Preview and Chat: The Toronto Raptors

Darius Soriano —  March 9, 2010

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Records: Lakers 46-18 (1st in West), Raptors 32-29 (6th in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 108.6 (11th in NBA), Raptors 111.0 (5th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.2 (2nd in NBA), Raptors 112.4 (30th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Raptors: Jarrett Jack, DeMar DeRozan, Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani

The Lakers Coming in:  There are a couple of different perspectives that can be taken with this Lakers team right now.  They’re sitting on a three game skid and that must mean something, right?  Well, kind of.  Losing three games in a row, while being a rare thing for this Lakers team, is not that rare for the rest of the league.  The current longest streak of not dropping three in a row now belongs to Denver at a whopping 31 games.  We saw Cleveland lose three in a row just two weeks ago when they lost to Denver in Cleveland and then traveled to Charlotte and Orlando and lost in those team’s arenas (sounds kind of familiar, eh?).  So, on the one hand, you may just be able to chalk up this losing streak to the same factors that affect every other team for a stretch of games at least once a season.

However, the other side of that coin is that it’s easy to recognize that the Lakers are not playing well right now.  We’ve discussed their lack of execution on offense a lot around here recently and while their defense is still one of the very best in the leauge, there have been struggles on that end of the floor as well.  Clearly this team is not playing up to its potential and at this point in the season it’s worrisome.  So, as the team comes into tonight’s game I’m sure their quite ready to put their losing ways behind them and play much better than they’ve shown.  It was just a week ago that this team waxed the Pacers with one of its more complete performances of the year.  Tonight, I’m sure the Lakers are looking for a repeat performance from last Tuesday.  And if that isn’t possible, at the least the Machine is back.  (All joking aside, I’m happy that Sasha is back just because of the depth issues that we’ve had.  He’s an extra body to play SG for us and since Shannon’s also been banged up with his thumb injury we could use the extra help backing up Kobe.  Plus, if he is making shots, this offense could really use another guy doing that.  Or any guy doing that, really.)

The Raptors Coming in:  Toronto is a team, like many others in the East, that is up and down and just looking to play some consistent ball that nets them a post season birth.  The Raptors currently hold the East’s sixth seed and are surely looking to hold off the teams below them as they stand only 2 games ahead of the Bobcat’s who are the current ninth seed.  However, with that being the goal, losing 5 of 6 is not the way to get it done. 

The Raptors have been a bit “banged up” lately and I’m sure that has contributed to their recent slide.  Chris Bosh just returned on Sunday after missing seven games with injury and illness.  Hedo Turkoglu suffered an ankle sprain that had him not return in the game the injury occurred, play ineffectively the next game, and then sit out the game on Sunday that saw Bosh return to the lineup.  Obviously Hedo and Bosh are two key players for the Raps who are needed in the line up if this team is going to sustain any success.  Tonight, both players are expected to suit up, but it remains to be seen how effective both players will be.

Raptors Blogs:  Like Phillip mentioned earlier, Raptor’s Republic is one of the better NBA blogs out there.  Go check it out for insight on today’s match up, but on other days as well.  There’s always a good read on that site.

Keys to game:  The last time these two teams met, the Raptors came out on top so there should be a bit of revenge on the Lakers’ minds.  Combine that with wanting to end this mini losing streak and this should be a game where we see a strong commitment to determined play and execution by the Lakers.  But talking about it is not enough.  It must also show on the court.  So to that end…

On offense the Lakers should be able to attack this Raptors team from everywhere.  They are the last rated defense in the league for a reason.  Their big men are not physical players so the Lakers should be able to attack inside.  However, the Raptors are a team of long athletes, so look for some fronting of the post and some zone defense to try and limit the Lakers advantage inside.  The way to beat the zone is through ball movement, but also to make the zone play our guys with man to man principles.  That means the ball needs to go to the strong side more (to create an overload) and should even go to the corner to make the strong side forward in the zone defend the ball.  After that, the ball can go into the post easier by either direct entry or from high low action when the weakside big flashes to the FT line to receive the pressure release pass.  The Triangle is acutally an offense that should flourish against a zone, not because of the three point shooting that results from the spacing, but because of the ample opportunities the offense gives players to penetrate the ball via the drive or the pass.  The Lakers must move bodies and the ball to make the zone overreact and then take advantage of a scrambling D.  These same principles work against a fronting post defense so move the ball and attack.

The Lakers should also be able to work the offensive glass.  Toronto is in the bottom quarter of the league in defensive rebounding rate as Bosh is their only reliable defensive rebounder.  Bynum and Gasol should have ample opportunities to play volleyball on the offensive glass and get easy putbacks or draw fouls.  Odom should also find a lot of space to slice to the rim as the Raptor’s D focusses its attention on Kobe and our other bigs (in both man and zone schemes).  So, crashing the boards should result in some easy points for our bigs and I’d like to see our guards/wings (that means you Kobe and Ron) get some put backs as well by aggressively going after the offensive rebound.  Like I said earlier, Toronto is a bad defensive team so if there is any night to get our offense back on track tonight is it.

On defense the Raptors are going to be a difficult team to truly hold down.  Just as the Raps are bad on defense, they’re quite good on offense.  They have a variety of weapons and shooters at almost every position so tonight will be a night where the Lakers will need to be very aware of the three point line and that holds true for every defensive player on the team.  The Raptors love the play P&R and will do so with both their PG’s (Jack and Calderon) or Turkoglu as the ball handler.  The Lakers need to understand that Jack loves to get into the lane and use his strong body to finish in the paint while Calderon wants to shoot the jumper coming off the pick.  That means going under screens on Jack until he proves he can beat you with the jumper and chasing hard over the top on Calderon.  On Turkoglu, just try to fight him and body him off the screen and make him go to his right hand and into traffic.  Hedo is a shot maker supreme, but he’s much more comfortable going left to take his step back jumper.  The other component to the P&R is the screener and Toronto has two guys in Bosh and Bargnani that can do a variety of things after setting the pick.  Both are good jumpshooters and both can roll and finish in the paint (this is an underrated part of Bargnani’s game as he doesn’t do it often but is capable).  So, another night where the Lakers will need to show some sharpness on defending the P&R with big guys that can shoot where helping the helper is going to be key.   But when not a screener, the Raps run a lot of isolations for Bosh.  In the last meeting, he was quite good at making his jumpshot in both spot up and isolation but was held without a FT attempt for the entire game.  To effectively defend Bosh, the Lakers should give up the jumper and lay off him to entice him to shoot rather than drive.  Bosh is a gifted offensive performer, but he’s not one to force the action and will typically make the fundamentally sound play.  So, I’d be perfectly content if the Lakers defended him in the exact manner they did the last time and call it a day.

Also, another note of defense is containing the Raps’ bench play.  In the last outing, both Amir Johnson and Marco Belinelli played good minutes off the bench and gave the Raptors a spark on offense.  Johson is another player that will be a screener in the P&R, but will mostly be a dive man and try to finish at the cup.  He’s also adept at running the floor so he will need to be marked in transition.  As for Belinelli, he’s a pure shooter that got hot against us the last time.  He loves to run to the 3 point line in transition and is a guy that comes off screens ready to shoot in the half court.  He must be paid more than just casual attention too as once he gets it going it can lead to points in bunches.  If the Lakers are able to guard the three point line while also recovering in pick and pop situations they should be fine but all of that is easier said than done against an offense like the Raps.

Where you can watch:  7:30pm start on the West, nationally on NBA TV and locally on Fox Sports West, also on ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

Posts

131 responses to Preview and Chat: The Toronto Raptors

  1. For all of us!

    And Warren!

  2. Gogo Lakers, we need this one.

  3. Talking about the things that will help right the ship, has definitely been something that the players have improved on as a team. Now If they can actually back those words up with their play, then they will be on to something.

    In previous post I have seen alot of people stating that other teams(ORL, Denver, CLE, MAVS, BOS) dont feel like they could beat LA in 7 games. LA’s combined record against those top tier teams is 5-8. Thats hardly a vote of confidence for LA, that only gives those teams more confidence that they can hang with the big dogs night in and night out.

    To say that a team has to be 100% percent sure that they can beat LA, is the equivalent to saying LA is 100% sure they will beat the teams listed above. I would have to say that teams are not afriad of LA in its current state, and more so are the ones doing the bullying around the league at this point of the season.

    Lets hope for a consistent and focused effort by LA to pick itself off the mat. Finally realizing that the only thing standing in the way of greatness is themselves

    “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr.

  4. We want some tacos tonight.

    We want to see a convincing win!

  5. Hope…

    Here’s to hoping that our first winning streak of 5 games or more (since December!) starts tonight. If we can manage to put together a nice winning streak between tonight and that deadly SA-through-ATL road trip at the end of the month – maybe, just maybe – we can go into April firing on all cylinders and keep a white-hot Dallas (and Denver) at bay. We can only hope the ‘player-only’ meetings are over, the Pau/Charles Oakley intervention actually worked and a guard not named Kobe can find his shot…

    Here’s to hoping the Lakers recover the definition of ‘execution’ and the re-learn the meaning of ‘effort’ before it’s too late.

  6. Well we had better hope. If they have not gotten the message that they are not as good as they think they are based off the home heavy early record, well then we will need more then hope.

    The best teams in the NBA since the break have been cleveland, Denver and Dallas. 5 and 5 the last 10 and 11 and 13 on the road is 2nd division numbers.

  7. Ken you can throw Orlando into that mix too, they have won 5 straight and seem to have caught their stride and silenced their doubters.

  8. kobe: ” hm…30 shots against magic and we lost…i gotta take more shots tonight and maybe we’ll have a chance”

  9. Cheers to a great TEAM effort !!!! Lets GO, get a good win!

  10. Warren Wee Lim March 9, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    “Toronto is a team, like many others in the East, that is up and down and just looking to play some consistent ball that nets them a post season birth.”

    – Berth ;)

  11. Warren Wee Lim March 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I can see Ron took out the Rodman look.

  12. #11. Ha. Thanks Warren. I’m keeping it though. They’re “pushing” for it.

  13. The Lakers are dominating inside but allowing too many open jumpers to Toronto. I understand it’s hard to consistently contest jumpers when it’s the Rap’s big men shooting the jumper, but still have to do a better job containing penetration so our bigs aren’t stuck helping in the paint so often.

  14. Gotta love the deliberate efforts to get the ball in the post. I’m also liking Pau’s decisive moves with the ball – no slapaways yet.

  15. I’ll take a 30 point quarter.

  16. establishing the post would be even more deadly if our guards could be more consistent with the open 3’s. (like this hasn’t already been beat to a pulp) Man I hope they get consistent soon :P

  17. Look, I know ultimately the final score is the only thing that matters. And who knows, we may end up routing the craptors the last 3 qtrs. But when was the last time we jumped on a team, especially a bad or mediocre team, from the get go? 14-2. 18-6. 24-10.

    Obviously, that’s not going to happen all the time, but I seriously think that for a team that is supposed to be one of the best in the league, it should happen more often than it has this season.

    Of course, as a fan, I want to see that happen all the time because it’s less stressful and more enjoyable, but it benefits the team as well. They make a statement, gain confidence, and most importantly, may allow the bench to get effective quality minutes while giving some of the starters much needed rest.

    Like I said, I know it can’t happen every game, but it sure would be nice if the Lakers stopped making things so hard on themselves by being in dogfights.

  18. I would love to see lamar get aggressive and score inside.

  19. zirk – I’ve been thinking the same thing. It seems far more common for the Lakers to make runs in the 3rd or even the 4th. It’d be nice to put together one of those 1st quarter runs like you mentioned. We’ve got the players who are capable of it, but we seem to make it harder for ourselves than we should!

  20. Agreed, AusPhil. We do tend to make many runs in the 3rd or 4th, which is a positive thing. But we all know that the longer you let teams hang around that shouldn’t hang around, the more that team gains confidence and the more chances of bad things happening. So let’s hope we pick it up from here!

    Wow, shannon just shattered the backboard with that shot!

  21. Ugly 2nd period so far. Raptors finding some range on their shooting, and Lakers just performing pretty poorly in a number of areas.

    Setting it up for a trademark 3rd quarter burst?

  22. I’m feeling pretty morose about the Lakers at this point. Perhaps two years straight in the Finals has worn the team down, but they certainly have little fire at this point and the offense is as bad as it’s ever been. Somebody please cheer me up.

  23. This is pathetic! Even if they come back and win, what a joke. So much for that “intense” practice making a difference in their crappy play.

    I wonder if the Lakers understand the concept of shooting. I’m pretty sure the goal is to put the orange ball THRU the hoop, which BTW, is LARGER than the ball! Just try it. Check it out. Who knows, you might even like it.

  24. How can we not be negative Darius? They continue to let people shoot wide open shots. We have people like Farmer and Brown who are just bad. This team is showing they have no clue how to defend, Phil really is coaching up a storm.

    This is not a championship team and if they lose this this one no one can argue.

  25. This is really embarrassing. They apparently have lost any ability to score or any interest in playing regular season games with the sort of intensity it takes to win. I’m regretting the fact that I even started watching this train wreck of a game. Where do you start with this? Defense? Maybe simple shotmaking? It’s really terrible. All of it.

  26. I wonder what excuse the Lakers will come up for this? Phil seems to be out coached every game these days. They breakdown the lakers defense and zone the Lakers on their defense. High school teams no how to handle a zone.

    This team is showing they do not have the talent the media thinks they do.

  27. I’m not saying you can’t be negative. The Lakers second quarter was pretty bad. There were reasons behind it though. Remember, I said in the preview that the Raptors are tough on offense. They have shooters at every position and know how to space the floor. And they’re generating a ton of open looks on the perimeter and players getting lost on the interior when they’re stuck in the middle of either closing to the perimeter or recovering to the paint.

    The big problems are still on offense. Simple and plain, the Lakers have to make the shots that are open and move the ball to create better looks for each other. No excuses though, the execution is not there on offense for the Lakers while the Raptors are playing their game on that side of the ball. One team looks comfortable and confident on offense and it isn’t the Lakers.

  28. The more I think about it, the more depressed I get. The Raptors? Worst defensive team in the league, and you can’t post 50pts in the half? WTF?

    Ron Artest is a liability on offense, and it’s beginning to drag everyone down, I fear.

  29. Don’t let your heads hang people. Maybe this is as good as it gets for this regular season. I know it’s not what we all want to see or what we expect from our team but I have faith that come playoff time we will see the real potential of this team.They seem a bit tired at this point in time.They know what is wrong with them better than us.The fact that they seem to not be able to fix it ,points to mental fatigue imo. Hang tough, we will come out of this storm much stronger.

  30. There seems to be no scouting. How do we not know they win by shooting outside. How does no one guard their bigs. Maybe the real problem is that Rambis was the defensive coach and now there is no defensive coaching.

    Odom, Artest, Fisher are no shows again.

  31. Joel Myers really has a face for radio.

  32. I regret checking out what’s being said here 1,000 times more than watching this game.

    Darius, sorry you have to moderate such negativity on this great site. I wanted to see what insight the regulars had here on what’s happening to the team but outside of you, my 3 year old could have given me better basketball knowledge than the majority of the comments.

    It’s just a single digit deficit against an NBA team people. I’m just glad we’re still a dangerous team and at times an elite team. I’m done trying to act like a championship is our destiny this season.

  33. I am so sick of Pau playing like a girl and then complaining after every game. Shut your mouth and play like a man.

  34. Why is it so bad that people express negative feelings about the Lakers’ performance? Incessant optimism only need apply?

    Perhaps we can get some better basketball knowledge in here, or at least invite some 3-yr-olds in on the convo to balance things out.

  35. Jeremy you have a smart 3 year old. I played collage ball and coached for 15 years. I think I know bad defense when I see it. Lack of rotation is a big problem.

  36. Jeremy – Well said, even though today I would possibly be counted among the negative (just a little!). What makes this site great IS the insight, but too often lately I think that the insight is only found in the posts, and very rarely in the comments, which is disappointing.

    It is only a 2 point deficit as I type this, and we all know the team that we have. I think if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that it’s not all doom & gloom. Teams sometimes fall into ruts, and have runs of poor form. The real test is later on. Not that I wouldn’t love to see us firing on all cylinders, but let’s not get too down right now.

  37. Pig, apparently if we call a spade a spade, everyone gets upset. I guess we’re supposed to sugarcoat everything and keep making excuses.

    So let me throw out the first one. “The Lakers’ terrible play so far tonight, and especially if they lose, is totally acceptable. Afterall, it’s the 2nd game of back to back.” Oh wait a second, it’s not! But I’m so used to reading these lame excuses on here, that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tried to pull that one out of their a*s!

  38. Did I just read that Ron Artest is a liability on offense?! Somebody give that man a brown paper bag.

    The grass is always greener on the other side. If Ariza was a Laker, there would be plenty of whiny posts about his poor play (or injury as the case stands) and how Artest is a deal we should have made because we need toughness. I guarentee it.

  39. Ken your absolutely right. The lakers played terrible defense. Toronto got dunks/lay-ups and wide open jumpers. There’s nothing good about that.

  40. 36 Pig Miller- The intent of this site is for true Laker fans to be able to bring a perspective to the table about this team and discuss it amongst each other. When everyone is pretty much dawging this team because of their obvious worst play in the past 2 years it doesn’t make great discussion.

    An example of what I thought would be discussed when I wanted to see the in game chat is maybe stats on last years performance in march vs. this year’s. Also, a discussion of plus/minus of the Ariza-Artest swap would be interesting being that just a week or so Ron portrayed amazing defense but this week he has had terrible offense.

    These are the types of chats that should be here at this mature Laker blog; not trying to see how many different ways you can say the Lakers suck.

  41. Darius, for me one of the biggest issues I think I consistently see on the defensive end is that we dont defend the 3 point line very well (alot of this contributes to the fact that we cant keep guards out of the paint) but teams like Cleveland have shooters at 4 of their 5 spots on the floor and that’s really an issue I see coming back to haunt this team because the Lakers almost dare teams to shoot 3s. I know the Lakers have one of the best defensive % against 3s but the game against Orlando reminded me that this team usually gives up wide open 3s and each game will either show our opposition has the ability to knock the 3 down (like an Orlando, Cleveland, Denver or Dallas even Toronto) or have an inability to hit a 3 if their lives depended on it. I know defensively everywhere else the Lakers can lock teams down when they show the desire but players like Jason Terry and Mo Williams have torched us this season (especially in transition), and unfortunately the Lakers do not have a 3 point threat to even these out. Do you have any thoughts on this because I feel lately these issues have been surfacing (although tonight I know it has to do with the fact that the Raptors have big men who can shoot 3s and that causes trouble for most teams)

  42. There’s no need to battle it out in the comments and if things continue I’ll just shut it all down…

    The way the game goes it’s not always what the Lakers are or aren’t doing, sometimes it’s what the other team is doing. Tonight, Toronto is making shots. On a lot of shots, the Lakers are contesting. On other looks, Toronto’s spacing is impeccable and they’re generating good shots that are going in. They’re 5th in offensive efficiency for a reason. Call it an excuse all you want, but excuses are normally reserved for explaining the things that you’re doing wrong…I see some of that with the Lakers but I also see a lot of what the Raps are doing right tonight too.

  43. Jeremy,

    What would you propose we discuss? Jordan Farmar’s on-ball defense? Kobe taking the Lakers out of the offense by running a myriad of screen rolls? There are positives as well, like Bynum’s play tonight for example. I don’t understand why people can’t simply express how they feel about the recent run of bad play without being ostracized. We can talk all you want about adjusted +/- and the Lakers’ defensive improvements over last year due to Ron Artest’s presence, but it won’t mask that they’re just not playing very good basketball and that’s what people want to vent about.

  44. jeremyLA24, I see your point. But the problem is, during the course of a game that we’re losing to a mediocre (at best) toronto team AT HOME late in the 3rd qtr, you’re not gonna get many fans starting discussions about the plus/minus of the Artest/Ariza trade. Most of us fans are emotional and get frustrated watching our team play like this. And during games, that frustration gets expressed!

    Now on off days or the day after games, thats when you usually get to read insightful comments from fans on topics such as the one you mentioned.

  45. When did Chris Paul shave his head and join the Raptors?

  46. i did see one really only positive site. My friend translated for me since it was about the team from China.

    its our job as Lakers fans to point out both the good and bad.

    Like Shannon Brown shoots like Charlie Brown these days.

  47. Pau’s double clutch layup brought back bad memories from the Cavs game.

  48. If Pau attempts to dunk the ball every now and then maybe they will call a foul.

  49. Now maybe the people who complain about Kobe shooting to much will understand why.

    Shoot kobe shoot!

  50. I’m sorry, but that replay of Amir trying to “pants” Pau was kind of funny. No wonder the Spaniard was pissed on that play.

  51. It’s frustrating to watch Gasol I love the guy as a player but lately his efficiency on the offensive end is pretty ugly (I know he was fouled that last play) but still 4-10 shooting being so close to the basket is below average. He has just looked out of sync for awhile now.

    Bynum tonight though has been very efficient, and played much better defense.

    I dont understand why Jordan Farmar being as athletic as he is cannot play better defense, maybe his priority is on the offensive end (?? no idea why??) but he needs to dedicate himself on the defensive side of the floor if he wants to get resigned.

  52. you really have to wonder if this team can be fixed! they look old and slow and, well, like Boston (only without and deep threats).

  53. Not to justify double clutch layup, but Pau’s shorts were getting pulled on. It was very clear, ref’s should have called it. Definitely understand getting a T, he got called for extremely ticky tack fouls the last minute or 2 that sent Toronto to the line.

    Jarret Jack played a very good 3rd quarter, him and Amir Johnson got a couple offensive boards that kept possessions alive in which the Lakers had played solid D. A much better quarter even the Raptors still have the lead.

  54. For all of the negatives right now, this is one of the most impressive performances by Bynum in a long time. He’s working for strong post position, making decisive moves, and challenging Bosh as much as possible.

  55. Bynum is playing great. His most complete game offensively and defensively.

    The guards are having a rough go of it. I think Kobe will assert himself when re-enters the game.

  56. why did calderon shoot 2 tech free throws?

  57. Artest is just a joke. 4 for 25 last 3 games. Try and tell me his slow prodding game is better then Ariza.

    This team has turned into a slow motion team. Magic Johnson must be flipping.

  58. 56, Defense is all about effort and preparation, being slow is an issue only for Derek Fisher but he still gives effort he’s just getting old. Everyone else that gets consistent time is neither too old nor too slow, Artest is probably the second slowest behind Fisher but he gives incredible effort to make up for that and some clever defensive tricks. This team is not too old and slow or they still wouldn’t be top of the west, they are however giving inconsistent effort which is why they struggle at times.

  59. @60 – Pau got a tech & so did someone on the bench (Joel guessed Frank Hamblin, but Stu wanted no part of that).

  60. This is just a dumb basketball team. tech fouls and fouling 3 pointers. I blame this on Phil’s zero involvement. 12 million to be a fan watching.

  61. This is the type of D i’ve been wanting to see from Bynum all season long

  62. I think the lakers need to pull a Mark Cuban and send the league a tape of Pau Gasol recent assaults….uumm fouls. I think teams are pushing it in an attempt to “punk” him. Enough is enough.

  63. Wait! Kobe shoots too much! Whatever.

  64. the lakers consistently are too slow to rotate on defense

  65. 66 – Right on. I love the pressure on the perimeter, tight rotations in the paint, and aggressive challenge by Bynum. We don’t even need to do that on every play – but it definitely needs to happen more than once or twice per game.

  66. shoot evertime down Kobe you are the only one I trust anymore.

    shoot shoot shoot

  67. 67. agreed, when gasol starts shooting 60% from the field instead of 40 he can complain about touches

  68. The momentum of this game is starting to even out or even turn in the Lakers favor. I’m giving a ton of credit to Bynum right now. He’s contesting any shot within a 5 foot radius of his space and still recovering to rebound. I hope this line up closes the game as they’re the only unit so far tonight that has played consistent offense and defense for long stretches.

  69. Trevor woulda made that dunk :)

  70. This team is clueless when thet see a zone, Why?

  71. I dont want to see Derek double on Bosh I want to see Bynum defend him 1 on 1, because that just leaves someone open for a 3 and Bynum has shown he is more than capable tonight of doing it alone.

  72. Darius, even though bynum didn’t play much against orlando due to foul trouble, when he was in there, he played solid D. And tonight makes it 2 games in a row where he’s really given the effort we need and expect from him on defense.

    Now I know he’s been really involved in the offense tonight, so that helps, but hopefully we’ll start seeing this kind of defensive effort from him consistently, especially in games where he may not be getting as many touches on offense or when his shot may not be falling.

  73. This is a home game aganist another .500 team after lakers losing 5 of their last 8 games. Now that’s positve huh.

  74. Agreed Zirk, this is the type of stuff we need from Bynum it is almost equivalent to what Haywood has brought to Dallas at Center just with less offense.

  75. CONSISTENT effort is the key, isn’t it, Lakers8884?

  76. I agree about bynum’s play changing the mo. He is hopefully turning a corner. This is just one game.

    Artest makes plays too. He has no lift on offense, but his strength helps a lot on D. I am mostly happy with him.

    The refs have been very inconsistent on the off the ball foul calls.

  77. He put him in so he wouln’t complain to the media again.

  78. FISHHHHHHH!

  79. GREAT effort on defense by Derek tonight, he has been flying around everywhere (even though it looks like slow motion).

    And yes Zirk that’s all we as fans can ask for sometimes it happens sometimes it doesnt but being the Center of the team he is the anchor of the defense and more than anyone we need Bynum to play well defensively and rebound.

  80. They are so lucky. They don’t deserve to win this game. Lakers are not a good team right now. if you want Kobe to have the ball let him take it down the court, Daaaaaaaaaaaa

  81. Side note… I have DISH Network and tonight’s game was the first I can recall this season in which Fox Sports West didn’t air an HD feed. They just had the standard feed, which looks as bad as Artest’s shooting of late.

    Anyone have any insight as to why they dropped the HD feed? If this is going to continue through the rest of the season, I may lose it.

  82. Who thinks this is a championship team?

  83. Still up for grabs ken (87)

  84. The lakers hadn’t played good defensive on one possession since pau came in the game. The only good play was fishers steal, but that was bad defensive and they got lucky Turkoglu did attack the rim which would’ve been an offensive foul (before you guys get mad at me stu lantz said it to).

    The lakers were dominating defensively with Bynum in the game, why take him out?

  85. ken…let your poor fingers rest.

  86. That’s an amazing shot.

  87. OMG, setting up another kobe moment? is this really needed at this stage of the season? wow….

  88. I HATE when a team doesnt foul in that situation it makes no sense.

  89. wow nice bosh

  90. This is troubling, the lakers just cannot get stops in crunch time anymore.

  91. This is the stupidest team and worst coached team I have seen in years. Foul the guy you 12 milliom lame duck coach.

  92. More amazing.

  93. Unbelievable! So f-ing clutch! Who shoots too much now?!

  94. BLACK MAMBA all he does is hit game winners

  95. This is not championship material. They got much work to do.

    KOBE!!! He is amazing.

    With that said, I hope we don’t have to rely on Kobe and his heroics come playoff time.

  96. Zephid

    ‘nough said.

  97. ah of course

  98. KOBE TIME!!! who said anything about #24 shooting too mch…

  99. WoW….

    a win is a win. But you can’t help but be a little disappointed in the way they played down the stretch, giving up their 4 point lead at the end carelessly.

  100. Thank You Kobe.
    Losing streak over

  101. As a Lakers fan I love that but I always wonder why teams dont double him as soon as he catches the ball so he has to give it up to someone else to shoot, its like playing with fire and bad strategy.

  102. He knew he had to knock it down.

  103. @lakers8884 you get burned when you play with FIRE!!!

  104. I can’t decide- do I love that Kobe is nailing so many game winners or do I hate that the team keeps putting him in that position against crap teams like the Raptors…

    Probably both…but Kobe is the man. Period.

  105. LeBrawn is the best athelete is basketball, but during crunch time there is no one even close to Kobe. That man has ice water in his veins. Damn he’s clutch!!!

  106. Thank you to Kobe. This team has work to do though.

  107. Well, I don’t care what anyone else thinks, but this performance was still absolute crap! But of course, I’ll take a “crappy” win any day over a “crappy” loss. So with that, I’m not going to continue with critical comments tonight.

    However, on the same note, I really hope that come tomorrow, I don’t have to read a slew of comments from the “eternal optimists” who will still make excuses for the poor performance, say that “everything’s fine, there’s nothing to worry about”, and get upset with fans who have concerns about the team’s play.

    Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being optimistic, but a dose of reality to go along with it really helps. As annoyed as I am with this performance, I know I’ll be right back in front of the TV on Friday rooting them on against PHX.

    Now it’s time to go check my blood pressure and watch the replay of the shot from the best and most clutch player in the game. You know, the one that shoots too much! :-)

  108. Bynum deserves to have the post game interview with the NBA gametime guys, glad to see it.

  109. 113.

    Josh I hate that the team keeps putting Kobe in this position because as we saw in the last game vs Dallas, then vs Miami and Orlando, it wasn’t enough.

  110. 116.

    Kobe hit the go ahead bucket in the lakers 3rd game vs dallas. it was tied with like 1 min to go and he put them up for good. That game normally gets overlooked

  111. 7th time for a winner this season only!KB is the man1

  112. It’s funny how Ken has stopped saying anything after Kobe’s shot.

  113. Another game Pau Gasol didn’t score with his back to the basket. He needs to pick it up.

  114. Interesting interview with Andrew on nba tv…

    The question was asked by Weber if they are really as lackadaisical as they look on court. Andrew’s answers is that they are…they are thinking of the playoffs….

    My main issue with this team as with past “flip the switch” Laker teams is that they suffer from poor mental strength and entitlement issues.

  115. I am here. Had to eat I was getting weak. Lakers would be in 4th place without the 6 Kobe amazing shots this year.

  116. Warren Wee Lim March 9, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Defensively the game was fine… I mean we defended well enough to hold on to a win. But that’s about everything good we can say about this game.

    Next.

  117. I used to know a lot of 100% optimistic people here in Newport Beach. After losing 40% equity in their homes they are not so optimistic.

    Reality can be both ugly and healthy.

    As can the truth.

  118. 126- Funny you would say that because Kobe’s post-game comment was essentially the opposite- he felt the defense was the problem.

  119. Guys.

    Enjoy the win. That was an exciting game, capped by an awesome game winner by Kobe.

    This is not a team that’s going to win the title this year. They’re too worn out. It’s pointless to complain about “bad wins.”

    Just enjoy them for what they are.

  120. How important was tonights win? I have the Lakers losing 5-games the rest of the year. I have Dallas losing 3-games. Lakers win West by one game.

    Important game. Tough when your small forward is 4 for 25 the last 3-games. That’s a problem fans.

  121. Is it time for the eternal optimist now? Because apparently all I and the other optimists do are say “it’s going to be ok, and we’ll be fine, and nothing is wrong.”

    Geez, all we “optimists” ever say is that the “downers/pessimists” always make a loss into “No chance for a championship this year.” or “Fisher sucks and will lose us a championship this year.” So to clarify, we don’t hate the analysis, we hate the CONCLUSIONS, especially the far fetched CONCLUSIONS that the Lakers wont win the championship. Well, at least I do. I’ve criticized this team plenty this year. And I watch with as much passion as any of you when I don’t see the triangle being run. And to be honest, KEN, for someone who says they have been a fan for a long long time, I would think you’ve seen enough bball to know that anything can happen.

    Now analysis is fine, and I’ll give my two cents. I will only comment on what I saw (missed the middle quarters), so just the 1st and 4th quarter.

    Now, pointing to the last possessions. I was surprised that Phil pulled Bynum for Pau in the end. Bynum was playing really well defensively. And I thought he would finish. Far be it from me to criticize Phil Jackson (X), but that was an odd thing. That said, Pau’s shooting has been off since Kobe rejoined the team. (He played well during Kobe’s absence). But there seems to be something wrong with his … something. I just don’t expect him to go two weeks with 4 – 11 lines on the stat sheet. That being said, he did pull a game high on rebounds for us, was running the floor early, and I enjoyed the beginning of the game where Pau was looking for Bynum and fed him even though they were crowded.

    Great game for Kobe. Not just with the game winner, but the fact that he scored 32 points on 20 shots. I really think that’s going to be important moving forward. The stats show that we haven’t won with Kobe shooting 30 shots a game, and I think that is a trend that will continue. So no matter if they have bad shooting nights, the post needs to get theirs in the paint, regardless of success. Like Fisher’s shooting when he’s open, it’s a necessity.

    Ken, I think it would be really good to stop having so much venom for Phil Jackson. There’s a way to disagree with him without completely ragging on him. But hey, if you want to, go ahead. But I don’t because he got the Lakers 4 Titles in the 2000s, with 5 trips to the finals in that time. And I don’t think you could name anyone else you’d want to replace him. (And please don’t say Byron Scott. You know, the guy who got fired from the last two jobs he had). Sorry man, I think you’re a passionate fan, but that type of name calling should only be reserved for the Mike Dunleavy’s of the world.

    Let’s see, anything else… Nope. Glad for the win. Wondering if there is any correlation with Artest going super defender and the Lakers rebounding numbers going down? With him being outside on the wing so much, is that taking away from our rebounding? Just a though as I was looking over the box score.

  122. Well I’m glad all of you Nostradamuses have decided what is going to happen for the season. Can you tell me how LOST ends? Also, what round are the Lakers getting bounced in? I want to make some bets.
    I mean from these fortune teller commentators here, Phil Jackson is a fan getting paid $12 million a year, the Lakers aren’t winning a championship and they are a dumb basketball team.

    So much for having faith in the team and their improvement. Clearly there are issues with the team, but this “sky is falling” routine is old. From reading the comments without knowing the final score, any reader would assume the Lakers are absolutely terrible. That they have no chance of winning an NBA championship. I don’t even want to imagine what you guys were thinking when the Lakers were getting smacked around by Houston last year with Yao out. It must’ve seemed like 2012+Armageddon+ another terrible disaster movie. It is natural to find fault with a team that you root for. Especially when you have high expectations for the team.

    Yes, the Lakers have been playing down to their competition, not executing on offense, in addition to a number of faults that have been expounded upon on this blog. However, the champion is not determined by their efforts in March. It is April, May and June that crown champions. Throughout the regular season, every champion will take its share of lumps. It is whether team takes the lessons it has learned in the regular season and applies it in the playoffs. Sometimes it takes a lesson in the playoffs for a team to finally get it and get over the hump as it did last year. The point is, I still have faith in this team to win a championship this year. The year is not over and the Lakers will be playing deep into the playoffs.

  123. interesting post Bynamite. Except the part about playing down to their computation.

    Cavs 0 and 2
    Denver 1 and 2
    Dallas 2 and 2
    Boston 1 and 1
    Orlando 1 and 1

    Thats 5 and 8 aganist the best teams so i guess they are playing sideways to the best teams?

  124. Darius,

    I know that yiou are doing your best, and your comments continue to be thoughtful, but the quality of responder comments don’t match yours–especially during the game.

    I watched the entire game tonight, and it was interesting. The Lakers started off by feeding Bynum and Gasol, and took the lead for the first quarter. During the second quarter, they got away form this strategy–and Toronto caught fire–especially from the 3–and ended up leading at the half. The Lakers dominated the third and fourth quarter enough to win.

    That’s the framework. Kobe had a great shot selection, Andrew came through, and Gasol, Odom, and Fisher all made key contributions.

    Jarret Jack had a spectacular game for the Raptors, and Bosh made 2 rare three pointers–including a spectacular shot that apparently was going to send the game into overtime until Kobe–well you know. , , ,

    Rather than writing thoughtfully about the game in front of them, some posters simply wrote negative emotional one liners throughout the game. Of the 127 comments, way more than half were of this nature.

    I’d like to see the quality of comments during the game improve. What I saw on this thread tonight is not what we expect at FB&G

  125. Ken,

    BynUM not BynAM.

    BynUMite not BynAMite.

    If you are going to critique me, at least get the spelling right. As for my comment about the Lakers playing down to their competition, that has been mostly true for this year and was one of the biggest complaints about last year’s team. The Laker are not taking the lesser teams in the league seriously since they are so talented. As for the losing record against the top 5 teams, I don’t see it being indicative of anything that will happen in the postseason. A record like that may indicate something for other teams, but I don’t think it applies to this group. Simply due to the wealth of experience on this team and the fact that this team has been to the top of the mountain (except for Ron). They understand what is required to win a championship.

    Playoffs are a completely different animal than the regular season. When you have 7 game series where you are able to seriously game plan and practice for a team, that changes things significantly. During the regular season, teams do not have the luxury of several days of practice or spending days creating a game plan to counteract the schemes of other teams.

  126. Sorry about spelling. I am a bad one handed typest. I agree with the playoffs thoughts. If you go back to the last 4 champ years they have never had a losing record aganist the top 5 teams. That is my point and concern.

  127. -Ken-
    I’m sorry but I have a hard time believing that you are a Lakers fan. You never have anything good to say about them… There is nothing wrong with being critical of your team, but at least temper the criticism with something positive now and then.

    If we win the championship this year I fully expect Ken to be on here complaining that we won it in 6 games instead of 4.

    Anyway…another great game and shot by Kobe! It’s good to see Bynum stepping up to the challenge as well.

  128. 133, it was just as bad last year as it is this year. There will always be fans who are too mentally weak to handle the rigors of an 82-game season: if the Lakers don’t go wire-to-wire, they lose faith quickly and claim that the Lakers are done. This is a defense mechanism used to temper the expectations of the Lakers winning: if said fan “predicted” that the Lakers were going to lose, it softens the blow of them actually losing. Bill Simmons does this all the time with his Boston teams, claiming they had no heart after the fact and their losing was predetermined by himself.

    However, we had a far greater number of those who were both critical and yet insightful at the same time. Those who were critical of the Lakers last year had some sort of insight and well-developed thoughts in their posts, such that no matter how much we may have disagreed, we still had to respect their insight.

    People don’t realize that going through a Lakers season as a commenter in the FB&G community is somewhat similar to going through it as a player. Their are ups and downs, high-points and low-points. People like Kurt and Darius are like 10 yr vets; they’ve been here before. Other people are relatively new, and they’ve got their rookie excitements and emotional rides. They may be extremely talented individuals (insightful, in our case), but there is no substitute for experience. I know I haven’t been around all that long, and I had very similar emotional extremes when I first started commenting around here. But with time, I learned from the veterans. Even though I disagreed with Darius and drrayeye and The Dude Abides and other people who have been around for a while, I still read their comments and learned from their perspectives.

    Given our increase in fan base, we just have a massive influx of new people, who just aren’t used to being part of an online community for an 82-game season.