Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

Kurt —  January 8, 2010

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Records: Lakers 28-7 (1st in West) Blazers 22-15 (6th in West)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 108.2 (12th in league), Blazers 109.7 (8th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 100.8 (2nd in league) Blazers 106 (14th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Blazers: Andre Miller or ??, Brandon Roy, Martell Webster, LaMarcus Aldridge, Juwan Howard

Lakers Tonight: Pau Gasol had a pain free practice, but he is still not suiting up tonight. Luke Walton also is not playing tonight. I’d complain about the injuries, but that is bad Karma with everything the Blazers have been through this year.

But those are two of the best passers the Lakers have, and missing them was part of the ugly, pick-and-roll loving offense the Lakers played against the Clippers (particularly in the second half). The Lakers when they get a little tired (like in the second game of a back-to-back) and a little lazy they stop running the offense. It becomes the ball in the post or pick and rolls — all things that are in the triangle offense, but the Lakers don’t run them within that context. They revert to 1990s basketball. Kobe reverts to the “my teammates aren’t doing it so I must do more” mode that isn’t a good fit with this roster.

Phil likes to let his teams learn lessons. If it’s the hard way, so be it. We will see going forward, through a tough rest of the month with a lot of road games, if the Lakers learned a lesson about running the offense. Or if they need to be taught again.

The Blazers Coming In: I’m afraid I’m going to blow out my wrist just writing about this team. Not suiting up for the Blazers tonight are Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, basically their entire front line size, as well as Steve Blake, Nicolas Batum, Travis Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez. On top of all that, guard Andre Miller is a game-time decision (hence the guess on starting lineups at the top).

Despite that, the Blazers are 6-4 in their last 10. And that is largely due to Brandon Roy, as Darius details.

It would be tough to find many players playing better than Brandon Roy right now. Whether it’s the removal of Oden from the low block or him finally finding his comfort zone playing next to Miller, Roy has been tremendous lately. He’s scoring well, doing it efficiently, and he’s getting his teammates involved. In the past, I’ve noted that SG is one of the weaker positions in the league and that often allows Kobe to play his roaming/free safety style of defense. Tonight is not one of those nights. He’ll need to be dialed in tonight. The good thing is that Artest is also familiar with Roy (see the Houston/Portland series from the playoffs last season) so he should be able to provide Kobe a bit of a reprieve on D in certain spots tonight.

Another player to watch is Jerryd Bayless. He is the exact type of player that gives the Lakers problems and he’s getting more burn this year as the Blazers have cleared out some of the players that created a clogged backcourt while also recognizing that this kid can play. Plus, as Bayless himself mentioned a couple of weeks ago, he really is a good compliment to Roy as he’s more of a SG in a PG’s body just like Roy is a ball dominating SG that loves to set up his teammates. Bayless compared himself to Mo Williams with Roy playing the Lebron role and that isn’t too far from being the truth (though Bayless is not yet at Williams overall level). It will be interesting if Phil goes with a Farmar/Bayless matchup or if he thinks that Brown’s bigger body can keep Jerryd out of the lane better while using size to contest his jumper.

It will be interesting to see if there are any after effects from the Andre Miller/Nate McMillan argument at practice yesterday, or if the two old vets can let it go.

Blazers blogs, and a note: Dave and the guys at Blazers Edge have one of the best team blogs out on the Web. It is a must read. Also, there is the new Portland Roundball Society, which has some great writers on board and is a blog to watch.

In news that made me sad, the Cavaliers waived Coby Karl.

Keys to game: There are no such things as easy wins at the Rose Garden. I have never been to the building, but I picture a place where the toilets flush red with blood, there are swarms of flies about and if you walk in wearing a Lakers jersey a demonic voice screams “Get Out!”

The Blazers that are healthy will give the Lakers fits. They are going to run a lot of high screen-and-roll with Roy handling the ball and Aldridge as the screen – this is hard to defend because Roy is patient and can drive or shoot with accuracy, and because Aldridge has to be respected for his midrange game (41% from 16 to 23 feet). He loves the jump shot — if they set him up in the post he often uses a turnaround jumper to score. Odom needs to do a good job putting a body on him, using his length to disrupt shots and showing out on the pick-and-roll but recovering quickly and not losing his man or his focus.

The Lakers guards need to stay with Bayless, he loves the midrange game as well (and can shoot the three), which makes him hard to stop on the drive. Stopping penetration will take good play from Bynum as well, he has to protect the rim and not just surrender layups.

Darius taps into one Lakers advantage:

One area where we should do very well is on the glass – both offensive and defensive. With both Oden and Pryzbilla out, Portland’s only reliable size is LaMarcus and he’s not the best rebounding PF around. I think this can be a night where we control the defensive glass and run out to get early offense.

The Blazers play at the slowest pace in the league, this is not a running team (despite the athletes who could run). The Lakers need to crash the boards then get out and run, picking up some easy buckets in transition. Now, back to Darius.

I also think it’s a night where, if we’re actually trying to execute our offense and not going into too many isolations and P&R’s, that we’ll also be able to feast on the offensive glass with LO, Bynum, and Artest. I think Ron may actually get more than a couple of put backs as Webster (an underrated defender, mind you) will start out on him but with Outlaw missing, he’ll likely also see some Roy on him at SF when the Blazers go to a smaller lineup. This is where Ron’s strength can serve the dual purpose of working the offensive glass but also wearing down the Blazer’s best player

Where you can watch: 7 p.m. start on KCAL 9 here in Los Angeles, and of course ESPN 710 radio.

Kurt

Posts

172 responses to Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

  1. This is for Warren :) Keeping up the little tradition

  2. dave in hillsboro January 8, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Juwan Howard has been playing pretty well lately at center, all things considered. He’ll fight for boards and can hit the 10-15 foot jumper. Aldridge is the better offensive player, but Howard does a lot of dirty work for the Blazers. Don’t discount his impact.

    Also, Webster is playing pretty well. I’d say he’s the Blazers best perimeter defender at the moment and a reliable three point shooter, as well as a decent transition guy with some athleticism. He does make bonehead plays every now and again, but he’s bounced back nicely from a lost season last year.

  3. I know this is way off topic, but I just wanted the opinions of more knowlegeable basketball fans. Who is better? Charles Barkley or Kevin Garnett?

  4. Chuck got to play with Clyde and the Dream and couldn’t win a championship. Nuff said.

  5. It would be nice to pick up Karl on a series of 10 days, in that he is a relatively nice fit if we move Farmer or Sasha.

    I would take Barkley over Garnett personally, simply because Sir Charles was a MUCH bigger star in terms of draw and merchandise, and he also ran the floor and finished incredibly well.

    Young Sir Charles was basically a prototype LeBron. Not quite as big or gifted, but the kind of game that didn’t fit his size. He was awesome for a short time, especially the original Dream Team, but age hit him hard. Once he lost all of that raw power, his athleticism went very quickly and he was injury plagued and done.

    I note the similarity with Lebron because I fully expect that to happen to “King James” as well. Lebron would be wise to start on that post game now, and save his body as much as possible.

  6. Didn’t Charles Barkley play during the same time as Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson ruled the NBA with their Bulls? I don’t know if it’s fair to hold it against all other players at the time that they couldn’t beat that team…

  7. Garnett is a great milkman.

  8. I love watching Lemarcus Alridge play and have always had this fascination with him since I played against him in high school in a tournament in Florida. I was like a kid in a candy store, because Larry Bird and Roy Williams were there scouting him among other players. I was one of the tallest kids on my team at 6’5 and I got really physical with him and he doesn’t like contact so it got in his head and my team ended up beating his Texas HS team by over 20. Tonight though he worries me because he has that lethal midrange jumper (like Amare) that if we dont stop it could be an open jump shot all night. I dont know who Phil has planned to guard him but hopefully they’ll play physical with him and stop his jumper. Also really looking forward to Ron against Roy tonight, their battle in the playoffs last year was fun to watch.

  9. On a night like tonight where both the celtics(minus KG) and cavs both have chances to lose against atlanta and denver on the road, it becomes a great chance for the lakers to put a game distance between both teams in the race for homecourt

  10. If anyone just saw this William Hung type dude on the LTV pregame show…

    you thought he could take minutes from Sasha, admit it

  11. thank god there’s a kcal feed on

  12. To “J,” the person in the last thread who provided that link to the Shakespeare version of The Big Lebowski, thanks. That was some funny stuff.

  13. Thank God for Steve Blake not playing his 3 point shooting last year against the Lakers was killer, on another note I will welcome Jeryd Bayless shooting jumpshots I’m not sold on his jumper yet and I think his shooting % agrees with me

  14. Damn, I’m stuck with the Portland feed for this game… :(

  15. You would think Fisher would have a good chance of guarding a stronger thicker point guard like Andre yet he still cannot manage

  16. Defense starting very poorly, we need Ron’s outside shooting today very badly because he will have plenty of chances

  17. Fisher with a rare 4pt play and that is 2 fouls on Roy

  18. Does anyone have a working link? Both Atdhe and channelsurfing are on the fritz…

  19. True to form, the homer Portland announcers are already whining about calls…

  20. Bayless has already made me eat my words with his jumper

  21. I would rather Bayless keep on taking those long 2s than in the paint…

  22. I’d say getting Roy out of the game for us would be good if we could stick with Bayless. But Kobe already left him open for a three.

  23. At some point Bayless might want to get both feet behind the arc before he shoots.

  24. Bayless is just having a shooting drill on the defense right now

  25. Ok Phil time to insert Farmar or Shannon to faceguard Bayless

  26. Kobe is playing 1-on-5 again

  27. ..off-topic but, am i the only one who depises the brian mcknight ‘i love la’ commercial with a bunch of disinterested lakers lip syncing?

  28. finally ball is moving around

  29. Kurt, what do you think of that PUJIT by Shannon? it’s not a terrible offensive shot (really the only shot he had available) but its sad it seems that’s the only form of transition offense the Lakers get nowadays.

  30. these portland announcers are cracking me up…they are complaining about fouls that ARE being called…I guess they are not being called fast enough

  31. I don’t hate the PUJIT if you have other guys crashing the boards and the defense is giving it to you, but when you can attack the rim….

  32. Earlier today I was at a local portland pub, enjoying a sandwich and I overheard the bartender and a customer talking about how they weren’t looking forward to watching the Blazers get smashed by Kobe and co. tonight and Lebron and co. on Sunday…I had to laugh, but I kept my thoughts to myself. It’s tough being a Laker fan in P-Town…

  33. Can someone just hammer Bayless a little harder? Dude whines like a ***** even after he gets the call.

  34. Lol these Blazer announcers are bad. They remind me of the 2 Southpark announcers. Hehe

  35. Looks like we are in for a long half, Portland officially has the worst announcers for any team in the league (surpassing Cleveland)

  36. You would think Phil would tell the guys to not be as physical being that Portland has been in the penalty for the past 3 minutes, two stupid fouls by Bynum

  37. Seriously, these commentators are so comical that it’s hard for me to focus on the game itself.

    Bynum has done nothing so far except pick up 2 dumb fouls. I’d like to see him get some more post touches though. Too many jumpshots for the Lakers.

  38. our offense is horrible. We haven’t fed the ball into the post for a long time now – we just dribble around the perimeter until we feed kobe late in the clock.

  39. If you wanna watch the game with Laker announcers (Stu and Joel) check out http://atdhe.net/11471/watch-los-angeles-lakers-vs-portland-blazers

  40. dave in hillsboro January 8, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    p2p4u link 2 has a good kcal feed. I’m not posting the direct link. Figure it out.

    So far, I’m glad I didn’t buy tickets for this game.

  41. “How does it feel to marry the ugly one, Lamar?”

    Stay classy, Portland.

  42. Defensively we just cant seem to guard anyone without fouling by being too physical

  43. Yep- the atdhe link is back up and working…I’m enjoying not having to hear the P-town announcers.

  44. You know, I was ok with Bynum’s performances when he was still “new” and on his first contact. He wanted to get paid with the new contract…showing up 45% of the time ain’t going to cut it with that contract. Age is no longer excuse, it was his decision to skip college. Kid needs to shape up in a hurry or I think we should ship his ass out.

  45. Take Fish out! Just take him out. He is not not bringing anything to the table, just taking things off of it, What a terrible performance by everyone

  46. Wow… That hot start by Fisher is but a distant memory.

  47. ugh….Fisher jacking up 3’s

  48. Not loving the flow of this game, does not bode well for the Lakers in the second half

  49. can we buy a jump shot?!?

  50. It is sad how the Lakers fail so bad against team that uses zone defense.

  51. dave in hillsboro January 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Ugh is the only appropriate summary of that first half. Really glad I didn’t give money to a Blazers season ticket holder. I’d be kicking myself right now.

  52. The Lakers can not get the ball inside on a consistent basis and given up too many free points at the FT line.

  53. letting the other team get a double digit lead going into half time is becoming a habit.

  54. Well this is a familiar sight: no Pau, no triangle offense. Just some dribbling, a couple of lateral passes, and a long jumper.

  55. The Lakers are playing bad transition defense and giving up fast break points to the slowest playing team in the league. Mentally, as bad a half as the Lakers have played this year.

  56. They seem content to play defense with their hands more than their feet as well.

  57. mental farts from everyone. aaaargh

    It’s 5 AM here and I am regretting my decision to stay up, similar to couple of days ago vs. the Clips

  58. Probably due to the curse arena, good thing we didn’t have to play the Blazers during last year playoff.

  59. Unfortunately unless Kobe goes for 50 I dont see them winning this game.

  60. Remember the Mavs game when all of our offensive trips down the floor started with a post entry pass, then either a patient post move or a kick out to the open shooter when the double came? Yeah, those were good times

  61. The Blazers have a talk show on cable, all they were talking about on Monday is how they hate the Lakers, if Brandon Roy got the same calls as Kobe and Lebron ….

    They had a 5 minute segment complaining about calls at the end of their Memphis game, pretty funny, but if the Lakers don’t pick it up, I won’t watch next week ….

    What is with Bynum? Where is the athleticism?

  62. dave in hillsboro January 8, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    One thing is for sure: Blazer fans cannot complain about the officiating in this game–at least, not without being laughed out of the room.

    Also, I made a deal with a Blazer fan family member: the Blazers can win this game if and only if the Celtics, Magic, Cavs, Suns and Spurs all lose tonight. Otherwise, we’ll just have to win.

  63. #63, that has never stopped them before. ;)

  64. great pass by Kobe for Artest’s three. if that was any other sg. (maybe not D Wade) the announcers would have made a big deal about it.

  65. Fisher never ceases to amaze me.

  66. Ron Ron stepping up big already just give us a defensive stop on a few possessions

  67. Still a lot of 3s, but at least most of them are coming off penetration and/or ball movement.

  68. They finally calm down instead of rushing thing.

  69. I hate that last brick thrown up by Bynum, he had someone wide open on the wing but instead he throws up an off balance shot at the goal where he really isnt even looking, might as well be a turnover.

  70. wow i’m surprised bynum got away without a T for that demonstration

  71. 71

    I think he threw up that shot to avoid a 3-second violation.

    When is Odom going to figure out that Roy wants to go to his left? Overplay his left hand, not his right!!!!

  72. 73. He could just as easily have thrown the pass out and got outside the lane if that were the case, there was no excuse for it that’s just bad basketball.

    LOL at Phil barking at Lamar for his lack of defense, I think I lipread the word bull…..

  73. Let’s all say it together D-E-F-E-N-S-E, this whole game has been a game of barely contested jumpshots for Portland

  74. Sooo… someone please tell me why Portland is the only team in the league that hasn’t discovered hi-def feeds yet? My poor TV, purchased for gaming and sports broadcasts, capable of glorious 1080p, simply can’t render the Portland home games without both clock and score outside the display. I have no idea what the score is right now, since I haven’t checked the box score on Yahoo yet.

    I tried the atdhe-link, but no luck, it doesn’t seem to work for me. Does anyone have another possibly working link?

  75. Not much you can do when a team just doesn’t miss.

  76. I’ll say it again, Fisher, you never cease to amaze me, buddy!

  77. You guys are seriously not blaming all this on Fisher? I know some of you need a scapegoat, but this is a team disaster. Mentally ugly basketball from the entire team.

  78. Atdhe can give you the Portland stream of the game, but I’d rather follow the game from this blog than watch/listen to the Blazer announcers.

  79. 76 – With a game like this, I’m thankful to be away from my League Pass at home and working from a slow internet connection. I’m not interested in watching Portland shoot 57/56/84.

  80. If this is the only Laker game someone watched, they wouldn’t think the Lakers ever learned to play defense.

    Fish may be getting burned, but Lamar isn’t far behind. Actually, Andrew looks like he is resting on the defensive end.

    Kobe is moving in and out. Man what an inconsistent bunch. I don’t even want to watch this game any more – win or lose.

  81. Agreed Kurt, Fisher is actually playing decent there just has been no team defense show up, we’ve allowed them to shoot uncontested jumpers all night. Dont they only have like 14 or 16 points in the paint so far?

  82. lakers getting frustrated, been trying to body up the blazers players all game – historically this scenario has been when one of the blazers has gotten taken out…

  83. sas, bos, and pho did lose today. cle in a tight one against the melo-less nuggets.

    but i think kobe still can pull one off against this plagued blazers team. credit where it is due though, we dug a hole and their players who are talent-wise as good as any team did show up.

  84. @kehn
    Amen to that!

    After watching only the box score, I wholeheartedly agree with Kurt. This is not one guy’s fault. Kobe and Andrew are both -12, Derek Fisher is -10
    (so far, better than Kobe), Ron and Lamar are both -6. The only one with a positive number is DJ Mbenga, he has +2.

    Based on stats alone, this is a collective melt-down across the board. I love DJ, but when he is the best Laker on the floor, the team as a whole has a serious problem.

  85. with all the injuries, where do the Blazers keep coming up with all these studs??

  86. I keep reading “K. Bryant misses a layup” in the Yahoo text feed…what’s that all about?

  87. we just have to buy a win here and today should have been that day

  88. I think it’s about time we changed Andrew Bynum from the Black Hole to the Brown Dwarf.

  89. Anyone have a good link for a livestream? Something’s wrong with the one I have. I’m pretty sure it’s showing Wednesday’s Clippers game, albeit with some video glitch that is making it look like the Clippers are wearing Portland’s uniforms

  90. 85, Cunningham and Pendergraph were second round picks this year. Juwan Howard was an after the fact free agent pickup, and of course Bayless has been locked up on the bench his entire career by Nate McMillen

  91. ugly line by kobe for 2nd game in a row, averages had to set in on that injured hand

  92. It’s official. I despise the Rose Garden more than the Energy Solutions Arena.

  93. honestly, wtf is wrong with the guys. Why is Kobe going 1 on 5 when the Blazers are sending 3-4 guys at him. Run the friggin’ offense and stop going LBK/DBK.

  94. As much as I despite Portland and everything the city stands for, what a ridiculous homecourt advantage they have. Maybe the volume on my live-feed is screwed up, but I don’t think the fans have stopped cheering or chanting the entire game.

  95. Do the Lakers run an offense any more?

  96. So it’s a safe assumption that Kurt’s description of this arena was correct…? Demons are assaulting anyone in a Laker jersey.

  97. @93 Kobe is trying to get contact and get to the line. He’s trying to get the officials to make the same call both ways, and if you notice in Lakers losses when they get frustrated with the officials he’ll start driving to the hoop trying to get the calls.

  98. Lakers are already out of fouls again, Portland will be at the FT line the rest of the game

  99. dave in hillsboro January 8, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I’m pretty much at the point where I will never buy tickets to a Lakers game in Portland ever again. The league should take notice. Why should I, as a Lakers fan living in Blazers country, bother? It’s just a waste. Will a Lakers Blazers game in the Rose Garden ever top the one I witnessed in person in 2004? Let alone the one I watched on TV in 2000 (from California), when the Lakers made that miraculous comeback?

  100. When the Lakers are playing like this, you know they’re going to lose. So why don’t they stop and do something else?

  101. Lakers’ play = chicken with head cut off.

  102. why bother calling a timeout? just put in the taco unit and get out of there ASAP

  103. The Lakers got back into the game with Kobe facilitating, getting jumpers in the flow of the offense on kick outs off penetration. Then he had one really good (and smart) iso play, and after that he tried it a couple more times. Then he is working hard to post up Webster and the Lakers are all watching him, waiting to get him the ball in the post. They stopped running the offense.

    Then they got frustrated. Now they are just mentally toast.

  104. Although, really, it was the defense (or lack of it) that cost them this game.

  105. Game over, Im switching to the Cavs Nuggets game hoping the nuggets can knock them off. I’d love to see how many wide open jumpers the Blazers got tonight off slow defensive rotations or a lack of contesting. Story of the game when you allow a team to shoot without a challenge they will generally knock them down. Defense is how you win championships, and there was none tonight.

  106. I like pie.

  107. even with this loss, the Lakers still will have the best record in the L. so, no worries; right?!

  108. Lakers’ play = chicken with head cut off.

    The sky is falling!!! The sky is falling!!! :P

    Allow me to quote one of the greatest contributors to this blog:

    “Feh.
    Flush it.
    Next.”

  109. Right, because it was a team thing that Fisher decided to hand the ball off to someone that has not crossed the half court line yet. You gotta admit, that was kind of like, “WTF?” I expect something like from LO, not our “savvy veteran.”

    Portland just can’t miss right now, and the free throw discrepancy isn’t helping, either. Or that Kobe isn’t making the shots that he usually does and has five turnovers by himself.

  110. This team is terrible. They can barely win when Kobe has a good game. They get destroyed if he has a bad one and in the past month, they’ve played only one great game. Expect then to get annihilated by Dallas and San Antonio if Kobe doesn’t shoot 50 percent.

  111. this on I have turned off.

    It is one thing to loose to a team and go down fighting, but this?????

    This is embarrassing. We deserve our record in Portland.

  112. This is a very talented team and could easily go back-to-back – but for a championship-calibre team the collective basketball IQ leaves a lot to be desired. (I said the same thing last season actually.) To me, this is usually more of a problem in Laker losses than lack of effort or focus.

    Case in point: Sasha with a quintessential Sasha foul 15 miles away from the basket.

  113. dave in hillsboro January 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Allow me to say the unspeakable:

    go Nuggets

    (but just for tonight).

  114. then kobe goes for a 4-point play. enough said, we need kobe.

  115. Good Lord.

    Lakers are looking more and more like the Celtics of last year:

    Strong start, big loss on Christmas day, slow melt down after that, leading to a pre-finals playoff exit.

    Team as currently constructed won’t win a championship.

  116. Sky isn’t falling, I’m commenting on how this particular game is being played by our squad. Everything is rushed on offense, and with such a weak showing on D, there’s no way we can win a game like this.

  117. It’s always humbling to get your behinds kicked by a team you should have no trouble beating, making benchwarmers look like all stars. Twice in a row. Let’s see what happens next game, if these losses bring some fire.

  118. I don’t understand being so mad at Fisher when there is a far better target: Sasha.

    Sasha, if you are going to foul in the backcourt please make it count and knock someone onto their butt. Get your money’s worth, you know?

    How was that trip in Andrew? He is allowed to stand on the court, yes?

  119. burgundy — i hope this isn’t one of those championship team slides

    i still wouldn’t want orlando’s predicament now.

    and i am starting to believe this is the dna of this team no matter how much breaths are lost on close games.

    GO LAKERS!

  120. While I understand that this is just a regular season game before halfway through the season, I (and most Lakers fans) really wanted this damn win. Can I say “damn” here? Damn Portland. Damn Blazers. Damn Oregon.

    Sasha, you never cease to amaze me, either, buddy! Let’s get a foul 90 feet away from the basket!

  121. 3:47, 12 point hole…are these lakers trying to give kobe another mvp-moment?

    man, i’d rather see them dominate game in and out.

  122. 109. The Lakers have no “breathing room” between the Cavs and Celtics anymore, this loss hurts but the Clippers loss hurt the most.

    Feh Flush it Next only works one time, after that a good team makes adjustments so games like that dont happen again.

  123. @Igor,
    I know. It was more a tongue-in-cheek joke. I am 100% certain that as the playoffs draw near, this team will change into the championship defender and contender we know they are. It is, unfortunately, inevitable that we lose a few ugly games on the way there.

    We can’t win them all. Fortunately we only need to win the ones that matter. We may not have a lot of breathing room right now, but the season isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot.

  124. 115

    “Team as currently constructed won’t win a championship.”

    Care to prophesy which team will prevent them from doing so?

  125. Regardless if they come back into this game, there has gotta be some concern about our transition D from here on out

  126. 121

    Yes because thats the attitude of champions isn’t it? Thats how you build dynasties: by saying “we’ll turn it on later” instead of staying commitment to constantly improving right now..

    Its time to stop making excuses and face facts.. the lakers need to make some serious improvements if they want to be true contenders this season.. (basketball and not roster)

  127. 31 freethrows to 7. Haha. I guess that foul was Andrew’s fault for not moving his foot from under Roy’s foot fast enough.

  128. Ive been waiting for fire for the past month. Amazingly, we still have the best record. If the season ended today, we’d probably lose against the 8th seed. OKC.

  129. 124. As much as that is an advantage for Portland I dont ever make excuses saying it was the refs faults, the more aggressive team usually gets the calls and that was Portland this game.

    121. Roster changes need to be made in some form

  130. I’m not watching the game. Is the FT discrepancy because of bad officiating or aggression / lack thereof?

  131. May we never play Portland in a playoff series… The Lakers would be in trouble, as listless and sullen as they play up there.

    The officiating has been fairly bad. Not NCAA bad, but replacement referee bad. Bynum in particular had his normal bad luck. Howard hacked him in the head/shoulder/both arms and there was no call. Roy drove and stepped on Bynum’s foot cutting away from Bynum and got the call.

    That said, the Champions do NOT get good calls, especially on the road. You have to earn a Repeat.

  132. “Yes because thats the attitude of champions isn’t it? Thats how you build dynasties: by saying “we’ll turn it on later” instead of staying commitment to constantly improving right now..”

    Are you sure you’re not over-reacting just a little bit here? We lost to Portland in Portland. That’s been routine for how many years now?

    Seriously. This happens every single season. We have a 28-8 record if the score holds tonight, and whoop-de-doo, we are no longer champions? Really? Please. Perspective is a good thing to have and what we are seeing right now is the inevitable slump of an 82 game season. No one can stay 100% focused 100% of the time. There are going to be losses in a season, that’s inevitable.I’ll take this one now, if it means a win in the Cavs’ home arena later. And I don’t see a need for you to mock or scorn that kind of attitude.

    I don’t recall the three-peat Lakers going undefeated or without humiliating losses for a whole season, and yet, somehow, they miraculously managed to win three rings in a row. I, for one, am willing to chalk this one up to spiteful basketball gods and an evil fate, and move on.

  133. if cleveland loses today, does it set a record for most number of contenders losing in a day?

  134. As disgusted i am by the play tonight.. are you guys really already going to say the Lakers can’t win the title? I do remember last year, losing to them TWICE at the Rose Garden.. with Pau. One of those games we were blown out by 20 plus.

    Besides how crappy they have played, there was a 35-9 FT disparity. I mean, none of his has any bearing on what happens in June. Were missing our second best player, on the road in a place we haven’t won in 5 years. Chill a little.

  135. Why is it that some people can’t criticise the team (Lord knows they deserve it tonight) without adding things like “if the playoffs started now” or “this team won’t win a championship playing this way”?

    News flash: The playoffs don’t start now. There is time to correct these issues, whether internally or by making a move or two. And you’re kidding yourself if you think past championship teams – not to mention other current contenders – haven’t had stretches in the regular season where they look like the Lakers do now.

  136. Thank you, Cayucos Surfer. Thank you, Joel. :)

  137. Now we won’t even make it out of the first round.. against the Thunder? ahaha. ok, im out on that note. They’ll get the next game.

  138. We lost to a team whose front line has been decimated by injuries.. we have bynum/odom who should (arguably) be starting/in the all-star game.

    So let me get this straight.. so what if we play them in the finals we can expect the lakers to just mail every road game in?

  139. Who cares about what may or may not happen in the Finals (assuming the Lakers make it back)? It’s freakin’ January!!!!

  140. The biggest thing about this loss is, this is probably the best chance the Lakers have had to win in Portland in recent memory given how injury plagued the team is (yes we dont have Gasol but come on), they played with really only 2 of their primary players (Roy and Aldridge) and still dominated the Lakers. My biggest concern is this team doesn’t seem to be as mentally tough as last years team was.

  141. “Feh, Flush It” only works once.

    A 37 to 10 Free Throw discrepancy, however, is another good explanation.

  142. The Lakers did not play well tonight. I would of liked to see Artest post up more. But it is only January and titles are won in June. I want the Lakers to hit the peak in May and June and not now

    For some reason I actually thought the streak might end but the Lakers have not won in Portland since Hector was a pup

  143. #126, I have to disagree with you. The Lakers have been attacking inside, as well. While the Blazers have attacked the inside more often, the difference is nowhere near the discrepancy of the free throws. Are we watching the same game?

    Just now, look at the foul on Kobe. Roy had nowhere to go, so he takes a dive between the two Lakers players, and it’s a foul. What are they supposed to do, step aside and let Roy run out of the double-team?

    While it’s true that keeping a balanced perspective throughout the season is necessary, we can’t always just look the other way when the Lakers lose. Others can be more understanding of others’ emotions and reactions, as well. If a person is upset at a loss and points out all the flaws, there’s no need to tell him, “No big deal, it’s January!” After all, isn’t this forum for basketball discussion? So are we to discuss the Lakers only when they win, or when Kobe hits a buzzer beater? There are 82 games in a season, so does that mean commentators can’t point out the Lakers’ flaws until March/April?

    #129, while I agree with you, what if the Lakers lose the Cavs due to similar bad execution and mental errors as this game? There’s no way to say that the Lakers taking a loss here will mean a win elsewhere. We all know the Lakers players are aware of the streak in Portland, so what was it this game? Bad execution? Lack of focus, effort? Because we know the Lakers wanted this bad, and this was our best chance to win it in several years, why didn’t we get the win? It’s true that you can’t have 100% focus 100% of the time, this game would be one of those that I’d think the Lakers would invest all their focus in, wouldn’t you agree?

    It’s a bad loss – it happens – but there had to be reasons why it was such a bad loss, especially after a loss to the Clippers previously. I like to see other commentators provide insight on it when I see someone point out some flaws, not the typical “It’s January, no biggie! You’re overreacting.” Just saying. While people do need to stop overreacting, others need to stop under-reacting.

    #135, maybe it’s like a string of diarrhea, where it needs several flushes to get rid of the bad stench (our recent two games).

    #136, lol, I think you’re the first person to want to see Artest post up more. :P

  144. dave in hillsboro January 8, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Well, I’m glad I didn’t waste fourteen cents of League Pass money on that game.

  145. >A 37 to 10 Free Throw discrepancy, however, is another good explanation.

    a better one is (yet another) abysmal performance by the bench. tonight, 10-28. and Portland had three(3!) bench players.

  146. 136

    Funnily enough, last season every loss was blamed on the Lakers’ lack of ‘toughness’.

    I’m standing by my earlier comment: for a championship team, the Lakers have a lot of players who aren’t particularly ‘smart’ in basketball terms. Bynum, Powell, and all the backup guards spring to mind. Kobe, Odom, Artest, and Fisher are intelligent and experienced players but have been known to make boneheaded decisions from time to time. (Two of the smartest players on the team, Gasol and Walton, are now injured, which makes things worse.)

    Based on last season, this isn’t necessarily a fatal flaw, but it will result in a few frustrating losses over the course of the year.

  147. This is a slump and it is natural. There are a number of reasons contributing to it, such as Pau and Luke being out, Ron coming back from concussion, Fish going through severe ups and downs on offense and ultimate severe down on defense, Kobe’s finger, Phil experimenting with line-ups leading to slight loss in player confidence, playing a lot of road games in a row, fatigue for starters from playing a lot of minutes earlier in the season, lack of bench play, Bynum’s hesitation to jump and Phil’s philosophy to teach his players lessons by making them figure things out on their own.

    These are not excuses. These are facts. On its own, each one is not the biggest deal, but cumulatively they can contribute to a legitimate slump

    Add to that the fact that learning process this season has been very slow, we do not really have a designated sharpshooter (absolutely vital for spacing in the triangle) and some players (Farmar, Shannon (opt-out option), Powell) playing for contracts and you understand what is happening right now.

    While a few of these things will not change (Phil’s mentality, player concern over contracts, lack of designated sharpshooter), most of the above-mentioned is very fixable and will be fixed soon.

    Last year we had period of serious funk as well and people were ready to jump the ship. Only after we got the championship everyone started acting like they knew all along we would win.

    So, please, please approach the season proactively, enjoy the ups, learn from the downs, cherish Kobe and wait for the defending champions and universally accepted favorites to the title to figure things out. If NBA was as easy as coasting from the opening day to the championship, it would not be as popular, exciting and profitable as it is now.
    While emotions are always good, too much of them can only hurt you and you only. And until most of us realize that, we are bound remain in the misery that some of us believe we are in at the moment

  148. Mitch here’s hoping you can pull off some trade deadline magic because lord knows we are gonna need some help.

    And 139. The Lakers are not universally favored to win as far as I am concerned from everywhere I have the read there seems to be a 50-50 split with Boston being favorites, provided that both teams are healthy.

  149. I wouldn’t mind all the “Wah!” if it came with something actually constructive. Some notes from the 2nd half (seems I never watch the 1st half of Laker games).

    -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. Seriously, I’m changing his name to The Brown Dwarf.

    -Start of 4th: Lakers down 11
    Halfway through the 4th quarter: Lakers down 20.
    1:30 left to go: Lakers down 8.
    So in other words, if the Lakers had just kept the game level being down 12 for the first 6 minutes of the 4th, they would’ve won. Gross.

    -Kobe had 5 more shots than he did points.
    …LBK/DBK.

    -I guess not everything was bad for the Lakers. I liked the mini-comeback over the last 6 mins of the fourth (although would’ve been smarter to have that run at the beginning of the fourth, IMHO). We came back through Kobe creating in the lane instead of forcing up bad shot after bad shot.

    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.

  150. Let’s not be short-sighted as fans. As the defending champs during our three-peat, we didn’t even hold the best record in the league. In 00-01 our record tied for second in the conference and in 01-02 we placed as third best. We had stretches where we lost 4 of 5 in 00-01, and 5 of 7 in 01-02. Yet we all know what happened in those years.

    Champs know how to win on the road when it matters. Our teams tend to lose focus and give away games like this one, but come playoff time I expect that Portland will be rehabbing their young but injury-prone players while Lakers go out to defend their title.

  151. Kobe passed too little and shot too much, LO’s +/- was better by 6 points despite Kobe working much harder.

    Kobe’s the best player overall. He’s not the best player in the league when he doesn’t run the offense and plays one on 5. Your comment below hit the nail on the head. If the Lakers are trailing in the 4th quarter, Kobe won’t change until Pau’s back, it seems.

    “Kobe reverts to the “my teammates aren’t doing it so I must do more” mode that isn’t a good fit with this roster.”

  152. Sure I can criticize them without adding hypothetical situations. They need to lay with a lot more heart, they need to run out on threes with hands up, need to take care of the ball, add a 3 point shooter. It’s just my way of illustrating how bad the slump they are in. They’re playing do bad right now, they’d beat the defenders by only one point, a Kobe buzzer beater. Newsflash, they’re never playing the defenders.

    True, champs and contender have slumps and it’s no big deal. But the fact remains they’re playing terrible now and that’s all I’m trying to say. Sorry if I’m not saying it the way you guys want to hear it.

  153. 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.

    It is a process and as fans we need to have perspective (as half the forum says), but without practicing, recognizing, and working to solve these issues in game time situations, it becomes a greater concern (as the other half of the forum says).

    Either way, the season should be interesting. I don’t think there’s one elite team that has really distinguished themselves from the rest yet – so it’ll be fun.

  154. Besides stating the ovious decrepancy (freethrows) if all are guys were clicking, getting pau back, Ron back in shape, and Luke i like our chances. Mark my words next time were in Portland or we face them, that game is ours. Loses like these hurt our pride, but make our Championship runs that much more sweet, around april (hopefully sooner ) we will see the Lakers take it to the next level.
    -The Lakers where Rings happen!

  155. Zephid: I think Kobe has been way too eager to give himself the 2005/6 ‘green light’ in the last couple of games just because Gasol is out. Too many quick contested jumpers with minimal ball movement. This isn’t the Smush/Kwame Lakers. Also, if he’s going to take 30+ shots, can we at least get him a steady diet of post touches like we saw at the start of the season?

  156. It’s true that you can’t have 100% focus 100% of the time, this game would be one of those that I’d think the Lakers would invest all their focus in, wouldn’t you agree?

    No.

    It’s Portland, for crying out loud.

    And in the regular season to boot. No offense to any Trailblazer fans reading this, but in order to be a rival you need to be our equals, and well, you’re not. You’re just the Trailblazers. We’ll see you in the… second? round, if you’re lucky.

    Bah. This was ugly, but ultimately it is not the end of the world. The sky is not falling. Lighten up, everyone.

  157. look’s like denver’s gonna win. lbj’s line isn’t as impressive as well. so lal, bos, cle, orl, sas and pho lose today. fans getting panicky all around faster than arenas’ draw.

  158. @159,

    It just seems to be that kind of season. There is NO dominant team right now. Everyone has glaring weaknesses. There are no teams that look like Boston in 2008 or the Lakers in 2000. It is really up in the air right now.

    I look to see a lot of 55 to 59 win teams at the end. No one will be great (65+) but a lot will be really good.

  159. 160. I disagree I would say a healthy Boston team is heads above the rest with the Lakers a close second, they just haven’t been healthy since a little before Christmas.

  160. @161,

    I was really talking about total wins.The way things are shaking out I just don’t see things being like last season where we had a 66 win team and a 65 win team.

    And I agree about a “healthy” Boston team being tops (at least in the East). The question is will we really see a healthy Boston team? Garnett’s current health issues have to make you wonder. They can’t be that theoretical great team if he is not playing like the 2008 KG. If he is 75% of that then the door is offically open for Cleveland or Orlando.

    On a side note, does anyone miss Trevor the way I do when you see the Lakers transition defense getting burned?

  161. A healthy Team Leprechaun might be a lot of things in theory, but I’m starting to question if they’ll ever have their entire unit healthy. Age exacerbates the injury problem for them. Hopefully we can get all our injuries out of our system before game 60 so we can get a nice groove going heading into the playoffs.

  162. Tonight, we saw “bad” Kobe–hopefully at his worst without Pau. He was a relatively low percentage volume shooter (47, count ‘em, shots) who singlhandedly failed on enough three point shots (6) and commited enough turnovers (5) to power Portland’s transition offense. Euclid clearly knew more about the triangle than Kobe Bryant tonight.

    On defense, Kobe not only wandered away from his man, but failed to compensate with a single steal. During a brief period in the third quarter, he briefly reverted to “good” Kobe and facilitated a comeback, contributing many of his 7 assists during this interlude and playing real defense.

    Lamar’s fiesty 15-15 was wasted on a team that seemed slow and confused on defense and offense most of the night.

  163. ROY > KOBE. Both scored 32 points, but Roy took 26 fewer shots to get there! Yes, 26 fewer shots!

  164. I really don’t think we can reference the 3-peat Laker teams from 2000-2002 with regards to our current team.
    Regardless of how they played during the regular season, those 3-peat teams had Shaq who was comically dominant and really turned things to a whole new level in the playoffs. Unfortunately, Kobe right now is not at that level and probably will never be with his increasing age.

    It’s almost the half-way point in the regular season. Our bench has yet to find stability and consistency. Injuries have been a concern as well. And for some odd reason, our offensive efficiency is worse than Houston’s.
    Defense wins championships as the saying goes, but unless we find a consistent offensive flow, I really don’t see how the Lakers can repeat this year.

  165. So far we dont seem as good on the road anymore.

  166. Second loss in a row that I missed, what kind of Laker fan am I? I actually cought the last 1 1/2 minutes, just to see Portland get some layups and extend their lead. I do agree though that we can all talk about what the team did wrong and how these weaknesses have to be corrected before Playoff time, now in January. I am surprised that we could not win with all of the injuries that Portland has at the moment, I guess Warrens 1st post in the previous thread did not count to the basketball Gods tonight, huh?

  167. #158, You’re telling me that the Lakers wouldn’t try their hardest to break a five year losing streak in Portland? Seriously?

    Maybe you’re right and it’s just me, but I don’t buy it.

  168. @165

    keep dreaming for 5 years more.10 FTs?Stern must be kidding me:)

  169. This is a slump. The Lakers havent figured it out yet because of injuries they’ve had key players in and out of the lineup. Once they get all their players back for an extended period of time they’ll be fine. Until then their going to have games like this.

    What’s scary is they arent close to their peak and their still first in the league.