Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Darius Soriano —  December 28, 2010

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Records: Lakers 21-9 (3rd in West), Spurs 26-4 (1st in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.3 (2nd in NBA), Spurs 112.9 (1st in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.0 (11th in NBA), Spurs 104.3 (9th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Spurs: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, DeJaun Blair, Tim Duncan
Injuries: Lakers: Theo Ratliff (out); Spurs: James Anderson (out)

The Lakers Coming in:  We’ve discussed the state of the Lakers at length in the last couple of days and needless to say it’s not a pretty picture.  Spotty execution on both sides of the ball combined with inconsistent focus and energy has led to suspect play and poor results.  This team has had two blowout losses at Staples, so what the Lakers couldn’t do at home, they now look to do on the road, traveling to San Antonio tonight to face their 2nd top level team in the last three days.

At this point, there’s no predicting what type of performance the Lakers are going to put forward in this game.  For weeks now, Phil Jackson has been pointing to this game (as well as the Hornets game tomorrow) as one that is important to his team.  The Spurs represent a potential playoff opponent and currently sit above the Lakers in the standings.  With those factors being the case, you’d hope that the Lakers have their best effort ready for a conference foe that they have extensive history against.  But after talking a good game leading up to the Heat match up and the result being altogether forgettable (at least I’m trying to forget it), there really is no telling what the Lakers will offer up tonight.

The Spurs Coming in: The Spurs boast the league’s best record and it’s not an accident.  They combine discipline and flexibility to get the most out of their players and do so consistently.  Greg Popovich has once again shown that by coaching his players and developing them in a manner that both plays to their strengths and fit into his schemes, he can build a contender even when many were beginning to count this group out.

However, the way that they’re getting the job done is inverted from their traditional mode of success.  Rather than being a suffocating defensive team that scores enough points to get wins, the Spurs now possess the NBA’s most efficient offense with a defense that can get the stops it needs.  And rather than relying on Tim Duncan to anchor their sets, they’re relying more than ever on the fantastic guard play of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.  Both Tony and Manu have strung together great years and it’s because Coach Pop has loosened the reigns and given them the green light to attack at will without having to slow down the tempo to accommodate an aging Duncan.

Don’t get me wrong, Duncan is still a force and his ability to get needed baskets from the low post against all types of defense a major factor to this teams’ success.  But more than ever this team is blending the unique skills of their guards with the methodical precision of their big man.  This isn’t the cleanest comparison, but this team has sort of moved into the phase that the Showtime Lakers did when Magic became the focal point of the team with an aged Kareem taking a backseat to the dynamic young play maker.  The team is running  more, going to P&R heavy sets in the half court even more often, and using more wing isolations, but still incorporating Timmy as a post threat and initiator to keep him involved.  And as this shift has taken another step forward this year, the Spurs are again a contender.  It seems the more things change the more they stay the same.

Spurs Blogs:  As we highlighted this morning, 48 Minutes of Hell is a fantastic Spurs site that puts out top notch material every day. Give them a read and get smarter about the Spurs.

Keys to the Game:  Despite the contrast leveled in the previous sections of this preview, this is a very winnable game for the Lakers.  If there’s one franchise that the Lakers have experience playing, have a great respect for, and understand what it takes to beat, it’s the Spurs.  You combine that with San Antonio coming off it’s worst performance of the year and the Lakers looking to redeem themselves from their recent stinker performances, and the ingredients for a great game from the Lakers are in place.

To get it done, though, the Lakers need to get back to the execution that it exhibited earlier in the season.

Offensively, the Lakers need to attack the Spurs weaknesses with off ball movement to occupy defenders while attacking quickly and decisively with the ball.  This is a game where Kobe can really impact the game by coming out with an aggressive mentality to score the ball.  He’s traditionally had great success against the Spurs because they really don’t have that top notch defender that can give him fits (ala Nic Batum or Sefalosha) and because of his familiarity with the Spurs’ defensive schemes, Kobe is often able to get to his spots on the floor to get off shots he’s comfortable taking.  So, tonight would be a good night for aggressive Kobe to make an appearance to really set the tone in a road game.

But in the background his teammates must also understand their roles within the sets by setting good screens and cutting hard off the ball to put themselves in position to receive the ball and score for themselves when Kobe picks them out.  By cutting and screening hard, the other players will not only occupy defenders and limit their ability to help, but they’ll open themselves up when the Spurs do commit any extra defenders to help on Kobe.  Ultimately, I hope to see Kobe attack from both the post and from the short wing with mid range jumpers and quick drives before the defense can help on him and then pick out his mates when the Spurs send extra defenders his way.

As for the Lakers big men, I hope to see them be more active off the ball in order to get going.  In recent games, most of Lamar and Pau’s games have revolved around them creating for themselves either off the dribble or in isolations from the mid and low post.  Tonight, I’d like to see them use the motions of the offense better and more consistently to get the ball on the move or in space where they can be quick to take shots in the rhythm of the Triangle.  I’d  also like to see more of the Lakers hand-off sequences between Pau and Lamar where Gasol has the ball at the elbow and Odom comes off his shoulder for an attack move to his strong hand.  The Spurs’ lack of front court quickness should enable this set to be successful and really get both LO and Pau going as any over compensation on this play will mean that Pau too can get some easy shots at the rim by faking the handoff and pivoting inside for a quick drive.  Tonight really is a night where Pau can get going.  Even though Timmy is one of the all time great defenders, Pau has quickness advantages and should be able to get his shots if he’s active moving off the ball decisive when he makes the catch.

Defensively, the Lakers two biggest weaknesses will be tested as the Spurs are sure to try and push the ball at every occasion (especially Parker) and they’ll also run multiple P&R’s to try and penetrate the interior of the Lakers D.  While it will be easier said than done, the Lakers will have effectively get back in transition and build a wall against Parker’s one man fast breaks.  Parker loves to push the ball even when he doesn’t have a man advantage and force his way to the rim so he can show off his expert ability to finish at the cup.

When defending the P&R, the Lakers will need to decide what they’re comfortable giving up and then execute their scheme consistently without losing faith.  I’m hoping the Lakers make both Parker and Ginobili jumpshooters by going under screens and making them consistently make 18-20 footers to get their points.  Both players are just too dangerous when they’re able turn the corner and get into paint as Parker is deadly with his floater and Ginobili is one of the craftiest finishers in the league.  So even if these guys start to knock down jumpers, I’d rather start to make adjustments to contest those shots with big men hedging out while still having guards go under screens rather than give up the edge to two guys that finish so well in the paint.

In the end, though, both of these teams are familiar enough with each other’s schemes that this game will likely come down to a star (or two) from either team stepping up to seize control.  Whether it’s Kobe, Gasol, and/or Odom or the Spurs big three of Duncan, Parker, or Ginobili, this game could easily turn because one or more of these guys makes the game his own.  So, while role players like the improved Richard Jefferson or Ron Artest may have a good game in support of one of the stars, I do have a feeling that tonight will come down to one of the aforementioned difference makers.

Where you can watch: 5:30pm start time out west on KCAL and on NBA TV.  Also listen at ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

Posts

103 responses to Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. gol dang, the word encyclopedic comes to mind. Can’t they just press the “on” switch?

  2. I think win or lose, the Lakers are going to play very hard and serious and give a good performance!

  3. For Warren!

    I find myself realizing that the only thing to do is sit back and watch. All the will-they-won’t analyzing is starting to feel like bad relationship drama. At this point I think the only thing I say definitively about this team is that I have no idea how good they are or how good they will be. Which honestly is better than more than half of the NBA teams which already know they suck

  4. “Which honestly is better than more than half of the NBA teams which already know they suck”

    Could not agree more, Jeremy.

  5. A little aggression to start the game is nice to see. Now if they can keep it up that would be nice.

  6. Man Artest took the media insinuations personally. Can’t remember the last time (this season) I saw him being an aggressive driver instead of standing quietly behind the arc.

    Manu has quicker hands than I remember.

  7. That foul was nowhere near as bad as the announcers (NBA TV) made it out to be. It was hard but not violent

  8. It was so rare seeing Kobe aggressively close out that it came as an actual visual shock. But our closeouts are getting better, especially on the corner shooters.

  9. Cant Kb24 stopping shotting for a while ?

  10. End of 1: What can you do but LOL?

  11. 22-6 Spurs in the last 8:30 of the Quarter

  12. The Lakers did come out inspired tonight, to bad in the last minutes the Spurs extended their lead. Yeah, Bynum to the hole hard.

  13. Man the NBA TV commentary makes me want to shoot my laptop. Now watching the rest of the game with the speakers muted.

  14. Last 6 min: 4 misses and 3 TO.

  15. I must admit I am suprised by the lakers performance so far. I expected the lakers to lose on Christmas especially considering they even admitted they didn’t want to play on the holiday. How can this team be so bad with all that talent on the floor and the best coach of all time?

  16. This is an absolutely lost basketball team. 2 points in 6 minutes to close out the quarter, turnovers, and NO ENERGY OR URGENCY. the Lakers are just watching San Antonio play. I never thought a team with this much talent could make offense look so difficult. They look as if they have absolutely no hope of winning, and there are THREE QUARTERS LEFT!!!!!

  17. I haven’t been watching the Spurs much lately, but unless things have changed dramatically, Matt Bonner should not be able to guard Pau Gasol one-on-one.

  18. I’m puzzled as to why Popovich ordered no doubles, but even more puzzled as to why Phil hasn’t gone to Gasol more in the post.

  19. RE: Snoopy’s Kobe closeouts – agreed.

  20. When Lamar sees Matt Bonner guarding him on the wing, he should just get the rest of the team to clear out and imagine the basket is a giant Peachy Ring. Go get it!

  21. anybody got a link to an online feed of the game?

  22. The only guy who showed up to back up Kobe was tiny Steve Blake.

  23. Really George Hill? That’s Kobe Freaking Bryant. You have NOTHING to say to that guy.

  24. me like confident Ron Artest. Much better than tentative Ron Artest.

  25. I think Fisher was thinking he hadn’t been involved recently and needed to do something dumb. In the words of TreeBeard, “A wizard should know better!”

  26. Bynum with the powerful rebound.

  27. Why can’t Kobe not suck on offense?

  28. Up 2 at the break with Kobe a brick/turnover machine for the entire 2nd quarter? I’ll take it.

    Few teams have lived to tell about what happened when the Mamba gets angry, and I think it’s safe to say Kobe’s in the red right now.

  29. R.J. – thing is, he doesn’t have the physical ability to dominate now, so it’s a lot harder to rely on your jumper, especially when it’s cold like this. So basically, I doubt he could turn it on as easily as he once could when he’s mad.

  30. let’s start doubting Kobe now, just so he can prove us wrong.

    I hope he can still do that.

    Dejavu style offensive boards by Dejuan Blair…

    We’re down 3 points with TD scoring 0 points.

  31. Do we ever practice shooting?! Make a damn basket!!

  32. Is Kobe sick ?

  33. Then again, I think having a 0-point scoring, 0/6 TD is much better than having Kobe shoot 4/17

  34. With how many turnovers again? 6?

  35. if we lose this game Kobe can only blame himself for it.

    12 missed shots in a row, 5 turnovers, and leaving 3 point shooters wide open? yea kobe, that’s on you.

    move the ball and you get better shots on offense and you have more energy for your defense!

  36. wow….kobe cant just buy one. hes getting some decent looks too…for him at least.

    and hes been careless with the ball all game too

    lakers need to make use of pau/bynum right now. whoever duncans not guarding, theyve had good success

  37. Damn, TD is 0 points and Manu is 1-7 on FGS…but Spurs still has the lead. No offense on LA right now. Finally, Drew had a dunk. They should took the ball to Bynum.

  38. unbelieveable. i never would have envisioned this season being like this

  39. i dont see any game plan in action.

  40. Kobe is not as good as he used to be, he is coming out of his prime. I said the same thing last year and up until the Celtic series he actually played really good in the playoffs. Maybe he is really starting to lose it a bit. When Kobe takes a lot of shots, the Lakers don’t normally win.

  41. everyone says throw it in to pau, but honestly, whenever he gets it, he isn’t doing anything with it. kobe is taking and missing a ton of shots, but pau doesn’t even look like he wants to play.

  42. 1 QTr SA + 9
    2 QTR LAL + 11
    3 QTR SA +11

    Crazy game !

  43. Kobe played well throughout the Finals, with the debatable exception of Game 7. But that’s a story for another day. Let’s not hammer on the guy. He’s not playing well right now, but he’s still capable of being the best player in the league on any given night. Phil expects him to play the entire 4th, having rested him at the end of the 3rd. Let’s see how we close it out.

  44. They should give Bynum the ball right now. He’s in rhythm and Spurs double teaming him and Bynum should kick out the ball to the shooters.

  45. guys,

    Stop acting like a bunch of scared girls and relax. No one is happy with how the team is playing right now, with how Kobe is shooting right now and with everything else Lakers. But rarely is a team or player as bad as they seem when things are at their worst. Think back to the end of last regular season or in the 2009 playoffs and then slap yourself. Kobe does not suck, the team is not terrible and the Laker Girls are not fat etc, etc. As I said at the beginning I have no idea how good this team is but I am quite sure you don’t either.

  46. Very disappointing.

  47. Of course he can play like the best player in the league, but he just can’t do it consistently anymore like a Lebron James can is all I am saying. The guy is still great don’t get me wrong.

  48. Highs and lows, ebbs and flows. All we can do is weather it. Better now than later in the season, right?

  49. this is when 11 becomes 14 becomes 17 becomes 19….very very disapponting

  50. Some stiff named Gary Neal is draining 3’s, and we can’t make layups or free throws. That’s pathetic!

  51. the fact that duncan and ginobili have 7 combined points and we’re down by 15 is proof that heart, will, and hustle matter, and we don’t have either of the three.

  52. Simonoid, there is no doubt the Lakers can play better, but I am beginning to think some of these elite teams, including this Spurs team might just be “better.” You can say what you want about the Lakers having all this talent, blah blah blah. That isn’t everything. Bynum in my opinion is still overrrated, Fisher is on his last leg (still love the guy), Kobe as I mentioned is getting older and is not as consistent, and you have a guy like Ron Artest who just does not fit well in the Lakers offense. The one big plus for the Lakers this year is the bench which is a lot better, but the bench is not always consistent. Odom has usually been great too. I aint going to say it now, but the Lakers may have to make a move soon.

  53. Will somebody go to the f’nbasket, all these jumpers are killing the little push LA has made. Playing nervous as hell, Kobe jacking up shots, everbody else standing around. VULNERABLE Not championship material as of today, taking an old fashion a#@ whopping. Hope they get it togehther in the next couple of weeks.

  54. The Lakers can not buy a shot tonight. I just hope we are not blown out again. The ball is not rolling our way, either.

  55. truth is…spurs actually have missed a ton of open threes. we should be down by 20 at least, we probably will be in a minute anyway

  56. Kobe finally gets to the FT line

  57. we’re making blair look like an all star.

  58. When was the last time in history the Lakers lost by 20 three games in a row?

  59. three losses in a row, all HUGE beatdowns. something is wrong. something is definitely wrong.

  60. Yeap, I’m done. This team has some major problems that they need to fix. Their team defense is weak and their offense isn’t generating easy shots. This team needs to go back to the gym and practice. Not saying they won’t fix the problems in June, but this team has too many problems to list right now.

  61. Just 2 random observations that get me down (amidst the obvious issues):

    – Best shooting percentage amongst the starters is Ron.
    – Shannon has as many boards as Pau in half the minutes.

    No wrist-slitting, but it’s been a pretty frustrating few weeks with this team. Here’s hoping for some adjustments and a much improved 2011.

  62. Every year the sema story… Odom making all the wrong decisions, Gasol playing like a humen being without blood (please man, make a flagrant once in a lifetime) & Kobe in “gambler mode” betting, betting & betting to his jumper…

    Every year the same story… Perhaps, this years finish in the same way…

  63. Joe, there is no doubt the Spurs (among many other teams) are playing better. But we’re effectively comparing their high with our low, of the season thus far.

    I’m not saying we’re definitively the best team in the West, but I know this much – we aren’t even close to fully realizing our potential as a team. As the season progresses, we’ll improve. How much? Who knows. And you know the Spurs won’t keep up their current pace (71 wins), so give it a little time, and let’s revisit this in a couple of months.

  64. As for this game, shot balance is a problem as well. Kobe with 27, next highest is Odom with 9. We’re shooting 36% for the game.

    At some point, the players need to trust the scheme, on both ends of the court. And it’s not just Bryant, it’s the entire damn team. Everyone but Bryant has to be more decisive with the ball, and everyone (especially Bryant) has to be sharper with our defensive rotations.

  65. The Spurs look incredibly cohesive on both sides of the floor, more so when set against our lack of flow or rhythm. Can’t chalk any of this up to complacency. This is just bad execution. We have to go back to basics on both sides of the floor.

    Nothing looks sharp out there. Sloppy passes, players not being where they’re supposed to be, bad timing, not reading the defense fast enough. The execution is just very, very poor.

    I’m not sure if something’s physically wrong with Pau, but if it is, he needs to rest. Now. He’s regressed in so many small ways. The difference when Drew came in was shocking, especially on the defensive rotations.

    Does George Hill know he comes from IUPUI? I’m pretty sure that’s an official trash-talking ban right there.

  66. Of course he can play like the best player in the league, but he just can’t do it consistently anymore like a Lebron James can is all I am saying. The guy is still great don’t get me wrong.

    ===========
    Let’s wait to see if “King” James shows up in the playoffs before crowning him…the master of the regular season needs to become the master when it counts, before one crowns him anything more what he is now.

  67. Nighty night Lakers it was fun while it lasted..they keep walking it up, not quite like the fast start to begin the season. Swing the ball, pass the ball and you’ll get it back.

    I had more fun watching Clips-Kings last night. Blasphemy.

    This sucks, not even competitive right now.

  68. another UGLY loss….the past month has been the worst the lakers have looked since ’06-07.

    Too much kobe, too little gasol. the bench has not been that good after the first month of the season.

    Blake lost his 3ball…playing like sasha now.

    perhaps the hunger is just not there after three finals and two championships in a row. bryant is incapable of carrying the TOTAL load that he has in year’s past. i mean abdul-jabbar at this stage in his career was being handled with kid gloves.

    we have a lot of overall talent, but maybe we only have ONE of the best 20 players in the league.

  69. Think about it this way. We’re now 21-10, on pace for 56 wins. That’s just one less than last season.

    We started out relatively strong the last two seasons, and at the same points in our schedule (31 games in) – we were 24-6 in 2010 and 25-5 in 2009.

    And therein lies the problem with our expectations; we always sit by ourselves at the top of the conference early, and so claim it for the entire season.

    This year, we’re starting fairly slow but the Spurs are surging early, and our entire fanbase starts panicking.

  70. The talk was all bark and no bite, no need to talk to the media about this or that. If LA puts in the work, the results will speak for themselves.

  71. That half was nauseating to watch. Can’t say I’m completely surprised. I have all the faith and hope in the world for them,but you don’t win at a streaking hot team’s home when your playing so terribly, even if you are the Lakers.

  72. Simonoid, you have to understand too, that a team that may be better will not allow you to play your best. Now look at what the Spurs have been doing compared to the Lakers. We are over 30 games into the season and the Lakers have had the easiest schedule. This is not all an accident. The Lakers have issues and I think instead of thinking it will all come together, just be patient approach. I think it is ok to say a serious move needs to be made. I aint saying defintely, but that is just the way I see it.

  73. Simonoid, I think your points are well taken, but my concern is how deep is the hole going to be when they start to “click?” There are some serious problems here, the first and foremost of which is that our only dribble drive threat has clearly lost a step. The lack of any driving threats is clogging passing/cutting lanes, and our bigs are playing poorly. Yes, the bigs will get better, but without any consistent threats off the bounce, we are going to be a severely limited offensive team. I understand the need to ease Andrew back into the lineup, but it’d be nice to at least have home court for the first playoff series…..Our bigs look worn out. Why not more minutes for Caracter? What did we get Joe Smith for if we have no intention of using him? Lamar and Pau look absolutely lifeless out there.

    It’s just hard to imagine the Lakers’ upside as being a championship one right now. I think they are starting to realize this as well and that’s where the bad body language and frustration are coming from. Yes they will play better, but against the elite, I just don’t see what’s dangerous about playing the Lakers right now.

  74. Royals in ’51, Bullets in ’78, Sonics in ’79, Rockets in ’95 all lost 3 straight by 10+, won title. So there is hope the Lakers can turn things around, there is still a lot of games left

  75. Wow, three straight blow out losses to go along with an earlier four game losing streak.

    However, all is not lost; just wait’ll Bynum gets back.

    Oh, wait a minute …

    Actually, as I awaken from tonight’s bad dream, I realize Bynum IS back, and the Lakers appear to be playing even worse than before!

    Now what?

  76. You know, I’ve always been one to place more emphasis on offense over defense, but the last 3 games have really convinced me that it’s all about offense.

    If we made every shot and every FT we took in a game, we could play the crappiest D and still win easily. Now obviously, that will never happen, but here’s my point. The more shots you make, the more points you score, and the worse your defense can be. So here’s a suggestion for the team: make your f-ing shots! Just try it…

    Now of course, the goal for every game should be to play well on both ends of the floor. And if we ever start doing that, I’ll take our chances against anyone. But right now, we suck on both ends of the court. But to me, 79, 80, and 82 points the last 3 games is the real problem. Yeah, there will always be games where the offense struggles, so the defense needs to carry the team. And yes, good D can lead to easy buckets. But right now, I think it’s the lousy offense more than anything. Turnovers and bricks are leading to way too many easy buckets for the opponents, which there’s no good defense for. Plus, even when we do play great D and get a stop, if we constantly chuck up bricks, it’s gotta be deflating.

    So in my mind, even though both are important, right now I think it’s our pathetic offense that’s killing us more than anything. Oh yeah, and lack of heart and urgency as well. Here’s hoping we get it together on both ends of the floor soon, but right now it’s a struggle…

  77. I have heard a few people on here say that just wait things will turn out fine, the year the Lakers threepeated they coasted through the regular season and were dominant in the playoffs, but those people forget we had Shaq in his most dominant state with nobody in the league to guard him. This team does not have that dominating ability, that is a fact. The league overall has more talent and this year is showing it.

    I don’t like to play the blame game but I will say it, this whole trend of poor play starts with Pau Gasol. He is the Center for this team it starts and ends with him on offense and defense. At the beginning of the year he was an MVP candidate and playing out of his mind, but now he has regressed to the 3rd best player on this team (Lamar has played more consistently all year). When this team started to show signs of weakness a change in Pau occurred, I don’t know if it is mental or physical but the guy is not the same. He has been bullied and beaten up by lesser opponents and he has yet to push back. This is the most disheartening thing of all to me because like I said the center position (which he does play and has for the past 2 seasons without Bynum) should control the rim on both sides and usually he does it but not in the past 2 months. By him regressing it has allowed teams to not have to double team him and stay at home on our “shooters” and effectively make them shoot contested difficult jumpers. Wade even said it the other day after the Christmas day massacre about how big Z and other guys did a great job on Gasol allowing them to cover the perimeter players confidently. Defensively everyone has been poor but not once does Pau ever knock a player driving in the lane down and say not in my house. Bynum defensively can correct these issues, but let’s not kid ourselves Bynum and Gasol have never been dynamite offensively so it’s scary to think the offense could get worse. All I know is that everyone looks like they are sleep walking and quite frankly I’d rather have Kobe go into hero mode and try to put this team on his back when everyone else on the floor looks like they could care less, he tried to tonight (with an off shot) but he tried the facilitator mode Christmas day and that didn’t work so either way he can’t win I just know I trust him more than I do anyone else on this team.

    This team has major issues and not in the 3 previous years have they ever looked this bad (with more talent than they’ve had), so saying people are overreacting to how bad they look is wrong because no longer do they have one guy who can dominate night in night out anymore (especially an aging perimeter player like Kobe even though he’s the best in the world)

  78. Kobe cant get to the basket, teams are playing him for his jumper and not for his ability to drive to the basket. You have to respect Kobe for what he has done in the past, but a strictly jumpshot Kobe will not cut it on this team of passive beings. No easy shots on offense, no defense, too much taking the home run swing when all you need is a single.

  79. Should’ve stopped watching as soon as Kobe came out in gunner mode. Thought maybe he knew better and would run the offense eventually. Seems like he’s letting his emotions get the best of him right now. His competitiveness should be an asset, not a liability.

  80. When Kobe next tries to get mad at someone, he should look in the mirror. He’s clearly leading in the wrong direction.

    I’m actually looking back to an earlier era when I could blame it on the Smusher.

  81. I still believe. I think we are writing the perfect 3peat plot…I hope we are still in control of our destiny.

    However, just to point out last time we got beat down 3 times in a row was in 2007, the last of the kwame days i think. Just saying, there will be added fire to rotation changes and even roster changes.

    Still, I would rather think we are in control. GO LAKERS!

  82. 66, Snoopy. Totally agree. For this game, at least, the team’s problems were with execution, not with effort.

  83. Did you hear PJ when he was asked about when a player misses thirteen in a row (like Kobe just did tonight) what do the other players on the floor think. He said ask them, and that he would stop passing the ball to that player. Ouch to Kobe, will he hear this?

  84. Royals in ‘51, Bullets in ‘78, Sonics in ‘79, Rockets in ‘95 all lost 3 straight by 10+, won title.

    @74

    Good info–but
    1. NONE of Phil Jackson’s championship teams ever lost three straight by 10 (the Lakers have lost three straight by 15)
    2. The 78 Bullets, 79 Sonics and 95 Rockets are three of the worst championship teams ever.

    This little streak is statistically significant hand-waving it away would be a mistake. I hope we can find a middle ground in discussing the team–something between “They need to focus/wake me up when the playoffs start” and “OMG the sky is falling.”

    I think that Phil should forget about HCA, and I agree about Pau: if he’s hurt, sit him. That’s why Joe Smith is on the roster.

    Also, I am not usually in the “blame-Kobe-for-shooting-a-lot” camp but tonight I am. He was a big part of the problem.

  85. Scary thing is I think the Spurs aren’t even the best team in the West right now, the Mavs lost tonight (without Dirk) but look at who they have beaten this year, how many streaks they have ended and how incredible on defense they are. Other than the Celtics they are the most complete team in the league. Last night they beat the Thunder at OKC without Dirk through 3 quarters, they were also the last team to beat Miami since they turned things around down in South Beach. Oh yeah and they ended the Spurs and Celtics massive win streaks

  86. Lately, the Lakers can’t get any points in transition. They have lost all of their speed. They labor too hard to get a simple bucket. I love the Triangle just as much as the next guy. But a championship team has to be able to get quick, easy points. It is a lot easier to get to 100 points when you are getting to the rim in transition. I watched trip after trip where the Lakers got the defensive rebound only to walk it up the floor. By the time a shot went up all of the Spurs defenders where in good position.

  87. Kobe needs to set the example and play within the offense and defense if they are going to do anything this year.

  88. 87. They weren’t even a remotely good transition/fast break team last year and they still got the job done, the fact of the matter is they have become way too predictable in the half court set and they have miserable execution.

  89. These are definitely not years past Spurs team willing too grind out a win, taking the effect of watching ice melt on a 60″ plasma. An uptempo outfit this team has morph into that gets out on the break looking too score easy buckets in transition. Tim(one of the best PF to ever play the game) has excepted his smaller role as age has taken away some of his skills. I have to give credit here credits due, the Spurs are a legit force in the league this year. I must tip my cap and bow to the performance I just witnessed.

  90. 89- I agree there weren’t. But they were not *this* bad. I hear the point about execution. However, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant both look a lot more mortal this year. It is not the Triangle that got it done the last two years. It was two exceptional players playing in the Triangle that got it done. If Kobe and Pau are no longer exceptional (at least for now) then simply “running the offense” will not be enough. They indeed need to run the Triangle. But they need to get as many quick and easy baskets as possible. It can offset what is (or is not) happening when they do run the Triangle.

  91. T Rogers, I agree with you completely. Lakers did not win 2 championships by masterful execution, they won it because their talent was much superior, which is not the case anymore.

  92. T. Rogers I totally agree with what you are saying, however to get those transition buckets you have to insert a guy like Shannon into the starting lineup because other than Kobe and occasionally Barnes or Odom nobody is really capable of doing that effectively, the players just dont fit the mold.

    Like I said earlier i think this all starts with Pau and ends with him, because he makes Kobe’s job to dominate that much easier.

  93. I think this might be the most frustrated our fan base has been in many years. When Kwame was our starter, we accepted the inevitable. In our past seasons with Pau, we complained but knew that the team always eventually found a way to correct ship immediately (hence never losing three in a row).

  94. Size, size and more size. Thats what put LA over the top the past three years. And as far as I can see the size is still there, it s the shot jacking by the guards that is killing this team. This same problem plagued the team last year, but what has been mentioned above the talent level has caught up to us. No longer can this team coast and still win the west and have HCA.

  95. all you eternal optimists (based on experience, no doubt) can talk about the June swoon of everyone else, but the reality of the moment is that this team is painful to watch now. prepare yourselves for a loss tomorrow to NO, which just got blown out by the ‘wolves, and will be doubly pumped.

  96. 95 – You are right. I’d just like to point out that is was skilled and mobile size that put them over. Both Gasol and Odom frequently ran the floor over the past three seasons. How many times have we seen Lamar go coast to coast off a defensive rebound over the last few seasons? That push of tempo is one of the (many) things that are missing.

  97. * Shannon has regressed. While he’s improved overall, he shrinks in almost every moment besides when the Lakers are leading comfortably. His handles and overall execution of the triangle is sketchy.
    * Artest clearly is lost in the triangle. He wasn’t kidding. He doesn’t play offense very well off the ball. Not many on the team do.
    * Barnes and Blake should be getting more minutes. Barnes is great off the ball and Blake needs to play more of Fisher’s key minutes to gel with this team.
    * Lamar is so much improved this year, but I’m afraid he may lapse back into old habits if this team doesn’t straighten out soon.
    * The entire teams execution on offense is stale, uninspired and predictable (the Spurs jumping perimeter passes tonight was inexcusable).

    We need more run from players who are a) smart passers and b) cut to the damn basket and move fluidly within the offense. Kobe, Lamar, Gasol, Barnes and Blake is the group that fits that bill the best IMO. Artest and Bynum next with Fisher and a bit of Brown mixed in.

    When the Lakers hit their shots they are practically unbeatable. The team needs to develop some different dimensions to be able to still play well when those shots aren’t falling. The coaching staff needs to coach this team to have several looks (half court triangle, small ball transition, pick and roll two-man game). We certainly have the talent to run them all.

    At this stage it’s all chemistry.

  98. Boom, we lost again, just like I said.

    You guys should just stop expecting or caring about winning until our Lakers do. It’s easier on the heartbreak.

    Expect the All-Star break to be our regrouping point. Until then, we’re terrible and wake me when playoffs start.

  99. It’s not that hard, Kobe. Get the ball to Pau and Lamar, and then move without the ball. They will get you the ball while you are in motion, with your defender scrambling trying to keep up, which gives you the chance to use your shot-creating skills. Or if their defender shades toward you, then they get an easy shot.

  100. 97. T. Rogers

    In the second quarter while Mr. Bryant was on the bench the team used crisp passing and off the ball movement to actually erase a nine point deficit. Taking a two point lead into the half was a team effort, not a one on one show to the world that you can hit the most difficult shots and miss to make your team have to work twice as hard. The boys succes in Miami lighting it up night in and night out has really resorted Kobe to a true midlife basketball crisis.

    When everyone on the court is involved this team is still tops in the league, #24 is not winning games by himself (no game winners) , maybe he will take this into account and start to play team ball. The effort will have a snowball effect on the rest of the team. The leader of the team will not be a do as I say, and not as I do type of person, but one who understand that it is gonna take all of them to be succesful.

  101. Phil please cut Fisher’s time, and get Blake into the line-up. It’s crazy Fisher playing 30 mins. 2-10, and 3 points. any other team Fisher would be a bench warmer. Kobe, Pau, Steve, Matt, Lamar, etc that is the way you should be going.

    can’t stand to watch this team play like this. it almost makes me ill.