Lakers/Cavaliers: Misery Loves Company

Darius Soriano —  February 16, 2011

Before the game, I wrote the following in reference to the Cavs:

They’re last in both offensive and defensive efficiency, have struggled through countless injuries, suffered a record breaking 26 game losing streak, and have even inspired a website dedicated to answering whether they won last night. All around bad times for the Cavs…My sympathies to Coach Scott, the Cleveland fans, and the players that are undoubtedly trying but just not good enough to compete with most teams for a full 48 minutes each night.

And then this about tonight’s game:

The Cavs are the worst team in the league and it’s not close. But they will play hard and the fact that the Lakers humilated them in their last match up will surely be on the minds of the home team. If the Lakers think they’re just going walk in and the Cavs forfeit, they’ll be mistaken.

Simply put, the Cavs may be having a miserable year, but they had every intention of having the Lakers join them in their misery. And tonight they did just that by handing them a 104-99 loss, their 3rd straight to end the 7 game road trip.  As it stands, we have a new leader in the clubhouse when it comes to the worst loss of the year.

I’m going to keep this short and bitter.

The Lakers got outworked by a team hell bent on revenge. The Cavs played hard, they played smart, and they took advantage of every opening the Lakers gave them. And since the Lakers were in such a giving mood and so generous in playing a poor game by forcing passes, not rotating well on defense, and not hustling the Cavs hung around, then built a lead, and then held on for the win. When a team doesn’t play smart and doesn’t do the little things, they often lose. Even to bad teams. The Lakers learned that first hand tonight and will now have to think about this loss through the All-Star break and into early next week. Hopefully it sinks in that playing this way isn’t nearly enough to be good team.

The only bright spots in the entire game came on the offensive side of the ball.  Pau Gasol did his part on O by pouring in 30 points on 15 shots (and making all 14 of his FT’s), grabbing 20 rebounds (10 offensive), and dishing 3 assists. When he got the ball in position to score he attacked and made the most of his limited opportunities. Fisher deserves praise too. He hit 8 of his 12 shots from the field and paired with Pau in the 2nd half to keep the Lakers within striking distance. And the last Laker to have a good game on O was Shannon Brown. Like Fisher, he shot the ball well (7-14, 15 points) and even after taking a nasty spill when absorbing a hard foul, he bounced back, made his FT’s and played hard the rest of the way. All three of these guys deserve credit for playing hard and, for the most part, smart on offense the entire night.

But in the end, even a 30-20 line from Gasol, one of Fisher’s best shooting nights, and Shannon having a good road game wasn’t enough. Not with Kobe jacking up jumpers (8-24 FG’s, 0 FTA’s) on the wing and committing a turnover nearly every time he drove the ball (7 TO’s on the night). Or Bynum needing 12 shots (making 2) to score his 6 points while only grabbing 6 rebounds on top of that. Or Odom not having his typical impact on the glass or in scoring the ball (though he did dish 6 assists). And certainly not with Ron apparently so out of this game mentally that Phil decided to only play him 18 minutes on the night, including only 5 in the 2nd half (and none in the 4th).

Overall, just a terrible game from this team. And really, I’m just angry and disappointed about it. It doesn’t shake my long term belief that this team can contend. Nor does it make me reconsider the constitution of the this group. But losses like this do sting. And instead of going into this break with a bit of a good feeling and completing the road trip with a victory, we’re stuck with this game on our minds and what can only be thought of as a wasted road trip (even with the W in Boston). Hopefully, this loss resonates some and we see a re-commited group next week.

Darius Soriano

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71 responses to Lakers/Cavaliers: Misery Loves Company

  1. This was said by Lamar after the game…
    “That’s our problem overall,” Odom said. “We take teams lightly at times. We play the cat-and-mouse game. Sometimes the cat loses.”
    Right there….a Laker player admitting this team don’t always take it seriously, just coast when they can. Unacceptable and if thats the case they deserved to lose to that pitiful team tonight.

  2. All this uninspired play isn’t worth three hours of my time. There is too much other stuff I can be doing that would be far more productive and definitely more enjoyable. I’ll pay attention again come playoff time, hopefully the Laker players will join me.

  3. total disaster. not unsurprising, though. time to pull the trigger on the rumored trade for Melo before it is too late, and this lackluster bunch gets bounced in the first round…

  4. the youngsters have an expression that fits this situation precisely:

    FAIL!

  5. how can you take teams lightly???? why is that even possible when you are losing!!!!

  6. Not sure what game you were watching. Ramon Sussions had a career high 32 points and made Fisher look like dead man walking. Brownl played zero defense as did Kobe. As for Artest. He has poisoned this team. Laughing and spraying perfume after the last 20 point lose and scoring one point tonight. This team is broken.

    Blake, Brown and Artest have to go. Mitch got nothing for Farmer and a bag of chips and 40 year old Joe Smith for Sasha. Now we have the worst point guards and zero outside shooters.

    This team is heading for 4th in the West and has no chance of getting out of the West. Oh by the way Andrew you cried about not getting the ball so you show up BIG and go 2 for 12.

    Embarrassing Dr Buss. Is this what you pay 110 million for and just shut out 1.4 Laker fans who can’t watch free games in 2012?

  7. Igor…I think you said it best.

  8. From the game thread I believe Daniel said the lakers are on pace for 57 wins. I disagree. Let’s remember the lakers started the season 8-0. Since then they’ve gone 30-19. Good for a 60 winning percentage. If that holds true for the last 25 games they’ll win 15 out of 25 and finish the season 53-29. That may get them anywhere between the 3rd or 4th seed depending on okc. Thatll be pretty tough to knock the spurs out of the spurs out of the second round if they face them.

    But I just believe the lakers need a change of personel. It’s just not working with the guys they have. There’s just isn’t any chemistry especially on the defensive end. I thought Jerry and magic said it just to motivate the lakers, but now I think they meant it.

    I understand this team *can* play better because they have in the past. But in the playoffs they’ll have to play completely opposite of how they’ve been playing over the past 3 months. I just don’t believe a few twinks here and there will solve the problems the lakers have. Their defensive strategy sucks. they are always out of position, teams create so many mismatches, nobody consistently protects the rim except Andrew. Its especially sad to watch the guards defend. The only one with an excuse of consistently allowing their man to blow pass them is fisher.

    And it really seems like teams have figured out how to defend the lakers and negate their bigs. Teams just aren’t defending fisher and artest. They are pretty much playing Pau man to man and daring him go one on one and sending 2 or three defenders and Kobe and Andrew when they get the ball in the paint.

  9. By the way I am sponsoring the retired NBA players party Friday in LA. Walt Hazzard Elgin Baylor and Keith Erickson will be honored. I can’t wait to ask these ex-Lakers if the ever took games off like Artest, LO and Bynam seem to do on a regular basis.

  10. Stepping back from all the feelings, Kobe has not been getting to the line at all the last few games–something to keep an eye on.

  11. #6. Not sure if you’re talking to me, but I mentioned that those players played well on *offense*. No Laker played good defense as far as I could tell. Not even Pau (who got blown by on dribble penetration most of the night).

  12. When you get out scored 32 to 16 from a little know sub and cause wide open shots by the penetrating little know guard that’s probably not good. But yes for 37% shooting Fisher who is last in shooting, assists and points against of any point starter in the NBA, a wonderful game!

  13. I said this in the last post…. but that was embarassing.

    Games like this proves Pau doesn’t deserve to be a number 1 option. When the Lakers won 4 straight, Kobe was playing out of his mind, shooting the jumper well, and the floor was spaced. Since the Knick game, Kobe has been subpar, and the Lakers lost.

    We are a live by Kobe die by Kobe team, because the rest of our guys on the team don’t have the cajones to step up and ball when he’s playing badly. The doesn’t speak of depth, that speaks of last years Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Hey, at least we still have our feared (is it feared anymore) length…..

  14. Darius – “Not sure if you’re talking to me …” This makes me think of a polite version of De Niro’s classic line in “Taxi Driver”.

    Ken – do you think the Lakers could trade for Baylor, Hazzard, and Erickson. Even though Baylor is about 70, I’d trade him for Artest, right now, straight up!

  15. Copied and pasted from LandOLakers

    The point BK made about the playoff draw last year:
    OKC–no elite big, no playoff exp
    UTAH–Kirilenko and Okur hurt
    PHX–Amare, but no C, no Kobe stopper

    is one I have made at FB&G many times.

    I think the team needs a tweak at the margins, in the form of:

    1. A small trade for a wing who can play 15
    2. A buyout acquisition
    3. An adjustment in schemes (such as playing some zone, with Bryant/Barnes/Artest all on the floor together)
    4. An adjustment in personnel usage (Blake starting and playing 30, or Bynum coming off the bench)

    Short-term Stat trend to watch: Kobe is having trouble getting to the stripe. Key sign of aging.

  16. There is good new though. Artest just dropped his latest mix tape for all his Twitter fans. Multi-year contract for this guy? Smart.

    Bulls, Pacers, Kings, Rockets, Lakers, D-League.

  17. Ken @ 9 – I’d take Baylor (age 76) for Artest right now, straight up.

    Darius @ 11- “Not sure if you’re talking to me … ” This reminds me of De Niro’s classic line from “Taxi Driver”.

    tsuwm @ 4 – gets my vote for comment of the evening.

  18. Since the lakers FO seems to be at a loss as to what to do about this mess, why don’t we all brainstrom some ideas? Me first!

    Ship Ron Artest OUT.

    Waive him, suspend him, whatever it takes to get him gone.

  19. Ken @ 9 – Think you can convince Baylor to rejoin the Lakers? As a player, I mean. Even at age 76, I’ll take him over Ron Ron. If nothing else, at his age I doubt he even knows what a “mix tape” IS.

  20. At least you guys didn’t have to pay money to see that debacle. I was at the game. I could’ve saved $70 and seven hours and just played World of Warcraft or something. I forgot who said it here, but if the Lakers aren’t going to take the regular season seriously, why should we?

  21. kehntangibles @ 18 – Call it a truly morbid sense of curiousity, but what was the home crowd like? Loud and proud? Deliously happy? Was it a sell out or a tiny crowd?

  22. “Hopefully, this loss resonates some and we see a recommitted group next week.”

    If that’s not become a broken record among Lakers fans this season. Disgusting, disgusting effort. I keep telling myself it’ll be different when the playoffs start, but I’m less and less convinced of that with each passing day.

    Everything Jerry West said recently was true. They can hide it for a night or two, blowing out a disjointed Utah at Staples or getting a win in Boston. But the same holes keep springing leaks too frequently, and there are too many on this ship for me to continue thinking it’ll be smoother sailing once this S.S. Minnow sets sail for the playoffs in a few weeks.

    Guys like sessions and Mike Conley and Earl Watson and Jason Kidd’s corpse have looked like All-Stars against L.A. this season. The guard play is just anemic, as is their outside shooting.

  23. Any guy that posts this on twitter (in addition to his stats and the sentiment that he wished he could have done better) is a guy I’m keeping and hoping that the crazy swings in my favor again soon:

    RONARTESTCOM i just got a call from from jesus he says you are the worst player in the history of the game but i love you thanks jesus
    about 2 hours ago

  24. I’ll ask Elgin. Should be good event at the Biltmore Hotel. Right now I am not to proud of this team.

    Sure hope Jerry West is there. Love to see what he thinks of this old, slow Laker team now. And Jane if you had a team full of Ron Artest’s you would go winless but have a huge hotel bar bill to pay.

    To bad he’s not working for another team so he can save Mitch’s job again with another Gasol steal.

  25. Well at least if they’re gonna stink up the back end of a road trip they get to think about it over the break. I for one am getting a little tired of Lamar and Pau and whoever else, willingly talking about the team’s lack of effort. Just go out and play like it means something.

  26. Thanks, Ken.

    And…I still can’t sleep.

  27. Wow @ Ken

    Anyways I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player go for 30/20 and be yelled at by his coach the way Phil let Pau have it for his defense

    I find it hard to swallow that this Lakers team got the one signature win they could hang their hats on this year against the Celts and felt so good about themselves they proceeded to crap the bed to the tune of three straight losses. I have never experienced such a great week of regular season basketball followed by such an awful week of regular season basketball with no injuries involved. I did not believe it was possible for me to even be this invested in the regular season with back to back champs.

    I have no more words

  28. Anybody think maybe the Lakers are tired of Phil and just tuning him out?

    Just a thought!

  29. tsuwm, the expression you’re looking for is “epic fail”…

  30. Never thought a Kobe team would play like a fat Shaq in November.

  31. Regular season, right before the All Star game, the end of a long road trip, and the 5th game in 7 days.

    If you did not bet, assuming it were legal, on the Cavaliers to cover, and on the Cavaliers to win, you deserve to lose money.

    Regular season.

    Wake me for the playoffs, or if someone gets injured…

  32. Wow, we lost to the Cavs huh? I was busy reading World Mythology books for a test tomorrow, I guess I did not miss much, except Pau Gasol’s awesome offense.

    “We all have a few failures under our belt. It’s what makes us ready for the successes.” – Randy K. Milholland

  33. The Lakers actually DO MISS… Ratliff and Barnes…

    They still fight through games… cause they never won anything… Look Blake is TOO NICE… We might not have liked Farmars ball hogging… but he was at least competitive.

    When do they come back anyway?

  34. Is it really possible Kobe goes to the line 4 times in 3 games?Something fishy here,something Sternesque..

  35. I really felt the Lakers needed to beat the Celtics given how they’d lost to some good teams. They did that and I thought, OK, this team still has it. But as someone said very cleverly above, the more they rope-a-dope, the more I believe they won’t be able to sustain the excellence they’ll need for a third consecutive ring.

  36. Two common themes with the three losses….

    Kobe not getting to the FT line and making up for it by committing a rash of turnovers (not blaming the officiating–in fact, he hasn’t been taking the ball to the rack enough, and when he does, he doesn’t seem to have that “something” that gets him home)

    and

    Lamar Odom’s subpar play (the summer starting to catch up with him, finally?)—three straight sub-.500 shooting nights, with lines of

    15 and 8 (but still sub 50%)
    9 and 4 and
    6 and 4

    (In fact, he’s only averaging 11-6-2 over his last five on 41% shooting from the field and 61% from the stripe

    It has been said ad nauseum and I’ll say it again–when Lamar is on–this team is the toughest out–but when he isn’t they are very mortal.

  37. I am not going to deny that this team has the raw talent to 3 peat but I think its hit a critical mass and they have too many issues – penetration by opposing points, kobes lazy defense, artest being artest, pau being a softy, lack of outside shooting and of course the bench not playing up to the level anticipated last summer.

    (edited for trade speculation)

  38. This day will live in infamy

  39. I blame this all on Max from the Max & Marcellus show on AM710 radio. After the blowout in MGS he said that “it doesn’t matter how the rest of this road trip goes, you have to call it a success.”

    Well, Max, I’d say you blew that one.

    What looked like a team coming together on the road now looks like a team falling apart.

    I kept waiting to hear Mychal Thompson say that Pau had just rushed at Kobe and punched him in the face last night or that Phil had just walked out of the building muttering “I came back for this?”

  40. I don’t even know what to say. How do you explain having a team more talented, bigger, taller, and more experienced, get outplayed by the worst team in the league?

    And stop with the ‘last game before the all-star game’ excuse. That can’t be an excuse. And I know, I know, it’s about the ‘journey’ but it’s hard to enjoy watching our team (with the highest payroll in the league) when you don’t even know if they’re gonna bring it every night.

    Hopefully they turn that switch on in the playoffs.

  41. They are missing Ratliff??

    You are kidding, I hope (grin).

    They never HAD Ratliff.

    Craig W – “Anybody think maybe the Lakers are tired of Phil and just tuning him out? Just a thought!” Yeah, I think it’s very possible. The Lakers FO has a few decisions to make. One of my suggestions is in moderation. It involves Artest, and it’s not a contract extension I’m thinking of. Nor a trade. More of a termination.

  42. @38

    There are always two teams on the floor–even if one is the Cavs.

    1. They were obviously stung by the 112-57 debacle, saw an opportunity to get a little respect back with the Lakers at the end of a long trip leading into the ASB, and took it. Phil’s habit of leaving the starters in played a role here. The Lakers could have won that game by 30 instead of 55. So now, for a few days at least, people will be laughing with the Cavs rather than at them.
    2. The Cavs had one real match-up advantage: Sessions vs. Fisher/Blake, and they had a game plan that exploited it.
    3. The Cavs are terrible, but no team is quite as bad as they looked during the streak.

    __

    I think people are banging too hard on Artest. Kobe was 8/24 with seven turnovers and no FTAs. Bynum was 2/12 from the field. Artest is frustrating sometimes, but let’s face it: he has limitations. If people need to hang this loss on someone, Kobe, Andrew, Phil, and Lamar all make more sense as targets than Artest does.

  43. Laker fans are so amusing sometimes. First of all, the win in Boston is hardly a signiture win for the Lakers. Heck, the players would even tell you that!!! Boston was playing with 7 guys available that night. Don’t hang any hope on a win like that. Secondly, don’t think that the Lakers can simply hit the gas pedal come playoff time that same way Boston was able to do last year. The Laker’s are not that type of team. In order to do that you have to have one constant working for you. AHHH–Defense— Offense comes and goes with all teams–not something you can rely on to get you to the top. Defense will always keep a team in games. The Lakers must recommit on the defensive end or their chances of getting back to the Finals are little to none.

  44. Laker fans are so amusing sometimes.

    __

    Maybe so, but trolls aren’t.

    And I notice that like most Celtics fans, you use injuries as an excuse. I have always found that pretty “amusing” as well.

    And it’s “Lakers” not “Laker’s.”

  45. That should be @ 40, not @38.

  46. Darius, I’m totally cool with it if you delete #44, but I think #43 should go down with it. That guy has been around here before.

  47. Darius, you don’t have to delete # 44 -what would be the point of doing that? It’s good to have some spirited discussion on here. Is it not? I simply stated that I don’t think the Lakers consider the win in Boston to be a signiture win and that the Lakers need to recommit on defense in order to have a realistic shot at getting back to the finals. Anything wrong with that?

  48. Darius please keep both #43 and #44.

    It’s all in good fun.

    As far as #43 goes, it’s always interesting to see what’s on the “mind” of Celtics fans.

  49. Anything wrong with that?

    No, but look at the line I actually quoted. You are a Celtics fan, are you not? Showing up at a Laker site and calling Lakers’ fans “amusing” is trolling at its best, and then playing the trademark Boston injury card makes it even more trollish and IMO classless.

    Lakers fans do this as well at Celtics sites of course, but it not good form or in the spirit of the site. I decided to respond rather than just ignoring you to see if you might learn something. Time to find out if you did.

    Also, the people here are aware of the Lakers’ issues on D–we talk about them literally every day.

    As Darius says: classy Celtics’ fans always welcome here.

  50. Robinred @ 42 – You say people are banging too hard on Artest, and that Bynum and Kobe had lousy games as well vs Cleveland. Fair enough.

    I’m more concerned about Ron’s season long pattern of rotten play interspersed with bouts of totally inane behavior. It’s no longer amusing. Or worth putting up with. At all.

    If nothing else, he needs to be made an example of.

  51. Wow – nothing brings out the supporters like losing….

  52. I might be in the minority but I look to the offense when thinking about the Laker’s issues. I think Andrew Bynum identified the main problem with the team (besides the easy answer of “effort”). He said in effect that turnovers from the guards really hurt as Lakers bigs aren’t in position in the triangle to transition to defense quickly. So Lakers turnovers are in essense ALWAYS fast breaks which lead to a disporportionate amount of easy buckets. It’s especially frustrating since teams do not score easily against the Lakers in the half court.

    Kobe’s turnovers in particular are basically negative assists as I noticed it usually leads directly to a basket for the other team.

  53. VoR @ 51 – We’ve got to rally ’round the standard!

  54. The Lakers didn’t just get a signature win in Boston. They won in New Orleans (who is very very good at home), in Memphis where they have traditionally struggled, THEN in boston ( who DID want that game for Ray Allen and who did not have all their players but did have their starting line up and main rotation guys). Then the next night in New York and that’s a completely different scene on a back to back. Those are four quality wins. I don’t mind the loss in Orlando that was just a throw away game. Even the game in charolette I could have swallowed but yesterday was just pathetic. Why is everyone still trying to blame artest? how many plays do we run for him? how many times do we give it to him in the post? Kobe bryant had his worst game of the season against the worst team and no one is looking there? kobe came out and said here you go big guys take this game over and we went into drew consistently in teh first half and he threw up half ass floaters in the lane and couldn’t score. This was a game where Andrew had the opportunity to come out and assert himself as a force and he choked. Fisher and Kobe deserve games off Andrew has not even gotten close to earning that right. Then when kobe sensed drew was going phase out AGAIN. he tried to do the worst thing he does which is take over and take fadeaways from the three point line cuz he is too tired to drive. Phil Jackson needs to implement some new things, this team is stagnant, bored, the chemistry isn’t there. But you can never writeoff a champ until they lose in the finals. They are just really abusing their fan base right now and its getting a little ridiculous.

  55. I’m just waiting for our prized seven footer who we absolutely cannot trade who hasn’t played more then 60 games in one season who we didn’t even have in our 08-09 finals runs to come up with a 20 10 and 4 block game. He doesn’t have any passion or desire to dominate which is the trait that worries me. Even Demarcus Cousins is an idiot in sacramento but you see him wanting to dominate the game. I’m not saying we should trade him but if he doesn’t show up in the playoffs. I would have no problem packaging bynum and Artest even for cost cutting measures. It’s not like the lakers run the triangle anyway so the excuse t hat we’d have to teach a new player the triangle is ridiculous. who would you rather throw the ball into in the post carmelo or bynum. you give Carmelo a legitimate shot to win a title next to kobe who is going to gaurd that man? tim duncan? matt bonner? paul pierce?…. we are just a frustrated fan base and the lakers problems are just getting too old to stomach, if fisher can’t gaurd anyone or is fatigued start blake for a few games is that such a big deal? …kobe stop taking fade aways from half court line, even if your bigs aren’t showing up let the coaching staff ring them out its your job as the leader to consistently make the right play and just do that and then in the last two minutes you have the green light to take any shot you want, stop trying to keep proving to everyone that you are the greatest we already know that justp lay basketball and run the triangle. Pau and Bynum, start dunking on people, start fouling gaurds and laying them on the ground, start using your fouls and actually protecting the rim even if you think that your gaurds are allowing easy penetration its ok get 4-5 blocks just one time for me…… Artest if you dont like shooting the corner three then don’t take it. head fake, talk to the coaching staff, do anything else. your defense i have actually been happy with. everything is just so melo dramatic its like we forgot what got us to the finals. we never run the triangle and when we do its sooooo lazy these problems are just getting old and if we as a simple minded fan can see them how are they not able to fix them? its not age because they just got 4 quality wins, its not talent, they have that. I don’t even think its fatigue I think its more laziness then anything and that’s including the coaching staff. just a side note. do you think david stern tells the lakers to lose on purpose so that the home fans of cleveland could feel good again?

  56. @robinred
    I completely agree. Hanging this loss on Artest, one of the players with least minutes on the floor last night reeks of a desperate desire to find a scapegoat for the fact that our entire team played like complete s***. The Cavs on the other hand did not. They played hard, they wanted it, and they earned their win.

    I don’t think a single Laker last night cared about trying to win the game. There was no fire, no drive, not even the fact that they were being humiliated by the worst team in the league seemed to register. It was painful to watch, and it’s flat out embarrassing for me to face the Celtics fans at work right now. Thankfully they have enough class not to gloat, which I appreciate, but they look awfully smug…

  57. We’ll keep the discussion civil or the comments will disappear. It’s pretty simple.

    And, I don’t think Stephen was trolling. It’s a perfectly reasonable argument to state the defense is important and the Lakers will need to commit on that side of the ball to have long term success. I mean, I’ve preached the same thing at this site (as did Kurt) for a long time.

    And while we’re on the subject I don’t think it’s ever fair to classify any group of fans as being one thing. Painting groups with a broad brush is always dangerous because people aren’t so easily classified. Some Lakers fans are more prone to being “amusing” than others. Here, at this site, I hope we consistently try to promote level headed commentary.

    To be fair, after a loss to the Cavs, that’s harder. But, as I stated in the recap, my long term outlook for this team hasn’t changed. The question, as always, is whether or not the problems can be fixed. I believe they can, and thus my continued belief that this team can contend. However, as I’ve said many times before, whether they will or not remains to be seen. It’s why I talk about the journey so often.

  58. * this is a good way for the team to enter the all star break.
    * they are going to come out firing after the break, and hopefully through the rest of the regular season.
    * I don’t expect to see the inconsistent nature this team has been displaying going forward.
    * one thing that can derail the lakers after the break will be injuries.

    * let’s get it on!

  59. A couple of people have suggested that the Lakers aren’t listening to Phil because he’s a lame-duck coach. I’ve heard more than one retired ballplayer suggest that that’s exactly what’s happening.

    One would like to think that players wouldn’t tune out the guy with 11 rings in 13 finals’ appearances as a coach. But hey…

  60. Mimsy @ 56 – “Hanging this loss on Artest, one of the players with least minutes on the floor last night reeks of a desperate desire to find a scapegoat for the fact that our entire team played like complete s***. ”

    Yes, well perhaps there’s a reason Artest played few mintues, no? As I mentioned, it’s not so much he played poorly vs Cleveland as the fact he’s played horribly all season long. In the meantime releasing mixtapes and spraying people with perfume, no less! I mean, honesty, it’s not like the guy is gonna make anybody forget 2-pac, know what I mean?

    And yes, other Lakers played poorly and are playing poorly in general. However, shipping everybody who’s playing bad isn’t an option. Shipping Ron is an option, and sometimes making an example of somebody is useful.

    I would submit that desperate conditions often give rise to desperate desires which require – well – desperate solutions. Hence my modest proposal.

  61. So I did some research and the Lakers lost to a 10 win Bulls team (at the time) AT THE FORUM in early February of the 3rd title run with Kobe and Shaq. Granted this team is much different than that one but still.

    They went on the road in the playoffs and managed to beat a great Kings team. The problem this time around is they won’t have a weak NETS team to face should they make it to the Finals.

    Was this loss bad? Yes. What’s more concerning is possibly not having home court advantage for multiple rounds of the playoffs. That might be too much too ask.

    If they manage to win it all this season it would be one of the sweetest championships ever.

  62. Stop panicking lakers fans, this is what this teams does every year underacheives until the playoffs everybody on this board will be back on the Lakers nutz once they3peat mark my word!!

  63. The number one problem for the Lakers is KOBE’s lack of defense, either getting beat off the dribble on a consistent basis, or his unwillingness (laziness) to rotate to the shooters or help cover the big men when they rotate to defend the rim.
    You can see Pau and Andrew have had enough of Kobe not rotating. They keep shaking their heads after looking at Kobe for not following the defensive scheme. Bynum said last night that nobody believes in the defensive scheme, which was his way of saying we all know Kobe is not going to rotate if I go and challenge a shot. All the reporters are aware of it but nobody dares to bring it up because they are afraid of challenging kobe since he may never talk to them again.

    His offense has also suffered (horrendous 3-point percentage and not being able to get to the line as often) but not nearly as bad as his defense.
    No trade is going to solve this problem. Jerry west said it best a few weeks ago. It is related to his health, age, and lack of effort. He can increase his effort, but cannot sustain it due to his health and age.
    Oh well, no one can defy age, not even Kobe. He maybe 32, but counting all the minutes he has played, he is more like 36-37.
    It was nice while it lasted! He is still my favorite player of all time.

  64. @Darius-Thank You. I appreciate that. I certainly wasn’t trolling. Hell, last year the Celtics played at a 500 clip for the final 2/3 of the season, with some pretty miserable losses along the way. The Lakers can regroup with an all out commitment to defense. I want the Lakers in the finals rather then San Antonio.

  65. @60
    I think you may have read a bit too much into my comment. I’m not saying Artest is having a good season as a Laker. He has been abyssmal, that’s why he wasn’t on the floor. But his production through this season as a whole is one thing, his contributions last night is another. Looking at last night he contributed very little by virtue of not being on the floor. The loss last night is squarely on the players that were on the court, and were not doing what they should be doing.

  66. Artest last night: adding to what Mimsy said, Ron is not the Lakers’ main matchup advantage vs. Cleveland (or against most teams): the bigs are. Pau took advantage of that; Lamar and Andrew didn’t.

    As to Kobe, he shot a bunch of long jumpers, turned the ball over, etc. If he is going to be “the guy” who bails the team out on off-nights, 8/24 is not getting it done.

    Artest all year: Ron is what he is–a disruptive defensive player with no hops, uncertain offensive instincts, an inconsistent stroke, and some personality issues. That is what he was when they signed him, and that is what he is now. When the signing was announced originally, I (and many other people) said that it was clear that Ron was brought in to match up with big, often physical, top-tier wings in post-season, and the signing was best judged on how he and the Lakers did in post-season. Obviously, that worked out in 2010, and if you don’t believe me, you can ask Paul Pierce and Kevin Durant.

    So, while I get tired of the “wake me up when it’s the playoffs” meme, Ron is the ONE guy on the team that I go along with it on. As distractable as he is, as long as the season is, now that is in LA, and as little as he is involved in the offense, his disappearances are to be expected. Does that make them OK? No, but again: what did people think the Lakers were getting when they brought him in? Now, if he gets torched by Ginobili, Durant, Jefferson Anthony et al in post-season, then, yes, get on him. And as noted: I am a a UCLA grad and LOVE Trevor–but it is not as if he has become an All-Star since he left.

    All this being the case, I think our 12M 7′ C and our 25M HOF SG are more on the hook for last night than Ron.

    The Kamenetzkys have been talking a lot about Blake lately–they were both very bullish on adding him and have been disappointed. I was not that into adding Blake, although I was OK with it, but I think PG is still the team’s biggest problem. Between Fisher/Blake, and Kobe/Shannon, the perimeter D is a real problem. Add that to the poor outside shooting they are prone to…

  67. I think the problems with this team are obvious: championship hangover.

    It’s not all about talent and chemistry, although that’s a good bit of it. A huge ingredient to championship teams is HUNGER. How come a great Spurs dynasty was never able to win a back to back title? They never even got to the NBA finals in back to back years. Why did the Lakers have such a bad year in the 3rd year of their 3-peet? And then in the 4th year (year after the 3-peet), didn’t win anything. Did the talent on the team collapse from the 3rd to the 4th year? No, the HUNGER collapsed. I think it was Pat Riley who ccalled it the disease of me or something to that effect.

    The truth is that this team is LACKING hunger, they have been to the NBA finals for 3 straight years and have back to back championships, in a time when there are multiple dominant talent packed teams. In the mid 90’s when the Bulls when on their run, the best they went up against was a Jazz team with 2 stars. They didn’t have to go up against dominant teams like the Celtics, the Heat, the Spurs rejuvinated dynasty, etc.

    This team is on a championship hangover and it will not fix itself by getting into the playoffs. They lack the hunger, will and desire it takes to win another ring. That’s the issue here.

    They just don’t care enough. That’s not to say that they don’t care, it’s just they don’t care as much as Lebron who needs to prove himself, as much as the Celtics who are desparate cause they have one last shot, a Dwight Howard that is desparate to win and make a name for himself, and etc.

    This team won’t win a ring this year, despite having the talent and chemistry to do so. Not saying it’s impossible, but it’s unlikely.

  68. @ 18: the crowd was pretty good, even though there were a sizeable number of laker fans. It started out pretty tepid at first and as the game went on, they got more into it – realizing along with us that the Cavs might actually win the damn game.

    Now, I hadn’t seen the 24304 Cavs games they lost, and I’d suspect fans of bad teams are always excited to the ‘elite’ teams like the Lakers come to town. Granted, the Cavs gave the home crowd a lot to like. (I use ‘elite’ very loosely in regards to the Lakers)

    The only saving grace was that, being a 10-44 team or whatever their record is, all the Cavs fans knew they didn’t have a whole lot of room to trash talk.

    Anyways, like I said before… wake me up when the playoffs start. Since that’s obviously the mentality this team has adopted.

  69. >This team won’t win a ring this year, despite having the talent and chemistry to do so.

    people here keep talking about talent, but really, after the top three or four guys, where is it?

  70. I agree with 63,

    the lakers problems start with the leader. Kobe’s lack of effort on defense is going to translate into his teammates, he can’t be calling people out for defense when he plays the least. this was probably in the top 3 worst kobe games i’ve ever seen and i watch almost every game. I stand by this statement the lakers as a team looked their best when kobe was hurt last year for that 5 game stretch and almost went 5-0 if not for a 1pt home loss to Boston where they went into portland and utah and got huge wins and actually RAN THE OFFENSE. this is a chemistry issue on this team. Pau and Andrew get mad that Kobe takes so many shots. Kobe doesn’t stick to the defensive game plan always roaming and what not letting players like xavier henry go off on us and our bigs get tired of getting the blame so it affects everyone’s mood. that’s the problem right there on both ends it starts and ends with kobe. In the last three losses. kobe shot 8/24. 8/20. 8/18. went for 2 assts. 2 assts/5 assts.
    7 TOs, 5 TOs, 2 TOs. That’s an avrg of 8.7% shooting, 3assts, and 4+ TOs per game. ! kobe is the greatest player of his era, but that’s pathetic. if you are tired play correctly set up your teammates. if you feel like something isn’t happening out there this isn’t the real world go to practice and fix it. It’s not kobe’s responsibility to worry about his teammates, he needs to focus on taking good shots, setting up his bigs, and running the offense and rotating on defense. It’s weird to complain about kobe that way but it really starts and ends with him.

    kobe hasn’t shot well this whole trip has consistently turned the ball over. Gasol has actually stepped up his game. Lets atleast be honest in our criticism of the players people. Kobe had one good shooting game and that was in new york. the next step in kobe’s greatness is realizing that he doesn’t always have to be scoring to dominate a game. I think he is right there with jordan in terms of most talented players but in terms of legacy and greatness I think where he lacks is making the right basketball play and making his teammates better. That’s why I think michael jordan and the kobes are in a different type of greatness class then the larry bird and magic johnsons. Kobe has a unique opp to be both he just needs to learn that we already know he is great and amazing now maximize the talent and team you have. he just still wants to get his scoring numbers.

  71. @chris y
    I almost agree with you. The next step in Kobe’s greatness is not that he needs to realize that he doesn’t have to be dominant, it’s that it’s a matter of time before he no longer can be dominant. He’s not getting younger, but the players defending him are. That day isn’t here yet, but with every season it comes closer, and the sooner the others learn how to step up when they need to, the better.

    Primarily because Kobe will not give up the ball to them until it’s taken from him.