Lakers/Warriors: Did We Really Need to Play the 4th Quarter?

Zephid —  November 21, 2010

(With Darius and Phillip having the night off, you’re stuck with me, Zephid, giving you your game recap)

Well, I really drew the short stick when it comes to game recaps. To be completely honest, I mostly stopped watching after the 3rd quarter (I feel the same way about writing this recap as Stu Lantz feels about 4th Quarter free throws, Do we have to?). The Lakers were so good, so dominant, that the only thing left in doubt after about the 6 minute mark of the 3rd quarter was the margin of victory. It’s not like the Warriors are a bad team; They’re above .500 and are in second place in the Pacific Division. But if the Warriors had played well and the Lakers had played average, they may have had a chance. When the Lakers play really well and the Warriors play poorly, they have absolutely no chance.

With David Lee out, the Lakers had a crushing advantage in the interior (as opposed to just a normal advantage). 56 points in the paint, including 28 from Gasol, was simply too much for the under-sized and under-manned Warriors. Gasol also had a perfect game, going 10/10 from the floor and 8/8 from the line to go with 9 boards, 5 assists, and 4 blocks, one game after Matt Barnes posted a perfect game against the Timberwolves. Gasol simply had his way with Biedrins for most of the night, using his full repertoire of jump shots, hooks, and scoops.

You can’t really point to any particular Laker and say he had a bad game (except Sasha, because he’s Sasha). Even Artest, who didn’t do much on offense, played lock-down defense on Monta Ellis, helped by the solid hedging of Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol on the inside. Fisher had a strong shooting night, going 4-6, and was very active on the defensive end, gathering 3 steals and a bunch of uncounted deflections. Kobe had a pedestrian 20 point, 6 board, 5 assists night in 27 minutes, but he never forced the action and played very good help defense against Curry and Ellis. And Lamar had himself another double-double of 15 and 10 with a steal and 2 blocks.

Then there was the bench that once again came in and extended the lead. It’s almost getting to the point where you expect every Shannon Brown shot to go in. He had 17 points on 7/10 shooting and 3/3 from three point range, adding to his resume for Most Improved Player. Once again, Steve Blake ran the offense, netting 6 assists, while Matt Barnes brought the energy with 3 boards, 2 steals, and a block. Really, I could copy and paste most of the game recaps about the bench from the past few weeks, and it would be almost the same; these guys have been that consistently good.

There’s really not that much you can take away from a game like this. The Warriors put up a stinker and the Lakers played one of their best games of the year. Those two things added together get you a 28 point blowout. The Lakers played stellar defense and ran their offense spectacularly. Now if only they could get 32 assists on 44 baskets while holding the other team to 35% shooting every game…

Zephid

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21 responses to Lakers/Warriors: Did We Really Need to Play the 4th Quarter?

  1. I’m reposting Harold’s comment because I thought it was a fascinating question, and a lot more suitable than comparing Pau and Shaq:

    “Now for funsies…

    Kobe during the Shaq-Kobe era

    vs.

    Gasol during the Kobe-Gasol era.

    which one do you think is more valuable?”

    Wow, that’s hard. Both are/were top 5 players in the league during those periods. I might lean towards Pau just because of how well he plays in this system. Kobe was far more talented and dangerous, but his talent took effect outside the system. Pau’s skills mesh perfectly with the system and thus I think he might get more out of his teammates than young Kobe did.

    But it’s tough.

  2. Thanks snoopy2006, thought it was going to get buried ;)

    I think it’s good food for thought, since both really complemented the other. But I tend to give Gasol a hand because he seems to create much less drama, and seems more patient while waiting for his chance to come.

    As for the game, I’m not sure if it is the Lakers we’re watching.

    Lakers are supposed to have a hard time against lesser teams, and have leads like this dwindle so that the starters can’t rest entire quarters.

    Not complaining, but really, I’m curious as to what ‘downs’ the BK & AK brothers can come up with.

  3. Current Gasol wins by a wide margin. Kobe hit his prime during the Shaq-less and Gasol-less era, which I guess you could call the Kwame-era (what a waste).

    Needless to say, our Bench Mob is back. I’m loving it.

  4. 32 assists-Nice! I can’t complain the Lakers never get easy baskets anymore, this team knows how to share the rock-except for the occasional game when they go 3 point happy..

    Sharing is contagious.

  5. RE Harold’s fun question: Valuing bigs over smalls would necessitate a lean towards Pau. But, I’d take Kobe and while it’s close, it’s a pretty easy decision for me. The reason being is that Kobe was the closer for those teams. Many will remember Shaq’s dominance and rightfully so. But Kobe’s ability to be a ball handler and foul shooter at the end of close playoff games was so key to the Lakers’ success during the first three-peat. Not to mention the games where Shaq was in foul trouble or wasn’t performing at his peak in any given game and Kobe was there to secure the victory. I mean, does any remember the Indiana series where Kobe cleaned up during the 4th quarter and overtime of game 4 to put the Lakers up 3-1? Shaq was epic that game, but he ended up fouling out and it was Kobe that closed out that game (on a bum ankle no less) and secured the game that ultimately put the Lakers in a position where they would need to completely fall apart to lose the series? Or what about the 2001 playoffs against both the Kings and the Spurs where Kobe absolutely destroyed those teams in road playoff games that ultimately either set the tone (Spurs) or closed the door (Kings) in series that the Lakers’ swept.

    I’m not going to or trying to take anything away from Gasol. He’s been fantastic in helping the Lakers go to three straight Finals and win back to back championships. But, I don’t think we’ve seen games from him (yet) that are at the level that Kobe had during the original three peat. Kobe was fantastic in those playoffs; those were the games that put him in the upper echelon of guards, not just for his era, but for all time.

  6. Also, there was a comment here before that I went to edit and deleted on accident. It spoke about us overrating Kobe and how he’s not very good because he’s not shooting 60% in games. They were made by a commenter that comes here every so often and spouts off the same topics (home court is everything; put Spiro in the booth) and rarely backs it up with anything but repetitive phrases. My apologies for deleting the comment because I really wanted to speak to your points and then remind you that we try to have intelligent discussion here…

  7. People remember Shaq dominating the Finals against bad eams like the Sixers and Nets… but few rememeber that if they gave out MVP’s for the real Finals those years (the West Finals) against the Spurs and Kings they would have gone to Kobe… it was Kobe who dominated. Against shitty teams we could just throw it down low to Shaq and he would destroy guys… but when we had to play real teams Shaq had a hard time getting good posision or even getting the ball at all (let alone finishing when he got the ball). It was Kobe who was the best player on the floor and won us those series. I hope history doesn’t forget that.

  8. What a fun question!

    More valuable is different than better player, so we have to look at how Gasol and Kobe work off each other and also at what the results are. I don’t like just looking at “facts” and not being subjective, but really, if you have more than 3 championships with Gasol who would be more valuable? We gotta let this era run its course and then, if this team gets at least one more, then we can debate the issue. But if this team gets 4 in total, then do we really need to debate it? This is not a really a question of who’s better, it’s more a question of who was more valuable in its time. And if the Gasol-Kobe era can secure one more than the Kobe-Shaq era, what era are we gonna stick with?

    But this is just my two cents. I’d love to read people’s analysis.

  9. That is a tough question. Pau is incredible, and is going to go down as one of the all-time Laker greats when he’s done writing his story, but Kobe’s contributions to the 2000-02 titles are severely undervalued historically. He was the team’s closer, had many monster playoff games, and was a defensive demon.

    I watched some of the replay of Magic’s comeback game from ’96 that followed the game tonight, and it occurred to me that Pau is sort of like a championship-level version of the player that Vlade was during his prime. Same build and fluid skill set and Euro flair, but just, well, better in every way.

  10. What a game… I was on box score refresh. Shannon’s gonna get PAID this off-season. I’m going to have to agree with Darius on this one. People really forget that during the Shaq-Kobe three-peat, the playoffs were not dominated by Shaq. Kobe and Shaq were a monster tandem that dominated other teams together. I really think calling it Shaq’s team is a misnomer, especially when we focus on the championship runs and less on the regular season statistics.

  11. I would give the edge to Kobe because of his unparalleled one on one abilities, esp in the clutch. In playoff crunchtime you need someone to be able to break people down one on one and create off the dribble. While Pau has done wonders in catalyzing the offensive flow, he can struggle to score one on one at times. He is still excellent, but just not dominant to the point that Kobe was who would take over a game and basically turn the tide of a game in a critical stretch.

    And this recipe for winning championships – consistent big men that create high efficiency offense plus a tough-minded gunner – would probably not be nearly as effective without either component.

  12. Shaq kept getting the MVP of the Finals during the 2000-2002 run because there was no really good big man in the East who was strong enough to put up a fight. In the Laker playoff runs through the West, he had to go through Sabonis, Robinson, and Duncan, and even Vlade gave him a little bit of trouble with his alternating pushing and flopping. Kobe played a bigger role in those series. But Smits was no match for Shaq in the 2000 Finals, Mutombo was no match for Shaq in the 2001 Finals, and Todd MacCulloch was no match for him in the 2002 Finals, so it was a pretty easy choice.

  13. Zephid, great to see a post from you, it has been a while, huh? Yes every time Shannon Brown takes a shot now I just EXPECT that it will go in from any distance, and this is a good feeling, indeed. When was the last time we had a PG with 6 assist? As far as the Kobe question above, yeah in the first three-peat those two were just unstoppable, and I enjoyed Kobe more for some reason in his youth.

  14. My bet is that Shannon will have the next perfect game!

  15. I would have to go with Kobe over Pau for the reasons that Darius pointed out; mainly that Kobe was the closer on those teams. Shaq won all the NBA finals MVPs when the Lakers went up against the smaller Eastern teams, but it could be argued (and I would say rightfully) that it was Kobe who was the MVP in the western conference playoffs for at least two of the 3 titles.

  16. 16: That’s an unfortunate knock against Kobe because of that. Haters will always use that argument, but conveniently forget a LOT of the time Shaq was nowhere to be seen in the last few minutes because he couldn’t make free throws consistently. A big part of Kobe being clutch is due to the fact that the role was thrusted upon him from Shaq’s lack of discipline.

    10: Pau doesn’t have Vlade’s dropstep move, but he can hit free throws in the clutch a lot better.

    Bye.

  17. The Laker bench is pretty amazing. What a change from last year. I’ll confess I am still a bit nervous about Brown because of last year – but he has done nothing but prove my doubts unfounded this year. As for Blake and Barnes, I am excited when they check in. I can’t wait to see when LO is coming off the bench, too. That is going to be some serious depth.

    The next two games will be more of a reality check for how good the Lakers are at this point.

  18. What’s striking to me is how the great play of the second unit seems to be pushing the first unit to play better and more within the system. When the first unit comes out and the second unit (usually) builds a lead, there seems to be some competitive pride from the first unit not to give any of it back. Although I’ve haven’t seen it as lacking, I’ve never seen such great playmaking and shot selection from Fish before.

  19. Kobe was a huge reason hack-a-Shaq didn’t work.

    Teams often got in the penalty fouling the big guy, then Kobe would feast at the line during crunch time. Those two complemented each other quite well, an understatement of monsterous proportions. I seem to remember Danny Ainge comparing them “Jordan and Wilt” playing together.

    As Don @12 points out, they would not have been nearly as effective w/o the other (at least during the early 2000s mini dynasty).