Preview & Chat: The Cleveland Cavaliers

Kurt —  January 21, 2010

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Records: Lakers 32-9 (1st in West) Cavaliers 32-11 (1st in East)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 108.5 (10th in league), Cavaliers 110.4 (6th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 101.1 (2nd in league) Cavaliers 103.4 (5th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Cavaliers: Delonte West, Anthony Parker, LeBron James, JJ Hickson, Shaq Daddy.

On The Road Again: It’s a bit of a cliché to say that you really learn about a team on a long road trip, but it’s a cliché because it’s somewhat true. What happens in the next eight games will not determine of the Lakers will win or lose the NBA title, it will not decide if the Lakers can beat Cleveland or Boston in a seven game series, but we’ll have a lot better idea how close they are when it is over.

Aside that, do I really need to hype up a meeting with Cleveland more? After the Christmas Day Massacre of ’09, every Laker fan would like to see a little revenge.

Cavaliers coming in: No Mo Williams tonight due to a shoulder injury, which is a break for the Lakers as he dropped 28 on them on Christmas.

The Cavaliers come in 7-3 in their last 10 (same as the Lakers) and playing as well as anyone in the NBA right now (save maybe the Bobcats who are on fire).

Cavalier blogs — and I’m on a podcast: John over at Cavs the Blog is not only a good guy but a very smart blogger.

Also, I will be on the podcast for The Dugouts Sports Show, a live podcast leading up to the start of the Cavs game. I should be on about 3:40 pm Pacific Time, so check it out.

Keys to game: The two big matchups to watch are Delonte West on Derek Fisher — West is a very good point guard in their system and creates a lot of problems off the dribble or as a shooter. After what Mo Williams did to the Lakers last meeting, look for the Cavs to attack with the point guard.

However, the corollary to that is the old injury axiom that the problem is not the backup, but the backup’s backup. Jordan Farmar (and Shannon Brown) will see more of Gibson and they need to exploit that matchup off the bench.

The other matchup is that JJ Hickson should not be able to stop Pau Gasol. Now, that means the Lakers need to focus on this matchup and get Pau the ball, but if they do he can have a big night.

Finally, the Cavaliers do love them some midrange game — they bring LeBron off of what many Lakers fans might remember as the “Rip Hamilton screen” off the free throw line that the Pistons love and hurt the Lakers with back in 2004. The Cavaliers shot lights out last meeting, the Lakers need to close on those shooters and not give open looks to have a chance tonight.

Where you can watch: 5 p.m. start here out west, the first game of the TNT double header. So for once, we can bleed into somebody else’s game and not the other way around.

Kurt

Posts

233 responses to Preview & Chat: The Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. Go Lakers. I was very surprised last meeting with the play of the 3 Cavs bigs as opposed to our own. Much of that was due to the activity of Varejao. If Gasol gets the ball consistently he’ll make it a lot tougher on them. Also some looks inside to Bynum and penetration by the guards to draw a little foul trouble won’t hurt.

  2. JD, dude, Warren???

  3. This is for Warren!!!

    Anybody could read the Hollinger column about Kareem’s record?

    Go Lakers!!!

  4. Warren…..i’ve seen you guys doin it. I thought it was a select club……Go Warren, Go Lake Show. 4, no its insider he basically says Kobe has 50-50 shot at it and 3 others have really good shots….Lebron, Carmelo, and Durant…..This ones for Warren, my bad.

  5. So Mo Williams is out for this game (4-6 weeks total) and the Lakers better take advantage. When playing the Cavs, Mo is the one you need to stop. LeBron will be LeBron. But Mo’s 28 points on Christmas was what really hurt. Although Bynum’s 4 points probably hurt more.

    Gasol let Z bother him some in last matchup. This time if he finds Z on him he needs to put that ball on the floor and remind Z how old he is.

    I am not big on these kinds of games giving teams psychological edges down the line. But a convincing win by Cleveland with Mo out could possiblly give them a mental edge over the Lakers should these teams meet in the Finals. It is important for the Lakers to get this win.

  6. #5 Re: Bynum’s 4 points on Christmas. By my reckoning Andrew has yet to bring it in a statement game. It’s time.

  7. I’m here in Cincinnati about to head out to watch the game and wearing an old Van Exel Lakers jersey. I’m killing two birds with one stone…..showing love for my beloved Lakers and a Univ of Cincinnati player. Let’s hope for a win (and hope I make it home in one piece).

    This one’s for Warren!

  8. Heathen Ledgeman January 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Waah…. just before the Cavs game, someone forgets to put Warren in the first post… D:

  9. I hope the Lakers get off to a good start on their road trip.

    here is a link to what book each player will be reading on the trip
    http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post?id=1715

  10. I haven’t been this excited about a Laker game since the start of the season.

    I didn’t see the game, but last time Gasol and Bynum combined for 15 points and 10 rebounds. Kobe took 30+ shots at something like 35% from the field. We’ve got to get more from our bigs.

    I also seem to recall a lot of comments about the Lakers getting caught up in the officiating.

    I actually think this is going to be an important game for the Lakers and their confidence.

  11. oh, man, I just looked back at the Christmas Day Preview and Warren didn’t appear until post no. 4! I guess we’ll just have to overwhelm them with numbers this time..

  12. Awesome quote by Kobe, after being asked if he thought LeBron would (hypothetically) win the dunk contest.

    “I think he would come in a close second behind Shannon Brown.”

  13. It’s on. Who’s ready for this matchup!!??

  14. good start…

  15. Kobe should know better than to continuously leave his feet to pass.

  16. I love Bynum offensive rebounding but come on twice now he could have made post moves because he was already so low in the post. I’ve watched Cleveland play every home game and I have to say the referees LOVE to give the Cavs free throws (especially Lebron) we need to play defense without fouling.

  17. If we lose this one, it’s all on JD. ;)

    Delonte West has been very effective in recent weeks. ShanWow will be the key as Fisher will not be able to stop West effectively. Also, Kobe needs to stay home on Anthony Parker and not let him get hot from the 3s.

    If we can keep Shaq from getting dunks tonight, we will be okay in the paint. Lamar needs to win rebounding battle against Varejao. I think Ron-Ron will do a decent job against Bron, but King will still have a good game, hopefully not a great game.

    If Kobe can score 20ish with 8-9 assists tonight, it will be better than him scoring 30 with 5 or less assists.

    Go Forum Blue and Gold!

  18. speaking of the refs giving the cavs calls…

  19. Artest trying to take it to Lebron on offense. Not sure that’s a great idea.

    Like the activity from the bigs so far. They aren’t all dropping but those are decent looks.

    Defense allowing too much penetration.

  20. link, anyone?

  21. Wiseolgoat, just wait until Lebron starts driving late in the game . . . 2 Free throws guaranteed everytime for him, it makes me sick to see. I haven’t seen a player get this much love since Dwade in the finals against the Mavs, and what’s even worse I have NEVER seen Lebron in foul trouble ever. I’ve never seen him with 4 fouls or more in fact.

  22. Fisher with a layup!!

  23. Wow. Nice drive by Fish.

  24. LeBron is cheating by having eyes in the back of his head. :P

  25. Um can someone please stop Hickson from driving, thats terrible defense. Make him shoot jump shots or make him pass the ball, don’t give him dunks.

  26. I thought Drew had a good first run. Good to see him active on the boards.

  27. Make Lebron a shooter, solid strategy

  28. Is Drew limping? Also, I wish Fish would make better decisions. On that save by Odom, with a new shot clock he takes a deep three? Why?

  29. Did they just start playing “Still Dre” after Kobe made that sick j off the dribble?

  30. Manny, Artest never hit rim the shot clock was expiring he had to force it up

  31. If Lebron scores 40 with only 5 assists, we can live with that, too.

    The key is not letting Varejao, Hickson, and Parker beat us with them getting layups and dunks with passes from Lebron.

    Bynum’s already surpassed his total from Christmas game, and Kobe’s shot total is within acceptable range!!

    16-7 rebounding edge with no offensive rebounds for CLE…
    Good signs…so far…

  32. Kobe’s in the zone. Pau’s mid-range game is a bit off. But the Lakers are being quick and aggressive, particularly on the offensive end.

  33. I live in Columbus OH, I should’ve been at this game. :( Great start by the gang though. The energy and intensity is there; let’s see if we can keep it up. The ball movement and shot selection are a complete 180 from Christmas Day.

  34. It’s just funny to see Ron triying to finish near the rim… I’m thinking that he doesn’t know how to use the left hand to deliver a lay up…

  35. Wow…Pau was awful in that quarter on both ends and we’re still up by 9. Gotta love it.

  36. OK maybe awful is a rough word – but I still expect better.

  37. Missed way too many easy buckets near the rim so far, but a pretty solid quarter overall. Limit the easy dunks by Hickson and the game is beginning to look more like the Christmas day game, except in the Lakers favor.

  38. It also must be said that (thus far), as much crap as we’ve given him this season about it, Bynum’s aggression on the boards was really really nice to see in the 1st quarter.

  39. I’m stuck in the office waiting for a carpool. anybody have a link?

  40. Shannon has to give that ball to Kobe he was wide open in the post, instead he forces a tough shot.

  41. So, what does the NBA expect players to do when LeBron runs in and makes contact?

    And what the hell is Shannon Brown doing?

  42. shannon is annoying with the PUJITs….anyone else think so?

  43. at this point, whenever lebron goes to the hoop, we should just hammer the crap out of him to make sure he doesn’t get the and-1. He’s going to get the call anyways, so we might as well get our money’s worth out of the foul.

  44. These are shots that Shannon typically hits, but if he keeps missing them, it’s time to pass the ball.

  45. LOL Lebron wants to blame Farmar for missing a lob pass, LOL that’s obviously why he doesn’t want to compete in the dunk contest.

  46. 39 – I completely agree. We were much more physical with Lebron in the paint last year…I’d love to see more of that.

  47. Shannon Brown has certainly been given more latitute in shots, as far as I can tell using gamecast…

  48. Kobe with 16 pts on 7/10 shooting thus far!

    Shannon again chooses to take a PUJIT on a fast break, only it doesn’t fall this time and so I feel compelled to criticize his decision-making.

  49. @ 38 – yes! Especially that last PUJIT.

  50. 38

    In all honesty, I’d rather he take that shot than try to pass on the move. He runs some of the worst fast breaks I’ve ever seen. At least he’s become pretty consistent with that medium range pull-up.

  51. Who does Shannon Brown think he is, Derek FIsher?

  52. Shannon and Kobe switched roles from the last game…which is normal.

    wiseolgoat…have you tried to stop a 260lb freight train going at 60mph?

    I’m sure even Shaq or Dwight don’t want to hammer Lebron when he is on the move…

  53. It shouldn’t surprised us, it’s been said here that the other day vs ORL the only difference with Wow and Farmar, wasn’t a better decission making, but the fact that both of them banked their “more than questionable” shots

  54. I love how confident Shannon is being but he needs to recognize the hot hand, and when those shots are appropriate.

  55. @VoR, Fisher made a layup. he deserves a break til the half.

  56. Bynum-Odom-Artest-Farmar-ShanWow could be our best defensive lineup (without Kobe, of course)…

    Let’s see how they do…

  57. Time out and yelling right at Farmar… Farmar looks frustrated.

  58. I want to see major aggressiveness on offense from Lamar he single handedly brought us back last year in the game when we were down. He is so much more athletic and talented than anyone who can guard him on the Cavs, he needs to exploit them for that.

  59. Whoa, Farmar getting snappy with Phil there…

  60. As much as I’m liking the game thus far, I can’t help but remember that at this point on Christmas the Cavs had crafted a 20 pt lead.

  61. I know that he is our de facto PG, but I’d rather see LO fighting low in the post with Ron in the arc, than the other way around…

    Is there anyone else around amused by the 7 footer SG that is playing for the CAVS? I know that along his career, Big Z has never been an inside presence, but in this days, it seems as if the paint gives him the creeps…

  62. Haha. PJ got up quick. Farmar should have just passed it to LO, instead of running towards LO in the post and (predictably) get cut off by defense.

    Shannon’s athleticism is what’s giving him playing time. He doesn’t make smart basketball decisions and he is inconsistent. But what I have noticed is that he uses his athleticism to contest shots that no regular man should have a chance of contesting. Shannon jumps so high that even when a shooter thinks he has an open shot, Shannon will still be in the area with his hops and his long arms.

  63. Lebron is out we need to gain a big lead while he’s gone.

  64. For whatever reason at least once a game the lakers completely lose their rythm on offense and let the opposing team climb back in the game

  65. So much for taking advantage of Lebron being out, defensive rotations look off because people are ball watching instead of putting a body on someone.

  66. God fisher with 2 bad decisions

  67. Shaq has made his presence known this quarter on both ends of the floor.

  68. Two quick observations before I go back to computer repairs between plays:

    1. Andrew is trying too hard to match up against shaq. Just do your thing, Andrew, and take it easy. It’ll get you there.

    2. When shooting free throws in the 1st, Lebron looked more tired than he should that early in the game. Could the Artest approach be working?

  69. Not liking the missed free throws.

  70. Eric,
    But Fisher is the smart PG remember?

  71. we need to make our FTs…

  72. kobe with another missed free throw

    what a slacker

  73. Okay, I have a question. A serious one, so if someone who knows these things better than me sees this question, please, enlighten me. :)

    From watching the game, it feels as if the Lakers are out-playing the Cavs with ease. So how come the score is this close?

    Also, that was a BEAUTIFUL decision by Fisher to pull his hand back to avoid the foul. It won’t show in the stats, but that is why he gets minutes. Because he is smart enough not to give Lebron a foul on that hurried shot.

  74. Mimsy I was about to say the exact same thing . .. .

  75. So how many times a game does the refs bail the superstars out when they made horrible decissions?? (not just Leb with his charging penetrations, also Kobe and co)

    I’m aware that you guys love him around here, but every time I watch him play, it’s not that he makes me wonder how is it possible that he plays NBA BB, but how come he can play pro BB at all? (DJ I mean)

  76. You know, the basketball video game I have (NBA 2k10) has a “Basketball IQ” rating. Want to guess what Mbenga has?

  77. I think it’s the disparity in free throws made. This three-point game could be 6 or 7 if Kobe and Gasol hit all their shots.

    (With 40 seconds in the half the Cavs are 10/13, Lakers 6/10)

  78. i think our offense was just way too kobe-centric this quarter, with most of our points coming from outside the paint. That’s not going to work.

  79. Is it just me or has this turned into a glorified free throw shooting contest?

  80. Ljay, that seems to be the culture of referees nowadays, it’s almost a given that they do it.

  81. This game is gonna come down to whoever’s supporting cast shows up, Kobe and Lebron will effectively cancel each other out.

  82. Kobe will call Nike at the half and say: “Abort the low top! Abort the low top!!”

  83. Did Kobe just say that his shooting lately has been hit or miss? Is there normally a third option that I’ve never heard of?

  84. The TNT announcers were wondering why Kobe fell down on that last defensive play. LeBron actually pushed off a tad with his offhand and I think Kobe was trying to accentuate the contact. Instead, he fell down, tripped James and gets called for the foul.

  85. Lakers lead at the half with little scoring and help from the bench and except for Odom the bench has barely played.

  86. Um what a joke 10 free throws in the first half alone by Lebron, no player should ever have that many free throws in the first half. Talk about home cooking, if he ends up with 20 free throws it wouldn’t surprise me. Talk about favoring by the referees.

  87. #85, that’s what I thought, too. Looked like a push off with LeBron’s right hand. Of course, Reggie will say stupid things because, well, he’s stupid.

  88. Pau needs to assertively establish himself in the second half. The third quarter could get pretty ugly otherwise.

  89. There you go Ron, that’s what we need to see.

  90. Wow, is Shaq still on our team?

  91. Bynum and Gasol have to stay on the floor and they have got to contribute. They were non-factors in the second quarter.

  92. Delonte West is one of our better players tonight!

  93. Is it just me or does Delonte West look like Mr. Tumnus from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?

  94. I like fouling Shaq but Bynum renders himself worthless to us if he continually does this in big games, he HAS to stay on the floor.

  95. KB – 20 pts, 4 ast, 2 reb
    LB – 20 pts, 5 ast, 2 reb.

    Cancelling each other out nicely.

  96. Ha, ha. Mr. Tumnus. That is so true!

  97. Where was LeBron fouled there?

  98. @kehn,
    It’s just you.

  99. That’s funny. Reggie Miller telling someone else to “get in the weight room.”

  100. Bynum gets the least respect from officials I have ever seen. So many BS calls.

  101. if i were lebron i would take it to the hoop every possession, it seems like he has gotten a foul called every time tonight

  102. Imagine if LeBron had kicked PJ in the face…

  103. Pau has got to play better defense than that, he is very capable. I know he doesn’t want to pick up another foul but come on.

  104. Haha did you see how cool Phil was when he ducked away?

  105. I like the way that Ron is playing Lebron. I’m perfectly happy letting him continue to take that long jumper.

  106. Reggie is awkwardly bad.

  107. Ron Artest with the worst defensive play of the week.

  108. Anthony Parker two wide open 3’s, someone forgot to read their scouting report.

  109. Uh-oh. We’re moving into Die By The Kobe territory…

  110. Will someone on our team please go to the basket and force the referrees to make a call, too many jumpshots right now.

  111. kobe shot is off again

  112. Shaq and Big Z really give Pau trouble

  113. We need to go back into the post to Pau against Z. I’d prefer we set up more on the weak side with Kobe and Pau where they can play some two man game with some space and LO can crash the boards from the opposite side.

  114. gasol has got to man up and be more agressive

  115. My TNT feed died due to “temporary technical difficulties”.

    GAH!!! HELP!!! Link? Anyone?

    EDIT:
    False alarm. My awesome hero husband found an alternate feed, and we are back in business. Never mind.

  116. So close. Farmar and ShanWow on their threes.

  117. I’d like to see more post entries into Drew while Shaq’s on him. Wear Shaq down, get him out of the game before Pau/Kobe come back into the game.

  118. The missed 3’s by Farmar and WoW were at least decent looks so I can’t get too mad about those

  119. That last one wasn’t!

  120. Um Phil it’s time for Kobe to come back in

  121. WHY WOULD YOU DOUBLE OFF LEBRON?

  122. Why are we doubling shaq?! Oh that’s right! Cuz bynum is a stiff on D and can’t guard him!

  123. What the heck was Ron doing doubling on Shaq?

    Yeah, I’d rather see Lebron shooting jumpers, but preferably with someone closer than 20 feet from him.

  124. I wish Lebron would stop bragging every single time he makes a shot. It really should not be a surprise to him at this point.

  125. Ron’s defensive IQ has really faltered at times in the second half, and it’s resulted in two open 3s and one and-1.

  126. Ha, LeBron is 1/7 from three, no wonder he was excited.

  127. Gasol must not be 100% tonight. Maybe he needs a couple games off to get his game back together

  128. got to make lebron work

  129. Another great shooting night for kobe as well. It’s getting old really fast…

  130. We are playing a Cavs team without their second best player, right?

  131. A couple of games off? Sure, it hasn’t been his best game by any stretch of the imagination, but he still has 13/6 so far and a +/- 0. He should get more opportunities in the post, and have people around him cut to the basket.

  132. i think i hate lebron has surpassed kg as my most hated player. not cuz he’s killing us right now, but because he’s the cockiest most arrogant player in the league right now.

  133. Why not double LeBron?

  134. Missed FTs = Difference between winning and losing.

  135. Pau could not BUY a foul there. Good lord.

  136. Booboo, that’s what I’ve been thinking all night. I dont know if the Lakers would even be in this game right now if Mo williams was playing. Delonte West has given them nothing and you could argue Mo is there most important player because when he is on they are tough to beat.

  137. Gasol looked like he got hammered.

  138. gasol has absolutely nothing tonight

  139. Matt R, there was no foul there, once again Pau goes up soft instead of powering up and trying to dunk the basketball and then chokes at the free throw line. WOW

  140. Um . . . two big free throws.

  141. He missed both!?!?!?!

  142. Someone crawled inside Pau’s head in this game. He has been timid, and he just looks shaky.

  143. free throws killed us today

  144. yeah, there was contact, but man…you’re not doing yourself any favors when you don’t go up strong.

  145. How does he miss both of them?

  146. Talk about handing the game away.

  147. Eric: Saw that on the replay. In RT it looked like he was hit, but yeah, he just went up soft.

  148. gasol really pussied that last minute

  149. That’s Pau Gasoft for you

  150. There wasn’t a foul on Gasol. The referees aren’t going to award some soft, scared shot attempts like Gasol’s.

  151. Gasol is a shrinking violet against any sort of muscle, it is pathetic. And don’t get me started on the FTs.

  152. That’s why Spain got the silver.

  153. Pau is playing like a pansy tonight! Take it up strong and get an and-one!

  154. As Mohan said, missed free throws have been our downfall.

  155. oh Pau… oh Pau… I hope Kobe can save us again…

  156. I’m going to be realistic right now and I’m questioning if we can beat the Cavs in a 7 game series.

  157. Milda gudar och satans helvete…!!!

    THAT WAS NOT ON FISHER!!!

  158. Pau can’t box out Varejao really? That is a rebound he HAS to get.

  159. juuuuuust a little push-off there…

  160. Choke job by Pau. Sigh…..

  161. Gotta love the snarl from Mr. “Look I made a Free Throw” James

  162. Some see a foul on Artest, I see a push on Pau’s back by Varejao

  163. Marv Albert gets yet another call wrong…

  164. Eric, I’m not questioning it right now. My answer is NO! The series wouldn’t even come close to going 7!

  165. Yes, Eric and Zirk, we should hang up our championship hopes right here.

    It is a tough loss but not anything that we can’t recover from. Remember last year Orlando beat us both times pretty convincingly.

  166. They could have at least let the players decide the game on that one.. that was pretty weak.

  167. terrible call, it should have been a no call since vareajao was also fouling

  168. Sad ending to a great game. I still can’t believe the one that kill us was Shaq an old man beating a young ling.

  169. didn’t kobe get fouled on that drive to the hole before Gasol got free throw shots??

  170. @158 No.

  171. You have to give it up for Lebron he is the best there is. The difference between he and Kobe is that Lebron draws more attention from opposing defenses (alla Kobe 5 years ago) and gets his teammates more open shots. But Phil deserves some credit for this loss also. Pau Gasol can’t play so much at Center against bigger teams. He gets pushed around.

  172. So Pau can play well against Dwight Howard, and then withers against Z and Shaq.

    Inconsistency.

    Can we sit Kobe for a few games now and let him get healthy?

  173. tonight would have been a good night to actually have consistent bench players.

    Farmar and Brown, I don’t know, but I was frustrated every time they touched the ball. They either dribbled too much, took crappy shots, or both.

    Tex Winter must be shaking his head right now. I did not see the triangle run at all in the second half.

    Frustrating loss. Just Frustrating.

    Now we must avoid losing on second night of back to back.

  174. Mimsy: “Milda gudar” – den hör man inte varje dag;)

    I love how people make it seem like Pau is a terrible player all of a sudden…short memory is bliss I guess. But sure, those FT:s were not pretty.

    And Spain got silver because Kobe lured Rudy into fouling out – nothing else.

  175. Kurt – Anytime I bring up the Gasoft label you try to defend him. He was nothing but SOFT tonight.

  176. I’m not hanging any championship hopes, but its clear the Cavs have a better team and these two losses show it. Orlando never beat the Lakers like this last year and missing their second best player. We have a better chance of beating Boston because we match up with them better.

  177. Pau’s play tonight will not get it done against the best teams in the League. Just not going to cut it, especially his performance in the clutch (or lack thereof)

  178. Only player who really showed up was Kobe. Not sure why he was only the bench most of 4qtr. Lakers need to step it up. Not too worried about the Cavs though. They’ll have enough problems just making it out of the East. And Orlando swept the reg season against us last year too and look what happened in the Finals.

  179. The Lakers have some work to do.

    Methinks the road to the title runs through … Ohio?!

  180. If I’m not mistaken, Orlando swept us last year. This loss has as much value as a wooden nickel.

  181. dave in hillsboro January 21, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I blame JD, post #1

  182. I was very disapointed that Kobe did not take on the challenge of trying to defend LeBron in the 2nd half. He has to say to Phil Jackson, “Look, I’m covering him.”

  183. I want the lakers to lose every game until they start playing right.

    I dont kno what’s wrong, Im not an expert but they arent playin up to their level of basketball right now.

  184. Our losses to Orlando last year in the regular season were worse.

    And I agree with Andreas, one bad game for Pau doesn’t mean he should be thrown to the sharks. He has been our second best player for the past two years and helped us reach the finals twice and win a championship.

  185. Orlando swept us with a healthy team, does anyone think if a healthy Jameer Nelson was in the finals it would have been a different story? I think it would, we had a healthy team play against the Cavs without their second best player and Lebron getting virtually no help from the rest of his teammates.

    And EMH101, our regular season losses were worse really? We were beating Orlando in Orlando until late in the fourth quarter and the same in Staples. The CAVS spanked us on Christmas day and beat us without their second best player. These losses are worse.

    And no Kobe didn’t get any help from his team either, Lebron got just a little bit more and that was the difference of the game.

  186. I don’t think anyone is giving up hope, but when players or the entire team suck it up, they deserve to be criticized! After the emabarrassment of Christmas Day, you would’ve thought the team would have come out to make a statement tonight. Especially with Cleveland missing Mo!

  187. ughh….i really wanted this win, but now we’ll have to keep hearing cavs fans trash talking us for the rest of the season.

    i’ll keep telling myself that its about the games played in april, may, and june….but its not gonna make this loss any easier

  188. The difference tonight was that the Cavs size was more effective than ours. Shaq, Varejao, and Z complimented eachother perfectly and Hickson took advantage of our over helping on Lebron early in the game. It’s really that plain and simple. We can criticize Pau (for the missed FT’s and for that layup where Lebron had a nice contest from the weakside), but Bynum allowed Shaq to bully him and LO was absent from the paint (on offense) for most of evening. Last year our biggest strength was the advantage that our bigs gave us but tonight the Cavs had that advantage and it was the difference in the game. Yes Lebron was huge, but that is to be expected (he is a tremendous talent). But if Cleveland’s bigs are not only going nullify our bigs, but also play better than them, than we’re not going to be successful against the Cavs.

  189. frustrating loss as the Lakers could not make their FT’s. Did PJ leave Kobe out too long in the 4th Q? Lakers will rebound tomorrow against the Knicks

  190. Just went on FB&G for the first time tonight and now I know why we lost………..JD!

    Oh, as for the true reason we lost is our steady decline in offensive ball movement/ creating open shots, our nonenthusiastic defense that suprises me every time we get a stop when we need it, and that we let an old overweight man dominate us like elementary school students playing their ruthless p.e teacher.

  191. Something to note is the disturbing trend of important missed FTs by Gasol. Also, the Cavs defense did a beautiful job of swarming the post player (usually Kobe) and daring someone to make an extra pass/jumper.

  192. I did like Lebron’s post-game interview.

    When asked what this game means, he essentially said “not much,” and that what matters is winning in June.

    As pointed out already, last year we were swept by the Magic in the regular season. I do suggest that we should shoot to have a better record than Cleveland after game 82 though.

  193. Bottomline, we cannot beat Cleveland unless Pau and Bynum give us some production offensively and do a better job of post defense and BOXING out.

    I think we are also forgetting that Cleveland was without Mo Williams.

  194. I think what’s so frustrating this year (up to now) is that out of our 10 losses, how many of them were games where we played well to great, but simply lost because the other team was better that night? I would say none. Losses like that would be a little easier to take. But when you lose because of lack of intensity, desire, focus, energy, smarts, etc., those games are hard to swallow as fans. Because you would think they would have learned by now! Ugh, frustrating! The same thing over and over!

  195. Kobe showed up early, but went away after the first quarter.
    First quarter 5/8
    Second quarter 3/8
    Third quarter 3/9
    Fourth quarter 1/6

    12/31…

    Pau was next in shots attempted at 14.

  196. 187 – Lakers are not healthy. We know Kobe is not, and “Gasoft” is obviously still not 100% and is still getting comfortable with his spots on the court. The Cavs came in playing the best month stretch of the year for them. They were at home on national television. We knew they’d get some calls. More than anything I was frustrated watching Odom’s lackadaisical performance. He’s an x-factor for us and would have put us over the top with Andrew playing so small tonight. Our bigs have to play better against teams like the Cavs and Celtics. The intensity wasn’t there tonight. When you get pushed – you’ve gotta push back, and we didn’t see enough of that tonight. It’ll get lumped on Gasol because he’s a nice scapegoat when you throw in the 2 free throws and missed box out, but this loss does not just fall on his shoulders.

  197. It’s not necessarily a big deal that we’ve lost twice to Cleveland. If you just look at this single game, we played an intense game on the road and lost by six points. It was close throughout and we faltered down the stretch, which is a rarity because we are one of the league’s best teams (maybe the best) in the last two minutes. More rarities: 63% FT shooting; 5-14 FG shooting by Pau; Artest firing up eight 3s.

    Patterns are more disconcerting. For instance, Kobe being the only assertive player on offense; giving up open jumpers on defense (with your hands at your hips); giving up layups to big men cutting to the hoop; Bynum disappearing on defense. These issues are coming to the surface far too often and can hurt us over the long run.

  198. This has nothing to do with the game, but what is up with TNT’s feeds?

  199. 188. whenver cavs fans trash talk me, all i say is “how many titles does your team/player have?” 0 and 0.

  200. 184……..yeah because I missed those free throws for Pau and on three straight trips i didn’t allow Odom to get a hand in Lebron’s face.

  201. 199. Other than Kobe’s finger and back, and maybe a little bit of rust from Gasol (which is an excuse I choose not to say because its crap) we were healthy. We were missing nobody. Gasol played tenative and scared that was his problem.

  202. TNT started having trouble with their feed in the second half. I thought they would have had it fixed by now.

  203. #168, you mean the games in which they beat us by three points, respectively, with all of their players healthy at the time? Uh, sure, yeah, they beat us “convincingly.”

    This is a Cavs team that killed us by twenty in Staples, and then beat us by six without their second best player.

    No, this sweep and the Orlando sweep last year are nothing alike.

    Well, at least we can contribute Kobe’s injuries to the loss, and Farmar and Brown both played better than they have before.

    Regarding our chances against Cleveland in a 7-game series, I’m not too sure. No one on our team can guard LeBron or Shaq, so what can we do? When help comes, someone is always left open (usually at the 3), and Cleveland has enough good 3-point shooters to make us pay for that.

  204. 191 – Darius is right on. In the wrap-up from the Christmas game, someone noted (sorry, don’t remember who) that our frontline is somewhere between 4 and 1,000 times faster than Cleveland’s frontline. I can remember maybe three times where we pushed the pace against Cleveland, and only once when it was triggered by Lamar.

    We didn’t use our advantages (like Kobe being double-teamed throughout the 4th) and we didn’t create mismatches. For instance, how many times did Lebron wind up guarded by Lamar? On offense, we took advantage of Luke posting up on a smaller guy once. Other than that, poor offense throughout the 4th.

  205. 200 – I hate the phrase “technical difficulties”. The broadcasters have that line down…

    “I apologize, we seem to be experiencing some technical difficulties here…”

  206. Put your money on Henry Abbott jumping all over Kobe (31 pts on 31 shots) and the Lakers. I don’t know if you guys have noticed but Abbott loves to either find a negative article on Kobe/Lakers or make a snide remark against Kobe/Lakers whenever the lose.

  207. 205 – Our ability to guard one man is not a real concern. Lebron was great, yes, but most NBA players will hit an open jumper when he has five feet of space. Those situations were created by Cleveland properly spacing the floor and the Lakers getting lazy on defense.

  208. Speaking of shaq, how are we the only team in the league with bigs who can’t guard him?! No other team in the league has any problems with him anymore. He’s fat, slow, lazy, and can’t jump anymore! What’s so difficult about it?!

  209. tarugo yo’ da man!

  210. What is the deal with Kobe’s finger? will it be bothering him all the way into playoffs?

    anybody got a link to a site where they talk about it? what kind of break was it? is it bad?

  211. This loss worries me because Cavs now have tie breaker for home court advantage. Thats why this was technically a must win. Unlike Orlando last year, the Cavs will battle us for best record, and I don’t care what anyone says, the last two years illustrate the importance of home court advantage.

    Pau was battling down low in the post and i though got fouled on three straight possessions by Varrejo and didn’t get called. His missed free throws sucked, but the lakers as a team shot 62.5% from the free throw line.

    It seemed that the Lakers were taking terrible shots after the first quarter. I just want to see a triangle offense. Did I miss it? I don’t think I saw it much today.

  212. aB, it’s cuz abbott is a homer jailblazers fan who’s always hated on kobe and the lakers

  213. Zirk,
    The Lakers got lazy on their defense on the re-post tonight. The Cavs showed excellent patience in passing to Shaq, Shaq then passing back to the perimeter, and then re-posting to get better position. He used his strength to his advantage and the Laker’s bigs were concerned with foul trouble. The plays where we attacked Shaq and/or contested shots he did poorly (only hitting that lucky bank on Pau in the 2nd quarter). But, for most of the night, and especially in the 2nd half, Bynum and Pau both allowed Shaq to set up in his sweet spot on the right block and shoot his little hook against the glass. Shaq would still get 20+ a game if he’s shooting all his shots from 5 feet and in the way he did for most of tonight.

  214. I know it’s “January” but getting swept by the Cavs is absolutely unacceptable. It definitely means something. In both games the Cavs bigs outplayed the Lakers bigs.

    Pau went back to the shrinking violet we remember from the 2008 Finals, Bynum never decided to show up, and Lamar drifted through the game like he couldn’t wait for it to end.

    This Laker team needs a shakeup.

  215. 178

    You’re right, Gasol chokes at the line in the 4th quarter of games time and time again.

    I’m not exactly sure but I believe this is the 3rd time this season gasol has choked at the line in the 4th quarter.

  216. Here’s the bright side: If we can show up against Boston and pull off a convincing win, nobody will remember this game.

  217. Regardless of LBJ saying this game didn’t mean much, Cleveland has thrown down quite a challenge to our heroes.

    Let’s hope the teams are able to meet in the Finals to settle this.

  218. Darius,
    I completely agree with your analysis. My main concern is that our bigs aren’t exactly know for their D, especially Bynum. Pau just lacks a lot of strength, but Bynum just doesn’t seem to have the desire, focus, and will to be a great defender. I hope I’m proven wrong, but right now, I just don’t see it. He seems to only care about the glory of scoring. As great of a scorer Kobe is, at least he takes pride in his defense. Yes, he may get burned a lot, but what great defender doesn’t? But at least he trys! Even Howard, who many would agree is severly lacking offensively, is a great defender. I think playing D is a lot about will and our bigs don’t seem to have it. Hence shaq getting the great post position, etc.

  219. I almost didn’t look at the blog tonight because I knew the freak-out comments would be high, but I’m a glutton for punishment.

    The Cavs didn’t exactly run away with this one. If the Lakers executed well on all cylinders (cough cough free throws, post defense) and lost, maybe a freak out would be warranted. But they didn’t. It was still a tough close loss to a team that wanted to prove they could win amidst tough news (we’ve seen that before…hec, we’ve done that before), and they almost didn’t. The Cavs have a tough road over the next 4-6 weeks; the Lakers just need to concentrate on getting healthy & if the best record comes with that, great. If not, they have proven they can win in a variety of circumstances on the road.

    I’m not stopping the presses on championship t-shirt number 16 just yet.

  220. 216.

    [edited]

    And this is just the frustration coming out.

    Is it me or do the lakers play poorly in all nationally televised games.

  221. Bottom line this is one game. Lecocky will have to get to the finals and Beat LA before he gets any “great” accolade from me! Kobe us King lebrat needs to grow up.

  222. That was a tough loss. I do think it gives the Cavs some swagger, especially their bigs. They may not dominate us, but they neutralized Gasol and Bynum.

    We shot 38% from the field. 62% from the line. Kobe took 31 shots. The only thing that I see separating this from the Christmas day beat down was that they didn’t have Mo tonight.

    I know it is only January, but right now the Cavs are better than the Lakers. Glad it is not June.

  223. @Rudy, where were you calling Gasol soft after the Orlando game when he bodied up Howard? Gasol did not play well tonight, but you don’t get to just pick and choose your spots. And Gasol has a lot more good, strong spots than bad. Or did you not watch the playoffs last year, or most of this season?

  224. I know everyone is saying this is just one game. And I agree. But the mark of last season’s team was they rose to the occasion for the big games. That seems to be the opposite this season. Also, I believe all of the basketball is starting to catch up with Pau Gasol. He is still a superbly talented player. But something is missing this season. He was the very definition of consistency last season. Now he seems to wilt in the big games.

    Also, I am about ready to lobby for Bynum to go the the bench and let LO start. I am offically frustrated with the kid. Maybe if Lamar starts the Lakers would get a little more from him. I don’t know. I am just frustrated like everyone else.

  225. New post up, just because we need a new comment thread.

  226. Kurt – that was a post game frustration comment on my part. Although we will continue to disagree about Gasol’s effectiveness against physical players I am not ready to blame this loss on Gasol.

  227. Just got back from the game, let me tell you the atmosphere was amazing. The last 5 mins were so tense; nobody sat down. I’ll have something longer up soon.

    Some quick notes:

    -This is the 2nd game in a row where Bynum got beasted by a big man. This time though, it was Shaq’s sheer girth that did it. Pau got beasted as well, and it was clear that our help defense wasn’t good enough against Shaq.

    -Anderson Varejao did all the little things that won the Cavs that game. He got a crucial tip in the middle of the fourth and he also made the game-winning play by going hard for the ball and getting fouled by the Lakers on the last possession.

    -Being at the game live, it didn’t seem like any Laker played particularly bad; the Cavs just did all the little things that helped them win, like getting loose balls and offensive rebounds.

  228. Lots of good points being made. Bynum has yet to show up for a “big” game, at least during this season. I think the early foul trouble really bothers him still. Another thing I’ve picked up upon is the Artest’s inability at times to find the person in the post. Lebron’s length really bothered him a few times when he was trying to get it into Pau. Pau clearly had the advantage on Hickson and they went to him like once when he had that matchup. The bottom line is the rest of the nba is going to give the lakers their best shot because they’re the defending champs and the intensity level needs to step up. It’s not for anything excessive, but the team has to start coming together. One thing that I liked, albeit due to a mistake, was the way in which Phil got into Farmar for breaking away from the offense. The triangle at its best works most efficiently when the post is being fed. We have advantages, but sometimes our players for whatever reason are reluctant to or just can’t recognize them.

  229. Well, I think we need a few more losses so that our players can buy into the system more.

    Players seem to be, for lack of a better phrase, not really listening to PJ as much as they should.

    But still, it was a 6 point game even with all those missed FTs, so I’m not too unhappy.

  230. pau had his worst gAME OF THE SEASON TODAY AND WE STILL HAD A CHANCE TO WIN

  231. @232

    Remember Mo Williams, who tore the Lakers up on Christmas, was out.

    As I am sure everyone knows, there have been a lot of rumors about CLE packaging Z’s or Shaq’s contract for another high-level player, such as Antawn Jamison. My guess is Ferry will think long and hard about that given the Lakers’ inability to deal with a bigger team in these two games.