Lakers/Suns: The Return of Balance

Darius Soriano —  March 12, 2010

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When the ball moves and everyone gets involved, the Lakers are a tough team to beat.  Phoenix found that out this evening as all five Lakers starters scored in double digits and the Lakers held on to defeat the Suns 102-96.  A quality win against a game opponent on their home court.  A win that drops Phoenix in the playoff standings and ended a four game road losing streak for our guys.  All in all, a good night.

This game started out a bit rocky as Amar’e Stoudemire wanted to prove that he’s a max contract player too.  Amar’e bulled his way into the paint off strong drives and hard dives off P&R’s and finished in the lane with muscle and power.  17 points and 7 rebounds for STAT in the opening period, leading the Suns to a first quarter lead of 7 points that had the Lakers wobbly out of the gate.

But, in the second period the game started to turn.  And it turned on the inside play of Andrew Bynum and the outside shooting of Ron Artest.  Bynum established himself as an inside force by using his size, strength, and length to get easy post up chances and offensive rebounds to score in the paint.  And while ‘Drew was working the interior, Ron was working the wings.  Artest would nail two three pointers in the 2nd period and also get a nice lefty layup off a post up of Robin Lopez to find his offensive game that had gone missing in recent contests.  When the 2nd period was over, the Lakers had turned a seven point deficit into a seven point lead and it was all fueled by a closing 20-6 run that turned the tables on Phoenix.

The second half of the game would be defined by offensive runs from both teams and tough, physical play.  In the third quarter, the Lakers, making their push to try and win this game early, would eventually extend their lead to 15, but Phoenix would show their determination to not go quietly and went on their own run.  The Suns took advantage of some sloppy Lakers play and raced the floor for easy baskets.  By the time the third quarter was over, Phoenix would cut the Lakers lead to four and I think all Lakers fans were prepared for another close game that could come down to the final possession.  And while this game wouldn’t be that close, there were moments of anxiety as the Suns kept it close and battled the Lakers hard by contesting shots in the paint and, though overmatched physically, not giving an inch.

This led to some of the aforementioned physical play.  Louis Amundson was playing his typical, hard nosed ball and was getting blocked shots on defense and crashing the offensive boards hard on the other end.  And in one fateful play, he would dive to the hoop, receive a pass, go up to lay the ball in and then get hammered by Gasol.  Pau, in an attempt to block Amundson’s shot, clotheslined him and watched him crumble to the floor.  This led to Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry getting tossed out the game arguing that the foul should have been a flagrant.  But the physical play would not end there as Amundson (again) would get tied up with Andrew Bynum on a (Lakers) defensive rebound.  Bynum and Amundson locked arms and then Bynum shed him and whipped him to the ground as he secured the rebound.  After all this chippiness, the game would settle down and even though Phoenix tried to keep it close, they didn’t have enough to catch the Lakers as our guys would hold on and close out with a win.

But, to me, this game was defined by the return of some fluidity by the Lakers offense.  As I mentioned earlier, all the Lakers’ starters were in double figures and that transpired because of good ball movement.  That ball movement led to wide open shots as the Suns couldn’t rotate fast enough to players that had just received skip passes from the strong side or had received the pass after the pass out of the double team.  This type of ball movement is what has been missing in recent weeks (save for the 2nd half against Denver) and you could see that our shooters were much more comfortable and shooting with confidence as they could measure their shots and take their time on a lot of their jumpers.

This game also marked the return of an efficient Pau Gasol.  15 points and 8 rebounds for Pau on a nifty 7-11 from the field.  If he would have made his FT’s (only 1-5 from the line) his game would have been better, but that’s just nit picking.  You throw in his 4 blocked shots and 2 steals, and this was a nice return to form for Pau.  And even though there is still room for improvement, I’m quite happy that the big Spaniard was confident on offense and displayed a variety of moves including a beautiful drive left, fake, then reverse pivot jump hook from about 8 feet out.  I haven’t seen a move like that from Gasol in (what seems like) weeks and it showed that he was feeling good again on offense.

In the end, this game had its ugly stretches but it was also a game that, save for the first quarter and a couple of brief stretches in the second half, that the Lakers were in control of.  And after some tough losses and a buzzer beater in our last 4 games, I’ll take in control any day of the week.  Remember, you don’t get extra points for style and when you’re trying to build some momentum going down the stretch of the season this is a win that you can build on.  Next up, Golden State.

Darius Soriano

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76 responses to Lakers/Suns: The Return of Balance

  1. Warren Wee Lim March 12, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I missed the game online and its about to be aired on tv 2pm in the afternoon on a time when I got work.

    Upon looking at the boxscores, I see we played a pretty good balanced game. But something tells me it was a grind more than a good win… but a win is still a win… and on a road, coming off some shaky performances over the last 20 games, I say it was a nice win to have.

  2. Fun game to watch. A lot of energy in that building it seemed.

  3. From previous thread:

    We start a game thread with Aaron’s usual repulsive diatribe towards Derek Fisher–which leads others into discussions about trading Bynum for Noah/Hinrich–which leads to further character attacks on Fisher as well as mixed expectations for the game which carry through almost until halftime.

    Returning from watching the actual game, that was not what I expected to read. Now, if Aaron was half as good at eating crow as slinging mud, maybe we’d have a chuckle or two.

    As some of the other commenters already mentioned, the Lakers showed the kind of team effort both on offense and defense we would expect from a playoff bound team against a determined opponent at home. Shot attempts were balanced. Andrew had another very good game. The team made a good share of three point shots–led by Derek Fisher. A significant win.

    Negative bloggers on F, B, and G were very unhappy.

  4. Warren Wee Lim March 12, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Ahhhh 1st post in a loooong while :D

  5. Yes it was a good win.

    But

    2 of the Suns top 6 players did not play. Fry and Barbosa

    One due to suspension and they other ankle. Those 2 are also among the top 4 most effective offensive players on their team. I’m just saying– bla bla bla

  6. Maybe we should divide into factions Locke/Jack style and the negative fans can go to SS&R and the positive fans can stay on FB&G

    A really good game all around by most of our guys so I’ll focus on the nitpicky side this time around:

    Gasol’s looking great posting up again which is a relief, but he still doesn’t seem comfortable with his outside shot (or free throws for that matter) and our bigs in general are still occasionally channeling their inner-Kwame on catching the ball and finishing

    This has got to be the worst season for Kobe’s longball I’ve seen. Not all those turnovers were his fault tho, I’m guessing the Phx scorer’s table wasn’t doing him any favors.

    Other than an odd decision here and there, a great game by Fish :)

    Sasha Vujacic!! Other than the obligatory foul in the backcourt he played great and honestly I’m kind of with him when he thinks he’s getting the short end of the whistle; he’s developed a reputation that isn’t entirely fair (in that floppers like Varejao still get the benefit of the doubt).

    I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANYTHING BAD ABOUT ANDREW BYNUM FOR AT LEAST A WEEK

    Solid game by Shannon, I love the vertical dynamic he and Farmar give us

    Lamar had probably the only poopy game of the lot, and that’s a nice reversal because more often than not he’s the guy who has the good game amongst all the poop performances

    Heck even Phil was calling time outs and had the team on a leash. Speaking of leashes, kinda want to know if there’s anything to Farmar’s non-participation today. 2 minutes and donuts across the box score

  7. a great win, but i disagree with the previous poster in that i do think kobe’s TOs were fair– he is telegraphing his passes like crazy and worse, jumping into the air and then making a decision, which gets him picked off at least half the time.

    loved AB’s play tonight. and ron’s too.

  8. I was at the game tonight, and I don’t know if you could hear it on TV but that arena was PACKED with Lakers fans. It was almost like it was being played on a neutral site. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Lakers fans in a non Lakers home game. I expected to see a lot, but not nearly as much as I saw tonight. The section I sat in was 80% Lakers fans.

  9. Farmer has a hand injury that got worse the last few days. Hence the talk before the game that Sasha would get some PG minutes.

  10. I wouldn’t consider myself a negative poster, I’m more of a critical commenter. But the harping on fisher has gotten a bit out of hand. I always said I will not bash fisher for just missing good shots, or defensively because that’s his weakness we accept it. I also give credit where credit is due. Fisher has actually played really well as of late. He hasn’t been forcing things and seems to be finding his stroke. That’s very good news for the lakers. Is it time we start letfishshoot.com. i may be a bit ahead of myself. But anyway the lakers took care of business versus a good team on the road. they withstood the suns offensive spurts and held them under 100 points.

    Just two “critical” observations
    1. Fisher has committed a lot of shooting fouls lately when the lakers aren’t in the penalty. He has to clean that up.
    2. I’m going to actually figure out the stats on this later but Gasol hasn’t shot well from the freethrow line against good teams this year. Or so it seems.

    Next up the short handed dubs. Darius your pre game post on that should just say win and win convincingly. Let’s keep it going and start clicking before te most brutal stretch of the season comes

  11. I was happy to see Sasha in and playing well again. His troubles have been well documented the last couple of seasons, but I thought he was playing pretty good ball in his limited runs before he got hurt (and I actually thought losing him in the middle of the Boston game was a contributing factor in that loss, he was a real spark in the second half).

    I don’t expect miracles from the Machine, but I think he can make a real contribution if he just plays under control, makes smart decisions with the ball and his shot selection, and doesn’t flail about like a teenager on espresso, and he’s been doing a good job more often than not lately, when given the minutes.

  12. i am one of biggest sasha fans on here and think people are harsh on him, i love how he busts a gut on defence and pissess of players even if he gets some off the ball fouls, i think he is our best shooter and will deserve some minutes especially if shannon keeps jacking up bad shots

  13. james, on talent i’d agree that sasha is the best “pure” shooter on our team. However, he has not shown this year, or last, that he is our best shooter. I haven’t seen it this year.

    I hope he turns it around. 2 threes from him a game would really help the lakers out.

  14. i love sasha. and told this blog after the orlando loss that once sasha returns we will return to winning ways.
    i still believe that it would prosper.

    go sasha! go lamar!
    GO LAKERS!

  15. I conducted a little experiment this game: I read Darius excellent stuff as usual, but I avoided the game thread comments with all the ridiculous negativity and Laker bashing by “Laker fans” that has become standard these days.

    I found myself enjoying the game so much more, and afterwards I of course read Darius once again excellent game summary. This was a revelation to me: Obviously, because of the arrival of several new commentators, I need to start consuming FB&G in a new way.

    (Just for fun I read some of the comments from the game thread today instead, and lo and behold: The Lakers’ tough road win versus a good team was in fact a fluke win by a bunch of crappy players playing for a mediocre coach. I should have known…)

  16. Great win, and if we are gonna keep the good offense going, we should be able to do it in the next 3 games, which are against 3 bad defensive teams

  17. Andreas_G, I totally agree with you. I too am starting not to read the thread posts (sometimes I’ll skim just the ones Darius and a few others make). I enjoy the game more. I appreciate the plays more.

    Then I come back and read the postgame post and skim some more comments.

  18. Andreas G. & DTM,
    This is not a new solution for many of us old-time FB&G bloggers — but welcome to the club.

    P.S. I really like how Darius has handled this; by fairly quickly putting up a game followup posting. This means everyone has something to read. Thanks Darius!

  19. Chownoir (was J) March 13, 2010 at 7:35 am

    @15 Andreas and 17 DTM, I started doing what you two are doing about a third of the way through the season. I read the posts, skim through the comments and read the comments further depending on the poster.

    It’s not that I’m against negative posters, but the main reason I was attracted to this site originally was the level of analysis and comments. Reading one note/one line negative comments or juvenile comments get tiring if it’s the majority. If that’s the case I can read that anywhere.

    Anyway, a thought I had regarding the struggles. The top 6 haven’t been healthy and playing together for much of the year. Someone has always been out or impaired. Realistically the 6 have only been playing healthy together since Kobe returned from his injury.

    Maybe another factor is this is the team trying to learn each other. This is the kind of struggles you’d normally see at the beginning of the season. But Lakers didn’t have Pau. The last few games I’m seeing slight glimmers of Pau and Bynum working together a bit more fluidly. They’re moving into space and looking for each other more. Pau more than Drew, but still it’s there.

    I also notice Drew not automatically going into catch and look to score mode. He’s doing more reposts, cleaner picks, etc.

    Even though he has faults, I was never in the school of thinking Drew was lazy and refused to do what the coaches tell him. I think for him, it’s a comfort level issue, as evidenced by Jabbar saying Drew could shoot the sky hook but doesn’t want to unless he thinks he can do it well.

    Drew works hard but most of his experience has been in one on one situations. Therefore he excels in individual offense. Realistically he doesn’t have that many games under his belt. But I think he is willing to learn. If you look at his progression this year, his p/r D has improved, his ability to stay out of foul trouble, etc. He has bumps like anyone else, but the kid is improving.

    I really think for him, it’s just a matter of games. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the luxury of a no pressure situation, he’s on a championship contender and everything is under a microscope.

    Just some thoughts running through my head. Maybe I’m being too optimistic about all this.

  20. I don’t really understand how people are so annoyed at “negative” comments on this forum. Yes the comments do get a little repetitive, but for the most part they’re usually true. The Lakers have not been playing well at all lately, thus the reason you see more negative comments. Yes I think Ken can be a little over the top at times, but I also think he’s hilarious and look forward to his sarcastic comments.

    I only started coming to this site last year, but you all make it seem like this forum used to be comments just filled with: “Great play Pau,” “Nice defense Lamar,” “Way to go Fisher,” “Tough loss, but I like the way we are playing.”

    I for one come to this site to see if people are happy, frustrated or curious about the same things I am in regards to the Lakers. And lately, I’ve been pretty frustrated so I would expect to see comments filled with other frustrated Lakers fans.

    As for the game last night, I’m not ready to proclaim us out of this funk yet. Yes it was a nice win and I think we played good defense for the most part, but I don’t think we’ll know if the Lakers are prepared for a good playoff run until the 3/24 game at San Antonio, cause we have some cupcake games before that.

  21. Rudy,
    We have always had negative comments here, but what has been avoided – for the most part – was individual baiting and one-line ‘so and so is terrible’ types of statements.

    When there is criticism it is couched in here are their strengths and weaknesses – except for Kwame and, later, Smush.

  22. Andreas and DTM are reading FB&G the way I am now! :D

    This was a good game. It was at times ugly and frustrating, but I loved seeing that as the game went down the stretch and the Suns were trying to make a comeback, the Lakers just kept doing their thing. No panic, no frustration, just kept executing and moving the ball. As a result, they won.

    Pau played well, though his free throws really need work, Ron had a good stat line and as always was great on defense. Bynum was great. I admit that it still surprises me every time I see him act like he cares about the game he’s in, but when he does, he plays so much better and has such a greater impact that I hope it starts to happen more often. Sasha contributed as well, when he was on the floor… I think he’s finally figured out not only what the coaching staff wants his new role to be, but what he needs to do to fit in that role.

    Now… on to our next victory! One game at a time. :)

  23. Darius.
    While I understand the desire for only positive posts I also feel its important to air ones opinions even if they may sometimes be negative.

    I was a manager/agent in the entertaiment business for 20 years. Everytime a negative story or review would come out my clients would flip out and ask me to get a retraction or sue.

    Finally I realized that its the consumer who pays their bills and mine for that matter. I finally quit the business because the crying of my clients and calls all hours of the night gave me a heart attack.

    Talents gets paid big money to perform and if we the fans are not allowed to critic their performance then indeed there is something wrong with the system. Or we live in China.

    I have a 5-year old son who I critic everyday either on his homework or his playing Monster vs Aliens. I love him very much and of course only want him to be the best he can be. He, as people on this site, punches me when I am to harsh.

    By the way I live in Newport Beach and have run into and spoken to a certain Laker player who also lives close to me. He reads this blog as do other people in the Laker organization.

    “In order to effect change one must point out what needs to be changed.”

    I think that was a quote from Douglas MacArthur or Pee Wee Herman I can’t remember which.

    This is a outstanding site and I feel has the BEST and smartest people I see anywhere. The knowledge of the Lakers and the game is best I have seen . There is no nastyness like there is on other sites (go to Yahoo Sports sites for nasty) (or another site where my thoughts resulted in my being called a Troll) and not one blogger on this site have I found to not know the game.

    We will as a blogging team help the Lakers go to the finals again this year. At that point I am buying for the Forum Blue and Gold Laker party.

  24. Craig,

    I guess that makes sense. I do appreciate people giving a little more insight into their criticisms. What I will point out is that I have stopped commenting during the games, because I find it very difficult to avoid in game negativity. As passionate as I am about the Lakers there’s probably nobody on this site that could stand to watch a game with me. My girlfriend has to leave the room when a Lake Show game is on.

    On another note, it seems like the LA Times is trying to facilitate a Pau/Kobe fued with their post game interviews. I’ve been critical of Pau’s whining as of late, but think it would be wise for the LA Public Relations team to put that to rest quickly as Kobe hasn’t even signed an extension yet.

  25. hey Drrayeye, loved the line about Aaron eating crow, I can’t help but have a laugh to myself when I see Fish nailing a 3 at a critical time, or making a steal late in the game to kill a comeback, and then I find myself having another laugh thinking this poor guy spends his whole game cursing and looking for Fish to make a mistake so he can validate his negative position.

    Darius, gotta tell you that since the mid-80′s, Magic era, my first stop in the AM has always been the LA Times, sports section, read about the Lakers. Then mid summer, 2004, (I think) the non-Laker time of the year for news, I found FB&G, and became a regular.
    Today is the first time I read FB&G before the LA times, (ala dylan) “the times, they are a changin’”
    love the recap, nice way for us old timers here to find the essence of what the site has been about, rather than skimming past the 100 plus comments now in every game thread, (which is still a good thing) but really, how uninteresting are comments like, “that sucks!”
    keep up the most excellent work!

  26. Great story on Yahoo about Kobe and Pau’s complaning about touches this year. Here is last part of it.

    “Between now and then, the increasingly benevolent dictatorship of Kobe Bryant will allow its people freedom of speech. He thinks these things through for hours upon hours, and Pau Gasol can have his say for now. For his own sake, Gasol had better get it all out of his system and deliver come May and June. Hell to pay then.”

    Another words you can complain now but you had better start making those free throws you keep missing in most tough games and dunking not flipping the ball when you do get that pass.

  27. I noticed that PJ was calling timeouts differently in this game. I don’t know, maybe he’s been doing that before this last game, but I can’t recall. It looks like PJ is gonna be a little more authoritarian from now until the end, and I think this means better team play. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he called timeouts at unusual times and the team moved the ball better. I expect the Lakers to go 18-2 in their last 20. We will peak at the right time!

  28. I hope I don’t have to repeat this too often because it would be a drag, but here it goes…

    Negativity will be a part of following sports. The team doesn’t perform well and criticisms follow. That’s life. I’m used to that. However, negativity without bringing any substantive analysis is what, I think, causes this deabate and leads to these back and forth comments about tone and whatnot (back and forth’s that I don’t like, for what that’s worth). So, again, I don’t mind the negativity, but I think readers would like for the negative comments to be less empty and have more analysis in them. For example, rather than typing “Fisher. Ugh. Retire already.” (which I’ve actually seen written). Why not say something about the things that he is doing that lead to him playing bad or what he could have done different in that instance? Both of those types comments could be considered negative or as criticism, but the second type helps people understand better what is going on in the game. Comments like that help all fans, including myself, be better fans because it helps us understand the game better. Anyways, just my two cents.

  29. Rudy

    My wife leaves the house during games.

    A friend, in fun, had a sign made to put in front of my house that reads.

    I am not beating my wife! Just watching the Lakers game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  30. Reading the incessant “I’m disappointed for what FB&G has become” and the “there’s so much negativity” comments are just as annoying as the “negative” comments themselves. The “negative” comments or “critical” commenters will continue to do what they do, they’re not going to stop because you posted some diatribe or plead with reason in a comment two posts ago. So how about we just ignore them and talk about the game the way FB&G is supposed to? That way at least we won’t have a stream of annoyed posts, just annoying ones.

    Now I’ll be a comment that nobody read two posts ago.

  31. 26. On the Woj article, he’s trying to manufacture a situation where there isn’t one. Pau’s not singling out Kobe, Kobe’s not mad at Pau. We’re just not moving the ball as well and Bynum is in the lineup unlike last year. I can’t believe he wrote 1,700 words on what Kobe didn’t do, inferring what may have, logically, privately crossed Kobe’s mind. I hate sports journalism sometimes.

  32. PJ looks to be getting into playoff mode as well. He only gets off his donut when he’s pissed or when it’s playoff time. And with the recent play of the team, he too realizes that this one’s going to be a little tougher than in the past.

    Bynum has really stepped up his defensive presence, flashing on the pick-and-roll, and more importantly, stopping the progress of the point guards. Pau has a tendency to play tag instead of really stepping out and halting the progress of the opposing PG. Bynum’s play has really helped Fish recover from all of the high screens and as a result, his defense looks markedly improved as well.

    Ron-Ron performs much better with a clean dome, rather than that purple and gold billboard he sported in Orlando. Did you see his dribble through the legs pull-up jumper? Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about…

  33. Thing is that Woj is usually one of the better guys. Little surprised coming from him. Either he does have inside info or his contract with Yahoo is up and he needs to create a bigger story then really exists.

    Feel sorry sometimes for Kobe.
    If he retorts back he is bad.
    If he keeps quite he is up to something.
    If he shoots to much he is a ballhog.
    If he shoots to little he is pouting.

    its not easy being the King.

  34. I kind of miss Ron Artest’s crazy haircuts… I know, he’s not an angry teenager anymore, and I know he’s not Dennis Rodman (which is a good thing) but I was starting to look forward to having our own Laker Entertainer in the starting lineup.

    That said, I’ll take the defensive powerhouse with a rottweiler mentality over pure crazy any day. Ron takes serious pride in being a good defender, and I think that mindset is finally starting to rub off on the rest of the team. If inspiring a greater collective effort on defense ends up being Ron’s only substantial contribution to the Lakers this season, I’ll say we’re getting our money’s worth out of the deal.

  35. Correct me if I’m wrong, but at the game it seemed like PJ had really tight reigns on the team. He called at least three timeouts in the first half, 1 about 45 seconds after a TV timeout. I’m in the process of watching it on TV now, so I could be wrong.

    It was like he really tried to manage the game, especially on defense, to not let it slip away.

    EDIT: Reading the comments, looks like some people hit on this already. Good catch.

  36. Are we really debating a Kobe Pau feud right now? That is just idiotic. When Pau calls for touches, touches do not mean shots. He is just asking for the ball to go through him on offense. The offense is much smoother with Pau orchestrating things at the high post then having it stuck on the perimeter with a Kobe-wave off.

    As for the FBG commentating, my opinion is that if you are going to post something it should further the discussion. It doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive.

  37. Solid victory against a possible playoff opponent. I’ll take more stock in this due to the fact that the Suns have been playing well as of late & it was done on the road, where obviously, we have struggled as of late.

    Once again, we proved that when we play team ball (ball movement) & EVERYONE gets involved offensively, the defense plays at a higher level. Don’t believe so? Just the facts: We held Pheonix, who came in averaging over 114 pts per game, to only 96 pts. On their home court. Granted, they were missing Frye & Barbosa, but just by viewing the game, u could see the tenacity on the defensive end. It’s proven & common knowledge that a player will excerpt more energy on defense when he /she feels that they’re being involved offensively. The natural inclination is “why should I bust my a.s.s. on the defensive side of the ball, when on the offensive end, one player is dominating the ball & taking all the shots. If that 1 player can take all of the shots offensively, then let him guard everyone defensively.” Sounds childish for grown men but it’s just one’s natural thought pattern. For example, I can clearly recall when Shaq was one of us (Lakers) & his infamous quote “If the Big Dog don’t get fed, then the Big Dog ain’t gonna guard the House.” So in the long run (remaining games & the ‘offs), hopefully, we can stick to this formula because obviously, it benefits everyone.

    Next 4 games should be WALKS IN THE PARK for us (Warriors, Kings, Wolves & Bullets .. er Wizards). NO LET DOWN. NO PLAYING TO THE LEVEL OF OUR COMPETITION & DAMN SURE, NO EXCUSES.

    Go Hard Or Go Home … Laker 4 Life.

  38. Mimsy’s comment reminded me of something from the game last night.

    Did you all notice that on the hard fould by Pau, Artest was there helping Amundsen up? And then a few plays later he was helping up a Sun and calming down one of the Lakers. (maybe Bynum) I can’t recall who.

    I liked seeing Ron in calm and cool mode in a slightly tense and chippy game. Didn’t mind his offense either.

    Whatever else you want to say about they guy – he really seems to be trying to fit in, to help and to stay focused/mellow. He is on his way to becoming my favorite Laker this season.

  39. Chownoir (was J) March 13, 2010 at 11:35 am

    On the Amundsen hard foul play, I thought what made it different from ordinary borderline flagrant fouls was that Pau did immediately try to help him up and defuse the situation. There was none of that posing glowering look. On TV at least you could hear the ohh’s and ahh’s of the crowd and feel the negativity rising. But when Pau immediately went to help him up and see if he was okay, the noise dropped off. Phx guys didn’t get into any kind of pushing match.

    I think those kinds of physical plays are much more effective without firing up the other team or penalizing your own team. Pau went to challenge the layup hard and ended up fouling Lou harder than he probably intended. But it still gave the message that Phx couldn’t just waltz in at will. At the same time it wasn’t dirty, just getting the message across to expect contact if you go into the paint.

    That’s the best of both worlds to me.

  40. 24

    “What I will point out is that I have stopped commenting during the games, because I find it very difficult to avoid in game negativity.”

    I feel the same way. It’s a lot easier to have a balanced outlook on the team when you aren’t posting in the middle of a close game or right after a disappointing loss. And when other people are thinking the same way, you can easily get sucked into nitpicking, fretting, and bickering.

    That being said, whatever negativity there is here will never come close to my time posting on ESPN’s Laker board. Now that was a war zone.

  41. I agree with Don regarding negative comments. It’s always been like this. Negativity is nothing new. I remember plenty of times getting frustrated with comments in each of the past few seasons. The site hasn’t changed much. Even since the affiliation with ESPN. Some of the negativity is valid.

    But…I disagree with Don regarding the Woj column. He’s very good and very reliable. He spoke with Kobe. I feel much of chiding of Pau is off the record stuff from Kobe. The article basically tells you that it’s from Kobe.

    Kobe spoke to Woj, but Kobe realizes there’s nothing to gain by going public. Then Woj laces into Pau, while explaining Kobe’s new maturity and lessons learned in keeping things quiet? Woj doesn’t write to create sensationalism. It’s Kobe responding without actually responding.

    I think Pau needs to shut up and fix his problems before chirping to reporters. His passivity this season and unreliability in crucial situations plays a factor. We don’t hear Kobe telling reporters that Pau needs to man up.

  42. just to put up an opposing viewpoint {g}, I read *everything herein. that’s because I am your prototypical conflicted fan, and I need the feedback.

    as I was stylin’ myself for a short time, I’ve been a Laker fan since the days of George Mikan (listened on the radio and remember the Minneapolis teams with Mikkelsen, Martin, Hot Rod, and the young Elgin Baylor). over these many years I’ve heard and seen the best and the worst of it, and exalted at the best and agonized at the worst.

    for me, this has been one of the most frustrating seasons of them all (in some ways, even more frustrating then all of those heart-rending losses to the Cs in the 60s). it’s all in the expectations, I think.

  43. Extremely pedantic plea regarding writing-style: Specifically, about phrases like “they WOULD win the game” or “he WOULD score”.

    I’m hesitant to be such a pain to mention this, but I guess I am doing it anyway, because it’s my pet peeve for way too much sports writing, and many more FB&G posts are to come, so maybe there’ll be less of this locution.

    In short, I don’t think it’s effective writing to use “would” for the past tense. If the Lakers ended up winning, say “the Lakers won”. If Fisher ended up making the shot, say “Fisher made the shot”. The “would” phrase is awkward and, besides taking extra words to say, creates a distracting temporal confusion.

    Here is an example from the post (and now I’ll shut up about such petty matters on an otherwise great blog):

    “The second half of the game would be defined by offensive runs from both teams and tough, physical play. In the third quarter, the Lakers, making their push to try and win this game early, would eventually extend their lead to 15, but Phoenix would show their determination to not go quietly and went on their own run. The Suns took advantage of some sloppy Lakers play and raced the floor for easy baskets. By the time the third quarter was over, Phoenix would cut the Lakers lead to four and I think all Lakers fans were prepared for another close game that could come down to the final possession. And while this game wouldn’t be that close. . . “

  44. On the optimism/pessimism thing:

    I think the site needs both, as long as people follow Kurt’s rules/intent about civility, which Darius is now in charge of enforcing. The reason I say this is that it is the same way with teams: they need a coach and a GM, and generally when teams have had guys do both, it has not worked all that well, or for long. Why? Because the coach’s perspective, by definition, must be OPTIMISTIC. His (or her) job is to operate on the assumption that the team can succeed based on the effort and execution of the players in the room right now. This is the approach Darius takes–the coach approach, so to speak. If the Lakers do X, Y, and Z, and stop the other team from doing A, B, and C, they will be successful. There is great value in this perspective, and Darius’ knowledge of the game and the Lakers’ system is impressive. His perspective is particularly useful late in playoff series, when adjustments are important.

    That said, the coach’s perspective has limitations. No reflection on Darius–nature of the beast. So, sometimes, he says things like, “Set screens with a purpose” or “run the offense” or “the Lakers need to hit more threes” which are obvious and which don’t really deal with the limitations of the Lakers’ personnel.

    The GM’s perspective, OTOH, is based on the expedient of thinking, “What personnel changes do we need to make to be successful, or to be MORE successful?” And it is this perspective that makes it worthwhile to point out things like the massive decline in Derek Fisher’s TS% and his TO% spike; the fact he can’t stay in front of any semi-quick PG, the fact that Kobe Bryant is playing more minutes than ever, the fact that Sasha Vujacic is paid more than he is worth and doesn’t help the team much at all, and the fact that Andrew Bynum is not really making much progress.

    But, this perspective has limits as well. The trade deadline has passed, and Phil Jackson, unless something really unusual occurs, is GOING TO FINISH BIG GAMES with Fisher (and Odom, not Bynum) on the floor, no matter how many stats people post or how much people complain about it.

    So, as long as we keep it respectful, there should be room for both the keyboard GMs and the keyboard coaches. Just like a real front office.

  45. Its kinda funny for people to still expect Ron to react to every situation as if he was just in the Palace brawl. Ron has allows been looked at as the thug and malcontent, but he just plays hard nose ball.

    It is time to expect Ron to do the right thing, and when he does, not to think that it is so out of his character to do so.

  46. Another sub-.60 night at the charity stripe.

  47. Wondahdap,

    “I think Pau needs to shut up and fix his problems before chirping to reporters. His passivity this season and unreliability in crucial situations plays a factor. We don’t hear Kobe telling reporters that Pau needs to man up.”

    I second that emotion. Talking to other Laker fans about this same subject, we all agreed. Pau has issues that he needs to deal with that have nothing to do with touches, etc. such as missing crucial free throws, layups, etc… playing with confidence and aggression.

    Glad to see that Kobe has grown. He could have easily retaliated but understood how unwise that would be. He’s had to endure lots of criticism over the past few years, what’s a little more in comparison to winning more championships.

    Seems Pau needs to man up on and off the court. Here’s hoping it happens sooner than later. We need everybody’s mind and heart into the game in order to win another ‘ship.

  48. I just read the Woj article. I kin of laughed when I read that Kobe won’t respond in public or in the press… because he basically just did that in the article. He won’t say it out loud, but apparently, he’s not going to say it literally. Rather, he is saying that Kobe is more mature now for not saying it in the press. But isn’t he basically saying that he’s annoyed by all this? Woj chastises Pau for being passive aggressive, but I see the same thing by this passive aggressive article.

    Also, I don’t agree with his perception regarding Kobe’s time sitting during his injury. No one I know, especially people on this site, think the Lakers are better without Kobe. Rather, we understand that with Kobe there, the ball doesn’t move around as much as when he is. (Same as Bynum). Pau was pretty damn good during those games, and we blew out a few good teams and played a tough team to the last few seconds against the Celtics.

    With Kobe back, the offense has not flowed as well. Yesterday’s game was the first one of real balance. And it isn’t just my perceptions of Kobe. I have said before that I enjoy team work better than isolations, and I do feel that the offense gets more balance when Pau touches the ball in the high or low post.

    Further, I love how Woj basically calls out Pau (which appears to be on behalf of Kobe). Tell him he never won a playoff series until he came to L.A. Someone should remind Woj that Kobe hadn’t won a playoff series post shaq and pre Pau.

    And my last point of contention. Kobe states that with Bynum back, Pau won’t get as many shots. But that should go to all the Lakers. The only one who hasn’t seen his shots go down has been Kobe (by my perception, i haven’t done statistical analysis yet).

    I understand that when we had Kwame and Smush Kobe did have to take all the shots. But even on his worst day, Pau is 5 times better than Kwame and Smush combined.

    And finally, though it will get me a lot of grief (cuz it has already with many Laker/Kobe fans), my biggest problem with Kobe is the “All he wants to do is win” that he has given out. I think that’s true, but there’s a caveat. In my own humble opinion, Kobe wants to win, but he wants to win his way. I have this perception because of his feud with Shaq, I have this perception because of his shots during the “lean” years. Last year, I thought he turned the corner because he was more willing to play team, but I feel that he’s back to that this year.

    I hope it changes. I think he’s a supreme talent. And the Lakers won’t win this championship without him. But I also feel that the Lakers won’t win without a balanced triangle offense.

    Feel free to rip me a new one.

  49. Ray,

    Why should anyone rip you. All of your points are valid….

    This team is at it’s best when Kobe is directing the offense like he was last night versus Phoenix. That “facilitator” mode. Kobe does have to acknowledge some of the blame for the ball movement, but Pau’s main problem isn’t the amount of touches. It’s been him reverting back to a player that is seeming very soft. (Well, I won’t call him a softie, just softish.) Pau needs to realize that. That’s the kink in the chain more than anything else. More than Kobe’s shots, Bynum’s black hole tendencies, Fish, or Ron’s learning the offense.

    Seriously, the Suns thought it was a good idea to bring in Jarron Collins to play physical with Pau. The Suns!? Physical? Jarron Collins? See my point? Teams are testing the Lakers night in and night out. Why? Because of Pau.

    Those soft issues you hear again. The trash talking. The comments made about the Lakers “soft” aura. It all has to do with one person. Pau.

    In Pau’s defense though. I would like to see him force fed so that he can work through it in time for the playoffs.

  50. I don’t want to stop the great commenting on this post, but a new one is up.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2010/03/13/digging-deeper-at-the-point/

  51. Regarding Pau, I think his actions will speak louder than words, so when he plays more consistently on the big stage this year (making layups, the occasional dunk, freethrows etc) he won’t have to speak to the media.
    However, I really don’t have much complaint with what he has said, unless I am missing some rant, his message has been to keep the ball moving.
    I think this isn’t as big a deal as it is being made to look like. Are Laker fans and writers just trying to create more drama?

    I don’t understand why some nitpicked the win because Barbosa and Frye were missing last night’s game… Barbosa has been out for quite a while and even so has not had a good season (he was on my fantasy team, i saw his numbers) maybe he will come back and produce but he has not done well this season overall. Frye (also on my fantasy team) has had inconsistent production. he’s filled up the stat sheet in garbage time a few times, but has been had bit parts since Lopez has really taken most of his minutes. Frye would have been more helpful than Collins no doubt, but game changer?

    Anyways, good game, hope the balanced play continues. I couldn’t help but laugh seeing Phoenix fold after getting the lead down to 4 points.

  52. Boy this ridiculous argument over and over about Kobe shots, balance, etc… Please call Kobe out when the bigs are playing well and he decides to jack up a lot of shots!!! OK? If Bynum and Gasol can’t hit 50% of their shots then I WANT Kobe to SHOOT more so we win the blasted game! Here Bynum and Gasol played well so Kobe passed more. If they do not come to show up and play then expect in the second half Kobe to take a lot of shots. Why? Because he wants to WIN! Everygame that people have bitched about balance has seen our bigs playing like crap. So the thought process is that it must be Kobe’s fault that everyone is not more involved. Look at the boxscores by half. Watch the game. Gasol plays like crap and does not bring it that night expect Kobe to do whatever it takes to bail the team out (AGAIN). If you still insist on pushing this ridiculous notion then I ask you while watching the game see if Phil is yanking Gasol or not. In the past 3 weeks Phil has taken Gasol out numerous times trying to send him a message that he needs to be more aggressive. Don’t think so? Look at Bynum’s minutes in the past five games where they have gone up due to him playing better, and Gasol’s go down. And please relax for a minute on “the balance is back” crap. This is the Phoenix Suns here not really a good defensive team with no front line players that are going to try and push ours around. Nor are they going to play like everyone else and collapse in to our bigs and force our perimeter players to hit 3′s. Gasol is critical to this team, and is extremely talented. He should get the ball. But would it kill him to actually drive with it as soon as he gets it once in awhile? Could he not hold onto it for 2 to 3 seconds prior to making a basketball move so he does not get stripped? So he can actually shoot prior to the double coming? Could we ever see Bynum and Pau learn to pass to one another like they can when Odom is in the game? And as for the triangle offense. Please it is so overstated. If it was so wonderful why do so few teams play it? I mean it is made out to be like the West Coast Offense in football by Walsh or the Zone Blitz of LeBeau. Well, tons of teams actually USE these because they work great. Name one other team who has got to the playoffs using this? That won a championship without MJ, Kobe, or Shaq? Come on let’s face it that it is overhyped (especially when you watch all those classic bulls or old lakers games and see MJ isolated or Shaq one on one in the post which I believe would happen regardless of what offensive scheme you ran). So save the diatribe for Kobe. Enjoy the win. If we loose and bigs played well and Kobe did not pass it WE SHOULD ALL RIP HIM THEN. OK? Otherwise how about demanding some accountability from all our players instead on only one person(who actually is playing by far the best of them all)?

  53. Ray,

    I for one don’t think anybody can rip you a new one for having your own opinion.

    You have a right to see things anyway you want.

    Your caveat about Kobe wanting to win and win his way and your perception being colored by his feud with Shaq speaks volumes to me. I don’t disagree with you I just don’t have a problem with Kobe wanting to win nor the way he wants to win. Gasol has his opinion of the right way to win, even though he’d never won anything before, Shaq had his opinion of the right way to win even though he hadn’t won anything in the NBA in terms of championships prior to teaming up with Phil and Kobe. And Kobe hadn’t won anything on his own without Shaq or Gasol. What that says to me is they all needed each other and not one of them has a leg to stand on when calling out the other.

    What Gasol has done is counterproductive cause his complaining through the media didn’t change anything. He can blame Kobe for alot of things, what he can’t blame him for is his own play.

    And time has proven that Shaq was as much no I would say more at fault in the problems with Kobe because he was much older and should have been more mature. How many teams has Shaq been on since he left LA? And how did all those relationships end?

    I’ll say this, Kobe may want to win his way, but he brings it every night. He plays hard every night, he tries every night. He doesn’t make excuses ever. He has said many times over the years, as long as you play hard you’re cool with him.

    By the way I know very few leaders who don’t want things done their way. I wonder if they do things Lebron James’ way in Cleveland. I’m sure they do. Difference is everybody on Cleveland’s team knows their role and they embrace it. And guess what, they don’t play an inside out game and they still win.

  54. wondahbap,

    people will rip me, because I spoke badly of Kobe. There are plenty of Kobe fans that think he can’t do anything wrong. I am not one of those. So I have been ripped before (not on this site, but with friends talking about Kobe).

    One of my biggest problems with Kobe fans (the crazy ones) is that they praise him for last minute shots and winning games, but never blame him for losses. I always argue that captains who get the glory should also take the blame. That’s how it should be.

  55. Wondahbap,

    “In Pau’s defense though. I would like to see him force fed so that he can work through it in time for the playoffs.”

    Didn’t they try to do this in the last few games and neither Pau nor Andrew could hold on to the ball or because defenses were packing the lane, the force feeding resulted in steals and fast breaks for our opponents? I would say Pau would have to have better hands than he has demonstrated recently and our outside shooting would have to get more consistent in order for the force feeding to have the desired outcome. Else we’ll just keep racking up turnovers, steals and fastbreak points for the opposition?

    What say you?

  56. To me, the problems with the offense go way beyond how many shots Kobe is taking. (I personally think the importance of Kobe’s shot totals is often grossly overestimated, but I digress.) Gasol has not been as effective as in previous years, and I don’t think his touches are down all that much. Fisher is shooting 38% from the field. Farmar and Brown aren’t necessarily all that eager to run the triangle when they come in. Kobe’s shooting was affected by his finger injury. Artest has looked hesitant at times and is not as efficient a finisher as Ariza (or as active in cutting off the ball).

    I agree with wondahbap – the best case scenario is for Pau to get more touches and rediscover his best form. Pau, Odom, and Walton are the only players on the roster who are natural facilitators rather than shoot-first players. So if Pau isn’t producing at his usual level and Walton is constantly hurt, it follows that crisp ball and player movement will be less frequent. Bottom line: it’s not just about Pau getting the ball more – he needs to deliver and stop getting so frustrated and tentative at times, otherwise we’ll continue to see more of the same.

  57. Don Ford writes: “Extremely pedantic plea regarding writing-style: Specifically, about phrases like “they WOULD win the game” or “he WOULD score”.

    “I’m hesitant to be such a pain to mention this, but I guess I am doing it anyway, because it’s my pet peeve for way too much sports writing, and many more FB&G posts are to come, so maybe there’ll be less of this locution.”
    ____

    boy, howdy, Don; that is pedantic. conditional verb forms can also have temporal uses, often for expressing “future in the past” tense; and while this ‘mood’ might be considered to be a bit.. contrived for a sports blog, it would take a braver man than I to call someone on it.

    it is, as you said up front, just a matter of style.

    p.s. – I’m curious, Don, how do you deal (as you read here) with all of the blatant “typos”? (by that I mean not the actual mistypes, but the errors of ignore-ance.)

  58. @BrianAu. Man that was an awesome commentary (note I didn’t say comment!). Here’s the GOOD the BAD & the UGLY on the Lakers right now.

    The Good:
    1. I think Fish is finally realizing that his drives to the basket usually come up empty. I’ve notice him do it less in the pass few games. So he is relying in his outside shot, as he should. He is an extremely confident shooter but when you as many as he has it does start to mess with your mind. So he’s slowly regaining that personal inner demon.

    2. Phil is actually getting more involved! He’s in player’s grill more when they mess up. Calling more frequent time-outs. Getting on refs.

    3. Bynum is improving!
    4. Pau is trying to be more aggressive.
    5. Sasha wants to prove himself worthy.
    6. Our defense has gone from mild to Hot

    The Bad:

    1. Pau crying to the media about more touches. I think when you are Champions Everyone is after you to dethrone you. It’s important to view your team as “brothers” not allowing ANYONE to get in between that. If there’s a problem amoung you take it directly to your brother (teammate). If nothing changes talk to mom or dad (Coach). That’s how you keep a tight family (team) that will succeed ( win the ring). Pau has to learn that. His comment only put pressure on him to perform in crunch time when he does get those “touches”. Pau’s problem is that he believes if the offense operates through him-Lakers win. I disagree because for one he let’s players take the ball out of his hands too often. Secondly, he takes too long to make a decision with the ball. Last but not least, he’s not the marque player fans are paying top buck to see with the ball the majority of time. Last time I checked LA was not a city in Tennesee.

    The Ugly:

    1. Noticing that king Kobe’s shot is off who can pick up the offense?

    2. Both Shannon and Farmer had chances to prove themselves. They are getting worse. Shannon must daydream he’s Kobe while he sits next to Farmer whose probably thinking what Rick Fox wA thinking when he rode the pine: I wonder if all this LA exposure will boost my acting career-Dan is my hair in place.

    3. Did I Mention this was the UGLY?

    4. Fish I love him but opposing point gaurds are flying pass him to the goal. Reminds me of when I returned to the court after 10 years! Those youngstas move like they do on the game. Geesh! He must make that outside three to compete and justify playing time. Although his experience justifies playing time it’s just not enough.

    5. Ron Has not been the Rocket we expected. He looks lost on offense. But he gives it his all All the time. But Ron Ron is missing something.

    Yes there was ball movement. Simple, when you make shots you will get more “touches”. When you play soft , erractic, indecisive, out of sync, or selfish you rarely get to see the rock.
    Lakers need to step it up. We can’t win without Pau. He’s too talented and smart to play at the mediocre level he has subjected us to. We also need Ron to wake up! Bynum and Odum will do there part. But we must solve our PG issue. Fish please get your Mojo back. Farmer just a little more on defense and toucan help us win-just use some of Sashas hair grease and the defense demon can get on u. And Shannon if your agent didn’t tell you, I will. You are and may never be Kobe but with your skill you can help the Kakers win championships but please just run the offense.

    I hope we get it together soon!

    And yes the ball

  59. Brianau,
    “If Bynum and Gasol can’t hit 50% of their shots then I WANT Kobe to SHOOT more so we win the blasted game! ”

    There are many, many examples of games where Gasol and Bynum shoot in excess of 50%, yet only take a few shots. Go back through the game logs.

    There is no single answer to the issue, but one of the factors is clearly that Kobe has a tendency to try and do too much on his own.

    There, and I didn’t use “would” once!! (Not counting that, I mean.)

  60. 48) ray,
    Very good post. One addition:
    “With Kobe back, the offense has not flowed as well”
    Include Bynum there.

  61. Well, if you pay attention to what Gasol is saying, Kobe isn’t getting the glory for “winning games” and he doesn’t mention his game winners much either. Gasol credits ball movement and balance in offense. Losses he credits to lack of ball movement and Kobe(or in his way to be subtle “someone taking too many shots”)
    Of course, he picks almost every game

    Kobe shoot us IN the game, one that was most likely a blowout but Gasol quickly forgets that part where he goes 4-11 against miami, got out of his comfort zone due to being outmuscled by his brother Marc but in his eyes it is all Kobe shooting too much.

    And I don’t buy the “if everyone is involved in offense they get better in defense”. They are supposed to defend always, they are paid millions for it. Do you see artest taking time off defense because he isn’t getting touches? As much as Fisher’s athleticism has declined do you see him wandering about in defense? If he is getting torched or not it’s a whole different matter, he at least is still trying.

    If that’s how it is, maybe lakers really have too many punches, I guess we will see when postseason comes.

  62. 57) tsuwm:

    You ask “how do you deal (as you read here) with all of the blatant “typos”? (by that I mean not the actual mistypes, but the errors of ignore-ance.)”

    I actually don’t care about that stuff (much) and I’m not as picky/crazy as my “would” post might make me seem.

    I just hate that conditional/”would” style and think it shows weaker writing (IMHO only) unworthy of The Great FB&G.

    –> “After his single pedantic ‘style’ post, Don Ford would never mention it again.”

  63. Thanks for the tip, Don Ford. I’ll tell my staff of ghostwriters to cut it out.

  64. Just a point on the Kobe shooting to much cliams. He is taking one more shot per game this year then last year. We won the title last year.

    Don’t remember Pau complaining last year about ball movement.

    ???????

  65. #64,
    Pau didn’t have to share the ball with Andrew last year though.

  66. The title of this post was misleading. The offense was balanced because the Suns doubled Kobe like it was 2006 forcing him to pass the whole game.

    drrayeye,
    Why would I eat crow? Did I ever say that Derek Fisher wouldn’t have a solid game every now and again? Just because he hit half of his wide open shots in one game doesn’t magically make him a starting NBA PG all of the sudden. I wish it did.

  67. Agreed on Pau but that is not Kobe’s fault. Blame it on Andrew who passes less then anyone on the team.

  68. Ken,

    that proves my point somewhat. Kobe told Woj that now with Bynum back, Pau wont get as many shots. Yet kobe shoots one more per game? Because Bynum is back on the floor, everyone’s shots should go down. Not just Pau’s. Kobe’s should have gone down too.

    Also, regarding running the triangle leading to better defense: running the triangle slows the tempo, and allows the Lakers to get back (so long as there is no turnovers).

  69. MJ last year Bulls won a championship – 23 FGA. Kobe this year – 22 FGA. Kobe last year – 21 FGA. Pau last year – 12.9 FGA. Pau this year – 12.6 FGA. Bynum last year – 10 FGA. Bynum this year – 10.6 FGA.

    So Kobe is shooting so much more? No evidence of it. MJ was so much better at making all his team mates around him improve than Kobe but actually shot the ball more often. Again I will join the chorus when our big guys play great and Kobe shoots us out of a game. I am not saying it can not happen or it will not take place. But since the Memphis loss where Pau got outplayed badly by brother Marc and Fisher of 2 pts no assists essentially called out Kobe for shooting 17 of 28 (and probably blew the game by passing to Artest who missed last second shot) for not moving the ball more. I have found this infuriating. When we have essentially 3 seven footers and get out rebounded and give up more points in the paint than we score. How can we blame Kobe? Now as stated earlier, as poorly as Fish has played at times, you know he is busting his behind. But Odom, Bynum, Gasol do not always bring it every night. And it is dismaying since in the past Gasol always brought it hustling on both ends but the past month that has not been the case. Show the effort, and then I too will join the chorus decrying our best player until then please don’t play the causality of Kobe passing or not being the issue – I do not see it nor do you show any proof.

  70. Ray,
    I am not against the triangle. You need to have an offense and stick with it but it is surprising to me that us lakers fans have come to think of it as being this critical component to winning championships. Could you imagine forcing Magic to play the triangle? Talk about ridiculous and infuriating…

    As for slowing the tempo to help our offense that is fine for Phoenix. But I will argue that it cost us against the Cavs. We have three bigs who are extremely athletic and in Gasol and Bynum young. I would love to see them run the floor quicker get set up deep sooner so we can get them the ball easier. Yet too often that does not happen.

    As for taking away one more shot so Kobe is same as last year’s average, would you really want to take away the 8 of 13 Kobe has made with less than 24 seconds? I do not think so….

  71. Brian Au,

    I’m not talking about Pau’s shots. I’m talking about touches. Since Kobe has returned, I feel that Pau doesn’t get as much into the post or high post where he can analyze and pass the ball. What I do see is that the ball stays out on the wings a little too much and see that Pau has been turned into a “Varejao” guy, setting screens and asking to be sent in to clean up the boards. Is that really the best way to utilize Pau?

    My evidence: When Kobe (and when Bynum) was out, those games had a LOT more ball movement utilizing the big guys in the post and a lot of movement. Even Farmar, who I chastise for being a P&R guy, was running the offense, and it worked out well. When was the last time we had a “convincing” win? Indiana? Before that? 3 convincing wins against Portland at portland, SA, and Utah at Utah, then a ten point win in Golden state. Will you just wash those wins away? Can you argue with me that the Lakers ran the offense as fluidly now as they did then?

    Why shouldn’t Kobe be responsible also? Your post makes it seem like he doesn’t deserve some of the blame for the offensive inefficiency.

  72. We got the win because we shot the ball better but we lost in every other category.We got outrebounded, we missed more free throws, we had more turnovers and fewer points in the paint. Against most other playoff bound teams , this translates to a loss.

  73. Ray, Those five games in question where the Lakers went 4-1 without Kobe was some of their best basketball. Everyone on the team brought a consistent effort resulting in a 10+ differential in those games. Yet, this idea that you state (and many others share) of the offense being so better without Kobe – the “triangle flowing” etc… is again pretty much a myth.

    From the blog by the great Brian K.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/3397/some-numbers-without-kobe

    Lakers actually had a much LOWER offensive efficiency without Kobe 102.8 versus 106.6 points scored in 100 attempts. They won because they gave all out effort on both sides of the floor. Not because the offense improved.

    During that stretch our talented frontline players busted their butts, and during this one they have not done so as much. Again compare Lakers vs. opponents in RB’s, points in the paint, offensive boards, etc… and this is our problem.

  74. they actually, played great D… though based on experience, its reli hard to defend “hustle”… the LAKERS hav a hard time w\ teams dat hustle & players dat hustle…

  75. Wow, why is there so much Kobe fanboyism lately?

    Appart from agreing or disagreing about running the offenses through Pau or Kobe it is getting very hard to read this blog due to this long stretches of Kobecentric defence-Pau blaming.
    I want to read about the Lakers not why Kobe or Pau are this and that over and over.

    I kindly suggest, if the post resumes like either:
    1)I agree, Kobe is god.
    2)I disagree, Kobe is an anti-hero.

    Simply write either 1) or 2) as your post.

    Thanks for caring about others reading patience :)

  76. Brian Au,

    yah, I read that article too. And you fail to put all the disclaimers that they put in the article.
    1. That the sample size is too small.
    2. ” None of this is antithetical to the idea the offense- the actual operation of the triangle offense- seemed more efficient and productive. Without Kobe, the Lakers ran more sets out of the triangle, moved the ball more, and generally relied on core offensive principles more than they had with Kobe available. More players participated in its operation, with more balanced shot distributions.”
    3. “The key to returning the Lakers to something closer to last season’s offensive juggernaut is combining Kobe’s talent with greater balance. We’ve written about it on the blog and talked about it on the PodKast. For a variety of reasons, the rhythm the Lakers seemed to nail frequently last year hasn’t appeared as much this season. In many ways, I think Kobe’s injury served to reboot L.A.’s operating system. (We’ll see over the next couple weeks if I’m right.)”

    And you cannot argue that those sets haven’t been run as well since his return. I see way too many isos. Way too many shots from the outside.

    Again, my main point is that Kobe deserves some of the responsibility for our offense being stagnant, especially since he gets all the glory when we win.