Preview & Chat: The Denver Nuggets

Kurt —  February 5, 2010

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Records: Lakers 38-12 (1st in West) Nuggets 33-16 (2nd in West, 4.5 games back of Lakers)
Offensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 109.3 (10th in league), Nuggets: 111.6 (3rd in league)
Defensive points per 100 possessions: Lakers 102.2. (2nd in league) Nuggets 106.3 (12th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Nuggets: Chancey Billups, Aaron Affalo, Joey Graham, Kenyon Martin, Nene

Are any of the superstars playing tonight? Well, Kobe is for sure, he confirmed it at shoot around this morning. Did you really think he wouldn’t play? (If you played it smart, wouldn’t you play a couple more games then say after Monday night against the Spurs that you can’t keep going, miss the Jazz game on Wednesday but also get to sit out All Star Weekend, giving you a week off? He’s not going to do that, just sayin.)

Carmelo Anthony said it would take a “miracle” for him to play tonight. Still, I would not be surprised to see him in warmups and ready to go. Let me put it this way, if I had ‘Melo on my fantasy team, he’s not back in the starting rotation yet, but you keep your eye out because he will be soon.

What is interesting is the contrast between how these two deal with the injury. Kobe will not be kept off the court. Even if he should be. Carmelo wants to be 100% before he returns (ala Gasol and his hamstring). Really, I don’t think one is better or worse than the other, players should choose what is best for them and their bodies. This is how they make a living. But the approaches are an interesting contrast.

Nuggets coming in: I listened to a pretty honest interview George Karl did on Jim Rome’s radio show earlier this week. Karl was up front that he would love to get one more player via trade, but also realized that his franchise is not going to take on more salary, and that a move is very unlikely.

He also seemed to be sending a message to his team that they can beat the Lakers with what they have come the playoffs. (I’m sure he’s pumping that up a lot right now in practices and meetings.) It’s a confidence thing, Karl has to get this team to believe it can beat the Lakers in a series before it can happen — for all the skills and Xs and Os, the difference between the top teams can be more about confidence than skills. He knows they are close, he knows that Denver is a little better than last year. But getting them to believe they are over the hump will be the challenge.

So what are the Nuggets like without Carmelo Anthony? Well, as you would expect, their offense takes a big hit — they score 5.5 fewer points per game. (Their defense is unaffected.) That’s a problem, as they win games with their offense first, so the Nuggets are 7-4 this season without Melo.

They also have been a bad road team 11-12 away from the Pepsi Center.

Nuggets blogs Roundball Mining Company is filled with smart people.

Keys to game: If there is no Carmelo tonight, then there will be more Billups in the Nuggets offense. That is not necessarily good for the Lakers.

First thing — you have to step out on Billups above the three-point line when he brings it up. Billups and Baron Davis love the pull-up three more than any two guards in the league (in an ESPN Chat, Mr. Clipperblog Kevin Anovitz said the difference is that Billups makes his). Billups is shooting 45.6% from three in the Nuggets last 10 games.

They will also post Billups up or run him off multiple screens to get him open. Defending him does not fall to Fisher (or Farmar or Brown) alone, the team has to defend him.

The other guy the Lakers can’t let get hot is JR Smith — just part of the battle of the benches that will be key tonight. Smith loves the spot up three in transition, but he will put it on the floor and drive if you run at him, so again it is a team defense not just one man. They also run him off a lot of screens (which should look familiar to Afflalo from his UCLA days).

On offense, the last meeting the Nuggets doubled Bynum hard in the post, and that took Bynum out of his game and he did not adjust well. Tonight he needs to react better, the ball needs to come out and swing to the weakside fast.

Where you can watch: 7:30 p.m. start here out west, on ESPN and Fox Sports. Plus, ESPN radio 710am.



291 responses to Preview & Chat: The Denver Nuggets

  1. This one is for Warren!!!

  2. WhiteLightnin’ February 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I’d love to see a lot of Sasha on Smith; they seem to dislike each other and it would be good to try and get Sasha’s fire goin early. Lets get some of that three point shooting we so desperately need. That could open up our bigs who didn’t do too hot the last game against Denver.

    Also, I really hope we see more Walton (WhiteLightnin’=Luke). He makes the offense click.

  3. Heartbreaking.

  4. Morrison paid good money for that scouting report! (I kid…mostly…)

    It simply shows the difference between the NBA and anywhere else. The NBA is first and foremost about athletic ability. Speed, quickness, body control, agility, leaping ability, strength, and stamina.

    Being “a step or two ahead of everyone mentally” simply doesn’t matter if they are all two or three steps ahead of you physically. How often have we heard coaches and trainers talk about the need for rookies and bench players to slow down, or to let the game come to them?

    As they saying goes, you cannot teach height. The same is true of speed. NBA players, in general, are unbelievably fast.

    I would love it if Morrison could get it together, but it seems unlikely.

  5. This is game is between drew and jr smith. Whoever makes the bigger impact wins the game. If smith runs wild making his stoned face (is there anyone in the nba that smokes more? Beasly maybe), the lakers can lose. But if bynum is emphasized and stays on the court, the lakers should handle the nugs. Kobe/gasol v. Billups/nene should be even. We need to win the 3rd guy.

  6. Also, Dave’s article on his time with the Lakers during the last road trip is worth a read. If you don’t have time to read through the entire thing, make sure you scroll down to the last entry:

  7. I think K-Mart will be a bigger factor. If he continues to score at the pace he’s been doing, it will provide Denver with the 3rd scorer they need (without Melo).

    Interesting matchup will be Kobe vs. Afflalo. Aaron did a real good job against Kobe in the last game, and Kobe’s ankle injury may limit him somewhat. Kobe needs to be efficient tonight. Denver can hurt the Lakers with transition game if Kobe takes too many long jumpers.

    Finally, if Bynum can dominate his matchup against Nene, we’ll have much easier time tonight. If not, it will be a dogfight which I’m expecting.

    Lakers by 3…with Chauncey missing the 3 in the end.

  8. RE: 4

    GOOD LORD, what happened to him?

  9. I agree with WhiteLightnin, it would be good to see Vujacic play tonight. He has a knack for pissing off nuggets players, particularly JR and Melo. Maybe he’ll get some PT for mind game purposes.

    Not entirely pertinent to this upcoming game, but some good laughs in this article
    “Odom is just nine FGs away from 2,092 in all, a tally Brian arbitrarily declared ‘milestone-worthy.’ Deal with it. “

  10. what happened to AM, choose one
    1) they don’t play tough man defense in the WCC
    b) he’s preternaturally slow
    iii) tore ACL in ’07(?) preseason; atrophy
    x) all of the above

  11. Matt Moore has a strong opinion on Kobe’s injuries.

    Check it out:

    I agree with all the points that Matt raises. It is time that Kobe eases up and gets healthy. Phil has to step in and realize that if Kobe doesn’t get healthy, this could irrevocably harm our chances in June. It is clear that Kobe is the second-toughest player in the NBA behind Carl Landry so I think its time to sit him.

    With regards to this game, no Melo pretty much renders this game moot in terms of gauging how well we play against the Nuggets. Kenyon Martin has been on fire as of late and we need to definitely pay attention to him. If Kobe doesn’t go, I am interested to see how the young’ns play with extended minutes. Hopefully Sasha can get it going tonight if Kobe doesn’t go.

    Apparently the Nuggets are confident in thinking that they can beat us.;_ylt=AnLQaOtedzftIuqqEwPhq0a8vLYF?slug=mc-afterthebuzzer020510&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

  12. Morrison was pretty decent his rookie year – 11.8 points on a shitty baby-big league Bobcats team. I can’t really judge him to harshly or praise him though as I haven’t really seen him play. I do remember him being an excellent college player, and we remember he was hyped was like a top 3 pick in ’06 I believe. But he should probably be traded to a rebuilding/mediocre team where he can get some actual burn instead of 2 or 3 min every other game like he does on our championship-contending platoon. I just know him very well. Hell, maybe if it’s still not working for him in a year or two, he should go to Europe or Russia or even take the Wacky Starbury route and go to China! (but seriously…I would do that in the nearfuture if I were him and I was still sort of just hanging around at the bottom of the NBA bucket, though it is the finest bucket of it’s stratum.)

  13. * I meant: “I just DO NOT know him very well.”

  14. WhiteLightnin’ February 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    3ThreeIII, so theres no hope for Ammo? If Luke Walton can find a place on a champion, why can’t Morrison? I’m not really an Ammo fan, just sayin that there may be hope if he can find a shred of confidence.

  15. Kurt: Hopefully you know by now that I love your stuff, which enables me to say this without coming off as an a-hole. How do you know that Melo and Pau wants to be 100 % before returning? How do we assess the severity of their respective injuries? I’m not saying that you’re wrong, but I find it strange that people in general feel that they’re able to make statements about other people’s injuries. The only one who truly knows how severe the situation is would be the person himself, right?:)

  16. WhiteLightnin’, I am not sure. I will say that Luke is a much better overall player than Ammo appears to be. Luke does most of the little things right most of the time. No question he is the best passer on the Lakers. He is serviceable from the three point line, rebounds, boxes out, plays good team defense and is not horrible on one on one defense in the half court. He also gets a lot of play from having NBA genes, and a really solid basketball mind.

    Luke is EXACTLY the kind of player that becomes a coach in 10 years… Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan, Kurt Rambis, and a ton of others leap to mind as solid, but not spectacular, pros who know the game, have a ring, and have a good reputation for being well liked in the locker room, with the fans, and with the media.

    I just don’t see Ammo managing any of that. Too stand-offish, too snake-bit with the bad luck…

    Like I said, I hope he finds his stroke, becomes a killer shooter off the bench for late quarter situations, makes a nice living for a while. I just don’t think it will happen.

  17. can someone tell me why Fish would help off of Chauncey leaving him wide open for three?

  18. i am so excited for the literally hundreds of critical comments that will pour in if the lakers don’t beat denver by 30+ pts.

  19. Why does Derek double on Nene and Afflalo leaving Chauncey open for two threes? That’s just not smart defense.

  20. 19

    You beat me to it. Let Nene go one-on-one, please. (Don’t give him the baseline like Bynum just did though.)

  21. And Kobe is on a mission.

  22. Kobe’s just mocking us now. Mocking Phil, too.

  23. Kobe is injuried? Is my scouting report inaccurate?

  24. Kobe’s on fire right now! But I guarantee that even if he stays this hot the entire game, people will still come on here and say he took too many shots and should’ve gotten the bigs involved.

  25. Kobe is hot right now and showing no signs from his sprained ankle

  26. I swear, I have more vertical leap than two-fifths of our starting lineup combined.

    I’ll leave you to guess which two.

  27. Did Fisher really hit the bottom of the rim on an uncontested layup?

  28. Way to double Andersen 20 feet from the basket and leave Chauncey open from three, Fish.

  29. Joel, I’m amazed Fish even got rim! And there’s another brick for a layup…

  30. Fisher is rapidly approaching David Wesley territory when it comes to making layups.

  31. Derek Fisher is taking some horrible shots right now.

  32. The only shot Fisher should take is the 3 pointer

  33. So Melo’s not playing, right? You would think that we (Fish) would then understand that the one guy we need to guard for sure is Chauncey…

  34. The link is dead. Anyone?

    Never mind. It just rose up from the dead.

  35. Man, I didn’t realise there were so many negative Fisher comments already!

    In other news, Pau is having a really hard time establishing good position against much smaller defenders. This is why it’s not always as simple as ‘giving the bigs more touches’.

  36. 35 – That should be modified to read “only a three pointer in the flow of the offense.” Not that PUJIT he just took.

    I’m a bit surprised we haven’t had a Sasha sighting – Phil likes to match him up with Smith.

  37. Is there any team that can go from 0 to 60 and back to 0 faster than the Lakers?

  38. Since when has Bynum wore braces on both knees? I just noticed it tonight.

  39. It’s amazing how often Denver gets away with no-calls on two-handed shoves in the back and full swing blocked shot attempts that instead hit the opponent in the head.

  40. Cuban is going to explode with the Mavs losing at home to Minny. Go Rambis. Although the more Dallas loses, the more likely Cuban makes a crazy trade. I’d be nervous if they got Iggy.

  41. I will be very happy when the Lakers start defending the baseline again. They must have given up 8-10 points on baseline moves already…

  42. Joel, the reason we’re picking on Fish right now is because he’s left Chauncey wide open three times from three-point range in order to double another player (Afflalo, Graham, and Andersen) 15-20 feet from the basket. Then of course there are his wildly unsuccessful drives to the basket in traffic.

  43. 45

    I know Dude, as you can see I made a couple of comments myself. It just reinforces how unremittingly awful he’s been in the early going.

  44. 18. Andreas – Why do you always get defensive when things are said about Gasol. Its no personal.

    Is there anyway to find out who gives up the most and1’s in the league. Just curious. Our big men dont only give up the layup they foul right after that giving up a bunch of and1s

  45. Bad PUJIT by Shannon, but we’ll take the result.

  46. ShanWOW puts the PUJIT into perfection!

  47. I am loving the work Farmar and Bynum are doing together on Lawson.

    The problem with Shannon making that awful PUJIT is that he’ll be encouraged to shoot more.

  48. Mark Jackson at it again. Shannon Brown a starting PG? He doesn’t even play PG any more!

    By the way, Brown seems to make a lot of those midrange PUJITs. I prefer seeing him take that shot that try to pass on the run.

  49. When Kobe elevates like that on his jumper and gets proper arc, it’s just a thing of beauty.

  50. 38. Thank you Joel for finally saying it, Pau can demand the ball but he needs to make himself a better option by putting himself in better positions to score, and he needs to be more consistent with finishing because he hasn’t been lately. And I hope everyone realizes that if Kobe is this hott you feed the guy the ball just like in the memphis game, going away from him on offense would be a mistake. I understand everyone needs to get involved but when Kobe is finishing his shots better than the bigs that should be a sign of where to give the ball.

  51. I am glad that Kobe is playing tonight, where would we be without him, of course the ‘others’ would step up, right?

  52. 50

    As long he’s not trying to set someone up in transition. Now that’s a scary sight.

  53. Denver when healthy is a better team than last year because of 2 reasons, Aaron Afflalo and Ty Lawson.

  54. You called it Snoops, here comes Sasha.

  55. Why is anyone other than Kobe trying to shoot right now? He’s making them! Give. Him. The Ball.

  56. The future starting lineup of the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Bynum + Powell + Sasha + Shannon + Farmar

  57. Geez, Ty Lawson is a blur.

  58. Just like last year in the playoffs against Denver Bynum cannot stay on the floor because of his inability to guard their big men.

  59. Bynum is 4-4, 4 rebounds.

    He just fought hard to get into the post, had good position and called for the ball from Brown. Brown swings it around to Farmar, who gives it back to Brown, who throws up a wild hook that doesn’t draw iron from 18 feet away.

    Does Andrew actually have to beat someone up in practice to get the ball?

    Keep your head up Bynum, at some point it will dawn on your teammates that you are an offensive weapon.

  60. Lakers not showing much intensity on the defensive end tonight

    Its always great to see the lakers turn average offensive players into all stars like the birdman

  61. The Lakers are losing track of their guy on defense far too often. As a result, Denver is getting an amazing amount of open looks. That will happen from time-to-time when someone is driving on the baseline, but it’s unacceptable when the ball is outside of the 3 point line.

  62. Sasha is playing 1) great defense and 2) under control. He does deserve a shot at some PT over Brown right now.

  63. Mark Jackson needs to stop telling us that Phil is a better coach than him.

  64. Wow Amazing of all Players Sasha ran the best fast break I have seen in some time on this team, instead of forcing up a bad layup like Fisher or a bad PUJIT like Farmar or Shannon, he sees he does not have a shot pulls the ball back out, sets up the offense and gets a good inside out look.

  65. Losing AT HOME to a Denver team WITHOUT Melo. Wow! Way to show up.

  66. Laker8884 – Exactly. I think finally losing PT to Brown (Phil gave Sasha so much license over the last couple years) has made Sasha realize he must play under control. That or he’s now too tentative to take bad shots.

  67. This is why Kobe shoots so many times, because when everyone else on the team loses their cool or cant get their own shot they look for Kobe to bail them out.

  68. Phil Jackson needs to retire. How many times is he going to stick with a terrible group on the floor so long that he lets the other team get in rhythm and completely cools off our starters. It is becoming a pattern that needs to stop.

    We have a @#$ bench Phil, we get it, now stop playing them so much.

  69. how do comments like that get out of moderation?

  70. Heh. The mood in this comment thread reminds me of the Celtics game.

    Did anyone here genuinely believe that the Nuggets would be an easy win? Seriously?

    Reality check time! 🙂

  71. Zirk, agreed It’s a pretty embarassing first half.

    And Snoopy agreed, I think he deserves some significant PT to see what he can do. The problem is for some players when you are condemned to the bench and they actually get a chance to play they are so afraid of making mistakes that they play tenative or play badly to where they arent effective. I think if the guy got more playing time we may see some type of MACHINE not the old one but maybe a new one that could still help us. Unlike Sasha though being on the bench makes Farmar and Brown want to shoot more and be more aggressive like they have something to prove, it shows the contrast in personality.

  72. Denver nearing 60% shooting mark.

    We’re a step slow on defense. Being a champion doesn’t mean people will be intimidated by the thought of it!

  73. BH,

    Phil Jackson’s 10 championship rings would like to have a word with you.

  74. Let’s just ignore bad comments rather than fight. I don’t feel like deleting stuff tonight.

  75. Mimsy,

    It’s supposed to be an easy win. On the paper.

    Then again….

  76. Please, someone justify PJ’s thinking of only having one starter out there against this nuggets team. I know its only a mid season game but I thought a sasha, josh, jordan, shannon lineup was reserved for preseason games. I’m pretty pissed off because I think we could have kept this game spaced if we kept at least three starter (including lamar a 1) on the floor at all time this quarter. there is no reason why at least 2 of the three bigs could be on the floor at all time. Also, Kobe and Ron should only be sitting next to each other 5 min. max a game. they sat next to each other about 5 min. together just this quarter! Please someone try to Justify PJ’s rotation scheme… anyone!

  77. Lakers score 60 points (so far). Denver playing just as tough. Lakers aren’t getting blown out. And it seems like the Lakers are still playing horrible.

    I am just curious what the expectation is every game? Blowouts or nothing?

  78. If we are truly the BEST team in the league and have the heart of a champion, then yes! I think we should be fired up enough AT HOME to beat a Denver team WITHOUT Melo pretty handily! Especially with what they did to us in Denver earlier this season. But it’s only the first half, so it can still happen. We’ll see…

  79. BH, the bench may not be spectacular (I personally have said all season I think it’s a weak bench) HOWEVER, I dont want our starters playing 95% of the game as old as some of our starters are. Plus how will we ever know who is even worth their salary on the bench unless we play them, Phil experiments to see who will be ready to play come playoff time, the guy has a pretty nice resume I think he knows what he’s doing.

    And Ray I dont expect a blowout but a nice 8 point lead at halftime is what I expected and would have liked to see, without Melo the Nuggets should be struggling to score but unfortunately the Lakers defense has been giving them help.

  80. I know many on this forum have called for Kobe to sit out some games.

    This here game goes quite a way towards explaining why Kobe is a player, PJ is a coach, and we are mere fans, typing away madly.

  81. I dunno where would have been if Kobe didnt play but i know from watching this game that we lost leads when he didnt touch the ball and we also lost the lead when he was on the bench. I understand the triangle calls for the ball to go into the post but our post players need to recieve that ball with conviction. If they are going to run their mouths in the media they need to be assertive.

    And how about the little things, like defend the baseline and not give up and 1s. Its a choice, foul hard without giving up a flagrant or just give up the layup. Stop making people like Nazr Mohammed and Hasheem Thabeet look like all stars. We need people who are willing to do what it takes to get us the win. Stop worrying about touches and get some boards, some blocks and lets blow our games wide open

  82. I think those types of expectations aren’t realistic. Just because Melo is sitting down doesn’t mean the Nuggets will just sit down and walk away. They know this is a playoff preview.

    R, i am one to ask for kobe to sit, just so he can be 100% healthy. But I also know we’d lose a few games if he sat, but so long as he were healthy for the playoffs, i’d be ok with it.

    Here’s what I expect most games. Ball movement, execution, and people working their butt off. if those things happen, then we get wins.

  83. Nice finish to the half for the Lakers. Gasol is doing a good on the boards and Kobe is hitting his shots tonight.

    Defense needs improvement and do not leave Billups wide open

  84. 84. That’s what I have said about our bigs since the first Cleveland game. Look against average teams with average to good big men Pau and Bynum look stellar but against great to allstar big men they may or may not show up. Bynum played well against Boston but then threw in a stinker against Memphis and Pau really hasn’t played like himself for a while now. If you want to demand the ball do something with it CONSISTENTLY to prove you deserve to have it in your hands. Because if Pau doesnt look certain with the ball then the guards wont feed him and they will expect Kobe to constantly bail the team out, people should never just blame Kobe for shooting because Kobe only shoots like that when he is either A. On fire or B. Feeling like it’s necessary in order for the team to win. When the Lakers have trouble scoring they always run one set, and that’s give the ball to Kobe and get the heck out of the way.

    Also I would say give the ball more to Bynum because he is money in the bank usually, but in this game and Memphis he hasnt been able to stay on the floor because of foul trouble, so he needs to play D and rebound before worrying about scoring because thats where we need him most.

  85. Bench:

    LAL – 16 (5 players)

    DEN – 16 (2 players, Birdman and JR Smith) + an extra 4 (Lawson)

  86. #78,
    Whatever is on that paper is not taking the gigantic chip on the Nuggets’ collective shoulder into account then. 🙂 This is their chance to prove that last year’s play-off run was not a fluke, that they really are that good and that they really deserved to be there.

    The nuggets have Nene and the Birdman, two big guys who are fearless in the paint and have no qualms or hesitation about playing a very physical in-your-face kind of basketball, and we all know that makes Bynum timid on defense and Gasol timid on offense, because one of them is scared of getting injured and the other is too light-weight to be able to push back. Add a lack of reliable outside shooting and a recent tendency not to execute either offense or defense under pressure to the above, and this is not an easy or obvious win by any stretch.

    This is the team that gave us a serious run for it in the conference finals. What have the Lakers done since then that made us expect a blow-out?

  87. Honestly, I don’t think Fish is our worst finisher around the rim, surprisingly enough (due to his Chinesse snickers as PJ thinks) I give the “award” to Ron, he looks akward around the rim, with those strange shots that he does above his shoulder.

  88. There is no surprise that this game is close. its gonna be fairly close til the end, but the lakers should take it.

  89. 82 Lakers8884, The day I see a full roster laker team playing the “Pau or Andrew” along with Powell, Brown, Sasha, Farmar crew IN THE PLAYOFFS* is the day I am convinced this team’s championship window was abruptly slammed shut.

    Ray 80, What if you saw Tiger Woods being incisted to use a wooden driver by his caddy, Stevie Williams? Wouldn’t you feel, as a fan that you are watching a tournament being thrown away by bad decisions apposed to lack of talent. Well, I for one feel that way when I watch games like this. What if we could have blown it out with at least 2-3 three starter in at all time but instead we let them hang around with our expirament.

  90. I feel the same way Jeremy, all I was saying right now Phil is figuring out which 2 or 3 players will play off the bench come playoff time because in the playoffs we all know rotations become tighter and starters play the majority of the minutes. I get the feeling Phil only trusts Lamar, Luke, Farmar and Brown so that’s who I expect to see and that’s it.

  91. Go LAKERS! One strong push…

    Kobe just likes pain…admirable, definition of professional

  92. If Chauncey plays this well in the playoffs Denver will be hard to beat, because he was rather average last year, Melo and JR did most of the scoring.

  93. well somebody better guard chauncey. can kobe take this task?

  94. Much agreed Lakers8884, I just wish we only kept two of the bench guys in at a time. This game would’ve been over.

  95. Seriously, some of the expectations on here are very strange indeed. This Lakers team is not exactly miles ahead of the rest of the league in terms of talent. We have 1 superstar, 1 All-Star, 3 pretty good players, and the rest are all question marks. Yet some people are shocked that we can’t blow out a Denver team that is 7-4 without Carmelo.

    I’m not saying this team isn’t championship calibre, but I think the talent level is a bit overrated by some.

  96. Lisa, it’s the black and yellow makes that shoe the Bruce Lee edition. Do your homework.

  97. Fish can not guard chauncey they have to get him out of there. He is getting torched

  98. I hate listening to Mark Jackson.

  99. How is that not a technical or flagrant on Graham?

  100. Is that Ron’s 1st T of the season?

  101. Kobe with 8 rebounds to this point is nice to see.

  102. Agreed Joel, the rest of the league is catching up in terms of talent, the Lakers may be superior to some right now but not all, that is why they cannot expect to come out and turn it on whenever they feel like it, unless they are playing the Nets.

  103. Can you believe that basket that Kobe just made, unbelievable…

  104. Kobe is getting mauled tonight. I usually get annoyed with the yapping at the refs, but he has every right tonight.

  105. Joel,

    When you win a championship, we all know that the expectations the following year are pretty much high, especially when you consider an upgrade/downgrade of Artest/Ariza.

    But, you’re right. Two 7-footers, a very versatile power-forward, a former DPOY, and two veteran-savvy players with 8 rings combined is a bit overrated.

    Here we are knowing Billups has the hottest hand… and apparently the Lakers don’t think so.

  106. Kobe getting a long rest due to foul trouble, should be ready to play all of the 4thQ

  107. Lakers8884, I agree, but conversely I also think we should be careful (not you in particular) not to always presume that the Lakers are ‘bored’ or ‘flipping the switch’ when they have a bad game.

    In other news, Kobe is getting mauled out there.

  108. Man, Billups is just in a zone.

  109. It sure would be nice if one our guys makes the decision to face guard Chauncey when he doesn’t have the ball.

  110. 8 of 10 from 3. yeah someone needs to get on him.

  111. why does phil insist on putting sasha in there? hes hurting us on offense and defense.

  112. 108

    It is overrated when you consider people were talking 70 wins before the season. Not to mention, one of those ‘veteran-savvy players’ should be playing 15 minutes a night at most.

  113. Billups is in a zone, but would it be so hard to try and stay close to his hip? We’re in a recovery position on most of his 3s, as opposed to forcing him to shoot over outstretched arms.

  114. Billups is playing out of his mind tonight. Say all you want about Melo being out, but Billups is more than making up for it. We played a 6 game series with them and kept him relatively in check when it counted. I’m not going to get worked up over a hot night.

  115. UM WOW, will someone force Chauncey Billups off the 3 point line, TERRIBLE defense by the guards. After he hit 2, he should have been forced to drive or pass or at least force a tough jump shot, not shoot whatever and whenever he feels like it. That’s something you learn when your first learning basketball, fundamental common sense defense.

  116. Might I suggest that forcing Billups to put the ball on the floor might be a good idea? How can the Laker guards not get this concept?

  117. Billups and Lawson in a playoff series is not something I’d look forward to.

  118. kobe gets mauled 3 consecutive times and the moment he makes contact, they call a foul on him…. every right to be upset.

  119. Also, I apologize for the jinx. I said earlier that Sasha finally started playing under control.

    I will now go hang my head in shame.

  120. We are at the mercy of opponents guards. Seems as if only Kobe can cover them, which is enough to drive all of the Laker fans insane.

    Getting worked from outside by Chauncey? Hey, I have an idea, run out on him and knock him on his butt… Just a thought.

  121. Wow – and to think the other day we were deriding the “hot hand theory” in here…

  122. FINALLY someone gets it on the defensive end, Artest did a bad job going underneath the screen but the next 2 times he did a PERFECT job on Chauncey.

  123. Phil – We were actually deriding the academics who don’t believe in the hot hand theory.

    Personally I think you have to believe in the hot hand if you watch a lot of ball.

  124. Patented Sasha foul 60 miles from the basket.

  125. I mean other than Kobe, is anyone going to step up?

  126. Sometimes the other team just plays really well. This feels like one of those nights. It also feels like a night where Kobe will try to go off in the 4th.

  127. Reed, this feels like one of those games where if KOBE doesn’t go off in the 4th the Lakers have no chance of winning.

  128. Seriously, out of all the years he’s played in the league Chauncey has NEVER had a game like this. Maybe it’s just our night.

  129. Sometimes I literally cannot watch Sasha play…

    That was a great rugby tackle. Sadly, this is basketball.

    And watching Shannon Brown go 1 on 5 with 18 seconds left on the shot clock hurts my feelings. I put up with Kobe doing that because, well, he is Kobe. Shannon Brown is not Kobe. Stop playing like him, please.

  130. I smell a buzzer-beater. Ha!

    Fun fact: Kobe has made 5 game-winning shots already this season. He had one in every month.

  131. Chauncey has to sit at some point this quarter right?

  132. Snoopy – I’m with you. Anyone who watches the game knows that it happens. I just appreciated the timing of the conversation with Billups’ performance tonight.

    And man, what a signiture foul from Sasha there. Way late in the quarter, where the ONLY way the other team can score is via a foul.

  133. i know this was 2 hours ago but i think ill blame this on fish. leave billups wide open for 3 three times to start the game… and you get him going.

    and for what.. to double down on graham, andersen and nene.

  134. Shannon Brown doesnt look to run the offense when he is out there. He runs the AI play – dribble dribble dribble and shoot

  135. Can someone please explain to me the Tiger woods analogy that someone posted to me earlier? Cuz it sounded like the analogy was Phil is making bad decisions with the substitutions and that the starters should stay in the whole game?

    Say what you will about the Lakers not playing well or what not, but give the Nuggets credit, they are playing tough, Billups is hitting everything. And now the Lakers can’t seem to make more than one pass in any possession.

    As Chick Hearn used to say (a lot), that anyone can beat anyone in the NBA. That’s why he liked the league so much.

  136. You know Lakergirl that may be true but at least the guy is trying out there, guys like Lamar and Pau look like they dont even care right now, Lamar may have hit that three but we dont need him there we need him down low he should have his fingerprints all over this game.

  137. Most likely we are going down, because the shots that they’re neting shouldn’t be falling at all, and when the other team makes absurd baskets in that fashion, it’s not only hard to pair up with, it’s also quiet impossible to put up with, so at the end you lose because you got demoralized…

    Explain me Eric what should Pau do from the bench…I thought that while on the bench you weren’t allowed to do anything, maybe I was wrong and he’s not trying hard enough while being seated…

  138. Agree with Reed and goat. This just isn’t a typical Billups night, and on some of those Fish couldn’t have gotten any closer.

    Kobe’s getting mauled, but some of the Nuggets are too.They’re letting them play.

  139. Kobe’s right. “Even Pau wouldn’t have made a difference.”

  140. Kobe aside, the difference in guard play between these 2 teams is very worrying.

  141. Does shannon ever pass?

  142. Imagine a world in which the Lakers would be able to stop point guards and the pick and roll. It’d be like bizzaro world.

  143. So when we going to get a PG who can run the triangle, play defense against quick guards, and shoot better than 2-9?

  144. man, bynum had GREAT post position against Nene, but Brown declines the easy entry pass in favor for a bricked J.

  145. Must be nice when your team’s star can go to the bench and you can extend the lead

  146. Brown is playing terribly tonight. And you can take that to the bank (the bank is apparently open) because Mark Jackson has talked about what a great game he is playing…

    Really Shannon? You would rather have Bynum clear out of the post so you can go 1 on 2 and take a pull up jumper from 21 feet behind the backboard? Really?

  147. i’d hate to see another espn article about us having to worry about our lakers after the cavs and nuggets do this to us.

  148. I know PJ is not worried but man – Denver (and Portland) got our number. They better get their butts in gear after the all star break. I want to see some games where the Lakers actually show up.

  149. Since I can’t seem to find my easy button, I’m opting to press the panic one instead.

  150. I’m sorry, but Mark Jackson is making a bad night worse.

    Every time someone scores, his ‘advice’ to the guy guarding him is basically to stop the other guy from scoring.

    Lawson gets into the lane? “You can’t allow Lawson to get into the lane like that.”

    Nene goes left? “You gotta understand he likes to go to his left hand.”

    My head hurts.

  151. Why does this team insist on shooting outside jumpers?

  152. What was the song they were playing as they went to commercial? Solid beat.

    That Wade commercial is sick, by the way. Weird, but sick.

  153. Ugh…it’s like Jordy and Shannon believe they have to match the long jumpers that Smith and Billups are making for the team to win. Umm, no. Your job is to throw it into our bigs.

  154. This is just one of those games.

    The Nuggets are absolutely ON FIRE right now and hitting everything they throw up. They’re getting all the whistles. And our bigs are playing extremely soft. (I swear the next time I see Pau DUNK THE BALL will be the first.)

    And our point guards continue to absolutely kill us defensively and in their decision making on offense. That pull up three off the dribble going to his left early in the shot clock by Farmar was an atrociously bad shot.

  155. JR Smith is taking some terrible shots – and they’re all going in.

  156. The Nuggets are just a better team than we are right now. Give them their props and hope that we can get it together by playoff time.

  157. Why oh why doesn’t Mitch get a quick PG who can play D, drive the lane and make baskets from the outside? Or at least 2 of the 3!!!! It’s been a glaring defect for years and they still don’t do anything about it!!!!

  158. Karl, because have you seen any Lakers do anything inside that would give them the confidence to feed the ball down low????? Same trends keep coming up against good teams

  159. looking at how hot denver is shooting, we should make kenyon martin take the jumper from hereon…

    not one of our par nights to say the least…

    hate to say this, kobe might decide to dominate the ball…

  160. Well, it looks like we’re going with the Sasha option to help close the gap…


  161. Yea, Denver is on fire – but when the heck have the Lakers ever been on fire this season? Maybe one game against Dallas? Other than that – every game has been a freaking struggle!!!

  162. Phil Jackson and D Fisher will single handly be the reason we will have to lay game 7 of the Finals in Cleveland!! Bad decisions! Why in the world would u take Kobe out the game when we were up by 8 and Kobe was on fire?

  163. @ Jim C. There u go. It was his first.


    The Lakers haven’t had a quality win all season. The Boston one doesn’t really count because that team was in a free fall.

    As currently constructed, this team AIN’T WINNING A TITLE THIS YEAR.

    There, I said it.

  165. NOW they start calling fouls?

  166. I mean seriously Mark Jackson has been annoying all night but he is right, why doesnt Pau trying to finish inside that way everytime?

  167. AND they don’t even have Carmello in!!! WTF – we ain’t beating this team in the playoffs.

  168. The guards should have one job: get the ball inside. I cant believe Brown has the gall to wave Bynum away. Other than Kobe, the guard play has been shocking tonight.

  169. its impossible to come back from a deficit when the opposing team cant miss from the perimeter and you’re team misses point blank shots…..

    they shoulda put kobe / artest on billups after he hit his 5th three…. those last 3 or so took the air out of our team….

    need a miracle to come back from this…

    sasha is like what 0-5? why isnt artest in???

  170. I am purely upset in the lakers’ decisions this game. If we pull this game out it would be nothing short of a mamba miracle.

  171. love or hate him, 24 will have to carry us and hope pau asserts himself by inserting himself down low.

  172. Burgundy – I think a lot of us have been saying that ALL season. This team even with a good record is honestly pathetic. Can’t beat the great teams on our own hc. Forget winning in Clev or Denver or even Portland in the playoffs.

  173. Did we give up the offensive board of Billups’ missed triple because everyone just expected it to go in?

  174. lack of outside shooting exposed in this shootout…lights out indeed…

  175. @ Karl: It has been a pretty big defect the last couple of years. I’m amazed we made the finals and won a championship and have a great record this year.

    @KOBmoney: seriously?

    Half this blog wants kobe to pass the ball to get others involved and not make kobe shoot as much, and the other half complains when we take him out.

    Lakers are playing some good defense. from what i’m seeing. Denver is hitting everything. everything!!!

    And sasha is getting a lot of time tonight, but not getting the results his advocates want.

  176. Reed is being very benevolent with the comments tonight. Or busy banging his head against the wall.

  177. Time for PJ to do his 4 bench player and 1 starter substitution. Don’t we all love it when he does that.

  178. By the way, how sad is it to watch Sasha, after a bunch of you guys were pimping him getting more playing time, completely choking with his big opportunity.

    I remember in a previous thread Zephid shot me a sarcastic post saying, essentially, I didn’t know what I was talking about, when I said if Sasha got meaningful playing time, he would shoot 20% from three.

    Looks like you were right, Zephid.

    Sasha is shooting 0% from three with meaningful minutes. I gave him too much credit.

  179. Say what you want, but I believe that Fisher hits that three pointer that Sasha just bricked.

  180. Snoopy – i get the feeling this is the way it’s going to be from now on

  181. 160 – I believe Mitch inquired about Deron Williams, and was promptly told to stfu.

  182. Snoopy – I think if Reed is like the rest of us, it’s probably option B.

  183. nice bite to us fans not to be too preemptive about “taking revenge” on the next team (looking north to portland).

    and the way they took it to a road weary spurs team reminds me of what they can do to us tomorrow.

    can’t be too concerned a fan.

    needless to say, our offense isn’t elite right now. this used to keep us closer than this last year. then again, sometimes it’s just about who wants it more.

  184. Sasha gets bood lol. He should, that guy has done nothing for the team the last two seasons. Cant make open shots and makes stupid fouls on defense.

  185. Denver shooting 67% from three. You don’t beat teams when they do that.

    Let’s not overreact. Kobe is banged up and Denver is as hot as any team we’ve seen all year. We’ve got some flaws, but plenty of time to work it out.

    I almost felt bad for Sasha for being so frustrated mentally and then I realized that he has Sharapova and is not frustrated in other ways.

  186. Man- I am praying that PJ is letting us lose so that Mitch will get a new PJ for the Lakers – or a shooter who can consistently hit the outside shot. We need some fix!!!! This team aint even getting to the finals as is.

  187. Other than Kobe honestly nobody has played well tonight, Pau may have 16 boards which I love but he has not been efficient on the offensive end for how close he is to the rim when scoring.

  188. I’m a lawyer, so censoring comes hard for me…

    And I’m trying to keep a log of some stuff for a post.

    Maybe we’ll clean things up after the game.

  189. How are we going to trade junk like Sasha when he gets his chances and blows it. No team wants him.

  190. is it that hard to realize that JR Smith is going to dribble right?

  191. Nice reverse ShanWOW, and a nice 3 pointer also.

  192. Karl, do u not want to give denver any credit at all?

    They are playing insane…

  193. Geezy freaking petes. I have never seen a 38-12 team that has made me want to punch my monitor as much as this team.

  194. Reed – I preferred the image of you thinking about removing a post, then realising you at least 50% agreed with it, then banging your head against the wall in frustration…

    But your explanation’s fine too.

  195. well, denver ain’t shooting better than this.

    how are the la fans in staples taking this?

  196. Defensively this game was a joke, make excuses for how hot Denver was shooting but poor defense is the reason for this loss, you could eliminate half their 3’s by better team defense. Embarassing loss no matter what excuses you may want to throw around AND now we go to Portland. GREAT

  197. oh man jr smith…

  198. The Lakers fully deserved that. Ugh.

  199. The crowd deserves a full refund and a free ticket for another home game after this embarrassing defeat.

    But credit the Nuggets for playing with purpose and being on fire. They were the better team on both ends of the floor tonight. And I didn’t even mention they were missing their best player. Wow.

  200. 184 – LOL!!!! I know we can’t get him but I love the idea!! And then add Ray Allen (however he sucks in the playoffs) for our outside shooting. He would be the Brett Favre of the NBA.

  201. Curt.. Darius.. is it okay to be concerned about this team yet? @

  202. Can someone tell me who the old man dressed like a witch is that just talked to Billups courtside after his interview? He always sits front row and is the strangest looking creature I’ve seen.

  203. wow, 15-22 from 3 for denver. you can’t win if they’re shooting 68% from 3. that’s impressive.

  204. I can’t believe some of the overreacting, whiny, petulant comments tonight. I really can’t. Denver hit so many difficult shots that I was literally laughing out loud when they went in. Some games, you just tip your cap and move on. Tonight was one of those nights. Instead, people want make it seem like career nights from players and shooting over 60% from the field are the norm and that the Lakers aren’t one of the best teams in the league. Please.

  205. Is it too early for a perspective comment?

    As was said earlier, when a team shoots nigh on 70% from deep, nobody’s going to beat them, especially one like ours that struggles to defend against guards at the best of times.

    So a frustrating loss (especially after being up in the 3rd and looking pretty solid before Billups went bezerk), but as usual, there’s still a lot of games to go.

  206. despite seeing all this, i don’t really see denver beating the lakers unless they blow us out 4 times. they just don’t have the chops come playoff time to win the close games.

    i thought sasha was already at rock bottom but it looks like it got even worse today. his confidence is shot.

    and all this “they didnt even have melo” talk bugs me. whatever, the lakers actually might have won if he played!

  207. Yes – Denver is absolutely awesome!! That is what wins championships. Total props to their team. Now if the Lakers would show some hustle, good D, total effort, I’d be praising them too.

  208. The Nuggets played better, harder, and with more heart, than the Lakers did. They earned this win.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t hate losing to them, but they worked for it. Credit to the Nuggets.

  209. The post after this loss will be an interesting read for sure, what happened and why?

  210. Lakers take 14 more shots, have 18 O-rebounds and see the Nuggets go 15-22 from three point range and have to go to Portland tomorrow. UGH

    Maybe they will shock everyone and win.

  211. DON’T PANIC.

    and never go anywhere in the universe without your towel.

  212. So what’s the reason now that the Lakers lost? Without Melo!

  213. Darius… that 60% shooting didn’t just miraculously appear out of thin air, it was a result of capital “P” poor defense. Believe me, I understand the “let’s not declare the season over before the all-star break has even happened” argument- I agree. But it’s hardly a shock that people are frustrated after seeing this team drop games they should be winning, over and over again. So far, our record against elite competition….well, it ain’t elite. And that’s troubling.

  214. Schulman had it right – Denver has 6 or 7 nights like this a year. These guys are hitting 3’s in our faces; this is the exception rather than the norm. Think of Sasha in 08. That’s kind of what the Nuggets were tonight. Take it as a lesson and move on.

    One thing to come out of tonight – a small strike against the push for more Sasha PT. I’ve been pushing for it as well, and I was hopeful when Sasha began the game under control. He was pesky without fouling, moved his feet, was somewhat effective defensively, and played under control on offense (by under control, I mean he gave the ball to more capable people). In the 2nd half, he lost some of that restraint. I believe it began when he got his ankles broken on D, and may have pressed a little too much, trying to atone offensively. He had a couple open looks in the 4th, but – nothing. I spent all last year ignorantly optimistic, always believing the next game was when Sasha would revert back to 08 form. I’ve been the same way this year. But the more I see of him, the less faith I have in him.

    I haven’t given up on him. To judge off a 1-game sample is moronic. I’d like to see Sasha get this kind of burn in 10-15 games, and if he continues to produce at this level, I think we can quietly lay our hopes to rest.

  215. Darius – yes, Denver was super hot tonight. But how come so many teams have superstar nights against us. Lakers make superstars out of NBA players we barely even hear of. It’s not just tonight – it happens nearly every game.

  216. That was pretty embarrassing, Darius. You have to admit.

    The Nuggets not only made basically every shot they took, but the Lakers certainly didn’t get in the way of too many.

  217. This team, as currently constructed, is not winning a title this year.

    Enough with the “patience” argument. A championship team would beat Denver, without Melo, at home.

    Denver shot 67% from three because Billups had Fisher guarding him for most of the game.

    The Point Guard position isn’t an “issue,” it’s a full-on emergency.

  218. expect a lot of trade chatter after this loss.

    though it is painful to see a 38-13 (as of date) team to coast through the season this way, there are really some things true to last year’s lakers that are true this year. my only hope is that when they end the script to this drama, they remain on top.

    we also felt at times before that this team wasn’t going to be tough enough but they managed. now, it’s a matter of being sharp enough and that issue has been part of what is apparently their champion dna since last year.

    personnel changes can only go so far people. i swallowed that pill of wisdom thanks to kurt.

    that said, there are issues that are glaring now more than ever…point guard defense is one, outside shooting is another…and to this end i wouldn’t feel that we’d ruin chemistry if we pick up upgrades here and there.

    solid game from pau, but i am looking for the 25-10 gem. bynum wasn’t bringing in the heat to the denver frontline.

    honestly, i am not settled about our chances in portland. they owe us consistent showing and that doesn’t always come in the form of a blowout. just wins, or losses that matter as wins.


  219. I agree, the Nugs were so hot today that it just didn’t matter. I also don’t buy this business of the getting in our heads – we’re the champs. Until they prove they can beat us in a series, that doesn’t change.

    How many bunnies have our guys missed right at the basket these last few games? We really need to finish through the contact, especially the bigs.

  220. Got to give Denver credit, they shot the living daylights out of the ball. What they also proved to me is that they are no doubt the better team right now. They didnt even need Melo. I agree with other posts, the Lakers need a consistent outside shooter who can knock down the 3s. Denver is the much better shooting team. the other thing that bothered me was Nene. He absolutely bullied and owned Bynum. If you ask me, Bynum is a pretty weak defender.

  221. @Lakers8884, I watched the same game as you right? Cuz i saw a lot of contested 3s out there and they were still made. They were shooting so hot that K mart decided to shoot a 3 pointer.

    @Darius, with all the comments the past few games, I’m starting to think the Lakers are the Clippers. If people knew nothing about basketball and read these comments, they would have thought that the Lakers are the worst team in the league.


    And some people are saying that we aren’t a good team? Pau is soft. Do you guys realize that before the Lakers got Pau we were getting beat? Since Pau got here no 3 game losing streaks.

    Nuggets were insane. Good team defense is helping when someone penetrates and letting people shoot from three because thats not a high percentage shot. Nuggets killed the 3. Killed it. Let’s give them some credit. They ain’t bums over there.

  222. I totally agree, Karl. now the lakers need some work. there’s still time.

    denver was on fire.

  223. #214
    Tipping my hat at the Douglas Adams reference 🙂

  224. 209 – I disagree. Denver has learned how to beat us and they are doing it without Carmello…on our hc. They blew us away first game – now we are 0-2. Even in the playoffs last year we just got lucky against them.

  225. >plenty of time to work it out.

    51 games gone.. 31 left.. and nothing ever seems to change.

  226. also, i hate this Pau is soft crap and he doesn’t hustle. 9 offensive rebounds.

    Darius, thanks for calling people out. I’m more frustrated with the comments during games than the actual game. Denver is not shooting like that through a 7 game series.

  227. I’m not going to overreact but four issues keep coming up in games against great teams, that need to be addressed.

    1. Inconsistent effort on defense

    2. The bench play against the elite teams benches

    3. Play of the Lakers big men, against elite teams, one or the other cannot show up, we need them BOTH.

    4. PG play, but that’s the most obvious

    And offensively, the team was fine tonight it was just a lack of solid defense. Defensive spurts against good teams wont win games, it has to be over the whole game.

  228. Exactly, Burgundy! I’m really starting to hope that we get bounced from the playoffs in the first round just to hear all these fans still come on here and say “no need to panic”, “no need to worry”, “it’s still early” even after our season ends. What a joke! No, the season is not over and things can still be corrected (well, maybe not), but the “oh well, we lost” attitude is getting annoying. That’s the problem with this team. I’m not sure they really care. If you lose even one game, you should still be concerned. At least concerned enough to figure out what went wrong and try to fix it! It doesn’t mean you need to be at the edge of a cliff ready to jump, but enough with the nonchalant attitude! It’s getting annoying!

  229. Darius, with all due respect, we’ve had enough evidence at this point to be allowed to be more than concerned about this Laker team.

    These aren’t whiny, petulant posts. These are fans who looked at a team coming off a championship, that only changed one player (and that player was a defensive upgrade), and expected great things.

    This team has not delivered great things. The first loss to Denver was forgiveable, this one was not.

    And the “they had a career shooting night” argument is bogus. EVERY SINGLE FREAKING POINT GUARD THE LAKERS PLAY HAS A CAREER SHOOTING NIGHT.

    The Lakers are currently giving 30+ minutes a night to the 3rd worst starter in the league, according to Hollinger’s Per.

  230. I am begging anyone pimping for more Sasha playing time to consider that this game is NOT a one-time thing for him. He has been this atrociously bad for nearly two full years now.

    He can’t shoot. He can’t play defense without fouling forty feet from the hoop. His decision making with the ball in his hands is awful. Oh, and he can’t pass or rebound.

    The only reason why anyone is even considering giving him playing time is because the rest of our guards are so atrocious. Sasha wouldn’t be getting significant minutes on most mid-level college teams.

  231. dave in hillsboro February 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    The silver lining: now we get to win in Portland.

  232. @Karl, we get so many people having great nights against us cuz we’re the champs. And we have a target on our backs. So they come out pumped.

    Like I referenced to earlier: Chick Hearn used to say that any team can beat any team any given night.

  233. Looks like the Lakers are like Cleveland last season, struggling on the elite teams… They need to be better than this if they want to repeat.

  234. Ray, the problem is the Lakers know that just as well as we do so why come out in the beginning of the game with poor effort and play as if you dont care and can turn it on whenever you want? There is a sense of overconfidence and pride on this team right now that is NOT good for the team.

  235. Josh,
    I missed the first part of the game, but read the comments and got a firm impression that the Lakers were not defending that well and leaving shooters to help/double team when staying home would have been the better option. So, I understand what you’re saying – poor defense often leads to good shooting. That said, the Nuggs shot so many step back jumpers in the 4th quarter and made several double clutch layups in traffic that, while I give them credit for making them, I don’t think it’s realistic to say those were good shots or shots that they could depend on from game to game. Denver had a great shooting night. They deserve credit for that. But while I’m giving them credit I’m not going to pile on the Lakers. And I’m also not going to overreact. In a way, this game reminded me of game 3 of the Finals when the Magic could not miss. Was that the norm or was it a fluke? To me this game showed what Denver is capable of. But I do not believe that they can play at that level for every game. I just don’t. In the same way that I don’t think the Lakers will play this poorly consistently. Just like I don’t think the Lakers will play *their* best game every night.

  236. dave i HOPE so…

  237. That bank that Lawson made when the game was still close pretty much spelled the night for the Lakers. I suppose this is what it’s like to be the hunted and not the hunter. I can’t imagine having to play a game with playoff level intensity every single night. Other teams only have to deal with that once in a while. For other teams, every game against the Lakers is a playoff level game.

    I think that the level of expectation we all have for the Lakers to be a dominant force during the regular season every year is perhaps a bit high. At least for this particular team. They don’t have the type of drive that some of those teams in the past had. Yes, they’re still good enough that beating them 4 of 7 would be nigh impossible, but we all expect that they’ll sweep every team and set unattainable records. We yearn for something we’ve never seen, when in reality all we want is something we’ve pretty much gotten used to.

  238. Well said, Mimsy. Partly it was just their night, but I credit them for their aggressiveness and mentality. I hope this just makes us take it to them even harder in the playoffs.

    Darius – Sadly at some point I think you have to let it go. It is sad when the comments get so frustrating that it saps the fun out of a great forum. That’s what my Reed-banging-his-head-against-the-wall comment meant. It wasn’t referring to the game, it was referring to him having to sift through the posts tonight.

    But everyone has the right to their own opinion, I guess. I try to abstain from sniping back, because it just turns ugly. But more often than not, I, like our guards running the fast break, break my restraint.

  239. I don’t think it’s time to panic, but we should consider some changes.

    The defense on the 3-pointers wasn’t that bad, we can’t really be expected to guard Chauncey to the halfcourt line, and in a 7-game series the Lakers would be perfectly happy to see JR Smith take those very same one-on-one jumpshots.

    I did think, though, what are our point guards doing to push Billups when he’s playing defense? If essentially he only has to worry about the scoring end, then he’s going to score above average.

    But keep in mind, we lost by 13 and Billups scored TWENTY over his season average. Poor defense can’t explain that much of a jump. It’s normal statistical clustering (call it the hot hand or don’t).

    Sasha and Shannon both made bad decisions in the second half. It sure would be nice to move some folks to upgrade the perimeter.

    Still, we’ve got the 2nd best record in the league, and that’s with teams bringing their A game every night, and the post-championship malaise that hits every team (if Cleveland should win at some point, I’ll be very interested to see what happens to their chemistry and swagger in the following season).

  240. 228 – I agree with that but the Cavs also have a target on their backs and they aint losing like the Lakers. I absolutely can’t stand them but you gotta give them credit for playing so hard and wiping other teams off the court. They have definitely improved over last year and will give the Lakers a run for their money if we even get that far.

  241. let’s look at how this team is presently constructed — once you get past the top six players, they just aren’t very good. and, that six includes Fisher, Odom, Bynum…

  242. @Eric, I don’t get that sense at all. i remember that sense during the shaq years, where everyone was saying they will play well when they need to. I don’t get that sense from this team. I sense frustration on this team actually.

    Lakers scored 30 in the first, 34 in the second. So I don’t get your argument that they didn’t start out playing well. Denver got hot right at the third quarter. and continued on. 68.2% from 3. I’ve watched enough games to know that those types of shooting nights are few and far between, regardless of the defense. And I didn’t think the closeout defense was that bad in the second half by the lakers.

    This isn’t going to be last season’s lakers that had an 11 Game lead in the West. This is going to be more like 2 years ago when everyone was really close to one another in the west.

    I agree with Pig Miller, either the expectations for this team are too high (unrealistic) or the expectations on the other teams in the league are really low.

  243. I think “mistake” is the best way to describe this game. Maybe the team thought that if they can beat Boston, they can beat Denver well enough to have playing room by giving Sasha triple the minutes he deserves, letting powell play a second quarter that is very easily in reach for the Nugs’, and taking Kobe out when he’s wearing mamba goggles. Maybe we weren’t quick (mentally) enough to notice they were having a big shooting night or that Nene would have had problems passing out of a double team that came from the front court weak side. Whatever it was it was a mistake not a lack of talent. We can take the Nuggets we just have to be smarter than them.

    Last thought- Big matchups in the regular season are usually downplayed on their importance in reflection to the postseason. If we don’t turn this around from the all-star break on through the end of the season, it will be a BIG impact on this team. If you have no history of playing well against any of your real competition, it is a major set back. Just look at how the second war in Iraq went (JK).

  244. @Burgundy

    “And the “they had a career shooting night” argument is bogus. EVERY SINGLE FREAKING POINT GUARD THE LAKERS PLAY HAS A CAREER SHOOTING NIGHT.”

    Bit of hyperbole there. I looked at the last 20 or so box scores, the PG has an above average night against us about 1 in 5 games.

  245. Karl, being the hungry up-and-comers making a name for yourself every night is completely different than being the champions, who always tread water until the playoffs.

    That’s happened with just about every champion including the repeat winners. The only exception I can recall is the 72-game Bulls.

  246. Here is my god honest rating of the season up until this part of the season for the Lakers. And I would welcome anyone to disagree with me, or correct me if I’m wrong and I would really love to hear what you Kurt and Darius have to say about this but here goes.

    The Lakers are a better more talented team than last year, the team that won the title.

    However, aside from the Nets almost EVERY team in the league has gotten better, most have had drastic changes to make them much better than last year.

    So it would seem that the Lakers do not expect they have to work as hard as they did last year when they won the title, when in FACT they will have to work much much harder to win it this year because there is no longer a guarantee. The rest of the league has caught up in terms of talent and many of the Lakers are not getting any younger. Nobody owes them anything in the league just because they are the defending Champs, and it seems many times they feel they are owed respect instead of going out and earning it.

    With that being said it isn’t time for panic but there are many issues that need to be fixed, and some I think can be fixed but others can not (sadly I think we are stuck with our current bench due to the salary issues). I just hope losses like these remind the guys that they need to bring their A game on a consistent basis, because the saying is quite true anyone can beat anyone else on a given night.

    Now on to a Portland road win I hope…….

  247. I think we should blow up the team completely and start over. I mean if the Lakers can’t beat the Nuggets with Melo out then why even try???


    Denver played a great game against us. They took advantage of at times lax defense, Chauncey blew up with the best night of his career, and J.R. Smith was making whatever he wanted. Even with a +7 advantage on the boards, and +10 more offensive rebounds.

    The defense was not a complete disaster as people had made it out to be. Ron played some solid D on Chauncey, but he was in the zone. There was no chance of stopping him tonight.

    It is much harder to defend a championship than to win a championship. Take the game with a grain of salt and move on. The Lakers have only 31 games left with a tough one at Portland tomorrow. Let’s hope that the Lakers come out with a more sustained effort on defense.

  248. So what – Lakers have to go 0-4 against the nuggets for others to start being concerned? We probably aren’t going to win in Denver so we’re lucky to go 1-3. Hmmm. 0-2 against Cavs.

    And Karl just wants to get it in his players heads that they can beat the Lakers. With that confidence in the playoffs they will be gunning for us – and at this rate they will win.

    And then the “glass half full” fans will be saying, “geezzzz, I didn’t see this coming”.
    It’s ok – I enjoyed the season because we had the 2nd best record. Say we play Portland in the first round – yikes!!!!

  249. Here’s the problems in a nutshell! Worries are misguided!

    1. Why does Bynum worry about getting more touches instead of concerning himself with blocks and rebounds. Wait your turn younsta!

    2. Why does Pau worry about pleasing people by playing hard in spurts. He’s soft and that’s all it is to it. Work with it.

    3. Why does Shannon worry about proving he can score instead of running the offence?

    4. Why Farmer worry about out-doing Shannon instead of running the offense?

    5. Fish needs to worry!!

    6. Artest betta worry about gettin the fire he had in Houston back. Cognac?

    7. Sasha stop worrying about being traded- no one will pick u up now!

    8. Phil should worry about being out-coached instead of when he will retire

    9. Odom stop worrying about how well you hide the fact you Believe you should be a starter

    10. Oh Kobe- the Great one. Do you have a worry bone at all? Well you Should! Please worry if Mitch will get you a reliable PG or knock down shooter!

    I’m not worried at all. I know we will be in the playoff and handle our business. Kobe is thecreason I’m spool confident. No worry Be Happy!

  250. I remember when Stu said, during one of those pregame key points, not to let opposing players have career nights. That was against Charlotte, I believe, when Mohammed went ballistics on the Lakers. Now Chauncey Billups has a career high agains tthe defending champs that wants to repeat?

    I don’t believe I’m overreacting when I say that we cannot beat Cleveland in a 7-game series, homecourt or not (likely not), in our current state. And, as for Denver, I’m not even too sure. PJ said in today’s LA Times that Hamblen (responsible for scouting Denver) told him that the Nuggets believe that they are better than the Lakers and have the Lakers’ number, and that they play like it. I can’t disagree.

  251. Ray, if it wasnt for Kobe being on fire in the first quarter the Lakers would have been down alot in the quarter because as a team they did come out flat.

  252. Burgundy,
    I don’t think I said that fans couldn’t be concerned. Nor do I think fans can’t/shouldn’t be frustrated. I’m frustrated. I see issues that concern me. But if someone is actually taking a big picture look at this team, are the conclusions that the Lakers aren’t a good team? They may not have been a good team tonight, but I can say with absolute certainty that the Lakers are a good team. It’s when fans decide that one game (or our worst performances) constitute what this team is, that bothers me. It makes me think that fans can’t accept that the Lakers won’t play their best game every night and at the same time implying that the other teams’ best efforts will be there every night.

    Last season, this team endured so many ups and downs and got pushed to the brink by Houston and were in a dog fight with Denver over the first four games of that series. And now, this season, fans act like because the Lakers won the title that they are now immune to playing poorly. That they’re bullet proof. Kurt, so many times, has spoken about the journey and how it’s that path that is important and not just the reaching of that ultimate goal. Too often I’m seeing people act like the game that is going on that night is game 7 of the Finals and it’s not. Do these games matter? Yes. But I just see a lot of jumping to conclusions. Conclusions that are much too far reaching for a handful of games to actually represent.

  253. Point guard. Horrible

  254. My honest feeling is that the Lakers will win tomorrow, then win at home and lose in Utah.

    They may not even be the number one seed in the conf this year, because they rest on their laurels a little much.

  255. 6. Artest betta worry about gettin the fire he had in Houston back. Cognac?

    You must have missed the part where he nearly threw a punch in the first half.

    My thoughts on that situation where Ron ended up with a technical are that it’s great that he stopped himself from actually punching someone. It’s a bit less great that he needed to stop himself from punching a player on the floor…

    I get that he doesn’t appreciate someone grabbing his shoulder and pulling him downwards when he’s in mid-air making a lay-up. I get that, and support sending a message that it will make him angry. The whole clenched fist going towards head for a split second though… not supporting that so much.

  256. This is a frustrating game, even the last steal of billups, it’s like the nuggets are sending a message, the Lakers cannot easily get out of the west this time.

    Lakers need to work harder because every team they are facing always bring thier game on another level. Anyway, the team should experience this kind of loss so they know what to fix come playoff time and June. Just like last year when the rockets force tha lakers into game 7 and survive a tough 6 games with nuggets. Kobe and Co. manage to win the Championship in 5 games.

  257. Once my #258 gets out of moderation, please imagine a smiley here and there in that comment.

    Also, I have tickets to the game in Utah, so that better not be the one they lose! 🙁

  258. @Karl,

    so you are writing off this season now? You just seem that they wont win this year without seeing a game in the playoffs.

  259. wow, the commenting is pretty ugly around here. the lakers arent playing up to their potential, sure. but they are still on pace to win 61 games. only 2 defending champions have been able to do that in the past 10 years. it isn’t gonna be a walk in the park being the defending champs. and really, just because the lakers are 0-2 against cleveland and denver, people are acting as if there’s zero possibility that the lakers can beat these teams in the playoffs?

    you don’t go from being the favorites to not having a chance just by playing bad regular season games.

  260. What the hell happened second half?

    It was shocking enough to see Kobe on fire in the 1st quarter and the lakers out in front by 11, then even more surprising to come back to the game and see Josh Powell in with the game tied in the 2nd quarter. I thought that with the plays at the end of the half were a sign of good things – Pau dunking with authority, Artest coming up with defensive stops on Smith… Vujacic even made good plays the second quarter I thought, made good entry passes at least.

    So basically from checking the play-by-play, late 3rd quarter the defense just stopped working completely or what? I saw that Billups had a career night and Smith had 27, but seriously, what happened?

    Certainly a disappointing loss for many reasons, but best not to dwell on this, got to take care of business against a depleted Portland team.

  261. Furhermore speaking of holding guys accountable. Phil needs to be checked for his lack if effort in truly coaching- the “they will work work it out” motto is out-dated. Fish should take a good look in the mirror and ask himself what is he contributing ad a starter. Maybe think shot less and assist more (ala Nash). Shannon did his job as a bencher so did Farmer. Odom did his ad a six man. But as starters Ron Bynum and Fish played like garbage.

    I hold Laker fans accountable too! Stop dissin on Kobe shot selections than always looking for him to bail the Lakers out!

    And when will the Best player in the leauge get a foul call? Lebron goes to the hoop and gets a call if another player’s fingernail touches him.

    Kobe getting no respect from Refs! I am cling Stu in the morning voicing my concern. But in case he doesn’t answer I’m prepared to just settle with emailing the refs! Tru laker girl here!

  262. Is the season over? No. But it sure would be nice to see this year’s team nut up and show some of the wannabe champs that the title still comes through L.A.

    I don’t say this solely based on tonight’s loss but on what we’ve seen so far this season: they’ve not won a single “statement” game, other than that early win against Phoenix when people were saying the Suns were back in the hunt. Boston’s more about its reputation than ability these days so a close win there really doesn’t mean as much as it seems on the surface.

    Denver’s slapped the Lakersd twice, as have the Cavs. The Spurs punked them, they dropped a game against the Blazers’ leftovers; and needed miracles to beat the Bucks, Kings and Cavs.

    Call me a pessimist all you like, but there are way more reasons for concern than there signs this team has the stones to win it all. That can change in the next (hopefully) 50 to 60 games, but based on what theyKve shown so far this year I don’t think we could presume the Lakers will win the West, let alone the Finals.

    Every champ has a target on its back, and repeating isn’t easy. But last season was fueled by a desire to prove that the Lakers were better than they showed in the 08 Finals. This season’s Lakers are fueled by …. what exactly? That drive isn’t there, at least not yet. The sense of common purpose is lacking.

  263. You need to take a look at the Lakers’ record against above .500 teams before you say regular season games don’t matter too much.

  264. I don’t think commenting about 1 game goes very far, but a continuing problem does warrant continuing comments.

    The problem is our guards – both their shooting and their defense. Their shooting is really compromising our offense and their defense is really compromising our big men.

    Sure there are other things, but nobody’s perfect.

    There was no way we were going to stop Denver tonight – the way they were shooting – but how did they start that shooting…because our guards left them open to get hot.

    Fish was absolutely horrid in the 1st qtr and Kobe’s wandering defense also cost us early. That’s when Denver started to get hot. It was just that it didn’t really burn us until after halftime.

  265. Bucks, Kings and Heat, I meant to write.

  266. its funny, if the nuggets shoot a few less threes and the lakers win this game by 5 points or so, people would complain and say it should’ve been more of a blow-out because melo wasn’t in. if the lakers blew em out today, the next time the lakers lose to a good team, people would say that the lakers still don’t have a signature win because that nugget win doesn’t count cuz melo wasn’t playing.

    im usually a negative and frustrated fan. but i’m tired of it. i’m not complaining till the playoffs.

    and honestly, i still see the lakers beating denver in the playoffs.

  267. It’s hard to blame this game all on the guards. At the Beginning of the game the guards stayed close and tried to contest the 3pt, but with each passing offensive play, when the guards got beat with the pick and roll, our help defense in the middle was lacking. It was a complete team failure on defense today – Bynum didn’t show, so the laker guards would have to sink in towards the driver, leaving the open shot available. The Lakers just aren’t crisp on that end when the other team has real talent and get up in to their skin.
    The real turning point of this game was the Ron Tech. I know that seemed like a non-issue, but the Nuggets were PROVOKING Ron to get that tech. Teams are looking to get under the Lakers skin because once you get the Lakers off kilter this year, they can go real flat. I witnessed a ton of intentional shoves from Kmart, Affalo, etc that were not only not called, but provided a smirk to the players after the fact. It is no coincidence that Billups all the sudden got hotter than he’s ever been in the 3rd – jacking up and swishing threes – the Lakers were pushed out of their own flow on the offensive end, and he smelled blood, with that push in the 3rd q the game was over.
    Credit to the Nuggets to playing their game, they deserved to win both games – as I had this nagging feeling coming into this game (see Lamar Odom pre-game condifence is not there right now, something the Lakers need to build over the course of the rest of the year.
    Now lets see how we respond with even more tired legs over these next three games before the All-Star break. They aren’t statement games so much as games the Lakers should use to help get them in rhythm. The 2nd season starts after Feb 14th, and we play that season till game 82. Lets get after it!!!
    Go Lake Show.

  268. I wouldn’t worry too much guys… Phil will bench Fisher right after the All Star break as he did with Walton last year to give us a boost for the stretch run. Our best team will be playing the last quarter of the season and we will hit a nice stride. I really wouldn’t worry too much. Right now we are playing half the game 4 on 5.

  269. @aaron. I don’t think Phil will bench Fish. I agree with you that the best team will be on the floor, and I agree that Farmar is the better basketball player. I get frustrated with Brown more than I get frustrated with Fish/Farmar.

    We have a chicken and the egg battle with touches for our team. Kobe, Pau and Bynum need touches. All three of them. The entry passes by Brown and Farmar aren’t very good and there’s no flow from one side to another.

    I don’t think any game where Brown takes the third most shots, regardless of his shooting percentage for said game, is good.

    Pau Gasol had a good game, just not great. A few more put backs and he would have had a great game. He looked pumped and frustrated at times, but he looked really good. 17 points and 17 rebounds, 9 of them offensive rebounds. Oh and he led the team in assists.

  270. Darius,

    The Lakers are assembling a convincing body of evidence they don’t have what it takes to succeed in the post season.

    Simply consider their record against the Nuggets and Cavs. They are a “perfect” 0-4 against these two teams they probably need to beat for a repeat. There’s hope yet, but the Lakers need to figure a few things out, and the season is more than 1/2 gone. I’d wager both Denver and Cleveland are confident they can take the Lakers in a playoff series. I would be confident too, if I was in their place.

  271. 31 of the 39 points Billips scored were aganist Fisher. He is embarrassing himself and the Laker uniform out there. The Lakers WILL NOT got out of the west with him starting.

  272. @264

    phil definitely makes some very quirky calls but i think he pretty much has earned the right to do weird and unconventional things given the fact that he has a ring for every single finger

    not saying we shouldn’t wonder why he does what he does… but i think we should show a little faith that he knows what he is doing

  273. #273. R,
    I just can’t agree with you there. Not when the playoffs are so much about team specific game plans; Where adjustments can be crafted and weaknesses can be exploited and strengths diminished and coaching reigns supreme. I’ve seen teams (especially Phil Jackson Lakers’ teams) consistently find ways to beat even the teams that equalled them in talent to discount this Lakers team in the playoffs.

    Now, I do think the regular season can be very important for building a foundation in areas like confidence or in finding the things about your team that you can rely on. And, with that in mind, I agree with you that other teams should feel good about their accomplishments – whether they’ve come against us or not (I’m sure the Lakers felt good about themselves based off some of their performances in last years’ regular season). But in the end, when the second season begins and you have to see the same team over and over again I don’t put too much weight into a lot of what has happened in the regular season because in the playoffs new trends emerge and they’re always opponent specific. And since so much of whatever success you have will be built on your coaches’ ability to determine those trends and exploit your advantage within them, I do think we’ll be just fine. That’s not to say that I guarantee the Lakers will win the title, but I do think they’ll have a very good shot.

  274. It’s not time to panic, but it’s time for a change. Lakers have yet to play one game of good defense and good offense. They have yet to play a half of good defense and good offense against a good team.

    Our biggest problem is that fisher gives the lakers nothing. Can’t defend can’t score on his own, won’t make the right plays when needed and cant most importantly he’s a shooter that hasn’t shot well for the past year in a half.

    On to farmar, the guy just can’t defend and isn’t comfortable in the triangle.

    Sasha is a shooter that can’t shoot.

    Brown is becoming smush Parker on the defensive end. He has the physical ability but has no clue how to use it. He doesn’t close out on shooters the right way or contest shots when he’s right in front of the defender. Instead of using his really long arms and jumping abilty to distract the shooter be swipes at the ball when the shooter goes up and gets called for the foul. Offensively he can’t pass. I know we always hear the saying when in doubt shoot. well i think he’s always in doubt.

    Now Pau he’s really been off lately. He’s a 50% plus shooter and hasnt hit that percentage consistenly since he’s been.

    They just dont pass Bynum the ball anymore. He’s out there setting screens for farmar and brown.

    (Edited for trade speculation)

  275. Notwithstanding that the Lakers have clear problems at point guard, I agree with those above who say this was just one of those games. Our defense was far from top notch, but it wasn’t horrible either. Denver just couldn’t miss in the second half. In the playoffs, our perimeter and transition defense will be better, and Denver can’t sustain that level of outside shooting over 2-3 games, let alone seven games. Also, don’t put much stock in the notion that the Nugs would have been even better had Melo played. Melo is known for his offense, not his defense, and it’s hard to imagine Denver’s offense being more effective than it was tonight. Denver will be a tough out, and is definitely capable of winning a series, but I would still bet on the Lakers.

  276. If Fisher realy cared about this team he would ask to sit down. Nothing worse then I guy who thinks he can still compete but can’t. Phil is becoming a lame duck coach. Everyone can see he can’t guard, he can’t shot, he can’t run the break and can’t make a layup. He is by far the worst point guard in the NBA but Phil can’t see it. WHY?????????/

  277. @277

    Tend to agree with you, our overall defense and rotations as well as creating turnovers will be there in the playoffs. 15 three pointers is tough to overcome for any team in any arena.

    I don’t see how some of these Laker fans have no faith in a team that has been to the finals 30 times and won 15 World Championships in 62 NBA seasons.

    Its one thing I’ve leanered being a Laker fan 4life, is that we SHOW UP for the playoffs and IF we don’t win it all that year u best bet we’ll be their next year.

  278. If it makes anyone feel better… The Cavs also lost to Denver without Carmelo

  279. I have not read the thread, but the only take-away from this game is something we already knew: the Lakers simply cannot stay in front of guys like Ty Lawson. Farmar was almost as bad as Fisher. I assume this is one reason Mark Warkentien wanted Lawson so badly.

    Other than that, Chauncey Billups had a career game in what has been great career, and JR Smith shot the lights out, as he will do–sometimes. Carmelo Anthony’s absence was irrelevant.

    I recall one play in which Gasol hit Bynum with a pass inside for an easy deuce. I have been saying for several months that I want to see some structured high-low action and cross screening to get them working TOGETHER, as a weapon, on the offensive end.

  280. Meh, no big deal. Pau and Odom played with the aggressive mentality that we ask of them. Denver just hit impossible shots over and over. Even if we swept Cle and Den their confidence would still be high and think they can beat us. I’d rather us not reveal any late game tactics to them and save it for the playoffs. None of these games matter.

  281. Denver reminds me of the 02 Kings. Defiant and streaky. They believe they are better and desperately want to prove it. Let them waste their stuff and get their “proving” out of the way in the regular season. Playoff basketball is entirely different, and they’ll be in a refractionary period.

    Let’s not overlook the absurdity of last night’s 3 point math. 15-22 from 3 pt. range is the equivalent of 100% from 2. They got 45 points on just 22 threes. That’s the equivalent of making all 22 attempts from two land. That will not happen again.

  282. How can anyone not get frustrated with Fisher after the 1st quarter? He was driving to the lane to get his shots blocked, missed lay ups, pulled up and missed 3’s early in the shot clock. I’m on the play Fish fewer minutes bandwagon now. Is there a stat in the league that measures how many shots a player gets blocked? I bet Fisher is leading that one.

  283. are we really panicking here? or is this simply a matter of bringing down expectations to a more reasonable level. I seem to recall preseason talk, in this forum, of an unprecedented four-peat!

    p.s. – I’d still be interested to read who, besides Denver, Hollinger picks as the second serious challenger in the West. Utah?

  284. lakersfansincemikan,
    Hollinger had Utah as the second true contender to the Lakers. They’ve been red hot lately and have been either #1 or #2 in his power rankings for the past week or so.

  285. This game doesn’t have me concerned at all, the Lakers actually didn’t play that bad, but Denver shot the lights out, which happens now and then with jumpshooting teams.

  286. For further discussion, here’s our record so far against the teams we might face in the playoffs.

    Cleveland 0-2
    Boston 1-0
    Orlando 1-0
    Atlanta 1-0

    Denver 0-2
    Dallas 2-1
    Utah 1-1
    Phoenix 2-1
    San Antonio 0-1
    Portland 0-1
    OKC 3-0

    Total against these teams

  287. Nuggets scare me-they shoot well and play without fear. Love Shannon Brown, what happened to him being a defensive stopper as Chauncey goes for a career high. Something missing Lakers, long season indeed, but time to play with heart and as a team.