Preview & Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Kurt —  January 12, 2010

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Records: Lakers 29-8 (1st in West) Spurs 22-13 (5th in West)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 108.2 (12th in league), Spurs 111.3 (4th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 100.9 (1st in league) Spurs 104.4 (10th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum
Spurs: Tony Parker, Keith Bogans, Richard Jefferson, Tim Duncan, DeJuan “who needs an ACL” Blair

Lakers Tonight: Pau Gasol is a no go again tonight, although he is on the trip. I don’t know if he will play tomorrow or is just along so he can check out Dealey Plaza tomorrow. UPDATE: Phil Jackson said pregame Gasol is likely for Friday against the Clippers.

UPDATE #2: Luke Walton has been activated and may play a little tonight. Adam Morrison is out with a sore throat so Walton may get his minutes.

The Spurs Coming In: The Spurs started the season slowly, 9-9, and they just looked old and slow. But since then they have gone 13-4 and have started to look like the elite team everyone expected them to be prior to the season.

What is different about this Spurs team is that they are a very good offensive team with a pretty good defense — the opposite of how they were built for so many years. Tim Duncan is at the heart of the improved offense: While his points per game is the same as always (20) he is doing it on fewer shots. The key is his 10-15 foot shots are falling at a 52% clip, when he had never shot better than 46% from there before. Of course, he continues to rebound well, pass and do everything else well, too.

The other key for the Spurs is that the core trio is healthy. Tony Parker continues to slash to the rim and Manu Ginobili brings an all-around game. We’ve all seen them do it for years. What makes this interesting is this is a deeper Spurs team — every player getting significant minutes not named McDyess is shooting better than the league average true shooting percentage. Richard Jefferson has been solid (not spectacular), giving the Spurs needed athleticism, and DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonnner have played well along the font line.

For the veteran Spurs team, I’m not sure this game has great significance. But for their fans there seems to be some: They are not convinced this team is a contender. Beating the Lakers, even a slumping Lakers without their second best player, could give the fan base confidence.

Spurs blogs: They have a couple of good ones: 48 Minutes of Hell and Pounding the Rock (which has been consistently great for years). You should check out both.

Keys to game: There are no secrets here. These are the two best franchises of the last decade and neither Popovich or Jackson have really changed what they do in terms of Xs and Os. This is really a matter of execution.

For the Lakers, that has to start with stopping penetration. Parker and Ginobili are two of the best off the high screen in the game and the Lakers need to play this well for a change — the bigs need to come out and not let those two just turn the corner and go. What may be more troubling in Parker doesn’t really need a pick to get by anyone in the league, his quickness and hesitation move will do it. Fisher needs to bring the energy he did against Brandon Jennings, and the Lakers bigs need to be ready and rotate. Farmar has to bring smart play off the bench.

The Kobe/Manu matchup is going to be fun to watch tonight. Manu is a good, pesky defender and Kobe has shot 31.8% over his last four games — can Kobe find his shot or keep himself in check tonight?. Kobe will bring the energy on the defensive end tonight, he can’t play free safety off Manu (who is shooting 38.2% from three, so you have to follow him out to the line).

Duncan is Duncan, he is going to get his. I just love watching play against other teams. The key for Odom and Bynum (both likely will get time on him) is not to let him go off, not to let him carry them. He can hit the midrange shot so you have to come out on him, you can’t sag back.

One advantage the Lakers have is the undersized Blair trying to slow Bynum (they could put Duncan on Bynum, but then Odom has an advantage). Blair is strong and has played well, but he is an undersized rookie, nor is he quick enough to handle Odom. The Lakers need to go at him and get their points inside out. When the doubles come the Lakers need to knock down the open shot off the pass.

First game of a tough road back to back. The easiest of those games to win is the first one, the Lakers need to go after it tonight.

Where you can watch: 5:30 p.m. start on KCAL 9 here in Los Angeles, NBATV has the game nationally, and of course ESPN 710 radio.

Kurt

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227 responses to Preview & Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. This one’s for you, Warren!

  2. I like how after one good defensive game our defensive rating goes from third to first…

  3. Response to Manny from the previous thread:

    “Kobe should just do a Ronnie Lott (I think it was him) and chop off the finger. Total recovery time: 1 week. Problem solved.
    Heck, maybe Gasol should try the same on his hammie. Problem solved there too.
    Finally, same goes for Artest’s head. Problem gone.
    Now that I solved all of our problems, lets chat about the next game.”

    Just curious – what do you think Tiger should do?

  4. Let me get this straight folks. Some of you are seriously suggesting that Kobe plays through injuries because he is selfish? because he’s afraid the team might do well without him? because he cares more about awards than winning games, getting homecourt, or winning championships? really? Is this a Laker site or a Kobe bashing site? Anytime Fish is criticized, no matter how accurate the criticism may be, the blog moderators rush to his defense, saying “enjoy the ride, stop nit-picking, we have the best record, blah blah blah”. Where is that same enthusiasm when it comes to defending Kobe’s willingness to play hurt?

    Since the blog moderator mysteriously goes berserk anytime anyone mentions the term “Kobe Hater”, as if the term is nothing but a myth, coupled with the fact that he actually claimed that Pau was the team’s real MVP, I’m not that surprised at many of the comments here criticizing our Finals MVP.

    Do I have to remind you that Kobe won a championship with a finger that required surgery? If he had listened to the critics last year, he would’ve “unselfishly” gotten surgery while risking another chance at a ring. Thank goodness Kobe was “selfish” last year. His “selfishness” led to a ring. Kobe continues to shoot with a broken finger because he has the confidence to make those shots despite the injuries (i.e. please you tube Kobe buzzer beaters for more info). He’s been doing it his entire career. There’s a difference between selfishness and confidence.

    Here’s a thought or two. Is it possible that Kobe shoots because he is the arguably the best offensive player in the game, and he has the nerve to think that his shooting might actually help the team? Is it possible his ability to play through injuries is a form of leadership that inspires his teammates to do the same (i.e. Lamar). Is it possible he thinks his shooting is necessary because Gasol is out, Artest is still not right, Fish and Bynum are struggling? Is it possible that he needs to shoot so he can make the proper adjustments to his splint? Could Phil actually be speaking the truth when he says he has no problems with Kobe’s shot selection? Is it possible that Kobe actually thinks that an injured Kobe can still help the team? These scenarios seem much more likely than the silly, tired Kobe-hating notion that he is playing through injuries because he is selfish.

  5. Excited that my team is in my state for the next two nights. The post is dead-on – the locals are pointing to tonight as a litmus test as to whether their team is contender or pretender. Let’s get Bynum going early and be inside-out. It also wouldn’t hurt us to stick to the triangle more when things stagnate. I’ve said this in previous threads, but reports are there will be a few thousand Laker fans in the barn, er AT&T arena. Here’s hoping we’re not disappointed.

  6. Note to Lakers: Mess with Texas…. please.

  7. Yea, Project Spurs is pretty darn good too. But it is my blog. We’d all be very happy to get a win against the Lakers. They failed the last test against the Mavericks, but a win tonight could keep them on the right track. Look out for Ian Mahinmi.

  8. exhelodrvr – Well, Tiger’s wife would tell you the same should apply here to the body part that is the source of all of Tiger’s “troubles” :-)

  9. 4 – No, that’s not possible.

  10. We need to make sure guys like Mason Jr. and Luke’s “buddy” RJefferson don’t get it going on the perimeter. This means scrambling as little as possible on defense. Would love to see Ron guard Manu for some stretches.

  11. Some do — I certainly see it in the ESPN chats — but I don’t now nor have ever personally seen Kobe as selfish. The supreme confidence, the passion to be the best, the will that makes Kobe the best is also the thing that can get in his way some nights. He will not quit, he will not give up. He will do whatever it takes to win. That means trying to score if the offense is struggling, even when he is struggling. He thinks he can turn it at any point. It is not selfish, it is how he is wired. And you take a little bad with all the good sometimes because of it. Tonight I expect him to have a pretty good game, he respects and gets pumped to face Manu. And of course Keith Bogans.

  12. Imagine this Spurs team with Scola at starting PF up-front with Duncan. They sure would be a lot scarier.

  13. The key to this game is Farmar/Brown. Can they put out the Tony Parker fire after Derek Fisher pours gasoline on the frenchman to start the game?

  14. Regarding Pau, the word here in Spain is that he’ll be back vs the Clips on friday.

  15. Two injury updates, about to be added to the post:

    Walton has been activated for tonight and could play a little (Morrison has a sore throat and may not play).

    Phil agreed with LJAY and said Gasol is likely Friday.

  16. A couple of other X’s and O’s notes:

    *The Spurs (like Orlando) are, traditionally, a “funnel to help” team. That means that they love to guide a player to where the help is (usually Duncan) and then stay home on the perimeter so players don’t get wide open jumpshots off penetration (this is a contrast to a team like Boston that is a “collapse and recover” help team where they try to shut down driving lanes by showing help from the wings and then recover back to contest jumpers on the perimeter). Normally, offenses that can create shots from the mid-range do well against the Spurs’ type of defense because the shot is taken before the big man helping has a chance to fully step up. So I expect Kobe to try to operate at the pinch post a lot tonight where he can turn and face and take a one dribble pull up jumper. I also hope to see more backside screening to get people open curling into the lane. Kobe, Ron, LO, Bynum – all these guys could benefit from some down and cross screens to free them on flashes to the middle. Not only will this create good shots for them, but because of the Spurs’ help schemes, it should also open up interior passing lanes as the Spurs’ bigs show out to help on an open player in the lane.

    *The Spurs have also, traditionally, been a poor offensive rebounding team. In 2009, they were dead last and in 2008 and 2007, they had the fourth worst offensive rebounding rate in the league. This year that has changed significantly as they are in the middle of the pack at ORR (16th in the NBA). There’s a reason for this and his name is DeJuan Blair. Blair may only play 16 – 18 minutes a night, but he spends most of that time crashing the offensive glass (5th best ORR in the league among players that play more than 15 minutes). The Lakers need to find this guy and put a body (or two) on him. If you thought Craig Smith gave us problems in our loss to the Clippers, Blair is the same type of guy only with softer hands and an even bigger chip on his shoulder. We better man up on the glass when Blair is in the game (Andrew Bynum and LO, I’m looking at you).

    *Speaking of the Spurs offensive rebounding, one place where their increased activity on the o-glass helps us is in our transition offense. The Spurs’ bigs are not speedsters. I love Duncan, but he’s not beating LO in a foot race and Bynum can give him a run for his money as well. Bonner and Blair and McDyess are nothing special in this regard either. I’d love to see LO do his Magic Johnson thing tonight and push the ball himself after controlling the rebound. I’d also like to see our bigs run hard as much as possible. Duncan will be 34 in April. McDyess will celebrate his 64th birthday tomorrow. We can run on these guys and our big guys can lead the way. By all accounts, Bynum looked as good physically in the last game as he’s looked all season. I hope he builds on that in this game by racing with Duncan and trying to establish the deep post on post lane sprints.

  17. Aaron – I agree. But I also think that another key will be the effort we see tonight from Bynum and Artest on the defensive and offensive end.

  18. Who thinks Blair will get at least 3 more rebounds than Bynum?

  19. Darius-You see how much Bynum ran the lane in the 1st quarter against the Bucks. No coincidence we had such a great run. I like your thinking on running against their bigs

  20. Glad to see Walton’s been activated. The Adam Morrison Experiment is officially over.

  21. Looks like I missed a good first quarter…

    So NBA TV is giving us the Spurs announcers, eh?

  22. please go back to Drew!

  23. Wow, and I thought we were living in a competitive society where people actually want things, not have them handed to them, though I would love having things just come my way every now and then.

    Of course Kobe is selfish. Basketball is his love, so he is playing despite injuries. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, since most of the time, our selfishness as fans (wanting to see the team win, etc) converge with Kobe’s selfishness (wanting to play).

    But, when some of the fans (me) think it’s best for the team (and for Kobe) that Kobe takes a few games off, then we have a conflict of interests, and now Kobe’s ‘selfishness’ becomes more pronounced.

    It’s actually the same way for every single scenario – people call Kobe selfish because they think he can be more efficient when using his teammates more, people call Kobe selfish because they think he should agree with what they think and conform.

    Instead, of course, Kobe has his own reasons and motives and… it got him where it is. Still, even when acknowledging that, it is hard to agree with somebody that goes against ‘common sense,’ partly because he isn’t common in the first place, but also because, well, it is common sense after all.

    As much as I like Kobe as anyone else, and understand him from time to time, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m not Kobe (nor his shrink) and that there are times when I think he makes questionable decisions, in this case, keep playing. Although I guess with Pau out, he probably doesn’t think of sitting now as a good idea.

    Regarding Ammo, wow, throat must be really sore to be sitting out of a game where he has to be vocal and all. I guess this is the anti-Kobe scenario where I’m kinda miffed that he’d miss a game because of a sore throat.

  24. Kobe says to Manu, “You think this finger is gonna slow me down tonight? Do you know who I am?”

  25. kobe went to the locker room holding his back??!

  26. oh no! Kobe back to the locker room, holding his back…

  27. Luke, Ron, Pau, and now Kobe…!?!?

    Dammit! The Nets injury hex has hit us!

  28. Darius was spot-on. The Spurs defense is leaving the mid-range game open and the Lakers are setting up Artest and Lamar in that range off of screens.

  29. Bynum in the post. our best shot to win tonight.

  30. At this point, I refuse to worry about any Kobe injury unless he loses a limb or something.

  31. rofl, that pic seems to show Kobe enjoying the scent of Duncan’s pits a little bit too much.

    Spurs are killin us with execution now. The passing lanes are wide open for them; guys need to put some pressure on the ball-handlers.

  32. boy is sean elliot annoying

  33. Guess who’s supposed to be guarding Mason Jr.?

  34. The Spurs are getting whatever the heck they want on offense.

  35. we are getting outscored with 3 of our starters out there compared to 0 of theirs.

  36. why on earth did kobe ever take that splint of?

  37. I’d love to think that the Spurs won’t continue to shoot this well, but if they keep getting open 3s and layups, 75%+ is within reason.

  38. Defensively I think we just look old and slow, against a Spurs team that’s traditionally been called OLD and slow

  39. Regardless of this game’s outcome, Kobe is a true player. Who else in the game today would play through everything he has??? I am in awe of him (& don’t care about the last few games of his; as my 70 yr old mom said “give the man a pass…he has to prove he’s human!).

  40. Does Mbenga ever dunk anything…?

  41. @4. Sure, people can criticize everyone. Why can’t Kobe be criticized? And kobe didn’t win the championship by himself last year. If that were the case, he’d have won it in 2004, 05, 06, 07, and 08.

    I criticize Kobe a lot, but I never think he is selfish. That’s the only way he knows how to do things, to put the shooting pedal to the metal, especially when things go bad.

    That being said, if we can criticize someone who shoots in the 30%s when taking 8 – 10 shots (Fisher), shouldn’t Kobe be criticized for shooting 34 times and making 30%?

    So in a way, I agree with you: I don’t think Kobe is selfish, but I think he is fair game just like everyone else.

  42. There is a weird sound glitch on my TV feed tonight. I think the game has the Portland announcers…?

  43. This lineup we have out here has 1.75 offensive threats. Anytime Kobe gets it in the post they are doubling with impunity.

  44. We are going to see how reliable the rest of the Lakers players are because from the looks of how the Spurs have been playing defense lately they are going to double Kobe and make the other players beat them.

  45. How does Drew look on Duncan?

  46. @Snoopy
    I like his effort. The results could be a bit better, but the energy level looks good.

  47. I have a bad bad feeling about this game, unless kobe goes for 40+ i dont see the lakers having a chance. The rest of the Lakers players cannot score enough points, it’s gotta be a miraculous showing by Bynum and Kobe or this game will be over.

  48. As a veteran Derek has showed very limited mental toughness this season

  49. we should put mbenga on duncan

  50. 45

    He’s trying, but unfortunately Duncan has looked like 2003 Duncan tonight.

  51. Bynum is playing solid D on Duncan…it’s just “better offense”.

  52. Aside from the bowlout of Dallas, do we have any recent evidence to suggest this Lakers team is a good team right now?

  53. This one is over. Without Gasol, a game on the road against a good team is an automatic loss right now.

    For all the talk of defense, this team only has 2 players who can score – kobe and bynum. And for some reason they go away from Bynum for long stretches.
    Artest is zero on offense, Odom shows up for about 1 game a week, and Fish’s play this year has been well documented.

  54. Duncan and Bynum are both showing their stuff on offense. Neither one can contain the other.

  55. Wow is Duncan amazing tonight; Bynum’s actually playing decent defense.

  56. We are a couple of defensive stops away from keeping this game under control…also here is to hoping the spurs shooting percentage catches up with them

  57. They’ve gone to Artest in the post about 5 or 6 times today and not one of those possessions resulted in a field goal. A few near misses, but it seems to always go that way for Artest at the rim.

  58. Did Shannon just out-jump Duncan for that ball…?

  59. 53. I would say no, I dont even consider that Dallas win a good win because Dallas was a no show in that game they maybe gave 1 minute of effort in that game so I would argue that the Lakers dont have a real quality win.

    To me a quality win is beating an elite team when both teams are playing full strength and playing good basketball, Dallas was not that night.

  60. What is with the officiating in this game????!!!! That was a clear case of Duncan going over Shannon’s back!!!

  61. @Eric,
    In that case, that’s going to take a while. The Lakers have been at full strength for only two or three games this season…

  62. Ok, i know that the triangle iso is usually the play, but I really really can’t stand that play. I liked the buzzer beater where pau passed it to kobe after some screens…

    Why does it have to be one on one all the time?

  63. i dont know why artest cant make layups i really dont

  64. Blown calls: Fisher gets all ball on Duncan and gets the foul. He then gets a charge when the man was moving and impeding Fish’s drive. A block all the way! San Antonio is shooting lights out so they don’t need the freakin help!!!

  65. 61. Agreed Mimsy but they are going to have their chances to earn Signature wins this month playing teams like Cleveland and Boston on the road, and Orlando at home because they should be full strength by Friday other than Kobe’s finger.

  66. 53

    Lamar is not a scorer he does everything else. You have to understand his stregths. Rebounding, boxing out, playing defense, playing the pick and roll by pushing the point towards half court, assists, and scoring only when he can.

  67. 62. It’s two simple facts, Artest is not elevating on his layup attempts he just tries to will the ball up there and also he is not going up strong he is expecting contact instead of worrrying about finishing the shot first.

  68. Their bench is outscoring ours by 24 points, even though Ginobili has got only 4 points. This one seems quite hard to turn around.

  69. Artest is not elevating because a) his left foot is sore, and b) he has plantar fasciitis in his right. Which doesn’t really answer the question why part of the offensive sets is for him to post up on the low block.

  70. You see those turnover numbers? They are capitalizing on our mistakes big time. If we come out with that lock down defense I have no doubt we’ll take this game.

    …Not so much in the first two minutes.

  71. Since returning from his concussion Artest is 13-36 from the field, but 7-11 from 3 pts, and is averaging .6 ast/gm compared to 4 per game before. Strange

  72. im depressed

  73. The Lakers can not afford to wait for the Spurs to cool off, they need to contest the shots more than they are doing.

  74. Looking ugly out there on the defensive end, never though I’d say this about a lakers team but they just do not have enough firepower to stay with great scoring teams who can also play defense.

    69. Just because he has a sore foot and plantar fasciitis doesnt mean he cant elevate to finish down low, you saw on his dunk through the lane that he’s capable of jumping, he just never jumps on a consistent basis it’s also like he thinks hes talented enough to score without jumping. Newsflash to him he’s an older player he may have been able to do that 5 years ago but not anymore.

  75. I really wish we would pass the ball. Just keep the ball moving and don’t dribble. Guys are holding the ball or just dribbling around doing nothing. Passing and movement, that’s what I wanna see.

  76. Whoa. What happened in Memphis???

  77. yeah, i think he got maybe 6″ off the ground on that dunk in the lane…

  78. *sigh* You know, I have a new video game. I could be commanding hordes of the undead right now.

    I know, an ugly loss is not the end of the world. I know that. But I don’t have to enjoy watching it.

  79. Lol a player his size can’t jump 6 inches to dunk give him more credit for that. He is consistently jumping out instead of up.

  80. On top of everything else, the Spurs just aren’t missing their jumpers tonight.

    Bynum looks really good though.

  81. Artest going to the rim looks so funny. I laugh every time.

  82. Lakers&DodgersFan January 12, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    WOW. The Lakers are the most inconsistent and lazy team in the NBA. We had an 8 point lead in the 1st quarter! Now THIS? We’re down by, like, 17!
    The Lakers are the best team with the best record in the NBA, but can’t show it for more than a minute at a time, at least since Christmas Day. We did so well until then, now we’re going on our 10th loss.
    Please, Kobe, work some magic for us!

  83. Zephid agreed on what your saying but with our current talent level (even with Gasol back) I dont see how much ball movement we are capable of. Unfortunately they seem to be a team where consistently we will require Bynum or Gasol to dribble in their postup to get points or kobe going isolation to get his own points, it scares me very much.

  84. I’d give my right kidney to shut Sean Elliot up….

    I’m sorry, that was in bad taste.

  85. Geez, the Spurs commentators are really getting on my nerves.

  86. rofl he’s so goofy looking. He just barrels to the rim and prays he gets a foul called.

  87. relax laker&dodger fan. we’re playing a good SA team… who is shooting lights out.

  88. 82. Without Gasol we are not the best team in the league, we arent even close, and with Gasol I’m still not sold we are the best team in the league. Our record indicates nothing other than we’ve beaten up on some mediocre teams at home.

  89. Artest boy!! finally looks like the beast has awoken..

  90. The Spurs are cooling off, this is our chance to get back into the game.

    Still curious as to why they’re making an effort to set up Ron in the post.

  91. @jd
    I know someone whose cousin needs a kidney. Give it to him and you’re all good. ;)

    I’m so glad it’s not just me being over-sensitive. My husband has been saying these announcers are worse than Portland… I am starting to agree.

  92. Whos has worse announcers Portland, Boston or San Antonio?

  93. Lamar has really missed his chance to shine tonight against some players who he should be able to take off the dribble at will, Blair and McDyess cant guard him and he should be exploiting this matchup.

  94. NOBODY is worse than the portland announcers. Except for maybe tommy heinsohn.

  95. LETS GO LAKERS LETS GO

  96. Um… I think Kobe just sprained an ankle. Look at how he moves.

  97. Mimsy – that looks like his back to me…

  98. Shannon Brown runs some of the worst 2-on-1 fast breaks I’ve ever seen.

    Kobe hobbling back to the locker room… :(

  99. is kobe deferring?

  100. 92.

    It goes Portland, then San Antonio, then Boston, then Houston.

    God, Spurs’ ones are awful but no one matches the Blazers’ ones.

  101. dave in hillsboro January 12, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I think Boston’s announcers are the worst in the league, because they don’t even try to be honest. They’ll invent things to complain about. Also, I think Sean Elliott is almost as bad as Tommy Heinsohn when it comes to blatant and shameless homerism.

  102. lets face it, if were even close without gasol and kobe at 20% weve done well

  103. Ron Artest just shouldn’t shoot layups. If he doesn’t get a whistle he should just dribble back outside and shoot a 3 point shot. Its a higher percentage shot.

  104. @wiseolgoat
    I just saw him walk out to the locker room and agree. It’s definitely the back. NOW will someone please force him to sit out for a week? :(

    Pau injured is bad enough, Kobe injured is bad enough. Both at once? Disaster.

  105. 98. Agreed; dude is too afraid to pass. It’s either midrange PUJIT or forcing the issue.

    99. Don’t think his back/ankle/whatever is giving Kobe a choice not to defer ATM.

  106. If only the Lakers had depth like a team like Boston has, resting players wouldn’t be an issue. But without key players our record is going to take a significant dip this month.

  107. cleanest block ever by farmar called foul. Damn refs.

  108. SPURS ANNOUNCER JUST CONCEDED A SAN ANTONIO FOUL!

  109. #108, JD
    Really? Well, that does explain the pig I saw flying across the back yard just a moment ago…

  110. Lakers8884, you’re so right, it’s not like Boston is 5-5 in their last 10 and got beat by a rival in their conference last night…. oh wait, yes that is exactly what happened.

    The Lakers are not playing well, but spare me the Boston is better off crap, they aren’t healthy and they are less likely to get healthy. If you want to whine about not being as good as the Cavs, go ahead.

  111. Wow, Farmar-Brown-Artest-Odom-Powell line-up is keeping us in this game!

    It’s all on Bynum when he gets back in… I’m excited.

  112. Keep it up guys. The Spurs aren’t able to keep up with our intensity right now.

  113. we gotta double timmy when he comes back

  114. @106, Lakers have depth. This is the same team as last year, they just aren’t playing well. Last year we were “the deepest team in the league”. And without key players, they are playing hard right now.

  115. Lakers are playing shutdown defense right now.

    Outscoring the Spurs 20-5 over 9 minutes: average offense, incredible defense.

  116. Clearly Kobe was holding the team back…

    Also, since when does Boston have ‘depth’? Rasheed, Big Baby, House, and that’s it.

  117. Kurt, as many injuries as they had they almost beat a damn good Atlanta team, without KG and Sheed. As many players as they have had rested the entire year and playing better teams and competition (many on the road) look at their record they have stayed tops in the league, the proof is in their record. The Cavs have had no injuries to deal with. I’m just stating facts 5-5 maybe but they are staying afloat with solid backups, something the Lakers dont have a luxury of.

  118. Luuuuuuuuuke!

  119. Nice pass, Ron

  120. we just have NO margin for error right now, especially not for two DUMB turnovers.

  121. 114. If the Lakers have dependable depth please prove me otherwise, everyone and their mother knows when the Lakers are healthy their biggest weakness is their bench.

    116. Joel, Marquis Daniels is a solid backup and so is Tony Allen.

  122. dave in hillsboro January 12, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    I really can’t stand it when announcers just cheer as if they were fans in the crowd. I get that they’re excited, and that’s all fine, but I wish they wouldn’t shout so loud into the mic that it distorts. The SA play by play guy seems to do that on every made Spurs basket. Really annoying.

  123. Yes, Mr. Elliot, let’s all get so excited about finally regaining a double digit lead over a worn Lakers squad missing their two best players. Masterpiece, indeed.

  124. @82

    Unless 1 loss counts for 2 in SA, we will have 9 losses if we lose this one…and still the best record. Breathe deeply!!!

  125. Fisher with the unnecessary gamble.

  126. 122

    The Spurs are winning at home, against a team without their two best players, and this is guy is screaming like the championship is on the line. And this is a team that’s won 3 titles in the last 7 years.

  127. Now Artest with the unnecessary gamble.

  128. It’s a seven-point game without Kobe or Gasol, and Luke Walton is actually getting burn for the first time since last season…enough with the chicken little scenarios. This isn’t that bad- and we’re still in this thing.

  129. @Lakers8884, what’s your definition of dependable? This year they are dependable in being inconsistent.

    I think the bench is pretty good. And when it comes to the playoffs, we’ll go to an 8 man rotation anyway.

    Kobe, Pau, Bynum, Artest, Fish, Odom, Farmar, Brown and Walton.

    I’d take that over the Celtics bench. And prove to me that Celts are dependable? As Kurt said, they aren’t doing too great without their key players.

    AND Celtics aren’t showing that they are all too dependable on the health.

    My point, I don’t see how the exact same bench that got rings last year isn’t good enough.

  130. Everybody knows the Lakers have no depth, Boston Cleveland and Orlando have the deepest benches in the league.

  131. I figured it out! I have finally figured out what annoys me about the Spurs announcers!

    They act like they’ve never been there before. They have been there, and they should remember. If you are a true championship contender then this is not a great game or a great feat. It’s just another game against a conference rival. Instead they celebrate every single basket as if it’s a miraculous never-before-seen thrill and they didn’t expect them to go in.

    It’s unprofessional, and it’s very annoying.

    EDIT:
    Aw, dammit. Joel and Simonoid beat me to it! Again :p

  132. Spurs have shot the 3-ball extremely well tonight, and our inability to close out on those shooters is part of it.

    But man this is exciting… our guys have woken up to the challenge of doing this without Kobe.

  133. 130

    Orlando and Cleveland I’ll buy, but Boston? Seriously? They’ve only got 3 decent bench players!

  134. ray, that’s 9 players.

  135. 110, I wouldn’t worry too much about the downer’s around here Kurt. We had them last year, we’ll probably have them again next year and the year after. Last year it was Joe, going on and on about how the Lakers weren’t tough enough, now it’s Lakers8884 and Eric talking about lack of depth and what not.

    But seems as though Joe has mellowed out this year (if it is the same Joe), so hopefully these guys will mellow out eventually as well.

  136. 131. But you explained it best. Kudos, Mimsy. And I completely agree, reeeeally annoying.

  137. game, set, match.

  138. Simonoid, thats how deep our bench is! we go to 9 player rotation cuz we’re so deep.

    (Yah i messed up counting.)

  139. refs missed a hack by manu on bynum that time…but then bynum compounds their error by not hustling to help out farmar on the parker drive

  140. Ray look at Boston’s record 26-10. 3rd best record in the league. They have had games where Rondo, Paul Pierce have been missing, KG has been gone for weeks and will be gone longer, Sheed was gone last night and will be gone for a week. Big Baby Davis was gone for much of the season and Marquis Daniels has been out for some time and will probably not be back until February. Their record is I repeat 26-10 and they are 15-5 on the road and they’ve had some real quality wins.

    Let me ask you this if Kobe and Pau are missing for 10 games what do you think the lakers would finish? Not great I would say. Now missing Kobe, Pau and some key bench players how well do you think they’d do?

    That’s my whole point you can disagree with me all you want but the proof is there, go look at the box scores of their last 10 games see who has been missing and tell me if you think the Lakers could stay as competitive as they have done consistently. You may disagree with me but the Lakers bench has shown consistently they are not reliable.

    Also you all can criticize me all you want or say I’m a downer or whatever but I am one of the biggest Lakers fans you’ll ever meet. I am REALISTIC, I know basketball and what I see from the rest of the league compared to how LA has played I feel is pretty spot on. Bash me all you want I’m just giving an honest (I feel justified opinion).

  141. Our frontcourt’s being hammered down low, with barely any calls. We’ve now lost 4 straight road games.

  142. Farmer was not only slow getting back on defense against Parker there, but he actually got in Bynum’s way for a contest of that shot.

    *shakes head*

    And then gets beat back door on the baseline the next play?

    Not good defense. Bad defense.

  143. Lol poor shannon…

  144. Our role players need to start showing some mental fortitude over the next little stretch and halt this road skid. Tomorrow night in Dallas will be a good test.

    Not to lose perspective, the Lakers are still the only team in the NBA with a single digit in the loss column.

  145. Is anyone else encouraged by the way our bench as well as Bynum have played tonight? I think that can be the silver lining from this game.

  146. Its nice to see Walton back. Smart plays, plus Farmar plays much better when Luke is on the floor.

  147. And now the spurs announcers mock the Lakers when the Spurs are up by more than 10 points with less than two minutes left in the game. I’m sorry, but if you’re anywhere close to true championship calibre, you will not do that.

    They act like they’ve never seen the Spurs win at home before. Disgusting.

  148. I really don’t feel bad about this loss. The Spurs played very well and our bench players showed some hustle to keep us in the game, especially in the 3rd. And Bynum was spectacular on offense against Duncan.

    But I’d like to see better closing out on 3pt shooters and better movement away from the ball.

  149. The silver lining is Luke coming back. That’s going to fix a number of problems with the Triangle. But our other biggest problem in my estimation, a problem highlighted by the last minute or so of this game, is the overall weak 3-pt shooting.

    Anyway, it was fun to see the bench battle their way back into the game, but the difference between an elite, tested unit and the bench was made clear, quickly. With Gasol, we would have won this game, imo.

  150. dave in hillsboro January 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Luke’s jumper looked good tonight.

  151. Another thing I’d like to see is Odom being more aggressive. He looks to pass every time he has the ball on the perimeter. Without Kobe or Pau on the floor I’d like to see LO take guys off the dribble.

  152. 145, I agree, I really thought the bench came out in the 4th and did a good job getting us back into the game. The fact that we couldn’t finish probably stems from not having Kobe or Gasol available. Wasn’t a great game by any stretch, but these are signs of improvement. Also liked Luke Walton’s return; he really made the offense flow and actually had a couple of great defensive plays. Quick notes…

    1.) Great duel between Duncan and Bynum. Bynum did well in the 2nd half, but Duncan really had his way with Bynum on offense, scoring in a plethora of little running hooks and fallaway jumpers. In contrast, Bynum really just overpowered Duncan on a lot of plays. Really if Bynum could just get a little more body control in the post, he could’ve made a number of the shots that just rimmed out.

    2.) Luke Walton did something that nobody else did this game: cut off a passing lane. When the Spurs run their sets, they go for dribble penetration first, then pass to their release man. A number of times, the pass to the release man was either no-look or a very dangerous pass to begin with; the Lakers were just giving up so much ground on penetration that no one was covering the passing lanes. When Walton finally did cover the passing lane, he basically received a pass from the offensive player.

    3.) We primarily got killed on defense with the Spurs PNR and passing to the release man, and with the Spurs off-ball movement. Back-door cuts with off-ball screens really hurt our guards and Artest, who didn’t really seem prepared for a lot of the Spurs schemes. However, most of these I think would be remedied during a 7 game playoff series, so I’m not so worried about the easy baskets.

    4.) We came back in the game when we locked down on defense, and when we finally got some movement on offense. Either Andrew got the ball on the post with some cuts off of him (Stu Lantz made a good point about Luke Walton’s dive to the basket opening up space for Bynum to operate), or we moved the ball around the perimeter until we either got dribble penetration or a wide-open jump shot (like the one Walton hit).

    Overall, I’m diggin the return of Walton. It takes a real professional to come into a pressure game, play smart, make good decision, and especially, make shots. Luke seemed to do all three, and this gives me some hope for improved bench play. Farmar and Brown both had their ups and downs, but I’m liking their improvement over recent weeks. Can’t really point to any Laker in particular who had an exceptionally poor game, but we definitely got beat as a team against a Spurs team that couldn’t miss in the 1st half and is playing pretty good basketball of late.

  153. Lakers8884, I never said you were a downer. Your call sign is Lakers8884 and I know that you are a laker fan. I just disagree with you.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but on ESPN there is a SOS ranking. And so far the Lakers SOS ranks 10th in the league at 506, while Boston SOS ranks 28th in the league at 482. I do agree with you that if the Lakers were missing Kobe and Pau they would not be good, but we still have guys who can pick up the slack that I trust: Bynum, Odom and Artest. Put some guys around them and the Lakers depth will show.
    Now missing kobe, pau and 2 bench players, they wouldn’t do well because that’s 4 players down. But Boston is not doing well in the won loss column with their team as Kurt pointed out. Sure they played Atlanta tough, but they lost both games. Lakers played tough after Kobe went away and brought a 20 point lead down to 6 with mostly bench guys.

    I think I am pretty realistic too and feel that the Lakers bench can play to the level that they played last year. The bench is now back, and regardless what people think of Luke, I think he’s very important to running the triangle for the bench guys.

    Regardless of what we think, the Bench has an opportunity to show how they can play. Time to learn and get better with every game.

    Then we can talk some more.

    Now the Cavs, i’ll concede they are the deepest team in the league.

  154. 0 – 3 against legit contenders.

  155. Zephid, why are you bashing Eric and Lakers8884? What makes you so high and mighty on these boards, nobody’s opinion is 100% correct and that is the point of these message boards. People come here to voice their opinions no matter what the content is, everyone here is a Lakers fan hoping and wishing the best for the team but bashing a fellow fan saying they are a downer or whatever is stupid. He happens to make some valid points, the announcers on NBA gametime on NBA Tv (Chris Webber and Kevin McHale) all mentioned the Lakers lack of depth on the bench so dont think he’s the only one who thinks that.

  156. Lakers8884 comment 140

    Great post!!! I agree with you 100% The Lakers bench was said to be the best in the league last year and it wasn’t. When we lost Trevor from the bench, the bench was never the same. The bench needs help. Morrison and Powell are useless, Farmar is only good if his shot is going because he plays no D and Sasha hustles but if his shots are off he becomes a foul machine. Lamar, Shannon, Luke, and Mbenga are our only reliable bench players.

  157. 140, other realists also claimed last year that the Lakers weren’t tough enough to win the NBA championship.

  158. 155, because I believe in constructive criticism. If you say the Lakers bench stinks, that’s one thing, but if that’s all you’re gonna say, well that doesn’t really tell me anything. I don’t care if you’re critical of the Lakers; I am all the time. But if you just keep repeating over and over again that the Lakers stink and they aren’t gonna win, well that doesn’t add anything to the conversation. Give me some meat in the comments, something to think about. Continuously listing problems without giving any solutions is like calling someone fat then force-feeding them a cheesecake.

  159. 154

    Gotta second that notion there bro. I still feel like we haven’t really learnt anything about the lakers this season.. competition hasn’t been great.. and everyone was willing to write of losses do dallas/utah/denver due to scheduling.. add to that the egg we laid on christmas n i just gotta ask. what have we learnt about the lakers this season? squat.

  160. Ray, I wasn’t referring to you calling me a downer that was Zephid.

    Kurt pointed that out but in many cases Boston has been missing many players in excess of 4+ including at times 2 or 3 of their BEST players almost to the equivalent of missing Lamar, Kobe and Pau. They have played solid with many of their best players missing. They played Atlanta last night missing KG and Sheed and almost won, that’s like if we were missing Lamar and Pau. How do you think we would do against Atlanta without those 2 guys?
    That’s what they have had consistently the past month and like I said their backups have been SOLID for them and they are one loss behind us for the best record.

    I agree Luke coming back will help a great deal, but compared to other elite benches it has shown we do not have what it takes to match up talent wise, as evidenced by our record against teams above .500.

    This month is gonna show how deep and talented this team is, but unfortunately we dont have much room for error if not careful we could slip down the standings with the schedule we have ahead. I hope I am wrong but I dont think we will fair that well, I hope they make me eat those words but I have yet to see anything to convince me otherwise.

    On a final note Cleveland’s bench is great but I’d say Orlando the best bench in the league they just do not know how to gel together but Im sure they will figure it out come playoff time. They really have 2 starting units from top to bottom.

    Zephid this is 2010 Im not talking about last year, teams are better now I am living in the present and I never once said they arent tough enough, I know they are tough enough but you tell me if you think they have shown “toughness” this year against elite teams.

  161. It reallybis nice to see Luke back. It always looks like he was born to play the trianlge and I’m much more confident when he is with our bench mob.

    The Lakers didn’t play awful considering Pau was out and Kobe got hurt. The Spurs did play well, in their building.

    We were also without a 100% Machine, who, hate if you want, has been playing driven ball on both ends of the floor lately.

  162. at Lakers8884. I think we differ on this premise:

    I think we have good players beyond Pau and Kobe. They just aren’t playing well right now. The bench has had games where they excel but a lot of stinkers also.

    That’s why I am not worried.

    And you make a point that the proof is in the record but the Lakers do have the best record in the league. I don’t like the distinction that oh they’ve had a lot of home games, because cmon, you have to win as many games as possible right? And the Spurs had only one less home game than the Lakers. Spurs are 17-6 (23 games) Lakers are 21-3 (24 games).

    So the record shows that while struggling, the bench isn’t that bad.

  163. Before we judge the Lakers have they played one game with a complete roster?
    Yes the bench is struggling, Kobe is not 100% and Pau is nursing a sore hamstring. If this team can get everyone back lets see what they can do. Despite all that the team has been through they have the best record in the league at the moment.

  164. Even though I can’t stand losing, I was actually proud of the way the Lakers fought tonight, especially without Pau and Kobe. Offensively we played together, but defensively we had some obvious breakdowns even though the Spurs were absolutely on fire tonight. It’s amazing how teams get up to play the Lakers.

    It is obvious Luke Walton has been working on his shot since he’s been out, but lets not get carried away like he’s going to solve our bench problems. I’ve personally never been a big Luke fan so I don’t have high expectations with him getting back into the rotation.

    Overall I know as Laker fans we’re disapointed with the losing and the way we’ve been playing lately, but it’s not how you start the season, it’s how you end it. We have plenty of time to get it together before the playoffs. I’m not expecting a win tomorrow against the Mavs either.

  165. I see no need at this point to seemingly freak out about our weak bench. Yes our bench has not played to the standard at which it was during the 2007-2008 season. The season is a series of peaks and valleys and we are in a valley right now. Our biggest concern should to get everyone healthy and playing. If our team is healthy, that pushes LO to the bench, which makes the bench even stronger.

    Yes it is nice that the Cavs are playing so well, but anything can happen a month from now and more importantly 4-5 months from now. We have such a demand to require constant greatness from this team that we seem to not realize that it simply is not sustainable. Especially with the injuries we have suffered.

    And do not compare the injuries that Boston has suffered to the injuries the Lakers have had. They are two completely different teams that require different things from different players.

    The return of Luke and Pau on Friday will help strengthen our bench. Let’s be honest here, we aren’t going to get the bench of 2007-2008. We have to deal with what we have. I would take our top 6, our mediocre bench (as of today), and our coach over any team in the league. Anything can happen in the next few months with the bench.

  166. we really haven’t come close to seeing the lakers at their best this season. whether thats a good or bad thing, i don’t know.

  167. Zephid this is my last post of the night, why do you want “MEAT” in my comments? you watch the Lakers just like I do, you know our problems just as well as everyone else does. I’ll give you a few things you probably already know that we should worry about.

    1. We have only 3 real players we can Rely on for scoring Kobe, Pau and Bynum. Not the sign of balance on a team, yes their is time to correct it but as of right now its a problem.

    2. Defensively they have struggled lately you can contribute this to alot of things but mainly its been a lack of consistent effort. Defense wins championships and lately teams have just been using the Lakers defense to “practice” their offensive sets.

    3. The Bench is unreliable whether you agree or not is your opinion but go back and look at the box score of each game this season and see how reliable they have been I would say under 5. Not a great sign. Most teams know this is our biggest weakness.

    4. Most troubling – – – Our record against teams above .500, and our record on the road and the rest of this month wont be kind to this statistic.
    Yes we have had injuries, but true TEAMS win games, we cant rely on one player being the key to win games because no team is healthy in an 82 game season. Making excuses for a team saying feh flush or it or at least we still have the best record in the league doesn’t cut it because teams find ways to win when it matters. While it isn’t the playoffs I think this season has shown their is not much room for error anymore between us and other teams in the league. And yes the Lakers have the best record but at this pace their is a strong chance they wont have it by the end of the month so banking on that is fool’s gold.

  168. 160, you missed my point. It wasn’t my point to say that you claimed the Lakers weren’t tough. My point was that people have come here before, claimed that they knew the truth and were realists, and they were wrong in the end.

    Look, the Lakers bench sucks right now, we all know that. But don’t keep telling me over and over again. Tell me how they can improve their play, what they can do to get better shots, moves they can perfect or defensive tactics they can learn. Tell me what they can focus on to improve, or whether they need to change their attitude. But don’t tell me they suck, because I already know that and I don’t need to hear it again.

  169. The Lakers lost to a better team tonight. That doesn’t mean they will be better at the end of the year, but they were tonight.

    Next game.

    Without Kobe or Gasol I suspect the Lakers will really have to learn how to play together tomorrow.

  170. These last 5 to 10 games only strenghten my usual argument that the Lakers need players. Kobe is starting to wear down (like I said before Kurt) and he needs someone to has his back (not trying to be funny). Pau is that guy, but he has been hurt twice this year. They need another player who can score since Ron Ron’s game has left the ground (literally). There are trades that can and need to be made.

  171. Sounds crazy– but with the best record in the league, Kobe and Pau resting together for a couple games might force certain key players(Odom, Bynum, “Down town” Brown) to fill the void, and the team may emerge from the injury bug with renewed confidence and fresh chemistry. Time to see if the team is as good as they think they are.

  172. Why do we care so much about the bench at the moment? If we have a eight or nine man rotation come playoffs (starters, Farmar, Brown, Odom, Walton), then that’s really all we need. Minutes for bench players get significantly downsized, and depth becomes much less important than how good your top seven are. Sure, deeper teams do better in the regular season, but the playoffs make it far less of a necessity.

  173. For all those trade-happy people: you need to remember that we have the highest payroll in the league. This is the team we will finish the year with – unless there is a Santa Claus out there.

  174. Lakers8884, it’s not really a fair question to ask how do we think the Lakers will do if key guys go down.

    I mean, did you think the Celtics would win those games immediately after KG and Pierce went down?

    We don’t know how they will play when called upon, but if you want to go with tonight’s effort, they played well and were able to cut a 20 point lead to 6 against a very good SA team.

  175. We have learned so far that LA has to improve in alot of areas: defense, offensive movement without the ball, and intensity. That front loaded home schedule has caused a rush to judgement that LA is favorite to win it all at the beginning of th year. We truly do not have a signature win so far this year, if you want to count the Dallas win, it doesnt really count considering Dallas was playing back to back games. Its to early to tell if we are really having problems or if other teams are just out hustling us considering we are the defending champs and get jacked up to make every game we play a measuring stick.

    Everyone is truly entitled to their own thoughts and shouldnt have to back them up by the solution, because their is no solution to playing with a desire when you want to show the rest of the league that you are the top dog. Last year LA played the top teams in the league with a winning record, this year its not looking good so far. Who knows if this will come back to bite them in the end. All Im trying to say is that no one has the answer, so try to be a little open minded when commenting on other peoples criticism, we still root for the same team remember.

  176. Zephid, my point about the bench is there’s only so much improvement that can be made. The talent on the Laker bench is not near as great as many of the other elite teams in the league top to bottom. Talent and preparation usually will always beat preparation and adjustments, I feel the Lakers need trades. Here’s evidence to support my argument.

    Lakers team

    pg-Fisher, Farmar, maybe Brown
    sg-Kobe, Sasha, Brown
    sf-Artest, Luke, Ammo
    pf-Pau, Odom, Powell
    C-Bynum, DJ

    Boston
    pg-Rondo, House, sometimes Daniels
    sg-Ray Allen, Daniels, Tony Allen, Eddie House
    sf-Paul Pierce, Tony Allen, Scalabrine
    pf-KG, Davis, Scalabrine (who is solid in this system like Luke is for us)
    C-Perkins, Sheed

    Orlando
    pg-Jameer, Jason Williams
    sg-vince carter, JJ redick
    sf-Barnes, Pietrus
    pf-Rashard, Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass
    C-Howard, Gortat

    Cleveland
    pg-Mo williams, Gibson
    sg-Parker, Delonte, Gibson
    sf-Lebron, Moon, Parker
    pf-Hickson, Varejao, Leon Powe
    C-Shaq, Zydrunas

    If you think our entire team is as talented as the other 3 elites I dont know if I can trust your basketball brain.

    And Ray to answer your question yes I did think the Celtics had chances to win games with their best players going down. Remember the playoffs last year when Boston went to 7 games with the Magic without their best and most important player in KG, they have depth and reliable players. If Kobe or Pau went down last year do you think we could go 7 games with Orlando?

  177. Lakers8884

    you keep saying our record against +500 teams, but i just looked on NBA.com

    Cleveland is 17-6
    Lakers are 15-7
    Denver 15-5
    Celtics are 11-7

    Why is that so troubling right now? And this no beating elite teams thing I don’t understand either. We’ve beaten Phoenix, Utah, Houston, Dallas, these guys will be in the playoffs.

    OK we got killed by the Cavs, but is that one loss to the best team in the east really that bad?

  178. Ray, the wins we have against teams that are above .500 are teams that have no chances of advancing past the first round. The Dallas game is one exception, and we beat Atlanta once but those are the only decent games and the Dallas game wasnt really a game Dallas never showed up.

    Most of the teams we have beaten above .500 wont win a playoff series this year, the teams we have lost to will. Go back over the schedule and look at those teams that are above .500, Miami, New Orleans, Thunder, Jazz, Suns, Houston, I dont think any of these teams are anything better than average teams.

  179. The Lakers rely on two players (Kobe and Pau), Boston does not. They can play without two or any five players and compete (not necessarily win). The only elite team you can compare us to is Cleveland. Without LeBron and Big Z they would suck, just like we did tonight. The only difference is they have a much deeper bench.

    Think about it, the Lakers have only 13 players, four of which are hurt or hurting, that means there are only 9 semi-healthy players out on the court. Two of those players are Morrison and Powell. SO the Lakers are playing with a short squad. They need help.

  180. check out the records against +600 teams. probably not as nice… 3 wins against oklahoma city and 2 against new orlenan skew the record on +500.
    i think we’re 4 – 5 against +600.

    i think everyone just tends to get irritable when the lakers are losing and i don’t blame anyone for it. if the lakers were on a 17 game win streak and there was a commenter saying LAKERS RULE! LAKERS ROCK! BACK2BACK BABY! i’m sure people wouldn’t be complaining and asking him for more meat in his comments. why do the lakers rule?! give me some examples!

    if a comment bugs you, i say just move on to the next one.

  181. 176, I’ll give you Orlando, and it’s a dead heat between Cleveland and us, but I most certainly won’t give you Boston.

    Here’s a Celtics blog (written Jan 9), cataloging how poorly their bench has performed this year.

    http://hardwoodhoudini.com/2010/01/09/questions-concerning-the-celtics-bench-and-doc-rivers/

    Here’s another piece about them wanting to trade Eddie House

    http://www.celticsblog.com/2010/1/11/1245164/is-it-time-to-trade-house

    The grass is always greener on the other side (sometimes literally hehe).

  182. Thank you DreDawg and Busboys4me, you all can see the light. What is wrong with criticizing a team? No team is flawless, my main argument has been the Lakers “MAY NOT as in there is a chance” they dont have the talent to win it again this year unless other talent is brought in. I may be wrong or I may be right but that will be seen later on, everyone gets extra sensitive when the Lakers lose and I get just as mad as everyone else but why can’t I pick apart the team I love hoping it can show they need help to become better and that they have alot of room for improvement. Let’s face it, alot of the Elite teams in the league made upgrades to compete and try to beat us, we never made any upgrades other than Artest and quite frankly that may turn to be a wash.

    No way Cleveland and us are equal they demolished us from top to bottom and as for the Boston comment sure their bench may have performed to a level that they arent comfortable with but look at how many players have been injured. I guarantee you they would say with as many injuries as they have had they are pretty satisfied, they have the LUXURY to rest players to make sure they are healthy at the end of the season. And give me a break the reason they want to trade Eddie House (like they have every year) is because they have Marquis Daniels and dont need him come playoff time.

  183. Lakers8884, you don’t think Utah, Pho, or Houston can win a playoff series? Those are all tough teams that are well coached and I wouldn’t discount them at all.

    And I like OKC, I think they are a tough team in the league. They aren’t your father’s super sonics.

    My thing here, is we’re not even halfway through the season yet. Now if I were a Portland fan, or a clipper fan, for sure I’d nitpick on the record and the wins and losses. The reason I’m not really all that down on the bench is because there is a lot of bball to play yet, and the season, the entire season helps them learn and get better. It is cliche, but the goal is to get better every game til the playoffs.

    Now, i’d agree with you if our record stays at 0-3 against the contenders come playoff time, but as for now, I’m really not that worried.

    By the way, the things I see to go into the playoffs well:

    I think the Offense needs to be run better by both the starters and the bench.

    I think Pau Gasol needs to come back healthy, as well as Kobe.

    And for Bynum to find consistent intensity.

  184. @ all the people who want us to improve our bench.

    If we need help how do you suggest go about getting that. We are already over the cap significantly and paying about $21.5 million in luxury tax. We do have Ammo’s contract and Fisher’s contract expiring after this year. We are not in a financial situation that allows us to go and pick up great bench players.

    We also have to get players that fit the triangle system. We can’t just pick up good bench guys, we need guys who fit our system.

    It’s easy to say “Oh we need better bench players.” None of you are suggesting potential solutions. All you are doing is complaining about something without trying to solve it.

    I personally think that the bench will eventually come around, it will just take a bit more time with everyone HEALTHY.

    Additionally, I don’t think anyone seems to understand that the sheer dropoff in talent and skill between our bench and our starting 5 is extremely significant. We have arguably the best starting 5 in the league and we are paying them that way as well. It’s not a situation like in Orlando where they are only paying 3 guys over 10 million a year and 6 players over 5 million a year.

    The Lakers simply do not have the means at the moment to upgrade the bench due to the restrictive salary situation.

  185. Ray, I agree with everything you said but No I dont see the Suns, Rockets, or Jazz beating the Mavericks, Spurs, Lakers, Nuggets or somewhat Healthy Blazers team. In the playoffs those teams could win a few games but in a seven game series they’d be very lucky to win. The Jazz have the best chance but they arent great away from home (and they arent as solid at home as they usually are). And the Thunder are fun to watch and talented, but they are young inexperienced they could surprise people but they are barely over .500 so wins against them are nice but not convincing.

  186. and btw, I criticize the Lakers a lot, and so does Zephid.

    I just think I like our key bench players, though they havent been playing well.

    Well except for Sasha, I cannot stand Sasha. Two things he’s supposed to do: make 3s, and play defense, and he can’t seem to do either. He’s really the only bench guy I can’t stand.

  187. The definition of a BLOG NAZI is someone who tries to control other people’s posts and thoughts. They post silly statements such as “if you’re going to say something negative, you better have a solution”. They try to ridicule other people’s opinions if it does not agree with their own. You know who you are.

    We are all Laker fans, and some of us are more emotional than others when watching games. I cheer loudly when I see a great play, and scream and curse at the TV when I see a boneheaded play. If some of us decide to vent our frustrations in a post (without breaking any of Kurt’s rules), than we should be free to do so without the BLOG NAZIS dictating what is appropriate.

  188. Of those nine defeats, by teams above .500, 6 of them have been on the road. You cant count the home and home Clips game, and their not at the .500 clip yet. Its a telling sign of playing bad ball on the road and an indication of a home court or bust mindset entering the playoffs. A mental edge is greater than a physical edge IMO, if you have a team that is beat before the ball goes up it is devastating. Teams are not coming to the party with any lack of confidence and are giving us their best shot. Its time for Phil to make his money, thats what he gets paid all the the big cheese for.

  189. Lakers8884

    Yah, but you can’t discount the wins the lakers have over those teams. They are good NBA teams.

    Now, if we lose to Orlando twice, get beat by the Celtics twice and lose to cleveland again, then sure i’ll start worrying about the Lakers chances. But I don’t think that will happen.

  190. Bynumite, I hope your right about the bench improving down the road, but your right about us not having the capability to improve and I think that’s what scares alot of people it scares me. The Not being able to improve scares me, I see adding Bosh (if it’s possible like some analysts say as far fetched as it is) as a huge upgrade for the triangle. But I cant offer any solutions because quite frankly there are not many if any at all out there. Every team upgraded but us (to some degree) and that’s worrisome that we cant upgrade more to help the issues.

    And ray I dont discount those wins, I just take them with a grain of salt. Those should be wins for the talent we have compared to the talent they have if you catch my drift.
    And your right about Boston, Cleveland and Orlando we see them all this month. At the end of the month I hope I’m wrong about what I’m seeing but I watch Orlando , Boston and Cleveland all play on league pass and what I see compared to what the lakers bring concerns me.

  191. and I think I am being a blog hog tonight, not a blog nazi.

    I’m just stuck in front of the computer so this is fun to do.

  192. @Bynumite

    here’s a trade scenario that will improve our bench. Trade Sasha Vujacic to Houston for Trevor Ariza. It works on trade machine.

    =)

    I am not serious.

  193. Ray I dont think anyone was accusing you of being a blog Nazi I have enjoyed our banter back and forth Im typing on here with you cuz I am at the computer doing school work, there were others who were saying I shouldnt post unless its positive or unless I offer something Meaty in my comments.

    When I look at the Lakers I compare them to the Celtics because to me they are our measuring stick, Im sorry if I continually bring them up but if they are healthy they are the best team in the East top to bottom so people shouldnt be offended by me bringing up our biggest rivals. YES I despise them more than anything (i went to the Boston game last year in Boston), but I respect them because in order to defeat your enemy you must respect them and understand them first.

  194. how bout this: We all agree that the bench is underperforming. I think they just need to play better, and you think we need to make changes?

    So we agree that the bench needs to get better.

  195. the west is tough. the top isnt as stacked as the easts top but man, thats 4 teams out of the playoff picture that would make the eastern playoffs. could this season be worse than 2007-2008? 3 teams in the west that year would’ve made the easts including the warriors @ 48-34…. wonder how it will end this year? and is revamping the seeding totally out of the question?!

  196. ray

    I was thinking more of a AMMO for Ariza.

    Sasha for some reason I’m attached to. Just keep on hoping he will turn the corner. The effort is definitely there. Just need to find him a brain.

  197. Heres something meaty, if KB would have been in the game you still have to make stops at the other end to make a comeback. It wouldn have matterd if we had Lebron and KB on the floor together a the same time. LA just couldnt get the defensive stops they needed to really put the pressure on the Spurs at the end.

  198. This game sucked. The Lakers aren’t going to win a lot of games with Kobe and Pau out, a solid defensive center holding Bynum to ~50% and no FTAs, and Odom and Artest battling finger issues. That’s why this game sucked.

  199. Echoing Ray’s post, we shouldn’t be tripping over 0-3 record against “real” contenders. That’s a total of 3 games. Small sample size statistic is written all over it.

    The Lakers have the 10th toughest schedule and the best record. That is pretty good considering injuries to Pau and Kobe. How good would Cavs or Celtics be if their top two players are injured and have tougher schedules?

  200. And Kurt I know this is your blog and I’m sorry if it bothers you that I bring up Boston all the time but I think you’ll agree with me that if they are healthy just like we are, they propose the biggest threat to the team we have.

  201. no to BLAZIS! :)

  202. @Bynumite.. I really can’t stand him. Maybe its that episode of Sports Science http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFhS5F7ubJs

    or maybe it’s because his 3 pt % is .377 over his career. Or that if you take away his contract year of 07-08 3pt % (.437) his 3 point percentage is only .346 over his career. Or that his FG% is only .392 (if you take away his 07-08 contract year, his FG% is .356.

    Or the fact that he fouls and reaches but never thinks he fouls or reaches.

    But I guess he can speak Italian to Kobe during road trips.

  203. @Lakers8884, I disagree with you on the Celts being the toughest out. But thats just because your argument has one key premise: celtics being healthy. I don’t think KG will be 100% this season and won’t be the same. Now on NBA2k10, yah, they are tough to beat, but real life will be alright.

    Cleveland is a scary team. They have the height to muscle us out and wing players that cut really well. I’ll reserve judgment until we play boston and cleveland again, But as of now, Cleveland looks good and would be a great 7 game series.

  204. Look at the shot chart- compare the number of Xs for the Lakers in the lane to the Os for the Spurs.

    http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=300112024

  205. Well, I missed another Laker loss tonight. Reading the comments it sounded like a very ugly one at that. Like 2/3 of our players are injured, huh? Luuuke is back I saw on the box score, he should help us down the line now. The bench is going to have to come through for us, we have no starters left it seems like. I am not looking forward to the Dallas game at all with these injuries to our team at the moment. You have to stay optimistic, right?

    “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.” – Margaret Peters

  206. As good as our bench played tonight with their minutes, look over the course of the game.

    Spurs bench 42 total points.
    Lakers bench 20 total points (that number is even high for their normal output on the road)

    More help needed indeed.

  207. For us to repeat someone on the bench is going to have to get hot at the right time.

  208. Ray, here’s the thing about Boston being healthy while many think they wont be healthy at the end of the season I happen to think there is a strong chance they can and will. KG has been out a few weeks recently but hes actually been quoted as saying as he could play right now and Doc even said he could but they dont need him to in order to win games right now because they are a deep team. They have a luxury of resting players like Pierce and KG who are older without losing much ground on the top in the league record wise. If this trend keeps up they have a strong chance of being healthy by giving their older players a chance to rest and heal until playoffs roll around. KG only has a bruised knee btw. They are so deep they let Leon Powe walk, yes he had knee surgery but Cleveland picked him up and he’s supposed to be back to playing soon so it’s a pretty good sign of depth on their frontcourt especially.

  209. 187, considering i’m the one who’s been approving the comments all night long in the spam filter, tough to pin that one on me ;-).

    and Lakers8884, you keep saying, “If Boston was healthy…” Well what about when we’re healthy? We’ve had our full squad at 100% for 0 games this year. Pau missed the first 11 games of the season, and has now missed the last 4. Bynum got hurt for 2 games shortly before Gasol came back. Then Artest missed 5 games after Christmas. Luke has been hurt since November. And Kobe has been playing with his hurt finger for weeks now. Our team is nowhere close to 100%, so to judge them as if this is their full potential is just utterly fallacious.

    I can’t see how you can say that our bench doesn’t have the ability to improve internally. That’s like saying basketball players don’t improve by playing basketball; they are what they are and they never change. Didn’t you see Trevor Ariza last year? He could barely shoot when he started the season, then he shot some ridiculous 47% from three in the playoffs. When the season started, teams knew that all Trevor could do was drive to the hole and dunk, so they played way off him and forced him to shoot wide-open threes. Eventually, he learned how to make them, and he made teams pay in the playoffs. And that doesn’t even get into the area of how it’s completely and utterly impossible for us to improve the bench via trade due to salary constraints, but we’ve already covered that in previous posts.

    197, you do realize we were within 6 with 5 minutes to go, right? Then we went cold for 2 minutes and the lead was back up to 14. If we had one of either Kobe or Pau on the floor, this game would’ve easily been winnable. San Antonio just killed us with their passing away from the help when we couldn’t cut off the passing lanes or rotate quickly enough. These are all things that are easily solved in the playoffs when coaches have time to game plan. Don’t look at the final score and call this a blowout, because the only reason this game looked like a blowout in the end is because the Spurs jacked up threes when the Lakers had given up.

  210. I have watched a couple of recent Celtics games, and if they have impressed Lakers8884 and he thinks their bench has looked good, well then we can just agree to disagree. We do agree that if they Celtics are healthy in the Finals (and make it) they would be a tough match for the Lakers, but that is six months fron now, who knows who will be healthy then. (And by the way, KG said he was going to be able to play right up to the playoffs last year, too.)

  211. Boston beat Orlando on the road without Pierce, it was a pretty impressive win. Pierce is the Kobe of the Celtics, while they have other great pieces around him, he is the offensive assassin and the one who carries the load offensively when needed.

  212. Zephid,I never said Im judging the Lakers on their full potential right now because they clearly arent. I said I compare us to Boston at the end of the day because to me in the end for the title it’s gonna be them or us, I said at the end of the season that’s the team that worries me. I’ve just been comparing them in the fact that the injuries the Lakers have had arent really that significant in comparison to what Boston has faced, or even a team like Portland.

    I never said the bench cant improve I just said I dont see it happening. Zephid ur telling me you think Ammo, or Powell, DJ, Sasha can all improve? The only players I realistically see of being able to improve are Jordan and Shannon and Luke. Lamar is a semi starter so I dont include him in the discussion. I see those players are being limited to their abilities, they may be able to improve as a UNIT but that remains to be seen because alot of those guys dont see significant time and without playing time there isnt much room for improvement because practice can only take you so far with improvement and like I said their talent isn’t really quality, they are what they are and we are gonna have to accept it or try to make some moves as unlikely as it may be.

    So if you all want me to stop comparing the Lakers to Boston that’s fine, I’ll start saying Cleveland or Orlando even though they are in a current slump. I just think hypothetically Boston is the best in the East if healthy. I just think alot of people on here hate even mentioning the word Celtics.

  213. In Boston’s recent losses 5 of the past 10 games look at what Lakers8884 is talking about.

    Loss at Clippers, lose on a GW by Baron Davis
    Paul Pierce misses the game. Tony Allen starts scoring 10 points grabbing 10 boards. The bench performs well minus Rasheed (had a poor shooting game)

    Loss at Warriors, Close game Celtics up 16 after 3 but lose in 4th. Pierce out again, Tony Allen starts and plays well with a solid stat line and the bench performs well.

    Loss at Suns, Blowout much like the lakers game before. KG and Pierce both do not play. True bench player points in this game, 57 even though it’s a loss. This was the only game they played that wasnt close.

    Loss at Atlanta, No KG, no Tony allen. Sheed starts and plays subpar, only two other bench players get significant time and both play subpar. Atlanta is Boston’s kryptonite should come as no surprise they create matchup problems.

    Loss to Atlanta in Boston. No KG and No Sheed. Bench play solid overall especially from Big Baby and great D by Scalabrine on Josh Smith (yes seriously). Lose a close game where the Hawks played very well, like I said earlier Atlanta is Boston’s kryptonite.

    I guess the main point is many bench players who are average can step in for starters and they dont miss a beat. They lost twice to a great Atlanta team, once to the lowly Warriors, and two losses to two average teams. I’d say that’s pretty solid considering how many of their best players were missing. Note: Marquis Daniels was missing during all of these games and he has been a star off the bench for them all season. That’s pretty good evidence indicating depth, when your missing the two best players on your team. Guys like Sheed and Tony Allen step in and play starter’s minutes so while they may not be the bench anymore, this reduces the effect of the rest of the bench because you arent dressing as many players as normal, so the true measure of the bench is how they play in starters minutes too.

  214. “I just think hypothetically Boston is the best in the East if healthy. I just think alot of people on here hate even mentioning the word Celtics.”

    And hypothetically the Lakers are the best team in the league if healthy. Hypothetical scenarios are meaningless.

  215. Maybe meaningless to you T. Rogers, but do you think when Cleveland and Orlando and the Spurs reloaded their roster with talent they were saying well the Lakers or Boston may not be healthy blah blah. No they made moves because hypothetically if both those teams (lakers and celtics) were healthy they needed the moves they made to stay competitive and give them the best chance to win. Say it’s meaningless but I call that proper preparation. They know the POSSIBILITY of what they may face in the playoffs and they made moves accordingly. If the possibility doesnt worry you even slightly then thats your opinion.

  216. Lakers8884, a few more things to counter your points.

    1. I question the Celtics health because of their age and their recent history. KG may say he is ready to play, but KG has a lot of pride, of course he’s going to say he is going to play. He has the same intensity level as Kobe does. Regardless if it is just a bruise, it is a bruise to his knee that he has injured before. At his age and his nba mileage, I question it.

    2. The Lakers don’t need AMMO, or DJ, or Powell or Sasha to improve. Those four players are “what you see is what you get”. They are spot players. Our bench relies on Odom/Bynum (whoever you want to put as a bench player with our lineup) Farmar, Shanwow, and Luke Walton. That bench can improve. And those four (five) can improve for the rest of the year. They do not need AMMO, DJ, powell, or sasha to be a good bench.

    Looking at the box score tonight. Here is the line that bothers me:

    2/6, 0/2 3pt. 10 points total. With Pau and Kobe down, I think we can agree that Odom should be more aggressive no?

    But Bynum shot 23 times! that has to be a career high right?

  217. @Eric, that’s fine, but i bring it up again: When those guys went down, do you think Celtics fans believed that the bench would have played that well?

    Turn that to our team, we have no proof that our bench wont step up when called upon. And if Kobe does skip some games, they get to play with the ball more. If the bench doesn’t step up when the starters go down, then we can have this conversation. But I don’t think Celts fans would believe that the bench players would step up as well as they have.

  218. “They lost twice to a great Atlanta team…”

    When did the Hawks become great? They had a hot start which proved to be just that, nothing more.

    When did we start taking a BCS/College football approach to anaylzing basketball? Team A is better than Team B because both teams played Team C and Team A had a more “impressive” win. Oh, and Team A and Team B have yet to actually play each other head to head. Come one, guys. Let’s keep our heads here.

    The Lakers are inconsistent. They are having a myriad of issues right now. Fortunately for them the playoffs don’t start until April. They have time to get it together. I really hope they do. But can we please stop acting like other teams are perfect? If you have to qualify a comment about Boston with some statement of conditional health then just avoid making the comment altogether.

    It becomes nothing more than speculation. This is especially true when talking about a Celtics team that led their entire fanbase on for half of last season regarding KG’s status. We could be witnessing an encore of that right now. So let’s hold off on declaring Boston the big green monster of the East.

  219. I don’t want to compare benches and say we need to be more like anyone. True, every other elite team improved their benches. We have to improve our bench not just because they are not playing well, but because our starters need rest. Kobe does not like sitting any games, so the only way he can rest is if we can get a lead and sit him down. Now the only way we can do that is to get a lead and hold it. We can’t do that with the current bench.

    The Lakers need a scorer who can come of the bench and fill it up. He won’t of course be Kobe, but he should be able to take over a game. They also need a lock down defender, preferably a small foward who is versatile. Someone who can guard anywhere from a two to a four. We also need a replacement for Fisher. An intelligent player who can figure out the triangle, someone who shoots open threes well and understands defense.

    We had two of the three players (Caron Butler and Trevor Ariza). [Edited for trade speculation.] We need players who are intelligent to know that being a part of something special is worth playing fewer minutes. San Antonio players get it and our players should too.

    To all of those that complain about money. It has already been spent. If you have spent $100 million, then $10 should not matter. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox spend money. They continue to spend and are now in the position to win world titles for years to come. Why do what the Angels have done spend money and then stop when the price gets a little high. The only thing that has guaranteed them is a division title. In order to win the prize, you have to spend the prize money.

  220. Spoken like a man spending someone else’s money.

  221. busboys, The Yankees and Red Sox have no cap and each have their own TV network that help pay for the players. And Buss has already said he’d like to bring down the costs.

    Buss has to pay a dollar for every dollar over the luxury tax threshold which next year will be around 69 million. We’re already at 79 million next year for 8 players. Plus Buss is getting old. Plus he has to pay Phil Jackson. Plus the economy, cuz we should always talk about the economy.

  222. Yes Kurt I do sound like that because I am. I also live my life the same way.

    ray – What makes more fiscal sense Hinrich at $9.5 million or Ammo being paid $5.2 for sitting and $3-$5 million for Jordan Farmar?

  223. In addition, Dr. Buss does not run the Lakers anymore, his son handles 90% of the day to day.

  224. It makes fiscal sense to get rid of Ammo and Farmar for next year and get another two or three players with that money to sit in the bottom of the bench.

    And though Dr. Buss doesn’t run the lakers anymore, he still signs the checks.

  225. Personally, I would rather that Sasha’s salary go to farmar and get rid of sasha.

    But hindsight is 20-20

    Remember we got Ammo as a salary dump. We traded Radmonovic’s extra year deal for AMMO so we could get rid of ammo after this year. That made fiscal sense to me. And especially since we got Brown as a bonus works out fine.

    The salary I really don’t like is Sasha’s. But I will admit that I really don’t like him. He’s a practice machine, but in the game it doesn’t happen

  226. T. Rogers when did anyone on here say any team was perfect? It’s funny to be that people here cant stand me bringing up Boston okay fine, can you say with the same heart we are a better team than Cleveland? They pretty much dismantled us on Christmas day and while it was one game, it exposed everything about our weaknesses to the rest of the league.

    I mean come on people why is everyone saying our bench is not consistent? EVERY analyst in the NBA knows it just listen to them talk, go back and look at every box score from the season, rarely does the bench step up, they have for maybe 5-7 games. The starters primarily do most of the scoring and defense the entire game.

    Also Atlanta IS a great team they have become one of the elites just watch them. They have grown up and they can beat anyone in this league. They have beaten Boston 3 times, they almost beat Cleveland 2 (they gave them all the trouble in the world) and they are probably equal on talent level to a team like Denver. Dismiss them all you want but they are a heck of a team just watch them play. Discussing them is not comparing them on paper it’s from their body of work and how they have played all season long. So say it’s speculation or whatever to face a Boston team or Cleveland or Orlando if you think our team matches up with their team thats your opinion but this month we will see for sure but with alot of the problems the Lakers have shown its doubtful it’s something that can be fixed by a team playing better.

    From now on I wont bring up Boston on these boards anymore cuz it seems people cant handle the idea of them being healthy (whether or not its a possibility or not). So I will just bring up Cleveland and Orlando and even the Spurs now. SPECULATION enables a team to be better prepared for another team because if you speculate you cant guard someone with your current Roster you make the moves to better suit your team to give yourself a chance to win. As shown by Cleveland bringing Shaq in to help them give them a better chance of beating us and Orlando.

    Oh and also as for the bench, last year it was NEVER truthfully solid until the finals when Lamar finally showed up. All year everyone knew that was the Lakers biggest weakness, by the end of the year. These problems have not changed, they have only gotten worse. That most could argue is a fact especially if you watch the Lakers last year.

    Ray, I dont know if Boston fans knew their bench would step up in KG’s absence last year but it doesnt matter the fact is they did and they are doing it again right now but enough with Boston I was just answering you question.