Around The World (Wide Web): Lakers/Celtics Reactions and Analysis

Phillip Barnett —  February 19, 2010

With 2.2 seconds left in the game and the Lakers down one, I was baffled during the timeout. I had NO idea who Phil Jackson was going to diagram a play for – it was definitely Kobe time, but Kobe was in street clothes. And after Ron Artest inbounded the ball, Derek Fisher – who has hit his fair share of HUGE shots for the Lakers – attempted an off balance 21-footer that had no chance at the hoop. Conventional logic would tell us that, yes, we need Kobe Bryant back right now. However, the Lakers resilience in that fourth quarter still has me in the “Kobe should keep resting until he’s fully recovered” camp. Sure, the Lakers would have been in a better position if it were Kobe, not Shannon Brown, taking those one-on-one jumpers. Sure, the Lakers would have been in a better position late in the fourth when both teams ratcheted up the defense making it tough for either team to add to their respective point totals. And sure, the Lakers would have been in a better position if it were Kobe taking that final shot – or so it seems.

In the Lakers previous two games against the Celtics, both games were won by a one-point margin, and Kobe played in those games. It’s the Celtics, no matter who’s on the floor, we’re going to have to expect a hard, tough fought battle. Even for all of the game winners that Kobe has hit, 2.2 seconds against Boston is a lot more difficult a task than against the likes of Miami, Milwaukee and Sacramento. There is no guarantee that Kobe hits that shot last night, but what we know for sure is that the Kobe-less Lakers were just as competitive – maybe not better – against the Celtics as they have been with Kobe on the floor.

The loss was tough, no doubt about that. But I can only take this loss as a positive (sans Shannon Brown). Lamar Odom played with more heart than I’ve seen from him in a while. Andrew Bynum had some really good stretches. Sasha, although not there yet, seems to be getting his ’08 confidence back as he had two straight buckets (one coming off an offensive rebound and put back while the other he drove hard to the rim and finished strong) in the third quarter. Pau struggled physically (and still had 22 with three blocks), but I know that’s just not something the Lakers are going to have to worry about on a nightly basis. But most importantly, they defended well. It’s been well chronicled that the Celtics have had untimely offensive lapses this season, and the Lakers were able to take advantage of that. A lot of the media attention has focused on just the mere fact that the Lakers are winning without Bryant, but in the five games in his absence, they’ve only given up 86.6 points per contest. That’s a whole seven points better than what the Celtics, the team giving up the fewest points per in the league. Yes, it’s a loss, but even without Kobe, the Lakers are still good enough to put themselves in positions to win games.

After the game, Derek Fisher was interviewed about taking the last shot in place of Kobe:

Fisher noted it was “a difficult shot” and acknowledged his strategy to try to draw contact may not have been the best way given “there’s not going to be many calls made” late in the game. But even with a poor shooting night, Fisher accepted and embraced the responsibility.

“If you’re confident in yourself and you know your teammates are confident in you, if you’re open you have to be willing to take the shot and live with the consequences,” said Fisher, who went only one of nine from the field for three points. “That wasn’t the type of shot I would’ve liked to have gotten in that situation. But if there’s anybody else on the team that is willing to and can handle whatever comes with it, if you don’t make it, it’s me. Ill take whatever comes with it, I just wish we could’ve won the game.”

The Basket Blog over at gives a position-by-position breakdown of last night’s game against the Celtics that shows how well Ron Artest has done against Pau Pierce in the two games against the Celtics.

Celtics Hub puts the win over the Lakers in perspective for Celtics fans and gives a little game analysis from the view of those on the opposite coast.

There are a number of reasons not to get too excited about this win if you are a Celtics fan. The C’s beat LA, but they didn’t have Kobe. They still had the 2nd half collapse and couldn’t score when it mattered in the 4th quarter. The C’s undoubtedly just got “lucky” tonight. That’s one assuredly fair assessment of this contest.

Of course, for every point, there is a counterpoint. Yes, the Celtics beat the Lakers without number 24, but this was the same Kobe-less team that crushed Utah, easily the hottest team in the league last week on the road. Yes, the Celtics collapsed in the early part of the 4th quarter but they did not fold altogether. Instead, they held the Lakers to just 2 points in the final 7:13, enabling them to escape Staples Center with a one point win.

For more game analysis, go check out Darius’ post from last night (or early this morning) if you haven’t done so yet.

I’ll leave you guys with one last link found over at the Orange County Register. Jeff Miller argues that Lebron, not Kobe, is the NBA’s best basketball player. Have fun with this one.

Is there anyone other than Kobe Bryant we’d rather have with the ball at the end of a game waiting to be won? No.

Is there anyone better suited than title-tested Bryant to lead these Lakers on another postseason run? No.

Is there anyone more polished than Bryant at the art of rescuing unexpected victory from looming defeat? No.

But is there anyone in the NBA better than LeBron James right now? No. No. And – say this one with extra-special emphasis — no!

Breathe deep, Kobe Nation. We know you get a little defensive when it comes to questions about Bryant’s status as a living bronze statue.


Phillip Barnett


to Around The World (Wide Web): Lakers/Celtics Reactions and Analysis

  1. oh hello philip! first time to see your post here…

    if kobe doesn’t play next game which is after quite some time, then i’ll be concerned.

    re: celtic hub analysis, i’d take the glass described first — that there are legit concerns for the celtics.

    the lakers just have to execute, have to lean on each other more and pour in the same effort and hustle (glad not to be talking about lack of which anymore).

    fish will be fine and he will eventually redeem himself sometime this season. phil will be fine and he will hold strong to his conviction no matter what shots we call here.



  2. Injury bug strikes again – Sasha day to day with a sprained right shoulder


  3. Who among the vets should we sign? or do we?


  4. Maybe Lebron is better than Kobe at this point. But, no doubt, no doubt at all, the Kobe the season where we almost beat Phoenix except for Tim “Laker killer” Thomas, is better than Lebron will ever be. We beat Phoeniox, we’re going to the finals. Cippers next. And Kobe would have found a way to beat Dallas. Cleveland may not have another star like Odom, but they are chock full of solid role players, who can play defense. That Laker team did not of those have any type of players and was still competitive.


  5. phillip, you missed a link; ESPN’s Daily Dime included this:


    Derek Fisher, Lakers: He capped a poor performance by badly missing the game-winning jumper at the end of regulation. The point guard went 1-for-9 from the field, finishing with just three points.

    there were only two(2) games to choose from, but.


  6. For all you Fisher ‘baiters’ out there — it was Phil who called the last play, not Fish. Look at how the inbounds went and you will see Fish was the last man standing and everyone else just rolled around and didnt’ really try to get free.


  7. so I guess Phil must have been thinking, “Derek’s my only go-to guy and he’s 1-for-8 and therefore overdue..”

    they should have given Phil ‘Thursday’s Worst’ then.


  8. “Fish broke off his cut,” said Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, indicating the Lakers had a different play in mind. “He was supposed to open the floor up . . . ”

    So the “savvy veteran” can’t even run an in-bound play correctly?


  9. I actually tried to find d’oh!


  10. Why can’t we ever setup a great end game play. Outside of Kobe taking over and going one on one, I rarely see the Lakers have a “great” end game play designed. We had three bigs and Shannon Brown who can jump through the roof. It would’ve been great to throw up an alley-oop like the play Boston did to Miami earlier this year (where Rondo caught it and scored with .6 left on clock).

    It seems to me over the years, that Phil doesn’t have any creative plays designed. I’ve always admired Phoenix (especially in years past with D’Antoni), Boston, Bulls, Spurs, Magic, and Mavs for having great end game plays.


  11. This post is rather ridiculous. Yes we only won by 1 point in Boston with Kobe. However, the team played horribly and we were IN BOSTON. That’s why home court advantage is important, because a 1 point victory in Boston and a 1 point victory at home (assume fish made the miracle shot) is no the same. The 1 point win in Boston is on a completely different level.

    And again, we played WELL tonight while we played horrible in Boston. With the guys playing as they are, adding in one of the best players in the NBA and an all-time top 10 player, will do you great advancement! That’s a guarantee.

    Fish –please retire

    Brown –you have great tools, but you need to advance your game. First off, you need some skill driving to the hoop. You need to call up Gary Payton and have him teach you that high off the backboard layup and other moves in and around the basket. But that’s for the future. For now, please don’t think you are Kobe, and don’t take long contested 2 point shots when we have Lamar/Pau/Bynum.

    Phil Jackson: please give Sasha more time. He should play the same amount of minutes as Brown/Farmar because he is just as good.

    Vujachic: continue playing within yourself

    Lamar: fantastic. You should be an all-star every year.

    Pau: get tougher

    Bynum: keep the ball moving and score your points on more than just ISO post ups. Start moving without the ball. You can get so many easy shots if you learn more tactics in and around the hoop. I would talk to Charles Barkley about that. Also, when you catch the ball, DON’T HOLD IT UP!! Either make your move aggressively and quickly or pass the ball. If you could figure out how to move without the ball, how to pass, and how to make quick decisions, i think you would be all-nba.

    Kobe: take your time healing. This team plays great without you. But with you healthy, they are a championship team.


  12. Regarding Kobe vs Lebron

    When Healthy, Kobe is still better in my opinion. If you take them at the beginning of this season, perhaps up to 20 games into the season, it was Kobe who was outperforming Lebron. Kobe has such a wide array of skills that he can kill you from anywhere.

    It is no question that currently Lebron is better. But with a healthy Kobe, the situation is not so clear. Stat wise, it may be an argument for Lebron. But as one old celtic once said, it is not how many you score but when you score them. Lebron, even though with an incredible team surrounding him, still did not win the title last year. The Cavs had the best TEAM defense in the league and won 66 games last year. Still, they didn’t even make it to the NBA finals. Before their fall, everyone was saying just how good Lebron’s supporting cast was. After the loss in the playoffs, they turned into scrubs.

    The key this year is whether Lebron will go for his stats, ie, go 1 on 5 vs the magic. Or will he go for the victory, meaning playing a TEAM game? For people who claim that Kobe is selfish, i ask you to watch last year’s playoffs. While Kobe went into facilitator mode against Denver and Orlando, Lebron went into ISO 1 vs 5 mode. He ended up getting great stats, but the team looked impotent. Let’s get this straight, if i go 1 on 5 every time against the Magic in a game, then even i would get 10 points and 5 assists. When every play is in your hands, you tend to get a lot of assists. But then the team is not as good.


  13. When I consider all the big shots Derek has hit over the course of his career I have no problem with him taking the last shot. He missed. It happens. The Lakers move on. Like Phillip, I am still glad the Lakers were right there against a still dangerous team with Kobe sitting.

    1) – You make a good point about Kobe’s time off. Many of us wanted him to shut it down for awhile so he could heal up. But how long is too long? The team is 4 out of 5 since he has been out. That is very good. But we don’t want #24 out for too long.


  14. Is Fisher trying to “showcase” that he still has value since his contract is up? How else can you explain all the drives to the baskets?


  15. I’m a Kobe and Laker fan but last year Lebron’s teammates couldn’t buy a shot and he had to go 1 on 5? I don’t think there was legitimate star on last year’s Cavs besides Mo Williams.


  16. kaveh,
    I’m not sure what you mean when you say that “this post is rather rediculous”. Phillip laid out his thoughts that based off the rivalry of these two teams and the intensity that comes from it, the Lakers are likely to play close games against Boston.

    I think you need to quit with the attacks on Phillip when your explanation after you call him rediculous doesn’t even speak to his overall point.

    The Lakers played Boston tough with and without Kobe. When Kobe is in the game – and at this point, I think this is obvious – the Lakers have been playing a different brand of ball than when he’s sat over the last 5 games. Does this mean the Lakers are a better team without Kobe? Of course not, and I don’t think anyone has said that, and I don’t see it in Phillip’s post either. What I did read was him saying that the Lakers were just as competitive, if not more, against the C’s when Kobe sat out. Is that arguable? Sure, but it’s not a rediculous statement and the premise of his post isn’t either.


  17. Our guard play all-around was not good last night save a few great plays by Sasha – who won’t be getting more minutes with a sprained shoulder.

    Considering the fact that without Kobe we and everyone in the league knows our backcourt is our weakness, we’re going to have to expect a few games like this from our guards without Kobe.

    Sometimes they’re going to come out gangbusters, but our guards are who they are. If we can keep playing defense like this, then I’m confident that our front line can keep us winning until Kobe is ready to come back.

    In the offseason we can worry about what we’re going to do about our backcourt woes, but right now it does little good to do more than say they could be better and accept that this is what our team is for 2009-2010.


  18. I am actually feeling okay this morning. Not just because the kobeless Lakers played tough against a rested, strong Celtics team.

    I feel great because of dunks.

    1. Artest dunked at least twice. That’s great because it shows his feet are getting better. (He also tore the ball out of people’s hands a couple of times. He’s just getting stronger and healthier.) It’s also great because any time he tries to lay it up, it gets blocked.

    2. Gasol and Odom were dunking and trying to dunk. They’ve figured out/been yelled at that they need to finish hard against the Celtics or they will get it rejected. Even if they don’t get the dunk, they’ll get the foul. Throw it down Big Man, throw it down! (Get better Bill.)

    That is the kind of aggression the Lakers need to get past the league thugs (CLE, BOS, DEN).

    As for the game itself, yeah Shannon kind of couldn’t pull it off and the Lakers had bad communication allowing Rondo to steal the ball too much, and Farmar’s slices to the hoop were missing (post trade deadline depression?).

    But we had a shot at the end. It was interesting to see Phil go to Fish. To be honest, I was hoping Ron Ron would take the last shot. He probably has the most experience of anyone not-Kobe at taking crazy shots.

    And there was a lot for the team to learn from this game, so on to the next game…


  19. i agree with T. Rogers and his assessment of that last play with Fish. he has hit so many important shots for us over the years (and even this year-see the three he hit in miami that ultimately set-up Kobe’s miracle game-winner) that i dont have a problem with him taking the last shot in that situation (although i would have liked for a play to be drawn up that gave him a better chance to be successful. the chances of him creating a good shot one-on-one off the dribble aren’t very good).

    i feel that this opinion, however, is an unpopular one considering fish’s struggles this year and it has got me thinking about people’s views of fish from a kind of philosophical standpoint. the fisher-bashing on this site has been, at times, brutal and games like last night don’t help his case. I, personally, found myself bashing fisher pretty regularly all last season and then game 4 of the finals happened. he hit 2 huge threes (one to send the game into overtime and another that turned out to be the game-winner as it broke a tie with less than 40 seconds remaining in overtime) and i said that i will never bash fisher again. i have done a good job of it so far and i feel defensive whenever people berate him mercilessly on this site. i see all of the short-comings that he has. he has a hard time defending any PG that is an offensive threat, he takes too many PUJIT, and his lack of athleticism makes just about any drive to the rim an ill-advised decision. it is at times maddening. but, at the same time, we have won 4 championships with the guy and he has been a major contributor to every one of them. he has hit countless clutch shots (i still think that .4 was the most thrilling singular sports moment i have witnessed in my life) and his heady play has always seemed to benefit us in the playoffs. all in all, the guy is not afraid of the moment and there just is not that many players that that can be said of. i guess my question is that at what point has a player done so much for a team over the years that one should just accept the bad that comes and say “he’s done the job so many times before when it mattered and i have faith that he will do it again”? i, personally, have reached that level with fish whether it is logical or not.


  20. kaveh, i guarantee that if YOU go 1 on 5 against the magic, you’re not getting 10 and 5


  21. It is speculation at this point, but it was quite possible (considering they played tough) that the Lakers may NOT have found themselves down with 2.2 seconds left had they:

    A.) Taken care of the ball (e.g. two of Shannon Brown’s passes were stolen by Rondo resulting in points; Gasol getting swiped clean by Rondo);
    B) Executed better (e.g. Fisher driving to the basket with no realistic chance of making his shots anyway; Brown going one on one thinking he’s the new Kobe Bryant); and
    C) Had someone else (other than Fisher) immediately mark Ray Allen when he got hot in the 3rd quarter.

    I know this was one game, but it’s tough to swallow a loss like this because the Lakers could have pulled out the win had it not been for several breakdowns, especially from the guard spots.


  22. Anyone who thinks farmar, brown, and sasha are deserving of equal playing time needs to look at the tape. Farmar and Sasha know the offense. Their capacity to run the offense…not that great. And by this point, they should know it. Anyone who was close enough to read the players’ body language could see that Farmar does not listen to coaches and chafes every time he’s asked to do something. He really thinks he knows more. Sasha’s attention span is about a millisecond and most of that time is spent thinking about himself. And they’re frequently on the floor together…so you can see how that goes. Sasha had a brief sequence where played good defense on allen, made a nice layup and a nice shot. That’s not running the offense. He still shoots more often than he should and the shot selection is questionable. Farmar is the same. I give a lot of credit to the celtics defense, but we needed more ball movement. Pau got stripped a few times because his moves were so predictable he drew the double team and got stripped. Crisper and faster ball movement would help in those situations. The celts did their best to deny position to bynum and gasol. So kick the ball out and repost. or try to penetrate immediately with a spin move. But it was a good game. Artest was a beast, as was odom. I wish fish gave it back to artest for the last shot. he was open, but that whole sequence was so screwed up. If the lakers did call a time out, we needed more time on the clock. It should have been pushed back to 4 or 5. And I wish Odom tried to dunk instead of the layup, but that would have been tough from the side he was coming from. this game says a lot more good things about the lakers than the celts. they barely have 7 good players. that won’t fly in the playoffs.


  23. Ecat – There were lots of things the Lakers could have done to get the W, including having the point guards not miss so many free throws. At one point Shannon went to shoot a technical free throw and Pau walked over to the line, I presume to suggest he shoot it instead. But Shannon stayed, then missed it. Farmar and Fish had some missed FTs too. Sad when your bigs are more reliable at the stripe.

    I don’t mind Fish taking the last shot, but that was an awful look. How many inches does Allen have on him? To expect him to get a good look on a curl over a taller defender is pretty dumb. He was bound to fail.

    Bound to fail also applied when Phil asked Fish to guard Allen, who routinely rose up over Fish to go 2001-era Ray Allen last night. Farmar should have had more run on Dil, er, I mean Rondo so Shannon could have put some size on Allen.

    LO should have called for time on the stop, rather than rush up the floor. The seconds that would have saved could have allowed for a better last shot.

    And I wish Fish and Shannon would swap brains; Fish needs to stop trying to go to the rim, and Shannon needs to do more of it.

    All in all, Boston won’t see L.A. again this season. They’re old and won’t beat Cleveland, Orlando or Atlanta should they meet in the playoffs. Hope they enjoyed the one ring, because that’s all these geezers are going to get.


  24. The traditional guard play of the Lakers is the reason I feel we need to religiously run the triangle offense – especially with Kobe out. The system not only moves the ball (in 4 sec or less according to Phil) – are you listening Farmar/Shannon/Fish? – but it leaves players in a position to defend until the remainder of the team can get back on defense.

    We got in trouble late in the 4th qtr last night – every night with Kobe in – when we went away from the triangle motion. Think Shannon standing at the top of the circle and absolutely no other player moving in any direction. There was very little Shannon could do at that point but put the shot up.


  25. Re: Ray Allen Finding the Derek Fisher Fountain of Youth

    If only Ray can go against Derek Fisher every night. If Phil was going to play Derek (I am guessing its in his contract?) he had to pick his poison. I don’t blame Phil for that. It was either Derek guard Rondo and have Rondo kill us or have Fisher guard Ray and have Ray kill us. Since Allen is by far the worst player Phil made the right choice. I don’t think this was one of Phil’s bad decisions. I mean… I guess he could have not played Fisher at all but that would be a breach of contract.


  26. They have all been given chances, but none of Brown, Farmar, or Vujacic have shown the consistency that is needed to put them in Fisher’s place. Until they do, Jackson is not going to gamble on them.

    I agree that LeBron is better than Kobe; I think that point was reached last season, possibly the season before. Nothing against Kobe, but it seems pretty obvious that that is the case. LeBron’s antics turn some people off. There are others who don’t give him enough credit because more of his production comes from his sheer physicality than exceptional basketball skill.


  27. What’s up with adding the Lebron that no one is better than lebron with No, No, No likes its a fact. Please. I can’t write a book on why lebron still isn’t better than Kobe and NEVER WILL BE. And I’ll briefly state why, Lebron depends on his physical abilities to score and defend, he’s in his physical prime so when he’s not in his physical prime the only thing that can compensate for loss of physical ability is skill, which he lacks. Skills that Jordan Kobe, even Carmelo possessed from the very beginning of their career. And don’t give me he can develop a back to the basket game, a mid range game ect…either you have it or you don’t. If you have it you can definitely improve, ala Kobe, Jordan and Melo. But name some players that in the middle-end of their careers just all of a sudden developed in the way many are excepting the way Lebron will. Offensively not only does lebron lack so many aspects that Kobe has, he also needs two or 3 screens to get to the basket and get open for three’s. Everyone uses screens its a part of the game. But no one use screens the way lebron does. No one. Well maybe dwade and cp3, but thats it. Thats why its impossible to guard lebron, you can’t guard someone when you have another player standing in between you and lebron 80% of the time. Lebron ultimately lives and dies by the 28 foot 3 pointer and like C-Web says three pointers are “fools gold”.

    And back to Fisher, I’ll say a few things. Fishers poor judgement on the court prevents him from being the efficient player that he should be and the lakers need. If Fisher did what he was supposed to do offensively and leadership wise consistently, I would complain about the defensive. But Fisher can be a liability on both ends of the court on almost a nightly basis. Fisher said he was looking to draw contact on the last shot last night. Really!? Draw contact 22 feet away from the basket, and your name is derek fisher. Knowing that officials are reluctant to blow the whistle at the end of games. Especially a whistle against the Celtics and your name is Derek Fisher, a spot up jump shooter. That’s ignorant. That’s something a VETERAN should know.

    The second thing is that Fishers clutch shots will not get him a lifetime pass. Laker nation is definitely grateful and appreciative of Fisher hitting those shots. But Fishers 0.4 didn’t matter because lakers still lost that series and now that shot wouldn’t even count. Fishers two big 3’s in the finals were definitely important, but his second 3 in the overtime the lakers were already up 2 and he actually did what he was supposed and play off of bryant. But if the he hadn’t hit those shots, does anyone really believe the Lakers would’ve lost championship. No, they would’ve won 4-2. To me fishers past clutch shots do not make up for the poor play for the rest of his life.

    I know I’m a bit more critical than most. But I just don’t believe how bad Fishers judgment is. He’s the Co-capt. He’s the only other 4x champion on that team. He’s the veteran. HE SHOULD KNOW BETTER.


  28. 13.

    LeBron didn’t just put up great stats in last year’s playoffs, he put up the greatest output to efficiency numbers in NBA playoff history.

    In 14 games, LeBron put up 35.3 ppg on 22.3 fga, 7.3 apg to 2.7 to/g, & 9.1 rpg, with a TS% of .618 and an eFG% of .553. He actually managed to exceed his remarkably high USG% of 36.4 with a crazy PER of 37.4 (no one else in NBA playoff history has ever passed 33).

    While LeBron had a better team around him than Kobe did during his peak output years (in ’05-06 & ’06-07), let’s not pretend like a starting lineup of M. Williams, D. West, J. Smith, Varejao, & Ilgauskas would have sniffed the playoffs without LeBron.


  29. It was a collective brain fart at the end of the game that allowed the Beaners to steal the victory. From Bynum posting up too far outside the lane jab stepping for 8 seconds, and Pau passing the ball out of bounds to Wow, to Fisher driving the lane with no clue.

    I must say that last night can only be thought of as a lesson of how not to close out a close game. The experience without #24 the last five games has been a growing period for the rest of the team. Hopefully LA has learned something from the highs( smashing Utah, Portland, SAS) and lows(losing by one to Boston) to turn the page to a new chapter in the season as they continue the chase for the ring.


  30. @28 Joel B
    Minor quibble with your history. Lakers won the 0.4 series against the Spurs, but lost in the finals to Detroit.

    Your analysis is great though. I would add that as much as Fisher’s play has deteriorated, the starting PG spot is his and neither Farmar, Brown, nor Sasha have taken it from him with their play. They need to prove they are ready.


  31. It is somewhat interesting to listen to the ‘who’s greatest’ arguements these days. Most of the noise comes from fans who have very little perspective – i.e. they are too young. Sorry, that is the fact of the matter.

    1) Greatest or greatest-of-all-time doesn’t really matter – there have been too many great players and their skills (both on the court and off) are so widely varied that comparisons are nonsense.

    2) Most great players have other great players within the prime of their careers – ala Magic and Larry. An exception to this would be Michael Jordan in the 90s, but even he had Hakeem Olajuwon – who wasn’t given the credit he deserved because of ESPN. Fan bases will always be biased for their own player.

    3) Even rings don’t really count because sometimes it is ‘the luck of the draw’ who your teammates are/coach is and how you mesh – all players (no matter how great) need teammates to win rings.

    This becomes a simple argument to make you feel good about yourself in the moment – no more, no less.

    Can’t we leave it that there are several great players out there who deserve max contracts – then let each play their game?


  32. New post up. An examination of some of the trades that the playoff teams made.


  33. If better meant skill-wise, Kobe.

    If better meant just being more effective on court, LeBron.


  34. @28 Joel B
    I understand and respect your position on Fisher not getting a “lifetime pass”. im not suggesting that he should either, but instead im just simply saying that i believe he will come through when it matters most (the playoffs) because he has so many times before. to me, this is where his value lies.

    just to set the record straight, the 3 he hit in overtime was the game-winner as it broke a 91-91 tie (you can watch the clip here: ). im not saying that this magically atones for all of his basketball sins, but i dont want the importance of that shot to be diminished. also, if orlando pulls that game out, the series is tied at 2, the magic have all of the momentum, and the circumstances surrounding game 5 are very different. it is unfair to say that if fish doesnt hit those shots we still walk to the championship. if fish doesnt hit those shots, the finals could have played out very differently.


  35. #19
    Well said, Apricot. I felt that way this morning as well, and even yesterday after the game. Yes, I hate losing to Boston, but I loved watchng teh Lakers play. I loved their aggression, their determination. I loved how they attacked, how they fought… it was like they cared as much about the game as we do! 🙂

    To everyone (note that I’m not singling any one person out), please, the Fisher bashing is getting old. Yes, he looked old and tired last night. No, none of our other guards stepped up to fill the gap. Yes, that was a difficult shot. But he’s made difficult shots in the past, I was not surprised to see him with the ball on that play. Also, consider that the list of point guards in the league that look good when matching up with Rondo is pretty short.

    Our team played well against our hated rivals, with heart and passion, and with aggression that I haven’t seen from them in a while… I mean…. Pau dunked! More than once!!! Bynum was angry! Ron dunked and was aggressive on offense! It was beautiful to see!

    The loss stings, burns, and pains, but the way we lost made me feel better about the rest of this season.


  36. @29 You forget cleveland is from the east and not the west
    the 9th team in the east last season had 36 wins. Meaning cleveland could go 36 or 37, depending on who held the tiebreaker. Also, I know it’s just one game but Cleveland also gave philadelphia some trouble without lebron, without ilgauskas, without mo williams and without smith, dragging philadelphia to overtime.
    yes, Cleveland wouldn’t make it in the west
    but they are still from the east




  38. To all those who think Fisher should be and will be starting come playoff time (note I am not singling out one person),

    I have some land in florida I want to talk to you about


  39. I do agree fisher bashing is getting old(and I’m probably the number one bashed) but it’s just frustrating to see Fisher making bonehead decisions. I know Fisher can do better. This is his second consecutive “bad” season and think he’s trying to force his way out of his slumps. When he’s getting beat of the defensive end he’ll try to make up for it on the offensive end by taking ill advised shots. I think we a know fishes flaws. But what I’m trying to say is the way to make up for it is by playing smart that’s all. Fisher is one of the most intellingent and experienced players in the league. Those are his strengths and he needs to play to them by showing his leadership on the court. He has to be the one when the lakers are getting sloppy to demand the ball and call gather the team call the play and run the offense he is the captain, he is the point guard. I know he can do it because he done it throughout his whole career. My mistake on the .4 basket and the shot in ot last, I was doing more ranting than fact checking. But I’m not blaming fish for the loss vs Boston, they all played terrible offense in the last 6 minutes. But he had some opportunities to settle them down so the team can try go maximize their offensive possessions. As the champion and veteran he his, he has to do better in that aspect of the game. Fisher is not what he was on the defensive end anymore and we accept that. He’s 35 and that’s a natural part of the process. But he can be almost perfect at playing his role, he can be a near perfect leader on the floor. He can go 0-10 on great looks, and I’ll say boy he was just off. But he can go 1-10 by taking a bunch of ill advised shots and that’s where the bashing begins. I’m completely convinced that Fisher can do better. I do not advocate benching fisher, him retiring or trading him. I’m just saying that he can vastly improve his decision making.

    In the 07-08 season he was just that almost perfect leader and almost perfect at playing his role. I know he had more of a green light on the offensive end in that season, but it’s nothing wrong with turning off the green light and changing it to a yellow light.


  40. If i hear one more “but he hit those shots against orlando” comments i’m going to be sick to my stomach. You guys make it seem like “one big shot” justifies horrible play in 20 games. As much as fisher has done and what hes meant to the team thoughout his career with LAL, his poor play is not from a lack of trying-the guy is 35 years old and was never really a flashy all star. Effective-yes, clutch-yes, great teammate-absolutely but at what point do we MOVE ON and accept the fact that he can no longer get it done. Let’s all remember that his postseason play in 09 wasn’t great (that goes for those who say he’ll be valuable in the playoffs) and i think it would be in the best interests of the team to lower his minutes.

    That aside, The kobe-lebron. I’ll say this, Lebron is right now the better player, the guy is on his way to being the best statistical player in the HISTORY of the nba. Considering he is the team and the offense runs through him its expected but at no point can we say carmelo could and would average those numbers. The guys amazing no doubt about it. In terms of individual play, and one on one, kobe is better and utilizes skill while lebron relies more on (he does have nice moves around the basket) his athleticism; with that body and strength who wouldn’t? It’s still effective. I see it more as 1A and 1B because kobe has a killers mentality and is more clutch and a better closer than lebron though lebron is gaining ground there too. The reason i give lebron an edge RIGHT NOW is because of athleticism and his ability to get to the line which makes him more efficient. Its natural that as kobe has aged hes lost some hops and with a combination of finger injuries the past seasons (the pinky didnt negatively affect him much, last year and now) kobe hasnt attacked the rim or been the aggressive “freak” weve seen through the years. The healthy and “murder the basket” kobe of 07-08 is better than lebron is now though by a large margin. I’m not saying kobe is no longer athletic, but minutes and injuries (last years finger and this years nagging ones) have taken a toll on his effectiveness the past seasons. I still believe kobe is in his prime, lets not be quick to forget how he started the season to be fair and will come back healthy to show us that the gap and difference isn’t large as many like john hollinger say. We all know kobe elevates his game in the postseason and becomes james-esque in numbers and efficiency anyways. But why cant we just accept that both are amazing and stellar in their own way. The league has elite players, we know who they r but wut do we gain by making each seem inferior (thats what we do when we say one is better), satisfy our minds? Hardly, the right to say “they have the best player in the world” well wut does that do; it doesnt change the fact that the other is great as well. On any given night lebron will outlay kobe, melo will outplay lebron and vice versa. When there was magic, there was bird; fact is there will always be a player that can equally dominate a game. Thats the case now but one fact remains. Until lebron can take the “crown” (aka be champion), kobe will be and is the alpha dog of the league. Will that change come june? we shall see.


  41. @ Joel
    great post on the Kobe-lebron argument. An earlier post suggested that we should never set a so-called “greatest” stature on any one player. Sure! And America is a utopia. Point there will ways in anything we do be a good/better/best. With that said, the greatest NBA player ever hands down is Jordan. However before Kobe is done he WILL take that crown. True athletes know that skill will always outperform athleticism. Shaq was big and athlethic but is he in the greatest discussion? Dwight Howard has awesome athleticism but is he in that
    conversation? Skill makes greatness ala Magic, Kareem, Olajuwan, Jordan, And Kobe. Lebron lacks true skill. Soon he won’t be able to bulldozer over defenders to the goal while getting special calls from the refs. Than what? Oh he will launch 3’s all night. Please! Kobe can slash like Lebron/although Lebron is more explosive but can Lebron really shoot it like Kobe or make a way out of no way to win the game? I think not. Take it from a woman who knows this game-Kobe is the Grestest basketball player in the leauge. We better enjoy him. Who knows when another one like him will ever come again. One last question did Lebron score 80 in a game yet? Has Lebrat won a ring yet? Better yet has he hit the game winning shot in a championship game? So let’s keep it real.


  42. One thing on the “Fisher-bashing” – I agree that it is tiring, and I have come to accept that no moves are going to be made at the guard position, and no-one else really looks ready to move him over. But the reason it continues is because there are disagreements between fans about his performance, and part of the point of a blog is to provide a forum where these can be explored (in theory) or vented (in practice).

    One of the things that bothers me about the pro-fish camp (more precisely the anti-Fish-hater camp) is that there seems to be some moral obligation to support him based on what he’s done or what he represents. And what this leads to are posts like this which just ignore the obvious reasons why games are lost. I don’t like being told that there are certain things that can’t be talked about – for me as a fan, an important part of the game is testing out my basketball knowledge, seeing what others make of the same game.

    I get that Fish brings Phil and Kobe’s trust; he is more likely than the other guards to run the offense; and he brings some mental and physical toughness (especially important last year before we had Artest, as Kobe is the only other really tough player on the team).

    But what I saw against the Celts was someone who didn’t play within their limitations at all offensively; didn’t steady the offense when it mattered, opting for pujits and drives to the hoop that had no chance; and was overmatched physically, requiring a defensive mismatch to try and hide him. In other words, all the things he is supposed to provide, he didn’t provide, and I think it cost us the game. And whatever great things he’s done in the past, we know that the number of games he costs are only increasing versus the number he wins. To me, discussing this isn’t hate, it’s just what’s happening.

    What we can do about it is something else, but if Kobe comes back in shape I think a Kobe/Artest/LO/Pau/Bynum lineup might need to be given a shot as we near the playoffs.