Preview and Chat: The Atlanta Hawks

Darius Soriano —  March 31, 2010

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Records: Lakers 54-20 (1st in West), Hawks 47-26 (4th in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 109.1 (10th in NBA), Hawks 111.7 (3rd in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.1 (5th in NBA), Hawks 106.7 (14th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Hawks: Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford

Missing Andrew Bynum:  I haven’t brought this up lately, but the recent performances of the Lakers have definitely been impacted by the absence of Bynum.  Over at Land O’ Lakers, BK has a nice post up talking about how Andrew’s absence has affected the Lakers.  Give it a read.  What I’ll add to Brian’s take is that on this specific road trip, the games that we’ve lost were against teams that start undersized PF’s (Jeff Green, David West) that match up much better against Odom’s speed and open court game than against Gasol’s post oriented attack.  Whereas the Spurs and Rockets started two older and slower PF’s that LO could take advantage of in space by using his quickness advantage.  Obviously the Lakers won and lost the games that they did for reasons beyond just missing Bynum or what Odom brought to the table in those specfic games, but match ups are meaningful and should not be ignored.  And against teams that run out smaller four men, the Lakers are best served having that Bynum/Gasol front court that pounds teams down low on the post and gobbles up offensive rebounds. 

The Hawks Coming in:  The Hawks are a tough team for me to get a read on.  They’re obviously one of the better teams in the league some things just don’t add up with them.  They’ve won seven of their last ten games but have had some curious losses in March (Knicks, Raptors, 76ers).  They’re a very good home team (only 7 losses on the season) but are under .500 on the road.  They’ve got a very good record against a tough Western Conference (20-9) but are only 7-7 against their own division (a tough division, but still strange to me).  I just have a hard time figuring out if this team is for real or not (i.e. Conference Finals material).

On an individual level, this team is anchored by a very good core of players.  Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford are excellent talents that play all-star level basketball.  They also  have the leading sixth man of the year candidate in Jamal Crawford.  As of late all of these players have been playing pretty good ball but Horford is the player that has stood out to me.  He rarely gets the flashy numbers, but his scoring and rebounding are the definition of consistency and his defense is severly underrated.  He plays strong position D and moves his feet well on the P&R as a hedge and recover man.  His match up with Gasol tonight will be one to watch.

Hawks Blogs:  There some good spots to catch up on everything Hawks: Hoopinion and Peachtree Hoops are my first stops.  And I usually try to see if Lang Whitaker has any recent thoughts on the team from the ATL.  (Lang did sit in on the K-Bros Podcast this week over at Land O’ Lakers.)

Keys to game:  The Hawks lineup tonight is almost a mirror to the one that the Lakers will throw out.  Aging point guard, dynamic shooting guard, an all court lefty PF, and a solid big man.  I would give the Lakers the advantage at SG and C (and at SF as well, with Artest), but Johnson and Horford are very good players that, in their own ways, will cause problems for us this evening.  These similarities will make for some interesting match ups tonight and we’ll see which group of players can best utilize their similar strengths to pull out the win.

Even though I mentioned that Joe Johnson is the Hawks shooting guard, it’s very likely that he’ll be guarded by Artest tonight.  This is the match up that I’m most looking forward to.  The Hawks often isolate Johnson on the perimeter and let him attack off the dribble for either a floater in the lane or a pull up jumper from mid range.  Johnson is a player that loves to use his body to bump players off him to get to the places on the court that he likes and then shoot over the top of defenders.  And since Ron is one of the strongest perimeter defenders in the league and is not easily moved off his spot, it will be interesting to see who wins this battle. 

The other match up I’m intrigued by is Horford’s defense against Gasol.  As I mentioned earlier, Horford is a player that plays excellent position defense and battles for space on every possession.  And while he’s a bit undersized at Center, he makes up for it with his long reach, strong instincts, and excellent timing.  Pau will have his hands full tonight, but should be able to use his superior length and counter moves to get good looks at the basket.  Knocking down the mid range jumper will also help Pau get Horford off balance so let’s see if the big Spaniard can hit some of those 15 footers.

On offense there are two notes that the Lakers must be aware of.  First is that Atlanta loves to switch screens.  They have a versatile group of defenders that do well in match ups of all types.  I’ve mentioned Horford several times already, but he’s joined by Smith, Marvin Williams, and Johnson as players that possess size and quickness that allows them to guard multiple positions without giving up too much of an advantage.  One play that I’d like to see the Lakers use more of tonight to counteract this is the weakside P&R between Odom and Gasol.  I don’t necessarily want to use this action so Odom can attack Horford, but rather so Gasol can get favorable matchups in the post against Josh Smith (or whoever else is playing PF for Atlanta).  The second key in facing the Hawks’ defense is to take care of the ball.  Due to all the switching and the caliber of athletes that the Hawks can throw at a team, passing lanes close up quick and turnovers quickly go in the other direction for highlights on Sports Center’s top 10.  The Lakers need to be aware of this and not get lazy with passes, especially those that come off of screen actions. 

This is a game that the Lakers need to have in order to salvage their road trip.  Before the trip started 5-0 was thrown out their as a goal with 4-1 being a result that would be considered solid.  A loss tonight would mean a 2-3 record for the trip.  I don’t think the players, coaches, or anyone in the organization would be happy with that.  As stated earlier, Atlanta is a very tough arena to win in and their players are already calling out their fans to come out and support the home team rather than the visiting Lakers.  It’d be very nice to end this trip on a positive note with a good win against a strong opponent.

Where you can watch: 4:00pm start on the West on KCAL, also on ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

Posts

162 responses to Preview and Chat: The Atlanta Hawks

  1. This one’s for Warren (and Derek Fisher)

  2. I read this one ESPN game preview-

    “Atlanta is tied with Boston for the No. 3 seed and holds the head-to- head tiebreaker ”

    Isn’t it true that division leaders get higher seeds? So even if Atlanta ties Boston wouldn’t Boston still get the higher seed even though Atlanta swept them?

  3. Don, the division leaders are only guaranteed home court advantage, not a top-3 seed.

  4. thisisweaksauce March 31, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    So, did Hollinger pretty much say that the Lakers would not win the championship this year? I couldn’t see today’s article (“What’s Wrong with the Lakers?”), as I’m not an ESPN Insider.

  5. 4,
    Here are Hollingers two main points…

    “Several factors intersect. Offensively, they just aren’t good, and it’s putting a ton of pressure on the defense to save the day. The Lakers are only 11th in offensive efficiency, and the attack has taken another small step back in the 20 games since the All-Star break.

    With three highly productive starters, it’s pretty obvious what the problem is — they’re basically playing with an open sore at point guard. Derek Fisher is a great guy and has earned all the rope he’s been given, but we’re 70 games into the season and he’s shooting 37.9 percent with a 9.27 player efficiency rating, output that screams, “Replace me,” from the hilltops.”

    “Another issue, however, is that Kobe Bryant isn’t producing at the level of the previous two seasons. This has been partly masked by his increased minutes — he’s playing 38.8 minutes per game compared to last season’s 36.1 — and his penchant for spectacular last-second shots. So his per-game numbers look fine, and he’s making memorable plays. But on a per-minute basis, he hasn’t been the same player. He’s headed for his worst PER in a decade, with his turnover ratio in particular spiking noticeably from last season.”

    The Kobe issues is somewhat of a surprise to me. Although I will say I have noticed he hasn’t been able to penetrate (the most effective way to beat a defense) like he has in the past. The only way he is really seeing double teams is when he goes in the post and we already have a guy in Andrew Bynum who gets double teamed in the post and a player in Pau Gasol who gets doubled in the post when facing off against smaller PF’s.

  6. 3 Uh explain? How can you have a higher seed and not HCA?

  7. @6

    IIRC Div winners are guaranteed a Top-4 seed, but not Top 3. The Hawks will be seeded ahead of the Celtics if they finish with the same record, which means ATL would get Orlando in RD 2 rather than Cleveland.

    As to Kobe, the finger has hurt his handle–that is clear, and he has had slightly more trouble clearing space for his J than he did in 2009. Hence the PER dropoff.

    I have commented on the MPG issue many times, and we have had a few conversations around here about Derek Fisher. Both sides–the Hollinger/Aaron side and the other side–have points.

    Either way, though, Phil will stay with Fisher at 30 MPG through the Lakers’ last game, whether that game is an L or a W.

    Hollinger stated flatly in his last chat that the winner of Orlando/Cleveland–he is not sure who that will be, he said–takes the title.

  8. Hollinger is more famous for being wrong than for being right. He had the Cavaliers winning it all last year as well…

    Orlando vs Cleveland is a toss up. No way to know who wins that series.

    The Conference Finals are still more than two months away. Lots, LOTS, can happen between now and then.

    Players getting hurt, or getting well. Players finding or losing their stroke in the spotlight of the playoffs. Teams gelling for a good run, or falling apart after a bad loss.

    You simply never know.

    What I do know is that our best five players (Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Odom, Artest) are better than any other team’s best five.

    I also know that we have no point guard at the moment.

    Let’s hope that someone heats up Ariza style, and this all becomes moot.

  9. 7 I googled and found this post –

    “According to the NBA, a division leader automatically trumps a second-place finisher in another division. So, assuming the Orlando Magic win the Southeast Division (they’re 4.5 games up on Atlanta), it’s actually the Hawks that will need to finish ahead of Boston in order to net that third seed.”

    http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4672833/tie-goes-to-the-cs

    This article explains in more detail:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nba/columns/story?columnist=may_peter&id=5038321

    So it looks like if Atl and Bos tied, Bos would get the #3 seed because they are Division leaders and Atl are second to Orl – even though Atl whooped Bos 4-0.

  10. Don, that article is correct. However, if they ended the season with the same record and Boston were to face Atlanta in the playoffs (say, in the coference Finals as the 3 and 4 seeds), I believe Atlanta would earn the home court advantage based off their head to head record.

  11. OK got it thanks all

  12. 8,
    I don’t know if Magic/Cavs is a toss up. The playoffs are about matchups. All the matchups favor the Magic except at the SF where Vince Carter isn’t a slouch. It just depends on if Lebron can make up for his teams deficiencies against a great team like the Magic or the Lakers. Although I do think up to this point in his career he is the best player of all time I do not think he is great enough. There is just too much talent on the Magic team and they have the strength down low that gives the Cavs bullying style major problems. I bet on the Magic to win last year and I will be doing so this year if they matchup again in the East Finals. But we shall see.

  13. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5044615

    It looks like Yao Ming will be getting 1 MVP vote every year for as long as he’s in the NBA.

  14. nothing like some good old fashion bad shot selection to start the first quarter

  15. MICHAEL ZARABI aka ZERB March 31, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    link anyone?

  16. i like the lakers spacing and passing thus far. cant wait to see what the bench does….(shudders)

  17. and lamar gets no calls…

  18. What a brainfart foul by Shannon.

  19. our story thus far: Fisher/Brown 3
    Bibby/Crawford 14

  20. Shannon commits so many fouls on jumpshooters that way. He just does not know how to contest jumpshots and close out on players. But that was a D- quarter. More horribleness from Fisher on both ends of the court except the lay up he made. Lamar has been a non factor. And other than Artest, they’ve played below average defense.

    I just don’t know if they can play much better than they did in that first quarter.

  21. I was hoping for a teenage 1st Q (holding ATL at 13-19 pts). Buckle down, guys!

  22. Come on guys, don’t let this one slip in the second.

    I like seeing DJ pull back his block to start the second, so he didn’t commit the goal tend.

  23. as soon as farmar and brown come in…we start losing. bad bad shot selection and man defense by both of them.

  24. i rather play sasha than farmar. any day… too bad he pissed off the coaches…

  25. Lakers just don’t look like a good team. They just aren’t shooting well.

  26. Is it me, or does everyone not named Kobe (and maybe Ron) look a little pathetic right now?

    Edit: Gasol was on the bench.

  27. shannons thumb is messed up..so is artests hand….odoms shoulder is giving problems…bynum is out…walton is out….fisher is just old…its gonna be alright come playoff time. just need some rest. and luck.

  28. im going to have a party when farmar, shannon and fish leave and we get a good point guard

  29. Another long two by Farmar with no one under the rim, or even in the paint.

    If you are determined to take selfish shots early in the clock, ignoring the offense, why shoot the long two? Stay back and fire up the three! Your shooting % is not that much different and your makes are 50% better!

    Why do “professionals” need to be reminded of this constantly?

    Our guards would be much improved if they would simply not do ANYTHING but pass to an open man or to the post.

  30. lol who is scott cunningham and why is he a pain in the ass?

  31. Zsa Zsa Gabor has as many rebounds as Artest, Kobe, Gasol & Brown combined (6)? That’s a crime.

  32. our story thus far:
    Hawks bench 23
    Lakers bench 3

  33. Hollinger discounting the Lakers chances is one of those rites of Spring at this point. I know that his gimmick is that he’s just “the numbers guy” and that all he’s doing is posting stats and facts, but let’s be honest. Every year, he overrates the Jazz, the Cavaliers and gushes over Lebron James and takes every shot he can at Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

    His last 2 articles? A hit piece on the Lakers with mention that Kobe is in decline and an article comparing Lebron to Michael Jordan filled with superlatives.

    If you’re surprised by Hollinger’s act at this point, you aren’t paying attention. Don’t let him troll you any more.

  34. seriously…is sasha that bad??? i wouldnt mind him playing the point…he just needs to not foul as much….

  35. I can’t believe this guy ZAZA is killing us right now! What is going on with this team.

    Win or lose, its just bazarre how this team struggles in a random way day to day. One day we can draw rim from outside and then the next day it seems like Farmar/Brown can’t miss from outside. One night we’re the strongest front court in the league, the next night some guy named ZAZA is killing us.

  36. I’m officially fed up with the lakers. Out of a timeout you run a play for Lamar taking a 3. Phil needs to put sasha in and see if he can make some shots. Fisher, Odom, Shannon, Farmar have all been terrible. And they’ve played bad defense.

  37. odom does other things at least…the man is playing through injuries and is still out best rebounder. give credit where its due.

  38. btw lamar already has 8 rebounds.

  39. please put sasha in, just give him a chance

  40. yeah james im with ya. he cant be worse than farmar and brown right now although brown is injured so ill cut him some slack.

  41. links

  42. Lakers are down 5 points with 245 left in the half, without playing good basketball against a good bball team. Relax people. Let’s see how the game turns out. Joel, your frustration is perplexing, the Lakers have played this way the whole year.

    I know we watch the Lakers night in and night out, but other teams in the west have a lot of problems as well. So take a deep breath people.

    Put it to you this way, would you rather be a Clippers fan? We are competitive in most games. And we still are #1 in the West. And I am enjoying the close games. Good basketball by any team is still fun to watch.

  43. but i heard sasha was screaming at brian shaw the other game…maybe this is his punishment…more like banishment.

  44. LA still within striking distance on the road against a team that plays well at home. ATL hasnt blown them out, so I still believe a little run will overcome such a small margin.

  45. a third story line: 2nd chance points – it’s got to be about 16 to 2 for the Hawks.

  46. yeah overall the lakers “energy” has been good tonight. phil has kept the rotations tight which i think is a goos message to the bench.

  47. I have to watch the boxscore from my desk, so I have to ask: is it this bad? I see two minutes left in the half and a 1-8 night from the bench for 3 pts. And 1 assist. And 2/3 bench guys are point guards. Yesh.

    Does anyone know what Sasha said? Does anyone know what Phil wants from him (Phil clearly wants atonement, but how?)?

  48. How can you expect to win when you have by far the Worst point guards in the NBA. name one team that is worse.

    Fisher is so bad his shot barly hits the rim. He should not be in the NBA. 2 for 11 last game and 1 for 6 tonight.

    He is killing this team and Phil just lets him.

    No starter in Laker history is as bad as Fisher

  49. phil trusts fisher. and i don’t blame him. look at the alternatives….farmar, brown? both are as inconsistent. but i agree, in the offseason we have to address that position.

  50. last year i knew the lakers were gonna win it all…this year i do not get the same feeling….im not ruling out our chances but this team is not as good as last year’s. we have some major holes to fill in the off season startin wit dfish, & we need to find a backup shooting guard who can spell kobe some min

  51. kobe has 20. almost half the points for the in the first half. that can’t be a good sign.

  52. @ 47,

    you must be a relatively new laker fan if you don’t remember a certain smush parker

  53. we need a consistent three point threat. plus gasol has taken only 3 shots in the first half.

  54. wait? we have a point guard problem?? I didn’t know that! People never mentioned it before!

  55. Trust? He is shooting 37% the worst of the 30 teams in the NBA. He can’t guard my 5-year old son and has 3 assists a game.

    Trust? What is there to trust? That he will miss shot after shot! He has become an embarrisment to the Laker uniform.

    Trust in that.

  56. 49. Raja Bell is going to be available in the off season. A career 40% 3 point shooter and a really good defender. The lakers need to go hard after him.

    But this team refuses to do fundamental sh!t on the defensive end. They keep leaving shooters wide open Fisher and Odom and not blocking out guys which has lead to at least 14 second chance point.

    Then on offense Fisher, Farmar and Brown can’t shoot. They just can’t shoot. Lamar has 9 rebounds but otherwise has been a complete non factor.

    Lamar, fisher, Farmar, Shannon 3-17. SMH.

    And Ray my frustration is because I’m perplexed trying to figure out why the lakers do the stuff they do. And that 5 point lead quickly went to 10. Thats what the lakers have been doing all season. A 2 point deficit goes to 7. A 5 point deficit to 10, 7 point deficit to 13. Why? Thats truly perplexing.

  57. Parker was bad on defense but shot 43% which is 6% higher. Fisher can not shoot and every team knows it.

    i am a 40 year Laker fan and 25 year season ticket holder and have never seen worse the Fish this year.

  58. at the half:
    pg 7 to 19
    bench 3 to 24
    (yes, there’s crossover there)

    ken, 50 yrs here – even the Mpls Lakers had better PGs
    :-D

  59. your saying smush is better than fish? gtf outta here… fish is a 4 time champion…the heart of the lakers…his three’s last june killed the magic…or did you forget???

  60. please put vujacic in. damn, egos of asst. coaches have been putting the lakers in jeopardy.

  61. Stop with the past. I am saying this year Fish is the worst shooter for a point guard in the NBA. No one is close to 37%. Those are wide open shots. 1 for 6 after 2 for 11. 6 of the last 7 games he has shot under 25%. The Nets wouldn’t put up with that.

    Look at the numbers.

  62. FIsher 1-6 (a layup)
    Shannon 1-5 (a dunk)
    Farmar 0-2

    Take out the layup and dunk, you’re looking at 0-13 from our guards.

    Can Sasha PLEASE get some playing time!?

  63. so this is why sasha hasnt played..

    In that game Vujacic was upset with Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons giving him instructions and told Cleamons not to yell at him. When assistant coach Brian Shaw went over to Vujacic, he told Shaw the same thing. Shaw and Vujacic then exchanged words on the bench during the Lakers’ loss to the Thunder.

    Vujacic didn’t play in the next two games at Houston and New Orleans.

    Jackson said Vujacic “hasn’t atoned himself for that error.” When Vujacic does, “he’ll be back in good graces,” Jackson said.

    Vujacic said he knows that he is out of the rotation.

    “If they are winning, I’m not playing,” Vujacic said before the Lakers played the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night. “If they are losing and the team is down by 20 points, then I get a few minutes.”

    — Broderick Turner, reporting from Atlanta l.a. times

  64. apologies for these very general and probably trite observations,
    I only tuned in starting at 42-47. Was wondering how the team was playing then I saw ATL go on a run/Lakers stink it up to end the half down 45-55.

    From the couple minutes I saw, and the stats that popped up on Kcal it is apparent that:
    Pau is rather pissed off by Zaza, Fisher’s shot is off and nobody can make three pointers again (except for Kobe in the last minute)
    another game to “flush”? I’d rather see Pau go primal on Zaza and jump start this lethargic team into action.

    regarding vujacic
    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=5045095
    “He hasn’t atoned himself yet for that error,” Jackson told reporters before the Lakers played the Hawks in Atlanta on Wednesday.

  65. Joel,

    As Darius keeps saying, thats how they’ve played all season. I come to expect this type of half ass play by now. I wish they did execute better, but that’s not happening.

    the Lakers need to make adjustments. 1. Box out to prevent second chance points. 2. Make open shots. 3. Execute the offense a lil more.

    The offense just isn’t moving when it gets into the post. 4 people standing around once one pass is made. And our three point shooting is atrocious.

    The lakers have played many games like this and have won this season (and yes, the Lakers have won since they have the second best record in the league). No point getting frustrated about it in my opinion.

  66. @ 48

    See: Brown, Cakeme and Parker, Smushcalade.

  67. link? atdhe is dead

  68. ken,

    atlanta’s lead is not solely on fisher as you seem to imply.

    Fisher is shooting bad, but he’s taking open shots that he’s supposed to take. No one else besides kobe is shooting lights out. So can you please stop with your season long blame season on Fisher, especially when he is not solely responsible.

  69. try channelsurfing dot net

  70. Darius, can you hold someone when he mentions about “PG” and “problem” in the same line?

    We get it, the Lakers “do” have PG and problem in the same line. It’s old news already. Stop beating a dead horse. It’s not like we can trade for a “PG” right now, so just keep it in yourselves.

  71. if thats another sprained ankle, then the lowtops are an issue. I don’t care what Nike says.

  72. lamar seriously gets no calls. none.

  73. p2p4u.net is a good alternative to atdhe

  74. If we lose, then, for me, it’s not a big deal. We lose every March 31st, just sayin’.

  75. The game is really starting to slip away (71-55). I get that the Lakers are consistently inconsistent, but this looks like giving up.

  76. they just arent playing well. i dont think its the effort.

  77. if no one is going to try, then let’s just wave the white flag a quarter early and save some legs.

  78. I think one of the most pathetic things about this team is that Farmar and Brown suck more than fish. fish is having his worst season ever and these 2 knuckleheads can’t play better than him to grab the job.

    There must be some freaking lame guard out there that we can get that it better than the crud we got now. I know it’s past the trade deadline but can’t you get 10 day contracts or something like that? Or freaking play sasha – i don’t even like sasha but it’s better than the crap us fans have to currently watch.

  79. This is pure garbage.

    And Ray we agree on everything, but I’m sorry I’m frustrated. But the lakers just keep getting blown out. Its not like Atlanta is playing lights out, the Lakers are just playing that bad.

    Phil needs to make some changes.

  80. ryan…that deserves a +1.

    im not as hard on shannon because oh his hand injury, but his shot selection is bad.

  81. so far gasol has 2 shots in the quarter…farmar shot ANOTHER GODDAMN 3!!!!!!!!!!!

  82. Seems everyone is looking for their own jumpshot right now.

  83. Offense looks like its in slow motion… passes aren’t crisp and we’re settling for a bunch of 3’s. The ball isn’t moving well and thus we don’t get very good shots up.

  84. don’t remember the last time pau completed an and-1. blown dunk on the foul.

  85. Joel,

    they aren’t playing great thats for sure. In this game just shows the biggest weakness for this team, an inability to run the offense. It’s a one man show of get to Kobe in the wing and lets see what can happen. They are playing him straight up man and not letting anything else come through. There is no motion in the offense whatsoever, I haven’t even seen that many pick and rolls tonight.

    Someone needs to get pissed on the bench right now. Worthy and Stu have been saying it all night, there just isn’t any fluidity in offense.

  86. i don’t care about this game. I care about the playoffs. Our guards are not going to find a magic potion. They are just bad.

    My anger is toward the mangement who refused to make a change. PG is the single reason we will struggle to get out of the West.

    This is a .500 team aganist the top 5 teams this year. Perhaps you choose to not talk about that but it bothers me.

  87. I REALLY MISS BYNUM

  88. regarding Sasha: from espnlosangeles

    “He hasn’t atoned himself yet for that error,” Jackson told reporters before the Lakers played the Hawks in Atlanta on Wednesday. “He knows how to get himself out of it. When he does he’ll be back in good graces. There’s a promise he made to us before the season that he hasn’t fulfilled. I’ll let him explain that if he wants to.”

    Vujacic, who is averaging 2.4 points in 60 games this season, said he doesn’t know what his coach is talking about.

    ———

    I dont think Sasha is cracking the rotation guys. He really really killed himself somehow this year.

  89. AMMO sighting

  90. Ray

    You, Stu and Worthy are completely right about the offense.

    But everyone is always worried about the lakers offense and no one ever mentions their atrocious defense. Beyond Gasol, Bynum, and Kobe. The team has a really low basketball i.q. By that I mean knowledge and application of the fundamentals of basketball. Just as we saw on that inbound play in which Evans got a dunk.

    This teams problems goes so far beyond the offense.

  91. ron and lamar do not have low basketball iq’s. they play with a lot of heart every single play. and i like seeing artest angry….

  92. Glad to see pettiness (sasha vs shaw) limiting our chances to win.

    Also glad to see the problems with the offense being worked through at practice…

    “After a win last Wednesday, the Lakers have terrible ball movement in a Thursday practice, but Jackson cuts it short anyway. Friday, the Lakers look terrible in a loss to Oklahoma City. They get a win against Houston without a practice the next night (not a pretty win, but who cares, right?). Sunday, Jackson cancels practice in New Orleans. Monday the Lakers lose to the Hornets.

    Tuesday, Jackson cancels practice again, this time in Atlanta. Tonight the Lakers take on the Hawks.”

    -Kurt on probasketballtalk.com

    I’m sorry, I thought we were gearing up for a championship run, I must have been mistaken.

  93. That’s a reputation technical on Ron Artest. That’s crap.

  94. doesnt he know thats ron artest????

  95. Agree with all that’s been said about the offense today, they look completely out of sync. Very little decisiveness, when contested jump shots aren’t being launched, they’re waiting for the clock to wind down to start doing anything meaningful.

  96. dammit – no way the LosAngeles Lollygaggers are winning the ring this year – NO WAY!!!

  97. wait ron got a technical???? thats bbbuuulllllshiiittttttttt

  98. ryan… are you really a celtics fan???

  99. Down 15 points in the 4th quarter, and the Lakers look like “Space Cadets”

  100. 90.

    My bad I meant to add Ron Artest in there, he doesn’t have a low basketball I.Q. He has an extremely high bball IQ on the defensive end. But lamar, I left him out on purpose he lacks defensive and offensive fundamentals. He has talent, but lacks in the fundamental department. If he had any fundamentals offensively he would be a low post threat. But he’s not.

  101. wow. another blowout. well… gotta just look forward to the playoffs i guess.

  102. joel. we are gonna have to disagree on that one. would you rather see lamar with another team right now? i think he is the glue of this team and come playoff time hes gonna prove it.

  103. Joel,

    The defense today has been crap, but season long the Lakers D has been pretty good, and thats something I’m not worrying about because defense is a lot easier to get than offense, especially our offense.

    That’s my biggest issue with the Lakers this road trip is the flow of the offense. I wish I knew what the mindset was by the team, but I want them to run it like they did when Kobe was injured. But they haven’t. And that bothers me, cuz I really like this offense.

  104. Ok. Time to make a run. Looking forward to a great April Fool’s Day!

  105. LO fan – no it may appear to be but I want to root for a Laker team that will get their freaking act together. How can you even watch this game they are so pathetic. I mean – one game here and there – ok. But this team is so uninspired and not even fun to watch – they’ve played like crap the majority of the season – they have one of the highest (if not the highest) payroll in the league and play like this? Laker fans deserve better than this crap.

  106. lets go lakers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  107. ReignOnParades March 31, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    This. is. soul crushing.

    Looking forward to the optimism train tommorow, will avoid SS&R at all costs (can’t bear to hear any more Fish bashing, it just might sway me to not love him as much)

  108. While the bench is really stinko tonight, it is Pau who is deficient. He can’t pass without turning it over and his play was poor.

    Fish was Fish.

    Lamar was airhead Lamar for much more of the time, but that isn’t so unusual.

    Phil couldn’t find any place for Sasha, even when his bench couldn’t throw a pea into the ocean

  109. ryan. i get your feelings man. we all feel that way. but you gotta understand that this team is playing hurt. they are built for a 7 game series. mark my words. when phil was with the bulls they went through a similar situation the first time they tried to repeat. they struggled to win big games and their record was similar to what the lakers have now. bynum will come back. lamar will get some rest for his shoulder and balance the bench, along with walton. and in the end, we will have another parade in LA.

  110. That three was the dagger. Door is closed.

  111. 91, maybe Phil’s agenda is to have the Lakers play poorly and as a result be second-guessed by the media. Maybe he wants the team to be publically “disrespected,” and have them play with that chip on their shoulder.

    I don’t know, that’s what I hope it is.

  112. This is why I mentioned the lakers defense. It doesn’t matter what they do offensively because they don’t play defense, they don’t get stops.

  113. what’s with these and ones for players on the other side of the court?

  114. Trading baskets doesn’t help when you’re down by a significant amount of points. Play defense.

  115. Let me rephrase what I said about the lakers defense.

    Its not that they don’t play defense, they can’t play defense. So, yes they do play defense, they just do it very poorly.

  116. Phil Jackson checking his fingernails while J Smith just dropped another dime to a wide open guy point blank for a dunk.

  117. joel. +1

  118. ill see you guys next game. lets keep it as positive as possible and wait till the playoffs start. next time lakers.

  119. Joel,

    I’ll disagree with you on that one. I really think the Lakers are a better defensive team this year overall than last year. The last three losses may sway you right now, but their numbers have been there.

    Very disappointing road trip no matter what side of the Fisher fence you’re on.

    And mistakes like that is why Farmar can’t take over the starting job…

    le sigh.

  120. LOfan,

    have you read this site lately? It’s all Fisher’s fault. Why, if we only had a decent point guard, we would have won this game. I don’t know how, but that’s what people say.

  121. What happened to the world champs? I miss the Lakers.

  122. ray,
    Fisher is a veteran. Its the job of the two backups to try and take his job. neither one of them has done that. farmar is not the type of pg that plays well in the trinagle. and fish is struggling yes, but hes also what 35 or 36 with a lot of mileage and we need to give him a break. last year he struggled during the regular season and came through in the playoffs when it counted. He IS NOT the reason we lose. we lose because we are injured, tired, and not playing well defensively lately. although overall we are a better defensive team than the last two years, and in the playoffs, that is gonna pay off.

  123. Ray

    The lakers are statistically a better team than last year but not by much. The lakers were 1 and 2 in defensive efficiency for the first half of the season. I think that was because they played a lot of bad teams and played most of their games at home. Last year they were 6th in defensive efficiency, now they are 5. So there has been a marginal improvement, and his name is ron artest. Otherwise, the lakers haven’t improved as a team. Especially in the last 20 or so games.

    Let me add, the lakers defense just like their offensive has been night and day this season. They’ve had some games where they have been really good and other games they’ve been really bad. There isn’t any middle ground with this team. Its been they’ve played bad and won, played really bad and been blown out, or played either good d or offensive for a portion of the game and got the win that way. They’ve only played a handful of good complete games.

  124. LOFan, This is the most upsetting moment for me since a certain 39 pt loss in a game six finals. Not because this game means anything to me, but because the only bright side for this team is that they played well agaist bad teams for most of the season (which is not who they will play in the playoffs) and that everyone is under belief that this team has a magical switch in the locker room that will allow them to play better in the playoffs.

    I’m under a different impression. Any time I’ve seen a team play bad against good opposition when it doesn’t matter as much, they play even worse when it does matter. This team has only proved that they are better than a few good teams in the league and if we lose to San Anton on sunday that will be one less.

    I hope everyone is right about the playoffs because if not this season is going to be as big of a disappointment for me, as much as everyone except Kobe and Jerry.

  125. It can’t be only Fish’s fault if the Lakers are getting blown out. They’re tired, plain and simple. two straight Finals appearances, injuries, the addition of Artest, and Bynum being out all play a part in the malaise going on right now.

  126. LOfan,

    yah, i know. I was being sarcastic/facetious. I was just making fun of the usual comments about Fish being the reason we lose and wont win a championship.

  127. In case you are missing the news: Cavs out-free-throwed the Bucks 41-9, and they’re only up by 1.

    On other news, Darko is 7-of-9, 15 points, 10 boards. Just sayin’

  128. Good lord…they look like chumps right now. The look on Kobe’s face while he sat on the bench pretty much said it all.

  129. as long as the lakers does not play sasha we are not going to win.

  130. jeremy, i feel exactly like you. im just trying to keep my eye on the playoffs where hopefully the lakers will flip a switch. i knew two years ago that boston was the better team. last year i knew that the lakers were the best team. this year…its cleveland. we are gonna have to be really lucky or a lot better than we are to beat cleveland or for that matter even orlando, which i believe is also better than the lakers. just my thoughts.

  131. ray. glad to know theres still some laker fans that can appreciate fisher. hes earned the respect from the fans…

  132. Ray basketball is a team game. When one of your 5 links can’t shoot or play defense it puts extra strain on the other 4. As a team players lose their will when they are forced to cover for that missing link.

    I played in collage and had a similier player who would cause the defense to break down and it caused all the other player to get tired and angry.

    Its not directly Fisher but when ge goes 3 for 18 like the last 2 games and plays zero defense the other starters get tired of playing 4 on 5.

    Phil dealt with Rodman for years yet Sasha is now a bad guy and gets no time when we could use him

    This is not a playoff ready team and that can’t be argued.

  133. I’m about to put my lot fully in with the pessimist camp after these last few embarrassments. This is not the look of a team gearing up for the playoffs at all.

  134. ken,

    But how did the other PGs fared tonight? 26 points on a combined 10-for-23.
    You know what hurt us today? All the other positions except the PG. Joe Johnson (SG) had 25 points on 8 assists. Mo Evans (SG) had 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Horford and Pachulia (C) had 20 points and 16 rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting. Josh Smith (F) had 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting, along with 8 boards and 6 assists.

    Fisher might be ineffective most of the time, but he takes efficient shots, shots that aren’t forced, shots that are open. Meanwhile, Farmar and Brown has to do that yet, consistently. And for the sake of intelligence, STOP BEATING A DEAD HORSE. If you can’t live with the PG problem (as if we have any solution now), then don’t watch the effin’ game. No one tells you to.

  135. It’s not that the lakers lose, it’s that they get blown out. They have 21 losses, and been blown out 11 times. By blown out I mean losing by 10 points or more. Thats not even including the couple games they were down by double digits and they cut it under 10 points in last minutes with desperation shots like in Utah where lamar hit a 3 a the buzzer and they ended up losing by 8, or portland where they rallied a tad bit in the last 2 minutes to cut the deficit from 14 to 9 and most recently the game versus New Orleans. So including the 3 aforementioned games, the lakers have been blown out 14 times this season. 2/3 of their losses have been blow outs. That’s sad. Cleveland has only lost 3 games by 10 or more and Orlando has only lost 4 games by 10 or more. And the lakers 14.

    The lakers have serious problems and if they stumble in to the playoff they will be a long shot to win a championship as Hollinger asserted.

  136. Both sides are right.

    This is an aging team with no bench, counting the days until the playoffs, playing a hungry, good team at the end of a road trip. Anybody who expected this team to come in and handle Atlanta was dreaming. The NO loss was the loss that made it a bad trip.

    OTOH, the team has specific , uncorrected weaknesses that have nothing to do with “focus”and “atiitude.” People would be wise to accept that.

    The Lakers are only 1.5 up on Orlando.

  137. Right now the only thing a Laker fan can say to themselves to keep from being pissed is that they’ll turn it on 3 weeks from now. Which is basically just a quicker version of what New Jersey fans are telling themselves about how great they’ll be with John Wall and Lebron. But there’s not much to support it.

    A) The Point Guards and Bench do not suck because they are bored. They suck because they actually suck.

    B) The rest of their players are inconsistent. Odom and Bynum are completely up or down. Artest tries to be consistent, but just isn’t. Gasol’s drive is inconsistent. Kobe would be consistent but has been hurt. Because everybody else sucks, these guys don’t have a great margin for error. When they don’t bring it, we see what happens.

    C) Great teams react well to being embarassed. Get blown out one game, come back determined the next night. This team gets re-embarassed. Not just on a night to night basis as happened the last 2 road trips (2-6 the last 8 road games), but also when facign potential playoff matchups. The Nuggets pounded the Lakers in November. The next time they met… the Lakers let them pound them again. The Cavs humiliated them on Christmas. The Lakers didn’t respond in Cleveland. Where’s the pride? They’re going to spontaneously grow it in the next few weeks?

    D) Even teams that flip the switch do so in March. The 2001 team turned it on with 17 games left. The Spurs always come on after the All Star Break. This Lakers team is getting WORSE and tomorrow is April. Their offense and defense are getting worse.

    E) The chemistry sucks. Last year ball movement was electric and contagious. This year I almost think everybody makes entry passes look difficult so they have an excuse to shoot a bad shot. It feels as though everybody feels like they have to shoot the ball whenever they get it because they don’t know when they’ll get it next. And kobe has been part of the problem. You’ve got Vujacic fighting with BShaw, Farmar demanding time he barely deserves, Pau and Bynum not forming any sort of chemistry on the block. Its the classic “Disease of More.”

    F) They suck on the road. I don’t know why, but the results speak for themselves. The last few years this team CAME TOGETHER on the road, especially late in the year.

    G) Stakes is high. Neither Kobe nor Phil are re-signed. All the main players on this team (but them) are locked up. If they can’t get it done this year there’s no hope walking through the door. Kobe already looks pissed. If they flame out this year God knows what’s going to happen. I catch whiffs of 2007.

    The only real upside is that I don’t have much faith in any of the other teams in the West to take advantage, and someone could knock off Cleveland before the finals giving the Lakers home court (not yet locked up), so they could potentially back into a title.

    But is that seriously hat you want to pin your hopes on?

    So when people tell me to relax or they act as if I’M being irrational for complaining about this squad, I beg to differ. Things ain’t good.

  138. I believe the Lakers will win in the playoffs because they don’t have to win every game unlike last year where the lakers where a shoo-in this year they will battle but this is good. As long as Walton and Bynum come back healthy the team should be fine.
    I’d also like to see Faramar get = minutes with Fish as long as he stops shooting contested 3’s he is much better then Fish. A second team with Walton and Lamar will be good enough to win the title. That has been the main problem on the road trip in my opinion, the inability of the bench to generate offense. The Lakers are still good enough to win a title and no one but the cavs are good enough to beat the lakers in a 7 game series, Hopefully Fish will step it up in the playoffs.

  139. They really are peaking, in sloppy play, and at just the right time for everybody else in the league. That’s the positive way to spin that the Lakers are really playing their worst ball at the most inopportune time of the season.

    Phil must be trying to teach Sasha a life lesson in humility.
    I think it’s great because it will be good material If there’s a movie about Phil (or Sasha). There will be a short scene with the sasha/shaw argument, Sasha being stubborn and sitting a couple games as the Lakers lose. and then after he finally “gets it” and apologizes, he will come to the Lakers rescue and the lakers never look back, go 16-0 with Sasha being finals mvp. just remember who called it first.

  140. I barely caught any of this game due to work commitments. But what I did see was a Laker team that was out of rhythm and Hawks team that made the shots that mattered. What was probably most frustrating in the fourth quarter was how even when the Lakers made some shots, they couldn’t get the stops that they needed. That drive by Johnson where Kobe over shaded and Gasol wasn’t there for the help (with Kobe looking quite upset) and then the Johnson step back jumper for three were back breaking baskets. There will be a recap up a bit later, though, with more observations…

  141. # 137 – Amen, brother. Took the words right out of my mouth.

  142. 137,

    Before you even say make statements, please support some statistics and back up your theory. What I hate about ranting is that there is too much one-sidedness involved and there’s no looking at the facts. Now, you tell me that the bench and PGs suck? If they suck, they would be in the bottom of the standings. They don’t suck, for goodness’ sake, it’s one thing to suck and another to be inconsistent.

    Your next statement may seem about right, but then you proceed that since the bench and PGs suck, others have a little to no margin of error, which is absurd, considering you mention about players who have been injured, which, and we all know, affect their level of play and you didn’t even touch on that at all.

    Your third statement seems right, but then you mention the Denver game where they whooped the arses of the Laker team. When it mattered, the Lakers just did a beatdown in their recent matchup, not that blowout kind of beatdown, but a mano a mano kind of arse-whooping. The Christmas game was a given, defending champs facing another team on the 25th of December has a surprisingly low-winning percentage over the past years. They almost won in Cleveland, mind you, as Pau got “soft” like a mallow, and couldn’t convert when it mattered most.

    And there are other more statements that I am bored to contend. But, really, state facts to back up your conclusions. Not some “foggy” statements that may help to your account. Last time I checked, even with a slump right now, we are still No. 1 in the WC, and if I haven’t watched basketball, by reading your post, I may have concluded that you are talking about a below-average team.

  143. # 142 – do you watch the games? he’s speaking the truth, he doesn’t need statistics to back his statements. we’re just merely reacting from observing the team all year. even though the team was inconsistent last year, this season gives us a whole different feeling, regardless of what the stats might give us. we all have a higher standard in Lakerland. what he’s saying is that they SUCK for the standards we have in LA. and they’ve sucked for most of the year.

  144. This years team reminds me of last years team before Trever was inserted into the starting line-up. They have no chemistry on on offense and especially defense. What Trever brought to the starting line-up then is exactly what is missing now, defensives foot speed, energy for loose balls and steals and most of all athleticism.

    Removing Treveor from our starting line-up has resulted in defensive rotations that are too slow. Artest is a better one-on-one defender but our team defense is significantly slower. In addition, our second most athletic starter last year (Kobe) has been slowed this year by injury and his ability to rotate quickly has suffered.

    That leave us with a healthy Fisher (old, slow), Gasol (slow feet, less than average athleticism) and Andrew (slow rotator). Thus a defense that can’t rotate fast enough to get stops when we have to have them.

    Phil must insert some youth and athleticism from his bench into the starting unit. I would do this at 2 positions. I would change our starting line up to put more youth and atheletisism around Gasol, Artest and Kobe (the core of our starting unit). This would fix our starting defense and strengthen our bench by adding Andrew and Lamar.

  145. when it comes to playing the top teams in the L, then perhaps this IS a below-average team.

  146. Derek Fisher clearly lost his “one on one” with Mike Bibby at the beginning of the game, but his overall horrible 3 point shooting on offense far from lost it for the Lakers–it was overall a team loss. The Laker team that played tonight didn’t look like it even belonged in the playoffs.

    The failures began with poor defensive rotations, but fundamentally reflected lack of intensity. Example: early on Kobe went 2 for 5 from the free throw line–and everyone one else seemed to miss at least one as well. Lakers missed putbacks–Atlanta made them.

    Mo Evans came back to haunt the Lakers off the bench with 14 clutch points. I once argued lojng ago that the lakers should let Sasha go, sign Mo as a free agent and save some money. I’ve always liked Mo’s determination.

    Interesting to see Ammo get key minutes for the Lakers.

  147. Morrison is not an NBA player.

  148. Re: Sasha, per PJ he’s in the doghouse for some reason (other than playing lousy?) and says he needs to make amends. Sasha claims he doesn’t know what PJ is talking about.

    Memo to Sasha: Find out what coach is talking about. How hard can that be? I’ll bet easier than finding your missing jump shot.

  149. JD Hasting I agree with you 100%. As for my not watching, as long as I am alive a will be a Laker fan but that dosen’t mean I can sit still and except bad play/

  150. The most important road trip of the season and the team ends up 2-3 to carry their momentum into April (playoff month.) All this talk about this team not being able to be beat in 7 games is starting to annoy me. “This team plays when it matters;” if that was the case they wouldn’t have a losing record on nationally televised games (one’s against good teams.)

    Kobe started this season off amazingly until he came back from injury (minus his game winner in memphis its been about par for him.) If it wasn’t for his dominant performance against bad teams, we would be in the middle of the pack in the west. This team is the best in the league at beating bad teams, especially at home. What in the world makes that a good resume` for a playoff team? If this team doesn’t pick it up in a big way I don’t see them winning a series in 7 games. If the playoffs were tomorrow I’d find it more likely that our opposition would crumble and beat them self than I could see us putting on a true winning performance.

  151. 137, You said what I have been trying to say all season on here. I still have hope for the title, but watching basketball I dont see anyone in the league beating the Cavs in a 7 game series, not even Orlando or LA. Orlando has the firepower on offense but they arent capable defensively because they play it in stretches, LA defensively is capable but sadly I think everyone on here can agree all season long the Lakers have had zero offensive chemistry and they do not have the offensive flow or firepower to keep up with the shooters of Cleveland (I’m in no way scared of Lebron, I’m just scared of their outside shooting because almost everyone on that team is a shooter). I will hope and pray come playoff time they can, “Turn it on” but I havent been coming to this website recently because I have been so discouraged and upset with the team. I hope they prove me wrong because I love the Lakers more than I love my girlfriend, but I need some reassurance from the team.

    150, Well said and we all remember who the best team in the league at beating bad teams was last year (Cleveland) and look how they turned out.

  152. All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn’t give it to me. Just a Pepsi.

  153. Mark – The Lakers have a losing record against the top eight teams in the league right now. This was not the case a year ago. How’s that for a statistic.

  154. 92) “I’m sorry, I thought we were gearing up for a championship run, I must have been mistaken.”

    You were mistaken. We are resting up for the championship run, not gearing up.

    Championships are not won, nor lost, in Atlanta during March.

  155. 147, Thanks for finally pointing out the truth about this team. But I doubt any of the myopic fans will get it. In fact, they’ll just get all butt hurt and call you a basher.

  156. Here’s what I think will be the key to the Lakers playoff chances:

    It all comes down to their offensive execution. This is a team that has been together for basically 3 years now and should know how to run this offense, even with Ron Artest trying to learn his spots. They should know it. We’ve only seen offensive execution consistently twice this season: beginning of the season and when Kobe was hurt. Even now, with Bynum gone, we’re not seeing the flow that really establishes the pace of the game, allows the team to establish themselves defensively.

    This isn’t to say that the Lakers won’t make WCF or even with the finals, but I think the Lakers chances are a lot better if we can figure out the offense. Because it does not look pretty right now. Even during our win streak, it didn’t look pretty. If our offense can get going during the playoffs, I’ll enjoy our chances a lot more. BUT I still think they are the tops in the west in a 7 game series even without a consistent offense.

    Can anyone argue with me that the Offense looked good only during the games when Kobe was out? This is not me blaming Kobe for the poor execution at all, but there is a general lethargic energy when it comes to running the offense throughout the entire team.

    That being said, I think the Lakers have done enough to secure HCA for the West playoffs and we should take it one game at a time.

  157. All these losses stem from the same issues with Bynum out… There is no reason to over think things

    1) Fisher is a huge liability on both ends of the floor (it really is 4 on 5)

    2) With Lamar starting there is no bench

    3) Gasol continues to prove he can dominate good PF’s (Horford) but gets pushed around by bad but legitimate big Centers (Zaza). He is a PF after all.

  158. j. d. hastings March 31, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    142-

    Fair enough. I value proper rhetoric enough to respond.

    A) http://www.82games.com/0910/0910LAL5.HTM

    The Laker PG’s PER differential (what they produce minus what they allow) is negaitve 5.5. The only teams in the league with worse position production are: Minnesota’s Small Forwards (-6.8), New Jersey’s SF and PF (-6.9, -7.3) and Washington’s SG’s (-5.8). The Clippers. Indiana, Golden state have positions with -5, but those still aren’t as bad as our PGs. No other contender has any position worse than -2.

    The only reason the record isn’t worse is because the Lakers’ good players are very good when they want to be.

    As to the bench- obviously since I uncluded Odom among our assets I’m not counting him, which maybe isn’t fair. But other than him, who are you saying is good? http://www.82games.com/0910/0910LAL.HTM Farmar

    Shannon Brown, assuming he’s not lumped in as a PG? Check out his production by position: http://www.82games.com/0910/09LAL4.HTM

    Phil Jackson himself said the bench made him want to throw up. I don’t have a link but that’s a quote from his pregame interview tonight.

    B) If their recent play is a result of injuries, I’d accept it easier. But what injuries are causing the current malaise? I don’t know of any knew afflictions to Pau or Odom. I don’t really have an issue with Artest or Kobe’s play. I don’t even necessarily have a problem with Odom and Pau, but because of the bench/PG issues, they can’t afford to bring 3/4 energy on any night. Odom doesn’t have to produce with numbers, but we need him to rebound with Bynum out. Pau can usually get his numbers, but needs to be aggressive in getting position and defending. There is just no margin for error.

    C) What exactly is the difference between a regular ass whooping and a “mano-a-mano” ass whooping? An ass whooping is when you whoop ass. The fact is the Nuggets beat the Lakers down twice (once without Pau) and the Lakers won 1 hard fought battle against them. I was very happy that they did win that game, but it should have shown that the talent disparity isn’t enough in the Lakers’ favor for them to take Denver lightly. And if the victory against Denver was more significant because it was hard fought, then the second loss to the Cavs is more significant because it was also hard fought. We can’t have it both ways. The most predictive team stat in basketball is point differential.

    No, it doesn’t mean the Lakers are destined to lose against those teams (especially Denver who are in their own tail spin), but my point is about the lack of desire for teams to find motivation during the regular season. If they haven’t found it for these, how confident can I be that they ill next month?

    Some other stats: http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/5007/thursdays-number-10

    The Lakers are 10th in defensive efficiency since the all star break. They’ve been middle of the pack on offense all season, so actually, they ARE a mediocre team right now. Which is my complaint. They are regressing at the worse time.

    I’m not trying to be a troll, and realize that its pretty stupid for me to spend time venting about something that doesn’t actually affect my life but I keep hearing about how its just a matter of interest and if that’s true its even less excudable because of all these issues.

  159. Not to beat the horse but Fisher in the 3 losses was 6 for 24 whole opposing starters shot 58%.

    If I was on this team I would be ticked off at Fisher throwing up bricks and Brown throwing up bricks.

    Kobe, Ron and Pau are working hard doing their part but your guards are shooting 25% and getting out scored 3 to 1.

    Hard to win with that.

    There is a big difference in not playing hard and not able to play good.

  160. 137 This year is a different mentality. The lqkers dont need to prove to themsl ves or send messages. I think PJ wanted to rest his players cutting practice short which why we’ve b wen out of rhythm recently. As for matchups with good teams this season he did not give anything away for the playoffs. A lot of basic adjustment s were not made for a reason not because coaches enjoy beating their heads against the wall.

  161. Ken,
    I am pretty sure you are allowed to beat a dead horse. Doesn’t every NBA PG continue to beat the Lakers dead horse (Derek Fisher)? As long as they are allowed to beat on him we should be able to write about it. Just like we should be allowed to mention how great Kobe is after every great game he plays. And while this was actually a game he was shooting the lights out!

  162. Ken/Aaron,

    I think I’ve got it!

    If the Lakers lose, it’s Derek Fisher’s fault.

    If the Lakers win, it’s still 4 on 5, and shouldn’t happen against top opponents–unless the Lakers play Derek token minutes and/or get lucky.