Learning Curve Almost Complete?

Darius Soriano —  April 21, 2010

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Over the course of this season, one of things that all Lakers fans wanted to see was improved chemistry between Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. We hoped that our twin seven footers could develop into an improved version of Duncan/Robinson or Hakeem/Sampson to make our front court even more dominant than it already has been over the past two seasons (where, anchored by Gasol the Lakers’ big man rotation helped this team reach two straight Finals). However, what we’ve witnessed instead has been our two bigs not quite clicking when paired on the court together.  Whether it’s the overlapping skill set, the lack of shared court time – in games and practices – due to injuries, or the fact that they just haven’t been reading from the same script ‘Drew and Pau just haven’t been as good together as we would have hoped.  I mean, the regular season numbers don’t lie on this one.  It’s no coincidence that the Lakers’ best lineups this year have featured one of Bynum or Gasol at center with Odom playing power forward.

However, are we starting to see a shift in the chemistry between our twin towers?  Could it be that Bynum and Gasol are finally starting to click?  Commenter Chownoir wants to know if you’re seeing the same things that he is:

Anyone notice that in the two games so far Pau and Bynum seem to work well together? I’m not talking about them playing well against a undersized OKC frontline. But how their games seem to be meshing well together. It was a huge concern earlier in the year about their inability to mesh and how a big game from one would detract from the other. Their respective injuries also took time away from learning how to play with each other.  Last two games, they seem to know where the other guy was and how to make the play for each other. Last night Bynum’s shot wasn’t falling but his D and rebounding was still there. While Pau continued to put up his points.

It turns out that Chownoir is not alone because our own Phillip was seeing the same things, with a couple of examples from the first two games against OKC:

I was recognizing the same thing with Bynum and Pau working together. In game 1, Pau caught a couple of passes in the right corner and was able to make the entry pass over the raised hands (of his defender) to Bynum that Fish, Farmar and Brown weren’t able to make. In Game 2, early in the third quarter, Pau made a gorgeous pass to Bynum from the top of the key. Bynum missed, but everyone collapsed on him, freeing up Gasol for the putback. A possession or two later, Bynum made a fantastic pass to Gasol which led to the dunk. Both passes were inside of the paint. I’ve wondered if Bynum would have the interior passing ability of a Shaq or Gasol, and he’s shown glimpses of it this series.

We’ve always known that having both Bynum and Gasol on the court helped our defense and rebounding.  But if these two can find that togetherness on offense too, this team can reach another level of success altogether.

Granted, two playoff games isn’t the biggest sample size.  And even though this duo had some good games together before Andrew’s achilles injury, we can’t necessarily say that this team has turned the corner quite yet.  But, the signs are encouraging.  Every high-low hook up, every post feed from Pau to ‘Drew, every time they properly space the floor for each other is another positive step in the evolution of this tandem’s togetherness.  They are truly starting to show that their early struggles to have success together were just growing pains that finally seem to be subsiding.  We may be finally be at the point where the learning curve is almost complete.  And frankly, this improved play couldn’t be coming at a better time.  With the Lakers’ outside shooters still not finding any consistency, the play of the Lakers’ big men will only be more heavily relied upon if this team hopes to have a long playoff run.

And while there are still reasons to be skeptical (even though they’ve shown improved chemistry, they still don’t always play well in the same game), I’m optimistic that they will only get better together.  I think that because they’ll continue to be given the reps, these two will feel each other out and find the ways that they can work together to take both of their games to a higher level.  They’ll explore more options within this offense and discover more ways that they can cover for each other on defense.  And personally, I can’t wait to see it.

Darius Soriano

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45 responses to Learning Curve Almost Complete?

  1. Great post, Darius!

    Speaking of post…ALL THE MORE REASON TO FEED THE FREAKING POST (I’m looking directly at you, Derek Fisher).

    I’m still confused why the Lakers don’t run more high low action with their bigs. At the start of the third quarter, Bynum popped up to the free throw line, received the pass, then quickly redirected to Pau near the basket for the dunk (EXCELLENT pass by Drew, by the way).

    And then the Lakers never ran that sequence again.

    Instead, we have Fish calling his own number and jacking up contested 21 foot jumpers.

    Am I crazy here? Why aren’t they dumping it into Gasol, Bynum, or Odom at the free throw line, and running their offense that way?

  2. Burgandy, I’m with you except for blaming everything on Fish.

    Kobe had 28 shots compared to Fishers 10. And they both shot mid – low thirties. Couldn’t you have just said, we need to feed the post even more… and just leave it at that.

  3. Look, I’m ok with Fish and Kobe’s horrendous shooting percentages against this particular team if it means that K+F slowly improve their shooting. Now, if we win this round and then face teams with more than 2 scoring options like Denver and the Mavs (and whoever comes out of the east), then its a different story. In those series if Fish and Kobe are throwing bricks, then I hope that they have the leadership ability to pass more than they shoot.

  4. I have to agree with both the post and the first comment. Pau and Drew are looking more comfortable together on both offense and defense, so much so that an argument could be made about them both being on the floor during crunch time.

    And yes, we ran that high-low play only once where Pau was being fronted, Drew flashed from the weak side to just below the FT line, Pau sealed the fronter, and Drew passed to him for an easy dunk. Only one time! I’d much prefer our offense being a mix of these plays plus Kobe initiations. That way, Fish can stick to being a spot-up shooter, a role where he’s marginally average in the NBA. He’ll get a lot more space to shoot after a few buckets by our two starting bigs.

    Also, I’m hoping that Phil gives more time to Jordan and Shannon. We’re forcing so many turnovers but getting so few points on the subsequent fast break. Those two are much better finishers in transition at this point than Fish is (let’s face it, Fish is the worst transition PG in the entire NBA, including 3rd-stringers).

    As for Kobe’s number of shots, he was 12-28 with 5 of his 16 misses recorded as blocks. We all know that he got hammered pretty hard on some of those misses, and it wasn’t until crunch time that he started getting calls consistently. He ended up scoring 39 points on 28 shots against one of the more amazing weak-side defensive displays I’ve ever seen in all my years of watching the NBA. Kobe wasn’t part of the problem last night. Odom was a small part, and Fish/Artest were a big part, but in Artest’s case, it was only on offense.

  5. Darius,

    I agree. J D Hastings and I had a Twitter convo about this. The past 2 games, not only have Pau and Drew seem to be working well together, they just might be the most cohesive duo on the Lakers right now (outside of Kobe and Pau). Andrew is making passes I’ve never seen him make consistently. It’s something I’ve been dying to see – improved passing. Added to his focus on defense and rebounding, I can’t ask for more. I was hoping that Phil let him finish out the game.

  6. great post!

  7. I like it. I was starting to think about this when I saw the Drew in the middle of the paint spot-on pass to Pau for the baseline dunk. If this continues to unfold, you will see the bigs keep the ball in the post and pass between themselves for easy looks rather than kick out and repost as much. This being said, if they start to control the offensive paint, and get good boards, it will force the 2’s and 3’s to collapse, thus freeing up our soon-to-be-hot 3pt shooting. I’m still thinking someone will get hot for the postseason, it has to happen. It’s only been two games…we have a minimum of 14 left ; )

    Here’s to big-man chemistry and little man outside shooting progressing in tandem.

  8. Kobe was definitely not part of the problem…it’s kind of absurd to even say that. He took 28 shots, but like The Dude says, 5 of those shots probably should have been subtracted because he got hammered on them with no call. He really shot 12 of 23.

    The Dude also makes another good point. The Thunder turn the ball over a ton, but the Lakers aren’t able to capitalize because you’ve got Fish running the break (can someone on the coaching staff please, PLEASE pull Fish aside and say, “If you steal the ball, don’t put your head down and try to take it coast to coast yourself. You are not Derrick Rose. You are not even Derrick Stafford. This manuever has not worked ONCE this season. You attempting it is essentially a turnover. Either hold the ball and take it up slowly, or pass it to ANYONE. And I mean ANYONE. I think Andrew Bynum would have better success trying to go coast to coast than Fish).

    I’m pretty sure Fish has the record for most botched fast breaks in NBA history.

    I’m not even joking.

  9. I think Kobe feels Pau/Bynum are capable of dominating OKC. That notion affords him the luxury of perfecting his broken-fingered shooting technique with more game-time experimentation.

    I expected LA to use the pau/kobe screen-roll in crunch time. I don’t know why they don’t use that to pad a lead. Why wait til the 4th if you can put a team away in 1st.

  10. FYI, Kobe was 11-20 on jumpers according to the CBS shot chart.

    Yes, that means he was 1-8 on layups. Craziness.

  11. This is something I noticed right before Drew went out with his Achilles thing. For maybe a half dozen games prior to his injury, the two of them were really clicking on the court together, and it was showing up in the box score. I don’t think it’s necessary that each of them put up double-doubles every night in order for us to say that they are working well together, though. Sometimes Pau might have better nights and Andrew isn’t as productive, and vice versa.

    Going back and looking at the stats, I can see that I’m not crazy. Look at the 5 games prior to Andrew’s injury. All wins (admittedly against not the greatest teams) but even though the two of them didn’t always have stellar games at the same time, they averaged nearly 40 points and 20 rebounds a game between them, and shot 65% from the field. If you’re getting that kind of production from two 7 footers, it’s hard to complain.

  12. @Brian
    How many of those missed seven layups were blocked?

  13. Yep- Kobe’s shooting was not the problem. He was hitting pretty well from range- it’s the way he was getting beaten up inside that was the problem. And truthfully OKC was getting away with some hammering. Those were not 17 clean blocks. Bynum had a nice one on Durant that was called a foul, even though the replay showed all ball– the foul was for body contact, and Kobe was definitely getting body contact from the multiple defenders collapsing on him in the paint.

    Anyway, I agree with the premise of this article- Bynum and Gasol are looking more and more comfortable. I believe it probably won’t happen during the playoffs, but the day is coming when they will be both be consistent 18-10 guys in the same game.

    Also, for all those who think LA is going to get blown out for sure in OKC and etc. – they may get blown out one game, big deal. It happened many times last season. But in the playoffs, whether you win by 1 or by 30, a win is a win. And the Lakers are up 2-0 exactly like they were supposed to be. They will take this series probably in 5 games. They grabbed that second victory despite abysmal shooting from Bynum (3-9 which doesn’t happen often- he’s usually at least a 50% guy), Fisher (2-10) and Artest (2-10). In fact if you add up their attempts- they were a combined 7 for 29. That’s a LOT worse than Kobe’s 12 of 28.

  14. hm…does anyone else think that the only reason as to why kobe jacked up 28 shots ( twice as many as Pau) was because of the presence of his dad?
    i was starting to get really frustrated at kobe’s attempt to shoot himself out of a bad game…we have tremendous success throwing the ball into pau and letting him pass after defenders come to double him..yea we dont normally knock down shots but it keeps the defenders from collapsing on pau and give him more room to work which i think is better then kobe trying to shoot jumpers with hands all over his face..he needs to try to pass the ball more..and given that he’s got more injuries then all the other lakers combined wouldnt it make sense to pass ?

    yea fisher and artest had worst shooting in game two but he still had gasol which he should have done more IMO

  15. In fairness to Fisher’s defense…

    uh…

    He drew an offensive foul or 2? Sorry, Fish, I got nothing.

    Darius, great post. I had a conversation with someone else about this on twitter last night after one of the possessions you mentioned, so it’s nice to see you flesh it out in full context so I know it wasn’t just me. Now if only they’d get more opportunities to show off this chemistry.

    Re: Kobe. I couldn’t tell whether Kobe had a good or bad game last night. As his defenders have poiinted out he found a way to be efficient. But I definitely don’t see evidence that his struggles are officially over. He just found a way this game. And he was still very reticent to give it up inside as seen by his low assist numbers. I’m very happy he drove inside to draw fouls and didn’t rely exclusively on his outside shot- and I’m happy he did have some success outside. But I don’t know if that recipe will work again in OKC.

    And had KD made that 3 pointer, would Kobe’s missed FT have lost the game? How would that affect what we thought?

  16. 5. This is the NBA. the 1st 3 quarters don’t matter..

    Lakers game may be off but the zen master is in the zone.. new day new comment new mind game.. latest ones on odom.

  17. The Lakers did not shoot all that poorly, comparatively.

    Subtract the 17 blocks, and they shot 33 for 71 (46.4%). Now, how many of those blocks were clean, and how many were fouls that did not called is very open to interpretation, but their shooting strokes were not THAT off.

    My biggest concern from last night was impatience, but that is almost always my biggest concern.

    I am of the philosophy that you should never shoot a jumper if there are 8+ seconds remaining on the shot clock. 8 seconds is plenty of time to make the extra pass, look for a better shot, make the defense spend that much more time being active and focused. It might not pay dividends in the first quarter, but it always does in the fourth quarter.

    That idea of patient, steady offense is also very important if you are a good defensive team, which the Lakers certainly are. Every second you use on your possessions is one fewer second that your opponent has to hurt you with.

    The play everyone spoke of with Bynum’s assist on the Gasol dunk is a great example of a nearly perfect sequence for the Laker’s last night. Exterior ball movement, passing into the high post, 10 seconds on the shot clock when Bynum made the extra interior pass and got Gasol the highest of high percentage shots.

    I would love to see that type of sequence on half (or more) of our plays.

  18. Can you believe this… I had to have a triple take but the score of the Orlando/ Charlotte game is currently 38- 50. No big deal, right? Well it’s five minutes into the 3rd quarter! Wow that’s bad.

  19. J.D. Hastings

    You said you didn’t know if kobe had a good or bad night. Well he shot 13-15 ft. As you mentioned he went to the line and while 12-28 isn’t that great but he had 5 shots blocked. So he was 12-23 on shots that actually made it to the rim. I think that’s damn good. We also have to realize that he got at least 2 shots blocked in those botched transition attempts off of turnovers. So the question is, did he take opportunities away from anyone else, namely Pau? Fisher got 10 shots, Lamar 9, Artest 10. Those are the guys that took shots from Bynum and or Pau. Not Kobe. Back to the question did Kobe take attempts away from Pau. Well Pau took 14 shots and 13 freethrows. So lets just say that was 5 or 6 trips to the line without an and-1. Do we really expect Pau to take more shots and attack more than he did. Pau’s not that type of player to go down every play and demand the ball like Shaq. So I believe Pau got more than his share of opportunities, which he absolutely deserved and made the most out of them. So I don’t think Pau is complaining about throwing the ball in the post more to him. So I believe Kobe played a really good game. And do we really want Kobe to start turning down good shots?

  20. j. d. hastings April 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Joel-

    Obviously I’m judging Kobe on Kobe’s terms. The difference between a good shot and bad shot for him is whether it goes in. And he got the whistles and made half his shots in the second half, so that makes them hard to argue with. My point is if he plays exactly the same next game, doesn’t get the whistle and those 3 point shots don’t go down like they haven’t lately, it’ll be a problem.

    He made it work last night. No No question. What I wonder though, is why did he have to come back via ball domination (and if you’re calculating Pau’s usage with FTA, Kobe’s looking at ~35 shots- still efficient but a lot) instead of getting others involved (I don’t think Pau, one of the best passing big men in the league, should have a limit on touches, since as Darius’s post shows he can create for everyone else).

    Again, he did it. It was a gutsy performance that only an all time great could pull out of his pocket. I just can’t help but feel like he made it look harder than it needed to be.

    I’m not going to try to defend Fisher. Artest and Odom need to have FGAs, they just need better ones that go in. Odom in particular should be beasting inside way more than he has. But that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

  21. I mostly agree with you j.d.

    But generally speaking, I’m amazed at the things being said about kobe. It’s like half of laker nation has given up on Kobe and implying that he should be delegated as a role player. Someone said in the comments in the previous article something like this is what we get when a person is at the end of his career.I hope he was refering to fisher. Charles barkely said that Kobe is clearly on the downside of his career,j.a
    andade is making comparisons to grant hill. Is this Kobe or Rasheed wallace? We are confusing being banged up to completely losing it. This series Kobe is actually getting his legs back under him he’s not clanking every shot off the front of rim anymore. Kobe is actually coming back. Him relentlessly attacking the rim and shooting 11-20 is symbiotic of that. No he can’t elevate like lebron, who cares. I don’t. I also think people are over exaggerating his 28 shots. There was not a point in the game where I felt Kobe was just turning down every on and jacking up shots. The ironic thing is that the most questionable shots he took he drilled. There were a few wide open shots he missed. as mentioned numerous times 5 shots were blocked so we have to give credit to great defense by OKC. My point is the wrong thing to do would be for Kobe to
    just start passing up shots, especially when he’s having a good game and teams are not doubling
    him. Kobe is just a bit banged up,not over the hill. Should we allow Kobe to do like shaq and cruise through the season and turn it up in the playoffs. But I wouldn’t expect Kobe to shoot 25 plus times every game, unless we get another 6-29 from odom, fish and artest.

    As far as Pau and Andrew I think they are working so well because Andrew is taking
    pressure of pau having to bang in the post every
    possession and he allows pau to play 10-15ft out
    where Pau is absolutely more comfortable.

  22. Great post. I noticed their play was much improved after game 1 on sunday. The chemistry seems to be growing with the two bigs and they seem to feed off each other. I want more of that.

  23. Joel B.,

    great points.

  24. I always felt that Bynum’s biggest problem was his sheer lack of on court experience. He’s shown a steady growth curve through his career, getting better at whatever the coaches have asked him to do. Does it happen as fast as fans or the coaches want? No, but it does happen at a steady rate. Which is a lot more than you can say about many young big men. Especially one with as little experience as he had.

    If you take his injuries into consideration, he’s only played about 150 games over the last three years. Hard to get the reps, practice can only do so much.

    I think he’ll continue to grow just fine given his work ethic. The biggest concern is his health. Is he a player that can take the pounding of a regular season and play at least 70+ games? If he can do that, I think you’ll really see him explode in his growth. He’ll get the reps while already having a good base of experience to draw from.

  25. The question is how long they are going to have an opportunity to build on this chemistry when Bynum’s nagging injury seems to be coming back… Getting treatment today, seems like it wasn’t fully healed when he came back….i hope it doesn’t get worse.

  26. Thanks for the reminders that blocked shots don’t count as misses … I guess Bynum’s blocks don’t have as big an impact as I thought. Oh, well.

  27. Well, at least we do get some productive glimpses from Bynum.

    I am betting that Portland wishes Oden was as healthy as Bynum.

    As for Kobe, well, yesterday he was definitely the biggest factor, although maybe not by as much as he used to be.

    Still, I don’t think any of us hoping that he plays more like a role player are saying that he’s Grant Hill or Reggie Miller.

    I’m seeing that Kobe is now old, 13 years in the league almost equal to 13 dog years, and when your dog is 13 years old, the dog is old, even if he was the alpha dog.

    Having been at the top, the old dog still sees much more than any of our other dogs and has many many tricks up his sleeve that will quiet doubters, but if you have young guns who can take some load off, you should use them.

    He should monitor his energy level, plan for not just this series but the entire playoffs, and play according to the occasion.

    Unfortunately, we are kinda forcing him to work too much, with Artest, Fisher and Odom not being too effective offensively, and although Pau is younger, I’m not all that certain that his legs are fresher (takes more toll if you are tall, that’s for sure, and not sure if I will be that Pau has better conditioning), so there is a limit to how much you can use Pau.

    So it’s chicken-egg all over again: Kobe doing too much the cause or the result?

    And we know what the answer is. Or rather, what the correct approach to finding the answer is. It’s to trust Kobe to find balance, wherever it may be at that given point in time, and hope that he judged correctly.

  28. As far as injuries we jus have to hope for the best.

    I do admire the way Bynum has kept up his energy and activity on the boards and defensive end despite not being involved offensively yesterday. Props to him and he really looks like he wants to repeat (or he wants more invitations to the playboy mansion). I don’t care I just enjoy seeing the effort

  29. swedishmeatballs April 22, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Is it just me or is Kobe basically equally as horrible in transition as Fish these days? He seems to lack a natural feel for how to attack the rim in transition. Nine times out of ten he either pulls back the dribble and stops to survey, or drops off to the next man who’s usually in a pretty bad position by then.

    Am I exaggerating? I guess I’d just like to see him go aggressive to the rim when he is in front of the break and challenge his defender.

  30. 28. Kobe isn’t nearly as good in transition as he is in the half court, but let’s not go overboard there. Fish is in a class by himself.

  31. now if relegating kobe to 3rd option is on a game to game basis, sure there are situations that call for it. if yesterday be any basis, kobe had moments when he dominated the ball when he shouldn’t have. what pleased me is that it didn’t look forced for the most part because picks and all those were being set and men were at times cutting or spotting up. anyone heard kobe can be a devastating facilitator? so if that be his role, then sure have less shots because he is feeding it down low. our bigs didn’t have as an effective game as expected (save for pau in the 2nd half). there were also sets down low that looked scrambled and forced. i recall an ugly ron-pau play in the lane. turnovers anyone? blocked shots anyone?

    now to say kobe should now be just 3rd fiddle, just read kobe’s comments at yahoo and know that he likes asserting himself and taking things real personal. right now, the baton hasn’t been passed. it can not be said out of some dwindling shooting numbers and some tired legs because the sample is just too small. plus he’s injured. oh sure injury is a way of showing you you’re old and beat up. but there were times kobe’s lift was at part with his old self last night. there were times his flexibility as he attacked the hoop was there. to mention, he didn’t do his usual 3 hour routine before and i think that affected it. and the shot, though does make me cut my breath, has been released in so many ways it’s hard to say what he’s doing next. let’s give this guy some slack. after so many years of amazing play? too early…

    that said, i look forward to dominant post play, hounding D, and a more effective spotting up and attacking game from kobe…

    GO LAKERS!

  32. @21/Joel – I’m a little disappointed (I was going to say surprised, but…) that Kobe isn’t getting more of a pass for his injuries. He isn’t playing like a 35-year-old, he’s playing like an injured 30 year old. And I think the finger not only costs him a couple of obvious turnovers a game, it also makes him reluctant to pass sometimes because he can’t control the ball well enough (and sometimes he turns an aborted pass attempt into a pretty ugly shot). He’s in somewhat of a no-win situation, because if he toughs it out and plays, people assume he’s healthy.

    Topic? I think I said here a long time ago that I was looking forward to the day when Bynum started making passes in the paint like Pau and LO (or even close). That pass to Pau was beautiful, but now we have to see it more than once a game.

    I think a big key to this Lakers play-off run is that Bynum has to provide some of the superstar power that Kobe isn’t able to.

  33. How does some as stupid as Mark Cuban get so successful? First, although he is already up 2 – 0, he complains about the refs in the Finals and hands Miami a championship. Now, his team plays a great game and goes up 1-0 at home. He proceeds to publicly announce “I hate the Spurs”, in response to which the Spurs come out with a vengeance and dismantle the Mavs. Can we all agree that having a smart owner like Dr. Buss has had something to do with the Lakers’ success? Let’s just hope his son is smart enough to keep the legacy alive.

  34. OKC’s blocked shot total made me think of the NBA record, when the Lakers’ Elmore Smith (who was later included in the trade for Kareem) had 17 blocks all by himself in a game in ’73. That must have been a hell of a display.

  35. I think we’re spoiled by lebron on the fast break. not everybody is unstoppable, mere humans actually need angles even if it’s on the break.

  36. #21: great post joel, i agree with every single line.

    kobe is playing with a broken finger and people (#28…) ask why it seems like he cant finish a fast break. i would suggest you break your finger and then see how a foul feels like after driving for a layup and getting slapped on that finger. but then again you would probably play against “normal” people, so please try to imagine the pain you would get if a guy like shaq gives you a slap.

    and to think that a random defender doesnt try to hurt him would be foolish, since kobe would be the first to tell you that you always try to get an advantage out of injuries (especially if its the playoffs). kobe always goes hard against guys who just had some injury to force the other team to adjust… so he is not suprised the same thing happens to him.

    now add a hurting knee to that and please ask again why he cant finish a fastbreak.

    i hope he stays healthy enough for these playoffs and then rests his body until september. he just needs rest and we will likely see him average 25+ easily until his contract expires. after that he can probably still give you jason kidd (2010) like stats with better scoring numbers.

  37. I think we’re missing the point on Kobe regarding his number of FGA. It’s rather irrelevant if he has 13 years in the NBA or 5 or if he’s banged up or not. The Triangle was created to provide roughly an equal number of shots for everyone on the floor.

    I do agree that the skill level of each player will make that number vary accordingly to whom is on the floor. However, while I agree that Kobe is the most skilled and should certainly have a higher number of shots than everyone else on the floor, I cannot understand shooting 28 times in one game. I don’t care if he got 5 blocks on him! He got blocked because they knew he was shooting and committed themselves to stop him (foul or no foul). Kobe should be shooting no more than 20-22 times a game, which means around 25-28ppg if he is effective enough. And certainly Kobe shouldn’t be shooting more than Pau and Bynum combined. The beauty of an inside outside game is to balance the shots, and I can assure you that if Pau+Andrew could represent 25+shots a game and Kobe only 20, we would win most times…

    If we play like that again, we’re bound to find the games in OKC a lot harder than they were supposed to.

    (If we get by OKC, I would really like to face Utah…)

  38. @16, anon

    Of course the 1st 3 Qs matter! If a team is down by 30 going into the 4th Q, chances are they are not winning that game (save the Lakers miraculous 24 point comeback in game 4 of the 2002 west conf finals). It’s all about defense, rebounding and execution as a sustained effort.

    I also love PJ and his challenge to Odom. Most of our core guys respond when Phil does this…

  39. New post up guys, taking a look at the Lakers terrible execution on the fast break: http://bit.ly/bwivmh

  40. 37) – *Stands up and claps in agreement.*

    There are no “free passes” for any players in the NBA playoffs. I love what Kobe has meant to the Lakers over the years just as much as anyone. But the combined effect of his injuries has put a serious limit on his play. This is win or go home and the other side doesn’t care about Laker injuries.

    I have read every post on this site over the last several weeks. I have yet to see anyone make a good case for Kobe’s number of shots. There is no way he should have more shots in a game than Pau and Drew combined.

    Like others have said, it makes the game a lot harder. And while it may get them past OKC (maybe) it surely won’t get them past any of the teams they would meet down the line.

  41. Ray 2 for 10 is not mid-thirties. That’s 20%. I can live with mid thirties in a playoff game.

    I would much rather have Kobe shooting then Fisher who is 27% for two games and Ron who is shooting 26% for two games.

    Between those two they have taken 43 shot which is more then Gasol and Bynam.

    Simple math says if the Lakers want to shoot better put boxing gloves on Ron and Fish so they can’t shoot and let Kobe, Pau and Drew take their 43 shots and we win easy.

    Since I know Phil won’t do that do his man love for Fish then we are left with tonight game.

    OKC by 9 tonight.
    Lakers come back to win game 4 by 1

  42. More about Bynum from Hollinger:

    “…one thing that stands out about L.A. is how rock-solid its D is when Bynum is starting at center.

    We saw more evidence of that in the first two games against Oklahoma City, when a spry, active Bynum helped patrol the paint. Our admittedly small sample from the first two games has L.A. giving up just 89 points per 100 Thunder possessions with Bynum on the court, compared to 101 when he’s on the pine.”

    When Hollinger says something positive about the Lakers it is worth noting…

  43. Hollinger has always liked Bynum. I will be very surprised if the Lakers win tonight, and I agree with ken that G4 will be very close.

  44. I think part of the process is that Bynum is still very young and has missed so much development time during his career. Plus, bigs have a tendency to come along slowly, especially when they aren’t getting a ton of touches. The potential is certainly there and I’d expect by next season to see Bynum be their 3rd option offensively.

  45. I’m pretty sure the fact the two bigs look good has more to do with the quality of the opposition. I’m not sure they’d look all that great against a team like the Spurs or Nuggets with some beef down low.

    Also not a fan of Gasol lurking around the three-point line early in the clock as he was last game. Just for the record.

    Oh my god… it’s only the first round… I’m gonna fold…