Lakers/Blazers: Revenge at the Rose Garden

Darius Soriano —  February 7, 2010

[picappgallerysingle id=”7591132″]

We knew about an hour before tip off that at least one streak would be broken in this clash between the Lakers and the Blazers when it was announced that Kobe would miss his first game in 235 contests due to his sprained ankle.  But by the time the final buzzer sounded, a second streak would also end up being no more as the Lakers won in the Rose Garden for the first time in its last ten tries.  The final score: Lakers 99,  Blazers 82. Boy was that fun. And it was fun because we saw team effort again.

When this game started, I really didn’t know what to expect.  In the comments, Zephid said:

This’ll be a good character measure. Let’s see how our guys respond without Kobe to bail them out.

I thought that was a good way of looking at this game.  This game was going to be one where we learned something about this team.  I too wanted to see how they were going to respond.  I’d say they did quite well.

What I thought was going to be an interesting game to begin with, started out in a way that even I was surprised by.  When it was announced that Kobe was not going to play, the safe money was on Shannon Brown replacing him the starting group.  Brown *is* the backup SG and is a guy that the coaches have shown confidence in.  However, I did think there was a slight chance that Phil would go with Luke as the fifth starter.  I though that Luke would be a good compliment to the starters as an offensive initiator and player that was going to focus on running our sets and passing and that Ron was the player best suited to fill in for Kobe as a primary offensive threat from the wing.  Turns out I wasn’t too far off base and Phil took this idea to the extreme by starting Odom for Kobe and throwing out a supersized lineup of LO, Artest, Pau, and Bynum to flank Fisher.  Nice choice, Phil.

Odom ended up having a huge impact on this game.  He ended the night with 22 rebounds (19! defensive) and six assists.  You throw in the steal, the block, and only a single turnover (in 37 minutes with how much he handled the ball? I love that low turnover number) and I couldn’t care less if he scored at all, much less get the team 10 points.  The man was everywhere and as his team high +25 on the night implies, he had a tremendous impact.  But Odom wasn’t alone.  In fact, almost everyone came along with him.  Fisher had a vintage night with 14 points and 6 assists and was 2-2 from three point range.  Artest was even more impressive, playing a fantastic two way game and tossing in a team high 21 points to go along with his standard dogged defense.  Shannon turned in a game that we all hoped we’d see more of this season after his teasing us with his playoff success from last year.  And Pau played a very good game.  I know that many have been down on Gasol recently, what with the fumbled passes and the less than stellar shot making.  But, go look at that link again (seriously go – it’s a nice 3 minutes).  Look how many plays he made.  He was the anchor of our half court offense and there is no way the Lakers win that game without him.

What we saw was a return of team ball and some of the best execution we’ve seen in weeks (if not months).  The ball was moving, players were cutting, guys were making the extra pass, and the recipients of those passes were rewarding their mates by finishing shots.   Our guards ran the P&R as a change up to our normal offense.  Players didn’t over dribble and instead they passed and moved.  It really was great to see.  Can this last?  I don’t know, but tonight this team once again showed that they are capable of playing the type of game that helped them earn a championship last season.  They were selfless, smart, and worked hard.

But all news isn’t great.  Bynum is banged up and nursing some nagging injuries.  He left this game in the first half and did not return due to a bruised hip.  And this was after he came into the game with a new sleeve on his left knee.  And Kobe is obviously in more pain than we’ve thought.  We’d all seen him looking not as explosive over the last several games, but the fact that he actually sat out a game is meaningful.  The all-star break couldn’t be upon us at a better time as hopefully this will allow our guys to get rested and healed up for the playoff push.

But those are thoughts for a later day.  For now, I’m happy with a victory.  A true team effort in a back to back in a place where we haven’t won in a long time.

-Darius

Darius Soriano

Posts

59 responses to Lakers/Blazers: Revenge at the Rose Garden

  1. Re from last thread:

    250 Warren- My brother and I came up with an idea like that of our own. Take Sharapova for randsom and tell Sasha he has to shoot 45% from 3pt land on at least 6 attempts a night if he ever wants to see her again. I don’t see any holes in that plan… okay maybe a couple.

  2. Oh man… I hope Bynum is ok. Not good.

  3. Can you imagine LeBron being out at the Cavs winning by 17 on the road?

  4. heisler article on the Lakers cost cutting…

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-heisler7-2010feb07,0,5755528.story

    but interesting thing about Phil Jackson.

    “Nevertheless, Jackson can pull off what everyone else calls “trying to flip a switch.” Of his four Lakers champions, three didn’t have the best record, two weren’t No. 1 in the West and one wasn’t No. 1 in the Pacific Division.”

  5. Darius,

    This is as proud as I’ve been for the Lakers as a team in a long time–and a reminder that basketball is truly a team game. It was fitting that Tex Winters was with the coaching staff live in the rose garden. Think of the game as a gift to him.

    —————————–

    For those Laker bloggers who somehow forgot how Derek Fisher leads in a crisis, remember now?

  6. and roll credits…

    i am also at odds on how this game would turn out. i am still at odds on what to gather from this game. i do agree with you strongly on one point above others: that this team showed it can turn it on, particularly on defense and win at a championship-level game (not to say this is one of them).

    after watching this team more closely the past 3 years than ever as a lakers fan, i have this confidence in their ability to bring on an elite-level performance when desired that we fans do not want them to think of as fallback for complacency. times they do this, they can really spike my blood pressure up. riles place it well, we cannot be a complacent team making excuses other than complacency and newfound mediocrity.

    the play of this team has even modified by perception and assumptions of what a champion team really is. i think my thinking of expecting them to dominate belonged to the 08 frame of mind. they simply, and disappointingly at times, not dominate the opposition. now increased level of competition this, we got an X mark on our backs there, i still am convinced that the lakers are the lakers’ top opponent. at times, they walk in the court not fully decided about this. and so their effort and output do not live up to our standards.

    such is the desire of a fan who has seen showtime and the bulls of the 90s, even the odd-ending year winning spurs. these teams dominated. some of us may see that more in the cavs and celts this year. again, i urge to caution and discernment. this is how these lakers play. and until they get slapped and lose the chip this year, they will not fully understand the consequences of this inconsistent play. clearly, they can not take all the advice from us mercurial fans. sometimes, management has to light a fire on their backs to even remind them of what potential they have.

    at times i am tempted to delight at trade suggestions and lineup mixes to satisfy my “i told you so” or “let’s dominate, dominate and oh….dominate again” thinking. now, i know there are transactions worth taking and ones that are not. for this i still remain on the camp that what makes us better is worth taking. and to me, bench depth (and please do not impress upon me that we are too deep to not make moves) outside shooting and pg defense can still be addressed (this is something that X and O won’t simply answer).

    to this end i say the lakers are spoiled and we as fans are spoiled. such a great team, such a great legacy of greatness before them. maybe they have conceded that they will not be a showtime team, maybe they know they are different. but the chip passes through their hands. so be it. chew gum, scream, bash, propose ridiculous trades (in some other site), comment at length, be deep, be shallow, buy the merchandise, brag because you can and enjoy the fanfare in shades of purple and gold.

    GO LAKERS!

  7. Does Heisler actually write about basketball anymore. All he writes about are rumors and innuendo. Which is what Adande used to do for this shell of a newspaper. I guess they needed somebody to fill that void.

  8. thisisweaksauce February 7, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Finally. They ran the offense. Plain and simple. Farmar, Brown, and Fisher made the proper decisions with the ball. Run it through Pau. Run the offense, and you’ll get the proper shots. Run it, and even our percentages from the 3 point line (which is usually less-than-stellar, considering we’re ranked around 19th in the NBA) will look good. The offense looks so fluid when executed.

  9. check out the possession starting at 1:02 of the video Darius linked to in the main post. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIa_mSLYpH4
    Now that is ball movement!

    All in all, good win and awesome game to watch! It was a total collaborative effort out there.

  10. Aaron (and other Fisher haters):

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/fisher-233013-good-lakers.html

    Ding had something to say.

  11. 4, that single quote is about the only thing worthwhile about that article. Unless he’s got some amazing inside sources (like a guy who plays poker regularly with Jerry), he’s just making up half that stuff. Buss expected Odom to leave? What? He’s just making up theories and writing them as facts.

  12. That was by far our best defensive effort of the season. They were running out on shooters, moving their feet and playing smart help defense. For everyone claiming the Lakers finally ran the offense, throwing it into Pau and this is why we won I have to disagree. We scored 99 points last night, but against Denver, the game everyone was complaining about our lack of execution on offense, we scored 113 points. Clearly, our defensive effort is what won this game for us.

    Pau Gasol did not have a good game. 13 points, 8 rebounds for a team with no Kobe, and no Bynum is just not All-Star numbers. LaMarcus Aldridge pretty much shut him down whenever we threw the ball into him in the post. For a guy constantly complaining about touches to finally get his chance to show what he can do when we pound the ball inside, that wasn’t very impressive.

    I’m not trying to downplay how impressed I was that we actually won in Portland without Kobe, but lets not forget that Brandon Roy didn’t play either. I just don’t want the Lakers and fans to think all is well after this win. We still have some improving to do.

  13. Rudy,
    I agree that the difference in this game was the defense (or, the lack of Portland’s ability on offense). The Portland had an offensive rating of .98 last night and Denver’s rating was 1.31 on Friday. That’s a huge difference. However, I think that a lot of that difference can be related to the shot making between the two teams. Denver could not miss and all Portland did (after the first quarter) was miss shots. Don’t get me wrong, the defensive intensity was much better against Portland. But the Blazers also helped by missing shots that we’re open.

    As for our offense, the difference between the Portland and Denver game is a lot closer than the points per game measurement. Against Denver, our offensive rating was 1.18 and against the Blazers it was 1.16. Then understand that Kobe’s very good offensive game had a lot to do with achieving that rating against Denver, but against Portland we had to get there without that singular great offensive performance. We got there through better team work, better passing, and better execution.

  14. I’m not a Fisher hater, and I find Aaron’s constant harping on the subject extremely annoying. However, Ding’s article was more than a little condescending and doesn’t tell me anything I haven’t heard or read already. Just the same stuff about ‘intangibles’ and what a ‘wily veteran’ Fisher is. Forgive me if I don’t gobble it up while watching him fire up PUJITs, brick layups, botch fast breaks, and get burned repeatedly by opposing PGs. I don’t doubt his value as a leader and clutch shooter, but don’t airbrush his flaws and exaggerate his virtues just to take potshots at ‘casual fans’.

    The funny thing is, that piece would never have been written if Fisher had produced another performance like the one we saw on Friday night.

  15. 12# Obviously it wasn’t Pau’s best game, the fact that he’s shooting below the 50% after the injury shows that he’s not there yet, but, there are a few in your analisys that bothered me:

    1. When Pau “complains” about touches, he’s not complaining about wanting to take more shots, he’s talking about playing team BB, with inside-out game (the way this game is supposed to be played), receiving the ball not only in the low but in the high post in order to do something with the ball that would force the defense to be unbalanced, granting a better shot, either for him or for a temmate.
    As someone stated yesterday, unless he’s playing FIBA BB, he doesn’t take over the game, he’d rather play team BB, and that’s the reason he can play alongside Kobe without us worrying about a dog fight in the locker room.

    2. The part of the story you lef out, is that he did the same thing to their main offensive threat, Aldridge was 22pts with 51FG% the last 5 games, and those weren’t his numbers at all yesterday. Or the fact that for a guy rebounding more than 2 off reb per game, he grabbed only 1.

    3. Considering the way someone played just for the stats line, can only be explained if you haven’t actually watched the game or if you are just narrowminded when analyzing it. BB is more than pouring shots, it’s a team effort where you can have a great impact even though you don’t put up big numbers.

    4. In a game where the two most homer announcers I’ve ever seen, recognized that btw Ron and Gasol have torn apart the TB Defense, it’s just amusing to come by a read how awfull Pau is. I guess that we should trade him for an expiring contract or whatever we can get, maybe you’d like to trade him for BigZ and Varejao, so we get two awesome players by weakening the crabaliers sending them a lousy-whiny-softy one.

  16. On a day when almost all of us are celebrating, some of us still have to complain. Well, that’s the ride Kurt was talking about.

    Part of the ride is watching and listening to the game. Some of us have to look at NBA telecasts, which always feature the home team’s announcers, while others get our own home team announcers.

    While I would rate Portland’s crew among the league’s lowest percentile, I don’t think our team of Joel and Stu can possibly rate much higher than the middle of the pack.

    It’s not that they are homers – certainly not by today’s low standards. It’s just that they are incredibly boring. They each have exactly the same comments game after game. Their comments about Gasol, Lamar, and Fish don’t really change, regardless how the game is changing and they don’t seem to learn what our players weaknesses are, talk much about them, or how the team (and Phil) compensate for these tendencies.

    After watching 40 games I can almost duplicate what they are going to say before they say it. As a matter of fact, my wife and I turned off the sound on the TV last night, because the game was more interesting without their predictable chatter. I used to be able to turn off the TV and use the radio, but now the radio broadcast is delayed several seconds and the combination is incomprehensible.

    How about a thread on who we could get to broadcast the Laker TV games? How about people who can comment on what the team is doing now – instead of being pretty much shills for Laker management – opps! sorry; I forgot, they are hired by management.

    That’s one thing about getting an icon for an announcer; they have some pull of their own to counteract management’s desire to have basically pablum for comments.

  17. Wow! Game #2 in my new baby era was one clean diaper! None of the poop from the Denver game. True, it’s only one game but it felt great to hear Blazers announcer Mike Rice have to stumble his way around almost nice comments about our team. He’s still condescending, but he and their fans had to eat it. Lamar was a beast and we actually ran the triangle for more than a few sets at the start of each half. I only hope that Kobe sits out SA & Utah to get more rest. The season ain’t over – it’s just beginning. Overall diaper grade for this game – totally clean! Go Lakers!!

  18. At the beginning of the season, Kobe was playing at 1st team all defense level. Then the finger injury limited his willingness to intercept passes. Back spasms eliminated his ability to maintain a low stance and glide. Lastly the ankle injury basically rendered him into a one armed scare crow. He turned into a poor defender who could make no difference when finally called to check a white-hot Billups late in the 4th.

    His absence vastly improves the Laker’s perimeter defense. Yes the Blazers missed some open 3’s but more importantly, they got no dribble penetration at all until the final minutes when Bayless broke through.

    Two other factors improved the D. The Laker’s dogged determination to execute the triangle improved transition defense. Transition defense, the achilles heel of the Lakers, was an asset.

    Also I thought LO playing Miller completely threw Miller off his game. He is used to posting up smaller guards and even though the Blazers had a good 1st quarter, Miller never got going and thus the Blazer’s ball movement was poor.

    I hope Kobe does a Melo and resolves to return when he really is better – this team can hold the fort without him.

  19. #16 Agree on boring, repetitive Laker announcers. I only catch the occasional streamcast here in Ohio, but when I do…it’s exactly like the one i heard a month before.

  20. Laker ORTG for the night was 115.5, which is six points better than the norm.

  21. I am ecstatic that I was spared the Mike Rice experience.

    Pau’s impact on a game cannot be fully measured by statistics. Clearly if you are perusing box scores last night and check out Pau’s stats, you would assume that he played a substandard game. It has to do with the assumption that a talented player like Pau Gasol must dominate the game statistically with Kobe out. The fact is that Pau can dominate a game in a similar way that Tim Duncan does. Tim Duncan is incredible in how subtly he affects game through his defense and decision-making on offense. Pau did the same thing last night. The offense ran through him and the Lakers flourished. Statistics are not the only measure of a player’s impact on the game. The Kevin Ding article on Fisher illustrates that brilliantly.

    At this moment, I am curious to see how the last two games before the All-Star Break play out especially if Kobe doesn’t play. The Spurs are always a tough team and Utah has been playing well as of late winning 8 in a row.

  22. loved the inside outside game, and was best seen on that one play Bobji (#9) points out.

    that’s the beauty of Pau, whereas drew rarely kicks it back out, Pau does and will continue to do so as he understands how this benefits the team as a whole. (Drew NEEDS to learn this!)

    I have been advocating Kobe sit now for the last few games, not only because I want to see him get fully recovered, but by playing at less than 100%, he actually hurts the team on both ends, a lower percentage on his shots, and on the D end, leaves us exposed many times. I admire his courage, but I think it holds the team back.

    Last night we got to see that we do have a lot of talented players, our problems come when they defer too much to Kobe, and we get into that rut far too often. when he decides to take a game off, the team responds and plays the best team ball we’ve seen on months.

    I think Kobe needs to take the time off necessary to get fully healed, and by doing this, the team will continue to grow as a team, and in their confidence, both individually and as a team. You all read that PJ commented when Kobe said he might take the game off, PJ said “do it” right away, as I think he also knows this will help the team in the long run.

    in other words, it’s all good.

  23. IMO Kobe should sit out against UT and SA, and then should consider showing up at the ASG for PR purposes (it’s an honor, it’s for the fans, etc.) but not actually play.

    Last night was great, but we should also note that Oden, Przybilla and Roy not playing made the losses of Bynum and Bryant less significant match-up wise. The team did a great job, but it was also the right match-up for a game without 24 and 17.

  24. It was very good to see the Lakers step up without Kobe playing, from Fisher to LO and Artest, heck I could name every player here. I felt so proud and giddy at the title of this post “Revenge at the Rose Garden”, that it will make my Sunday more pleasurable for sure. Like Bill Bridges said, at the moment with his injuries we played better without Kobe on the court, Fisher did step into the sole leadership role and it seemed to work just fine yesterday. Don’t get me wrong here, Kobe is my favorite player in recent times, but he needs to be ready for the Playoffs when the games really count, that second season you might say.

    “When you really trust someone, you have to be okay with not understanding some things.”

  25. RE: 10

    I usually like Ding’s work, but that article was a self-satisfied piece of garbage. One good game does not make up for 51 bad games (I realize I’m exaggerating). Who was Fish guarding last night?

    Steve Blake? Martell Webster, who had a ton of wide open shots and just missed them?

    He’s such a liability that the team had LO guarding Andre Miller, the actual point guard.

    Give me a break.

    Now, if uses this game to be a spring board for actually playing replacement level ball, great.

    But I don’t see it happening. Lakers still need a new point guard. Beating a team with 3 important guys injured (including their BEST guy) doesn’t change anything.

  26. RIght now the Lakers are better without Kobe, primarily because of the injuries, but also because of the improved teamwork. If he sits out another game or two maybe he will see that, too.

  27. Do you guys realize that if Kobe waits until Feb 23rd to come back (against Memphis), he only misses 5 total games (Por, SA, UT, GS, & BOS), but gets 17 days of rest?

    Not a bad trade off….might be a good idea…though, I doubt Kobe would miss a game against Boston…

  28. RIght now the Lakers are better without Kobe, primarily because of the injuries, but also because of the improved teamwork.

    ______

    Three words:

    sample size
    matchups

  29. Joel (16),
    I would love to not bash Fisher repeatedly throughout the season for being the worst PG in the league, just as I would love to stop applauding Lebron for being the best basketball player in the NBA. But I cannot. They both prove themselves repeatedly game in and game out.

    The reason I like to keep the Fisher theme going is to focus Laker fans. If you guys want to know the root of a teams struggles you can always point to heath and your weakest link (if you have one). Derek is the worst rotation player (Kobe, Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Odom, Brown, Farmar, Fisher) we have… and he is the worst PG in the NBA. The easiest way to improve a team isn’t by “playing harder”, “gelling”, or “changing strategy”… its to replace an awful player with an average player. If the Lakers replace the worst starting PG in the NBA with an average starter they become significantly better. Similar to replacing Luke Walton with Trevor Ariza after the all star break last season.

    But if Laker nation wants to make it more complicated you guys can. Keep blaming your superstar guard or your young stud Center. Go ahead and call your all star PF soft.

  30. fyi….

    one of the reasons Gasol kicks the ball out more often than Drew (on non double teams) is because Pau can’t create his own shot in the post as well as Bynum can.

  31. Aaron’s right about Fish. You can come up with a million excuses, you can talk about intangibles, you can talk about leadership, and you can talk about heart.

    The STATS say he is the worst starting Point Guard in the league.

    STATS aren’t always right (Shane Battier is a perfect example), but in this case, they most definitely are.

    If Farmar would get his head out of behind and make a decision to play controlled, team ball, he would already be starting.

  32. By the way, Aaron, you’re partially right about Gasol – Bynum’s willingness to use his physicality to gain space makes him better at getting his own shot in the post (most of the time), but I hope you aren’t intimating that Bynum is better.

    Gasol makes A TON happen with his passing, and more importantly, his understanding of how he should move in the triangle.

  33. 30…I had laugh out loud for that one. Are you kidding me? Bynum doesn’t pass because he is not as good of a passer as Pau is, not because he can’t create his own shot as well as Bynum.

    Aaron, you’ve said a lot of things that are very questionable, but this one is just ludicrous.

  34. New post up where we can talk some Super Bowl.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/02/07/sunday-special-lets-talk-super-bowl/

    If that’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine. Stick around in this thread and keep talking Lakers/Blazers.

  35. The Lakers played better without Kobe because Kobe playing at 80% is really a team liability. It takes them out of their offense while he’s trying to shoot himself out of his slump. Even his freethrows aren’t automatic anymore. He just needs to sit out and get healthy for the playoff run.

    This will force the rest of the team to step up and build their confidence. We can afford to sacrifice perhaps a few regular season losses in exchange for
    a healthier Kobe w/ a full arsenal for the playoffs.

    BTW I disagree with the Fisher-basher’s. He may not be fantasy-team worthy but he brings those intangibles every night. Just ask Kobe and PJ who they want to go to war with…

  36. Did anyone read Bucher’s report?

    Oh my goodness is that humbling:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4894018

    Max deals (ala Kobe) would be about 1/3 of what it is currently. And no more than half of any contract to be guaranteed.

    Nice to see Stern’s tactics of scaring the union.

  37. Thank you Aaron on Fisher.I have been yelling about this on Laker talk and this blog all year. If you can’t shoot, are last in the league in assists for a starter and can’t play defense(31 of Billips point were on Fish) then you can’t start. If you want to get out of the west. Is this about liking the guy or about winning?

  38. Dings story proves one thing. A newpaper that is currently under chapter 11(OC Register) can not afford to hire writers who understand the game. Insulting Laker fans(40 years here) is not the best way to sell papers. But at least Fish will give you an interview in the locker room.

  39. Despite all this backlash, I would still read Ding before any other Laker beat reporter. Any effing day. The guys down at LA Times are just downright horrible. All they can write are AP-style bedside snoozers.

  40. I went over to John Ireland’s blog on ESPN; where he talked about the Lakers not making the playoffs without Kobe and wrote the following response…

    There is an interesting article over at the blog 20 Second Timeout. It talks about the supporting casts behind Lebron and Kobe. The conclusion is that Lebron has the stronger supporting cast. I realize that makes us Laker fans scowl, but the justification behind this post is pretty sound. What it should make us realize is that our team is not that deep and certainly not the most talented 2 thru 12.

    I really recommend people read http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/ and come to their own conclusions. I tend to agree with John that we might very possibly not make the playoffs without Kobe.

    Of course I couldn’t enter the response because I refuse to pay to be an ESPN Insider. Therefore, I came back here and put it out there for all of us here.

  41. Simonid you are correct. He has been the best prior to this story. He does have some points but Fish is hurting this team and as a reporter(I was one years ago) you should not allow your personal feeling keep you from giving your readers the truth. We live in a world of stats and number that can not be ignored.

  42. “Asked if he would take a pay cut, Phil Jackson said, ‘Would you?'”

    I really dislike that. I really, really hate that. Phil, the simple answer is, if I was debating taking a $2 million cut from $10 million, then yes, I would. It’s 100% Phil’s business whether he takes a cut or not. But it’s idiotic to compare that situation to someone making under 100 grand.

    Craig – I’ve liked David Friedman for quite a while, but there’s many in the blogging world who dislike him. I know he got into some stuff with Dwyer way back, but I do think he has some posts that are just stunning. I’ve always felt Lebron’s supporting casts are underrated (look at their collective defense!) which is why I hate when omniscient beings like Barkley say Kobe on the Cavs wouldn’t make that a top 3 seed.

  43. You know what? I don’t understand why everyone argues to extremes so much.

    Fisher is bad. Let’s get that out of the way. Now, I’m not saying trade Fisher. If intangibles and timely shots is what he provides, couldn’t he still provide that by coming off the bench in the 4th quarter? Getting an upgrade at PG is not mutually exclusive with Fisher getting decent minutes to close games out.

    Why there is so much disagreement over this is beyond me.

  44. “Odom is often praised for his versatility but he is shooting just .299 from three point range and .683 from the free throw line so his “versatility” seems to consist of the ability to shoot a below average percentage from anywhere on the court.”

    I love what Odom brings at his best, but that quote from Friedman was too good not to post.

  45. Phil makes $12 million

  46. This Fisher debate has gotten this site absolutely nowhere. There will be the Fisher shouldn’t start contingent (aaron, ken) and Fisher is fine at the point contingent (me). IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THIS DEBATE WILL NEVER BE RESOLVED. This debate has completely dragged down the site in the comments. Fisher is the worst statistical point guard in the league. vs. I trust phil jackson starting Fisher.

    Let’s just stop it already. Phil isn’t going to bench him for Farmar. Even if we get Heinrich, Fisher will start the games (Heinrich may finish it.) But he’s not getting traded this year. Fisher is it. Take it or leave it.

    The Lakers struggles are not on Fisher alone aaron. I’m sorry, but there’s no way you can point me to that conclusion by saying he is terrible statistically. The fans applaud Kobe when he wins, but if the team loses, it’s on everyone else, specifically Fisher?? I can’t stand that type of thinking, especially in basketball.

    No one stops point guards one on one in the league. No one. There hasn’t been a lock down point guard since Payton, and he had hand check rules.

    Lack of ball movement, team defense, and lack of triangle offense is what ails the Lakers. Not one guy.

  47. There are two views of Derek Fisher.

    One view, shared by the Laker organization, Derek’s teammates, many sportswriters, and most bloggers in FB and G share views similar to those expressed in Ding’s recent OC Register article. We’re grateful that Derek has spent the bulk of his career as a Laker and we continue to appreciate his leadership and further exploits.

    The other view, shared by a few bloggers on this board, make repetitive attributions which are contrarion in nature and poorly articulated. On this Laker blog, these extremely negative posts are very disappointing.

  48. Burgandy (32),
    No no, you are right…I was not saying Bynum was better than Gasol… I was just saying he is better at creating his own shot. While they both play different positions I still feel Gasol is a better overall player. “Having said that” there are more quality PF’s out there then good Centers so i would take Bynum over Gasol I guess. But I am glad we don’t have to pick. Gasol has always been one of my favorite players in the NBA for a reason.

    Ray,
    Re: Fisher
    I will say this one last time (ok I probably will say it again so deal with it) but this argument that nobody can guard fast PG’s is so moronic I want to slap my mother in the eyeball. Yes good players are hard to guard but there is a difference between having to score on Gary Payton and having to score Mrs Payton. Do you think its a coincidence that PF’s seem to be hurting us less than when we won those three straight titles? Now we have Pau Gasol facing them instead of Robert Horry. If you don’t think that Fisher gets killed by PG’s more than anyone else in the NBA I have some land in Florida I want to sell to you (OH SVG HOW I LOVE YOU).

    How much did inserting Ariza and removing Walton help us last year? That’s how much removing Fish can help this year maybe.

  49. Re: Ireland
    I have lost all respect now for that man. Well… almost all. I mean he is still a Laker fan. But if you claim to know even 20% about basketball you can’t say publicly that Lebron has a better supporting cast. Those, like fantasies about your cousin, should stay locked away behind that unnecessarily perky personality (alliteration how I love thee).

  50. Aaron, the way the rules are set up now make it almost impossible to stop a point guard one on one. #1 You haven’t named a point guard that is a stopper that we could get. I don’t think Heinrich is a stopper. I don’t think Farmar is a stopper.

    And I think there were so many power forwards hurting us during those years because there were so many damn good power forwards. Horry was underrated defender. It’s just now, the league rules make it easier for point guards to get the first step.

    I have no problem with you thinking Fisher is terrible. Go ahead. But Phil isn’t switching him out. And bringing in a point guard with no triangle experience wouldn’t be a great addition to the team. Maybe next year, sure. But Farmar doesn’t execute the offense well. Shannon is too inconsistent. I want Farmar to be the starter, but I get more frustrated with him asking for Pick and Rolls all the time.

  51. Fisher –worst starting player in the NBA.

    I doubt any level headed and unbiased individual would even make a case against that statement. To me it is undeniable.

    Yet an option you guys are bringing up is 10 times worse. Hincrich is a HORRIBLE replacement for Fisher. Taking into consideration for salary, Hinrich could be the worst player per $1 paid in the NBA. Ok, this i’m not too sure about, but it’s gotta be a close.

    Let’s take a look at Hinrich’s stats vs Fisher:

    Hinrich Fisher

    TS% 47% 50%
    eFG% 44% 45%
    FG% 37.7% 37.9%
    3fg% 34.9% 35%
    usg% 17.2% 13.7%
    PER 10.2 9.2

    To me, these are the most important numbers. PER is possibly the most important, but PER goes up the more your usage rate goes up (the more possessions you use). Hinrich has a 10.2 PER vs Fisher at 9.2. But Hinrich uses 17.2% of the possessions in a game when he is in, compared to Fish who uses much less in 13.7%. This is great, since if you are a horrible player, the best thing you can do is hide in the corner and hopefully everyone will forget you even exist. Hinrich for his pitiful numbers has a very high usage rate, which is horrible. A pitiful player that thinks he is good!

    The efficiency numbers you see above are the most startling. We see how inefficient Fisher is on the court –like i said, perhaps the worst starting player in the entire NBA! Yet Hinrich’s efficiency is even more putrid than Fishers! In every category, Hinrich is laughable. His TS% which is a pure efficiency number, ie how much do you produce per possession is at 47% while Fisher is at 50%. And you people want to trade for Hinrich?

    Believe me, Fisher is bad, Hinrich is even worse. You may say that his defense makes up for it a little. Well, at his age, his defense is starting to slip as well. Hinrich is one of the worse offensive players i’ve seen. He is shooting 37% from the field…no, not from 3pt land, but from the field in general, lol. His numbers are HORRIBLE.

    And you guys want to TRADE FOR HIM by giving up some of our assets and paying his ridiculous salary? If Mitch makes this move i will be stunned.

    Only fans who haven’t done any research and are going by reputation alone can believe Hinrich is the answer.

  52. Have you stats guys ever factored in the system people play in???

    Basic education: The triangle is a system A) designed to provide open shots through passing, movement, and balance on the court and B) it is designed to always have at least one player in a position to defend on a breakaway.

    The Lakers haven’t been playing the triangle a lot lately. Since we don’t play any other type of offensive system, we aren’t in any kind of defensive position when the ball changes ends. Therefore, not only do we get frustrated with the constantly contested shots we get, but our defense sucks.

    The faster players tend to get more run outs (read PG) and our PG is most likely to be caught in the traffic jam. Hence, statistics are never going to favor our guys in this type of exchange.

    I am not trying to make Fish better than he is – heck, I was complaining about him 8-9 years ago when we were 3peating – but statistics just do not provide you’all with the ‘finishing touches’ in your arguements.

  53. Ray,
    You want me to name a PG stopper? I am not saying we can get an all defensive PG… but ANY PG we get would be a significant upgrade over Fisher on both ends of the floor. Even Hinrich who I agree is no longer a good player. Even he would be a significant upgrade over Derek.

    Craig,
    And I agree stats don’t tell the whole story. I’m in the camp that believes Fisher is actually much worse than his stats indicate. Mainly because he isn’t asked to play a larger role than he can handle but also because he is always on the floor with 4 other star players. I shudder to think about how bad his stats would be if he was on the Bulls and allowed to play 30 minutes a night (he wouldn’t get off the bench of course). Derek’s stats also don’t show how he kills the team on both ends of the floor and how he makes his teammates worse around him. He is the anti Lebron.

  54. Aaron,
    It is hard to argue with someone who is so sure of himself. I have never been on a ‘Fisher is the greatest’ bandwagon; just that he is a complimentary piece of a system team.

    I would agree that he probably wouldn’t be playing many minutes in the league at his age if he were on any other team. However, he still has the ability to come in for a few minutes and add something to the game.

    My point is that the system we are running is breaking down and that, more than his individual capabilities, is what is creating such bad statistics – not the other way around. I realize you won’t agree with me, but hasn’t this topic been beaten to death? Shouldn’t we be talking about something else? Bring something fresh to the table.

  55. @Aaron

    so you’d take rafer alston over fisher?

  56. Ok guys. I will let up on Fisher. That is until Parker has a season high in point tonights. That would make 7-point guards that did that agabist the Lakers. I am sure it just coincidance.. Or maybe its a plan by Phil. Make the Lakers look weak during the season and then bringing out our NEW point guard for the playoffs. Starting at point gurard Mr. Odom!!!!!!!!

  57. Sure players stepped up in this game. That’s what they get paid to do. But they only want to show up when their saviour is not around? I fare you say the Lakers are better without Kobe! You people never took a science class? If you wish to place substance on this game played w/o Kobe all variables that existed pass 5 years should exist. That means Brandon Roy should be put in the equation. So what the Lakers beat Portland minus 60% of their offense. Wow I’m impresses more than when I hear Stern speak. Can the Lakers beat Boston, Orlando, or Cleveland without Kobe? No! So stop fantasizing big wins without The Man! However although the Lakers w/o Kobe is like watching paint dry, I am willing to suffer and see Kobe get some rest.

    About Kobe showing up at all star but not playing that’s Whack! Fans want to see him with a ball not a high price insurance suit. The leauge is for our entertainment-not team agendas. He should play. I hope Iverson gets the MVP too.

  58. Craig,
    Just because I am sure I am right doesn’t mean you can’t change my mind. I am open to being persuaded. I don’t agree with you though because both Brown and Farmar are putting up better numbers and playing better in less minutes and with worse talent around them. The triangle offense doesn’t hurt PG’s… its our bad PG that is hurting the triangle offense. An old Gary Payton playing with Kobe, Shaq, and Malone averaged 14.6 PPG, 5.5 assists, on 47% shooting.

    Ray,
    Finally we are speaking the same language now. I agree. We should be comparing Fisher to guys like Rafer Alston. Rafer being an old washed up journeyman PG who was cut by the Nets and recently signed by Miami to help out with their injury situation at guard.

  59. And Craig,
    In response to “haven’t we beaten this dead horse enough?” I think we are lucky being Laker fans. We only have one weakness on this roster and that is at starting PG. So no… I think this is the one topic we should be talking about. Please read comment #29 to hear my reasoning on why its important to talk about Fisher in a little more detail.