Around the World (Wide Web)

Phillip Barnett —  December 28, 2010

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

The guys over at 48 Minutes of Hell have a lot of Spurs/Lakers content up today, including their 4-Down Podcast where Andrew McNeill and I talk about tonight’s Lakers/Spurs matchup.

Also from 48MOH:

From Scott Sereday, 48MOH: The staple of any Phil Jackson team has long been the triangle offense. The triangle offense relies on creating space and options for skilled scorers to operate. This set produces opportunities to read and pick apart a defense, resulting in many mismatches and easy scores. This video describes the current version of the Lakers triangle offense. The Lakers can produce offense efficiently in a variety of ways. Even without Andrew Bynum, the Lakers are scoring 20.5 PPG on possessions derived from the post, tops in the league according to figures provided by Synergy Sports. The Lakers also score 10.0 PPG on possessions beginning with Kobe Bryant in isolation sets. No other individual player is responsible for more such scores. In addition, the abilities of Bryant and Pau Gasol have contributed to many easy scores for others. The Lakers score 14.6 PPG from cuts, second behind only the Magic. (A couple of these scores started as isolation or post possessions.)

From Timothy Varner, 48MOH: Varner: Very simply, what’s up with the Lakers? Are they on cruise control or is something genuinely amiss? Kamenetzky: Do I have to choose? Certainly complacency was the theme following Saturday’s embarrassing loss to the Heat. Kobe Bryant took the opportunity to take his teammates to the woodshed, saying they know how good they can be… which is the problem. Odom said the team has a problem with cockiness. To what degree their problems can be blamed on boredom is an open question. The complacency discussion to me is less about trying while on the floor- I think most nights they, at the very least, think they’re playing hard- but problems paying attention to detail. Maintaining the mental edge to make the extra pass, cut, and rotation. That sort of thing. Certainly giving a damn wouldn’t hurt, but there are other things going on.

From Mark Medina, LA Times: It’s at least a good sign the team’s taking steps to heal the wounds left from its 96-80 loss Christmas Day to the Miami Heat. But it’s unclear if a competitive practice consisting of the reserves beating the starters, Ron Artest getting a cut under his right eye and Kobe Bryant playing aggressively will make any difference Tuesday when the Lakers play at San Antonio. The Lakers had reported a solid practice two days after their double-digit loss to Milwaukee because of the two-hour length and the fact everyone practiced together. But that meant very little come Christmas Day. It remains unclear whether a simple practice and a agitated Bryant will simply cause the Lakers (21-9) to perform a complete 180-degree turn against the San Antonio Spurs (26-4).

From Chris Tomasson, NBA Fanhouse: Other than with Shaquille O’Neal, Phil Jackson hasn’t had greatness in the pivot during his coaching career. He did still win three titles with former star Bill Cartwright at center and three with never-was star Luc Longley manning the middle. So Andrew Bynum could be regarded as the second-best center Jackson has coached ever. The only problem is the Lakers’ coach can’t get him on the floor much. So pardon Jackson’s frustration regarding Bynum, who has been slow to return to form this season while coming off yet another knee injury. Jackson knows what kind of potential he has in Bynum, who is just 23 but has shown some impressive flashes in his six-year career.

From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Never let it be said Kobe Bryant doesn’t have any pull around the Lakers’ organization. After Saturday’s loss to the Heat, The Mamba promised a Monday practice full of butt whuppings. Fire and brimstone. A “wrath of God” kinda vibe. Whatever it would take to shake the Lakers into a sense of urgency. Well, as I reported earlier today, today’s session in El Segundo was a “feisty” affair, according to Phil Jackson (who, by the way, found nothing unusual in Bryant’s practice demeanor beyond some aggressiveness and his literal participation). The mood was competitive and a scrimmage was won by the reserves, which Jackson always gets a kick out of.

From The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned forward Devin Ebanks to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Ebanks, who was selected by the Lakers with the 43rd pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, has appeared in 12 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 2.9 points and 1.5 rebounds in 6.4 minutes. The 6’9” rookie will be available to play for the Jam tomorrow night in their game vs. the New Mexico Thunderbirds.

From Jevon O, Silver Screen and Roll: To put it simply, I do not think Ron Artest’s defense on Lebron James was terrible.  While I support the notion that Lebron James played a great individual game, played great team basketball, and helped his team to victory; I cannot support the assertion that the defense played by Ron Artest on Lebron James was terrible. Thinking back to yonder days of yore, I remember an article posted here many moons ago where it was discussed that Milwaukee scored a lot of points against a Laker defense that, at first glance, appeared terrible.  But after a rewatch, CA Clark discovered the Milwaukee Bucks took shots the Lakers would want them to take.  Therefore, it was not bad defense,  Milwaukee was hitting the shots, tough shots, that they were being given.  The coaching staff was pleased with the shots taken, and the Milwaukee Bucks played good basketball.  Eventually, things usually even out and the Lakers win (enter biased fan logic).

Phillip Barnett


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  1. I know I’m of the minority on this, but I believe Ron Artest had one of his better games on Saturday. It was unfortunate that he got 2 early fouls, but I thought he was aggressive offensively and played good defense. The Heat just like every other team runs pick and rolls on every play. That’s a team defensive thing. Artest can’t control whether our bigs are quick enough to show and return to their man.

    As for the Lakers as a whole, I truly believe Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol have to look at themselves in the mirror and play up to their potential. We are looking for areas to place the blame on but our 2 best players haven’t played well in our losses and that can’t happen. 1 maybe, but if both of them don’t play well, we really have no shot at beating any good teams.


  2. Rudy,
    I agree – it starts with Kobe and Pau.


  3. We’re going to lose to the Spurs tonight, too. Just a heads up.


  4. Seeing is believing, all the talk falls on deaths ears if some type of improvement is not bearing fruit in the weeks to come. The cake walk is over, teams that LA should have feasted on at the beginning of the season are no longer going to be around as frequently. Tougher competition are on the horizon, lets see if LA’s bite is as big as its bark.


  5. #3 Everclear

    I dont expect LA to win tonight either, with the Spurs playing lights out and LA still fishing for answers. It will take more than a fiesty practice to get this team out of its funk. Not saying that it will never happen, its just a little early to expect results that fast. If someone told me at the beginning of the year that this team of veterans would have seemingly lost all its identity on both ends of the court(offense and defense). I would have laughed in their face and moved to the other side of the room. The team has to get back to one or the other(preferably both) to become competitive again.


  6. Hey guys, just a note:

    The Lakers/Spurs preview will be up in the late afternoon. Any Lakers/Spurs discussion can be carried on here until then.

    Thanks for your patience!


  7. Couple of points:

    San Antonio is obviously excellent, but they have already cooled off. Recently, they have won on two buzzer beaters by the great and still mildly underrated Ginobili, beaten Memphis in OT, beaten a Denver team playing in SA without Anthony, beaten a Washington team that is 0-15 on the road playing without McGee, Blatche, and Wall; and gotten blown away by Orlando. Further, they have gotten almost nothing from Tiago Splitter and as I am sure Darius will note, there will be matchups in this game that work in the Lakers’ favor.

    All that said, I think the Spurs are going to win 60 games and finish ahead of our guys. But I think the Lakers have a great chance to win tonight.

    As to the Lakers, like a couple of people suggested in the other thread, the “It’s all mental” thing is a little old. That is, of course EXACTLY what the players and coaches should be thinking–“we can fix this and we will”–and Darius favors it as well. And there is truth in it.

    But the reality is more complex. All teams are dealing with several areas that affect performmace at all times:
    1. Limitations of the players (Shannon is not Wade, etc.)
    2. Age (being too young or too old)
    3. Physical issues
    4. Mental/focus issues
    5. Coaching
    6. Schedule/type of competition

    Looking at one aspect, #6, Hollinger has an article up today pointing out the unusual number of All-Star or near All-Star type guys on 3rd-4th tier west teams:

    Kevin Love *team played LA tough once in two tries
    Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon *team lost 87-86 to Lakers
    Luis Scola and Kevin Martin *team beat Lakers 109-99
    Monta Ellis *team has not challened Lakers
    There are no Memphis guys mentioned in the piece, but they have five guys– Mayo, Conley, MGasol, Gay, and Randolph–who are all good enough to hurt you, as the Lakers found out when they played there.
    Steve Nash *team beat Lakers 121-116

    So, I think we can get a clearer picture if we look at all these factors, and it is clear right now, looking at that one, that other than Sacto and maybe GS, there are no gimmes in the West right now.

    What I am looking for over the next few weeks:

    1. Can Bynum move better and do more, or is he just going to “play old” from now on? Can he stay on the floor at all?
    2. Can Blake be a little more of a threat on O–create some action with a pass sometimes, hit a 3 when needed, cut down on his TOs?
    3. Can Artest make a contribution on O?
    4. Will Phil give Walton a little run–maybe 8-10 MPG–to try to get the O going with some interior passing?
    5. Can the team play better team D using length and rotations to overcome slowing feet?
    6. Can Gasol break out of his funk now that he is playing more normal minutes, or is he hurt/gassed?


  8. I think some responsibility should be put on Phil. He has to make adjustments to teams playing Pau differently. Our offense has to adapt, and I think it will, if not tonight then soon. Wildly optimistic, but I feel like this is overdue: Lakers by 10+ tonight.


  9. I expect the Lakers to play well tonight and win.
    And I have stopped watching the Lakers on Christmas Day. I just DVR the game and watch it if they win or if its a close one.

    Makes for a much Merrier Christmas!


  10. If you can call a game played in December a “statement” game, then this one definitely qualifies. Kobe, Pau, Phil and co. need to win this one for many reasons, but mostly just to remind the league that they aren’t going anywhere, regardless of the recent struggles against the Bucks and Heat. I get the sense that Kobe feels this team may be slipping away from the hungry, driven teams from the past 3 years and that now is the time to try to jumpstart things. We still have over 50 games left to make up ground, so the sky is not falling (yet, anyway). Focus, execution and instinctive aggressiveness must be given absolute attention. We can talk strategy all we want, but these types of games boil down to will and want. Which team imposes their will on the game? Which team wants it more? We’ll find out tonight.