Preview & Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

Kurt —  February 1, 2010

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Records: Lakers 37-11 (1st in West) Grizzlies 25-21 (10th in West)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 109.3 (9th in league), Grizzlies 110 (7th in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 102 (2nd in league) Grizzlies 110 (25th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Grizzlies: Mike Conley, OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol

Before you do anything else, run to the local church and light a candle for Andrew Bynum’s knees tonight.

Happy Pau Gasol Day. It was two years ago today that the Lakers traded Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie’s contract and two picks to Memphis for Gasol. Since that day, the Lakers are 142-41 with Gasol in the lineup and have been to the Finals both years, winning once. While that trade is not as lopsided as once thought, is there anyone who would spend more than a second thinking about whether or not to make that trade again?

Lakers Coming In Sunday’s win in Boston may have been the closest thing to a signature win the Lakers have had this year. But the NBA schedule is an unforgiving mistress and now the Lakers have some tough games where they need to show that is not a fluke. Darius put it this way in an email:

I’d really like for the team to build on the momentum that they’ve established on this trip. There was a comment in one of the threads that spoke of our schedule up to the all-star break and there are some doozies still left to play before the rest comes (Memphis, Bobcats, Spurs, Portland, Utah). I’m not saying that the team needs to win all of those, but it would be nice to not be content with a win over the Celtics and get some wins against some other pretty good teams.

What will draw the headlines tonight — Kobe is 29 points away from passing Jerry West as the leading scorer in franchise history. That watch is in full effect tonight.

Grizzlies coming in: This team is good — good enough to be a playoff team in the West and good enough to have won 7 of their last 10. They are not consistent because their defense is not consistent (or is consistently bad), but they have a good offense and on any given night can beat anybody. Last week I caught part of them just outplaying Orlando like it was nothing.

That starts with All Star Zach Randolph. Deserved All Star. Randolph was always one of the best scorers in the game from the left low block, he was almost unstoppable. But he cared not about anything else on the court, or so it seemed. But this year his game has evolved, he has matured as a player. He is shooting a higher percentage than ever in his career, in part because he is getting nearly two more shots per game at the rim than before. He is getting to the foul line more. He is better on the boards (and a much improved offensive rebounder). He’s even playing some defense.

Combine that with the good Marc Gasol in the post and the athletic Rudy Gay at the three, and you have an athletic front line.

Grizzlies blogs Three Shades of Blue is quality

If you read one thing today, read this from Kelly Dwyer. (Well, technically it would have to be two things since you read this.) The man is a legend for a reason.

Keys to game: This is a brutal back-to-back for the Lakers — the emotional high and physical game in Boston, followed up by a lot of travel to take on a team that can score a lot of points and has some quality athletes. On the last game of the road trip. If the Lakers come out flat, they will get run right out of the building.

One thing Memphis has that Lakers fans wish they saw more of was two big men playing well off each other. The Laker defender of the big on the weakside has to be aware, they run little flash in plays near the hoop that are precise. The Lakers bigs need to be mentally ready to be physical again tonight.

The Grizzlies guards can get a little shot happy and not feed the bigs, and they will pretty quickly break out of their offensive sets to run isolation plays. They get away with it because Mayo and Gay are great athletes, but the Lakers can stymie them with good help defense and talking on the court.

Offensively, the Lakers should score plenty against a not very good defensive team if they run their offense and not settle for the first available jumper. Also, this is a battle of PGs who have not played great defense of late, if one of them can take advantage of this it will be a big plus.

Where you can watch: 5 pm start on Channel 9 in LA. Plus, ESPN radio 710am.



259 responses to Preview & Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

  1. This one’s for Warren!

  2. Can someone please link to that brilliant Dwyer article every time we, gasp, happen to lose a game for the remainder of this season? Sure gives you some perspective.

  3. Chownoir (was J) February 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Two big men who play off each other. Guards that get shot happy and not feed the bigs. That sounds suspiciously like a certain team we all know and love.

  4. A Grizzly game….. oh wait, it’s February already, not January.

    *sigh of relief*

  5. I am more nervous about this game than any other this season. Seriously, what is the tension level for most Laker fans going into this game? I am guessing it is at least orange, and maybe red.

    Stay healthy – Andrew

  6. A mid-year Grizzly game in Memphis — and Andrew is coming in healthy. If we can just get through this game I will say the jinks is finished.

  7. Days like this make me happy to have a wooden desk at work. It may not be the most comfortable desk, and my officemates may think I’m building something, but it is certainly handy for knocking whenever Andrew’s knee comes up.

    … ::knocks on desk::

  8. How do you guys see the big men match-ups? In terms of style, Bynum probably matches up best with Marc Gasol and Pau has a better chance bothering the more mobile Randolph. With Gasol/Odom, it’s probably LO on Randolph plus the dueling brothers, right? That will be a lot of hair and beard colliding.

    Mentioning Randolph, one thing I’d like one of the really talented NBA writers like Dwyer get into: the season of redemption for players thought to do more harm than good to their teams.

    You have Randolph being instrumental in turning Memphis around. AI has improved the 76ers again, exemplified by Samuel Dalembert’s complete turn-around since Iverson returned. Jamal Crawford is in the running for Sixth Man of the Year and one of the keys to Atlanta’s success. And finally, Stephen Jackson has turned around the Bobcats in a way I would have never expected, and in a very short time. Interesting development, and something that should also quiet the Artest doubters a little bit.

    And finally, since Darius encouraged us to look for ways to keep improving FB&G, I encourage you to take a look at this video breakdown from Celticshub:

    I really liked the way they found out something new and used the visualization to illustrate the point so that even casual fans can grasp it. I think this could really help to explain things like the intricacies of the triangle, the Lakers’ defensive philosophies, how Bynum uses his jab step, Artest’s defensive impact etc etc. I know that enough people here have the knowledge, maybe they also have the video editing skills.

  9. Hey, another January game in Memphis. Bynum can’t be that unlucky, can he?

  10. Stay safe, Drew!!

  11. Chownoir (was J) February 1, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Tsk, tsk Kurt, obviously you already have one foot out the door, this being your last week and all. LOL!

  12. Kevin over at TrueHoop gave a mea culpa to Zach Randolph the other day. It’s a nice little post with an example of Zach’s improved play this season:

  13. considering the Celtic’s play as of late, I would consider this game as big of a statement game as yesterday’s.

  14. If I was Andrew Bynum, I would cal from home saying I had a fever or something… No way he should be playing 😉

  15. The Lakers have done a grea job in back-to-back games this year going a NBA best 9-3 in the second game of the back-to-back games

  16. Has Zach really improved? Seems like Zach’s doing the 20-10 that he always does and his assists are pretty similar, he just has better teammates now.

  17. I admit that I have not lit a candle for Andrew’s knees tonight. I am, however, about to cut the head off a chicken.

  18. links?

  19. Pau takes a jumpshot, where has that been.

  20. does not seem like kobe is in facilitator mode tonight

  21. Kobe has missed every shot attempt, and both his free throw attempts. Time for the rest of the team to stop deferring to him for a while.

  22. looking like a trap game right now

  23. Did you guys just hear these Memphis announcers complaining about Kobe complaining. What a joke – your team wins a few games and now you are in a position to trash the greatest player in the game – get a grip.

    Here’s your sign (designed by the folks who announce the Celtics and Blazers games). *** “I’m a jackass”

  24. any links?

  25. kobe shooting like he wants that record tonight

  26. Grizz energy and length seem to be bothering bynum (especially gasol). Its good to see pj go the bench earlier tonight.

    Grizz are interesting as they are super athletic but dont run that much. They are committed to go into the post which they have an advantage against most teams. Looks like they want to push the pace a bit more tonight.

  27. defensive strategy, let conley shoot

  28. Farmar takin’ it 1 on 3 and making it!

  29. Anyone else not a fan of Kobe’s new finger splint?

    Uuuh… never mind.

  30. Kobe hits a FT! Makes a nice change. Does anyone have numbers of his FT% since the Minnesota game when he injured his finger?

  31. whoops rudy gay

  32. The gasol brothers are the nba leaders in bad haircuts and facial hair vacations

  33. Kobe’s shooting percentage is in direct inverse proportion to the time left in the quarter.

  34. I wonder what he was thinking, the clock is right in front of his face going down the court.

  35. WOW Kobe makes the Grizzlies pay for a very bad shot with a 3 at the buzzer

  36. What a crazy quarter. Rudy’s untimely half court attempt, Kobe’s attrocious FT shooting, and missing easy shots (to him). Hopefully this game becomes easier to watch next quarter.

  37. z-bo’s eating LO up. nice work on the boards for LO though

  38. im gonna say it again, give sasha a chance

  39. Like the cuts and activity by the bench players, not standing around watching the ball bounce. Energy is good considering the physical game played yesterday afternoon.

  40. I’m gonna say it again: For the love of god and all that is holy, we FINALLY have some backup guards starting to play decent in Farmar and Brown. They’re doing that, in part, because they’re finally getting consistent minutes because Phil FINALLY has a halfway decent rotation.

    Do NOT mess it up by going back to Sasha again. Sasha has had more than his share of chances. He’s played absolutely awful since he signed his new contract. Do not, repeat, DO NOT, start giving him meaningful minutes again.

  41. This Lakers team turns the ball over way too much

  42. This is an ugly basketball game.

  43. 2 bonehead plays by shannon, the no look mustard off the hotdog pass and fouling a 3 shooter.

  44. Boy was my last post ill-timed with that awful Brown sequence. Blowing an easy fast break with an ugly behind the back pass and then fouling a three point shooter.

  45. Guys…make the SIMPLE play.

  46. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Shannon Brown runs some of the worst 2-on-1 breaks I’ve ever seen.

  47. i guess its the 8th game of a road trip, stupid turnover, offensive rebounds and missed free throws

  48. Shannon just needs to slow down, and not rush. His body is moving a little faster than his mind at times during the game

  49. 43, it’s Murphy’s law, the moment you praise them, the decide to brain-fart a couple of times. The saddest part here is that theory says that Memphis is one of those rare teams that have worst bench than us, but right now they’re getting away with 4 bench players in the court.

  50. if this trip ends 5-3, that victory in boston means a lot less.

  51. I am a big fisher supporter, but I just dont know how he can continue to get regular minutes

  52. My god is there a worse all around pt guard in the NBA then Fisher. He makes Smush Parker look good. He needs to retire and become a coach because he looks like a fool out there.

  53. The Lakers should have known coming in they were getting a high energy, very athletic team, they have yet to match the intensity Memphis has played with. The Grizz are a tough out at home but defensively the Lakers have to tighten up and be more methodical on offense.

  54. The problem for me, and probably the main reason why I get so frustrated with the team being plainly dumb, is that here it’s 3 in the morming, and I have a surgery scheduled for 9 AM, so I make aa extra effort to see them being not bad, but stupid and that’s more I can handle, so that’s it for me tonight, I’ll hope they can rebound from it, because a 5-3 it’s disapointing after yesterday’s game.

  55. kobe’s gonna get the record in the 3rd.

  56. lets cheer for the wizards:)

  57. sorry grizz fans but your not aloud to whack people on the arm

  58. These Grizzlies commentators whine a lot.

  59. Haha wow the announcers think its the referees fault that the Grizzlies are clearly fouling and have lost their cool as a young team so often does?

  60. this is hilarious. the announcers are going out of their minds! where’s sandra bullock when you need her?

  61. The Memphis announcers are losing their minds.

  62. Kobe is playing mid season defense, and that is making Hudson look like an All Star.

    Of course, on the last game of an 8 game road trip, on the back half of a back to back, and following that emotional win over the Celtics on top of it all, I am not thinking of this as a trap game so much as a FULLY OPERATIONAL BATTLE STATION!

  63. Is it just me or are these announcers as bad as the Portland ones?

    That jumper on the baseline, Kobe got hit on the elbow.

    That last three, he was hit all over the arms.

    The technical foul call, you can’t throw your headband.

    Those are three CORRECT calls and the announcers are talking about the need to “rein in the ref”.

  64. Anyone think “they” told Kobe to go for the all time record tonight or maybe it was his own idea?

  65. The Grizzlies announcers are major homers. It’s too bad having to listen to this broadcast- dude pulls on Kobe’s jersey and gets the foul and they complain. Z-Bo rips off his headband and throws it, which is a guaranteed Tech and they complain like they don’t know that’s an action that guarantees a Tech!

    Anyway, I think the Lakers have this and will probably go on a tear in the 3rd. Kobe will get his record tonight.

  66. grizz ran up that lead resting their starters. bench got outscored 8-17. we’re lucky to just be down by 2. really don’t want kobe to have to go into hero mode.

  67. Initial impressions:

    Zack Randolph looks like a younger and meaner Charles Barkley.

    Haddadi looks like Jaws from the Bond movies when he sneers.

    The Grizzles announcers believe there is a league-wide refereeing conspiracy against their team.

    Shannon Brown is trying too hard.

    Artest looks even more like his old self.

    Pau takes playing against his brother personally.

    Kobe can shoot as much as he wants, but only if he makes the shots.

  68. the grizz with tyreke evans, steph curry or brandon jennings= scary

    belief in conley but not m. gasol= stupid

  69. other than Kobe , i don’t see other players trying at least to be agressive or making plays so not much a surprise here that kobe is shooting so much.Hope we can get our bigs and the bench going in the second half.Q: Does Drew seem a bit out of sync or is it me?

  70. 70. Got the same feeling, the second half LA will take control of the game. L. Hudson cant stay hot and play like an all star the whole game. Yesterdays game gave me confidence in the mental makeup of this years team. The entire year I have been sold on the talent, but not the mental makeup of the team. In the past two years I didnt worry about LA grinding out a close game, this year it has been a little different at the start of this season. Hope we are starting to get our mojo back.

  71. if kobe is injury free he never misses these shots

  72. Kobe is actually shooting at a nice clip, so no complaints, except of course that none of our other guys will probably get it going when they need to.

  73. hope they start involving drew in the offense soon. he only took 1 shot.

    crap. now he’s got 4 fouls too.

  74. What an awful network.

    You’ve got an injured player on the court. Cover the damned game as the first priority.

    It bothers me when they do this in LA, but at least there if there was an injury they’d cut off the interview to cover the actual basketball significant item.

  75. The Griz had 10 more shot attempts in the first half. It doesn’t really matter what their shooting percentage if they can keep hoisting up shots.

  76. lakers missing some real easy shot close at the rim

  77. I can t watch fisher shoot any more.

  78. Ugh…shouldn’t have opened my mouth

  79. I am convinced our players have no idea what offensive system they are running. It sure isn’t the triangle. This is trash basketball by the Lakers – win or lose.

  80. Marc Gasol is a MONSTER!

    Yeah right! Play smart, Drew and Pau.

    Force him to make some shots first!

  81. Kobe offending the announcers with his dunk. Love it. 🙂

  82. timely 3 by ron. nice kobe throwdown. who else is gonna wake up?

  83. Do these commentators know that Laker fans are actually allowed to attend games in Memphis?

  84. 84. we’re just missing open shots

  85. Joel, I suspect there are lots of things these announcers don’t know about… 😉

  86. What’s their front line like?

    Our frontline of Bynum, Gasol and Odom seem to be awful quiet against M.Gasol and Randolph…

    *now that Kobe hit the record, will he distribute?

    **since memphis just subbed two players that ESPN don’t even have pics for, we should be taking the lead…
    *** Bynum, now Artest with 4…

  87. is it just me but does it seem like Gasol just can not hang onto the ball lately??

  88. What’s up with all the fouls? Grizz more aggressive? Why do I affirm myself all the more that this game was going to turn out like this? Sheesh…GO LAKERS!

  89. Gawd these announcers are bad.

    That was a jump ball. Another good call that the announcers ***** about.

  90. Stop…it’s KOBE time!

  91. these announcers make joel meyers a lot easier to live with.

  92. If I hear another holy cow, I’m gonna puke. I miss hearing “length” and “short corner 3s”…

  93. It’s weird to hear crowd noise in Memphis.

  94. Holy cow! These announcers are horrible.

  95. Momentum about to shift, about to shift, but not quite shifting.

    Argh… we could’ve jumped them for 5 or so…

  96. well what do we know, a point game…could have been a lot worse…now time to show some winning form on the road.

  97. At this point, if Bynum injures himself again kneeing the Memphis announcers in the junk, I’m ok with that.

  98. I honestly believe that there should be some additional oversight from the NBA about the local announcers.

    Is it any wonder that half the fans of the league think that it is rigged to make the Lakers win when they’re constantly hearing announcers like this outright stating that’s the case?

  99. By the way his will be the 6th game this year Fisher has more TO then points.

  100. Wait, am I hearing this right…? The Memphis Grizzlies are tied against the Lakers, and the announcers are saying the reason they’re not winning is because the refs are against the Grizzlies? Really?

    No wonder fans of other teams hate our guts, if that’s the only “analysis” they ever hear.

  101. Did i hear one of the announcers say ”the biggest protection in America” after Kobe got fouled?

  102. I really hope the Lakers don’t have a first round playoff game in Memphis this year where I have to listen to these clownsl. My brain is sore.

  103. gotta get in front quickly. can’t play catchup on the tail end of a back to back / 8 game road trip against this young team.

  104. The energy of the team is very different when LA has Farmar and Brown in the game. The young back court will make mistakes, but the lessons they learn now will help later on.

  105. Good defense to start the quarter!


  106. I hope this doesn’t come down to all the missed free throws.

  107. who is lester hudson and why so much mileage?

  108. can no one get a rebound?

  109. I hope it doesn’t come down to all the offensive rebounds we give up…

  110. The biggest protection in America?

    I always thought that was the Trojan Magnum XL?

  111. Lester Hudson is gonna get his no matter what you do. The key is to make sure that the scrub players don’t beat you.

  112. Can someone explain the low number by Bynum and Gasol? Is there a reason Kobe has out-shot nearly the entire starting five?

  113. 111. Isn’t Lester Hudson one of the scrub players?

  114. am quite concerned about this kobe-less stretch.

  115. drew and his dumb fouls

  116. Bynum just picked up the dumbest 5th foul EVER!… EVER!… STUPID! I think he wants out so he doesn’t get hurt.

  117. somone rebound please

  118. For me, tonight, Bynum gets a pass.

    Not next year. But this year I understand why the game might be in his head, rather than the other way around.

  119. Ball goes out on Randolph. Memphis ends up with the ball as the refs rule it is out on Lamar. This surprises even these awful homor Memphis announcers. Odom complains for a bit…and somehow it turns into a conversation about how Kobe complains about every single call?

    Kind of reminds me about the Memphis announcers. They’ve complained about every single call all game long.

  120. 114. It was a joke. My point is that letting Lester Hudson shred your defense over and over again is inexcusable.

  121. 112. It’s called Kobe has carried the team with Ron Ron, nobody else wants to step up and play. Kobe can shoot this many shots if hes gonna hit them the way he has tonight especially when Bynum and Gasol being mentally checked out.

  122. dfish off night 23 mins — 0-0-0 thus far

  123. The Gasol family a combined 9 of 17 at the line as I type this.

  124. I hope this game doesnt go to overtime. LA will not have enough players left, everybody will be on the bench fouled out.

  125. Pau really struggling, the last couple games. He has to snap out of it, they are not the same team with him struggling like this

  126. This game is looking an awful lot like the Raptors game, the Lakers having a chance to close it out but allowing the Grizz to come back in the game because they cannot make stops on the defensive end.

  127. 120:

    I hope it doesn’t go into overtime because I think I might fracture my finger on the mute button.

  128. a lot of kwame hands out there. outrebounded 47-37 so far.

  129. no over the back?

  130. Zach Randolph has owned the lakers big men tonight (Especially you Lamar)

    Wiseolgoat that’s where Boxing out and going up strong helps on getting a rebound, but sadly Pau forget fundamentals there.

  131. This out of bounds call depends on how “long” Zach Randolph is. 🙂

  132. Holy cow!!! They just gave credit to the officials!!!!

  133. Is it just my mathematical ability (or lack of such) working off the boxscore, or are we -10 on the boards?

  134. Derek what a horrible shot, instead of forcing that jumper reverse the dang ball and get the ball in your best players hands.

  135. Haha this was great…when they thought they weren’t going to look at it they claimed with certainty that it came off Kobe. Then when they find out the refs are going to review it, it turns out they already knew it hit Randolph. These commentators…

  136. fish i hate you please retire

  137. wtf was derek thinking?

  138. 129:

    Couldn’t agree more. Our point guards have some huge issues with shot selection.

  139. Randolph showing today why it’s him and not Drew going to the ASG.

  140. terrible, terrible shot by fisher…..

  141. KOOOBE!!!!

  142. This 4th quarter has pissed me off, Kobe has literally been on the fire yet nobody has gotten him the ball when it matters, yes he missed that 3 but look at what the guy is doing now. He should have had the ball in his hands EVERY possession this quarter where he can create for himself and everyone else.

  143. I can’t believe that Kobe three went in.

    I SHOULD believe. I’ve seen it so many damned times.

    I STILL can’t believe it.

  144. This is my problem with Fisher: he’s supposed to be the smart, savvy veteran, and half the time his decision-making is his biggest weakness.

  145. Kobe for the 3

  146. Fisher…good god…

  147. Can’t ask for a better shot at the win than that.

  148. Oh, how I wish Kobe had taken that 3 over Marc Gasol…

    This is a painful way to end an otherwise a pretty good road trip.

  149. This whole not calling a time out is cool and all, but in that situation? Then again, it was a good look for Artest.

  150. i think we can attribute that last possession to phil wanting them to learn on their own and the team wanting to have nothing to do with overtime

  151. I really would rather have seen Kobe put that shot up than Artest.

  152. in the future kobe i dont care who is open you shoot it

  153. Kobe did everything he could to win this game for the team even made the play at the end to give the team the best chance to win . . . very disappointing loss. He cant do it on his own like that.

    And guys the Lakers had ZERO timeouts left thats why the never called one.

  154. thisisweaksauce February 1, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I don’t like criticizing Kobe (and I’m not being negative), but don’t you shoot with some time left so you have the chance for an offensive rebound when you are down? Thoughts?

  155. And that my friends is why Kobe hates to pass off the last shot…

    And why I never get angry when Kobe takes the last shot…

    Tough loss, ragged game, but nothing to worry too much about.

    And, for the first time in three years, Bynum walked off the court. Not limped, walked.

    5-3 on the road trip is not too bad.

  156. #158,
    Kobe disagrees, and so do I. Artest was wide open, and has been reliable from 3-point over and over. Add to that, that he never panics or gets jittered, and he was a good player to pass to in that situation.

    At least we beat the Celtics last night. When was the last time the Grizzlies did that?

  157. LOL @ Jim C.

    Z-Bo’s pretty damn long.

  158. 160:

    I’d rather have a COMPLETELY uncontested and wide open shot for the win and no time left for a rebound than take a bad shot but have a shot at the rebound.

    We got a fantastic last shot and it just didn’t go in. Can’t ask for more.

  159. >This whole not calling a time out is cool and all, but in that situation?

    why bother? you know it’ll be KB against the world when they run it.

  160. At least the Lakers made it out of Memphis with Bynum healthy. 5-3 on the road trip not bad

  161. 160. Kobe got a better shot for Ron than the Lakers could have even drawn up on their own, Wide open to tie the game.

  162. A close loss to the Grizzlies isn’t that bad in itself, but couldn’t someone other than Kobe and Artest have shown up tonight?

  163. Don’t matter how wide open you are if your name aint kobe

  164. Are people really satisfied with a 5-3 road trip really? Give me a break the Lakers gave two games away, they should have been 7-1 with the only loss coming to Cleveland. Disappointing road trip, the Boston loss was nice but losing games like these hurt. Cleveland has 14 games left on the road the rest of the year, it’s pretty much a lock that they will have Homecourt advantage the rest of the playoffs barring injuries.

  165. Fisher 1 for 6 NO ASSISTS and a minus 11. The worst starter in the league.

  166. This is what I take from tonight… Great way to end last week and terrible way to start this week. Unfortunately that’s how I have to look at it, unless I want to be an A-Hole to evryone I come across.

  167. PJ has got to keep Farmar in the game to get some end of game situation burn. Tonight when Farmar was in the game the team looked a lot better. Let him play Phil, its time to take the kid gloves off. Fish looked horrible tonight from start to finish, the back to back games took his game to the sewer.

  168. should phil have called a timeout? maybe but kobe made the right play. artest was making that all night. what bugs me was their play prior to being down 5…. kobe barely had the ball in his hands. terrible shots by fish (luckily he made one). once they were down 5, kobe slashed to the hoop for an easy layup… why didn’t he do that earlier?!?

    5-3 roadtrip is not fulfilling. played a good game down the stretch against boston but terrible against memphis and toronto. should’ve been 7-1.

    159. the lakers had 2 timeouts. a full and a twenty.

  169. Anyway, I’m just glad vintage Artest seems to be making a comeback.

    Pau, on the other hand, isn’t looking so good lately.

  170. i agree jim, kobe (though i wish he had the ball regardless) could only do so much to compensate for minutes of subpar rebounding and fouling.

    this game is on our bigs…and pau as our 2nd option should not have had a night equal to his brother’s who is 3rd or 4th option. but he’s going to have nights like this.

    looks like we want the cavs to own the regular season…

    well, phil ftw in LA…we like drama.

  171. Dredawg I said the same thing earlier in my post at 149. Kobe had only 6 count them 6 shots in the 4th quarter, give me a break if he is on fire and everyone else is struggling it is the team’s responsibility to get the ball in the best players hands. The way Kobe shot tonight he should have 32-35 shots (and no when someone is shooting that well it isn’t a bad thing to shoot that many times) if everyone remembers he missed most of his shots in the 1st quarter.

  172. 5-3, not bad.

    I’m not kidding, as long as the game against Boston contributed to the 5, not the 3.

    Kinda shucks that we lost to Cleveland, but still, it was a LOOOOONG road trip and 5-3 really isn’t that bad considering that we are nursing injuries.

  173. I dont know about all but we won this game, Bynum didnt get hurt. Thats a win for me.

  174. Can’t ask for a better chance to win the game. Ron was WIDE open. He should have made it. Kobe did what everybody’s been asking him to do – he created a perfect shot for a teammate to win the game (rather than take a difficult shot himself).

    The lesson: Kobe should take the shot.

  175. To me, the Lakers were lucky to even have had a chance to win a game in which no one besides Kobe and Ron really came to play. If Artest had made that 3, the Lakers would have stolen a game that they didn’t deserve to win.

  176. 5-3 is ok.. And the Memphis team that beat us today isn’t the scrub they used to be..

    I don’t know if anyone shares this sentiment with me, but I look at this Memphis team as a little brother team.. They have a Gasol, someone that plays like Lamar (Rudy Gay, though a lot more athletic), and a KOBE lite lite lite lite lite lite lite lite lite (OJ Mayo).. It isn’t too bad losing to your little brother once in a while..

  177. BTW, I’m sorry, everyone who says, “5-3 is pretty good” is wrong. Crappy end to the road trip.

    Boston game is already forgotten.

  178. Why is it that every time we lose to a SOMEWHAT decent team, people keep saying “it’s not that bad of a loss”. Really? I’m sorry, but am I missing something here? When is losing ever good? I didn’t know losing was a goal. Losing sucks! And losing to an OK team at best sucks even more! Yes, no team will ever go 82-0 and there will always be ups and downs in a season. That’s understood. But unless we think that teams like Toronto and Memphis are better than us, we should never ever lose to them. Road game or not! Because talentwise, no team in the league can compete with us. So when we lose to teams like this, it’s not because of talent but because of some other thing like desire, focus, intensity, etc. 5-3 on this road trip is unacceptable for a championship team. And before everyone gets upset, no, this doesn’t mean the end of the world!

  179. Why did everyone keep missing FT’s today??? Our bigs did nothing….but Bynum didn’t get hurt so that’s a plus.

  180. Kobe made the savvy play to set up Artest.

    If any of our bigs show up tonight we win the game.

  181. It’s slightly poetic that Kobe breaks the record and has 44 points equaling Jerry West’s jersey number.

  182. That “nursing injuries” excuse doesn’t work for tonight guys or against the toronto loss, Kobe is the only one really nursing anything and in both those games he played out of his mind. This is the healthiest the Lakers team has been in quite some time. Both these losses were games the Lakers should have won but their inability to get stops and play smart cost them the game.

  183. “If any of our bigs show up tonight?”

    You can blame Kobe for that and the coaches. If Andrew and/or Gasol are to play well they NEED TO GET THE BALL! Especially Andrew. After Andrew dominates the Celts inside he gets the ball 3 times the entire game? I mean its amazing.

    I also don’t think we can get stops in the 4th quarter with Bynum off the floor and Derek Fisher on it. That combination will spell 4th quarter loss’ over and over again.

  184. Losses happen. Teams get tired traveling. Players don’t show up to play every night. They make terrible decisions. They fumble passes and brick shots. It’s part of the game, and all of the semi-incoherent run-on sentences in the world on some blog isn’t going to change that.

  185. Blame Kobe for that Aaron really? Did you watch the game? The bigs were bullied inside and got into foul trouble that’s why they didn’t get the ball, without Kobe that game is a blowout, he put his heart and body on the line tonight for the team he carried them the entire night.

    Bynum reverted to his old self, unecessary fouling and bad defense that cost him playing time in the game.

  186. 5-3 with a win at the end would have been okay.

    5-3 with a loss at the end does hurt a bit.

    However, considering that this is the last of the 8 game east coast road trip with the 3rd set of back to back, we have to applaud the team for overall effort. As much as a passionate fan need to give constructive criticisms, the same fan must learn to applaud the team for its effort. I just wish they could have given a bit more effort, but maybe there wasn’t any left in the tank.

    Well done, team. Now, let’s get to the break with a long winning streak, including a win against Portland! PLEASE!

  187. If PJ had a timeout he should have called. It was a lazy move to just “let em play”. Although this is just a game it really isn’t! Multi million dollar contracts billionaire owners international viewers yada yada it’s more than just a game! We must secure every close win we can- were going to need home court against cocky Lebron!

    Nice game Kobe. He could have and WOULD have won it in overtime!!!

    Fish please take youself to the bench Now!

  188. i really really don’t think 5 – 3 is “not bad” or “ok”…. that is NOT OK. especially cuz this exact same thing happened a week ago against toronto. up 4 – 6 points with like 4 minutes to go and just could not put the game away..

    and again our bigs were killed! outrebounded. outscored. out-everything!

    and yes, the free throws! i dont believe kobe missed 5 of them! but… memphis missed just as many free throws.

    really, our bigs were outplayed, too much turnovers and the inability to close the game.

  189. im still going to be disapointed if we dont address the point before the deadline, come on mitch

  190. Last year showed me one thing: I will no longer complain about losing to lower-tier teams if we can consistently show up against top teams. OK, I’ll complain minimally. I’m by no means happy with a loss, but I’ll take a W in Boston and a L in Memphis instead of vice versa.

    “This is my problem with Fisher: he’s supposed to be the smart, savvy veteran, and half the time his decision-making is his biggest weakness.”

    From Joel, quoted for emphasis.

  191. If you look at the Lakers remaining games before the allstar break if they dont show up every night they may be lucky to have the best record in the west at that point.

  192. 192. i agree, not getting the ball wasn’t even an issue. i’m ok with the bigs not shooting enough especially in a game when both kobe and artest are playing well, but cmon, get some more rebounds, defend, foul less, and block some shots (lakers had ZERO blocks the entire game).

  193. 190.

    Pau- takes half a year to get his shot off, he gets the ball surveys, dribbles, looks around, and dribbles some more. Then o hey double coming let me pass. He gets scared of getting fouled cuz he cant make FT. His little flip hook shot is wildly inconsistent along with his mid range jumper.

    Drew- sucks at making an easy target for the post entry pass. Bball 101 seal your man make a target with your hand, keep man sealed and go to the ball. He fumbled the ball 3 or 4 times in the first quarter. Then he gets in foul trouble, you can’t play if you on the bench. Stupid reach in foul on Connley. All coupled together with the point blank missed dunk.

    so Aaron good job diminishing Kobe’s efforts, he will be the only one not getting any sleep tonight because of this loss.

  194. I’m not going to tell anyone how to deal with a loss. But, I’m seeing a lot of “should have won” comments and that is where things get dicey for me. There are not guarantees and talent does not trump all. Both teams played hard, but one team played better and it was Memphis. They made the key plays down the stretch and earned a win.

    The Lakers (outside of some shot making by Kobe and Artest) played poorly. They reached on defense and took the easy route out on offense by taking the first available semi-open shot and not working the ball around the court to take advantage of a defense with holes in it. They didn’t protect their defensive glass and were (at times) too careless with the ball. I mentioned this last week, but the other team is full of professional players too. Guys that get motivated to play the champs. Guys that have heart and want to win.

    Like I said, I’m not going to tell anyone they can’t be upset by a loss. I’m disappointed as well. But in the end, a 5-3 road trip was very realistic when the team left LA two weeks ago and that’s what they got. The team played well over the course of their trip. Could they have played better? Surely. There are still things to get better at, but that’s almost always going to be the case.

  195. snoopy. thats true, but last year we won ALOT of the big games. this year not so much. and this wouldnt feel so bad if we had won that toronto game. no big win to trade for that loss….

    8884. yup, we’re playing teams with winning records throughout the allstar break and denver is closing in and theyre playing without melo. the game on the 5th is gonna be HUGE. watching them now, hopefully the kings pull an upset, but they’re down 2.

  196. 199. Zero blocks, and only five offensive rebounds between them.

    197. Agreed that if they had lost in Boston it would have depressed me for a week. I’ll probably be philosophical about this loss by morning.

  197. I repeat what I said during the game and in games before this.

    If we don’t learn how to run the triangle when things get tough/close then we will be much more susceptible to a hot streak or a dominant player.

  198. Darius I think those”should have won” comments come from the lack of defensive and offensive execution late in the 4th quarter on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The Lakers held leads big enough to enable them to win close games in Memphis and Toronto yet failed to finish the way a championship team normally would. It isn’t the end of the world but losses like these do hurt, and 6-2 is more acceptable for the talent level this Lakers team has not 5-3.

    And yeah dredawg seriously Denver is probably the hottest team in the west right now along with the Jazz and we see them both, as well as a pesky Spurs team, a streaking Bobcats team and play at Portland. Tough road till the all-star break.

  199. 5-3 is fine for this trip. Last game of a long trip, a back-to-back, against a pretty good team. Nothing to get worked up about.

  200. 5-3 isn’t fine at all.

    The Lakers have a worse record than Cleveland, and Cleveland owns the tie-breaker.

    If the Lakers meet the Cavs in the Finals, as things stand, LBJ and co have home court.

    How is that fine?

  201. Lakers8884,
    I hear what you’re saying. And, I’m with anyone that wants to talk about execution and what can be done to improve that. But, even though the Lakers are a talented team, Kurt mentioned in the preview that Memphis has one of the best frontlines in the NBA. Randolph is an all-star and a perennial 20/10 guy. Marc Gasol was an MVP of the 2nd best professional league on the planet and is a very good young player. Rudy Gay is in a contract year drive and is playing very, very will the season. You add in two top 5 picks in the backcourt and Memphis has talent too, you know? You add in a player that comes out of no where and has an impact on a game (Hudson) and you’re in for a tough night. Now combine all of that and throw in a sub par Lakers’ performance and you’ve got a close game that went against the Lakers. Yes it’s frustrating. Sometimes I think fans react the same way that we hate for players to act – that based off talent we should just roll the ball out and win. When, I know that’s never going to be the case.

  202. to illustrate how terrible the east is, the SOS (average winning percentage of opposing teams played) of that roadtrip was at 49 percent. (that percentage is skewed even because we played the 2 top east teams).

    the next 5 games (4 at home for the lakers) is at 60 percent SOS. WOW.

    denver win again. only 3.5 games behind….

  203. This was my first chance to see the “new” Zach Randolph. Heck yeah he looks like an all-star. The Lakers defended him reasonably well, I thought, but he got his shots up in an unhurried manner. And got all the bounds.

  204. The Lakers have a worse record than Cleveland, and Cleveland owns the tie-breaker.

    That sounds really familiar to last February…

  205. I agree, this was the end of a long road trip and road games are tough, from one hotel to another, no family around, they are not in their own practice facility, and maybe some partying also out and about. Memphis is not a bad team, so 5-3 is also fine with me for this road trip. Bynum did not get hurt either.

  206. Yes Darius. Both teams played hard. Sorry I meant yes, Sheed.

  207. Actually Mimsy, that doesn’t. Last February, it was:

    The Lakers have a worse record than Cleveland, and Los Angeles owns the tie-breaker.

    Remember, in 3 of 4 championships won this decade, we did not have the best regular season record.

  208. Yeah but Cleveland can’t sustain their winning streak – not without Mo Williams and Delonte West.

    We’ll be back on top soon.

    Kobe made the right decision, I’m actually quite relieved he made the correct basketball play instead of trying to be the hero. It shows a lot of growth.

  209. I hope the Lakers aren’t counting on Cleveland injuries to bail them out …

  210. @215
    Kobe has passed on game winners many times…and as far as I can remember they were almost ALWAYS misses. Except for a DFish here or Shaq there

  211. 5-3 is an ok trip but frankly the Lakers talent level is better than that. Although like Darius says, having talent is no guarantee of wins and losses.

    The most troubling thing to me about tonight’s game was that stretch to open the third quarter where the Lakers couldn’t throw a pea in the ocean. Man that was ugly.

  212. 218,

    Kobe was in facilitator mode to start the second half and nobody could buy a shot. He than decided to take over and got the team back in the game. Today was one of those days where everyone seemed fatigued, and Kobe should have taken a few more shots.

  213. I don’t know how many of you listen to ESPN 710 out here in L.A., but PJ from the beginning of the road trip felt that this trip was going to yield a 4 – 4 record (actually 5 – 4, because he thought it was a 9 game trip… which I’m sure he was just joking.) His pregame today was very realistic that tonight was going to be a tough game to win.

    Memphis has a great home record at 18-6. A majority of those losses came early on when they had the misdirection named allen iverson. They have an all star big, great athletes, and playing really good basketball. Since the beginning of the road trip, people were pointing to this game as a possible loss.

    Memphis produced wins against other good teams: wins agains Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, Portland, and Utah. They are one of the hottest teams since Christmas going 13 – 6.

    And the Lakers had a chance to win the game at the last second after playing an emotional, insane game against the Boston Celtics the day before. While I am disappointed in the 5 – 3 (i was predicting 6 – 2), it feels like this loss has ended our season (on the comments anyway).

    We didn’t play our best game. I’m sure people were tired, i’ve never been on an 8 game road trip, but since people keep saying they are difficult, I have a feeling that they probably are.

    I love the passion on this site, from kurt, to darius to every single comment, because we all want a laker championship, but it’s so… emotionally draining, for lack of a better word, after a loss.

    Now, I love that Kobe has the ball at the end of the game. He either gets to his spot to rise over the other player to make a shot, and that’s usually what happens. (See Boston, day before). Memphis played great defense on him WAY outside putting a 7 foot M. Gasol over him. Kobe is amazing but that would have been the worst shot. the ones who criticize him for passing the ball answer me this: if u love Kobe’s heart, his play, and his skills, why are u mad that he passed up a shot? Don’t u think that he looked at the situation, thought about it, and said, someone will be more open. Ron Artest at that point was 6 – 8 and 2-2 from three. It was a good look. Sometimes the ball goes in. Sometimes the ball doesn’t (See Ray Allen, yesterday). It happens.

    Andrew Bynum had a crappy game, and I completely understand it. The last two years he had 2 season ending injuries at the hands of these guys. I was expecting him to have a crappy game, because cmon, he’s 22 and I’m sure theres some fear there. The fact he gets to walk out of the game should be a win for him. And for us.

    Now all this hype about Home Court Advantage. First, it’s february, and no one knows what’s going to happen in the league til the end. Second, the hype about home court advantage is based only on the Lakers losing the Finals to Boston. In that series, it seemed that every single advantage was necessary because that Boston team was really good. And let’s not forget that: we didn’t lose the Finals to Boston because of home court advantage. We lost it because Boston was a better team. And they showed it. Even on our court. Third, the team with the best record last year was…… The Cleveland Cavaliers. And Orlando, who had 8 wins less, beat them. Fourth, 2001 – 2002 Lakers did not have the Home court advantage against the Kings, and we won. 2000-2001, the Spurs had 2 games on the Lakers, and we won then too. My point, HC matters, but it’s not a guarantee. Just like Darius stated earlier regarding talent, it’s not a guarantee.

    I’m disappointed in the loss. But they fought hard. On the second day of back to back. and yesterday was against Boston. It isn’t the end of our season.

  214. Last game of an 8 game road trip. Second night of a back to back after the emotional win against the Celtics. Playing against one of the few teams with two quality big men. Shadows of the Bynum in Memphis Curse of the last two years.

    So, yeah, of course the defense was ragged. The Lakers were reaching, not moving their feet. That is a sure sign of fatigue. The Lakers were settling for mid range jumpers early in the clock, not hustling for post position and playing at the rim. Again, a sure sign of fatigue.

    Honestly, as banged up as the Lakers have been, and considering this is the time of the season that the Zen Master turns into the Zen Chemist and brews line up after line up variations, I am very happy with the 5-3 run.

    Once again, this is not June. The sky is not falling. I have every faith that the Lakers will get it together, learn from these games, and most important, put out a ton of effort once the playoffs begin and games matter.

  215. Kobe Talks About Passing West on Lakers site looks like he is really in a bad mood…can’t really blame him after that game…

  216. This is such a glass half-empty/half-full discussion. As you probably knew from my previous posts, I’m a half-full guy.

    My first reaction to the end of this road trip is that we played fairly well. We didn’t play our best, no. But we played well enough on the road to win most of these games. We weren’t blown out in any game . We were in it until the last minute in all the games. We won one and lost 3. One was on a questionable call (Hedo’s foul), and the other was on a missed 3 by wide open Artest. Yes, we could have lost to Boston had Kobe didn’t hit the shot, but we did a lot of things well, including Artest doing a good job on Paul Pierce. Look, what I’m trying to say is that all the Lakers fans wanted 8-0 trip with at least 6 blowouts. However, we’re not as dominant as the Showtime Lakers nor the Shaq-Kobe led team. 5-3 east coast trip is a pretty good trip considering that we weren’t playing as well to begin the trip. I think the team will improve in the next few weeks as they’ll work on their defense more. I wouldn’t be surprised to see our team beating Denver and Portland soon. Of course, they could lose those games, too. However, I just think that our team is getting better and better overall. We’re not that far behind CLE for the best record overall. We need to be a bit patient about being critical of the team. No one is immune from bad games, including Kobe, Lebron, Magic, and even MJ. Bynum and Pau are not HOF level players, yet (or ever!). They are near All-Star level players. We all know why LO never made the All-Star team–his inconsistency. I’m just saying that other than Kobe, we can question their effort every night. They also don’t have quite enough talent to dominate nor is our team playing well enough to do that as a team. I just think the Lakers’ best has yet to be seen so far this season. We still have February, March, and April to work on getting better as a team. I’m sure even Artest’s miss tonight will help the team down the road as Artest realizes that Kobe is willing to pass to him with game on the line. I would love to see Artest doing the Big Shot Rob imitation in the playoff games, maybe even in the Finals.

    In conclusion, we’re not even at the half way point of the season if you include the playoffs. The Lakers can improve and will improve. Just have some faith in the team and in PJ. It’s a much more enjoyable ride.

  217. They need to win these games!! Either way, congrats to Kobe!!

  218. Sorry for the double post, but I forgot the most important argument to be happy about the loss at MEM.

    Andrew Bynum came out uninjured!!!

    Weren’t we scared to DEATH that he might have another serious injury?

    I’m just saying that we should be thankful that we’re fans of one of the most successful franchises in all of sports!

  219. By the way, a must read – Kevin Ding:

    “Now we can focus on winning games again.” – Gasol. Ouch.

    “Let’s get him over the hump, so we can play team ball again.” – Phil.

  220. 5-3 result for this trip is not mediocre,Toronto game felt really bad as it was gifted to them on a phantom call.Otherwise congrats to the team and especially Kobe!

  221. Additionaly,I always think KB would take the last shot no matter what his chances are 🙂

  222. The Kevin Ding article is right on the money.

    We will not win a championship without our big dominating, it’s our biggest advantage against the best teams in the NBA. Last year when we played a perimeter game we almost lost to migit Houston.

    We have so much talent that it might not even matter, but I really wish Kobe would shoot less and distribute more – that is the key to us winning a title and he just always seems so reluctant to do it – just not in his DNA to pass up shots. At least he did tonight. Plays like that will keep defenses honest and get everyone going.

  223. I was so upset last night after the game that I couldn’t even come on to comment. Where do I start? The team did seem sluggish throughout the game, probably due to the last game of an 8 game road trip.

    Well to start, Bynum got out of Memphis healthy. Was it just me or did it not look like Bynum was extremely passive throughout the game? Usually I’d be all over him for that, but after what happened the past 2 seasons I’m ok with it.

    Shannon Brown needs to play under some kind of control. He is just playing way to fast and it shows when he turns over the ball. Also, he is doing a poor job of moving his feet when trying to keep people in front of him. I don’t mind the quick shots because he’s one of our better shooters.

    Derek Fisher has got to be one of the worst passers in the NBA. He makes some of the worst passes and makes some of the worst decisions with the ball in traffic. I know he’s our heart and soul and makes clutch shots, but seeing him start the fast break or get in the paint to make decisions is a nightmare.

    Lastly, the end of the game execution was just bothering me. It seemed down the stretch of the game, they kept running set plays in which there were possessions that Kobe didn’t even touch the ball. Listen, when he has it going like he did last night, you have to make sure he’s getting the ball. Also, on the last possession, why did Pau come to set the pick, knowing Marc Gasol would try to trap Kobe because they really wouldn’t mind Pau taking a long jumper in that situation. The Lakers had abandoned the high screen late in the game against Boston, putting Kobe at the elbow and clearing out. When you try for the high screen late in the game all you’re doing is bringing more defenders for Kobe to have to shake off. On any last play, get Kobe the ball and everyone get out of the damn way!!!!!!

    We have some tough matchups coming before the all-star break and this would have been a really good win to end our road trip. Oh well.

  224. Seid From Ethiopia February 2, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Thank God the tour is over. 5-3, not bad. but shouldve been 8-0. alot of you are saying 7-1 but I think we had a very good chance of winning @ cle if it wasnt for pau.
    Now The Lakers should answer alot of questions. especially PJ.
    1- PG , I think Farmar should start. remeber last year in the playoffs when fish was suspended jordan started @ houston and he showed he can be a relaible PG. but I dont know what are we gonna get from a reserve Fish.
    2- what is up with Pau. I mean dude you are the second option and 11 and 10 points are not enough.
    3- 3point shooting and the bench play. while I am not a basketball genious , we will be a better team when we spread the floor from the 1 and 3 positions. that way the bigs and kobe gets room to operate. we are not getting any thing from fish. thank God Artest is coming to his own self lately. that helps. Also 3 point shooting from the bench helps. I missed the old machine. it seemed that every body remembers how the 08 season ended. but how we got there was beautiful .remember the bench mob. when we were down million pionts in game one of the west finals, farmar ,luke , sasha and ronny comes off the bench and gets us back in the game. remember when sasha scores 9 straight points to start the second Q against jazz in the second game of the west semis. how about sashas 21 in the finals. we need some one to shoot us back in the game from the bench.

  225. 224. WOW @ Gasol. You know i will listen to him more if he made more of an effort you know like nail those free throws in cleveland or even get the bucket before that. Or maybe if he had played better and more at the end of the boston game two days ago. Or maybe even positioned himself well to get the rebound yesterday. At least Kobe does whatever he has to do to win.

  226. As I said on the Land O’Lakers Blog – this is just one game. And as Darius summed up nicely in #208, the Grizzlies are a young and very talented, continually progressing team – plus they had won 11/12 home games before the match last night and the Lakers had just brought their all (not ‘A’ but definitely all heart and muscle) to take down the Celtics the afternoon before. So I’ll take narrowly going 5-3 on the road and losing to a spry and upstart Memphis team to finish the trip….so long as we save the best for last – AND DOMINATE IN THE POSTSEASON! Also, as another guy said a few posts before, doesn’t matter if Cleveland gets the best record again and we’re #2 or or #2 or eve #3 in the West, so long as we bring home the bacon come June. Which we will.
    If everyone’s so worried about our excellent team, why don’t you jump ship now cuz you might just poop you’re pants when we win the Championship. Jeez, I love the game and our Lake Show too, but come on – don’t take it so short-sightedly.

  227. I missed the game tonight due to cocktail-related activities, but I have to say that while I’m disappointed that we lost, I don’t understand the utter panic I’m seeing.

    The team lost on the 8th game of an 8 game road-trip, on the second night of a back-to-back, the day after a tough, emotional win over their most bitter rival, to a team that matches up fairly well with them.

    Yeah, it’d be better if they won, and if you change any of those factors above then they probably do win.

    Sucks to lose. The Lakers will be fine.

    Even during Showtime we lost on occasion.

    Even during the Shaq-Kobe years we would sometimes lose in the regular season and it looked like the team just couldn’t pull it together.

    There’s a lot of season left, and for the most part all of the Lakers’ problems are fixable.

  228. 8#214,
    You’re right, that’s how it was. My bad.

    This was the second night of a back-to-back against a very athletic team that I’m sure I saw someone mention we would have match-up difficulties against.

    Like Matt R just said, there is no reason to panic. We’re still 37-12.

    Take a look at those numbers for a while. We’ve won two out of three games this season. Sure, we’re losing some heart breakers, and there are problems that need to be addressed, but in the end, we’re still the Lakers. We weren’t perfect last season either. I’d love to see us have the best record at the end of the season, but if I had to choose I think I would prefer having the best record at the end of the play-offs.

    The important thing right now is that the candles and sacrificial chicken worked. Andrew’s knees were unharmed against Memphis.

  229. While I agree with Pau and Dwyer that there needs to be more offensive balance, I’m not sure the answer is so cut and dry as “Kobe’s a ballhog.” We all saw the game – no one other than Kobe was able to “throw a pea in the ocean.” When Pau did get the ball he was unable to get to his spots on offense, and played passively on the boards all night.

    I realize it’s a bit of a chicken and the egg thing (do the big men need to get more touches to succeed, or should they succeed before they get more touches?), but I think there’s blame to be shared all around.

  230. Speaking of getting the ball inside, Kelly Dwyer also has an opinion on Kobe’s shooting habits of late…

  231. Didn’t have time to read the comments, and sorry for the late post, and if I’m repeating…but it almost felt like we were ready to be home. Of course there were underlying factors as well, but Phil not calling a time out, going for the win instead of the tie. It’s like we just wanted to roll the dice and get it over and get on the plane, one way or another.

    The thing I don’t like about this is how Kobe gave someone a chance at the end of the game. 1st time he’s done that this season. And he was let down, per se. This may come back to hurt later if he forces himself to take the final shot double-teamed instead of looking for someone because he doesn’t trust anyone else to knock it down. We shall see.

  232. Which, Mimsy, leads to an even better article. I love Kevin Ding.

  233. Quote from after the game: That’s a lot like what Gasol said after the game, when Gasol also said “I totally agree” with Jackson’s assessment of it being a mediocre 5-3 trip. Gasol ended that comment by saying he hoped the Lakers now “understand what we have to do better.”

    So any fans content with a 5-3 record, enjoy mediocrity, it is not time to panic but anyone happy with 5-3 shouldn’t be especially if the players arent.

    And as far as I’m concerned Pau can talk about getting the ball more inside all he wants, talk is cheap he needs to show he is more reliable consistently because it’s something he wasn’t last night or against Boston. He needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

  234. I know Simonoid, I was going to link to that one as well before I noticed that someone else already did. 🙂

  235. I’m glad Pau spoke up, if Andrew would have said it everyone would have said he is a selfish young player, etc. Somebody needed to say it.

    If Farmar or Shannon ever threw it into the post, I might have a heart attack.

  236. All of the excuses about the road, the second of a back to back, the letdown, the talent of Memphis, the hunger of Memphis, are valid. No, one game doesn’t mean the sky’s falling, but the angst that we feel as fans comes not from our inability to accept that championships are not won in February, or to understand that the other guys get paid too.

    We are lucky enough to be rooting for a team playing for championship stakes. I think Laker players, coaches, management, and fans would agree that if this season doesn’t end in a championship, it will not be considered a success. Dr. Buss didn’t race past the salary cap to hang a Western Conference Championship banner.

    Given that we have more talent than most of our opponents, and given that we cannot clinch championships in February, or November, or March, etc…..all we as fans can do is look for SIGNS, or INDICATORS, that we’ve got a championship team as we journey through the season with our squad.

    Sweeping Boston and Cleveland last year did not clinch the championship for us, but it was a sign (especially the Boston road win) that we had the mental toughness necessary to win the championship. Losing to Cleveland twice, or blowing games in Memphis and Toronto don’t eliminate us and don’t bring the sky down, but they sure don’t mark us as a championship team.

    Overall, I appreciate the level headed tone of this site and the grounding of most arguments in the realm of statistics and quantifiable evidence. However, basketball, like all sports, is still also a game about the intangibles, the things we cannot measure with numbers. I believe it is these areas that we as fans fret about, and maybe we blow them out of proportion in relation to the statistical side of the coin, but THEY ARE NOT MEANINGLESS. This brings me to last night’s game and the just concluded road trip…..

    5-3 in and of itself is the sign of a very good team. 6-2 or 7-1 is the sign of a championship team.

    Losing an obvious trap game last night in and of itself doesn’t signify that much, but WINNING obvious trap games is the sign of a championship team. (The Lakers were the best road and back to back team in the NBA last year, were they not?)

    Getting owned by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph on any given night is no big deal. They are very good players having great years. My question is, when are we going to OWN somebody for a night? I’m talking specifically about our frontline against another ELITE front unit. Cleveland’s front line crushed ours in two games, and at best we can say we played Boston’s to a draw.

    Pau is in a slump. I believe he’ll be fine. Andrew Bynum has plenty of valid excuses to be inconsistent, but we don’t win the championship if that doesn’t change. I was hoping to see him build from Sunday’s great game, especially because he’s young and has a better shot to handle back to backs than some of our older guys. He didn’t. It doesn’t mean trade AB, it was just a missed opportunity for him to prove that he is a consistent contributor to a championship team. I believe he can be, but right now he’s not.

    That’s pretty much how I feel about the Lakers right now….I believe they can be a championship team, but right now they’re not.

  237. There were other unhappy Lakers, notably Gasol, who had 10 points and nine rebounds. He took only seven shots, making four. Andrew Bynum took only three shots and had five points in 26 minutes. Ten shots combined for the Lakers’ big men?

    “I don’t know,” Gasol said, shaking his head. “Obviously, we’re not making a conscious effort on pounding the ball inside. So we settled a little bit too much. It’s not like they were double-teaming or anything. It is what it is. It happens often.”

    Are the Lakers a better team when they go inside? “One hundred percent,” Gasol said.

    Does everybody know that?

    “I’m not sure,” he said.

  238. @243
    Pau is in a real slump,I definitely agree.

  239. man, what a difference a day makes! (but I was one who warned about Memphis for this particular b-t-b. )

    >And the Memphis team that beat us today isn’t the scrub they used to be..

    Memphis plays at Cleveland tonight — how is this not a blowout win for Cleveland? and if it is, how should we all react to that?

    and, regarding the reaction to the missed shot (by Artest) which could have won last night.. consider the missed shot (by Ray Allen) which could have beat us on Sunday.

    I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’…

  240. I can’t believe how short-sighted some of the comments are on this page. If you believe that Pau and Andrew don’t deserve the ball more in the post and that Kobe – as good as he is – deserves to shoot the ball 22+ times each game with the personnel we have, then I don’t know what to say to you.

    Let this trend continue and I’m pretty sure we’ll see the 02-03 or 03-04 Lakers team that failed to win the championship. Just because Pau failed to have an impact in the BOS game or miss FTs in the CLE game does not mean you go away from him the next game. Give the man a chance to play his way back from a mini-slump.

    Kobe gets to shoot 37 times against POR after a 10-30 outing against LAC the previous game while Pau doesn’t deserve the ball because he isn’t “aggressive” enough? Gee, it’s kind of tough to get a rhythm going – especially for a post player – when your star player is running a 1-on-5 offense every time down the floor. I know Kobe’s not the only one at fault. Fish, Shannon, Jordan, and Ron all are. But Kobe is our leader, supposedly. He is damn smart and old enough to know not to play like this is 2006. He’s got freaking Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum instead of Chris Mihm and Kwame Brown. When is he going to tone down his shooting on an injured hand, and allow his teammates to find their groove and settle into a dynamic offensive flow?

  241. I’m not to upset about the loss, but a successful trip would have been 6-2.

    I’m more upset about the trends that keep happening.

    Lamar, Fishers, Brown’s bad shot selection and decision making.

    Lack of effort on the boards. The lakers bigs constantly get out rebounded because the don’t box out and don’t go after rebounds. That includes all three of them Lamar, Pau, and Andrew. Lakers were out rebounded in 6 out of 8 games on this trip and by some of the worst rebounding teams in league. Inexcusable.

    Lakers bench as a unit is horrible. Their is no chemistry, no energy, no defense, no offense. They were outplayed by Memphis’ bench. Thats embarrassing. Out played by boston’s bench out played by Cleveland’s bench, Toronto’s bench and so on. Phil cannot play 4 bench players at once. It didn’t work in the beginning of the season and it isn’t working now.

    Back to Lamar. He refuses to play inside. Lakers have always wanted him to be aggressive, but to him that means settling for a bunch of jumpshots. That would be okay if he was a good jumpshooter. But he’s not. He can be streaky sometimes and bad most other times. He needs to play closer to the rim. Am I the only one bothered with Lamar falling in love with the long range jumper?

    Now Fisher, I really don’t want to bash Fish. But he just doesn’t have any skills. Someone said early he may be the worst pg passer in the league. And I agree. There were a couple of plays that fisher couldn’t make that would have led to dunks. One was a lob completely off, another one was a bounce pass to Andrew that bounced way to low. His shots don’t even look good coming out of his hand. Most of his shots are really long or really short. Can Fisher get better at the age of 35?

    They just can’t look for Kobe to bail them out game after game. Yes Pau and Andrew need way more touches in the post. Kobe, Pau, Andrew should get half of the lakers shots every game.

  242. When is he going to tone down his shooting on an injured hand, and allow his teammates to find their groove and settle into a dynamic offensive flow?

    When they force him. Kobe is pathological, he is incapable of slowing down. He can make smart decisions, like passing to Ron for the last shot because trying to shoot over Marc Gasol and two others would have been a dumb thing to do (paraphrasing Kobe’s post-game comments), but he will never be able to step back and let the others run the offense unless they step up, take control, and score effectively.

    Everyone has blind spots and glaring flaws, this is one of Kobe’s.

  243. New Post up by Gatinho on Kobe and Jerry West.

  244. I think everyone is overreacting. When Kobe is more healed (even though he had a spectacular game), and Artest gets more involved in the offense and Bynum continues to develop, we will become more dangerous and start winning these bigger road games that we have mostly lost all year, despite the Celtics game. This team is too talented to at least not make it out of the West. But yes, frustrating end to the road trip, 6-2 sounds a lot better than 5-3.

  245. I know my comment will probably get blocked, but for those of us who cringe every time Fish gets the ball, there’s one thing I keep in mind that provides me with hope: The Lakers have 2 contracts expiring this year that are worth trading as a packaged deal – Ammo and Fish. Only problem is finding a team willing to take a draft bust and over-the-hill PG.

  246. 247) – You make too much sense. Gasol and Bynum should get at MINIMUM ten shots apiece EVERY game. I am amazed to see games where they finished with 6 and 7 shots respectively. It is insane.

    If you want to tone down the other teams bigs it helps to get them in foul trouble. Kobe doesn’t slash much anymore so he is not getting opposing bigs in foul trouble like he used to. In fact, the Lakers don’t have a true slasher anymore. The next best thing is to put the ball in the post and let Drew and Pau draw fouls. But it kind of hard for them to do that when they are not getting the shots.

    What ends up happening is the Lakers bigs get beaten to the punch regarding fouls and are forced to play timid for large stretches of games.

    It won’t always look pretty. These guys are trying to figure it out. But I must admit, I can’t stand watching games where Kobe takes more shots then all other starters combined. That’s not good basketball. And there is never any good excuse for that kind of shooting disparity.

  247. My favorite line of these ridiculous comments is #248 Joel B…

    “I really don’t want to bash Fish. But he just doesn’t have any skills. Someone said early he may be the worst pg passer in the league. And I agree.”

    Ummm…..yeah, I’d call that bashing.

  248. @254.
    Well to make you happy maybe I should have said I’m not trying to bash Fisher. But thats the same as saying I don’t want, which I don’t. But I would call bashing more in the lines of saying he needs to retire, i hate him, he doesn’t need to be in the nba blah blah blah.

    But as fans we all love Fisher, but saying he just doesn’t have it anymore is not really bashing him. Are you seeing something completely different when he plays then most other laker fans.

    And let me rephrase that comment make you happy. Fisher doesn’t have the necessary skills to consistently contribute at a level a starting point guard should be able to. I’m sorry and yes I would love to see fisher start playing well. Right now fishers best attribute is to run the offense and knock down open shots. Not to mention, he hasn’t done either that well so far. I feel at times Fisher tries to do too much such as taking contested shots and driving in the lane against multiple defenders that normally leads to turnovers.

    But I think many will agree, at this point, the best we hope for from Fisher is to play an okay by not turning the ball over and hitting 2 or 3 shots. With the talent the lakers have that should be enough. But he cannot play 30+ minutes and be successful anymore. Yes, its sad but its true.

    If you disagree let me know.

  249. You guys are making sense with everything. Ever since Pau signed that extension…his performance has been totally unexceptable! 10 shots for our BIGS…no way. Fish is getting way too many minutes. I wish I could speak to Phil about Josh Powell. I feel he will give the Lakers what they need off the bench, but the Zen Master doesn’t trust him in game time. Talent is not my concern at all…it is HUSTLE play! We don’t have it and if we don’t get it before April… We will we Fishing with D. Fish and them boys.

  250. Joel B.
    regarding your rebounding comment. Are you saying that the lakers all season have been crappy on rebounds? or on the three losses?

    Last time i checked, the Lakers were #2 in rebounding. In the league. So maybe you mean in this roadtrip? I’ll agree with you on the roadtrip, that there’s something wrong with the rebounding.

    Bottom line on Fish: Phil Jackson trusts me. Actually, more likely: he trusts Fish more than he trusts Farmar, Sasha, or Brown. And even though he’s had his worst year ever, there’s something to Phil playing him. I don’t know about you, but I trust in Phil Jackson.

    But I guess this is why we are called Fanatics: we are crazy no matter if we win or lose!

  251. jOEL B How is this. 1 for 6, zero assists, and minus 12 for the game. Oh by the way at 37% he is next to last for starters. He is last in the NBA for assists and last in the NBA in point difference for any starting point guard. Sure we love the guy.Sure he has made some big shots. This is now not then. Even Willy Mays played one year to much. What’s the chance of Fish doing a Luke from last year and talking himself out as a starter?

  252. Mark Overt Skilbred February 3, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Great article, as usual, Kurt!


    Sometimes it is more than just the fans who are bewildered when a great team begins to struggle midway through the season. This is especially true when the team in question is long on talent and short on injuries, has a good mix of older and younger talent, and excellent playoff experience. When you add in the Lakers’ great record on the road, there just does not seem to be a good explanation for these midseason doldrums. Watching last night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, I couldn’t help feeling that the Lakers were allowing their opponents too much response-time, as if politely waiting for their answer to the latest maneuver. Normally when the Lakers are in attack mode, there isn’t much time for their opponents to respond effectively, and by the time they have it figured out, it is already too late for them. Maybe what is missing in our offensive game is the element of surprise. Does the NBA have us figured out to the extent that they are now anticipating our offense effectively and defending against our triangle system? Should we experiment with alternating systems of pick-and-roll, give-and-go, alley-oop and motion offense, making better use of our big men in the center post? It seems that our inside game has been rather inconsistent, as though we aren’t sure that our big guys can handle the assignment. I am of the opinion that we will never know for sure until we make the attempt. What better time than now to discover our strengths? I’m confident that Pau, Andrew, Lamar and Mbenga can handle whatever we throw at them. Sometimes in order to shake out of the doldrums, it becomes necessary to shake up the lineup a little with some different match-ups, as well as alternating style-of-play. But whatever we decide, let’s not wait much longer to make the needed changes. Let’s not wait until the playoffs to make good use of them.

    Mark Overt Skilbred