Around The World (Wide Web): Lakers/Mavs Reactions, Jerry West

Phillip Barnett —  February 25, 2010

For most of the season, the Lakers have played some of their best basketball coming out of the half, extending leads they already had or taking leads from opponents. That wasn’t the case last night. Then again, this definitely wasn’t the first night that the Lakers struggled in the third – like they did in Memphis just one night before – but going into the game against Dallas, the Lakers had taken eight third quarter deficits and turned them into victories. That wasn’t the case last night.

There were too many turnovers, they gave up too many offensive rebounds, they fouled too much (at the wrong times, too), they couldn’t close out quarters and Kobe didn’t shoot the ball well. On this second game of back-to-back roadies, the Lakers did not look like potential NBA Champions, and Dallas – the new look Dallas, mind you – looked like a team who was finally able to match up well with the Lakers.

There were some points in last night’s game that make your gut churn looking back at it. The Lakers led 50-43 with less than a minute left in the second quarter and went into the break only up a point. Kobe’s foul on Jason Terry behind the three-point line. Jason Kidd’s wide open three at the end of the third quarter – turning a one-point Lakers lead into a two point Lakers deficit going into the fourth. That 7:54 mark in the fourth quarter, which put the Lakers over the foul limit. Dirk’s missed fade away over Odom – which led to yet another Brendon Haywood offensive rebound, which led to Dirk getting the ball back late in the shot clock. Dirk would hit a back-breaking jumper over Kobe while getting fouled by who is usually the best player on the floor. Kobe knows not to foul so late in the shot clock, but that was just the kind of night it was for the Lakers. You can live with Dirk dropping 30+, but not when it’s coupled with a 30-point game from Jason Terry.

Brian Kamenetzky at Land O’ Lakers wrote about the Lakers propensity to make mistakes despite being given ample chances to win last night’s game:

On the ensuing trip after Odom’s free throws, Jason Kidd brought the ball up the left side, and was met by Bryant, who aggressively went over a Shawn Marion screen to scuttle one of Dallas’ many pick and roll attempts on the evening. Eventually, the ball made its way to Dirk Nowitzki, who took and missed a tough catch and shoot fading away over Odom.

Poke. The Lakers surrendered yet another offensive rebound, this one to Brendan Haywood. The ball never hit the rim, putting the Mavs under the gun to get a shot off. Kidd dribbled right, and found nothing. He fed Nowitzki near the foul line, matched against Kobe, the shot clock nearly expired. Dirk spun left, and right at the buzzer fired another difficult shot.

Poke.

The ball fell as Kobe committed the sin of fouling late in the clock.

Dirk went to the line, and buried the free throw. Mavs by five, 87-82.

Don’t get me wrong- the Lakers didn’t lose the game on this play any more than they did early in the fourth, when they turned the ball over three times in two minutes, committed some terrible fouls, and struggled to run the offense. Or when they gave up six late points to close the first half (including a three-point shooting foul of Jason Terry), or when they scored three points over the first three-plus minutes of the third.

Mark Medina from the Los Angeles Times’ Lakers Blog wrote about the same problems:

There was plenty of time remaining, but the Lakers spent most of it just making silly mistakes. Fisher fell on the ground, Terry made an open three pointer and Dallas had a 90-84 lead with 5:20 remaining. After Bryant’s turnaround jumper missed with the shot clock winding down, forward Pau Gasol missed a rebound in front of him and Brendan Haywood converted on one of two free throws as the Lakers trailed 92-86 with 2:39 left. There was also Bynum’s turnover in the paint that appeared to be a defensive foul. Bynum protested the call instead of getting back on D as Terry’s transition layup gave Dallas a 95-86 lead with 2:14 remaining.

Odom’s six consecutive points kept the Lakers in contention, as they trailed 97-92 at the 1:13 mark, but there would be no Mamba providing the Lakers with another game winner. Though the Lakers trailed 97-94 with 24 seconds remaining and plenty of time on the shot clock, Bryant immediately attempted a three-pointer that rimmed out. Gasol couldn’t secure the loose ball and ultimately was called for an offensive foul. Though Bryant’s two free throws on the next possession cut the lead to 99-96 with nine seconds left, the Lakers didn’t press properly and fouled Nowitzki with one second remaining.

The ending marked a cold reality. There were too many areas that contributed to the Lakers loss, and there wasn’t enough of an effort to fix it.

For those of you who missed the game, Basket Blog has the running diary of the game for all of your big plays and analysis by quarter. John Ireland has a column up on the potential entertainment level of a Lakers-Mavericks playoff series. Rob Mahoney has an article up at Hardwood Paroxysm on why Kobe will always be a topic up for debate. Todd Archer of the Dallas Daily News Mavs Blog has a short piece on what last night’s win meant for the Mavericks players.

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register wrote his column on Derek Fisher and how the Lakers are going to need him to play well for the team to be successful because, in Ding’s opinion, they don’t have anyone better.

Fisher is fast moving into Bryant longtime territory of being an uncommonly divisive player. That’s actually not altogether surprising given that Fisher has a lot of characteristics in common with Bryant. Both would never fail to believe in themselves, which means they’re perfectly willing to believe they’re better than they really are – which isn’t exactly an endearing quality.

But if Fisher believes he’s better than he really is right now, so does Phil Jackson. And ultimately, that’s where the Lakers are with this: They still trust Fisher to do what they need done, which I’ve tried to explain before can’t be boiled down to a shooting percentage or judged by the speed of a defensive slide.

It’s the Lakers’ trust that Fisher will do the right things for the team on the floor that keeps him out there.

That is rooted in but not limited to all the goodwill he has amassed in his past. It’s also that the Lakers don’t have anyone better – and that’s the angle that should be more of a concern for Lakers fans.

I’ll leave you guys with a couple more links to get you through the Lakers’ off day:

- Ball Don’t Lie has a post about a new documentary on the Magic/Bird rivalry that will be airing on HBO on March 6th.

Slated to debut nationally on Saturday, March 6, at 8 p.m., the HBO documentary Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals features plenty of amazing basketball and insights on the Magic/Bird relationship from former teammates (Kevin McHale, Cedric Maxwell and Michael Cooper), family members (Bird’s brother Mark and Magic’s sister Evelyn), longtime friends (Arsenio Hall), cultural commentators (Chuck Klosterman) and sports journalists, including ex-Boston Globe scribe Jackie MacMullan, whose recent book on the rivalry was cited by HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg as “an inspiration” for the project during the film’s Boston premiere, held Monday night at the TD Garden.

- ESPN.com (via Dime Mag) has a story up on a portion of Roland Lazenby’s new book about Jerry West where it explains how West talked John Calipari out of drafting Kobe Bryant (h/t to Kurt Helin).

First West had to take the huge gamble of trading veteran center Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets for their thirteenth pick in the draft. Then he learned that John Calipari, the coach of the New Jersey Nets, planned to take [Kobe] Bryant with the eighth pick before the Lakers could snare him at thirteen.

“Jerry wanted Kobe, so he basically called up and talked Cal out of drafting Kobe,” explained Hal Wiseel, who was with the Nets at the time. West encouraged the Bryant family to talk to Calipari and explain that their son really wanted to play for the Lakers. “He knew if we didn’t take him at eight, he’d drop to Charlotte, and he could make the deal with Charlotte,” Wissel recalled. “Cal was young in the league and, hey, it’s Jerry West on the phone.”

-Phillip

Phillip Barnett

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38 responses to Around The World (Wide Web): Lakers/Mavs Reactions, Jerry West

  1. Alas, Ding’s column is pretty much dead on. Fisher is terrible, but Farmar and Brown can’t get the job done, either.

    What’s to stop Phil from employing a Kobe, Artest, Lamar, Pau, & Bynum lineup? Why not play your best 5 at once?

    Odom would be PG on offense, and Kobe would cover the PG on defense.

  2. Kobe needs to stop shooting so much.

    9-23 on a night where pau/drew/ron/odom combined for 23-36 or 63%?

    he’s clearly got an alternate agenda that isn’t best for the team. he’s clearly aware of his place on the all-time scoring list or out to prove to mitch that he deserves a max length contract.

    I love the guy.. he’s top 10 all time.. but how can he be taking 30% of the shots when clearly the front line is the team’s greatest strength?

    (and is it just me or have the posts gotten really really long since kurt left?)

  3. 2) – I think it is a lost cause to lament Kobe’s shot numbers. There will quickly be a round of comments defending him and pointing out Drew’s “sticky” tendencies with the ball. They will also point out the troubling increase in Gasol’s gaffes with the ball.

    And really, both sides are right. Kobe does shoot too much on many nights. But Gasol has to get back to looking sharp (with Kobe on the court). And Drew needs to just learn to play as well off the ball as he can with the ball.

    But I agree with you. Coming into the season the Lakers greatest strength was supposed to be its scoring front court. It’s just kind of hard to punish teams up front when our starting C, PF, SF, and Sixth man (PF) take a combined 36 shots. I did not see the entire game. I just find it hard to believe Dallas took all FOUR of those players out of the game.

    A good way to keep Drew out of foul trouble is to get him some early touches so he can be the agressor on his man. Also, I have said this many times, Pau Gasol needs to touch the ball every time down. Him and Odom are the team’s best passers. When they don’t touch the ball enough the offense will stagnate. Count on it.

    The Lakers offense (and subsequently their defense) suffers when the Pau, LO, and Drew are not touching the ball. And yes, Drew needs to move the ball better. He still needs to touch the ball, though.

  4. Wow, Kobe as a NJ Net!

    I doubt he’d have 4 rings in this alternate universe …

  5. Anon – While I do believe Kobe is too aggressive at times, I don’t believe last night was one of those games. Our bigs came out in the first quarter and established themselves very well getting good post position. But after the first they did a poor job of getting good post position leading to turnovers and the shot clock winding down where Kobe had to rush up a shot.

    The bigger question is, how is it that Pau Gasol cannot get deep post position on Dirk Nowitzki. There is no way Dirk should be able to push Gasol out that far as he was doing yesterday.

    Lastly, this has been debated a lot on this forum but I am of the opinion that Kobe deserves to be taking the majority of the shots. As we saw against the Celtics scoring only 2 points in the last 7 minutes of the game. Against good teams in a close game he is really the only guy on our team that can get his own shot when teams clamp down.

  6. After reading the bit about Jerry West convincing Calapari to let Kobe fall to the Lakers I immediately thought of Kerry Kittles. He was taken at the 8th spot by NJ that year. From the time he came into the league, it was reported that Kobe had a chip on his shoulder because Kittles was a guard who was taken before him and he played like it too.

    Doesn’t is seem odd though, that Kobe would have this chip on he shoulder even though Kerry Kittles being drafted before him was by design so he could fall to the Lakers?

    In related news: Kobe was part of an impressive draft class…it never occured to me.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_NBA_Draft

  7. Anon

    Yeah, Kobe took 23 shots…but fisher took 13 and only made 3. I’ll take kobe take 2 more shots than he should’ve every now and then for the simple fact he’s kobe. But I can’t stomach fisher taking 8 more shots then he should’ve, for the simple fact he’s fisher. He shoots 37% this season. He can’t defend anyone. And he’s the 7th best player on the team.

    As far as the Ding article about the Derek Fisher thinking he’s better than what he is, but Farmar and Brown are not any better, I couldn’t agree and disagree more. Fisher thinks he’s a lot better what he is. And the lakers do have someone better than Fisher, it’s Farmar.

    It was funny how people were putting up Kirk Hinrich stats when there was all the trade talk. But lets look at farmar and fishers stats

    Farmar
    18 min 7.5 points 44% 36% from three
    Fisher
    27 min 7.4 points 37% 34% from three

    Last 5 games
    Fisher
    30 min 8.4 points 30% 31% from three
    Farmar
    20 min 7.8 points 51% 45% from three

    I never advocated benching Fisher. But now i’m starting to believe Phil should. Well Farmar doesn’t run the offense, neither does Fisher. Farmar, is not that great of a defender, ummm Fisher is 2x as worse. Farmar drives to the basket more than he should, so does fisher but Farmar is actually a really good finisher, Fisher umm my guess is that is shooting % from layups would be in the 20′s. And by the numbers Farmar is a better shooter than Fisher. So can anyone make a case for Fisher anymore, other than Farmar isn’t better, because farmar clearly is and Farmar has played smarter and better than fisher over the past 3 months. It’s about getting better, and farmar has played better each month. While fisher continues to be horrible. I said a couple of weeks ago that the lakers just need Fisher not to be extremely bad. Well unfortunately, thats what the lakers are going to get evert other night from Fisher. Farmar’s good games are far better than Fisher’s good games and Fisher’s bad games are far worse than Farmar’s bad games. Fisher is declining, next year he’s just going be even worse than he is now(not looking forward to next year). At this point Fisher is getting the Robert Horry treatment(but far better because Horry was not starting). The lakers have to figure out if Farmar is going to be their guy, that means starting him or giving him starter minutes.

    Fisher doesn’t have it mentally or physically. And the lakers are lucky Farmar is a restricted free agent otherwise i’m 100% sure he would leave the lakers playing behind Fisher. And Brown isn’t mentioned in this comparison because he’s not a point guard. We have to start figuring out if brown is really any better than sasha, thats another story for another day.

  8. As you know Phil, I live in Dallas. In my opinion, the Mavericks, themselves, do not believe they can beat the Lakers in a playoff series. I mean hell, I have history on my side. Even with the moves the Mavs made (which I LOVE, by the way), I don’t see them beating LA, if LA is at, or near full-strength.

    As for Fisher, until the Lakers have the confidence to turn the keys over to another PG, this will continue. On the flip side, they won a title with Fisher starting last year, so what’s the difference now? I don’t trust Farmer; besides, shouldn’t he have shown he could do the job BY NOW? Hell, at this point, they may as well go find another PG to groom for Fisher’s replacement, because he damn sure doesn’t play for LA right now.

  9. PJ had started to play Farmar in crunchtime during some games but yesterday went to Fish – matchups? Farmar’s point guard complex w/ Barbeouis?

    But I agree with Joel B. I trust both SB more and Farmar at this point even in crunch time, because while Fish’s decision making used to be better than both of them, now it’s gotten worse and they have gotten better. And decision making is only half the battle.

    PJ’s trust Fish as much as he trusts himself approach doesn’t work, too bad Fish doesn’t have the skill set of Kobe, only the swagger.

    And no, just because Fish hits a couple clutch shots in the playoffs won’t mean he redeems himself and all the ‘fish haters’ are wrong.

  10. >>>Wow, Kobe as a NJ Net!
    >>>I doubt he’d have 4 rings in this alternate universe …

    with Jason Kidd at his prime, he might have some rings.

  11. My guess is we see Fish getting the token starts with limited minutes in the playoffs. Minutes will depend upon matchups. As other people have said, the alternatives aren’t that great either.

    Off topic, but I’m in Boston visiting my sister and we’re goin to the Cavs-Celtics game tonight. Excited to these teams live. Oh yeah, I will be wearing Lakers gear, whether or not that is appropriate.

  12. Joel,
    I agree with you on all but one of your anti Fisher points… but his shot total is what it has to be for the most part. Opposing teams are going to leave Fisher open and/or jump out on him and force him to go to the basket. He is just going to have to start converting those opportunities. One of the things I love about Fisher is he has no fear and will always stay aggressive ala Sasha. If you are on the court and you start turning down open shots you might as well be playing 4 on 5. You have to make the other team pay for leaving you open.

  13. 5,
    Kobe should be taking a majority of the shots? The team took 78 shots last night. Thanks but no thanks.

    8,
    Player performance is not stable. A year makes a big difference. Heck, a week can make a big difference. Compare Fisher’s stats this year to those from last. Big difference.

    12,
    Fisher only makes the other team pay if his open shots are being made at a respectable clip. They’re not.

  14. Everyone needs to calm down a bit. The lakers have lost some tough games this year, sure, but they lose tough games every year. Last year in the playoffs alone they struggled against a Houston team without their top two players. And the Mavs outplayed us last night so they deserved the win.

    Somebody commented (either on this thread or on the last) that the Lakers should have given the ball to Lamar more in the last minute. The problem was right after the 3pt with 1:30 or so left, Lamar tweaked his shoulder. Kobe went for the gamble three with 24 seconds left, believing the lakers could get a stop and he just missed. It happens guy, everyone calm down. The Fisher bashing is tiring because what does it matter – we have noone to replace him and unless we sign a vet for the minimum probably wont either. Farmar is good in stretches guys, but I have seen him give away games as well – there is no reason to think that by exposing a guy prone to mistakes, he will learn less mistakes. That sort of logic is outdated and makes no sense.

    Support your team in the losses and in the wins, our get outta here.

    Go Lakers.

  15. I am not sure Farmar is any worse than Fisher. I am not sold on him being better either, but it might be worth a shot.

    Beyond that PG issue, I think the secondary problem for the Lakers is having two key players that aren’t good fits.

    I’d like to see Sasha get some more playing time, but I think he would be most effective when Kobe is on the court with mostly starting players. He needs to not have too much responsibility. So I am not sure where he fits unless he comes in for Ron and Kobe slides to three.

    I like Brown, but he is not a good fit for what the Lakers need. They need some catch and shoot guys on the perimeter. I don’t think that plays to Brown’s strengths at all.

    I think Phil committed to Brown over Sasha, so I think that option is gone for this season. This leaves Ron as our best three point threat….

  16. #7
    I agree with you to a large extent, but with one difference: It’s not because they’re Kobe and Fisher, it’s because one of them makes shots and the other doesn’t. If Kobe is ice cold on one night and can’t hit the side of a stadium building from across the parking lot, I want him to realize that, and to stop shooting and start passing to the ones that make their shots. Regardless of who that happens to be.

    (Er, just to clarify, it needs to be a Laker player. No passing to Dirk Nowitzki just because he’s on fire!)

    I know Kobe will never do that, but that’s the kind of mindset that I want to see from everyone on the Lakers. It doesn’t matter who it is that’s getting hot, goes on a roll, and starts making all his shots from all over the place. If he makes them, feed him.

    @WhiteLightnin
    It is always appropriate to wear Lakers gear to a Celtics game! ;)

  17. Question: Does any other team in the league exploit mismatches LESS than the Lakers?

    Seriously, Najera was guarding Pau and then Odom for a long stretch; Kidd was even guarding Artest for a while. Why can’t we feed that mismatch every trip down the floor!? (Najera! on Pau! I want to scream that from a rooftop)

    When we are exposed on the other side of the ball it certainly seems like we get exploited time and time again, why can’t we return the favor?

    Oh, because the triangle is an equal opportunity offense you say; oh, because we need the triangle spacing you say.

    Only problem with those retorts are (unfortunately) we aren’t using too much of the triangle these days. Too much iso, too much pick and roll. The Lakers should be the most beautifully passing team, the most efficient offensive team in the league, if they just ran the gosh darn offense.

    Remember the four straight double digit point wins against quality opponents all without Kobe? Yep, that was the triangle.

    It’s frustratingly funny.

  18. It’s fun to think about what would have happened if the Shaq-for-Dirk trade had gone through years ago. The offense would probably involve 23 seconds of dribbling, followed by a contested jump shot. Made, of course. The team would probably win 50 games, unless Kobe and Dirk’s unavoidable contest to make the most difficult shot went too far.

    Later it would be fun to watch as Kobe developed a post game before Dirk.

  19. New post is up. Just a little fun to pass the time. Continue serious basketball discussions in this current thread. Enjoy.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/02/25/tough-man-to-catch-up-to/

  20. When the offense isn’t run in the way it was designed, you cannot blame one person for a loss. Or place blame on a handful of players. In all, the team lost this game. And it goes to everyone. From Kobe, to Fish, to Pau, to Bynum to LO. The team yesterday lost this.

    So let’s stop blaming. The offense wasn’t run well after the first quarter. Cue this up to the back to back. Cue this up to dallas being amped and raising their defense. It took big shots from Dallas to win (J. Kidd’s 3rd quarter buzzer shot, Dirks and 1).

    There are few things that I will bring forward. The Lakers are a more fun team to watch when the ball is moving. Actually, all basketball is fun to watch if the ball is moving and finding people who are open or who have the best matchup.

    What I will not do, EVER, is second guess a coach who is successful. Who has been successful. And has not shown that he doesn’t know what he is doing. I won’t question his decisions. He is not Bill Fitch. he is not mike dunleavy. I cannot question his decision making.

    Damn right I’m loyal. To the team and to the coach.

  21. @ray,
    Of course you are. They’ve earned it.

    I may be mad enough at Phil Jackson at times to literally jump up and down in front of the TV and shout crude insults at him out of sheer frustration, but in the end, I always remind myself that he has ten championship rings as a coach. Maybe I should just let him do his thing, and assume that he won those rings because he actually is good at his job and knows what he’s doing?

    I’ll let you figure out for yourself why I would never, ever dream of trying to tell Kobe how to play basketball… titles are only one factor in that.

    The bottom line is that teams win games, and team lose them. Individual players contribute, but that’s all they do. In the end, basketball is a team sport, and if Fisher, Sasha, or Farmar, were the only problems with the Lakers, we would be fine. If Kobe and Pau were the only good things about the team, we would not be fine at all.

    They are frustrating me, because it’s more fun to watch the Lakers when they move the ball, not to mention when they win games. But it’s only February… there’s lots and lots of season left, and we do happen to have a very good coach working with the team. I hear he’s won a few rings in his career…

    I can’t even begin to count how many times I have seen commenters here who I know know a lot more about basketball and the Lakers than I do remind us that Phil thinks long-term. He lets his players make mistakes so they’ll learn better from them, and he has never hesitated to sacrifice a battle, if it means he’ll be more likely to win the war. It baffles me that so many people who are posting here seem to genuinely doubt that he has a plan for the season, or that he even knows what he’s doing.

    People have such short memories sometimes. :)

  22. While it is always good to remain optimistic about the Lakers chances of winning it all, it is also wise to understand how last years team is so much different than this years team. Then maybe some posters can understand why there has been so much negativity going around.

    Last year LA won games like last night, playoff teams, on the road, looking to get a statement win. LA also lost games to sub 500 teams that shouldnt have had a chance when the ball first went up.

    This year LA loses games like last night, but beat up on the bottom feeders of the league. The contrast between the two teams is a big concern, when you consider that LA wont have to see the bottom feeders in the playoffs, but a team like the Mavs they will.

    The reality of how LA is playing this season, cant be based upon by what happened last year. The team is still struggling to find itself at a time when it should be gearing up for the post season.

  23. I haven’t read all of the posts, but I agree that Kobe shoots WAY too much. I realize that you can’t have it both ways, such as his first game back when he scored 30-something points on well over 50% shooting, and then the next night he goes 9-23 (and Fisher 1-13 or something like that?!?!), but, on those nights when his shot isn’t “falling” why can’t he do other things to help the team? He is more than capable of changing the game on the defensive end as well, but instead he just keeps jacking up shots when ‘Drew/Lamar/Pau score much more efficiently. I am not going to go so far as to say we’re better without Kobe, because that isn’t true, but, I do think we’re a better team when Kobe doesn’t try to do it all himself! He is a very selfish player, plain and simple, and seems like he’d rather score 30 points and lose, than score 15 points and win, and as a Lakers fan that is sad. And, those people that point out that “at the end of games when we’re down 2-3 points, blah blah blah…”, well, I think that if Kobe wasn’t shooting 20% going into the last 3 minutes of a game (and having taken 40% of the team’s shots) we wouldn’t be in a position where we’re losing and need a “clutch” shot…

  24. I truly do question why fans continue to play the blame game. The Lakers will lose games. Yes, there are real issues that could be improved upon. But even when individuals play poorly most losses are still attributed to the way that the team as a whole plays. Fisher (for example) can shoot 1-9 but if we don’t control our defensive glass, turn the ball over too many times, and force shots in moments when patience would be better served, is it really Fisher’s fault? That example is rather simplistic, but it’s the same thing every game that the Lakers lose – fans find their favorite whipping boy (or topic), go to town, and rant away. Really? Where is the nuance? A game is broken up into 90+ possessions each night. So, when one player – even if he uses up 30% of those possessions – has a bad game it’s still not *his* fault. What was going on with his teammates? What were the coaching decisions that were made? Doesn’t the other team ever deserve credit? In addition, I think we’ve all watched enough basketball to know that sometimes a missed call here or there can also make a difference (and I’m not a guy that criticizes the refs, so don’t take that as a bash on officials) and a game turns out the way it does for a ton of different factors. So, I’d really like it if we all took a step back and remembered the big picture more consistently. Maybe I’m asking too much.

  25. Jason

    Where is your evidence that “[Kobe] seems like he’d rather score 30 points and lose, than score 15 points and win”?

    It has been thoroughly detailed that Kobe values winning above all else so that statement doesn’t make much sense.

    It seems like comments that Kobe shoots too much come up with greater frequency after losses. I personally do not think he shoots too much. When Kobe gets the ball on offense, it turns into Kobe-watching time. Players don’t cut and Kobe has to create his own shot late in the shot clock. To simply attribute Kobe’s high shot attempts to solely Kobe being selfish does not take into account the context of his shots.

    Yes, Kobe does shoot the ball too much at times, but the Lakers live and die with Kobe. He is going to be the biggest reason the Lakers win a championship. A lot of Kobe’s high shot attempts also has to do with the fact that Kobe believes that him shooting the ball provides the team with a better chance to win than everyone else. That is something that will never get turned down.

    Also the comment on the Lakers four straight wins with Kobe out, being attributed to the triangle, it was more the Laker defense than anything else.

    Everyone needs to calm down. Laker fans are the biggest group of overreactors in all of sports. A loss is the single worst thing that has ever happened and Derek Fisher starting is going to be the downfall of the Laker franchise. Losses happen. Derek Fisher isn’t going to be benched anytime soon. I am also pretty sure that Phil Jackson has won 10 championship rings and is widely considered the best coach in the NBA. I trust his decisions and judgment.

  26. Darius,
    Nobody is saying the team is perfect except for one or two aspects. But the easiest way to improve a team isn’t by trading Kobe for Lebron, or Pau for Bosh, Artest for Kevin Durant, Lamar for Dirk, or Bynum for Dwight Howard. The easiest way to improve a team is by replacing a terrible player with an average player. Look at how all the Laker problems last year didn’t seem very bad when late in the season Luke Walton was benched in favor of Trevor Ariza. That is why fans are so frustrated with Derek Fisher. Because a bad player hurts his team almost as impactfully as a great player helps his team. The game is not played in a vacuum. Derek’s inability to run, move, shoot, defend, and dribble causes a ripple effect that is felt throughout the team on each play. How much better did the Lakers get when Kwame was benched in favor of Bynum? Actually… Kwame wasn’t benched… he got injured and Bynum stepped in. I hate to hope for an injury but if Derek getting injured is what it takes to improve I’m all for getting better anyway you can. The best game we played in the Houston series (and the only win in Houston) was when Farmar started in Fisher’s stead. Im not saying I’m just saying…

  27. Aaron,
    We’ve gone back and forth on Fisher and the issue has been beaten to death. I won’t defend poor play, not from Fisher, from Kobe, from Pau, from Bynum, from Mbenga. But the flip side of that coin is that players will play poorly.

    And hoping for an injury to a player is a classless, joyless existence as a fan and I call that out as trash. I don’t care how you defend that statement in whatever post you follow up with, the fact that you can say “I hate to hope for an injury” pretty much implies that you hope for that and seemingly want to show that you have some sort of remorse for feeling that way. At this point, those that don’t like the way that Fisher is playing will never see any of the good that he actually does. You yourself, in full hyperbole mode say that he can no longer run or dribble. I know that statements like that are meant for shock value and represent an exaggeration. However, they’re repeated daily as some sort of fact. Like the man is really out there playing with no discernible skills at all. Like I’ve said many times before now (though seemingly it never gets remembered) Fisher is not playing well. His shooting is down and his decision making has not been what I’d call consistent with his past standard. But, call me whatever name qualifies, there are times where, based off the play of our other guards, I want Fisher back in the game.

    But this isn’t even about Fisher. It’s about a mindset that exists amongst fans that every loss is awful and that someone must be hung out to dry for that. I just don’t agree with that. Even you, on this site last night, said that this game was only one loss and that it happens; that it’s not the end of the world. That’s a reasonable approach and I agree with that.

  28. Is anyone watching the Cavs-Celtics game? Boston is crushing…!

  29. Pretty classless to even imply a wish for injury upon someone. I love the qualifier of “I hate to hope for an injury.” It reminds me of the Larry David bit from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” where he bemoans the meaningless of the saying “Having said that,…”

    “I hate to wish for injury. Having said that, deep down, I hope Fish gets injured for the supposed betterment of the team”

  30. Darius,
    Haven’t you been reading me for a year now? When have I claimed to have class? I just have truth… or the truth as far as I see it and feel it. I am not hoping Fisher gets hurt now. But that is because I don’t think he will be playing when the postseason runs around. If Phil doesn’t bench him I won’t be hoping he loses a leg or tears a knee up. A simple sprained ankle or pulled hamstring would be nice… thats all :) . I was hoping he would get hurt in the playoffs lasts season… and if he wasn’t suspended for that one game in Houston there is a good chance the team doesn’t make it to a game 7 in that series. So what is wrong with hoping that a player you think hurts the team doesn’t get a chance to hurt the team? In my opinion its the same as wanting him benched as long as its not a serious injury. I would rather have the Lakers win the NBA championship in 2008 against a Piercless Celtics team than lose in the Finals to a fully healthy Celtics squad. I know that feeling is heartless but it is always how I felt. When the Lakers weren’t good enough to beat teams at full strength I always would hope the other teams best players couldn’t play either to do injury or foul trouble. Im not too proud to admit that.

    When I say Derek can no longer run or dribble I hope you realize I am saying compared to other NBA players he can no longer run or dribble.

    I am not unable to appreciate what Fisher brings to the team. He can still pick up offensive fouls better than any other Lakers PG and he probably can still hit a clutch shot better than any other Lakers PG (although I am just guessing because we don’t really know). But he can’t shoot, can’t dribble, can’t move, can’t defend, can’t rebound, and can’t penetrate. So I just don’t know what he brings to the floor.

    But like you said I don’t care what happens from game to game because aside from the rare midseason trade championships are won in offseason and in the front office. The only thing I care about (besides just enjoying the best athletes in the world move around) when watching the games is that our good players stay healthy. If we stay healthy we will win the championship most likely because we have the best players. Now would I like our chances more if Derek was replaced? Of course. The better players the better chance of victory. And I think Farmar, Brown, and Sasha provide more on the floor than Derek especially if one of them was starting and playing quality minutes with the first team. But we have been over this a million times…

    I think the real interesting discussion is at the core of each one of us… would you rather win against a team down a player or lose against a team at full strength? Since nobody takes away the Celtics rings for playing against a Lakers team without injured Trevor Ariza and Andrew Bynum I’d rather just win. The Lakers still have their rings if Im not mistaken after beating a injured Jameer Nelson last season in the Finals. I mean the Magic did crush Fisher and the Lakers (swept the season series) with their All Star PG in the lineup in the regular season. Am I classless? Yes. Am I cold hearted? Check. But at least I am honest.

  31. Am I classless? Yes. Am I cold hearted? Check. But at least I am honest.

    Oh, that’s okay then. As long as you’re honest, being a classless unfeeling jerk is perfectly okay. :D

  32. I can’t believe all the hate towards Kobe. Kobe took what, 23 shots last night? That is a perfectly reasonable number of shots. Of course he should get more than 20 points with 23 shots, but he had a sub-par game. There is no shame in that.

    When Kobe is shooting roughly 20 shots per game, I am happy. It’s when he shoots 30 or more shots that you must be worried.

    The problem is that Fisher took 13 shots. Fisher should NEVER shoot 13 unless they are gimmies. And don’t tell me they were all open or even most were open. These long 2pt shots, contested, by FIsher are horrible.

    The rest of the team as well. No one should be shooting CONTESTED shots unless you are Kobe, and then only if you are feeling it. No, Kobe was not the problem last night, it was the entire team.

    The team needs to come out with the right mentality. The mentality of busting balls. They came out meak. They were too selfish with the ball. Fadeaway jump shots are not efficient. Bynum was horrible also. They need to rekindle the passing that made them great last year. This is Pau/Lamar/Bynum/Artest major problem. They are NOT passing the ball well. And 23 shots by Kobe is not the cause of that.

    They are not in flow and they are not trying hard enough. The only time this season they were in flow was right after Pau came back after the first injury. I think they won like 12 games in a row by an average of 16 points. Besides that point, the team has not been in flow.

    And they were not in flow during the 5 games Kobe was out. Look at their offensive numbers, they were HORRIBLE. The stats do not lie.

  33. Aaron,

    To wish anyone an injury… I don’t know.

    Here’s the thing. You may not see why he starts. But Phil does. And so do the other coaches. and so does the team. No one on the team or the coaching staff has even come close to talking about shifting Fisher out. only the fans talk about it. That means something to me. That the coaches don’t talk about it. That it’s not a major story. They see the same game film we do. They have people working for them that give them the same stats we do. And he is still starting.

  34. #25-Bynumite:

    There is no evidence, that is my opinion. I don’t understand why people get so defensive about Kobe, I am a Lakers fan first, and, if in my opinion Kobe plays selfishly on certain nights I have the right to voice it. I didn’t say we’re better off without him. But I feel like we’re better off when he doesn’t force turnaround fadeaway jumpers when being double and triple teamed. Our bigs (Pau/Lamar/Bynum) all shoot much more efficiently than he does and he needs to learn when to give up the ball, and hence his “numbers”, when he is having an off night. To those saying that it was the fault of our other players that Kobe shoots so much (because they aren’t cutting, standing aroud watching Kobe with the ball, etc.)… would YOU make a cut if you were on the court with Kobe and he had the ball??? 9 times out of 10 he isn’t going to pass the ball anyway, so why make any cuts?

  35. I really feel that the main reason why fisher starts is out of Phil’s loyalty to him.

    Fisher would have to ask to be benched to not start.

    I would have loved to see Farmar start, he is a headcase but I think if you give him a shot he’ll do the right thing, starting is a privilege that I dont think he’d want to lose. Look at the rockets game in the playoffs, he definitely came to play.

  36. @22 DirtySanchez

    My point exactly. They are losing to teams that they will see in the playoffs this year and that scares me. They don’t play with any urgency, it like they are playing with that same “wait until the playoffs” mentality that always gets us in trouble.

    We are not the best team in basketball. Watch Cleveland play. They have weapons galore. They were smart enough to keep their full compliment of players. They had 15 until the waived Danny Green to make room for Z.

    Even Denver has more confidence. They have made two additions that will futher exploit our weakness (PG). Afflalo and Lawson are great low-budget pickups that have hurt us already. Imagine what the playoffs hold. The Lakers need to pick up someone hungry from the waiver wire because our guys all look bored and disinterested. Just because we have a crown doesn’t mean we should be bourgeoisie.

  37. Depth is our major weakness. We have interchangeable players instead of specialty players. As such, if any of these players are ineffective or injured we have trouble. Our team is designed for Sasha to play 10 minutes a game as either the back-up 1 or the 2. The same goes for WOW and Walton who comes in as a 2 or 3 but is guarded by the point. Both Sasha and Walton are injured which forces Fisher to play an additional 10 minutes.

    This is the chickens coming home to roost. Maybe we should have kept players like Gaffeny, Gelabale ,or Kelati for depth purposes. Hopefully someone waived will be the answer.

  38. I wish for injuries all time: On Garnett, Pierce, Lebron, Shaq, Kevin McHale (yes, still), Dick Chenny (how can you not?!), etc. But, I’ve never wished an injury on a Laker.

    Having said that, leadership is having the cojones to understand when your play is hurting the team and, like Luke, agreeing to take a backseat in the interest of winning. One could say that Fish is, plain and simple, letting pride get in the way of the team. However, basketball is a game of confidence as much as skill. Once Fish admits his skillset has diminished to the point where he should not start, his shot will get worse and a 3-for-12 night will become an excellent night for him. I think that Phil trusts him now because he has his eye on the bigger piece of the pie: the playoffs, and he knows that he needs Fish to remain confident until then. I would hope that if his plays stays as poor as now that Phil would then quickly pull Fish out of the floor, but the truth is that we will never know until playoff time.