Preview and Chat: The Utah Jazz

Darius Soriano —  February 10, 2010

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Records: Lakers 40-13 (1st in the West), Jazz 32-18 (3rd in the West, 6.5 behind the Lakers)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 109.6 (9th in the NBA), Jazz 110.0 (7th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.5 (2nd in the NBA), Jazz 104.6 (9th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Shannon Brown, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Jazz: Deron Williams, Ronnie Brewer, Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur

Will they play?: The big question surrounding the Lakers right now is the injury status of Kobe and Bynum and whether either or both will be ready to suit up for tonight’s contest.  It’s already looking unlikely that Bynum will participate as he’s listed as doubtful.  As for Kobe, he’s put down his Carnac hat and can no longer see into the future - so he’s unable to determine how he’ll feel when tip off arrives.  My guess is that he sits, but I was the same guy that thought he’d play against the Spurs so take that for what it’s worth.  In the end, my take is that they should both stay home and get treatment on what ails them.  At this point, they’ve both missed games so they’re obviously not feeling anywhere close to 100% and if that is still the case I see no need to rush back for a game that will be immediately followed by the all-star break.  Let those bodies heal and come back feeling healthy and fresh for the stretch run.  Plus, as our last two games have proven, who needs ‘em?  (I kid, I kid.)

The Jazz Coming in:  Winners of 9 in a row and 14 of their last 16 games, there isn’t a hotter team in the NBA than the Utah Jazz (besides maybe, Cleveland).  Lately, the Jazz have been showing the form of the team that was in the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago and not the one that finished 8th in the West last season after stumbling down the stretch.  This Jazz team is for real and seem to be showing their potential as a squad going into the home stretch and the push for the playoffs.

Much of the Jazz’s resurgence this season can be attributed to the improved play of Carlos Boozer.  A legitimate all-star snub, Boozer is looking smarter every day for opting-in to the last year of his contract in order to become an UFA after this season.  Next year, some team that doesn’t land one of the marquee guys (Lebron, Wade, Bosh) is going to look to Boozer as a real alternative and he’s going to cash in on this season’s success.  He’s averaging almost 20 points and 11 rebounds with percentages of 55 from the field and 77 from the line and found the groove that eluded him last season while he battled injuries and inconsistency.  Another player that has found his stride in recent weeks is Andrei Kirilenko.  He’s slid back into the starting line up at SF and is really helping the Jazz in every area of the stat sheet.  The man with the best nickname in all of basketball has scored in double digits in his last 9 games while also giving the Jazz a handful or boards to go with his typical output of steals and blocks.

But the real key to the Jazz success, night in and night out, is one of the best point guards in the world.  Deron Williams is a monster that can shoot from anywhere, pass, drive, finish in traffic, and has the body to defend any type of guard that you throw up against him.  He’s finally been rewarded with his first all-star appearance and it’s really overdue.  He’s often overshadowed by Paul and even Nash, but Deron is for real and he is the engine of the Jazz car.  Tonight will be a real test for the Lakers as they are facing the best team they’ve had to play since the match up with Cleveland.

Jazz Blogs: Salt City Hoops always has the lowdown on their home team.  Also check out SLC Dunk for good breakdowns and information on the Jazz.

Keys to game:  The Jazz run one of the best executed offenses in the NBA.  Completely stopping it can be difficult when they are passing and moving as a unit and making the right reads in their sets.  If you want a fantastic breakdown with examples of what the Jazz can do to a team when they’re operating on all cylanders on offense, check out the wrap up that Kevin from Clipperblog has from last night’s Jazz/Clips game (seriously, go read it).  Now that you’re back, you understand that the Lakers will need to be disciplined on defense.  They’ll need their ‘A’ game on P&R defense and can’t get overaggressive in the passing lanes becuase they’ll get beat by the back door.  When it comes to individual defense, Boozer loves to operate on the mid post/elbow area where he can either turn and face or shoot is jumper.  When he drives, he loves to go left so Pau/Odom/Powell will need to be aware of this and shade him to his right hand.  Deron Williams loves to go opposite of the P&R so our guards will need to be aware that the screen may just be a decoy and ensure that Deron doens’t go away from where the help is positioned.  If he gets a head of steam to the basket, he will do damage in the paint and he’ll also make the correct pass to open teammates in the (Joel Meyers sponsored) short corner.

On offense, the Lakers need to push the ball like they have been in the last two games.  The Jazz are coming off a back to back and had to make the same flight from LA to Salt Lake that the Lakers did, so make them run and see if they wear down by the 4th quarter.  Plus, the Lakers have a speed advantage in the front court and should utilize it.  Boozer and Okur can’t run with Odom and Pau so we should see plenty of Odom turning defensive rebounds into fast break chances and Pau running post lane sprints to try and get easy buckets against the slow footed Jazz big men.  This is a tactic that has worked in the playoffs the past two seasons and I expect to see more of it tonight.

When the running opportunity is not there, the Lakers need to play fundamental Triangle basketball and initiate the offense through the post and then cut, screen, and continue to move the ball.  Get the defense moving and get good  shots or make the them foul.  Because the Jazz will foul.   Utah is still one of the highest fouling teams in the league and will not hesitate to reach and grab if they are beat.  That means, be prepared to take the hit and finish shots.  We can’t be rattled by contact or get frustrated by the fouling (especially on no-calls) and must play through the whistle (or lack thereof).  Also be prepared for a hostile crowd.  The Jazz fans hate the Lakers and will boo incessantly when we have the ball and cheer wildly just for Kyle Korver removing his warmups.  This is a tough environment to play in and the Lakers will need to be ready.

Where you can watch: 6:00 pm start time out West on KCAL 9. Also on ESPN Radio 710 AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts

230 responses to Preview and Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. for warren! this game definitely needs warren’s help.

  2. Here’s what Ronnie Price had to say about the Lakers:

    Ronnie Price played a motivated game 5 against the Lakers in last year’s playoffs almost bringing the Jazz back in the game. When he re-signed with the Jazz, they asked him about his motivation for that game and his response was,

    “I hate the Lakers and I wanted to…it was more about that. It had nothing to do with trying to prove a point to Coach or anything like that. I just like getting my name called and like being on the court and having a chance to compete, especially against a team I can’t stand”

  3. Should be a competitve game if LA plays team ball like they have in the past two games. The Jazz do not have a large front court other than Okur, he’s not a banger, so I dont see a problem with LO in and Bynum out. Just bring the intensity and I think LA can sneak one out in Salt Lake to take them to the ASG winning three games against potential playoff opponents. GO LA!

  4. boards, boards, boards its gonna come down to whoever gets them boards, and if the lakers can play as physical as utah.

  5. We should introduce Ronnie Price to our Congo enforcer.

    We need to find Okur on those pick and pops, or he’ll kill us.

    If memory serves, Farmar did an unusually good job against Williams last time. I’ll be interested to see how he plays defensively tonight.

  6. I would never admit to “hating” any opposing team. It tells the opponent they are in your head.

    During the 3-peat years the only team that ever got to me was the Spurs. I never really worried about the Kings. Their emotional disgust of the Lakers actually worked against them. The Spurs, OTOH, were detached, business-like assasins. They weren’t taking you out because it was personal. They were doing it because you simply were a roadblock between them and their goal.

    Those are the kinds of teams and players one should worry about. I don’t worry about guys that “hate” the Lakers.

  7. Great preview Darius, I wonder if Brown will cover Williams tonight, I do not think Fisher has a chance against him, as usual. Kobe and Bynum should let their injuries heal and take the night off for sure. This will be a fun game to watch.

  8. “Deron Williams loves to go opposite of the P&R . . . ”

    Well it’s good to hear that ‘real’ players do that (didn’t know), because I do that in my own weekly, old man’s game. It always seems cleverish to me, but I figure it’s so unorthodox, folks might get pissed off thinking I’m egotistically “waving off” their self-sacrificing screen.

    But if Deron Williams does it, then I now deem it totally legit :-)

  9. Yes, I would definitely like to see the team ball, high-assist total, hustling for your regular-season lives like its the playoffs, and a Shannon Brown posterizing or two type of game. I know we’ll get it, but I’m not sure if we can muster a W against a burning-hot Jazz team, nor do we need to right now. Then again, the West is packed tighter than Coolio’s trunk in the music vid for “Fantastic Voyage,” so every game of separation we can get is crucial.

    And please Kobe, even if you do feel more than 70%, stay back and rest up. Love the heart and determination and warrior-like spirit, but there’s a point where your 31 year old, 14 season body (more like 17 years when you count all the playoff games) needs to be treated and not run into the ground. But I’m sure you’ll do what’s best. Long live the Lake Show!

    On another note, anybody else excited for the slam dunk contest with our man ShanWOW?!

  10. #8 Don – Going away from the screen seems to have gotten pretty popular, at least in the pickup games I play in. To be honest, it kind of drives me crazy when people do it because they’re usually not quick enough to pull it off. I get that, in theory, it throws the defender off because they’re already trying to get around the screen, and all of a sudden you go away from it. But in practice, it rewards lazy defenders who don’t try to fight through screens to begin with, and those types of defenders are common in the games I’m used to.

    Not to indict your strategy or anything, just my 2 cents :)

  11. For everyone that was feeling “frisky” after beating a Portland team without 4 of their stars, and their all-nba quality star Brandon Roy, and beating a quite frankly old and useless Spurs team at home (spurs who are less than 500 away from their home), now is time for your heat check. The entire “we play better without kobe/bynum” joke is about to come to an end. Why? We just don’t have the talent level to beat a Jazz team without Kobe/Bynum. Pure and simple. If we are going to win tonight, we need to play at our maximum, and the Jazz need to have an off game.

    Hopefully this group of people will take a deep breath and realize that…well, it’s not going to happen this year without Kobe/Bynum playing at their best. And by “it” i mean a championship ring. Without Kobe/Bynum in there, we don’t have a shot at a ring. Luckily, both of them will be there and will be healthy (prediction) by the time the playoffs arrive.

    And i fully expect Kobe to be in facilitator mode as he was in last year’s playoffs, especially after the Houston series. You know, when he was averaging like 8 assists per game. This is Kobe playing in the flow of our offense, and i think this is when we play our best.

    I’m probably the biggest Bynum supporter here (i just can’t believe what some people say on this board), but i do understand that Bynum does have some issues. His problem is passing. He needs to do better in playing the flow just like Kobe does. With Kobe i’m sure it will happen as he is mature/smart/skilled enough. With Bynum, i’m not so sure. I hope he starts to understand that even though he shoots a ridiculous 57% from the field and he is one of the most efficient players in the league, that our offense would be better if he plays in the flow with passing/cutting/etc. His rebounding and defense are fine, unlike what some believe. It is his chemistry and flow of the offense that are the issue.

    Of course it is not as big of an issue as Fisher/Farmar/Brown taking contested long 2pt shots all game long, but it is an issue.

  12. Pre-Trade Deadline Discussion: Mitch Kupchak on lakers.com. Is Mitch letting something out? I found it un-Mitch like the way he answers the first 2 questions(no trade talk intended)

  13. The Lakers have a few advantages tonight… Regression to the norm is going to happen to Utah sooner or later and it might as well start on the second night of a back to back just before the All Star Break.

    Here’s to hoping anyway…

    Go Lakers!

  14. Hate to correct you Darius, but the best nickname in basketball is Durantulla.

  15. Kaveh,

    I believe what you said in your last sentence is one of the biggest problems in the Lakers offense. Granted, we’ve seen less of it these past 2 games. But when I see it, I yell at the TV, and yell “That’s NOT the triangle!” I abhor long 2s, especially contested ones taken outside the flow of the offense. (Artest is sometimes, though a bit more rare, guilty of taking shots outside the flow of the offense also.) The only time it’s OK to take a shot out of the offense’s flow is when the shot clock is about to expire. And I usually want a certain someone taking that shot.

  16. Jazz fan here. Kobe’s gonna’ play, right?

  17. MC Welk,
    I believe Phil commented today at the shootaround that he expects to be without Kobe this evening.

  18. Outstanding effort aganist Blazers
    More outstanding effort aganist Spurs.

    Tonight?

    Even a huge fan like me has no say.

    No chance! 9 wins in a row with 3rd best home record in NBA. They hate the Lakers and love to beat them up.No Koby, no Bynam and injured Odom.

    sorry guys we have to except a possible double degit loss tonight.

  19. kaveh,

    I’ll agree with you that it would be difficult to win a championship without Kobe and Bynum.

    I’ll disagree with you that we don’t have the talent to beat the Jazz tonight. LO, Artest and Pau aren’t good enough talent? Other teams in the league would kill for those three. I think talent wise will be pretty equal tonight actually. T

    The reason why the Jazz are so good? Teamwork. They play well with one another and execute. If the Lakers can do the same, I expect a good close game.

    But to say we don’t have the talent to beat them is disrespectful to the rest of the Lakers.

  20. The Lakers can get by without Bynum in the playoffs if Odom keeps playing at this level. Obviously having Bynum is better than not having him, but he isn’t a necessity if the rest of the team plays up to their potential.

  21. @ken

    Lakers have the best road record in the west. not that those stats really matter.

  22. And whats their record IN Utah with Kobe? I want them to make me the fool but the odds are stacked aganist us tonight. I probably won’t yell at the TV more then twice tonight. Of course that depends on how many minutes Sasha plays.

  23. Sasha may be the first player to get called for a foul during the national anthem!

  24. weaksauce,

    You’re absolutely right. We would be so much better if our guards had better shot selection. Fisher is the worst at this, but i’ve seen Brown/Farmar do the same thing. That’s pull up jump shots, fadaways, contested long 2pt shots, etc. If you are OPEN then take the shot. If you have to dribble or fadaway then don’t. I would like Kobe to stop taking as many, although a healthy Kobe makes these shots at an efficient rate.

    The funny thing is that this change is in our hands, not our opponents. It is not like rebounding, which is up to our team and the opponent as well. It is a decision by our team alone –stop taking bad jump shots!

  25. Wait a second, who said that LO was injured? Can someone give me an update, i had no idea LO was out. Some poster above made the comment.

    On another note, please PJ, play Sasha more minutes. He is our best shooter.

  26. He had a MRI on his ankle and did not practice yesterday. Said he will play today. MRI was negative but it could effect his rebounding.

  27. I forgot Matt Harpring does the Jazz games now…not looking forward having to listen to him

  28. It would be nice to get a win there tonight at the Salt Palace(Delta center) whatever just so we can have some momentum going into the break. However, that could be difficult against a Jazz team that is hot and with us being banged up. We can win tonight but it’s going to be a tall order. Just remember we did just beat the Blazers and Spurs without Kobe so don’t panic if we drop this one. Go Lakers!!

  29. link?

  30. Fisher’s 1000 Game. Wow.

  31. does ak 47′s haircut make him look like a butch lesbian?

  32. LO brining it tonight

  33. Ray,

    Yes.

    Also, Lamar Odom is playing like a man possessed right now.

  34. LO – who the heck is that?!?!?!

    Man – why this guy can’t play like this say 75% of the time?

  35. @Dean, cuz LO plays like this when he gets the ball in his hands.

  36. How does Matt Hapring have a job spewing such nonsense?

  37. How good is the duo of Pau and LO? It’s downright ridiculous.

  38. anybody have a link?
    Thanks!

  39. Does Pau player better without Kobe screaming at him?

  40. The Paul Millsap, Craig Smith, Leon Powe, Carl Landry types always give us problems

  41. no links?

  42. Odom is a monster tonight.

  43. What’s goin on with farmar’s number?

  44. Gimme a 7footer than can run a break…Pau!

  45. Showtime!

  46. What can we get for Kobe and Bynum on the trade market?

  47. You’ve got to like this 1st quarter from the Lakers. Solid in most areas.

  48. What an amazing quarter. That fast break with Pau’s tip-in had SHOWTIME written all over it!

  49. Wow – that was a beautiful quarter. Couldn’t have asked for more.

    Well, maybe a make on an open J by Luke would’ve been nice.

  50. I hope Kobe learns from this.

  51. Wow, what an end to the quarter

  52. very impressive!

  53. wow. Best Quarter i’ve seen them play all year. Can anyone dispute that? That was beautiful.

  54. That was a beautiful break indeed, they showed how it is done…

  55. Wow Lamar is so fun to watch like this

  56. Wow..just wow..

  57. brilliant quarter, even luke’s awfulness didnt ruin it

  58. Who are these guys? Heck of a quarter. Watch for rough play from Utah now.

  59. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how you close a quarter.

  60. WOW, isn’t this a showtime-esq offense we are seeing tonight! I am thoroughly enjoying this game right now. Keep it up Lakers!

  61. Apart from a few minutes in the middle when they resorted to jumpers, that quarter was a thing of beauty.

    And I thought we couldn’t hang with the Jazz talent wise?;)

  62. RE: 59

    I was thinking the same thing…watch Utah resort to dirty tactics to crawl back into the game…

  63. Hrm, wow, this ain’t the Lakers I am familiar with.

    How often did our team actually exceed expecations this year?

    This is a nice change, us being the underdog and being able to cheer our team for their effort.

  64. Just started watching. Saw the boxscore. Fisher with a +1 in 9 minutes. Soon as he left, Farmar & Brown went a combined +26 (13 each) in 3 minutes. Take what you like from there.

  65. Pau you really gonna let kirilenko block you twice in a row?

  66. anyone else yelling at sasha on that one? i know i was

  67. itd b nice 2 have a link pleaseeeee

  68. Mbenga and Powell – this stretch will be key.

  69. Why take Gasol out? We are on a roll and we can blow this thing wide open. Then DJ can have enough PT

  70. are u kidding me with this lineup right now??

    Farmar, Sasha, Shannon, DJ, and Powell!!! wow.

  71. Sasha pushin the ball up the floor… driving.. then dishin to Pau for an easy dunk??? … This is the most enjoyable half ive seen all year

  72. SASHA BEHIND THE BACK!!! ARE U KIDDING ME!!!

    i have to go work out right now, but man, what a fun game!!1

  73. Loving how the team is playing so far. BUT, is anyone worried about the lineup now on the floor? No real starters (Shannon is on). This is exactly the type of lineup we’ve been hating when we’re at full strength. It’ll be interesting to see how effective it is today.

  74. the taco unit go on a 4 on 1 vacation

  75. Another perfectly executed fast break from Sasha.

    I can’t believe I just typed that.

  76. sasha with 4 assists and 2 steals already

  77. http://ilemi.com/89657/channel51.html

    There are 2 feeds on that link, change channel51 to channel53 for the second one

  78. Don’t blow this game Phil with your 3rd string lineup. Please!

  79. Man, I am absolutely enjoying this game. Sasha’s defensive energy actually working in a positive way. That behind the back pass was amazing. Lamar is playing like a beast. Pau doing a great job on the boards. The Youngns (Shannon and Farmar) are doing a great job. Great, great play all-around.

  80. I feel like I am watching a Bizarro-world version of my Lakers. No Kobe. No Bynum. The bench has more points than the starters. DJ Mbenga has more points than two starters: Fisher and RonRon. Oh, and Sasha has MORE assists than points (1).

    What is going on here? Please don’t pinch me as I don’t want to wake up!

  81. Get Lamar in there; we can only get away with playing Powell+Mbenga for so long.

  82. great free throw defense! 2/7 so far.

  83. Love that FT defense!

    And DJ is fine as long as it’s a dunk…

  84. Wow. Just… wow. This is amazing.

  85. This is the ultimate trade showcase for the bench players. (joking)

    I’m impressed with the way the team is playing the passing lanes and cutting off drives to the hoop. They’re demonstrating fantastic IQ and awareness.

  86. can anyone believe this is happening with the taco unit

  87. Sasha has taken over the game!

  88. if theres something to hope for is that when we are back at full strength, this lineup will remember how to play the way they are now. i think they will :) this play is making me extatic. go Lakers. Benga!! using that judo-Chop!!

  89. I think we can get Mark Madsen and Kwame Brown for Bynam and Kobe!

  90. or smush and Kwame.

  91. Do you think we could trade Bynum? Wonder if anyone will take him if we add Kobe’s albatross-que contract in as a sweetener. Worse comes worst, dump Gasol too as a throw-in.

    Then start Farmar with Brown and Mbenga – we’re triangling our way to the championship, baby.

  92. I saw buy out Kobe and Bynum. Who needs those bums! :-)

  93. Mbenga in my opinion is a great player if he didn’t take so many mid range shots

  94. damn did deron just own artest on a jump ball?

  95. Farmar’s looking like the guard we were all wanting him to be at the start of LAST season.

  96. Did the game just change when Fish came in?

  97. 100. i think it actaully has to do more with artest, he is 0-4

  98. Haven’t been watching the game live until now, but can anybody explain why Fish went out and Farmar came in? I just noticed that Farmar had an incredible stat line with limited minutes (and 2 fouls), but I couldn’t understand why Farmar ever went in in the first place.

    Remember the days when Farmar repeatedly got owned by Williams? Only two years ago…

  99. Ron had great looks just didn’t go down..it happens

  100. Been looking at the Duke/ Carolina game, saw the LA score and couldnt believe my eyes. Dang LA putting the business on Utah right now, hopefully they will keep this up the entire game.

  101. @ ken #93 “I think we can get Mark Madsen and Kwame Brown for Bynam and Kobe!”

    hahaha yes please

  102. Gotta love a double-double in a half. Just great play from our bigs today.

  103. Shannon has to learn how to think!!!!

    By the way kinda liking the announcers so far.

  104. Wow.. Pau-erful play there

  105. Anyone else noticing that Pau isn’t taking any bunnies tonight? He’s trying to dunk a lot more, and even if he got blocked two times, it has still paid off.

    12-12-3-1-3 so far for Pau. He’s a beast these days.

  106. Andreas G. Outta curiosity. Are you a Laker fan or a Pau fan?

  107. Farmer 10 points plus 15.
    Fisher 0 points minus 1

    daaaaaaa

  108. I hope Kobe is watchin this and figuring out a way to keep this chemistry

  109. Dare I say Sasha’s minutes were highly effective tonight? He didn’t hit all of his shots but he played sound defense and made some great plays with the ball for other players, I think the guy deserve some more PT off the bench.

    And honestly I think it’s time to put Bynum on the bench and let Lamar start, I love Bynum but the team plays so much better when the front court is Pau and Lamar and it has alot to do with spacing.

    And BTW I love how people want to blame the chemistry issues on Kobe and his shooting, has anyone noticed how players are actually making themselves accountable and doing things like making nice cuts to the basket or running a pick and roll properly or even making themselves available for nice shots. When Kobe plays everyone has the tendency to stand around and watch instead of moving and getting in good position to help themselves out, it is common sense basketball. Kobe plays within the offense as long as the team isn’t struggling because if they struggle the Lakers expect him to bail them out.

  110. Dang does KB make the rest of the team play nervous or something.

  111. Williams has a pretty good line too :D

    7-7-7 :D

  112. lakergirl: Being half Spanish I certainly have a soft spot for Pau who has given us WC-gold, EC-gold and Olympic silver.

    So yeah, both.

  113. Stu just said this, speaking about Ron Artest: “Ron wants to feel your body. He’s a body-seeker. When he feels your body, he knows what he’s going to do.”

    That is the epitome of an unintentionally dirty quote.

  114. Great half overall. Last few minutes the offense was a bit stagnant and some poor decision making on the behalf of Shannon. Otherwise, the two-man duo of Pau and Lamar is unstoppable so far.

    Assuming the Lakers go on to win this game with a similar effort as the first half, I am curious to see how the team comes back after the ASG. I understand that it is only a 3 game sample size, but the difference in play from every single player is significant. It is significant in that every player has played better than before this 2 1/2 game stretch. Sometimes when players receive more playing time and responsibility, they falter. Yet, the Bench Mob has shown something in the past 2 1/2 games.

    I hope the Lakers can continue this great play with those scrubs Bryant and Bynum coming back.

    Also, Sasha Vujacic for DPOY. No one has an effect on the game quite like he does.

  115. Man, i sure hope Kobe plays when you meet the Cavs in the finals… team is damn good without him!

  116. 116. Andreas G. Yeah i could tell :)

  117. Mico: I’m a sucker for those kinds of symmetrical lines too:D

  118. lakergirl: Guilty as charged;)

  119. Fisher’s line at the half:

    0-2 FG, 0 points, 0 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 TO. All in 14 minutes. That’s Mbenga-esque, but without the rebounds.

    For those of you who’ve seen me post, you know I haven’t start criticizing his play until now.

    I really don’t understand the guy. Even Luke had the selflessness to step down. You? Just give narcissic interviews to beat reporters convincing yourself of your self-worth?

    Jordan’s got 4-5 FG and 10 points in half your time spent on the court. He’s +15 while you’re even (0).

    Bad night, you say? Seemingly having tons of those lately, aren’t you? Maybe it’s time to go the humble route. Your assist to turnover ratio that Phil’s always liked to mention has decreased to the point where it’s lower than Farmar’s.

    You can take care of the ball and run the triangle better? Hmm, that seems about the only half-valid point that you can make these days. But I’d like to argue that most of the time, you’re not even the one initiating it. Odom does almost 80% of the time when he comes off the bench (which is most of the game – about 30 minutes a night). The rest of the time? I’m sure Kobe wouldn’t mind facilitating; it’s not like he’s a triangle rookie.

    And to Darius and the old-timers: Yes, I’m fully aware that Kobe did for his first few years with Phil (until 2004). When Phil returned, I’m also aware that he put Kobe at forward (with Odom starting the offense), which led to his scoring craze, ala 81, 35.4 ppg, etc. But now that that’s not needed, it’s ok to ask Bryant to just slow down and dump it in to one of Gasol/Bynum, then rest on the perimeter and let our inside weapons go to work. Let Kobe have a few open threes and see how that goes, see if the efficiency goes up while the volume goes down.

    Perhaps give our three-headed monster of a front-court a chance to truly try themselves out. Sure, maybe let Fish have his token minutes early in the game, but at least give the Bryant-Artest backcourt a chance for regular minutes, but with either Farmar or Brown play the majority of the minutes at guard (or Vujacic! I hear you, Zephid).

    In fact, Sasha might even be ideal for this. Good floor spacer (with regular minutes, that’s the hope), while Kobe initiates and rests. I won’t go into much detail because Zephid et al already have. Then use either Odom/Gasol/Bynum or Artest/Gasol/Bynum.

    Suggest it to Phil, Fish. Do it.

    On another note, I better hear some responses to this. Took me forever to type it up. I BETTER. >=)

  120. Dude, you’re here. Good. Approve my comment then comment on it!

  121. Andreas: If you like a symmetrical line, you would’ve loved Ronnie Price’s 0-0-0-0 like I did…

  122. PhilAsus: Actually, that was an even more beautiful sight – you’re absolutely right;)

  123. Simonoid – Well said. I think that even the most staunch Fish supporters would have to agree that tonight is not anything to be impressed with. And in the last few games, Farmar has definitely appeared to “get it” at long last.

    One question I would have is the dynamic between Kobe & Farmar on the floor. One of the great things with Fish is that Kobe trusts him to take (and make) shots at important times, and seems to really enjoy playing with him. Farmar likes to freelance a lot more, which might put him at odds with #24 at times.

    Just a thought.

    But if we went Kobe-Ron in the backcourt, it’s a moot point anyhow!

  124. Lakers biggest concerns, according to FSW (and their viewers):

    1. Health
    2. Defense
    3. Homecourt

    They missed the biggest one: our PG situation (aka Fisher).

  125. 123 short answer. your right

  126. Pau is really finding his shot again tonight. And meanwhile, Jazz are getting booed on their home floor.

  127. how about our free-throw defense tonight?

  128. Ron-Ron suckers the refs again :D

  129. Everyone needs to take a mental picture of the activity of the Lakers players the last 3 games and then compare it to how active they look when Bynum comes back, because you cant say this is Kobe’s fault we played our best ball of the season last year when Bynum wasnt in the games.

    That cut by Shannon was a perfect example of the activity that has been missing most of the past 2 months on offense.

  130. Ron Artest is the comical humor to this team. That sling shot for the foul was rediculous.

  131. get Fisher out!!!!!!!1

  132. How much longer until Sloan gets ejected? 3 minutes? 5 minutes?

  133. wow, low scoring quarter. good d tonight, especially this quarter. though the jazz are missing some open shots.

  134. Messy 3rd here.

  135. This isn’t one of Fisher’s better offensive games (understatement, I know), but D-Will has not been killing us, and Fish has been guarding him for the majority of the time Deron’s been on the floor.

    edit: ok, D-Will is starting to heat up.

  136. Do these Jazz anouncers even watch basketball? I’m pretty sure it’s been stated that the Lakers trade was pretty even considering the emergence of Marc Gasol. It has worked out very well for both teams.

    I think Phil has to ask himself would he rather have an effective Lamar starting over Bynum where everyone seems to play better, especially Pau because when Lamar comes off the bench its very difficult for himself to get into the flow of the game. And it would be a good situation for Bynum considering he wants as many touches to score so put him in the second unit where he would be the focal point of the offense.

  137. Chloe is tough tonight!

  138. Simonoid,

    Was the FSW biggest concerns for the future or for this season? Because those three look like the three biggest for this season. As for the future, it is an absolute necessity the Lakers improve the PG situation.

    As for your opus on Fisher, I am Fisher supporter, but I do agree he has slipped significantly. My issue those is that I don’t think Farmar has taken the job from Fish. Farmar is playing well now, but what happens in April and May. April, May, and June is where Fisher has proven himself. There are moments in the playoffs when Fish takes a critical charge or hits a 3. While this may not matter in regular season games, it does matter come spring time.

    While I think defensively, the PG position will be sieve regardless of Fisher or Farmar starting. They both aren’t stellar on defense.

    This is all for naught though as it comes down to Phil. I trust in Phil and believe he will do what’s best for the team.

  139. D Will has been passing up some open looks. he hasn’t really been looking for his own shots so much as trying to get the others involved. If he decides to get aggressive, this is going to be a much closer game. lakers can’t let him get hot.

  140. I’ll take the under on Sloan getting ejected! And might I add, I love a quiet Energy Soultions Arena!!

  141. Why can’t Odom attack the basket like this all the time?

  142. I’m buying a Lamar Odom jersey.

    GET OUTTA MY WAY SATURN!

  143. SASHA

  144. Man, Jordan is hot tonight.

  145. This is so fun to watch. I love the sideline triple post offense.

  146. Am I having a Laker dream?

  147. Machine is broke, but at least everything other than his shot seems to be working.

  148. LA knows that there is no shot blocker on the inside for Utah, so their taking advantage of Utah’s biggest weakness.

  149. Joel I think it has to do with Lamar being older and having a harder time to get himself in the flow of the game when he comes off the bench and only playing in snippets, personally I would rather see this Lamar than Bynum starting because this Lamar makes the Lakers a better team because everything flows better on offense and defense.

  150. 146 – I still don’t know how to react to that commercial, but the Saturn line is classic.

  151. farmar really starting to win me over, maybe we shouldnt trade him

  152. @joel No player likes to get a triple double on a loss i guess.. his numbers 11-9-8… Gasol’s line is one between a center/pg hybrid Beast!!

  153. Kinda makes you think about how delicate a game basketball is in terms of lineups and chemistry.

    That said, I’m actually going to have FUN reading various Jazz blogs and articles tonight if we keep this margin alive and win.
    Oh, and, I think as Jordan’s minutes increase, I have a feeling that his basketball IQ will too since he won’t feel as much pressure to prove his worth.
    Gasol is trying to shave points… :(

  154. I agree with the “LO starting” comments. The arguement is always that LO is mature enough to know that he can come off the bench and know he is important. As apposed to young Drew who seems to not be able to handle that situation being a talented player. Although, at this point it is apparent that LO starting is just better for the flow of this team. Also, it might make Andrew hungrier to make his defense better so the Lakers will have to second think starting LO when the day comes. If anything, a happy medium would be to only start Drew in games where there is a true center (Bos, Orl, Cle)

  155. I think that this is the highest rate of shots per minute I’ve ever seen from Luke!

    Shame they’re all missing.

  156. get odom in and Sasha out NOW!!!!!!!1

  157. walton defo the weak link tonight

  158. Atributing to Gasol the turnovers due to Luke’s bad hands it’s a plain joke from the stats guys at NBA. How can it be a bad pass when the ball went through the hands of teh receiver…..

  159. JeremyLA24, Amen you’ve just said everything I’ve been feeling lately about the Bynum Odom issue.

    Luke has given the Lakers nothing off the bench.

  160. Even that bad pass from Jordy wasn’t helped by Luke not moving forward to meet it.

  161. Here’s the thing about starting Lamar and him scoring 20 and grabbing 10 boards like tonight. It allows Pau to still play his game without having his style cramped due to Bynum and Drew’s ability to dominate the ball AND it makes use of every bit of Lamar’s ability. It is a win win situation

    BTW I’ve been saying for months now that starting Farmar would make him a better play and give him more confidence with the starters, why cant Phil see it?

  162. iF YOUR SLOW COACHING MOVES BLOW THIS GAME PHIL—————-

  163. Don’t give it away boys.

  164. Farmar just making the best argument I’ve seen to get more PG minutes. If he could hit the 3 this regularly normally, he’d be a very good triangle PG.

  165. Shannon really needs to work on the elevation in his jumper. It frequently looks like he shoots the ball after he’s reached the apex of his jump. As a result, the shot falls short way too often.

  166. wow… shannon is taking shots just like kobe would. he really shouldn’t have this many field goal attempts on a night when he’s shooting so bad.

  167. Part of Farmar’s problem has been that he doesnt know how to run the offense with the starters in the game because of the lack of game experience with all the starters on the floor, by giving him the starting role and majority of PG minutes this problem would fix itself and his confidence would skyrocket.

  168. Mohan – Well spotted. I knew that something had been bugging me about Shannon’s jump shot, particularly inside the 3 point line. He does look like he waits until he’s on the way down.

  169. fisher… please don’t take shots near the rim… cos you can’t make those.

  170. Anyone else here think that the Magic are gonna go in and beat Cleveland in the Q tomorrow night? It’s gonna end up the same way as last year going into the allstar break, the Lakers will be one loss behind the Cavs going into the break just like last it was last season.

  171. 174. i’m with you, dude

  172. should be a perfect day with this win & the celts falling to ‘nawlins

  173. How in the world are we winning this game??? I thought this was a hot jazz team? lol

  174. 6 more points for road tacos!
    AAWW- no road tacos. None the less, an amazing game.

  175. Lamar making a living at the line. I wish he shot FTs at this percentage more often!

  176. lakers8884: if Vince can score like he did last time, sure :) Will they sic LeBron on him?

    Odom’s 1 assist is something truly rare, but since he has 25 points and 11 boards, I’ll let this slide ;)

    But Shannon with 15 attempts and even less points is something that does need to be addressed. He’s playing like Ariza in Houston, except on our team, he doesn’t need to be Ariza in Houston.
    And now for the fun part – going to Jazz sites :)

  177. Haha! Can’t believe the Lakers are pulling this one off short-handed in Utah!

    Best team effort this year? Anyone second?

  178. impressive 3 game stretch. really.

    holding opponents to 84 ppg at a plus 14.67.

    now the challenge is for phil to get this team to play this type of ball with kobe and bynum back.

    lets all root for orlando, tomorrow!

  179. wHICH TEAM WINS?This one or the Kobe Andrew one?

  180. Great Win.. Thx for the link mojo

  181. 81 witness- I second that due to bench production. I’d also like to add that this performance may have shown the most guts of this team this season.
    They went into one of the most intimidating arenas, against a very hot team, and came out strong and didn’t blow a lead when they tried to make a late push. That shows a lot of guts*

  182. On Farmar:
    His shot was on tonight and he was making good decisions aside from the start of the 4th. Don’t expect it every night.

    PJ has been running more high screens (set by Pau usually) for Farmar when he has been in the game. If you watched Monday’s game, Farmar shredded the defense with dribble penetration. This will not be a normal sighting when 24 comes back. Farmar will regress back to his normal self. Hopefully he makes those open 3s and understands that good defense leads to his strength in transition offense.

    His D tonight was lagging in the 4th. I am unsure if he was just complacent to not give a 100% effort or tired.

  183. 11, wow you were so wrong.

    Definitely best team effort of the year, and talk about a great way to go into the all-star break. Not much to say other than if Lamar learned how to make threes consistently, he’d be utterly unstoppable.

  184. Ron the only player with a negative +/- today.

  185. Awesome finish to the first half of the season. Please sit out the All-Star game, Kobe. Please?

  186. This game is another example of how hard it is to play a game in Salt Lake or Denver the next night after playing a game in the Pacific Time Zone. We should thank the Clippers last night for keeping the result of their game with the Jazz in doubt until there were 90 seconds remaining.

  187. i only got to watch the last quarter of the game, but doesnt this current win streak and kobe injury remind anyone of the 2000-2001 season?

    you know….a young kobe with a wrist inury…team starts playing better…kobe re-joins and they go on to dismantle everyone in the playoffs.

    i can dream, can’t i?

  188. Simonoid,

    I was in the gym and missed the second half.

    I’ve been a staunch supporter for Fisher starting. I have acknowledge that he has lost a step and is having his worst shooting year of his career.

    I’ve also said before that Farmar is our most talented point guard and has the ability to score pretty quickly. And that’s why he should stay on the bench.

    You move Fisher, a 35 year old, to the bench, and he won’t have the same impact that Farmar would coming off the bench as instant offense or sparkplug. Your argument is that he’d play better because he has better stats than Fisher would if he got to start. My argument is that our bench, which everyone in this comment section has questioned and said is weak, would be weaker by placing Fisher on it. By your argument, Fisher would bring us the same effort off the bench and our bench points go down, and our energy goes down.

    That’s why I’m very big on Fisher starting. Farmar is worth more coming off the bench. And as LO would tell you last year, it’s not who starts, it’s who finishes.

    ______________

    But geez!! Can we have one game where we don’t point out the negative? We just beat the hottest team in the West. At their house!! Without 2 starters. By 15 points. Let’s celebrate the team. All of them for playing hard tonight and beating all of our expectations, especially since we aren’t talented enough to beat a Jazz team according to some people.

    Kaveh, I’m still feeling frisky. 3 great wins against a team we cant beat on their floor, a full strength Spurs team, and a hot Jazz team. Lets celebrate the way the game turned out for once, rather than point out negatives. What do you guys want a 40 point blow out?

  189. Darius, how does that work if Kobe is replaced on the allstar team due to injury does that mean he doesnt get this year added to his list of years he made the allstar team? I really want him to be in the game because he deserves it but couldnt he just do what he did a few years ago, start the game and then get subbed in immediately after a foul?

  190. 8884,

    I’m sure he gets credit for the being an all star even if he doesn’t play.

    Just because I remember shaq getting credit for the year he skipped out on.

  191. 191. I agree. That team was a defending champion too. We had won four games in a row in April with Kobe out, and I was wondering if he would play within the offense when he returned against the Suns. Sure enough, in the first minute of that game, Kobe had a HUGE smile on his face while he was ballhawking Jason Kidd, as if he were overjoyed to be back on the court. I knew right then that the Lakers would defend their title.

    They ended up winning the final eight games of the regular season, then the first eleven of the playoffs. Their only loss was Game 1 of the Finals after they had a ten-day layoff. They still had a big lead in OT, plus the ball, when Horry committed the dumbest offensive foul in the history of the NBA, stopping their momentum. Didn’t matter in the big picture. Even Shaq said that Kobe Bryant was the best basketball player in the world.

  192. I hate to be the guy to throw water on this Lakers fire… but this win is great but not that great. How many teams traveling from the west to Utah on the 2nd night of a back to back win? Utah played last night at Staples. The numbers say the Lakers had a great chance to win this thing. “Having said that”… it was a hell of a win. I hope Kobe has a new respect for his teammates and plays within the team concept more on offense… and doesn’t play free saftey on defense when he comes back after the break. I also hope he sits out the ASG.

  193. OK, who had Aaron on the pool to say this win wasn’t that great?

    Just playing aaron.

  194. Does anyone have the offensive efficiency stat for this game? (Points per 100 possessions). Where can I find it? I couldn’t find it on espn.com.

  195. The last three games have been fun. Nick Van Exel fun.

  196. phil has to be feeling like a proud dad right now…only that it’s still the regular season…but he looked pleased with hands on his lap.

    GO LAKERS! prospects…possibilities…

  197. crisis meeting

    sasha made just 1 out of 3 free throws… :(

  198. kaveh, noticed you didn’t make many comments after your #11… can you say, oops? my bad?

  199. Wow…200 comments and no kaveh retraction post?

    Someone needs to man up…the Lakers didn’t play their MAXIMUM and still won easily…

  200. haha @ chris H and pb.

  201. In defense of Kaveh, he is in Germany, which might just mean he’s working or something about 50 time zones away from here. I’m not looking for a retraction of his statement just as long as he’s happily suprised that a team he likes played great with two stars (one being the mamba) out the whole game. I’ve came across people that would rather be pesimistically right than obtimistcally wrong and that’s not cool. Give the man a break for a plausible observation. I remember their were quite a few predictions of a LAL loss tonight a few days ago.
    BTW Mimsy- didn’t you say you were going to this game and if so how was the experience?

  202. Ray,
    Thanks for the potshot ;) haha. But there are two teams that play in a game. I remember the numbers being earth shattering on losses for teams traveling from west to east on the end of a back to back in both Utah and Denver. And Utah played a tough game in LA against the Clippers last night. But again… still a great win.

  203. Aaron,

    It’s pretty hard for teams to play 2nd night of back to back regardless, though the Jazz did win on the second night of back to backs after we killed them at staples earlier in the year.

    I figured that the Jazz streak cancels out the 2nd night of b2b.

    hey aaron, what did you think of my suggestion of bynum coming off the bench? I can see him and Farmar pulling a lot of pick and rolls and those two being focal points of the 2nd unit. Leaving Bynum’s mental state out of it.

  204. So proud of the way this team has played the last three games.

    That is all.

  205. I just hope PJ realizes that he’s got a decent team without Kobe and be a bit more firm when Kobe tries to play through injuries.

    Then again, I don’t think that will happen, with the way PJ handled things in the past. Kobe is THE man on our team, and PJ himself likes players to find things out on their own.

    Although I’m sure that team success won’t get into Kobe’s mind much, but not sure what Bynum is taking in from all of this. I sure as hell hope it isn’t “Now that they had all the fun, when I get back, I deserve touches.”

  206. A wonderful win, with wonderful teamwork, defense and effort. Does it mean we are invincible? Of course not.

    I hope our success gives the non-Kobes the status and guts to start saying No to Kobe, and for them to run the offense and defense the way it’s supposed to be run. Make Kobe can play in the flow of the offense and only serve as the X Factor when necessary.

  207. Oh, grow up. Kaveh gave his reasoning behind his prediction, is all this taunting afterward necessary?

    As I said in the comments section a few posts ago, this would be a real test for the Lakers. The Jazz were on fire and they’ve been consistently good on their home court. It was a nice win.

  208. This may be a cliche’, but what we have to take home from this game is that when the Lakers play as a team, they are very difficult to beat–even if not at full strength. Regardless of who was in the game, the Lakers kept their lead from beginning to end–even though some had already conceded the game to the Jazz in their minds.

    On the offensive side, it was hard to beat the effeciency of Odom and Farmar. Mbenga finished two fast breaks with incredible dunks off nifty passes. Powell hit an in rythmn 3 off a feed from Gasol. Even though WOW almost became a volume shooter in the worst sense, he made a statement dunk early on that set the tone for the entire game.

    On the defensive side, Fisher took former teammate Deron Williams out of his accustomed dominant role–and took a charge from AK47 as the Jazz tried to make a comeback. Artest and Sasha got under the skin of several Utah players with determined defense. “Supersoft” Pau Gasol controlled the boards and made some incredible blocks–oh, and his shooting and passing weren’t too shabby either.

    I had my most fun as a fan this year watching this game. I like this Laker Team (with a capital “T”)–and that includes them all. Those who spoke negatively of individual Laker PGs, or hoped that the Lakers would lose to prove a point about the value of Kobe or Andrew–wash your mouth out with soap–leave the dark side.

    The Laker bandwagon of hope still has a few empty seats–and who knows where it might take us?

  209. Lakers went 16-9 from dec 25 cavs loss thru
    last nights jazz win. A tough stretch but hopefully they can make a run at best record.
    Go magic tonite!

  210. the other stephen February 10, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    missed the game. on a scale of one to ten, how unbearable was matt harpring tonight?

  211. first i’m drunk. second, i love this lakers team. kobe should come off the bench! he can be our jamal crawford.

    psyyyyych.

    Note: commenting guidelines say no drinking and commenting.

  212. Andreas G. wrote on February 10, 2010 at 6:36 pm
    Apart from a few minutes in the middle when they resorted to jumpers, that quarter was a thing of beauty.

    And I thought we couldn’t hang with the Jazz talent wise?;)
    ===========

    I was one of the guys who said that we couldn’t hang with Utah talent wise. I wasn’t able to watch the live game, but i’m watching a replay now (without knowing the result). Currently it is 44 to 30 with 7 minutes to go in the 2nd, and so far i can say that i was very wrong. The Lakers are playing incredible. But that said, it is an incredible play that i doubt can last through 7 games against a tough opponent. It is not fundamental basketball but rather inspired basketball. The adrenaline is running wild and the team is using it to its fullest. Could this team really beat the Nuggets or the Jazz in a 7 game series in the playoffs? No way.

    What i’m wondering is why doesn’t Lamar play this point, offensive initiator role when Kobe/Bynum are in the game? This is how Lamar is at his absolute BEST. He needs to continue this type of play. He is playing at an all-star level right now. This is what i thought Lamar would turn into when he came into the league 9 years ago.

    One thing i was right about was Sasha. He is playing GREAT ball. PJ, give Sasha a LOT more time. He is playing out of this world.

    Farmar is also playing great. But he needs to remember that he is best as an attacker not a jump shooter.

    Shannon, i was one of the guys who really loved your game. But if you continue taking contested long 2 point shots, you need to SIT. You are not a star, play like a role player.

    DJ Mbenga –please someone deactivate this guy. He is horrible. IF he could just play with half a brain and not thing he is Kobe Bryant, this guy would get playing time. But he shoots the ball every time he touches it. He needs to be let go.

  213. Kaveh,

    I applaud you for admitting your mistake on this game. We are all pleasantly happy that you were wrong for this game.

    I think the Lakers played pretty fundamentally this game, and the past few games.

    Regarding LO, u know, he’s been doing a lot with the ball in his hands. I think it’s more about deferring to Kobe. I mean, wouldn’t you?

    Good season so far. With all the things the Lakers can improve on as a team, the Lakers are best in the west, 2nd in the league overall and we had Pau out 17 or so games, Kobe out 3 (and injured for all), and Bynum now out.

    I like our chances!!

  214. lamar to PG all the time,let kobe retire to front office,3 rings in a row.

  215. On a side note, is all the chatter about Lakers looking into a move for Hinrich based on actual leaks/valid rumours, or is it pure speculation (the Fast Break thoughts post linked to one article discussing this)?

  216. Percentage Victories WITHOUT Kobe: 100%

    Percentage Victories WITH Kobe: 77%

    I say we trade Kobe and get some salary cap….

    LLLLOOOOOLLLLL

    Go Lakers!

  217. chris h,

    lol. I never said that i can predict every game. I just gave my opinion, which was if we were going to win, the lakers had to play to their fullest and the Jazz had to have an off-day.

    Here is the quote in question, in full: “We just don’t have the talent level to beat a Jazz team without Kobe/Bynum. Pure and simple. If we are going to win tonight, we need to play at our maximum, and the Jazz need to have an off game.”

    I do think the lakers played their best possible basketball and the Jazz did have an off day, especially since this was a 2nd of a back to back.

    That said, if anyone is crazy enough to believe that a Lakers team without Kobe/Bynum, or even a Lakers team without Bynum, can possibly beat the Nuggets, Cavs, Celtics or Magic in a 7 game series in the playoffs…well, that person needs their head examined. Especially a Lakers team without Kobe. That team would not get out of the 2nd round.

    That said, I hope all these players, with the exception of Shannon/Fisher/Mbenga play like this when Kobe/Bynum come back. Shannon/Fisher have not been playing very well. Too many shots for Brown and Fisher, well he’s just too old to play well. In any event, when Kobe/Bynum come back, then we see this team at full strength. And if they can play up to their potential at full strength, that is a team which can sweep the Cavs/Nuggets/Celtics/Magic.

  218. Kobe finally got smart and looked around the league at all the star players with minor injuries resting themselves for the playoffs. The NBA season is a grind, and the playoffs are more than twice as long as they were in the day.

  219. kaveh, my feelings are that we have not yet seen the real potential of this TEAM, and while I love having Kobe on our team, when he’s on the floor, we see way too much deferring to him. LO is a great example, he’s not an alpha dog when Kobe’s on the floor, he defers, end of story.
    now, we get to see how good the rest of the players are, or can be, and, we get to see the team running the offense a little bit better, less iso’s for sure.
    this is good for 2 reasons, well actually 3 -
    1) kobe can get some rest and get healthy
    2) the team gains confidence in themselves and plays better
    3) kobe can see that the team can and should be trusted, that he doesn’t have to shoulder the load every night, to allow the team to contribute and that results in

    a much better team. period.
    so this break without Kobe has had many advantages, I’ve been advocating for this now for some time, glad it finally came to fruition.

  220. 220, I didn’t have a problem with the quote you listed; you obviously left yourself an out in case we did win.

    I have a problem with “The entire ‘we play better without kobe/bynum’ joke is about to come to an end. ” Fact is, we are playing better without kobe/bynum. Whether we are a better team without them, I think the answer is a pretty obvious no. As of right now, however, we’re definitively playing better without Kobe/Bynum.

    How is it that we’re winning on adrenaline? The game I saw was a well-executed game plan, on offense and on defense. On offense, we ran the triangle through Pau as the initiator, and we were able to get penetration off cuts and screens, leading to easy buckets. These easy buckets then preventing the Jazz from getting easy transition scores, which fed our set defense, which played at an extremely high level. I don’t know if this can be attributed to Kobe/Bynum or not, but I know that guys are not blowing their assignments on D, the ball isn’t sticking on O, and we’re getting much, much easier shots.

  221. Kaveh,
    “We just don’t have the talent level to beat a Jazz team without Kobe/Bynum. ”

    A team with Gasol, Artest, and Odom isn’t talented enough to beat the Jazz?

  222. we have a deep team, but lately we’ve all been saying our bench is too weak, etc.
    but, we do have a deep team, it’s just that the way the team has been playing, lot’s of iso’, not running the offense, gambling on D, (things we do more when Kobe is on the floor) are why we’re having these “weak bench” thoughts.
    we do have a deep team, and when we have injuries, that is when we get to see that these other players can perform, can deliver.
    I’m hoping we get a “ray of sunshine” out of these injuries in that I want Kobe to have a moment of realizing that this team is good, and he can fit in and be a part of it, or he can go back to trying to dominate and carry a team, (that frankly doesn’t need to be carried).
    this becomes a pretty complex issue and I’m very happy that we have a guy like PJ at the helm, he’s familiar with strong players egos and will be able to pull this team together and be their best down this stretch run.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if he planned this, took KB aside, asked him to rest the ankle and let’s all see what this “team” is capable of.
    I wouldn’t be surprised.

  223. “That said, if anyone is crazy enough to believe that a Lakers team without Kobe/Bynum, or even a Lakers team without Bynum, can possibly beat the Nuggets, Cavs, Celtics or Magic in a 7 game series in the playoffs…well, that person needs their head examined.”

    I’m not saying that they would beat all those teams with certainty, but I definitely think that it would be possible. Let’s put it this way: Stranger things have happened.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the psychiatrist.

  224. These last 3 wins are probably the most impressive stretch since last season’s road trip when they beat Cle and Bos. What terrific mo to go into the break with!

    I kept saying bench Kobe while he was going through his various ailments and the team was struggling. I wanted Kobe to heal and the team to show what they could do. It took a more serious injury, but finally it happened. Blessing in disguise? Let’s hope so.

    In the long term, Phil or whoever succeeds him needs to manage Kobe’s minutes. Now, Kobe isn’t going to sit out b2b game like Duncan does, but you really need to cut his minutes down. I don’t think these little injuries are just bad luck, but too many miles on those wheels. Kobe is nearing that minutes played threshold when players hit the wall. With his superb skill and fanatical training, he can soften the blow and extend his timeframe for being effective. But he’s human, and I want to see him and these Lakers win a few more rings.

  225. The finals against the Celtics left a bad taste in our mouth but I think people should remember that NOBODY, NOBODY short of the Celtics had an answer for the Odom/Gasol combination in 07/08. We romped through the super tough Western Conference that year, and Sasha was our fourth best player!!!

    So even without Kobe and Bynum, I would still pick this team to make the playoffs, based on how well Gasol and Odom play together. We shouldn’t be shocked that they are winning right now.