Preview and Chat: The Miami Heat

Phillip Barnett —  December 25, 2010
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images

Records: Lakers 21-8 (Third in West) Heat 22-9 (Second in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 109.2 (Third in NBA) Heat 108.8 (Fourth in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.0 (Tenth in NBA) Heat 97.3 (Second in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Heat: Carlos Arroyo, Dwyane Wade (or Mario Chalmers), LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Injuries: Lakers: Theo Ratliff (out); Heat: Dwyane Wade (Day-To-Day, knee)

When the NBA released its schedule, this matchup was one fans immediately seeked, knowing the collective star-power between the two teams would be too much to surpass. Today, we’re finally in store for the marquee matchup between the two-time defending NBA Champions against the newest super group — The Miami Heat. The Kobe Bryant/Dwyane Wade matchup has always been an intriguing dynamic for fans of the game, so naturally, the additions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Heat made anticipation for the Lakers/Heat first meeting of the 2010/2011 season increase exponentially.

The Heat, coming in, seem to be in the process of finding their collective identity, winners of 13 of their previous 14 games, with their sole loss coming against an equally hot Dallas Mavericks team by two points. On the flip side of this matchup, we have the Lakers, who have struggled as of late, getting blown out at home against the Milwaukee Bucks after winning five straight on the road. Just a few weeks ago, the storylines of these two franchises were flipped, the Lakers were looking as if they were poised to outscore everyone who stepped foot on the hardwood while the Miami struggled to a 9-8 record through their first 17 games. At that point, anticipating the Heat’s dramatic turnaround and the Lakers propensity to struggle with sub-0.500 teams would have been awfully tough. But this is where we stand; two star-studded teams, facing off on an NBA tradition of marquee matchups on Christmas day.

Taking a look back at some of Miami’s recent games, there are a few keys the Lakers need to keep in mind if they’re going to be successful this afternoon.

The Heat on Offense:
One of the biggest problems for the Heat, and on some nights, their only problem, is their inability to consistently execute in half court sets. A lot of this problem can be attributed to Miami being a completely different team from what they were just eight months ago, and the rest of it can be attributed to the fact that both LeBron and Wade have been ball-dominant offensive players, not having to play many minutes off of the ball since they’ve entered the league. Until both guys are comfortable playing off of the ball, there will be long stretches of Heat offense where we see shots off of one pass, or unintentional isolations plays because no one moves. This isn’t always necessarily a bad thing as LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh are all fantastic in one-on-one situations, but it does get them in a lot of trouble when they’re playing against teams that don’t turn the ball over. Earlier this week, Darius e-mailed me, expressing the same concerns for Miami’s half court offense:

When this team has to play strictly half court sets, they get bogged down more easily (though that’s been improving too) because they end up running monotonous P&R’s where either Wade or James are relegated to weak side spot up options where their men can become helpers without getting burned by it.  The Heat have been trying to counter this more with baseline cuts by Wade and Lebron when the high P&R is being run and that’s been effective, but they don’t do it enough that it’s a staple of their sets.  Suffice to say, if you can keep this team in the half court and make anyone but James Jones and Mike Miller (and Eddie House) spot up shooters, you’ve got a good chance of watching their O struggle.

Let’s take a look at some game film in their loss against Dallas. In this first clip, we have a Chris Bosh isolation on Tyson Chandler. The play begins with a double screen from LeBron and Wade across the lane to the right block with Carlos Arroyo handling the ball on the right wing. After Arroyo makes the entry pass, he cuts through the lane with Wade spotting up at the top of the key, LeBron spotting up on the left wing and Ilgauskas on the left block. After Arroyo clears to the left corner, the offensive movement is finished, with Chris Bosh taking a contested, fall away jumper in the paint over a 7-foot Tyson Chandler with three other Mavericks in the paint. Bosh knocked down the shot, but a defense can live with that.

This second clip shows Miami running a set with a double high screen with the big who he takes the screen from popping up top (Bosh) and the weak side big rolling to the basket (Ilgauskas) with Wade handling the ball. After taking Bosh’s screen Wade goes toward the basket, get directed to go down the baseline to the left corner, where he takes five non-productive dribbles while the rest of the team and all five Maverick defenders stand around watching him. The defense doesn’t have to rotate from one side of the floor to the other until the shot clock is down to eight seconds left after a skip pass goes to Carlos Arroyo on the right wing. He ends up getting run off of the three pointer by Jason Kidd and turning the ball over.

What the Lakers are going to have to do against this Miami team is make them run as much offense as possible in the half court, and while in the half court, make them jump shooters. The Lakers team makeup is not far from what Dallas’ is in regards to size. With at least two of the Lakers’ bigs in at all times (Pau, LO, ‘Drew, or — if he gets the opportunity to see the floor — Joe Smith) and the Lakers trio of good individual perimeter defenders (Artest, Kobe, Barnes), the Lakers have the right group of guys who can keep LeBron and Dwyane out of the lane, keeping their field goal attempts outside of the paint. Like Darius said, if you can make this team jump shooters, hand have the right guys taking the shots, this offense will struggle. However, as the cliché says, it’s much easier said than done.

The Heat on Defense:
One of the biggest reasons for the Heat’s turnaround is their perimeter defense, which is ostensibly, this team’s biggest strength. In the NBA, it is rare to see a team so collectively aggressive defensively on the perimeter, and the way the Heat play on that end of the floor really has a college feel to it. Both LeBron and Dwyane Wade are fantastic perimeter defenders, but Mario Chalmers can also hold his own with a lot of good perimeter scorers. They pick up men high, and create a lot of pressure, covering up what they lack defensively in the front court. And of course, their ability to create turnovers up top plays to their greatest offensive advantage — an open court. Both Wade and James are nearly unstoppable on the break, and creating turnovers and bad shots on the defensive end is exactly how they get things going. Darius has seen a lot of the same things from this Heat team:

The Heat’s perimeter defense is just tremendous.  With Lebron and Wade both on the wings, they always seem to be able to help in the paint and then recover back to shooters to ensure that three point shots are contested or that shooters are ran off the line completely.  This is one of the reasons that their defensive efficiency is so strong and why their interior defense doesn’t suffer.  When looking at hoopdata, they actually give up the third lowest number of shots up at the rim and have the best FG% against at the rim in the league.  That’s not because of Bosh, Joel Anthony, and Big Z.  It’s because their wings help defend the paint expertly when the ball gets down there and because their wing defense is so strong that they don’t give up the driving lanes that lead to shots at the rim like most teams do.

One more thing about the Heat on defense is that they don’t throw a lot of double teams at guys. Darius mentioned that both James and Wade are brilliant help-side defenders, and they use their help as a faux double-team. There have been a plethora of instances where, instead of sending a double team, either James or Wade have baited entry passes playing from the weak side and come down the lane to strip a big or have been in position to make a layup preventing block. Without James and Wade, the Gasol-Odom-Bynum triumvirate would have a field day against this Miami front court, but with James and Wade lurking, the number of easy buckets for the bigs might be reduced by the presence of great help side defense.

However, as we saw with the Lakers early in the season, that overly aggressive perimeter defense can come with a cost of being beat back door, something I saw even with bigs like Tyson Chandler and Dirk in the Dallas game. Considering this, I think Matt Barnes can have a huge game, as he moves as well as anyone in the league without the ball. If the Lakers can move the ball, and move without the ball, they can counter the Heat’s aggressiveness with easy buckets. We see offenses taking advantage of aggressive defenses in football all the time with screen passes and draw run plays. The same principles can be used on the hardwood with passes to the pinch post and back door cuts — as long as the offense continues to move. The Lakers have the right offense, and the right personnel to do these things, it’s just a matter of getting it done. The Lakers have the propensity, much like the Heat, to stand around and watch sometimes.

I have no doubt that the Lakers have all of the right tools to beat the Heat, it’s just a matter putting those tools to use. I think the winner of the first quarter wins this game. Whoever is able to execute their game plan earlier is going to have a huge leg up because the Heat is a team that goes on huge runs at a time, for long periods of time. No team in the NBA rides momentum within individual games better than the Heat. I look forward to an exciting Christmas Day game.

Lastly, I wanted to wish all of you (even the Celtics fans) a Merry Christmas from all of us here at Forum Blue and Gold. Enjoy the game, the holiday and the time with your families and let’s hope the Lakers get this win.

Phillip Barnett

Posts

84 responses to Preview and Chat: The Miami Heat

  1. For Warren (and Christmas)!

  2. merry christmas

  3. This one’s for Warren! Merry Christmas everyone, hope we get a gift in a Lakers victory.

  4. Any links for the game?

  5. I’m already tired of this game. The lakers aren’t getting any calls. How can you win when officiating is blatantly one sided

  6. Also doesn’t help when you can’t make a goddamn basket. 21% shooting so far. That’s pathetic.

  7. How about this? Go inside and finish with a DUNK.

    A DUNK! You know, both hands, some violence, stuff it through the hoop and dare anyone to stick their hand in the way. A DUNK!

    Absolutely one of the two things that drives me crazy about Gasol’s game. He rarely dunks, and rarely rebounds with both hands in traffic.

  8. Yeah, was just thinking the same thing – you can’t breathe on LBJ (Artest can testify) without getting called for a foul, but Kobe can’t get a call, irrespective of what goes in the paint… Imagine what the playoffs will be like…

  9. Just like last Christmas, Gasol getting owned by Big Z’s defense. Kobe obsessed with the battle with Wade.

    Gasol and Kobe: 0-10 to start.

    When exactly do the Lakers intend to show up against a good team?

  10. Pau better grow some and finish like a man and stop putting up weak fadeaways

  11. Pau is 0-7 so far and just let a 90-yr old Juwan Howard blow by him. Wow.

  12. 24% from the field, -4 foul differential, Pau struggling, LBJ being untouchable, and down only 6? Given the circumstances, I’ll take it.

  13. You know, usually if the Lakers don’t play their best they can just out talent a team, but that will not work against this Heat team, their defense is way to strong.

  14. Good perspective Zephid, but the problem is that this is how Miami plays. I guess I’ll go glass half full and say that all of Pau’s 7 bricks have come within 7 feet. Hopefully we can keep getting those looks and Pau will remember he’s a great player.

  15. i think i remember watching this game last christmas.

  16. How often do we go over this? In order to get calls going in your direction you must be aggressive.

    You must attack the rim, you must hold your ground, you must move your feet on defense.

    The Lakers do that very, very rarely. When they do, it is wonderful. When they don’t it is normal.

  17. Hey why are we surprised this is same team we have seen the past month and a half, piss poor offense, turnovers, and allowing the opponent to shoot uncontested jumpers.

  18. I say this a lot, but… if you are going to foul someone, FOUL THEM HARD. Don’t allow the shot.

    First Barnes, now Odom.

    Hit someone.

  19. Hey, at least the Celtics lost. If the Lakers can somehow pull this out, this Christmas won’t be so bad after all.

  20. Lakers, I am not surprised at all. And what is funny is that many people on thisd site say we should not be concerned because it is still early in the season.

  21. we need to stop double teaming. we always do it, and we always get burned, usually by a 3. just man up, stay with ur own man, and dont leave ur man wide open to double on some fool in the post !!!

  22. is that gasol in the post, or kwame brown? big game, man up pau.

  23. The lakers are lucky they aren’t down more because the heat have missed many of their wide open 3s

  24. After Pau’s amazing start to the season, he has really regressed. I am one of his biggest proponents, but i am absolutely tired of seeing him take it up soft. Take the ball to the f&%#ing hoop!

  25. How many wide open jumpers will they give Chris Bosh?

  26. lol ron trying to provoke james.

  27. I finally found a team that Phx is better than defensively. Us.

  28. 10 points then go passive for a quarter and a half? Take it to the hole.

  29. We could be down a lot more than we are, and I hope we can pull off a win, I hope. The C’s losing almost makes a Laker loss today palatable, huh?

  30. 21, you said the same things the past two seasons, and they turned out ok. I agree that the Lakers aren’t playing great, but I’d hope that you realize the Lakers team we see now will not be the team we see in June. They may be better; they may be worse, but they certainly won’t be the same.

    Ron has been great today. The two ticky tack calls he got while breathing on Lebron early in the 1st quarter really hurt us. Someone needs to show Lebron how to be a man and not a whiny bitch, who better than Ron.

  31. Today Pau is weak. The way he’s attacking in the post is weak, the way he trapping on screens is weak, the way he’s rebounding the ball defensively. Kobe has to spoon feed him to get him going. I second that he needs go grow some. If lakers want a shot at winning Bynum is needs to play at least 12 minutes in the second half. Odom can’t defend bosh and big z continues to shut odom down. Sad the lakers need to get it together

  32. Zephid…the teams this season are better than they were the last two seasons. Of course the Lakers will be playing better come June, but homecourt may be the difference maker big time. That is why I am concerned and why I think this team should not wait until June to turn it up.

  33. Family time has kept me away from commenting but the difference I’ve seen has been Miami’s shooting and Bosh’s great work while the Lakers have missed too many bunnies. I can understand the frustration with Pau’s inside play, but a few of his shots looked good only to roll off the rim. If he gets those same looks next half, I expect them to fall.

    Obviously, right now things aren’t looking great but one push will get this game even. If the Lakers can sustain that push, they’ll close the game in the manner we all want.

  34. @32. I think you meant Big Z continues to shut Pau down. And yes, Bynum needs to get more minutes in the second half, and Pau needs to go up stronger.

  35. Funny how it seems as if this Miami squad has been playing together longer than our Lakers team …. We seem, dare I say, Intimidated/Scared …. We’re having Problems against there Size, which was suppose to be an Advantage for us coming in.

  36. This defense is pathetic

  37. Can we f-ing guard someone?! Anyone?! Stop allowing dribble penetration!

  38. And, as was pointed out in one of the articles leading up to the game, the Lakers are often terrible on Christmas.

    Bah! Humbug!

  39. I mean…I dont even want to think about that Spurs game on Tuesday at this point lol…..

  40. Glad to know big Z has outplayed Gasol

  41. I have always liked Big Z, BTW. He is a good fantasy player in those somewhat deep leagues. Heck, the Lakers will have Kobe the complete 4th it sounds like, so maybe he will take over the game, you know, mamba time.

  42. some of the worst defense I’ve ever seen. The fans deserve more then that.

  43. Game Over the Lakers cant get stops and the offensive end is even more pathetic, it’s time for a team meeting

  44. I understand that the Heat are playing good D, but I feel like the Lakers are trying to thread the needle when they’re making passes inside the paint. It’s driving me crazy.

  45. How long can we fans Defend the Lakers poor play with statements like “games in Dec don’t matter?” pretty soon, it will be April and the Lakers will still be playing like it’s Dec. I’m really disappointed that I’ve come to expect losses like this one.

    Another irritating Christmas day effort. Boo.

  46. I had to check their jerseys to make sure I wasn’t watching a replay of last Christmas’ game against the Cavs.

  47. Van Gundy is an absolute idiot

  48. 838 was the mean price for this game, last time I checked. Good thing my dad didn’t surprise me with tickets.

    They came out intimidated and completely rattled, missed tons of bunnies and were generally nervous. I remember writing a comment last year after they won talking about how they could beat anybody with any weapon as long as they move the ball and played D. I still firmly stand by that because its the truth but this team is just not clicking. I don’t understand this.

  49. this is embarrassing.

  50. No need to worry guys, it is ONLY December and we all know the Lakers will be much better around April when they won’t have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.

    I am really impressed by the Heat though, they have maybe even better defense than the Celtics. Pau cannot dominate inside because he clearly can’t shoot over Big Z. That aspect of the Lakers game was completely gone today. Not really such a big size advantage for the lakers like people have thought.

  51. This was just a practice game against the Heat, so that we know what to expect in June, right? I do believe that PJ will walk away with some good data to analyze from the last two games and the Lakers will be OK down the road, and I will be along for the ride.

  52. If the Lakers lose to the Spurs on Tuesday I will begin to worry about this team until they can prove otherwise

  53. back to back home losses by what…18, 19 points each night? doesnt matter that its the heat, and that they’re good, something is wrong. you can all say what you want about december games, but we don’t look anywhere close to a championship caliber team. i’m starting to worry.

  54. great game for the heat who clearly outplayed the lakers but i gotta say we really need bynum at 100 percent capacity anything less than that and we simply wont win in the end. many things can happen between now and april i hope the lakers can turn it around. they definitely have the capability to get better so its not over yet. looking forward to the rest of the season. on a final note i have to say the heat were very physical but that means either u dont call any contact unless its clearly a foul or you swallow your whistle cant have it both ways.

  55. This game came down to one thing: intensity. Miami had more of it.

  56. I think everyone has a reason to worry about the lakers because they have the toughest remaining schedule left out of any NBA team, and they are already 5 games behind the Spurs and they will probably lose Tuesday night as well

  57. And Kobe is boiling on the sideline…they won’t forget about this game.

  58. Bynum needs to start playing with the starters. We need his defense and Lamar playing with the bench. Also, hope the coaching staff considers teaching our team how to foul – and by foul, I mean hit someone hard, to the ground for f’ing sakes…Oh, and I guarantee a loss to SA Tuesday night if we keep turning the ball over and laying passes into the lane

  59. i don’t even feel steve blake playing lol…i think phil was experimenting on the line ups?…

  60. Adam, I hope so. But then again, you would have thought that they wouldn’t have forgotten about losing to a high school team in the Bucks the other night.

  61. Van Gundy and any idiot who says Kobe didn’t play well today is clueless, he tried to play facilitator and his team failed him. Normally Kobe would have jacked up 30+ shots but he played within the offense instead of trying to gun his way back into the game. The guy cant win either way

  62. It’s stunning how difficult the Lakers make offense look.

    their utter terror at the sight of LeBron continues and it’s time to start talking about what exactly is going to be different as the season progresses?

    This team looked nervous and as if they just met two hours before the game. All it takes is Zydrunas Ilgauskas to eliminate their “size advantage” and none of our wings are threats to draw fouls or get to the rim. We don’t shoot threes well….So what challenges are we providing opposing defenses? And what exactly is going to change? More time from Bynum I suppose…but this was just a lifeless effort from a team coming off ANOTHER 20 POINT HOME LOSS.

    I’m really tired of this whole “bored by the regular season attitude.” Lakers as of right now, are a second tier NBA team. They have no hope against Boston, Miami, San Antonio, and maybe not even Dallas, as of today. Again, I ask, what’s going to change to put the Lakers in the class of these other teams? The most disturbing part of today was the lack of fight and energy, categories in which this week they aren’t even a second tier NBA team.

    Bah Humbug!!!!!

  63. Now I must say, yes the Heat are good, but the way Jeff Van Gundy praised them like they are the best team ever, he ought to marry the couch and go out to a special dinner with the whole team.

  64. Thank you, Magic, for calling this team out instead of the standard “ho hum, it’s just another game, no big deal”. It’s too bad the team doesn’t feel the same way.

  65. Lakers, take an intensity and defense class. Sorry. Lebron showed up in different colors and still owned us.

  66. Lakers lose big to Lebron on xmas= We win the Champ and Lebron doesn’t even conted for the title.

  67. Watched the whole game. While the Lakers kept it close for a little bit, every shot we got was contested and most of theirs were wide open. I’m not sure doubling so far away does a whole lot of good. It was the same way we treated Pierce in 08 in the finals and it makes it for to much recovering and help D.
    Everyone is giving a lot of credit to Big Z, but ever since Pau tweaked his hammy he’s been a different and more passive player. Big z had 1 job, play defense and roam in the key, Gasol has much more responsibility and hasn’t had the energy for it for most of December.
    Kobes tech was a joke, considering on the following four plays Lebron and Wade did the same stuff (arms in air stare down of ref), but throughput much of the season ( aside from maybe the first 8 games), we just haven’t been a physical team and when we try we get the refs wrath for it.
    Lakers need a shake up of something. The killer B’s were killing us tonight, because they were terrible, and Blakes jumpsuit has been unwatchable. We are not a threat on the break, even when we get stops, cuz none of our guys are very speedy. We need to find a way to get some easy offense that doesn’t wear on Kobe and Gasol all game, or we will continue to get the same result as tonights fourth quarter. We cut it to ten, momentum was our way and all of the sudden stupid mistakes made it sixteen again.
    And Artest, while he played ok D tonight, is such a non factor on O right now that with fisher out there and Odom on the 3 point line we are a 2 threat weapon, which for good teams is guard able. Artest had 3 wide open blown layups tonight, and not because he was defended, but because she can’t jump anymore.

    Time for our team meerig

  68. Team meeting.*. Sorry having editing problems.

  69. Yes Noles, you know what the team will say, “It was just a loss like any, we are just looking to improve as the season goes on, we will be fine.”

  70. Obviously Pau is struggling as of late, and as usual, he’s struggling against big, long centers. We need to get him going early, like we tried to tonight, but we need to get him going against opposing 4′s, not 5′s. This is why we need to start Pau at the 4 with Bynum. Pau would have been posting bosh instead of Big Z and things might have been different…

    I dunno if this is the answer to all our problems, but who knows. Also, Bynum needs to play physical d. He needs to intimidate. Even if he gets some fouls, he needs people to fear him.

    aside from that, i just pray we get it together. i haven’t seen our defense look this bad in a while, and I’m worried.

  71. Blake jumpsuit meant as jumpshot

    Artest meant as he.

    Big z one job, defense by roaming in key

  72. Jordan you make a good point that Bynum needs to be more intimidating because he really is not nor as he ever been for a big center. People talk about how we needed Bynum back because of how physical and tough he is, but he really isn’t that much more tough than Gasol. I did like Artest’s defense on Lebron, but he was just very hot today, especially beyond the arc.

  73. The biggest problems I saw were:

    1. Simply, how good Wade and James are. If you let Bosh hurt you as well, Miami is almost unbeatable.
    2. Blake. He is tight, out of sync, and a liability.
    3. Bynum. With the big brace and some extra bulk, he’s playing like he is 35.
    4. Not enough movement off the ball. Miami plays the passing lanes, looking for steals. The way to combat that is back cuts.
    5. Dampier and Ilguaskas negated the Lakers’ supposed size advantage and Bosh ouplayed Lamar, Andrew, and Pau. He was the best big on the court today.

    Basically, Miami (and Boston) and probably Dallas and San Antonio, are simply better than the Lakers are right now.

  74. Artest was taken out of the game by two ticky-tacks early in the 1st quarter, which allowed Lebron to get hot. Lebron is a great player and once he’s got it going no matter how good a defender Artest is, he can’t stop a player like Lebron once he gets it going. Just think about a defensive player stopping Kobe once he get’s it going.

    This game came down to our interior offense and defense, excuse me, this game came down to our lack of interior offense and defense.

  75. Kobe played like crap. He spent most of his energy throwing adolescent tantrums against the officiating crew. A player like Stephen Jackson would have been headed to the showers early after that kind of childish petulance.

    But, hey, he’s the Mamba so he can never be criticized. It’s probably Sasha’s fault.

  76. Chearn, when you say Artest got called for two early ticky tacks do you mean when LeBron was T’d up for Ron trying to, er, bend his neck or when Ron was holding LeBron … on an inbounds play … RIGHT IN FRONT OF the official?

  77. My heart has a splitting pain. I’m sad for the Lakers loss, but at the same time I’m happy for Spoelstra’s win. Yes, you heard it right! Since learning he’s half-Filipino I’ve been rooting for him.

    I wish these teams meet again in the Finals and for the Lakers to win that 18th, and after that may Erik’s team win the Finals year after year. But please Lord, don’t put him on the green team.

  78. My post got deleted but #76 made it through? Wow, it has been a bad day.

  79. My post got deleted but #77 made it through? Wow, it has been a bad day.

  80. The two 1st quarter fouls that brought Barnes in off the bench with less than 5 minutes played in the quarter.

    Early on people were touting Pau as the best player on the Lakers, and were even including him in conversations for MVP. An MVP candidate finds a way to make his presence known in the game even when they are struggling offensively. Pau is neither rebounding, protecting the paint nor is he imposing his will on offense. When Pau was getting accolades early in the season he was playing the center position, and now that he’s struggling to play against quality big men/teams, all of a sudden he needs to play the 4 spot to be effective.

    No doubt, Pau is playing out of position, but there are tons of players in the NBA that are not playing their position but they do what’s necessary for their teams to win.

    The Lakers Achilles heel is their lack of speed and shooting; at the 30 game mark this need has not been addressed. They could go along way in putting a band-aid on this need by taking better care of the basketball, rebounding, finishing at the rim and playing D-E-F-E-N-S-E!

    The Lakers need to adjust their approach to games, they made the excuse that the Lakers would get better when Andrew came back, then they had the ‘trap’ game, then the excuse was that the Christmas game was irrelevant to what they’re trying to accomplish this year.

    Even though the Lakers did not garner attention this summer because they were over shadowed by the Heat, make no doubt that the Lakers are the leagues most hated/despised/envious team in the league. And, every opposing team is going to play at their optimum level of play when facing the Lakers.

  81. The difference between regular season game and playoff performances is ADJUSTMENTS. Every team gets tougher and tougher as the season goes. Its not that Lakers are weak but these Heat team is so good and they played a great defense.

  82. “The idea of perfect closes your mind to new standards.. When you drive hard toward one ideal, you miss opportunities and paths, not to mention hurting your confidence. Believe in your potential and then go out and explore it; don’t limit it.” – John Eliot, Ph.D.