Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers/Bucks Reactions

Phillip Barnett —  December 22, 2010

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

From Janis Carr, OC Register: Phil Jackson didn’t have to caution his players about overlooking the Milwaukee Bucks. They understood the pratfalls of playing the lowly Bucks, a sub-.500 team that was missing two key players four days before Christmas. The worry was that Tuesday’s game fell between the end of a six-game trip and the highly anticipated Christmas Day game against Miami and could easily be dismissed. “It was mentioned (by the players who said) ‘don’t mess around and let this game get away from us,’ ” Jackson said. Someone wasn’t listening. The Bucks took advantage of a distracted Lakers team for a 98-79 victory at Staples Center, their first victory against the two-time defending NBA champions since 2007.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: With heads hung low, the Lakers walked toward the entrance tunnel amid a shower of boos reigning from the select few that still remained at Staples Center. Most of them had already left well before the Lakers’ 98-79 loss Tuesday to the Milwaukee Bucks became official, but the vocal disapproval capped off a day that featured very little going right for the Lakers (21-8). Some of the signs pointed back to as early as their morning shootaround. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson revealed a fender bender accident caused Kobe Bryant to arrive a half-hour late to the shootaround. Lamar Odom’s flu-like symptoms prompted Jackson to tell him to miss the morning session completely. And the challenges that come from playing its first game after a seven-game trip became too overwhelming.

From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: This is how you lose home-court advantage. When spring rolls around and the Lakers are opening a playoff series in Dallas or San Antonio or Boston, we’ll look back on nights like this and rue. Oh, will we ever rue! Earning home court in the playoffs requires you to pick off 90% of the low-hanging fruit on your schedule and then do a little better than hold your own in head-to-head matchups with the other elites. And fruit doesn’t come any lower-hanging than the Milwaukee Bucks in their current state. No Brandon Jennings, Corey Maggette or Drew Gooden. Travel-weary from having played last night in Portland. To say nothing of being, you know, just not very good, as conspicuously demonstrated by the 10-16 record they brought with them to this contest.

From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: The Bucks have one of the worst offenses in the league with Brandon Jennings, Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden in the lineup. All three were unable to suit up. While I did present a theory in November about the correlation between stagnant offense and Maggette/Gooden, it still stood to reason the shorthanded state would equal struggles scoring for Milwaukee. Reason fell to the wayside. Milwaukee shot 61 percent from the field in the first quarter (25 points), with seven assisted field goals, indicative of the unusual ease with which they operated all night. Earl Boykins may be a talented scorer, but this was his first 20+ game — off the bench, no less — in over a year. The timing of this explosion was no coincidence. Without question, there were also few miracle shots (particularly for the lil’ fella), prayers drained as the clock expired or a blocked shot bounced back into a visitor’s hands. But these shots should have been the kind pushing their deficit to 12, not padding a double digit lead.

From Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksketball: This is a team that refuses to be predictable.  One night after a discouraging effort in Portland, Milwaukee marched into Los Angeles and bullied around the Lakers like they were the Clippers. And, in theme with the absurd premise of the Bucks beating the Lakers on the road, the lead bully was 5-foot-5, 135 pounds. Earl Boykins led Milwaukee with 22 points in their 98-79 win over the Lakers, but this was done by an ensemble cast, not a man alone.  Milwaukee harkened back to the brighter days of last season, moving the ball constantly (19 assists on 37 makes), hitting 3-point shots (8-14 3FG) and getting contributions from all over (four players between 15 and 22 points).  And while playing as well as they had all season offensively, Milwaukee continuously stifled the vaunted Lakers offense, keeping them from the customary runs during which they pull away from opponents.

From Chris Tomasson, NBA Fanhouse: Lakers coach Phil Jackson said before the game that his players had been warned not to look past struggling Milwaukee on Tuesday night toward the marquee Christmas Day affair against Miami. Turns out, not everybody was listening. Forward Ron Artest even admitted it. “I didn’t hear a warning,” Artest said after his team’s surprising 98-79 loss to the Bucks at the Staples Center. “Maybe they said that.” According to Jackson, the players said it themselves after the morning shootaround. They did it on their own in the huddle at the walkthrough this morning,” Jackson said before Tuesday’s game. “It was mentioned, ‘Don’t mess around and let this game get away from you, and then ruin what we’re trying to do on Christmas.”’

Phillip Barnett


to Around the World (Wide Web): Lakers/Bucks Reactions

  1. Triangle question: Why does it seem the Lakers regularly look off Bynum or Gasol in the low block, then swing it around the top to Kobe with about 15 seconds on the shot clock, who usually goes into iso mode? Wouldn’t it make more sense to begin the offense with the old Rick Fox wing series, then use Kobe as more of a bailout if there’s nothing there? Specifically, Fish dribbles along the perimeter and passes to Ron in the corner, Drew/Pau seals and the entry pass comes to him along the baseline. This forces the D to either swarm the C in which case the kick is to Kobe, or Drew/Pau can work one on one from close range.

    For some reason, the Lakers seem to have it backwards– fake the entry pass to the big, then swing it back along the perimeter to another guard. If they’re going to play that way, and I wish they wouldn’t, maybe keep Kobe and the Center on the same side of the floor? Kobe is a player who should be used LATER in the shot clock, not earlier, right?

    Any help understanding what the hell is going on would be appreciated. And if Pau is going to be pushed off his spot by Bogut and Noah, then Perkins and Howard are going to eat him for lunch. It’s why we need AB, despite his mediocrity.


  2. “We have pretty good individual defensive players,” Jackson said. “But you can’t play defense individually.”

    That’s the money quote right there to me. In general, we’ve lost the cohesiveness as a defensive unit we had last year. Low effort and low communication. That’s what we’ve got to get back.

    I also hope we’re practicing breaking the zone. I got a good look at Dallas for the first time against Miami, and their zone defense is far, far superior to what Phoenix threw at us last year. Getting to the Finals is no longer a cakewalk. We’ll have to actively prep for teams like the Mavs and Spurs.


  3. I was so pissed last night about the Lakers performance but somehow seeing Kobe drop that massive Fbomb on the ref made it all better. That was hilarious and awesome.

    I’ll take the middle road on the importance of this game. By itself not a big deal but the larger picture points to this. If the playoffs started today we would not win the west.

    Thankfully they do not start today or even tomorrow so there is plenty of time to right the ship. For my peace of mind I’ve decided to change my perspective from looking for HCA to wanting to see this team progress to playing a very high level of basketball. That’s what these next 50 games are about. And the truth is until they get there HCA won’t be possible so let’s worry about it later.

    The good news is this laker team has the most talent in the league, has the best coach and has veteran players who understand where they need to get to. Hopefully they will focus.

    A growing part of me believes this team needs to hit bottom (the same way Miami did in Dallas). I’m not sure if last night was it but a butt kicking on Christmas on a national game followed by a loss to the Spurs might be. Hopefully last night was but if those loses are what’s needed I can live through it.


  4. Your last paragraph has been one of the big problems… against the teams that have a solid center with some size, Gasol hasn’t been able to establish good position and when he has established good position he has had issues sealing his man (especially against Noah who came around Gasol and deflected 3 entry passes in the loss to Chicago).

    That being said, they do need to look to the post more early in the offense and put the pressure on Gasol and Bynum to effectively get position and seal their defender behind them.


  5. Gone are the days of everyone blaming Kobe’s shot attempts for the losses. He has shot well under 20 times a game since the road trip started and ended, so it’s not Kobe being selfish. There are guys trying to play outside of their talents. Fish driving and Lamar taking a butt-load of threes, Shannon doin his best Kobe imitation, these things bog offense down, stop it please. And anyone else notice the bench has giving us leads the past few games, only for the starters to come in and watch it wither away?