Preview & Chat: Lakers and Celtics

Jeff Skibiski —  January 29, 2011

Records: Lakers 33-14 (2nd in West), Celtics 35-11 (1st in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.6 (1st in NBA), Celtics 108 (12th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.7 (9th in NBA), Celtics 100.1 (2nd in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal
Injuries: Lakers: Matt Barnes (out); Celtics: Jermaine O’Neal (out)

The Lakers Coming in: Just when you start to think that maybe the Lakers have finally moved past their extended first half of the season malaise, they produce yet another confounding dud against the Kings last night. As Darius wrote in his preview yesterday, the game represented a typical trap game before tomorrow’s matinee showdown with the Celtics — and the Lakers fell for it, hook line and sinker. The loss itself wasn’t alarming considering the team’s shoddy defense from the outset; what has to make you question the Lakers’ current mindset, though, is the fact that this veteran team spoke candidly before playing Sacramento about how they refused to look ahead to Boston…then were guilty of doing exactly that. Luckily, that’s what magnified regular season games like tomorrow’s are for — to test their collective championship mettle with only two and a half months left until the playoffs begin. I fully expect that the loss to the Kings has long been forgotten already and for the Lakers to come out with a playoff mindset that’s been lacking for most of this season.

The Celtics Coming in: The Celtics, who have been ravaged by injuries to their front line throughout the first half of the season, received great news this week when injured center Kendrick Perkins — out for seven months after injuring his knee against the Lakers in last year’s Finals — was given the go-ahead to return to the court. With Shaq ailing of late and Jermaine O’Neal out indefinitely, the timing of Perkins’ return couldn’t be better for the player who Doc Rivers believes would have been the difference in Game 7 last year. He should also dramatically help the C’s on the glass, too, where they are currently worst in the league with only 38 boards a night. Even with Kendrick’s return, the Celtics were perhaps also guilty of looking ahead to tomorrow’s matchup, suffering their worst loss of the season, 88-71 against Phoenix. Still, at 35-11 and with a comfortable three game lead in the loss column over Miami and Chicago back East, this healthier Boston squad appears primed to officially begin their march to another NBA Finals.

Celtics Blogs: Celtics Hub always does a great job documenting the boys from Bean Town.

Keys to game:

Ah. And so we meet again. By now, every party involved knows the story between these two teams. The ending has shifted over the past few years, but the essential pieces remain the same.

Both the Lakers and Celtics can put the ball in the hoop, but as we all witnessed last June, the verdict between these rivals is almost always determined by defense and rebounding. Unlike last year’s Finals, the keys to both teams’ defenses are finally back and healthy. Andrew Bynum was limited throughout that series, but has made a sizable difference to the Lakers’ D since returning from injury this season. The same can be said for Kevin Garnett and as I mentioned above, Perkins, too. The presence of Shaq, almost specifically brought in to combat the Lakers’ front line, has the potential to change things a little, but we already know Bynum isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the Big Fella. Pau Gasol — so clutch against these same C’s in Game 7 — seems to really elevate his level of play against Boston, especially on the defensive end, where his underrated defense against KG was a difference-maker in last year’s Finals. Kendrick’s return will no doubt help the Celtics on the boards, but one of the Lakers’ most valuable strengths in their recent title runs — and for tomorrow’s game — has been their ability to flat out rebound the ball.

The Celtics’ backcourt has run amok on the Lakers basically since the 2007-08 season. The plot line is usually similar: Rajon Rondo dominates extended stretches of games and Ray Allen seemingly gets wide open shot after wide open shot. Despite his improbable poor shooting in Game 7, how many point blank shots did he have in that game? Enough to make most fans crawl into the fetal position on more than one occasion. Though Kobe has had many adversaries over the years (Raja Bell, Bruce Bowen, Ron Artest, etc.), personally, I’ve always enjoyed his head-to-head battles against Allen. At least with Kobe, you know you have a player who has consistently displayed the requisite skills needed to slow down a guard of Ray’s caliber. If only finding a solution for Rondo — averaging a jaw-dropping 13 dimes a night — were so easy. I give all the credit in the world to Derek Fisher for his clutch play against Boston in Games 3 and 7 of the Finals. That said, he has not once proven himself capable of deterring Rondo from controlling the tempo of the game during the past three seasons against the Celtics. As a result, the Lakers team defense becomes even more important against a disciplined team like Boston. The key here, as always for L.A. (or anyone facing the C’s for that matter), is to try to disrupt Rajon’s flow by enticing him to shoot the ball. The game of percentages is simple here; who would you rather have shooting that eighteen-footer — Rondo or Allen/Pierce/KG?

Major characters aside, how many times have we seen the Nate Robinson’s, Ron Artest’s, Glen Davis’ and Lamar Odom’s single-handedly alter the outcome of games between the Lakers and Celtics? Looking ahead to tomorrow’s matchup, Odom stands out to me as a player who could make a huge difference against Boston’s slower front line. With Shaq, Perkins and Davis already with their hands full with Bynum and Gasol, who is left to try and stop Lamar? While I whole-heartedly believe that both L.A. and Boston’s rosters are the most complete, evenly matched in the NBA, the Celtics don’t really have an athletic wing defender who has the length and speed to match up against the Lakers’ versatile assassin. From a defensive standpoint, I think that the Celtics’ inability to stop Odom is almost tantamount to the Lakers’ glaring weakness at point guard. As we saw during Game 7, it was Lamar who quietly triggered L.A.’s comeback from 13 down in the third quarter by using his long arms and dribble penetration to repeatedly get inside the lane or grab a pivotal offensive rebound.

Over the past four years, both the Lakers and Celtics have proven themselves capable of beating the other on the road. You want to believe that STAPLES Center will come to life and give the Lakers an edge as it did in last year’s Finals, but I’m not really sure that it even matters much at this point. These two battle-tested teams know each other intimately by now. It’s an unquestionably an important game for both teams; for the Lakers — who haven’t beaten a true title contender yet this season — and for the Celtics, who are finally almost whole again for the first time this year. Win or lose, tomorrow’s game already seems more like foreshadowing for a greater climax to come, though. But, if anything is going to jolt the comatose Lakers out of their extended 2010-11 nap, it’s a hard-nosed victory against that one-of-a-kind shade of green.

Also, be sure to check out the awesome fan-made promo vid at the top of the page to relive some of the greatest moments of the Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry, 2.0. I’ve got goosebumps; what about you?

Where you can watch: 12:30 p.m. start time on ABC. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710 AM.

Jeff Skibiski


183 responses to Preview & Chat: Lakers and Celtics

  1. Warren Warren Warren Warren Warren Warren Warren Warren Warren!

    (Hey, it’s the f**** Celtics.)

  2. Yes, yes, yes, my entire day is planned around this game, and I expect the Lakers to come out like it is a Playoff game and kick some.

    “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” – Arthur Ashe

    GO LAKERS!!!

  3. Just found this yesterday.

    The 2nd best of all time has spoken(Kareem will always be #1 in my book)!

    Jordan on Kobe 2010

  4. Not sure if this has been brought up in previous threads, but..

    I sincerely hope Ron punks Garnett big time, and exposes his fake toughness. I’d even be fine with Ron being suspended for a couple of games for such actions.

  5. Artest vs Pierce…again..wooh

  6. This game should be about Pau. He’s been playing like a wimp for a while now. He needs to bring it today.

  7. Ditto, wondah.

    We must see 2010 Finals Pau.

  8. Lakers can say all they want about the X-mas game about the Heat, and how it didn’t matter that much to them. This is not that type of game. I will be in a sour mood if we lose this one. And as the estimable KG will have on his shoe (the # of wins the Celts have against LA, though he only played in probably 15 of those games), the basketball gods do keep track of this matchup. Let’s go. Defend our house and title against the Celts and especially against KG, the “Nutcracker.”

  9. Definitely want to see LA play a complete game today, but I will not measure todays outcome, win or lose, on the team having success in the future. If LA wins they will be no better than a team falling to a lowly SacTown team on Friday.

  10. Wishlist for the game:

    1. Pau Gasol plays like he did in the 2010 Finals.

    2. Ron Artest smothers Pierce and makes him so frustrated he can’t get anything done at all.

    3. Garnett tries to bully either Ron, Bynum, or Lamar. All three have a temper, all three have real toughness, and all three dislike the guy.

    3b. And whoever it is Garnett picks doesn’t get suspended afterward for responding appropriately to the bully attempt.

    4. Solid execution on offense, and focus and good communication on defense.

    5. Early and lasting commitment to protecting the paint and going for rebounds.


  11. I’m completely jittery and nervous this morning anticipating the game. I’m really curious to see how Lakers frontline does. Granted Perkins is still getting his legs back and Shaq ailing, but I’m curious how Pau and Bynum will react in the playoff type atmosphere.

    Regardless of what the players and coaches say, I’ve got to think they consider this a “circle” game as Magic and Riley used to say.

  12. long.time.lurker January 30, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Everyone, in unison: Focus, focus, focus!

  13. Shaq vs. Bynum! Yeah!

  14. Another game that I had marked on the schedule. There’s 2 things that has me Intrigued regarding this Match-up.

    1. Quite Obvious: It’s the Celtics. They’re 1of 6 Teams (the Lakers, Spurs, Mavs, Heat and Magic being the others) that have serious Championship Asperations. Going in, against such teams, we’re 0-3 (having been Embarrassed by Miami on X-mas Day, blown out by San An a couple of days later and beat up on by Dallas). With half of the Season already over with, it’s ’bout time we made a Statement and who better than to initiate it against than the C’s. I’m just as frustrated as the next man in regards to losses against Infererior comp (Bucks, Pacers, Kings …), but I know in the Big Scheme of things, those games have lil’ impact. Does it play an Important role as far as HCA is concerned? Of course it does, but when ur competing @ the level that we are (For the ‘Chip), you should be able to Defeat the Elite Teams on any court. And that’s why this game holds more weight.

    2. This game also gives me an opportunity to measure Big Drew when he has to go up against an individual that he doesn’t have such a huge advantage over size wise. Didn’t have much of an Impact (10 pts, 7 boards, 1 blk n 30 mins) against Chandler when we faced Dallas and I thoroughly recall him getting 1 of his Jumpers swatted by Tyson. But on Drew’s behalf, I would have liked to see him get more touches in that game. Today, he’ll be up against a Rested (Does anyone really believe that The Diesel was nursing an Injury over the last few days) and Motivated Shaq. The Big Fella knows that he was bought to BeanTown for 1 reason & 1reason only. To matchup Size Wise with the Lakers (the same reason why Chandler was bought to the Mavs). He’ll get the chance this afternoon to show and prove that it was a good Investment. My bet is that Drew is up for the Challenge.

  15. It may be the understatement of the year here, but our bigs absolutely have to play better than they did 2 nights ago in Sacramento. If even one of them played better we would have potentially won that game. Now where this game is concerned, Odom’s impact cannot be devalued. When Rondo goes to the bench, I’d love to see coach put Gasol, Odom, Luke, Brown, and Blake in there as unit to get some penetration and fast break points, despite the fact that we’re not a fast break team. The Lakers can, however, run on Boston particularly when Rondo’s out of the game.

  16. Bynum needs to be careful not to get in foul trouble as the C’s will probably go to Shaq early to put Andrew on the bench.

  17. Is anyone else watching the last minute of Heat vs Thunder? Holy crap.

  18. man do i hate Eddie House, has a player that bad ever been so cocky

  19. I hate when they show commericals when the game is going on.

  20. You’re telling me ABC couldn’t have gone straight to the Laker game right after the buzzer? Morons.

  21. F#%k you very much again ABC for cutting to commercial with the start of the game in progress.

  22. Oy. Dumb way to pick up your second foul Kobe.

  23. I absolutely abhor the Staples crowds. If this game was in Baaaaahston, the buzz would never die down. Ever. We have one of the worst crowds in the NBA.

  24. gasol not up for the fight so far

  25. What the hec is Artest doing?! Pass the ball, dude.

  26. 22. i agree during the regular season but they turn it up in the playoffs

  27. Love the circa 1972 home uniforms. Much better than the “Sunday white” garb.

    Interested to see if the C’s defense can lock up the Lakers’ offense without Tom Tibodeux on their sidelines.

  28. I like Bynum so far, the beast he is.

  29. sT – yep, Bynum playing well.

  30. The second unit has to pick up their defensive intensity. Right now they are not playing smart defense (most of it was on shannon but he’s back on the bench). But Pau is going to have to alter some shots when the celtics get into the paint.

  31. Pau Gasoft has entered the building…where is our Spaniard?

  32. Love Lamar’s play so far today but Shannon really hurt the team on offense and defense when he was in. He cannot guard Ray Allen for all the money in the world

  33. Bynum NOW. I’ve seen enough of Gasol this half. He want no part of what it’s going to take to win this game.

  34. Luke is horrendous on defense

  35. I am the only that just held their breath hope Pau would take it up with force and throw it down on that last play? At least KG came up bloody on the play but Pau has been good on the offensive but he has to be in attack mode at all times and when he gets a lane he needs to go hard to the whole. Is that too much to ask for.

  36. Artest 1-7 so far, he couldn’t be any worse offensively

  37. That’s what’s up D. Fish. Going to the hole stronger than Pau.

  38. Fisher blows by Rondo and then Shaq then picks up his 3rd, good stuff indeed. Then our bigs out-muscle theirs at the other end. Great run at the moment, exciting basketball.

  39. Loving what Bynum’s giving us…..and Gasoft went into the phone booth and is showing some fire too!

  40. Interesting matchup. PP guarding Bryant, and Allen guarding Artest. Don’t think Ray can handle Ron on the block or on the glass.

  41. Kobe=Joy

  42. I’d give my right arm to hear that Kobe/Garnett discussion after the and 1…

  43. How was the reception for shaq? Did he get booed? These are the things i care About

  44. artest the king of missing layups

  45. Did you catch Artest trying to dodge the finger point of joe Crawford hoping it would avoid the tech? Awesome.

  46. Kobe got bailed out there on that foul

  47. Over the past few seasons the lakers have had 3 or 4 of those dumb dumb dumb fouls to end the quarter. What possible reason do you have to even attempt to contest that shot. These are the type of plays that change momentum of the game.

    And that ruined a near perfect half for Odom.

  48. Let’s hope those 2 points don’t come back to bite them in the butt at the end of the game

  49. Good news and bad news… Bad news is Bynum has been limping since midway through the second quarter. Good news is he was playing through it… So hopefully it was just an ankle or something minor.

  50. Wilbon’s talking ….mute

  51. When the game settled down and the Lakers started rebounding better they made the push that gave them the lead. LO’s foul at the end was a bad mistake but not the end of the world. I think Kobe’s attacking (as well as Fisher’s) has been instrumental to breaking down the C’s defense. Also, I know that folks are looking for Pau to play stronger, but he’s been good with his jumper and has had several good defensive plays.

  52. Not trying to start a debate here, but more Evidence why that +/- Stat = Bullsh…
    Ron-Ron: 3 pts, 1-8 fg’s in 18 mins of Action = +12
    P.Square: 16 pts, 5-10 fg’s in 17 mins = -6
    For Real?

  53. Ron is playing some poor defense right now, that’s 6 straight points given up to Paul Pierce

  54. WHY rotate to Rondo, you want him to shoot goodness that’s just terrible defense

  55. kobe needs to guard pierce

  56. Derek great effort on defense there, freaking pathetic

  57. The lakers get themselves in trouble every time when the start standing around on defense ball watching and losing their man. The need a timeout bad.

  58. Luke Walton on Pierce = disaster. Who saw that coming?

  59. Yep… Just what I feared… 2nd half started and Bynum hurt is left knee. And now Artest is limping too. Without those guys we are the 2008 team all over again. Too small and soft n

  60. Somebody needs to guard Pierce.

  61. pierce is just destroying us right now….how do they keep losing track of pierce?

  62. Is it too much to ask to have 5 guys concentrating on the floor at once?

    We have Gasol doing his corpse thing in the first half, now Odom is Lost in Space, and with no Ron Ron Pierce is tooling Walton

  63. These are the games that we miss Barnes’ energy and defense.

  64. Offensively people are beginning to stand around again, Phil needs to insert Blake in and give Shannon more run. Put Kobe on Paul, Blake on Ray, and Shannon on Rondo.

  65. For someone who’s supposed to be high iq walton has made quite a few boneheded plays

  66. Why do Odom, Gasol, etc look so scared to attack boston on offense…
    WEAK & HESITANT BASKETBALL is what i see…

  67. Its amazing how the Lakers seriously cannot sustain effort level on the defensive end. All the celtics’ shots have been uncontested jumpers.

  68. I mean seriously Derek, if you are going to shoot, shoot the freaking ball! Stop jumping into the defender throwing up garbage, he is the worlds worst at that

  69. First time in my life I’ve seen Kobe take a charge.

  70. Why do the Celtics get a different standard when it comes to the respect for the game rule? Every call they are whining and crying and bitching, yet no T’s?

  71. He just made up for it by getting the steal, then going to the hole and drawing the foul, kind of.

  72. Ron is killing this team.

    I’m seriously worried Kobe will have to score a ton in the 4th to win this game

  73. say what you want about fisher, but he works his ass off.

  74. … Great… Bynum and Artest are back on the court… But they are both still limping. Who cares if we lose this game if they both make their injuries worse.?

  75. for the love of god dont pass it to artest

  76. IOU

  77. Phil should consider putting kobe on pierce and inserting Blake because ron isn’t playing a smart game.

  78. Biggest difference is clear. The Celtics get easy shots and the Lakers get difficult shots. This Laker team can have a hard time getting easy points against good defensive squads.

  79. Wow abc, really??? (Adam Sandler interview)

  80. Celtics outplayed the Lakers in the third quarter and we’re only down 5

  81. Blake, Brown, Kobe, Lamar, Bynum to start the 4th please Phil.

  82. I miss Matt Barnes.

  83. only 9 assists so far

  84. Can somebody please help Kobe! for the love of god, somebody else please earn your pay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  85. Nightmare of a quarter…..Bynum just never seems to be able to mentally sustain stretches of good play. He should be owning people out there, and then suddenly he gets the ball down low and freezes…….

    We’re getting perilously close to going to Kobe-centric, just what Boston wants….please somebody show up in the 4th Lakers!!!!!!!!

  86. Agressive assertive decisive offensive possessions as opposed to hesitant passive demeanor!!!! WAKE UP!!!

  87. 81. Only down by 5?!? We started the quarter up by 4. Thats a 9 point switch. Thats nothing to be happy about.

    But why do all lakers perimeter players overreact to penetration when they aren’t in a position to help. All they do is leave their man wide open and create passing lane for the penetrating player. I mean fish, shannon, blake, kobe, walton all do it. Artest is pretty good at not over reacting to penetration getting himself out of position.

  88. Wow what pathetic defense

  89. Phil just said that Artest is not into the game, and he is on the bench now.

  90. About to to go 0-4 against the elite this year

  91. Steve blake with some of the worst defensive plays ever. I’m sorry Rondo is the easiest player ever to guard, make the guy shoot freaking jump shots he is too quick to guard off the dribble especially with 30 year old men on him

  92. The lakers just don’t have an answer.

  93. geting through screens aint rocket science

  94. Pau=soft. Biggest game of the year and he hasn’t shown up. Back to 2008

  95. Too many no shows……Kobe came to play 48, nobody else came to play more than 24….Lakers can’t get a solid 5 on the floor…..

    Walton and Blake help offense but it’s a layup drill for the other team…..

    Where is Bynum and what are we saving him for ?

  96. Pau so weak,sad really..

  97. @Lakers8884: easiest guy to guard, get in there and guard him, see what happens. haha.

  98. sorry to say it but some of the laker players seem to be missing their nads…
    please grow a pair

  99. We’re outrebounded 25-38 through 3. Rebounds=game.

  100. Gasol with another tepid game….really poor on both ends of the floor….

  101. For once, I totally agree with Mark Jackson. Pau is playing soft on offense, and we need some buckets. Kobe is the best man to get them other than Gasol.

  102. Ray actually funny you say that I have guarded him before. He played at Eastern in Louisville, Ky and I played on a team in Lexington, Ky. We made him shoot jumpers and clogged the lane.

  103. We need to make Garnett beat us on defense. He chokes like a bitch in the 4th quarter.

  104. Pau’s play continues to worry me. He’s undoing all the strides he made last season in shedding his ‘Gasoft’ reputation. In related news, the rebounding numbers look completely flipped from the Finals.

    Kobe is playing at a ridiculous level but now someone else needs to come along with him for the ride.

  105. This game, we are going to Live by Kobe or Die by Kobe. With Gasol playing soft, and Bynum hobbling, I’m putting my trust in Kobe, no matter the result.

  106. Gasol is a great player but hes playing like an effin panzee today

  107. I’m sorry… But why is Bynum playing???? Who cares about this game? He is limping up and down the court.

  108. Zephid, that was the biggest difference in the Finals last year, Gasol played well when it mattered as opposed to Garnett disappeared. He choked most definitely especially when he was talking the most trash as always

  109. Someone other than Kobe needs to start scoring for the Lakers. Kobe is indisputably great, but even he needs help to beat these Celtics. he can’t do it alone. The entire team needs to step up and start to show some real aggression. Particularly on the boards.

  110. The team failed Kobe today, and themselves. Lamar was the only other guy on the Lakers to play even halfway decent

  111. interesting stat regarding the assists. we don’t have many. anyone have a W/L stat when we’re over an assist total?

  112. Wow. Bynum and Gasol jogging back on defense and getting beat down the floor by 34-year-old KG. Pathetic.

  113. Lakers are D-O-N-E…bigs failed them again…geez

  114. gasol getting completly dominated by garnett makes me very sad

  115. Someone needs to have a serious heart to heart with Pau……like right now…like yesterday…….he is making bench players look like all stars with his lifeless play….it’s like he won a ring, and now he doesn’t care anymore….it’s getting old….I’d rather see Bynum and Odom in at the end of games right now, because Gasol disappears…

  116. This is sad once again. The lakers are a sad team. They too much length, too much talent, too much experience to be getting their asses handed to them every other 3 games. Something just isn’t right about the Lakers.

  117. For the 2nd game n a row, PATHETIC SHOWING by our bigs

  118. Kobe hasn’t passed the ball for 8 straight minutes of game action.

  119. Can’t use the excuse that this one was a trap game…

  120. Kobe seems to have totally lost trust in his teammates in this game. Never a good sign.

  121. 0-4 against the elite now. I told you guys, the competition is much better this year. Regular season right now or not, with no homecourt this team is in trouble come playoffs. Not being negative, just realistic.

  122. Seriously did anyone but Kobe show up today?

  123. Honestly? Seriously? Uncontested lay-in by Rondo?

    Kobe ball-hogging and the other four Lakers watching the game like it’s on TV for them too?

    Smart team beating a dumb team right now.

  124. Getting real tired of Bynum and Gasol not doing anything while Kobe carries the team. Our bigs have 3 quarters to do something on offense and don’t do it. Kobe take sover the offense in the 4th, and our bigs decide to stop playing defense as well. Amazing.

  125. lets not forget that steve blake has been a bust!
    he had a couple of good weeks at the beginning of the season and thats it

  126. I don’t blame Kobe one bit for this loss. He did everything he could. Gasol & Bynum had a laughable effort in this one, much like Fri. Way to waste a great game by #24, guys.

  127. celtics outplayed the lakers. 43 rebounds to 29, 34 assists to 10.

  128. Joe, on recent evidence it doesn’t seem like homecourt would help this team a great deal anyway…

  129. Knickers, did you even watch the game? Who besides Kobe would you want taking those shots? I’d rather Kobe take 50 than have any of the other guys on the team give half=a$$ performances like that

  130. Yes, Kobe came to play , it is the Lakers big men that are wusses. Davis absolutely owned Gasol in that 4th.

  131. For everyone complaining that Kobe is not passing the ball, and that he isn’t trusting his team mate… did you watch his team mates play tonight? And if you did, how can you blame him?

    It’s not the lack of results that bothers me. I’ll take a loss if we play well and go down fighting. But this loss was an embarrassing display of “oh, crap, I’m playing today?”, and that’s unforgivable.

  132. Clearly Kobe’s ‘ballhogging’ is what made Pau and Bynum play like a couple of (synonym for cat)s today.

  133. I guess everyone can vent now here, huh? I do want to say that I am sad at the moment myself. 🙁

  134. This isn’t a team. This is Kobe. Kobe clearly doesn’t trust this team anymore. This team hasn’t gave him an ounce of reason to trust them. They can’t defend. They are always tentative on the offensive end. They consistently make dumb bone headed plays (hello Odom). I mentioned how those type of plays can really make a difference. Instead of the Celtics going to the half down six. They get an ounce of hope and confidence, then they blow the Lakers out the second half. The Lakers don’t hustle. They don’t help each other on the defensive end.

    They don’t just lose games anymore, they get embarrassed. This team doesn’t have the fight in them.

    After the loss to Dallas, Kobe said teams don’t shoot that well against them, well this is the second time a team has done so in a week and half.

    When is it going to be time to hit the panic button? They need a change and a change in a big way. I’m glad that I’ll miss the game against Houston. They’ll probably get run out of their own building. Then they’ll most likely lay an egg on thursday versus the Spurs.

  135. so to say it but this laker team is shot!! put a fork in them please!!!! The agony of watching these pathetically inconsistent players is too much…..

  136. it doesnt’t look good for the lakers but PLEASE if its not the Lakers I hope its not these celtics hoisting up the trophy….spurs, heat, anyone

  137. This team is just really difficult to root for on days like this….and there have been too many days like this this season.

    I’m glad that Jackson and Van Gundy are torching Bynum, Gasol, and Odom, because they were pathetic tonight. They were paid for 4 quarters and between the 3 of them we didn’t get 4 quarters of EFFORT. Just effort, that’s all I’m asking for!!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes it’s not your day, sometimes the shots won’t fall, but these elite teams (Heat, Celtics, Spurs) bring effort every night.

    I’m sick of this “we’re bored” nonsense. The playoffs are TOO LATE to become a hardnosed team unless you have more talent than the rest of the league (see the middle year of the Shaq three peat teams). Phil’s starting to see the writing on the wall, as evidenced by his willingness to call more timeouts, and that last one was purely a message for Gasol and Bynum.

    Seasons are long, and things change, but all I here on this website is talk of “the journey.” Well, if the Lakers sleepwalk through the journey, what exactly was the point? I think mentally they’re trying to hang on to the effort excuse, because what I’ve seen against Boston, Miami, and San Antonio strongly indicates that they just can’t hang with the elite, at least in this “sleepwalk through the journey” mode.”

  138. Gasol & Bynum are too much the “same” player!!! both “slow-too-react” and inconsistent players….our point guards are the worst in the NBA! we need a real point gaurd/creator to compliment Kobe..and either big guy must be traded for one!!! also our 3’s are pathetic….

  139. where to begin?

    i cant blame kobe for this one even though there was too much iso….it seemed like he was the only one who cared

    our defense just flat out sucked today. didnt fight through screens, lost track of the ball, and poor one-on-one coverage. the screens really killed us and led to easy layups or wide open 3s for pierce, allen, or robinson.

    the lack of any executed offense was shocking. it wasnt just kobe, but everybody else. we would dump the ball to gasol or bynum and just let them do their thing and watch. on the other hand, the celtics ran their offense sets and got much easier looks.

    hopefully, this team can respond with a good win over the spurs. we definitely need one now after two poor showings. its crazy to think that less than a week ago all was fine with a blowout victory over the jazz. now its all doom and gloom. thats the nba for you.

  140. Not that it would have changed the outcome today, but the Lakers need Matt Barnes against this team.

    Also, let’s face it: the Celtics sent a message about G7. They won on the glass and Pierce crushed Ron. Blake is not helping much, and regular-season Fish is what he is.

    Finally, I agree with Joe. The Lakers have lost by double-digits to Boston, Miami, and San Antonio, and by 9 to Dallas. These losses were to teams that are, as of now, better than the Lakers. Period. It’s not about focus, or effort, or flipping the switch.

    And yes, something is up with Gasol. He seems to shut down against opposing size and when Kobe takes over.

  141. Excellent show of effort and basketball IQ on both ends by the whole team, not .

    Boston- 34 assists, 43 rebounds.
    Lakers- 10 assists (!), 30 rebounds.

  142. This team will not a title if Boston has home court in a seven game series. The Celtics have their best team since they got the big 3, and they don’t even have Delonte West or Jermaine O’Neal back yet from injury.

  143. I wish Kobe took all 81 shots not 29.Shame on ”all star” Gasol,et al.

  144. the reason kobe take too many shots because he was sending a message to the defense of his team. i guess?!

  145. Lakers are not going to win many games allows 60.3% from the field. Kobe was ready but the other players were not. Are the Lakers feeling the affects of playing in three straight finals?

  146. Once again, n OUR HOUSE against an Eastern Conference Title Contender on National TV, we get Embarrassed. 0-4 now against the Elite of the League. I stated before the game that I wanted to see how we faired against a True Contender. Well, for the 4th consecutive time, I got my answer. (edited for profanity)

  147. This team wont make it past San Antonio!!! forget about it…

  148. I understand the want to vent, but follow the commenting guidelines or you’ll get moderated/deleted.

  149. odom, gasoft and bynum are all weak and soft!!!! artest, fischer, blake, and walton are stifff!!!! what a boring stiff team….

  150. Knickers, really your comments hold no logic. The triangle wasn’t working, so they abandoned it. Gasol disappeared, no guards other than Kobe could hit a jumper. At least Kobe was attacking the glass, that has the potential of getting an easy offensive rebound for Gasol, Lamar and Bynum if Kobe misses. You want the ball in the best players hands, especially when he is on fire and attacking. Kobe could have had assists on many occasions as well if his team had finished shots. You sound like you didn’t even watch the game.

  151. ok. i agree with the disappointment of most of the fans but we must keep in mind that until we are eliminated in the playoffs we are still the champs no matter wht anybody says. with that said its killing me watching pau play now.absolutely disgusting where is the pau from november? it is inexcusable whts happened to him. on a very small happy note it looks like kobe finally had a good game against the celtics. if only the other guys would follow his lead. All these statement games dont mean a whole lot.the lakers lost to orlando twice and still won in 09 and last year we split with the celtics. the lakers may be playing much better come playoffs. though i must say that it may be time to explore some kind of serious trade if we dont right the ship soon

  152. I would rather have a top 5 point gaurd to compliment Kobe than this boring “bigs” crap that doesnt work

  153. #155. Yeah, that “boring big crap” that “doesn’t work”. Comments are completely spiraling downward in a rage of sadness towards a loss. I get that this was a big game. It’s not the reason to blow up the entire model that’s led to back to back championships.

  154. This was 08 deja vu. Kobe trying to carry the team offensively while Pau and the rest of the frontline were shrinking. Wheelchair abusing whoever guarded him. Kobe forced to switch and cover wheelchair meaning he had to expend energy on both sides of the ball.

    Big Baby playing the part of Leon Powe and despite being much shorter abusing the Lakers frontline. Swap out some names and this looked just like 08.

  155. Kobe has to shoot because all the other players are too scared to play…. they are scared of boston…it’s in their faces, they always have been, nothing has changed!

  156. Is it wishful thinking if we bench Pau Gasol and insert Lamar into the starting lineup? LO’s playing waaaaaay more aggressive than Pau. If you don’t believe me, then you are not clearly watching the games.

    Plus, why Fisher AND Blake in the clutch? I’d rather have Blake-Brown-Kobe-Odom-Bynum right now.

    Thank you.

  157. Intresting “what if’ … trading one of our bigs for a legit point guard. i love Fish’s effort but he just can’t stay up with the young guys. The Lakers never should have given Bynum the big contract so early in his injury-marred career. The guys is slow and brittle. Gasol? Not sure where his head is but he has indeed reverted back to 2008 form. The Celtics kicked his butt, along with Bynum’s. Steve Blake is one of the worst defenders in the league, and it is not even a physical thing. He doesn’t seem to “think” out there. Case in point: he leaves Nate Robinson, a good 3-point shooter, to double team Rhondo near the paint. Bingo, Rhondo passes to Nate and he cans a 3-pointer. Lakers just don’t look as motivated, outside of Kobe. Ron Artest is a bewildering figure on the floor, as though he has played the game for about 4 months. Amazing how bad he can go during certain times of the game. I’m a lifelong Laker fan but I have to respect the Celtics. They are really playing with effort and move the ball exceedingly well.

  158. RJ, you are one of the few realistic fans on this site that sees things my way, very well said. It aint that the Lakers are bad, they are really the same team they were last year. The other elite have just got that much better. The results speak for themselves. Regular season or not they have been blown away by all 4 elite they have played. Your going to tell me these games mean nothing just because they are regular season? Believe me, the Lakers did NOT want to lose today after fridays embarassment. When you are a team that is clearly not the best team anymore, you can’t count on the flip switching come playoffs. Their needs to be more emphasis on good play in the regular season.

  159. I think this game was lost in the 3rd, which left the Lakers playing catch up, eventually desperation catch up. I thought it was kind of a fluky offensive game for the Celtics, since you rarely see their big 3 all shoot so well in the same game (not to mention Nate Robinson). The other major factor was Artest, who didn’t have his usual impact harassing Pierce (PJ even called that out in the top of the 4th interview).

    I’m still not going to panic off this game, but I’ll say this… this season is shaping up to be a test of the Lakers’ true mettle. If they win again, you’ll have to consider them a great team (historically). If they flop, I think I’d lean towards the argument that they were a very good team that overachieved a bit due to favorable matchups the past 2 years, those being a lack of any true challengers in the west, and lucking in to home court in the finals despite not having the league’s best record.

  160. 153. The lakers lost two games to against Orlando twice in 09 by at total of 9 points. a 3 point and 6 point game and in the 6 point loss they were within 1 point with 18 seconds to go. And they also had an overall winning record against the elite teams that year.

    All I expect when the lakers face a tough opponent is a competitive game. The lakers give at most a competitive half. Now, I just hope the lakers don’t get blown out.

    Its sad that I can say with a straight face the lakers are uncompetitive. The just don’t compete. There aren’t any other excuses. They are as healthy as they have been in years. They’ve had a favorable schedule.

  161. ok i want to know for those that claim kobe was hogging the ball. please kindly tell us who should have been shooting instead of kobe. perhaps ron artest he of the 1 for 10 game. he is definitely more reliable. or pau gasol who is afraid to go inside? who exactly would have been a better option?

  162. Thats a really good point knickers. you’re spot on. We should fire Phil Jackson and bench Kobe.

  163. Knickers is clearly a troll.

    Darius, if some people had their way the team would have been ‘blown up’ about 4 times by now.

  164. this current team is broken…the parts dont fit right…it’s time to re-assemble the roster NOW, before the trade deadline….

  165. 161

    Farmar earned much of that bashing. Blake’s mediocrity as his replacement doesn’t change that.

  166. I will delete comments of trolling commenters. We’re looking for an intelligent discussion, not bottom of the barrel b.s. that “player X sucks” or that “we should trade the entire team”. Plenty of other boards/sites for you to spit that trash out.

  167. Phil Jackson’s non-chalant approach I think has finally caught up to this team…They play with a smug attitude and with no urgency, you can’t just flick the switch…

  168. 169. When they did run the offense the best shots they got was Gasol a fade a way 12 footer and a contested 3 point shot from artest. When Kobe saw that he decided they won’t lose that way, they’ll win or lose with him trying to will the lakers back. Lets not forget the lakers played bad defense.

    But I think Phil should bench Pau and insert LO into the starting line up. Why? Because Pau has played pretty bad defense. He’s very tentative on the offensive end and is easily taken out of a rhythm. Another is that Kobe has been playing good basketball and when he gets hot, it has the biggest negative impact on Gasol. He really starts to stand around and not do anything.

    Lamar plays off the ball much better than Gasol does. Also, Playing Gasol without Kobe on the floor will make him the focal point of the offense. Gasol played the best basketball of the season when he was the focal point and kobe was trying to play his way back into shape.

  169. i think this game can be talked about as a catastrophe only if the lakers dnt defend their title. but if they somehow do, will we care about this game, of course not. right now th outlook isnt good but its not the end so why should we lose our minds over one kobe last year was washed up till game 4 of oklahoma and then al of a sudden he is the best on the floor. things change. thing is that Pau HAS THE CAPABILITY to play better its not like he cant play better we have seen him be unstoppable.But for today i must admit it was painful to watch.

  170. Just back from Staples. Heartbroken…. but let me say this: this Boston team is HUGE. Seriously, they’re like the bad guys in SpaceJam. Even when the Lakers tried to run the triangle, there is so little room for cutters between Perk, KG, Baby and Shaq. At one point, they ran the backdoor curl they always run out of timeouts and it looked like it was going to work, but Bynum (iirc that it was AB) just couldn’t get around his defender in time, even though his defender wasn’t reading the play. Gasol can’t dislodge Baby, nor can he dribble around him. These guys are monsters on D and move the ball brilliantly on offense. As much as I’d like to assign blame to the Lakers (and Pau and Ron deserve plenty), this incarnation of the Celtics is a juggernaut.

    One possible room for improvement: when Kobe brought the double away from the basket, the pressure release man was Drew, but when Kobe passed it to Drew, Drew would then pass it laterally to along the 3 point line. The release man has got to be someone else who can drive to the hoop and take advantage of the 4 on 3. Maybe Lamar? This situation looked a lot like the Denver D on Kobe in the playoffs, only we couldn’t exploit it against the quicker-recovering Cs.

  171. I mean, the Lakers really never play great offense against the Celtics, they are a great defensive team. The Lakers won last years finals due to outstanding defense and out rebounding the heck out of them. It was not just in game 7 of the finals either. So I dont know why everyone seems so surprised about how bad the offense was.

  172. Joel B, I agree that Odom deserves to start over Pau right now. The problem is, Pau is the only Laker other than Kobe who is qualified to be the focus of the offense. As good as Bynum and Odom are, they aren’t good enough that you can throw them the ball every second or third trip down and expect them to consistently create a good shot for themselves or a teammate.

    Pau is that guy. When he plays like he did today, we end up with an overly Kobe-centric offense because he’s now the only Laker who can demand the defense’s full attention. Even if Kobe is on fire, that approach will eventually lead to bad shots and turnovers, which will in turn compromise our defensive floor balance. If there’s anything to panic about at this point, it’s the way Pau has been playing for the last 2 months.

  173. Wow, language police, ok … Blake is lacking as a backup point guard. He lacks size and overall athleticism, is a one dimensional offensive player and a very poor defender. Farmar was a well rounded player and a very good backup point guard, and a big game player on top of it. I never understood why people here would bash Farmar.

  174. GaSoft does NOT command double teams! teams gaurd him straight up and he still struggles to get off a quality shot..he is hesistant, indecisive and more at fault than bryant when it comes to making players “stand around”

  175. one final thought…let’s see what happens when we go to boston and miami in the next month. if the same happens then, yes it looks bad. but what if this is the nadir now, and things get better…

  176. For those that have questions about the moderation, read the commenting guidelines. Pretty straight forward stuff. If you’re not okay with that, you’re welcome to go somewhere else. I would say it’s not that hard to speak intelligently while still avoiding profanity…

  177. For everyone who is blaming Kobe for being selfish or ruining the offense or ballhogging or losing this game, you have zero knowledge of basketball.

    Kobe gave our team – and especially our bigs, Bynum and Gasol – 3 and a half quarters to try and do something with our offense. Time and time again they gave up terrible shots, threw up weak prayers, or settled for tough toss ups. Not to mention they did almost nothing on the rebounding side of things.

    So when our team fails for 3 and a half quarters like that, Kobe says, “Look, I’ll handle the offense then, you guys just worry about defense.” And Kobe went off. He was on fire. Made well over half his shots and time and time again put us over the hump. Want to know what made us lose our ground every possession? Our bigs. Again. They didn’t defend. Slow running back, slow switching, slow screening, and slow rebounding to the ball.

    The Celtics didn’t win this game. Kobe kept it close, and the the Laker bigs lost it for us. Period.

    I hope KB and PJ light them up in practice like never before after this pathetic showing. You can’t win a playoff series playing like this, let alone a Finals vs. Boston.

  178. #180…EXACTLY! …odom also showed up, but he’s losing minutes to the slow plodding “bigs”….

  179. @174

    I talked about that last year before Game 6. If you look at the track record, the Lakers almost always score 85-95 against this team. That is just how it is. Boston has the size, toughness and smarts to hold the Lakers in that range; we are talking about 20 meetings since 2008 now with these cores of players.

    So, to win, the Lakers need to hold Boston to fewer points and win the glass. They didn’t come close to doing either, and I think it is time to acknowledge that The Logo may have had a point about age and the D. HoopData ran a short piece showing the Lakers’ recent D numbers against quality opponents, and it was not pretty. All the talk about rotations and close-outs–that issue is IMO partly due to slow feet and old legs.

  180. 175. That’s a very good point. The only problem is that teams are, as someone pointed out, are not double teaming him. And more often than not, it has worked. So he hasn’t been the guy that deserves a touch every few possessions. Pau needs a wake up call.

    But even more than that, the lakers’ defense is just really bad. They’ve had a few good defensive showings, but their defense has been much worse than what their defensive stats show.

    The lakers have a really tough stretch of games ahead of them. They play Houston, Atlanta and San Antonio. The play @ Portland,OKC, NY, Boston, Orlando, Charlotte (they always seem to lose in Charlotte), NO and Memphis.

    Unless they dramatically turn things around, they’ll realistically go about 8-5 next month and that means they’ll have 20 losses on the season before March. The last time they had 20 losses before march was 2006. If that doesn’t shed light on just how bad they’ve been playing, I don’t know what does.

  181. Joel B, you’re absolutely right. He isn’t drawing double-teams, and he isn’t defending or rebounding with any consistency either. In the short term, Odom would probably bring more to the table.

    Looking further ahead though, I strongly doubt Gasol would react well to a slight like that, deserved or not. This is a guy who many were saying was more deserving of the Finals MVP than Kobe. Besides, we can’t win a title unless Pau is our best big man, and he hasn’t been for any sustained stretch since November. I was hoping the return of Bynum would help, but he continues turn in limp performances and it’s really worrying.

  182. of course, it’s just one game.. but I think the last *two* games tell us everything we need to know about “the state of the Lakers”.