that’s life in an 82 game season. Fingers crossed that Pau gets healthy soon, and that the Lakers work through this sooner than later, as there is only so much hair I can pull out on a given night. :-)

  37. Regarding all the posts and negativity around the site and against the team. There truly is no patience this season. I think the fans that complain about Fisher and Phil Jackson expect the Lakers to win every single game. (I blame people playing NBA2k10 where u can go undefeated in a season). But it is not realistic. Despite the “struggles”, the Lakers have the best record in the league. You can look at the heavy home schedule all you want, but the team still has to win the games. Lakers are 20-3 at home (23 home games), Spurs are 15-6 (21 home games) and Miami is 11-10 (21 home games). So it’s something that the Lakers have 5 more home wins than the Spurs. What I challenge fans to have is perspective. Is our team really that bad? Are we really not going to win a championship? The season is 82 games long so that people can come together, learn, and succeed. That is what the Lakers are working towards and that is why Phil Jackson is a good coach: he has perspective. We won’t care about the mid season struggles if we play well during the post season.
    With that said, there is something that can be seen from the last few games.
    1. Pau Gasol is very important to our team. Without him, the Lakers seem to revert to watch Kobe team that made Kobe score a lot, but the W-L wasn’t very good. I hate watching the clear out iso because a)it makes playing defense against the Lakers a lil easier (Portland game) and b) the other players start to stand around and watch.
    2. Kobe’s injury is terrible. Not because it makes him a liability, but since that injury he’s been in “I’m going to prove to you I can still kick your ass with this broken finger” mode. He shots have increased since the injury and it seems that a lot of the shots are no longer in the post.

    I am and have been a Laker fan most my life (my favorite player during high school was Sedale Threatt) and I’ve seen all sorts of Lakers team. I don’t see any reason to panic at this time.

    and for all the fisher haters, here is phil jackson stating why fish will remain the starter.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakers-fyi9-2010jan09,0,7617077.story

  38. The main problem starts with Kobe,yes he is a great player but also a selfish player Most of the time. I wonder how many games has anyone shot more than he has,whether he’s shooting well or not,he continues to shoot alot. In the 2 game losing streak he has shot the ball 67 times for 65 points,absolutely terrible,against portland he took 37 shots and shot about 36 or 37%,everyone else in the starting lineup shot 48% or better so why not give it up to those guys with the hot hand,against the clippers he was 10 for 30,at 33% shooting he’s got to let whoever’s hot carry the shooting load sometimes. With the talent on this team he shouldn’t be shooting That much,Brandon Roy shot 11 times and matched Kobe’s 32 points. Don’t get me wrong,Kobe is a great player I just wish he would share the load when he’s struggling and let someone else shine for a change and become more of a leader on the court like huddle the guys up sometime on the floor,encourage the younger guys and stop making everyone deffer to him,give those guys more shots,I think the more confidence he and Phil has in them,the more they will produce. LAKER FOR LIFE !

  39. Ray,
    +10. Thank you for being a voice of reason and bringing some much needed perspective among the premature panic. The short term memories of some Laker fans just baffles me.

  40. Interesting to see that Phil’s 10 rings isn’t enough to get the benefit of the doubt, at least in the minds of some.

    Actually, I think that Phil’s attitude is part of why he’s only one coach of the year once – he is angling to get his teams to peak in the playoffs, when the voting has already been done. I think Phil, more than anyone else, understands that in such a long season getting hot at the right time is perhaps more important than playing a solid 82. And he’s proven, to me at least, that he knows how to coach his teams to take off right when we all really want them to – June.

  41. “@cahuitero – There is an offensive pecking order and it goes Kobe, Pau, Ron and Lamar (tied), THEN Bynum. They do not need 15 pts a game from him, the Lakers have enough offense as it is. They NEED him to get 10 boards and to protect the rim.”
    ——————

    I have to disagree with this. When you have a 7 foot, 280 pound center who is good for 15 to 20 points (and your other 7 footer is out) he should automatically become the second option. It only makes sense. He plays closer to the rim than any other player on the floor. He has the highest percentage shots.

    This is not to say Bynum does everything right. He goofs up quite a bit. But is that any worse than Lamar showing up every third game? The point is the guy still has a lot to learn. As fans we have to just grit and bear it. There is no help coming. If this team is going to repeat it will only happen after this roster of guys figures it out. It is a tedious process, but a process none the least.

    Andrew frustrates me at times, too. I also remember another player frustrating me a lot when he was 22 years old. We just have to hope they get it together.

  42. @Hey 36,

    Your point about PJ coaching for the long haul is certainly most sensible. That should include getting as many guys on this squad as confident as possible, with consistent minutes. I think Kobe will eventually come off the ‘buzz’ of buzzer beaters to realize that he needs to share the ball more.

    PJ just doesn’t seem to push him much in this way – it’d sure be nice if he’d play Kobe less minutes – it will help in the long haul. I’ll take a few more losses if it means other guys’ confidence starts rising with more offensive opportunities.

    Leon ;)

  43. 35, HTML tagging works here, so that’s how you can bold and italicize, among other things. Not sure if there’s any limitations, but all the basic stuff works fine.

    And here’s a link for those who don’t get the Brown Dwarf joke, courtesy of Wikipedia.

  44. Bynum looked intimidated at times by Aldridge. Trail Blazer’s commentary was awful.

  45. I guess fans, and not just players, also succumb to the “curse of more” when we taste success. Whereas players on repeating teams want more minutes, more shots, and more individual glory, maybe we fans want more wins, more blowouts, and more tacos.

    Rightly or wrongly, abnormally elevated expectations may just come with the territory of being fans of the defending champs.

  46. Please…As Fans, Lets stop using having the best record PASS! In about 1 more week of this unexceptable basketball we will no longer have this PASS. The bottom line is Bynum does not understand how to make game changing plays just by his presence on defense. He wants to be too much of a scorer when his post moves are very limited. If we want to even make it to the championship this season..Phil will definately have to remove Fish from the Starting Line up or reduce his minutes substantially because of his defensive liability. When the two Portland point guards combine for 38 points, that is a problem. Remember once the point guard gets pass our point guard our defense is broken and we can not have this happen every time down the court. I can go on for days but I will waituntil the next game.

  47. I’m hoping Phil is tanking these games on purpose to show the Lakers how NOT to play. Because I just don’t see how letting your injured star player clock 40 mins and take 37 shots making 14 is preparing your team to peak in June.

    No panic here, just exasperation.

  48. Thanks BOOBOO, I remember what Zephid said previously, and I was laughing so hard at my computer with the Brown Dwarf joke when I read it, that my roommate and even my cat were wondering what was happening to me and why. Then seeing it in the post was even funnier, at the time for me at least. I guess that unless you read every single comment all of the time at FB&G, sometimes things can be taken out of context. I believe now in this thread that whole Brown Dwarf thing has been cleared up for everybody now.

    I think FB&G is just fine with the comments that I read, no problem here. Let’s have some fun here, why don’t we.

    Time to take out the Bucks, Go Lakers…

  49. I believe this quote pertains to this thread.

    “See things as they are and write about them. Don’t waste your creative energy trying to make things up. Even if you are writing fiction, write the things you see and know.”

  50. The bottom line is that we here in Lakerland have a high class problem. We’re b*tching and moaning about losses even though our team still has the best record in the league.

    @TRogers – First of all, don’t knock Lamar. Ever since he has been inserted into the starting lineup, the guy has been playing like a man possessed. He’s averaging what seems like 15 pts and 15 boards every game since. It’s tough for a guy like Lamar to come off the bench because he is such a flow player.He just seems like the type of guy who needs 35 min a game to find his part in the contest and be effective. Most guys who are effective off the bench are scorers(Landry, Crawford, Terry, robinson, etc). It’s a bit harder for a glue player like Lamar to contribute off the bench. Plus, playing with guys like Farmar, Vujabrick, and Powell don’t help your cause. Trust me, in the playoffs when the rotations are shortened and Lamar is getting 30+ minutes per game consistently, he’ll be a triple double threat every night.
    And about Bynum, I’ll make it short and sweet. He shows the most energy when he gets the ball in the post. He doesn’t consistently try to rebound. Perhaps he just needs tolearn how to box out better, but you really never see him fighting in the post for position. If his man has better position, he just sorta gives up, despite being taller and heavier than most opposing centers (especially the corpse of Juwan Howard). It’s just at this point in his career, his focusing on his offensive post moves above everything else. At $15 million per year, you should be playing both sides of the ball. Think about it, for Bynum’s salary, the Lakers could have signed Drew Gooden and Ramon Sessions and had $8 million left over.

    Upside is Drew is still young and he does have great footwork for a man his size, but there are a lot more cost-effective big men out there. I’d rather have Drew Gooden at 1/7th of Bynum’s salary…Gooden will give you a double double night in and night out.

  51. I do have to defend Bynum on one point. He is not a black whole or brown dwarf or whatever. He is a willing passer out of the double team. He just has problems recognizing where its coming from and what to do about it, but he’s not like last years Al Jefferson who, when he catches the ball, you know the shot is is going up.

  52. Fisher haters need to stop. Farmar is NOT a starting PG in this league.

    You only have to look to last year’s playoffs to see how effective Fisher is. do you really think Farmar would have laid out Luis Scola last year? There’s a reason Fisher is the head of the NBA player’s association. People respect him and look up to him. It’s one of those intangibles that are much more important than any stats, Hollinger be damned.

  53. I think games are important… I really do. But lets not over react. Losing games isn’t the end of the world. This team has one of the best records in the NBA and has so the entire season, and has the best talent in the NBA to boot. I think we will be just fine.

  54. 3,
    I had to respond to this… sorry. Kobe is the 2nd best player in the NBA today and one of the 7 or 8 greatest players to ever play the game. Maybe even top 3. But he is #1 all time in intangibles and heart. He does almost everything you can do on that basketball court. And he does it to win. That is number one to Kobe today, yesterday, and forever. That isn’t to say he plays perfect basketball 100% of the time!!!!!!! How many people have ever played perfect basketball all the time?

  55. Sorry to say this,Bynum would not be higher in the pecking order as long as he goofs around with a towel veil when you are 20 points down.He has to grow and man up first.Earning millions is easy. Unless Kobe is traded away he would shoot first because he still is the most reliable option.

  56. A student of mine diagnosed Kobe clinically as having a narcissistic personality disorder–which has some merit. It comes with the territory. When Kareem was still active on the court, his then girlfriend said that outside the court, without a basketball, he was totally lost–and Kareem did graduate from UCLA.

    Maybe it’s time for Kobe to consider getting that college degree he bypassed when he went directly from high school to the NBA.

    Kobe pays a mental price for a stardom that unbalances him between “good Kobe” and “bad Kobe” from game to game and even from quarter to quarter.

    What bothered me most about the Cleveland loss was that Labron played the team game I expected from Kobe, and Kobe played like selfish LaBron–not a good sign for the Lakers.

    Kobe has a great model to follow in Pau Gasol. Long term watchers claim Pau deliberately keeps his scoring down unless absolutely necessary–playing whatever extra role the Lakers need to win a game: passing, rebounding, steals, blocked shots. Good Kobe can be all those things and more.

    Kobe himself has said that this Laker team does not need him to carry the team on his back. Now he’s got to believe it and show it–with or without Pau.

  57. Only Laker fans…

    There are problems with the team at the moment, but you’d think that the Lakers had just lost their 10th game in a row, rather than their 2nd. The fact that we’re forced to call 2 losses in a row “The Losing Streak” because we haven’t lost 3 in a row in almost 2 years now should cut this team a little slack.

    Show me one other fan base that can have one of the best records in the league, avoid losing three in a row in nearly two years, and be disappointed in their team because it’s not good enough.

    Only Laker fans… :)

  58. Mimsy, I believe that you’re as critical as the next.. guy, at least during the games. :D

  59. #60,
    Fair enough, fair enough… I get vocal during games. My husband thinks it’s funny. :)

    At the same time, I think we do need to keep things in perspective. All the issues that we are so quick to point out are problems that can be corrected over time, and that I think will be corrected, in time. If Phil didn’t know what he was doing and had a method to the seeming madness, he wouldn’t have ten rings as a coach.

    Phil Jackson concedes battles if doing so will help him win the war. And those battles were as ugly last January as they are right now…

  60. 59 Chibi – I was about to post a rant about the Vecsey article… it just comes out to me as he wants the limelight more than he considered about the actual supposed trade proposal.

    In his article, he mentioned how Toronto needed a true center… but what about the team trading its true center? It just comes out to me as strange that he would surmise something like this when we all know how much it wouldn’t make sense.

    1. Chris Bosh wants the ball. Can he really handle being the 3rd option following 2 of the game’s most intelligent ballers?

    2. Chris Bosh wants to get paid. We already have 43M committed to Pau and Kobe alone for 2010 and we would be adding another max player? Seriously.

    3. Chris Bosh wants to be a superstar. If he is to be a 3rd wheel, he won’t be.

    And in all this, I can see some fairweather fans getting excited about the possible exchange.

  61. I started a new thread for the Bosh rumor, and other trade talk.