Preview and Chat: The Orlando Magic

Darius Soriano —  March 7, 2010

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Records: Lakers 46-17 (1st in West, 2nd in NBA), Magic 43-20 (2nd in East, 3rd in NBA)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 108.7 (10th in NBA), Magic 109.5 (9th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.1 (2nd in NBA), Magic 102.8 (3rd in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Magic: Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Matt Barnes, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard

The Lakers Coming in:  As we’ve covered over the past few days, the Lakers are not playing good basketball.  They’ve lost two straight games and in the last game against the Bobcats they brought little offense and even less defense.  That said, the Lakers have not lost three straight games with an active Pau Gasol in the lineup (that’s two and a half seasons) so today’s match up represents the proverbial fork in the road as they have the opportunity to keep that streak alive and do so against a strong opponent on their home court – a challenge that this team takes seriously and should be excited for.  At practice yesterday Kobe Bryant spoke to his mates and we hope that the message of determination delivered by the team leader inspires a focus and a follow through on the defensive principles that were gone over by the players in their “somber” Saturday walkthrough.  We’ll see if any of it sticks in this rematch of last year’s Finals.

The Magic Coming in:  After yesterday’s insights, we know that this a strong Magic team that has found it’s groove after some early season unevenness.  They’ve won eleven of their last fifteen games (including wins against Cleveland, Boston, Houston, New Orleans, and Miami) and have done so with a diverse attack that mirrors the one that got this team to the Finals last season.  Vince Carter is coming off his best month as a member of the Magic.  Jameer Nelson is now, finally, healthy after his early season knee injury and putting up the numbers that Magic fans have craved all season.  Rashard Lewis is shooting the ball well and is looking more and more like the all-star player he was last season.  And on and on it goes.  When you look at this roster, it’s deep and it’s dangerous with contributors from numbers 1-10 on the depth chart.  They are a challenge to any team that faces them.  Essentially, this team is winning games, doing it with a healthy point differential, and accomplishing it as a team.  They will be tough to defeat in this or any other game they play.

Magic Blogs:  You’ve already seen the excellent information that is available daily at Orlando Pinstriped Post.  You can also find very good takes over at Orlando Magic Daily.

Keys to game:  The game plan needed to beat the Magic should be a familiar one.  Though it’s been many months we faced this team in the Finals and there have been some changes in personnel, the Stan Van Gundy is running the same sets and pulling the strings in the same way that he was last June.

On offense, the Lakers need to try and exploit their match up advantages at power forward and shooting guard.  Gasol will be checked by Rashard Lewis and will need to be aggressive in the post by establishing deep position and going to his jump hook with both his right and his left hand.  We all know that Pau has not had his strongest games recently, but this is a player that he is familiar with and should have confidence facing.  Kobe, meanwhile will either be guarded by Matt Barnes or by Vince Carter.  Whichever player draws the assignment should see the same plan, though.  Kobe needs to work a lot off the ball and set up in the mid range at the pinch post in order to get to the places on the floor that he can score most effectively.  In the first match up between these teams, Kobe was not effective on offense (4-19, 11 points) but did most of his work from the right side of the court.  However, in recent games, we’ve seen Kobe operate mostly from the right side of the floor and play 15 feet and in.  I expect this trend to continue with Kobe working his mid-post game against both Carter and Barnes and making those players work on defense as he either backs them down to go into his turn around jumper (or that beautiful inside pivot to the middle that he’s been flashing more lately) or he turns and faces so he can attack off the dribble.

However, to be successful against the Magic’s defense some other Lakers will need to get involved in the action.  In recent games, we’ve seen guards/wings helping down on the Lakers bigs more and more.  Against the Magic I expect this trend to continue as our shooters have not been making teams pay when they go to this strategy.  So today, in order to be successful, the Lakers outside shooters are going to need to make shots and do so in a consistent manner.  This will open up the court for our post players and also widen the driving lanes for Kobe, Farmar, and Odom when they’re handling on the perimeter.  This means Ron (and his new hairdo!), Shannon, and Fisher will need to make shots.  This may prove even more difficult than usual as both Artest (left) and Shannon (right) struggle with wrist/hand injuries, but they’ll just need to battle through that and sink some shots.  If they don’t the Lakers bigs are going to have perimeter defenders in their laps when they go into their moves and that will disrupt their ability to finish.

On defense, the Lakers are going to have to show real discipline when facing a team that tries to exploit some of our bigger defensive weaknesses – P&R D and a post player that can bully you on the block.  On the P&R, understand that Orlando has three options on every P&R.  First, the ball handler (either Carter or Nelson, with some Jason Williams sprinkled in) will want to hit the roll man (Howard) for an easy finish on his dive to the hoop.  Second, is the ball handler getting a shot for himself by either shooting a jumper (if his man goes under the screen) or penetrating to the rim  (if his man chases over the top).  Third is the action of the PF on the ball side that slides towards the top of the key as the ball handler tries to turn the corner.  In order to effectively defend all of these sequences, the Lakers will need to show strong help and recovery skills while also communicating with each other so there are not any breakdowns.

As for guarding Howard, this will not be an easy task.  For all the flack that Dwight takes for not being a polished offensive player, he is very effective with his still expanding arsenal of post moves.  Dwight loves to set up shop on the right block.  From this position he has two primary moves.  First is his power back down move where he loves to bull you with his left shoulder and either shoot his jump hook to the middle or drop step to the baseline to explode with a power finish.  Second is to turn and face and drive hard to his right hand to shoot his running hook.  All of these moves are effective for Dwight and he is dangerous executing any one of them.  In the past, the Lakers have doubled Dwight and I expect to see more of that today.  I do think the Lakers will vary their tactics with the double team – sometimes coming right away and other times waiting until Dwight uses his dribble – but I do think the double will come.  When the Lakers do double team, the rest of the defenders will need to rotate to find shooters.  However, on plays where the Lakers don’t double team, they need to contest shots and foul if they need to.  Dwight continues to be a below average foul shooter and putting him at the line is still a solid strategy.  The other key to containing Howard is to keep him off the offensive glass.  He is a tenacious rebounder on the offensive boards and will generate offense for himself off his teammates misses.  Find him before shots go up and keep constant contact with him in order to box him out.

Today should be a great game with both teams having a lot to prove and play for as they prepare for long post-season runs.  There’s no better way to get a head of steam going into the final quarter of the season than beating one of the best teams in the league.  Enjoy this one, I know I will.

Where you can watch:  11:30 am start in the West on ABC.  Also on ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

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129 responses to Preview and Chat: The Orlando Magic

  1. WhiteLightnin’ March 7, 2010 at 4:37 am

    “So today, in order to be successful, the Lakers outside shooters are going to need to make shots and do so in a consistent manner.”

    Not to be a bummer, man, but thats not a bet I’m taking. I hope we get a win, but I’m not overly optimistic.

    For Warren.

  2. this one is for….

  3. Well let see drinking, blonde hair, falling down steps. Yep it looks like Phil finally got his wish and resigned Rodman.

    Now all we need is a 18 rebound day from Rod Rod and not another 1 for 9 day,

    Also need Pau to stop crying about girlfriend and man up big time today!

    Lakers will play good today in a tight game.

  4. @ken
    what’s wrong with artest? he’s been playing awesome defense since all star break.

    if else, the problem of our team is not Artest or Gasol alone.
    the problem is we have not played hard with determination to win no matter what, because we feel that we have enough talent to beat any teams (which we are)
    but this is NBA, all NBA players are professional basketball players which if given good enough opportunities will definitely show their skills.
    Plus, every other team in NBA has their target on our back since we are the World Champion.
    And we haven’t showed that we honor their challenge and respond as a defending champion. (not consistently at least)

    and that’s a team-wide problem, not individual.

  5. hey Darius, I’ve been meaning to bring this up, see if it warrants a discussion. we’ve all seen a much higher turnover number in the last few games, even back to the Pacers, and I’m thinking the majority of these are coming from opponents jumping the passing lanes. has anyone else noticed this?
    me suspects that the opponents scouts have found a chink in our armor, that the triangle puts players in a certain spot on the floor, and it can be anticipated, (and the Lakers have been kind of lazy on their entry passes of late), and if the opponent jumps into the lane, (which is a risk if they miss) they have a good chance of stealing the pass, and are off to the races.
    whatcha think? I am curious to know if I’m the only one thinking this could be the case.
    cheers, go Lakes.
    I hate to say it, but the refs might have a hand in the outcome today, if Drew or Pau gets into early foul trouble, that’s going to hurt our rotations and our chances, Drew and Pau have to (must!) play smart, stay focused.

  6. The key to this game will be the shooting of Matt Barnes and Mickael Pietrus. We know that Artest will be guarding VC, so Kobe will be guarding Barnes at the start, and probably Pietrus when he comes in. If those guys feeling it, this will be an extraordinarily tough game for the Lakers, because we all know Kobe is going to leave them both wide, wide open.

  7. #5. chris h,
    While I think that the opposition’s anticipation of what sets we run plays a part, I think the overriding factor contributing to the Lakers’ turnover numbers is their lack of attention to detail and sloppiness. For example, I’ve noticed this at least once a game in every game for a couple of weeks, but there are passes that the Lakers are throwing that are just off target – a pass that should be made to a player who is curling to the hoop are thrown behind him, a pass that should be thrown to the sideline are thrown to the inside part of the court, a pass is made to the outside shoulder should be made to the inside shoulder, etc, etc. There are times as well where our wings are not in position to make a good post entry and are forcing passes anyway rather than reading the play correctly and looking for the pressure release. Remember too, if our shooting is not up to par, opponents are going to sag off us and that contributes to them taking away easy passing angles on post entries as well. Also, understand that offensive fouls and offensive three seconds calls are also turnovers and I feel like we’ve been committing at least one of each of those violations (sometimes more) in each game. All (or at least most) of these types of plays are mental errors and are ones committed due to a lack of attention to detail in that moment. This is what makes me speak about concentration and focus more than energy or playing hard. There are games where the Lakers are playing hard but not smart.

  8. Lebron possibly out next game with an alleged ankle injury – this is a great chance to make up some ground on the HCA race.

  9. number 4 I like Ron and love his game. We need nasty and tough. I was just talking about hiis new hair and how Phil wanted Dennis years ago but West said no. Dennis is a personal friend of mine and a great player also.

  10. Good signs, our guys are working on hard on the interior defense and offensive glass.

  11. It’s too bad that Drew always seems to pick up those fouls against Orlando. He does really well when he’s in there.

  12. At least they are playing hard. Drew and KO fouls are killers.

  13. I really want to watch a basketball game not a free throw contest.

  14. I love the way Kobe’s scoring today, he’s working off the ball.

  15. Watching this game makes me realize why so many – SO MANY – people think the NBA has rigged refereeing.

  16. Other than that foul, at least Farmar has played solid D, not turned it over, and knocked down his shots. Oh wait, no he hasn’t…

  17. Lakers aren’t really playing that bad, which has a me a bit worried considering they’re down by 7.

  18. I hope kobe jacks up 50 shots today because so far, everyone else has been absolutely worthless! So far…

  19. Both teams are shooting horribly, The Lakers are down 8 and the Magic have made 8 more ft’s. that’s the only difference.

  20. i have noticed that our entire offense is predicating on the player with the ball creating his own shot.

    we needs cuts, pick and rolls, back door, give and go etc

    basically off ball movement, ariza had a nack for that

  21. That foul on Bynum was purely a make-up call for the foul against Howard…

  22. shannon going one on one again thinking he’s got game…

  23. One thing that is going to be huge for the lakers come playoff time is Artest’s ability to knock down an open three. Seems like his 3 ball has been really off lately

  24. Why you think Phil sat Kobe out so long? Kobe Does Work Not Bench Mr Jackson

  25. And fish keeps shooting…

  26. Evidently Kobe has a stomach virus.

    that’s probably why he sat so long.

  27. If Bynum keeps this up, this may be his first game where he sucks on offense but actually makes up for it on defense. We’ll see in the 2nd.

  28. Lakers shooitng 34% and only down four. VC’s 10/10 from the line is the difference, I think.

    If someone besides Kobe shows up in the second half, Lakers could take this game.

  29. Kobe did NOT even flinch.

    BRYANT is the MAN!

  30. Haha. Kobe is NOT scared. Kick Matt Barnes out already.

  31. Haha JVG is dead on: How did Kobe not flinch there? That’s amazing to me:D

  32. Why is Matt Barnes still in the game? I’ve never seen one player get away with so much in a single game. What a punk. If Kobe had done half of what Barnes has so far, he would have been ejected so fast your head would spin.

  33. And btw, Drew is doing a spectacular job on Howard. Among his best defensive efforts this season easily.

  34. 32, Seriously, the man didn’t even twitch. Now that’s badass.

  35. That play right there where Kobe didnt flinch is going to forever be stuck in my mind when I think back on him when he retires lol

    Matt Barnes should be on the Nuggets

  36. Yusuf, I just said the same thing to my brothers, Barnes is a Thugget at heart!!

  37. Just started watching…what play did Kobe not flinch on??

  38. the other stephen March 7, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    what did barnes do that didn’t cause kobe to flinch?

  39. Yusuf: Barnes sure has the ink for it.

    Zephid: Badass is almost an understatement – that was downright creepy. The man is like a cyborg, no wonder he doesn’t get nervous in the clutch.

    38, 39: He faked throwing the ball right in his face, from like an inch away.

  40. Kobe not flinching was great. But the lakers haven’t stepped up after that. That should motivate the lakers. But the lakers are down 8 points and not finishing plays.

    Will they please step up.

  41. Kobe not flinching there, and also not rising to the bait, is why he is not only respected as a player with killer instinct around the league, but feared.

    I promise you that players like Lebron, Wade, Anthony, and all the way to the young guns like Rose and Jennings just watched that play and went off like a bomb talking, shouting and laughing, just like all of us did.

    I would bet that even the great ones, Magic, Jordan, Bird, Russell, saw that and grinned.

    So damn sweet.

  42. Just curious. Do we EVER practice our shooting?! Kobe’s on fire in the first qtr, phil sits him for like a year in the 2nd, and he hasn’t hit a shot since. Good job, phil.

  43. At this point damn the not flinching play. Gasol is being another non factor in this quarter. They are giving up so many offensive rebounds, not making shots and turning the ball over and fouling.


  44. can we buy a FG?!? 🙁

  45. We’ve played Orlando nine times in the past two years and still haven’t figured out how to guard Rashard Lewis in the corner.

  46. The Lakers need to supplement to Kobe’s motivation and fierceness.

  47. Shannon, you’re making it hard for me to like you.

  48. Shannon Brown… seriously, bro? You didn’t see Odom calling for the ball?

  49. shannon has to be the dumbest player on the team at times…

  50. Lamar Odom missing in action

  51. Gasol you cannot fake the funk. You are soft. Just don’t back down and beat Howard with intelligence and skill. D. Howard barely even touched him and Gasol is swinging and trying to punch his arm after the play. Thats not being tough. Especially when your giving up offensive rebounds and turning the ball over.

  52. This game is getting beyond chippy. I hope the Lakers can shake this drama and step up in the 4th. I hate feeling like we’re getting punked. After all, we ARE the defending champs.

  53. Joel: Gasol so far leads the Lakers in rebounds, is shooting the best percentage and is 2 pts behind Kobe for the second leading scorer. I don’t really see why you try to bash him?

  54. Unless Kobe drops 20 this quarter there is no way the Lakers win, they simply do not have anyone capable of generating offense but him

  55. Kobe is inhuman. The last remnant of the superstar hardball generation.

    Darius – Let’s get that clip of Kobe not flinching on the front page of FB&G tomorrow. That was just plain hard.

    Odom early in his career could not shoot the step-back 3 to save his life. I could predict, 90% of the time, if the 3 was going in based on whether his feet were set or if he was fading back. This season? I wouldn’t call it a staple of his offense, but he’s been impressive in that shot.

  56. Phil needs to sit down Shannon brown to let him know the Pecking order.

    When ODOM calls for the ball.. shannon you pass, especially if its with 10 seconds left in the quarter. YOU ARE NOT KOBE.

  57. Andreas G.

    Gasol was a non factor in the 3rd quarter and played terrible defense. The Magic had numerous 2nd and 3rd chance opportunties in that quarter. Thats what I’m talking about.

    Man its like its blasphemy to say anything not positive about gasol. I say he need to beat howard with intelligence and skill that we all know he has.

  58. Our pick and roll defense on the guy with the ball has been atrocious. Not closing out the drive in any way.

  59. That is why Jordan Farmar will never be the Lakers PG he cant play defense at all

  60. Thats exactly what I’m talking about Gasol faking the funk.

    Play smart and beat him with skill.

  61. I have to admit, that was one of the girliest flagrant fouls I’ve seen. Like a slap or something. Gotta get your money’s worth if you’re gonna get a flagrant.

    I like Gasol fighting back, but his anger is manifesting itself in the wrong way today. Instead of executing like he did against Martin, he’s letting his frustration take him out of the game. It’s a good learning experience; I think Pau will be better because of it if we face them later.

  62. I’m so tired of Howard’s goody foo-foo act off the court, when in fact he’s a cheap-shot artist like we just saw. Along with the pushing/locking up for the rebound, he had Gasol’s jersey wound around his hand! I’m completely fine with Gasol getting off a the flagrant on the ensuing play, if only to draw attention to Howard’s dirty play.

  63. I don’t understand how players still don’t grasp the concept of not shooting PUJITs when there’s nobody underneath to rebound. That was taught in grade school. Figure it out!

  64. 63. How about making the smart play and hustling down on defense and stopping a transition dunk altogether? That would be the play a true champion would make instead of a simple common foul around the basket getting under Gasol’s skin. He is a better player than that but his head is in the wrong place right now.

    On another note the Lakers have dodged 5 or 6 bullets today in the form of Nelson driving down the middle of the lane and dishing out for corner 3’s, the Magic have hit a couple but they could have easily hit 5 or 6 more. That’s terrible team defense

  65. Me too, JB.

  66. Also, we should give Fish credit where it’s due. He’s the best in executing the gameplan Brian Shaw has devised against Dwight Howard. Not that it’s perfect, by any means – but any time you have your PG sagging in and committing (once Howard enters the paint), you’re going to give up some open 3’s. But because of his instincts, Fisher knows the right time to double hard or to stay at home, and he normally keeps track of Nelson. Farmar turned his head and got burned by Jameer a couple times, and Phil immediately pulled him. Fish might not have the quickness anymore, but in terms of executing a defensive gameplan so centered on PG instincts, it seems (qualitatively, without numbers) that he’s still superior to Farmar.

  67. Epic defense by Fisher

  68. It’s amazing, Vince has been bailed out by the refs at least three times while stumbling to the hoop.

  69. Seriously this is some of the worst pick and roll defense the Lakers have played all season long

  70. What’s PUJIT’S?

  71. Farmar was basically a waste of minutes today.

    Shannon stopped the ball on offense waaaayyy too much.

    Also, didn’t we used to have some skinny 7′ Spaniard who was really good with the ball in the post and rebounded like a machine? We must have traded him for some guy who can’t finish near the rim and has absolutely no idea what to do when an opponent drops down a guard to double him.

  72. Well, that’s two out of the last three games where Kobe has given up a big 3 down the stretch.

  73. Was there any doubt that Kobe was going to shoot that 3 out of rhythm after that steal?

  74. That sequence was on Kobe both ways…

    Went away from the offense with the long three, and then sags off Barnes while “helping” no one in particular…and Barnes drills the three.

  75. So barnes gets an open 3 while kobe was guarding him… big surprise.

  76. PUJIT = PullUpJumperInTransition?

  77. Ouch. First loss of 3 in a row since Gasol’s acquisition. Maybe it’s because Pau hasn’t been playing (like himself) anyway.

  78. Again, Pau has 18 pts on 7 for 12 shooting, 4-4 fts, 9 boards with 5 offensive, 2 blocks. I mean sure, it’s not his best game, but seriously guys?

    Edit: Make that 20-10.

  79. Not the best help from Kobe, but he had to sag because he knew Fisher was going to get burned, and sure enough, he did. If it’s that predictable to us, I don’t see why opposing coaches won’t be making their strategy down the stretch.

  80. 71. PUJIT’s are pull up jumpers in transition.

    yeah, kobe left his man again. but maybe if our PG’s could stop the dribble penetration, it wouldn’t happen so much. it probably still would, but not being able to keep the guy with the ball out of the paint is a big problem as well.

  81. It is funny you see someone slapping a 7 feet 250 pounds guy and you still have ways of seeing it soft.
    There were no 2 points.

  82. We need a 3 like Artest needs a new haircut

  83. Again, Pau has 18 pts on 7 for 12 shooting, 4-4 fts, 9 boards with 5 offensive, 2 blocks. I mean sure, it’s not his best game, but seriously guys?

    Edit: Make that 20-10.

    And has been terrible defensively and offensively in the second half

  84. Still hope!

  85. Damn big toe!

  86. fudge!

  87. I said we needed Kobe to score 20 in this quarter for the Lakers to win on post 57, it looks like we will need 21 from him to win

    This team will not win anything unless there is a consistent 3rd scorer against elite teams to help Gasol and Kobe

  88. Another disappointment. Lakers have required kobe to be perfect down the stretch in 5 out the 7 games he’s been back.

  89. Still a great effort from Kobe in the clutch.

    Too bad that they lost, but at least it was a lot better than the games versus Heat and Bobcats.

  90. Not sure why you don’t call a time out there, and take your shot at the three ball, but all right…

    Honestly, the officiating just gets worse and worse.

    That game had some truly horrendous calls, both for and against the Lakers.

  91. Artest and Gasol were lazy on that last play; no desire to rebound, sure that Kobe wouldn’t miss.

  92. Kobe and Gasol are the only guys to show up and HORRIBLE officiating and it came down to two points. Sucks they lost but I’m not too upset

  93. Disappointing result, but the Lakers played above average and were able to come back from down 10 starting the 4th and took it down to the wire. We were literally 1 inch away from OT and possibly winning the game because of 2 threes that became two’s (1 from Fisher, 1 from Kobe).

    I would’ve liked to have seen Bynum in late instead of Gasol or Odom; he was having a great game and playing excellent defense on Howard.

    Overall, if VC gets one less foul call, this one is a win. Disappointing that we lost, but I’ll take down 2, on the road, against arguably the 3rd best team in the league, any day.

  94. First 3 game losing streak in the gasol era.

  95. Zephid I would feel the same way, except for the fact that we put up 2 stinkers the previous 2 games. There really isn’t much to be positive about on this road trip because the fact remains, nothing matters unless you get a Win.

  96. And Matt Barnes should have been ejected 3 times… he got away with some of the dirtiest play I have seen in a long time

  97. Well, a disappointing road trip, but here is my prediction (barring further injuries). Lakers are going back to the finals. The only team with a shot to beat the Lakers in a seven games series is the Cavaliers.

    Lakers will make things easier on themeselves if they keep HCA in the West.

  98. Lakers8884, thank you for pointing that out! Since when is a championship team and its fans content with moral victories? I don’t get it! I don’t take satisfaction in losing simply because it was close or we “could’ve won”. Are you serious?! Yes, losing doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world for the team, but it certainly shouldn’t be brushed off as no big deal either! Especially when they lost all 3 games on the trip and Dallas and Denver our now breathing down our necks.

  99. Meh I’d take that final shot anyday. It’s more the earlier play that allowed us to be down double digits that concerned me. Agreed that I would have preferred to see Drew in there, if only for the experience. He was playing solid, aggressive defense with 4 fouls.

  100. Does anyone else see the difference maker in this game as ARIZA! Those clutch threes and clutch defensive plays were Kobe’s bailouts. No offense to Artest, he’s a great defender but not clutch behind the line when we need him. Lakers need an outside shot they can depend on and a PG. But who am I? Just a fan with an opinion.

    Great job Kobe. I love the way u Man-up on Barnes. That’s the only play he may ever be remembered for his entire career !

  101. Wow…a 15 minute break in messages after a loss? Looks like I’m not the only heartbroken one in here.

    There were some positives…

    -Our defense when Dwight had the ball on the block (fouls when he got too deep and selective double teams)
    -Decent movement off the ball when Kobe was double teamed (this wasn’t consistent, but we had some flashes)
    -Maintaining enough composure to avoid a snowball deficit (not what happened against Charlotte)

    And of course, there are negatives to fix…

    -Point guard defense. Fish had his moments, but in general, Nelson was getting wherever he wanted to go. He had a cushion for most of the game and our bigs weren’t willing to cut him off.
    -Pick and roll defense. The shows were weak and rotation to the roller was non-existent. Even weaker than the shows were the fouls on Dwight after he got the deep catch.
    -Inability to get the ball into the post. I can barely count the number of times Pau and Bynum got the ball. Farmar and Shannon, I’m looking at you.

    As always, our issues are fixable, but this one hurts. Plus, the hurt is compounded by our momentum…in the wrong direction.

  102. Lakers8884 I agree with your reference to Zephid.

    And Zephid this is exactly what we were talking about the other day about pessimism and optimism. You look at this game as something positive. And how could anyone say if Vince goes to the line one less time the lakers win. No so many things happened in between and could’ve happened. The only positive game from this game is that the lakers didn’t get blown out.

    They played horrible defense and got lucky Orlando shot 41%. They were out rebounded AGAIN 50-39. Another low assist game. Another terrible offensive game and they shot 37 %. The sent Orlando to the freethrow line 39 times. This is the 3rd straight game in which gasol hasn’t been able to score from the post in the second half. All of his buckets were assisted dunks or tips ins (in which one was tipped in by Howard). Another 3rd quarter collapse. These are reoccurring trends against good teams and if they don’t change they won’t win.

    This is troubling. This is very troubling. I’m sorry, I just refuse to keep making the same excuse for the lakers. Yes Kobe still gave the lakers a chance to win. But as we saw today, vs miami and dallas most recently. Kobe’s magic hasn’t been there.

    I’m making the claim right now they are overrated defensively. They just don’t finish plays. They deflect the ball the lakers go into complete scramble mode and the other team gets a wide open three. If Bynum contests a shot, the lakers won’t rotate and block out guys so the other team gets an offensive rebound and put back.

    The lakers are currently the 3rd best team in the league behind dallas and cleveland and they aren’t playing any better than Utah, Phoenix, Denver and so on. Face it. Until the lakers realize it they will keep underperforming.

  103. 107, you are so laughably wrong. The fact that you say that the only positive we can take from this game is the fact that it wasn’t a blowout shows how twisted your perspective is. Read Mohan’s post above yours; he has a nice list of positives and negatives. I can add committing only 7 turnovers, holding the Magic to 33% from three, and coming back from 10 down to start the 4th quarter to that list.

    Did you see how many possessions we actually went into Gasol? I counted maybe 3. Maybe. So it’s idiotic to claim that he can’t create in the post anymore. We got outscored in the third by 6; that is hardly a collapse. Orlando has one of the highest foul drawing rates in the league, and Bynum was taken out by the quick fouls, compromising our interior defense. Bringing it back to Bynum, we just saw the first game where he had no offensive effect, but still played hard on defense. When Bynum was out there, Howard was neutralized. So there’s another positive takeaway.

    All these “reoccuring trends” to you are just runs on the roulette table to me; sometimes the ball will land on red 10 times in a row, that doesn’t mean the wheel is biased. So please, don’t pretend as if you’re the objective one and everyone else is wrong. Notice how I began my comment with the fact that the loss is disappointing, but just because something is disappointing doesn’t mean there aren’t positives.

  104. I’m somewhere between Zephid and Joel/Lakers8884. The mental mistakes are irritating, yet they’re not representative of the Lakers as a playoffs team.

    Another positive about the 4th is that we didn’t necessarily flip the switch – we made adjustments. For instance:

    -We did a better job of pressuring Nelson on the perimeter and limited his red path drives to the hoop.
    -Kobe was able to get to the elbows for some nice mid-range jumpers.

    That’s what makes me feel better about the Lakers in the playoffs. Not that the team is going to flip to switch, but that we know how to prepare for a series and adjust (maybe better than any other team). What doesn’t make me feel better are the lingering mental mistakes, like leaving holes for penetration on weak P&R shows, forgetting that you’re guarding a 3 point shooter (Kobe and Lamar!), and excessive dribbling around the perimeter.

  105. Hey Kobe is making his jumpers and those dagger three’s again. The hard part is coming back from injury, not gelling with this team. Think of how frustrating it was for Magic fans in the beginning of the season to lose to mediocre teams with a hobbled Carter and Nelson. They both were awful. Now they are making plays and making tangible impacts on the game. Think of how long that took (do Laker fans have that kind of patience?) – while it took Kobe 2-3 games.
    It can take awhile for players to mentally, physically return to the players they were. Artest, Odom, Pau, Kobe have all had issues and I bet are not 100% even if they are out there on the court running at the same speed or cutting just as quickly. The fact that Bynum’s effort is there is a much more salient point from this game than that Pau can’t score in the post (against the elite post defender in the NBA) or Artest can’t find his stroke.
    I’m confident that if Bynum continues to play smart, position defense he won’t be called for the same fouls that Howard was immune from on the other end when the offense player jumped into his body. And one call the other way makes the 4-5 matchups have a much different dynamic.

  106. is there anyone else that feels like if kobe makes 2 critical shots at the end, he doesn’t necessarily have to take that third/gamewinner? Like basically even though he made the two sgots leading to a potential gamewinner, he should sometimes pass it to a Wide Open teammate like artest or odom?

  107. Zephid you’re right there were some positives to the game and you mentioned many however 2 of those I would say you cannot mention as positives, one being Orlando shooting 33% because A) they jack up so many threes their percentage usually always get skewed, and B) there were several times throughout the game where the Lakers played AWFUL pick and roll defense on Jameer and he found a wide open player by 5 to 6 feet in the corner wide open for a three. The Lakers dodged several of those bullets when had they gone in the team might be finding themselves down much more, I would say it had nothing to do with how the Lakers defended the three it had to do with Orlando’s inability to knock down shots.

    And second on Bynum, yes he played good defense on Howard when he was in the game but I’ve said this all season long (and Phil even mentioned it today after his first quarter interview), if Bynum cannot prevent himself from getting into foul trouble he will render himself useless to us for anything more than fouls just like he did last year in the playoffs, he was in foul trouble for pretty much the entire game barring some 2-3 minute stretches here and there. Without Bynum the Lakers cannot win the title, so this is one of the biggest issues needed fixing, someone needs to teach the kid how to play solid sound defense.

  108. 58. Snoop, yea that Kobe unflinch was crazy impressive, maybe even more so than a gamewinner.

    Also, Odom’s shot seems to have gotten better. Was it something he added in the offseason? Like I mentioned earlier his feet positioning seems to have changed from previous seasons – now he has the left slightly forward from the right.

  109. Disappointed in the lost. The Lakers have now got Dallas & Dever looking over their shoulder for homecourt in the West. Dallas now has the easiest schedule in the league from this point on and LA has the hardest. It can’t be anymore or three game losing trends or good by home court advantage in the West. It doesn’t matter what happens in the playoffs in the offseason we need a 3pt shooter specialist. Teams are sagging in on the front court dareing anybody besides Kobe to hit an outside shot. This is a must. Lamar we needed you to show up, could have had a better game.

  110. Zephid my friend

    Turnovers only seven that is good. Okay how many times in the last 3 games as Gasol even attempted to establish position compared to Bynum.

    Did orlando just miss threes or did the lakers play good defensive. There’s a difference. I will say it was a mixture of both. But orlando had numerous opportunities to blow the game open. Lakers do play really good defense for stretches or for 22 out of 24seconds. I’m just stating what I see. I love the lakers. I wouldn’t be saying these this if I were talking to a Cavs fan. But we are all laker fans and want to see the same thing, success. As long as the lakers try to disregard their problems, the better teams in the league will continue to beat them.

    Okay they’ve played denver 3 times, Boston twice, cleveland twice, and Orlando twice.

    they are 3-7. In the 3 games they won, they were down in all of them in the 4th quarter and had to come back and squeaked out victories. How do you defend that. If you add in dallas the lakers are 5-11 in games vs the top teams. The lakers have been playing pretty bad basketball and they have their toughest stretch of the season coming up. If they don’t get it together. We are going to find them 2nd or 3 seed in the west. Dallas is only 2 games behind the lakers. Orlando in the east are only 2 games behind the lakers and could finish with a better record and have homecourt if they meet in the finals.

    I’m not calling for the firing off coaches and personnel nor the benching of players. I’m saying the lakers need to find out who they are and what they want to accomplish night in and night out. Are they going to commit themselves to the defensive end. Are they going to try to outscore teams like the last 2 seasons. Who are the lakers? Can you tell. Well they are a dominant post up teams that hasn’t been dominant. They are a dominant rebounding team that hasn’t been dominant. They are 6th in the league in rebounding differential.

    They’ve yet to play a complete game against the aforementioned teams with the exception of dallas. The lakers have been incapable of getting stops when needed, even in the games Kobe hit the game winner.

  111. And as far as the positive the lakers can take from this game…

    Switching Kobe’s position to the post is an adjustment not something they can take away from this game and feel good about. Kobe has proven he can be successful at that position on the floor for years. Thats something we should expect. Not be shocked when we see it.

    But there were times when the lakers did things well. But that goes to the point I was making the other about continuity and consistency. The lakers haven’t been consistent within one game yet for a stretch of games. Mind you I’m referring to how they play against good teams. The blow out win vs clippers and pacers don’t count (in which the games I’m referring to the lakers only play one great half in those to).

    Zephid made a point about entry passes when I made a point about gasol not being able to score in the post. Well if they aren’t getting the ball inside, the Gasol needs to get into browns, fishers, kobe, whoever ass during a timeout and demand the ball. Don’t wait until the next day and complain to the media. The lakers have to all take personal responsibility and pride in how they are playing. There isn’t a plausible reason why 60+ games into the season the lakers haven’t been consistent on either end of the floor. Damn just beating teams because your more talented. Thats a luxury, but thats what they’ve done consistently is relying just on their talent to out play teams. I’m saying the brand of basketball the lakers have been playing this year will not cut it, because teams are better and deeper this year. Every team is prepared for the lakers and the lakers aren’t prepared for any off them (i’m over generalizing to emphasize my point I know).

  112. Defensively I think everyone will agree we can fix the issues, but like it has been said all season long on the offense side of the ball the Lakers are lost. It took 18 points from Kobe in the 4th to even make that a close game, and to expect him to do that in the playoffs is unfair. Players other than Kobe need to step up and be accountable for their play, this road trip shows exactly what I mean in that the only consistent aspect was Kobe’s play. Until someone else besides a lately inconsistent Pau and an inconsistent Lamar show up this team will continue to struggle, especially against elite defensive teams and we will continue to live by the kobe and die by the kobe. And I didnt mention Bynum because I am not sold on his ability to stay on the court in the playoffs.

  113. What amazes me about the part where Kobe didn’t flinch, is that the ref was just so cool about it. That was a taunt, and taunts get Ts, and Barnes wasn’t T’d up.

    But we won today, 39 FTS compared to our 26. That’s -13 for us, and we finished only -2 on the game.
    We were -15 on the 3pt line as well.
    Plus Matt Barnes pissed after that stupid bonehead play which was this:

  114. 111,

    And yet they still are virtually ahead of 28 other teams in the NBA.
    I, personally, am not a fan of ranting. What do you know that these coaches and players don’t? Well, if you think you know better, then you must have been in ESPN now.
    My point is, we are all frustrated. But to gauge this team using our own standards is absurd.
    If you remember, 2000-2001 was the year that LA finished 56-26, and that was the year after they finished 67-15. Everyone was questioning their heart, “Can they repeat?” “Why can’t they give effort?” “They can not win like this”, “How can they get back-to-back championships with what we are seeing now?”.
    The result: They coasted to a 16-1 post-season record, earning their way to a second NBA title in two straight years. And, that was the NBA post-season record, their lone loss being Game 1, Sixers. After that Game 1, much speculation was being made that they would fold in this too big a stage, yet again. But then they won 4 straight after.
    The point here is not what you think they are, it’s good to voice your opinions, but at the end of the day, they won’t and don’t hear you, and if you don’t enjoy the bumps, these lessons, like sour medicine, then we can’t blame you.

  115. gasol took NO jump shots ane NO hook shots. All his points came on wide open dunks. His softness aNnd Bynam lack of smartness are the reason Lakers are in trouble. anow a lossing record aganist the top 5 teams and 11 and 13 in last 24 away games. I feel sure Dallas will catvch them when you look at their remaining games and Laker road games.

    Very sad what this team has become.


    You know what? There’s cause for concern but there’s no reason to panic and there’s no reason to flinch. I described the main voices and runners of this website “relentless optimists” but in light of Kobe’s total lack of fear we simply have to take the situation for what it is and stare it down.

    “He’s not a normal person” – Harlan (?)

  117. 111.

    I may be ranting but at least I’m saying what I’m seeing. And I’m gauging this team by the standards this team set for themselves and the standard Jerry Buss set by paying these guys what they deserve. I’m not making up my own and saying they aren’t shooting 40+ % from the 3 every night. Because they aren’t that type of team. I’m calling them out on their rebounding which they pride themselves on. I’m calling them out on their ability to play together which the triangle emphasizes. I’m judging them on their effort and focus which their experience tells us should be better and it has been better. I’m not once saying the lakers won’t win a championship because I believe they can and ultimately will.

    But ,the lakers are ahead of 28 other teams in the league but they are arguable more talented than all the teams in the league. They are more experienced than all teams in the league. And as far as the shaq/kobe 2001-02, they had Shaq healthy for the playoffs. And to expect that to happened again is farfetched.

    Do the lakers hear me no. Do they hear the media yes as a whole yes. Do they know what other teams are saying about them yes. Do they care, they should a little bit.

    But what’s wrong with saying they’ve underperformed this season against the top teams and they are 5-11 versus the top teams. Saying they under perfomed is an understatement, especially when they’ve played so well in the past against the top teams. The point I keep making is that the lakers don’t have an identity. They don’t have a clear goal night it and night out like the cavs, denver, orlando. Cavs are going to defend, shoot the 3 and lebrons going to dominate. Denver is going to be physical and try to outscore teams. Orlando wants to hit the 3 and run, give effort on the defensive knowing Howard is there to clean up.
    What do the lakers seek to accomplish every night. Can you tell me? I don’t know. They aren’t always committed on the defensive end. Their offense has been much worse than last season. What is their m.o. Last year they focus on outscoring teams, outrebounding teams and getting stops when need down the stretch. They did that really well last season. The lakers have improved defensively but haven’t gotten the stops when need, they regressed offensively and now it looks like a struggle to score points. The lakers have relied on their talent to win most games this season. They haven’t relied on eachother. Thats not a good sign.

    Can they get it together and play great? Definitely. Will they, I believe so and hope so. Lakers don’t suck, but they have on court issues unlike last season where it was more of just a lack of motivation versus sorry teams. Am I wrong to ask for what we all know the lakers are capable off. I’m not saying the laker need to blow every team out by 15 points. But what I’m saying is that they can go out and establish themselves a the better team which they are every night they step on the floor.

    Every team gears up for the lakers and tries to play their best. But their is a difference between letting a team beat you, mean giving open shots, not closing out and not playing smart and just a team going out and playing the best basketball they can actually play. Perfect example, Q Richardson got hot because of really bad defense, not because he just got hot and start draining jumpers with defenders all over him.

  118. I put 111 instead of 115 on my previous post. My previous most was directed towards Mark post 115.

    Sorry I keep posting but this will be my last one I have a paper to write tonight.

    Really got to me accusing me of judging this team about made up standards.

    The lakers are 15th in assist. 15th middle of the pack. They are middle of the pack in overall offensive efficiency. One year removed from being a dominant offensive team with all the same players except for artest which was supposed to be an offensive up great. The lakers have been in the top 3 in team assist the past two season. Yet, I’m making up my own standards.

    Phil called Gasol sick and weakly, Gasol calls out his teammates in the media about the laker of individual play and lack of ball movement, kobe said the lakers need to match teams physicality and still play skillful basketball. Yet, I’m making up my own standards when I say whats their identity because they haven’t been consistent in the things they do best.

  119. When you keep losing to the top teams all season there is reason for concern. Bynam is no better today then 3 years ago. Gasol is much worse then last year and Artest is 3 for 19 last 3 games.

    The point guards are worse on defense and offense this year.

    How can real long time fans not be concerned?

  120. Ok I am not worried.

    everything is fine.

    Is that better?

  121. Who’s saying we are not concerned? As I’ve said before it’s pretty much frustrating to watch them lose, but it’s not the end of the world. I get it, everything is just about mess right now for the team, but is it worth all the rant?

  122. No its not worth the rant. I don’t own the team nor am I getting paid lots of money to play or coach.

  123. I’ve been out of the mix today and still need to watch the game on my DVR. So, I really don’t have much to add besides I understand the frustration of losing another game. Based off reading the comments up to this point, I also understand that we likely did do some things well, but I’ll have to see the game for myself before I can put any of this into context. I’ll have my thoughts up in the recap later on this evening.

  124. I like your thoughts Joel but consider this.

    Dallas is better at point
    Better at power forward
    Better at center on defense and bounds
    Better at small forward with Butler
    Better on 6th man with Terry.

    So unless I am wrong how are they better then all the other teams in talent?

  125. Mike Penberthy March 7, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Mark, well that all comes down to how people view basketball and Lakers in particular. To some it’s just entertainment and nothing more, to others it’s more than that.

  126. This should settle everyone down. Although knowing us, I’m sure this will become a divisive topic of debate as well:

    Just watch and enjoy, friends.

  127. Sorry, last post is from me.

  128. Joel B,
    Check your stats, they are 11th in the league in assists. I don’t, in any way, argue/debate over walls, we have different mindsets, and I respect that. It’s pretty sad what this FB&G have become, it’s pretty much worse than the Kwame-Smush era. All the negativity doesn’t help. Let’s be objective people, bring back the genius that is FB&G.

    I agree. I guess this is just what happens when you get too spoiled with what’s been given to you.