Lakers/Trailblazers: Close, But No Cigar

Darius Soriano —  April 11, 2010

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This was a game that I’ve seen many times before (well not exactly like this, we’ll get to that in a second).  The Lakers, for all their strengths, still have numerous faults and those bad traits came back to hurt them today.  You combine that with the fact that the other team employs professional basketball players too, and what you have is another defeat.  The Lakers are now 3-6 in their last 9 games and if that isn’t worrisome, the ways that they’re losing them are. Because the Lakers are now losing by blowout and by close defeat.  And against the Blazers they lost in a way that that was predictable all the way up to the point where it was pure craziness.  I mean, when was the last time where the team up by one with less than 10 seconds left intentionally fouls the other teams best player?  Then, that player – a guy that is shooting 81% from the foul line and is one of the more cold blooded players in the league misses both FT’s.  Then, after securing the offensive rebound, an 86% FT shooter gets fouled and proceeds to only make one FT to leave the game tied with only 3 seconds left.  Then on the subsequent possession, two 14 year veterans sandwich the opposing player taking a desperation heave and foul him in the act of shooting a three pointer – where he calmly makes all three from the line and wins the game.  So, sure, I’ve seen losses before, but that ending was something altogether new.  However, those last possessions weren’t the reason the Lakers lost.

Today’s game was the perfect example that even when you do perform reasonably well in certain areas, doing other things rather poorly will get you beat.  Especially when the other team is on their game.  Against the Blazers, the Lakers got outrebounded by Portland 46-41 and allowed 12 offensive rebounds.  Now, that number isn’t astronomically high, but the timing of those offensive boards really did hurt the Lakers.  On one of the key plays in the game, with the Lakers leading by one and only needing one stop to secure the win they forced a haphazard shot by the Blazers, only to see Marcus Camby come from the weakside and collect one of his 7 offensive rebounds for putback that gave his team the lead.  And then there were the aforementioned missed FT’s down the stretch.  I mean, Kobe and Fisher had 4 free throws between them to take the lead and could only knock down one of them to tie the game.  That’s three missed FT’s in crucial moments of the game and ones that brought the Lakers total for the night to only 9-14 for 64%.  You combine those numbers with the fact that Portland made 13 of their 15 FT attempts and that the Lakers fouled Martell Webster twice on three point attempts and you’ve got a double whammy of FT’s being a key factor in determining the outcome of this contest.

All that said, the credit for this win should go to the Blazers.  After Brandon Roy left the game in the second quarter due to an aggravation to his surgically repaired knee, Portland easily could have folded up their tents and gone home.  Instead, they battled through and other players stepped up, hit shots, got rebounds, and made the winning plays down the stretch.  Lamarcus Aldridge, Andre Miller, Martell Webster…all of them made multiple plays that put their collective stamp on this game.  These guys showed that their level of play can rise to the occasion and against the Lakers today that was enough to hold on to the win.

As for the Lakers, they didn’t do enough to win.  Simple and plain.  While they defended well on many possessions, on countless others they were not up to par.  The pick and roll defense was especially worrisome at times as they decided to both go over the top of the screen with the ball handler’s defender while simultaneously having the big man sit in no mans land between the ball and rim.  This led to the ball handler getting to wherever he wanted on the court while also allowing the screener to either roll to the basket or pop out for a jumper with no impunity.  Too many times Lemarcus Aldridge benefitted from this strategy with either wide open jumpers or easy set ups at the rim.  The Lakers defense also struggled to contain Andre Miller’s forays to the basket.  Miller was able to drive at will and get into the paint while the rotating Lakers’ big men were a step slow in trying to contest the shots.  Sure, Miller only shot 7-20 from the field, but the 7 he made were right at the cup.

And while the defense was suspect at times, the Lakers performance at the other end of the court was even worse.  The Lakers only scored 101 points per 100 possessions and did so on 47% true shooting.  The Lakers went 5-22 from behind the three point line, but yet Gasol (who had another strong offensive night) only missed 4 of his 13 shots (including a last second attempt from downtown to tie the game) and Odom went 8-15 from the field.  On one egregious possession, Shannon Brown ran a P&R with Odom and forced a switch so that Jerryd Bayless was guarding LO in the low post and Aldridge was on Shannon.  But instead of passing the ball into Lamar, Shannon stepped back and took a contested three pointer with 11 seconds left on the shot clock.  That’s the type of execution that will not get it done – not in any game.  And I haven’t even touched on Kobe’s 20 points on 23 shots.  Sure, #24 played hero down the stretch with a looong three pointer and an and 1 layup that came on back to back possessions to give the Lakers the late lead that they could not hold onto.  But, the rest of the game saw a few too many forced jumpers against defenders that have traditionally given him problems.  Not the return he was looking for in his first game action in a few games.

In the end, this was another loss and while I wish they’d stop already, it is a process to get back on the right track.  After the Denver game I said that I thought this Lakers team was getting closer to playing well and that is something that I think is still true.  However, I must say, they’re a bit further away than I’d like them to be at this point of the season.

Darius Soriano

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to Lakers/Trailblazers: Close, But No Cigar

  1. Darius,
    The point that isn’t mentioned too much these days, except by me, is that the Lakers are currently not really running the triangle offense. Therefore, they are also not in defensive position when rebounds come down in the opponent’s hands.

    The triangle is a motion offense that relies on spacing, cutting and balanced movement to get multiple players open – not just on the perimeter, but in the paint as well. This motion also attempts to keep at least one player back for defensive purposes at all times.

    Shannon is probably the person who seemed he could take the coaching and grow the most, but he has seemed to regress, with regard to the triangle, since the All-Star break. Farmar was never comfortable in the triangle and Lamar has always been an in-and-out player – at various times cutting well and at others just getting lost, except for rebounding the ball. Artest is trying, but he still seems to have no clue, except to think about things during the game. Fisher’s continuing decline makes him someone the opponents can ignore more and more as time goes on.

    Kobe has probably just simply junked the triangle because no one except Luke and Pau seem to be interested in running any kind of system.

    Ironically, it is Sasha who seems to be the one doing the best job of staying within his capabilities right now.

    This is not something that is likely to be fixed this year and that fact – more than any other issues we have – would seem to be a death knell for getting out of the Western Conference. A system team that can’t run its system would seem a prime candidate for losing a series along the way – regardless of their talent.


  2. We have to face reality: this team has lost its focus, its pride, and its confidence. We can pick and choose between plays that weren’t advisable, but the fact that those plays happened at the worst time is a symptom of something bigger. They’re not easily correctable technicalities that will be taken care of during the next shoot-around.

    3-7? I mean, even the Nets are 5-5 in their last 10 games and they’re playing for pride, not playoff seeding. WTF. The Lakers aren’t heading towards the playoffs. They’re falling ass-backwards into the post-season.


  3. Someone posted this on espnlosangeles: “when pay misses two clutch ft, he is called soft.”

    I agree with that statement and take it farther: if pau shot 8-23 he would be soft. If fisher shot 8-23 he is labeled the worst player in the NBA. Superstars market the league, but I find
    that Kobe gets a pass too often by lakers fans for laker losses.

    Why is that?


  4. My guess is that some fans are Kobe stans, as opposed to Lakers fans. They will never credit the opposing team with great defense, or the teammates for passing him the ball in the first place, and make excuses for Kobe 24/7. Coach Jackson is blamed for pulling Kobe when he’s warming up, or putting him back after a too long rest that caused Kobe’s legs to stiffen, forcing him to play heavy minutes, etc., etc.


  5. You want to know where that ‘close, but no cigar’ came from? In the old days at the county fair, or any fair for that matter, there was a game where you would throw darts at a board, if you missed the middle bulls-eye, the person there would say ‘close, but no cigar’, see you won a cigar if you hit the bulls-eye. Just a little trivia for you all. A very good recap of the game Darius, and to bad the Lakers were missing the bulls-eye today.

    Patience is a virtue.


  6. #6. sT,
    You made my day with that one. Ha.


  7. 42% from the field; 64% from the line; 8 pts from the bench.

    This is a one and done basketball team.

    They are too tired – injured – unfocused.

    They have no chemistry.

    They have no point guard.

    Kupchak has his work cut out for him this off season.


  8. I have nothing positive to say about this game which took my money, my energy, my sunday and my hope for humanity. I couldn’t even find a good parking space…

    however there is this amusing description to be found on Bl*z*rs Edg* (note: we may have lost the game, but I singlehandedly won the asterisk battle– go lakers!):

    Dang, it’s going to be a tie game because there’s no way that Martell can…but wait! Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant conspire to FOUL a DESPERATELY LEAPING Webster as he rises ON THE RUN for a HORRIBLE attempt at a three-point game winner which had about as much chance of going in as a cow has of giving pure, unfiltered Captain Morgan from her overflowing teat.

    Makes me thirsty.


  9. If they had religiously run the triangle, that would get them through these times of poor perimeter shooting. They could get through without it because of Kobe’s talent. (And since he didn’t run the triangle half the time, they didn’t really have a choice!!) But now, when they need it most, they don’t have that habit to fall back on. And unfortunately, now they don’t have Kobe, either.


  10. Fall back baby. Very true Dick Barnett.

    Kobe should not have played. If Phil is suppose to be the coach he should have said no. When Kobe has 3 shots blocked he should not play. When Kobe is missing free throws short that means no lower body into the shot. We wasted more rest for Kobe on another loss.

    I can’t remember a Laker team going into the playoffs with a 3-7 record. Nor can I remember Kobe shooting 30% for this long of a span.

    Why is Phil allowing Kobe to call the shots and coach the team. Portland now thinks they can beat us at home without their best player Roy.

    Giving the other team more confidance at this point is not zen like is it.


  11. A somewhat uplifting piece:

    Confirms that on the last play, PJ did indeed draw up Pau as the first, and not the second or third options.


  12. Uplifting story? Our 10 time winner coach draws up a 3 point play for our 7 foot center and Kobe is laughing in the huddle.

    And then instead of our best defender Artest being in the game to guard their shooter we have our worst fisher and Kobe double fouling the off balance shot in 3 point land.

    Not sure if that is uplifting. Sounds like a coach gone mad and a team trying to lose a game to me.

    I guess I must be stupid because I missed the joke.


  13. “Fall back baby. Very true Dick Barnett.”

    Hey, Ken! Thanks, I was wondering if anybody here remembered old Dick. Loved the way he used to tuck his legs under when he shot that jumper. I became a Laker fan in the 1963-64 season, and lived and died over all those Celtic beatdowns.

    This Laker team is terribly frustrating! They have the talent to get it done, but there just isn’t any fire there.

    I appreciate Darius’s positive attitude, good for him. But, I just don’t see them beating any of those 8th seed teams, not OKC, not Port., and certainly not S.A. I wish they could play Dallas, or Denver in the first round, I really think they would have a better chance of success.


  14. I thought that the team ran the triangle pretty well in the opening seven minutes of the game. After that, not so much.

    The OKC loss tonight helps a lot. I’d rather face them than SA or POR, especially if our young center returns. Even if he’s less than optimum on offense, we will have have a much bigger matchup advantage with a healthy Drew vs OKC than we would against SA and POR. If the guys can get past the first series, I’m confident that their efficiency will return.


  15. “If the guys can get past the first series, I’m confident that their efficiency will return.”

    I would tend to agree with you. That first series is really going to tell us a lot about this team.

    If they can win that first series, the confidence will be back, not saying they will go all the way, but the confidence will be back.


  16. 13 – I was looking at the part where Gasol has been playing well as of late. Read it however you want, I honestly couldn’t care less.

    Funny part on Bryant, from the LA Times:

    On the last play being diagrammed for Gasol: “When have you ever seen me set a damn down-screen? That was interesting. [Jackson] just drew it up. I just cracked up.”

    Ha I noticed that in the replay. I called it a ‘half-hearted’ screen from Kobe, but really Kobe just looked more unsure of what exactly he was supposed to do. ‘So I stand…where exactly?’


  17. #14. I see us beating all of those teams – though I don’t envision that it would be a walk in the park. If I had a straight up choice of a team to play in the first round I’d choose Utah or Phoenix. But, that’s just me.

    The playoffs may not inspire more consistent or stronger play from the Lakers, but I do know that in a series where two teams play each other game after game, I feel that the strengths that one team has over the other come to forefront and it’s the adjustments that the coaches make both in game and over the course of the meetings that are the difference. And while there are some that disparage Phil at every opportunity, I happen to think that he’s a pretty good coach.

    Oh, and RE the final play for Pau, that was probably the best shot, considering the time on the clock that we would have gotten. If people think otherwise, I can understand that, but I’d refer them back to the games where the Lakers came out of a timeout with precious few seconds on the clock and didn’t get any sort of good look – Boston (Fisher’s failed 3 pointer – loss), Miami (Kobe’s miracle make – win), and the game (can’t remember the opponent – loss) where Kobe got the ball on the right sideline and ended up taking an off balance three pointer falling out of bounds on the right sideline. Remember, the Lakers only had 3 seconds to get a shot off and a classic way to get a good shot on short time is to go away from your primary guy because that’s where the focus of the defense is (misdirection play).

    I mentioned this the other day, but this is why coaching is hard. You make the call and a play doesn’t work and everyone wants to call you an idiot. But if the play works you’re a pretty smart guy. I’m not crying for more respect for Phil (he’s a grow man that can handle himself), but there’s more to this than just saying “Phil mailed it in with that play”.


  18. Darius – “And while there are some that disparage Phil at every opportunity, I happen to think that he’s a pretty good coach.”

    I think Phil Jackson, over the past 20 years, is the best coach in the NBA. Look where the Lakers were before he came? Del Harris? Rudy T? He took the same talent they had and turned them into champions. Same with the Bulls. Dougie Collins had the same talent, but Jackson turned them into hard as steel defensive demons – and 6 championships!

    I still think Red Auerbach, Red Holtzman, and Jack Ramsey are better, but not by much.


  19. darius et al:

    i’m firmly in the ‘didn’t like the last play’ camp, but in phil’s defense, i’ve been at a # of laker games an hour before tipoff this year and watched gasol drain one 3 point shot after another. I mean, it was pretty uncanny to see someone that tall just drilling shot after shot. I think he uses the 3 point shot to warm up for his long jumper, the way a batter in the on deck circle puts a weight on the bat or some nba players (used to?) shoot around with a larger ball. just sayin’– it’s not like he would have run it for mbenga.


  20. The lakers are stumbling into the playoffs playing the worst basketball of the season. Everyone knows their problems, it pains me to even think about them. They are talented enough to win in the playoffs, but only if they start making shots and playing fundamentally sound basketball.

    But to draw up a 3 point play for a Player who doesn’t shoot 3 pointers is ridiculous. Did he see Pau in the 3 on 3 challenge all star weekend? But when you have 4 guards that can’t shoot, and small forward that has been terrible behind the 3 point line as of late and a team that wasn’t going to let Kobe touch the ball, maybe it wasn’t so bad. But I’m just tuning the lakers out until playoffs. I refuse to waste my time watching them struggle against the Kings and Clippers to finish the season.

    I’ll be checking up on injury updates that’s all. And what’s up with Luke, he didn’t play tonight?


  21. Bring on the playoffs. I feel that the only way to get that focus back is for the games to truly matter. When the chips are on the line the championship mettle should come out – if not, then it isn’t our year, plain and simple. Kobe should have gotten the LeBron vacation until the playoffs started.


  22. So, what were Kobe, Fisher, Vujacic, and Farmar shooting for the day?


  23. 23. 17-48 (including shannon brown)


  24. This team is embarrassing. BUT, it they win the championship I promise next year I will not post one negative comment about them – even if D Fish is the starting guard and we have the same bench.

    If they truly can turn this switch on and roll through the playoffs then it really is meaningless watching and following the regular season. That’s what the players and coaches are saying – so let’s see the real Lakers starting April 18.


  25. I was with you on Denver being a step forward despite a loss

    This feels like a step back

    It’s mostly a psychology thing with Kobe being in/out of the line-up, but I would only consider this progress if it was a stepping stone for Kobe improving his play and re-finding his groove rather than picking up exactly where he left off shooting and health wise in the games he played before sitting out.

    And I’ll be honest, I felt like we were on the verge of better things to come once Kobe (and Fish with his dirty, dirty screens that epitomize everything we can still love about him no matter how effective he is in other areas) started making monster plays in the clutch.

    Then Fish and Kobe’s missed FTs (and Fish’s dumb foul) had me cursing Kobe’s prosthetic finger straight to hell

    Is it fair that a handful of plays that could have gone either way could decide my perspective? Well, it’s a game of inches (to borrow a football cliche) and right now we’re a quite a few inches off, especially with our 3 point shooting.


  26. Now, I know people including myself have complained about the “toughness” of the lakers over the last several years, though I really think that is an issue to look at. I aint talking about Pau being soft or physical toughness, but rather are mental toughness. Last year we had that. We could dig down deep and win those big road games, we were extremly consistent never losing 2 in a row, and on top of that we just had the will and passion to win. This year we just dont have that. Of course we arent as good as last years team anyway but, this team doesnt seem to dig as deep. We rarely have won big road games against the better teams and instead of playing better for the playoffs, we are playing our worst basketball of the season, allowing teams to beat us on our homecourt. So its more than just not running the triangle and Kobe not shooting well, its just this team doesnt have that mental toughness they did last year.


  27. i meant never losing 3 in a row haha


  28. our back court bench is the worst among the playoff teams. i saw a little bit of cleveland vs orlando today and that mo williams guy can shoot. i’m so sick of watching brown and farmar throwing up brick after brick


  29. Lots of good thoughts above.

    I really feel Phil did not take this games serious. Hence leaving Ron out for Sasha the last 3 minutes and hence the goofy play for Pau. It seems like something is missing on the bench this year.

    Perhaps its Rambis or the real creator of the triangle who is living up North.

    The team seems to do what it wants and Phil seems to be ok with it. In any event they are losing all the close ones now.

    We all realize if not for Kobe crazy last second shots in 6 games this team would be fighting for 8th place. A far cry from last year’s championship team.

    I only hope that the other 7 teams have as many problems and holes as we appear to have.

    As for Phil I think he is a good coach but lazy at times. If he turns this team around then I will proclaim him great.

    If not it dosen’t matter because there is no way Jerry brings him back at $12 mill.Maybe a new coach and a new system is good since the players refuse the run the triangle anyway.

    By the way of all 16 teams going to the playoffs only one has a losing record the last 10 games. The Lakers@


  30. Darius,
    As you know I have had the same level of confidence the Lakers would repeat as champions from the first day of training camp till Saturday evening. Well… I am officially in full panic mode heading into the playoffs. I have felt that only a significant injury to Kobe, Bynum, Gasol, Artest, or Odom could get between the Lakers and the Larry O’Brian trophy. Well… Kobe is playing on one leg out there at half speed and can’t get off the ground. He looks more like Derek Fisher than Kobe Bryant. I think we all should understand that if Kobe’s knee isn’t feeling better the Lakers will not return to the Finals this season. Its that simple. I don’t understand talk about anything else on this site right now. All we need is a healthy Kobe and Bynum. And it looks like Kobe is going to have to get a nice helping of HGH in order to get to the rim right now. It is time to freak out Laker fans. Maybe Phil shouldn’t have played Kobe 40 minutes a night this year on the wrong side of 30?


  31. Fact: The Lakers are the #1 seed in the West.

    Postulates before the Playoffs:

    Bynum will be back, and will either be healthy enough to contribute, or not.

    Kobe will adjust his shooting stroke and shot frequency based on his injured finger, or not.

    Pau will play with aggression, and finish with deliberate authority, or not.

    The guards will facilitate the offense, or not.

    Phil and the coaches will adjust to schemes and personnel, or not.

    Fact: None of the remaining regular season games matter, at all, for the Lakers. Only bad things can happen (Injuries) and no amount of style, chemistry, or effort, in the last few games will change that fact.


  32. I just read stories from all the local newspapers. And you think we are negative. This is almost like the world is flat theory. How can so many people be wrong on the Lakers. But then again I guess you just look at the record the last month and a half. This GREAT team is 11 and 9 in the last 20 games.

    Impressive! I am voting for the Earth is flat theory.

    And 3threeIII This is currently a great team. NOT!!!!!!!!


  33. I don’t think the lakers are pathetic-just the so called fans who post negative comments all the time. Here’s how you guys sound:

    Bynum when he’s playing: He’s sooo lazy, he’s not playing to his potential; Bynum fades away against the elite centers in the NBA we can’t count on him. Bynum worries more about scoring than defense!

    On Bynum when he’s out: Ohhh lawd we need Bynum now! Bynum will stabalize our offense; when he returns we will get back to winning; he is the catalyst that will bring us out of the West!

    On Pau’s great playing: Do you see our amazing recored since aquiring Gasol? Gasol has to be the best all-around center in the leauge. Without Gasol we can’t win a championship.

    On Pau’s average playing: He’s too soft. He can’t stand up to Howard or Garnett, he gets bullied. He has regressed since winning the championship; he wants more shots but doesn’t play D.

    On Kobe bad shooting: We should trade him now! Why does he shoot so much? He doesn’t run the triangle offense.

    On Kobe great shooting: He’s the best in the NBA. Mamba for life! KOBE!!!!!!

    On Kobe game winners: In the final minutes of the game Kobe should ALWAYS have the ball. Kobe always bails us out! Kobe you’re the best!

    On Phil great calls: He’s the best coach Ever, very strategic.

    On Phil questionable calls. Phil is lazy!

    I could go on and on but you get the point. IT’S THE FANS WHO ARE CRAZY!

    Lakers will win the West–just hope for the Mamba to sting against Lebron in the finals. Be true fans and support your team through this rough time. Suggestions are better than criticisms..


  34. kobemoney,

    i have some suggestions:
    1- phil doing some positive coaching
    2-take dfish out
    3-trade our pathetic bench
    4-make kobe rest
    5-make brown stop throwing up brick after brick
    6-if luke is getting paid, what 6 million dollars, have him play, suck it up
    7-coaches make them run the triangle or pull out players
    8-have some set plays to fall back on
    9-have some good plays for end of games besides ISO for dfish
    10-shall i go on?


  35. Didn’t popovich draw up a three point attempt for Duncan against the suns in the playoffs? Only difference is Duncan hit it, and it’s a brilliant play. If gasol hits that shot everyone would be saying what a genius phil is. I’m o.k. if the two best coaches of this decade(possibly all time) draw up similar plays. Leave it to the professionals people. Their rings prove they know what they’re doing. For those who say Lakers will lose in the first round, I willing to bet not one of you will put your money on that prediction.


  36. Well, I imagine even if the Lakers sweep their remaining games, there will be more negative talk about them, and certainly their chances at another chip will be brought up negatively, both here at FB&G and everywhere else for that matter. That is fine with me, any fan whether a Lakers fan or not, can say and think what they want about my beloved team, that I love and enjoy watching, bye the way. I tend to be on the positive side mentally, so that I can keep enjoying (the ride) every single game to be played by them in this season and post season, Kurt tought me this way of thinking. I will not tell anybody how to be a fan.


  37. ST – cool man! Finally, someone who will let everyone be the fan that they want to be – what a concept.

    I don’t try to change the “glass is half full” fan so why all the personal attacks against fans who expect more from this team and are critical of horrible execution?

    To me – just because some tend to lean towards looking at what is wrong with this team does not make them any less of a fan. Actually, they are probably investing more emotionally than the ones who just brush off all the terrible games.

    Anyway, we’re all Laker fans so let’s be civil and if you don’t want to read negative comments then just move on to the next comment.


  38. ken – there was a reason artest sat. he was getting stuck behind screens and that is why sasha was in for that time. He had a reason. and really no offense, but i’d rather lose with Phil at the helm then the suggestions most fans put out there. including myself.


  39. To be sincere I have always expected the Lakers to turn it around by playoff time.
    I always thought: “Well, they are very good, maybe the most talented, they just won it and are just lazy-bored during regular season. When truth-time comes they’ll take it seriously”

    But now there is something that really worries me, Kobe has no legs. And I don’t belive that is something they can choose to turn around, it’s not like you can increase your effort to suddenly have more stamina. And at this stage it doesn’t look like he will have enough spare time pre- or during- playoffs to recover.
    Am I wrong?
    Hope so.


  40. I’m not always pleased with each step along the journey–and I’m not sure where we are going, but even if I could, I’d never trade any of the players on this team-or the coach–or the owner. They are my Lakers. I suspect that most other teams in the NBA (maybe all) would be willing to trade places with the Lakers right now.

    The only thing I’d be willing to trade, or give away for free, or even pay a fee to help them on their way–are some of the repetitive no content negative bloggers who Darius amazingly permits to post here.


  41. This game was another example, this team does not have a good bench´s players. the playoffs will be complicated
    there is a good analysis about the roster:

    (edit – note that this link is in Spanish)


  42. 34) Ron,
    “2-take dfish out
    3-trade our pathetic bench
    4-make kobe rest
    5-make brown stop throwing up brick after brick”

    Just curious, do you see any conflicting goals there?


  43. darius, how can you take this? the same people who swore after last years win to never question pau, kobe, fish and phil ever again are now at it again. that is just sad…

    this has nothing to do with being a fan. asking for trades and changes after every bad game / questionable play.

    what is wrong with you? our team tried to get as healthy as possible through the season to repeat. they managed that and even have the best record in the WEST. may i repeat WEST?!?

    this is still the toughest conference to play in, and we already secured the 1st place. how can you possibly think that we wont even get out of the first round? are you kidding me? and whats with the panic about kobe´s shot? he had 3 bad games in a row, so what? ray allen shot like shawn bradley before turning it on in the finals against our guys. sometimes things like that happen.

    i can only assure you of this: when our team plays to win, they win 99% of the time. you will see it come sunday. suddenly kobe´s ft attempts will go up. why? because he will drive to the cup if his shot isnt falling. they will run the triangle, because that is what got them the title last year. and after we sweep the first round (yes, i actually believe that is what is going to happen if we get portland or okc. if its the spurs 4:2), you will all jump back on the bandwagon, like always.

    its the same every year with fans like you.


  44. A few thoughts–some perhaps already shared on the other thread by other posters:

    1. Kobe’s missed FTs were not some fluke–his legs are dead. He left the FTs and some other shots way short, front rim. Fisher just missed–it happens. Kobe’s misses happened for a reason.
    2. The Webster play at the end happened because Kobe did not get down on D and move his feet, allowing Webster to hit the seam.
    3. Definitive sequence occurred at 79-84. Kobe broke his man down, hit Fisher in the corner. Portland rotated so Fisher made a quick skip pass to Vujacic. Wide-open 3–rims it. Lakers get the ball back. Kobe looks at his man, does a jab step, and instead of driving, puts up a 3. Rims it. Next possession they get the ball to Gasol. He scores on the block.
    3. If I were Jackson, I would not play Bryant or Gasol at all on Tuesday and would play Odom, Artest and Fisher only about 15 minutes each. In the last game against the Clippers, I would play all those guys a quarter–the first quarter–so they stay in rhythm, and then sit them. IOW, as far as I’m concerned, they should forget about trying to finish ahead of Orlando. Simply put, the Lakers are not good enough right now to be making decisions based on a possible match-up in the Finals. They should be focused on Game 1 on Sunday–nothing beyond that.
    4. I agree that OKC is who the team should hope for in RD1. OKC’s time is coming, but I don’t think it is here just yet. If the Lakers play San Antonio, however, I would make them only very slight favorites, based only on HCA.
    5. I have at times gotten the impression that Jackson under-values Bynum. While Bynum is not a panacea, it is clear that they need him. I think Jackson may be more aware of that now.


  45. But now there is something that really worries me, Kobe has no legs. And I don’t belive that is something they can choose to turn around, it’s not like you can increase your effort to suddenly have more stamina. And at this stage it doesn’t look like he will have enough spare time pre- or during- playoffs to recover.
    Am I wrong?
    Hope so.


    I hope so, too, but see #43.


  46. Maybe Phil shouldn’t have played Kobe 40 minutes a night this year on the wrong side of 30?

    I havde been saying this for awhile, as you know. It is not so much his age, but again, his odometer reading.

    Current Laker contract commitments:

    Odom, age 33, through 13th year in the league
    Artest, age 35, through 15th year in the league
    Gasol, age 34, through 14th year in the league
    Bryant, age 35, through 18th year in the league

    Obviously, this is something to talk about later, not now, but it is worth remembering.


  47. robinred,
    The problem is that if Phil cuts Kobe’s minutes back, considering all the other injuries, the generally poor play from the other guards, and the strength of the Western conference, they would very likely be the 8th seed.


  48. robinred,
    The problem is that if Phil cuts Kobe’s minutes back, considering all the other injuries, the generally poor play from the other guards, and the strength of the Western conference, they would very likely be the 8th seed


    Perhaps, and I would go along with that more if Kobe were about to hit free agency. Instead, he is signed through 2014, and I think that could have been anticipated once Gasol re-upped.

    In addition, research shows that guys play better if they get minutes. I think Vujacic and Farmar might be doing better if they had played more. Yes, the team might be seeded lower, but on the other hand, look at the team’s record down the stretch doing things Phil’s way.

    Finally, the Lakers have lost all of their recent matchups, two of them at home, and two by big margins, and the third at home to a team minus its best player, to the three teams invleved in the 6-8 seed fight.

    OTOH, the Lakers may wind up making the Finals by taking advantage of HCA. I could easily see them winning 4-3 three times–then getting waxed by Cleveland. But I maintain that fewer minutes for Kobe and more for Farmar and Vujacic was the best long-term usage of personnel.


  49. To all the offensive gurus out there:

    So much emphasis has been placed on P&R defense (and the Lakers’ lack thereof), but yesterday’s game got me thinking of the other side of the ball: why do the Lakers get so little out of their pick and rolls? Time and again they run this action, especially with Farmar and Brown, and all that happens is that they wind up dribbling the ball from another spot outside the arc. This seems especially relevant since we all can see the Lakers and the triangle have been such infrequent acquaintances this year. With the talent we have, especially with our screeners (Lamar and Pau specifically), we should be carving teams up with this action. Why aren’t we? Specifically, what happened to having the opposite post flash to the free throw line and receive the pass from the guard so he can then drop it to the cutting roller? that seems like a great spot to put Pau or Lamar in and I can’t remember seeing it with much consistency this year.


  50. No one would be saying anything about Kobe’s minutes if he was healthy. Phil & Kobe have been saying for months that health is way more important than HCA in the playoffs & I’m now inclined to agree. If Kobe/Bynum/Gasol/Artest/Odom are all at full health, it is more likely they would blow away teams with huge leads & the bench would lose it enough to let it get close but still win.


  51. As Artest said, it’s not that this team is lazy or unmotivated, it’s just that they are not playing well. What can you do but hope that they play better? I see progress and improvement. We are still playing poorly, but we are playing better. And that’s all I can say. Nobody can say whether we’re going to win or lose, get blown out or dominate come playoffs.

    And for those who keep pointing to the records of the last 10 games –

    Lakers 4-6
    Mavericks 7-3
    Denver 5-5
    Utah 7-3
    Phoenix 8-2
    Portland 7-3
    SA 7-3
    OKC 6-4

    It’s not like the rest of the conference is going 9-1. Compared to the competition, and given the toughness of the West, our record is not reason for full panic mode. Especially when we know we have not been playing to our capacity and that we are showing progress.


  52. If Kobe continues playing like Jerry Stackhouse then the Lakers are going to have to win a championship through Pau Gasol.

    Were about to find out how good Gasol really is, frankly I have my doubts if he’s that type of player to carry a team to a championship.


  53. It’s time to panic.


  54. Ray I do not blame Phil. I blame the players who do not appear to listen. Guys like Brown, Farmer etc seem to do what they want and not run the offense.

    Don the Lakers are 11 and 9 the last 20 games. That is a reasonable sample size as it 25% of the season.In the past 10 games they have scored over 100 only two times. Over the past 20 games their bench has sunk to 13th of the 16 playoff teams.

    Yet the response I hear is “Don’t worry they will turn it on in the playoffs.”

    Turn what on? Our guards can’t shoot, our bench is bad.

    If Phil played our 5 good players 45 minutes a game we will win. The problem is Phil may have worn our good players out during the season.

    The thought of Fisher, Brown, Farmer, Powell and Sasha throwing up bricks in the playoffs make me want to throw up a brick.
    Now we know why Popavich does what he does.


  55. Compared to the competition, and given the toughness of the West, our record is not reason for full panic mode.


    Well, here in Lakerland, the standards are high and panic sets in easily. The Lakers have several specific problems and weaknesses, all of which were on display against a possible playoff opponent on Sunday. Focus, effort, tactical adjustments and execution are factors in the team’s performance, but what people are seeing is basic limitations in the personnel, as well as the injuries. That is what leads to “panic.”

    That said, as Darius noted, some of the key losses have been close, and one could say that is the just the law of averages catching up to the team after Kobe’s streak of buzzer beaters. So, certainly, if Bynum can go, the Lakers will be the best bet in the West. If he can’t, and if Kobe’s legs are as dead as they looked yesterday, the Lakers are just another team in the Western dogpack, no matter what people say about “bringing it” etc. etc. etc. The other teams are going to “bring it”, too.


  56. No one would be saying anything about Kobe’s minutes if he was healthy.


    I have been talking about it all year, and talked about it before the season started, actually. As I noted, it is not just the odometer issue–I think it has, perhaps, contributed to the weakness of the bench.

    But, it may not matter as much as I think. We will know more about how much it matters if the Lakers play San Antonio. As noted by me and others, Popovich appears to believe monitoring MPG with veteran stars matters quite a bit. Jackson doesn’t seem to agree.


  57. I think the Lakers will parish unless they get Bynum back. The interior defense is weak. We have had the same problem to until we got Camby. He’s been great for rebounding and much needed offense. Again, if we had Oden back our interior defense and offense would be much stronger. Sorry, but you probably would have been knocked out by 15 points or better. Anyway, may the best team win the west. Go Blazers!!!


  58. I could not have said it better Robinred. Especially:

    If he can’t, and if Kobe’s legs are as dead as they looked yesterday, the Lakers are just another team in the Western dogpack, no matter what people say about “bringing it” etc. etc. etc. The other teams are going to “bring it”, too.

    Thank you.


  59. The Lakers will parish


    Leave the 1980s Celtics out of this. Things are bad enough. 😉


  60. I think yesterdays game was great eventhough we had some help and luck through Kobe and Fisher. However, you Laker fans have to worried about the Spurs or my Blazers playing you. We won without B-Roy in the second half, in addition to Priz and Oden. The addition of Camby has helped us in the rebounding and scoring. Anyway, I think it will be a good series if we meet, hopefully B-Roy will be back. Well until next time, Go Blazers!!!


  61. You know things are going bad when opposing fans start showing up.


  62. Ken and Robinred,
    Low sample size was not my argument, nor was lack of effort. I agree with you that many things are wrong. I was stating that I am hopeful, that is all. No point trying to change my mind, and I’m certainly not trying to change yours.


  63. I was stating that I am hopeful, that is all.


    Like I said, If Bynum is OK, I think they are still the favorites in the West. But given his track record on injuries, and Kobe’s mileage, and the lack of bench/spot-up shooters, we could be headed for a crash. But we won’t know until the playoffs actually tip.

    So, I am, actually, quite hopeful that the Kobe/Bynum legs/health issues will work out well enough for the team to return to the Finals. I simply do not think the team is good enough, however, to beat Orlando or Cleveland four times, but that is something to worry about if the Lakers get there.


  64. Phillip has a new post up. Some thoughts on the game and more reactions/links:


  65. ken,

    you have blamed phil numerous times in the last few games. i remember you calling him lazy?


  66. No Ray that was a spelling error. It was crazy not lazy.

    Kidding. Dosen’t matter now as Blaz beat OK so we appear to be playing OK in the 1st round.


  67. Yeah its good you guys got O.K. Thunder instead of us. Because we might have to do the same thing to you, that you’ve done to us for several years straight. ha ha!! I’m still bitter about the 2000 season that was ours. Scottie should have got his last ring out as a Blazer. Anyway, we will see you in the second round this time. Bayless will take over Roys duties. Face it our bench is deeper than yours.


  68. Larry01,
    Feel free to come and visit any time, but don’t try to bait other commenters. That’s not appreciated around these parts.

    As for Portland’s chances of advancing, I think they take a hit with Roy out and expecting Bayless to seemlessly replace the Blazers’ best player since Clyde Drexler is a bit of a reach. Portland will need combined contributions from many players (Batum, Webster, Rudy, Bayless, and more offense from Camby) while having Aldridge and Miller continue their strong play from the regular season – maybe even with a slight uptick in production – to fill in for an injured Roy. And I should add that I feel bad for Roy. He’s a pro’s pro and a an excellent player. I still remember Mitch Kupchak offering the farm in efforts to move up in back to back years to try and get his hands on Deron Williams and Brandon Roy. And to this day, those players are two of my favorite guys in the entire league. Anyways, get well Roy.

    Also, Portland likely wouldn’t see the Lakers until the WCF because they’ll probably be on opposite sides of the bracket. If Portland beats the Warriors (which they should) they’ll clinch the 6th seed and would then play the winner of the 2-7 match up (shoud PDX actually advance). Good luck.


  69. Hey Darius, Thanks for your comments. Sorry didn’t mean to stir up to much trouble. I just feel overjoyed and great to have my team beat the World Champions on their home court. I know you probably don’t realize what its like coming from a one horse town regarding sports. I think your analysis is probably right on. All I can say is if we go down. Please get rid of the Jazz and the Nuggets. I can’t stand them. Thanks.