Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

Darius Soriano —  April 12, 2011

Records: Lakers 55-25 (3rd in West), Spurs 61-19 (1st in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.0 (7th in NBA), Spurs 111.9 (2nd in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.4 (6th in NBA), Spurs 105.4 (11th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Spurs: Only Greg Popovich knows…
Injuries: Lakers: Devin Ebanks (out), Steve Blake (out); Spurs: none (as of now)

The Lakers Coming in: Lots of news in Laker land today. As we all know the team has lost 5 consecutive games, putting a real sense of urgency into these last 2 games of the year. The Lakers still control their own destiny in that if they win out they’ll still clinch the #2 seed in the playoffs. However, there are a variety of scenarios that could play out and there’s still a possibility the Lakers drop to the #4 seed. For a summary of it all, check out Mike Trudell’s post on this very subject at Lakers.com.

In other news, Steve Blake has the Chicken Pox and is out indefinitely. Obviously, this is concerning for a variety of reasons. Blake is the only back up PG on the roster and has been playing steady ball of late, especially on the defensive side. Phil’s shown good confidence in Blake as an offensive initiator and coming off a good shooting game versus the Thunder, I had hopes that he was finding his stroke right as the playoffs approach. Currently there’s no timetable for his return but this isn’t the flu or some cold. I had the Chicken Pox when I was a kid and it was one of the worst times of my life. Here’s hoping to a speedy recovery – suffering through this now is not only a downer for him but, again, it does put the team in dire straits at back up guard.

Lastly, and likely related to Blake’s news, the Lakers have called up Trey Johnson from the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam. Johnson spent training camp and played pre-season with the Lakers, earning a long look before being one of the last cuts before the season started. From the linked post, Scott Schroeder of Ridicuous Upside has a brief scouting report on Johnson:

Johnson can play both guard spots, but has been more of an off-guard with the Jam this year due to their already having two point guards on the roster — and the team’s need for a go-to scorer. The generously listed at 6-foot-5 guard led the NCAA in scoring as senior at Jackson State in 2007 and has slowly upped his scoring average over his four (abbreviated) seasons in the D-League from 11.8 points per game in 2007-08 to 20.7 the following year, 21.3 last season and his league-leading 25.5 scoring average this season.

When I first read about this signing I thought this was a shot across the bow at Shannon Brown due to his struggling play of late. And while that still may be the case, this call up makes much more sense after reading about Blake. Johnson could end up playing spot minutes at both Guard spots as the playoffs approach and this is something we’re going to have to monitor closely as we get a better timeline on Blakes possible return and see how Shannon responds to another guard being added to the roster.

As mentioned earlier, this has been some day in Laker land.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Matt Barnes missed practice yesterday with a sore knee. In the same report detailing Blake’s case of the Chicken Pox, Mike Trudell reports that he’s listed as questionable for tonight’s game. I do think Barnes plays, but that’s just a hunch.

The Spurs Coming in: What can be said about the Spurs that you don’t already know? They’re the West’s top team and haven’t yet lost 20 games on the season. They’re still fighting the Bulls for the #1 overall seed but look to be in good shape of at least earning a tie with them for the top spot where tie breakers would determine who has home court should they meet each other in the Finals.

Recently, the Spurs have bounced back from their 6 game skid to win 4 consecutive games and look to be primed for the playoffs. They’re a veteran team with no real injuries on their roster and have experience in navigating a tough playoff field. At this point in the season, they’re where everyone else wants to be. They’ve earned it, so kudos to them.

Spurs Blogs: 48 Minutes of Hell is a great site that you should visit for Spurs news and analysis. Also check out Pounding the Rock for notes on this team (go there just for the picture in their game preview).

Keys to game: If you look at the top of this post, you’ll notice that I’ve not filled in a starting lineup for the Spurs. Apparently Coach Pop has been tight lipped about who will play tonight and who will not, so it’s all a mystery to me. Normally, I’d expect a team to play their best guys as they’ve still got something to play for (winning out would secure them the #1 seed through the playoffs) but with the Spurs you never know. Popovich isn’t the most convential coach when it comes to resting his players and based off his success as a coach, you have to trust his judgement. So, from the standpoint of breaking down this game using personnel and match ups, I’m out of luck.

All that said, this is an important game to the Lakers and they need to win. A loss further puts their seeding at risk and considering they’re not going into the playoffs at full strength, every edge matters at this point. So, to win this game we go back to the same things we’ve been saying for months – the Lakers need to attack inside, slow the pace, and ensure that they control their defensive glass.

Regardless of who the Spurs throw out there tonight, the Lakers will have a size advantage and they should work to exploit it. Be it Duncan, McDyess, Bonner, Blair, or Splitter the Lakers must go inside to Bynum and Gasol to let them get their touches and work the offense inside out. Post ups on the strong side in the hub of the Triangle and weak side duck ins when the ball reverses to the top should be staples of the Lakers’ attack tonight and if Bynum/Gasol both don’t end up with 10+ shots I’d say the Lakers didn’t do their job on that side of the ball.

Defensively, the Lakers must do two things effectively: control the pace and protect the three point line. Whether it’s Parker, Hill, Ginobili, or even Neal the Spurs will try to run against the Lakers and score on them in transition before the bigs can get back and contest shots at the rim. The Lakers must show good floor balance on O to properly transition back on D to slow the Spurs’ attack. As for defending the three point shot, Every Spur wing player (plus Bonner) is a threat from deep. The Lakers mustn’t get sucked into the paint and leave Neal, Jefferson, Bonner, Ginobili, or Novak behind the arc uncontested. Rotations must be crisp and on time to run these guys off the three point line and turn them into drivers where they’re forced to finish in the paint over size. This is how the Lakers beat the Spurs the last game and it’s just as vital tonight.

I could go on and on, but there’s really not a need for more. This game is vital to the Lakers and for the first time in a long stretch of games their backs are nearing the wall. The coaches and the players both know that they’ve let games slip that could have aided their cause and it’s now games like this that need to be won in order to stay in the spot where they currently are. There were signs of life against the Thunder, let’s hope we see a fully awakened team tonight.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start on Fox Sports West and TNT. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

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191 responses to Preview and Chat: The San Antonio Spurs

  1. One of the biggest concerns when the Lakers brought in Ron Artest last season were the questions regarding Ron’s ability to switch from being a first or second option on offense for his entire career to being the fifth option on this all star Lakers team. Most players play better on offense with less responsibility but Ron has had his problems. The last game against OKC was a prime example. In one on one situations against Durant (one of the better defenders in the NBA) RonRon went 4-5 in post ups and face ups from the outside. But on the Lakers, a team with so many good one on one options Artest isn’t needed to play on the ball. Unfortunately for Los Angeles and Artest, Ron didn’t make one shot if I remember correctly playing off the ball. Just one other thing to think about as the playoffs approach.

  2. Blake being out and Barnes possibly missing the game will probably force Phil Jackson to change his rotation quite a bit. Since Brown has been slumping, might we see Odom as the de facto back-up PG?

    Increased playing time for Odom throughout the game could then result in Bynum finally getting some crunch-time minutes. So maybe there is at least one positive to gain from this dire roster situation.

  3. Good for my man Trey Johnson. Hopefully he will be prepared to contribute should the need arise. I respect players like him who toil in the various leagues and hope for a shot like this (although he’s played in the NBA before). He may stay on the playoff roster given Blake’s status.

    Today’s game is a put up or shut up moment. It’s a playoff like atmosphere only because if we lose, we may drop to the 4th seed, lose HCA against the Celts should we meet again. The team has slacked off for a few games, and now, it’s the proverbial exam and ready or not, it’s time for the Lakers to flip the switch, and keep it on until we win our 4th game in the NBA Finals.

  4. I had Chicken Pox as an adult. I think I was out of commission for about a week. I was then able to return to work, but had some itchy scabs for a few weeks thereafter. I hear symptons can last for as long as two weeks in some adults.

    I sure hope all Lakers had the pox as kids. The incubation period for this is about two weeks. So, no Laker is off the hook at least for another two weeks from today.

  5. Look at the bright side in Blake’s situation. Think how many guys will shy away from him. He’ll get a lot of open looks on offense and on D, guys will be jittery around him. LOL!

  6. Oh man… Chicken Pox? Not good.

  7. @2 I agree, I think Odom essentially becomes the backup PG. Kobe will probably play PG if/when both Fish and Odom are on the bench. Also, I think Fisher will play more minutes (~34-36ish). The thing that worries me most about the situation is that Blake may have infected other players.

  8. C pox at that age is not good at all.

    What’s the word on Trey Johnson’s ability as a shooter? Scouting seems to say he’s quite efficient as a small scoring guard, but does he shoot 3′s at a high percentage?

    Quick question – how does the division champion thing come into play with seeding? Are division champions guaranteed 1 of the top 3 or 4 seeds regardless of record? Or does division only come into play with tiebreakers?

  9. Like mannyP I had the chicken pox as an adult. Missed two weeks of work and was quite ill for one week.

    By the way, I’m not sure that having the disease as a kid insures adult immunity!

  10. @8 Snoopy. Division champs are #4 seed at worst. Where they fall depends on overall record first then head to head on tie breaker.

    A team finishing second in their division could end up being 2nd or 3rd seed if they have a better record than the other two division champs.

  11. More minutes for fish against Parker? Ouch. Really makes the genius move by Mitch dumping Sasha for a guy on social security named Smith look good.

    Spurs should want this game. Pushing the lakers to fight Denver or Portland is huge. Bothbteams can best us right now and just did.

    Artest and Brown have been terrible. No offense and worse defense. Little options with a entire bench throw away by Mitch.

    Kobe can’t do it alone and Phil needs to wake up and leave Andrew in late. Cost us many games on late tip ins and blowing by Fisher.

    If we lose tonight I don’t see this team getting out of the West. Clearly OKC is a younger and better this year and we are older and slower.

  12. #11. I see you’ve rehashed your greatest hits from last season. Mitch, Fisher, and Artest bashing was your war cry from last year and with a healthy dose of Phil second guessing for your final nail.

    I understand the frustration, but saying this team can’t win is a mistake. Just like guaranteeing they will win is a mistake. The fact that the sports talk radio mindset of judging only off tunnel vision has taken hold of so many disappoints me greatly. Where is the nuance? Where are the shades of gray?

  13. Ken- Sasha move was for Dr. Buss’ bottom line, not basketball related, but yes, would be great to plug Machine in with Blake out.

    I just want to see us string together some good quarters and get a couple W’s

  14. Darius, those shades of gray are looking pretty dark right about now ….

  15. #14. I can see that perspective and if we played out that discussion, I’d be fine with it. However, in that discussion I’m sure I’d also be able to raise valid point about how things aren’t completely awful with no hope. So, again, I’d just love a balanced perspective.

  16. This team really does keep finding new ways to try our patience, though, doesn’t it? Sometimes I wonder if they’re deliberately screwing with us and the rest of the league, like I picture Kobe, Phil and Fisher playing video games together and discussing how many games in a row they need to mail in to set all of us on edge.

    I’d love for this team to bring a consistent effort and play smart night after night and keep something extra for the playoffs. I’d love for us to win those games we should be winning. I’d love to consistently see Kobe to not take 1-on-3 jumpers and see Pau dunk and see Blake know when to shoot and see Shannon know when not to. I’d love to see Odom box out on defense more often.

    The thing is, regular season focus has never been a trademark of the Phil/Kobe era. Factor in age and 3 consecutive finals trips and…. yeah. Ugh. But we’re the back-to-back champs and the one thing we do have that no one else does is the knowledge that we can win.

    Bottom line is that the Lakers are what they are. They have the tools to win and sometimes they bother to use them. It’s not what I’d like to see, but what else can we do? I guess what I’m saying is this – They’ve gotten this far and the sooner that I accept that this is who the Lakers are, the better it its for my mental health. :)

  17. Darius @ 15 – I wouldn’t say things are completely awful with no hope.

    The Lakers’ prospects are looking better than the Warriors’, for example. And quite a number of other teams around the league for that matter.

  18. 16-Exactly. Enjoy this “awful” 55+ win season while other teams are playing with the ESPN trade and lotto machines. We are spoiled. Where is Kurt…journey….experience, c’mon guys, buck up, we are going for our 4th straight title appearance.

  19. this team has certainly provided highs and lows this year. 16 said it best. a lot of people have very short memories.

  20. I don’t get fans that seem to enjoy seeing their team fail. They only come out of the woodwork to proclaim how right they are and how bad the team is.

    I just don’t get that.

  21. All that said…. can anyone think of a championship-winning dynasty in any sport that has subjected its fans to such pain and anguish? :)

    I’m hard pressed to think of one.

  22. Pop should deploy his usual starting five to give them a bit of run, but they will likely play limited minutes in the second half. Pop hates giving potential opponents an extended look at his on-court strategy. Expect a heavy dose of Bonner (currently trying to shoot himself out of a “slump”) and Novak, and either a TON of Tiago Splitter or none at all (there is no middle ground when it comes to Pop’s handling of the Brazilian). So basically, if Odom and Artest show up then the Lakers should win soundly.

  23. I’m actually surprised that the Lakers’ team doc doesn’t require vaccination records. I’ve got a kid and have to say, that most parents are hyper-aware of what’s going around the schools and daycares as far as illnesses, etc.. I’m not trying to bag on Steve and I’m sure he’s both frustrated and uncomfortable right now. Still, he’s got three young children and they run through all the usual illnesses and for him to not to have gotten a vaccination for himself and/or for him to expose teammates and staff (especially considering that locker rooms and gyms are already incubators), is not at all wise.

  24. But, but, ESPN says the Lakers may as well forget about it, it’s freaking hopeless: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/27317/lakers-title-hopes-may-already-be-dashed

    So give up now. Go get get some beers and burgers, Lakers, and don’t bother to play the games. The pundits, stat-determinists, and the most worried fans have already rang the bell.

    C’mon guys. This is entertainment, technicolor, dunks, precision passing, complex defenses. It’s the NBA guys – enjoy! It’s faaaantastic !

  25. I can’t fault the FO for what they did in the off season. They took an already very talented and expensive roster and added players with the intent to shore up weaknesses. It really looked to me like they were putting the team in position to win another title.

    That’s about all any organization can do. I can certify its more than many teams do. Extreme example, I know, but the Warriors are a case in point of absolutely hopelessly clueless management. Not to mention the Clippers. Duh, Donald Sterling? (are you kidding me?)

    In shouldn’t sya these guys are clueless. If they aren’t though it’s painfully obbvious winning isn’t on the agenda.

  26. at least this season the Lakers starters are healthy down the stretch. Last season we had Kobe and Bynum on the shelf for the last few games and Odom nursing a shoulder. Kobe looks way better than he did this time last year and Bynum is playing the best ball of his career and is healthy. Pau is still Pau. LO is the best LO we’ve seen. Ron is fitting in way better than last season. How is this not a better scenario than last season?

  27. I’m with R. Buss and Mitch did the best they could do under the circumstances. They learned from how the first 3peat teams stagnated and kept finding role players to improve our roster. Blake hasn’t worked out as expected, but we were all ecstatic to get him. The FO can’t blackmail its players into playing well; they can only spend and make smart moves, and I think they did that when it would have been very easy for different ownership to say “we just won back-to-back titles, screw it, I’m leaving the roster where it is.”

  28. spurs resting their stars tonight

  29. Deng has a better handle than I remember. Wish they had traded him, he’s a huge part of what they do.

    Deng to the Bulls reminds me of what Odom does for us. Years ago, both Deng and Odom were called on to play huge roles for their teams – either as 1st or 2nd options. But as their teams grew more talented, they’re now able to settle back and use their versatile skill sets as the Swiss-army-knife type guys, and it works perfectly for both teams.

  30. It’s being reported that Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili will all sit tonight. The Spurs will start Hill, Neal, Jefferson, Blair, and Splitter.

    It’s also being reported that Matt Barnes will not play and Trey Johnson will not play either (though he may play tomorrow night and is eligible for the playoffs).

  31. ick. spurs resting their stars means this is a game we can’t win.

    If we win, we beat SA at home w/o their stars. If we lose – and don’t kid yourselves, this is a REAL possibility – then… yeah, I don’t need to spell that out.

    At this point, we really do need a win to get people’s heads straight, so whatever.

  32. Darius, I would submit that Lamar could play PG if necessary. Matter of fact, I have always wanted to see a lineup of Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Odom and Kobe. As you can imagine, on the defensive end, Lamar wouldn’t be guarding a guard but their SF, leaving Artest and Kobe to guard the opposing SG and PG, respectively.

  33. I don’t mean to get ahead of ourselves here, but Just so I’m sure:

    we have the tiebreaker over Dallas since we’re a division winner, right?

    So if we win out, we keep HC for round 2?

    (we also have the head to head 2-1 I think)

  34. 33 – Yup. We control our own fate. And if we can’t beat a Spurs team without its starters or the Kings, then we don’t deserve the 2nd seed.

  35. Derek is killing us in the early going.

  36. Way too many shots from the perimeter. We’re not going inside at all.

  37. Way to feed the bigs early guys…

  38. Love Bynum on D so far. Hate this Kobe-centric offense. Wow, that sounds almost cliche as a Lakers fan.

  39. Enjoy the ride everyone, this season will historically stand apart. Phil’s finale. The ride into the sunset, the end starts tonight. Controlling HCA is critical. The Lakers could have cushier time in the playoffs, the leprechauns could be thrown through the gauntlet. There are more than several contenders this year, and there will be game sevens. The Lakers picked a good time to nosedive, as long as they rebound and peak again all will be well.

    18 wins to go

  40. Kobe, Bynum & Ron have never had the chicken pox?!

    I feel sick.

  41. LOL Jane. What’s the source?

    We should make Blake give Perkins, Durant, and Duncan big bearhugs.

  42. NVM found it:

    http://twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

    OMG Steve Blake’s gonna give me a stroke.

  43. @ 34, Snoopy2006

    In total agreement with you n regards to your comments about the seeding. Hopefully, we can get this one over with early so that we can get our starters some rest in preparation for tomorrow nights gm against the Kings.

  44. anybody have a link for the game?

  45. I’m actually discouraged with the Spurs resting their starters. I felt like we needed this game against a top seed for our confidence. Anybody else with me on that?

  46. First live game I’ve been able to watch in ages (since they happen in the middle of the day here in Australia, when I’m at work). I’m not enjoying the outside shooting. Still feels like the team is settling too often. The inside play (mainly Drew) has been good, but not regular enough.

    Obviously with the guys that San Antonio have given the night off, we should get the W (and given the state of the Western Conference right now, that’d be a good thing). But it would be nice to get it the right way…

  47. Rudy, I agree. I was looking forward to a beating on the Spurs team. Now, the Lakers better win by 25+.

    Kobe doing his thing. I don’t understand. GO INSIDE, GO INSIDE. FEED THE BIGS, FEED THE BIGS.

    I hate when Kobe does his “I’m in playoff mode! Grr!” crap. Be aggressive… within the offense.

  48. Can we just cut Shannon?!

  49. Simonoid, this whole team is going to give me a stroke.

    @Rudy, I’m not with you. We need this win in the worst way and will take all the help we can get.

    In other news, Luke Walton missed a FG. Will wonders never cease?!

  50. Why all the long shots?

  51. Oh no.

  52. Oh, wow.

    No nonononononono nononono

  53. Bynum being down scared me with how long it took him to get up

  54. NOW it is time to panic

  55. Why is it that all our bigs have glass knees?!

  56. Here we go again…

  57. It doesn’t matter if Drew’s hurt. The rest of the team is so stupid at times, they completely ignore him anyway.

    I’m kidding, of course. Just pointing out how frustrating it is that the team refuses to go inside. Let’s hope Bynum is ok. We definitely need him to make any kind of serious run…

  58. Well this is why we picked up Joe Smith right? LOL.

  59. Omg. That was not good. Maybe this just isn’t our year.

  60. Wow imagine that, the Lakers go inside and they score.

  61. Grasping at some straws here – Luke just made a jump shot.

  62. Drew was walking off under his own power, so I’m not too worried yet

  63. Let’s hope Bynum is fine. He looked good walking off.

  64. Whoever left that wet spot on the floor should be fired and shot. It was a good season while it lasted. Poor kid. The look on his face was the sadest thing I’ve ever seen. Sheer inevitability.

  65. shannon brown is so bad it’s not even funny

  66. Not good news.

  67. Bynum has a hyper-extended knee, MRI tomorrow

  68. Sigh. Another Bynum injury. My God.

  69. Aaron: it was off the foot of DeJuan Blair. That’s what Bynum stepped on, not a wet spot. But sure, go ahead, shoot Blair. I’m all for it.

  70. Bynum has a hyper extended knee he will not return or make the trip to Sac

  71. Damn. (That wasn’t the first word I had typed out).

    You could just see it on Drew’s face, thinking ‘not this again.’ He did walk off on his own power, but my real fear is a repeat of last year – where Drew doesn’t miss games, but he’s hobbling and doesn’t have that mobility that makes us so dangerous.

    Shoot. His defense when he has full mobility is so masterful. But a half-speed Andrew Bynum? Damn it all.

  72. It might not be severely hyperextended, so we’ll see. Aaron, he didn’t trip over a wet spot. Drew was trying to catch up with his man DeJuan Blair in transition. Blair slowed down suddenly, Drew caught up with him, stepped on Blair’s foot, and hyperextended his knee.

  73. I’ve never seen anyone as fragile as Bynum. So sad. He must be devastated. We are devastated. Hopefully he can be 100% for round two if we get that far.

  74. Yea… I just saw the replay. It was on Blair’s foot. I might just jump off a building now. This just gets more depressing and more depressing. To be fair he lasted longer with his dominant play than the last three years.

  75. Whatever the final outcome is, you have to feel for Drew. Just the look on his face. Not daring to hope that there’d be good news at the end of it.

    Fingers crossed for the kid.

  76. I wasn’t too down after seeing him walk off. Then I saw the look on Cheryl Miller’s face. Not hopeful.

  77. This is what a 5 game losing streak does for your team. “coasting” along the way and have to play the starters against SA’s scrubs and injurying your best player on defense.

  78. What good are the braces Drew wears if they don’t prevent Injury? I’ll be glad when Dwight Howard becomes a free agent Drew Is too Injury prone But the Lakers have won 2 rings without Bynum so I guess I shouldn’t panic

  79. Thanks for the pep talk, Q. Ok. I’m giving myself a hug.

  80. That sucks so much. Maybe if the Lakers had tried against Utah and Golden State and won as they should of, we would be resting our starters still be sitting injury free. Thats Basketball god Karma at its finest.

    And the Spurs scrubs are outplaying us as well.

    I am so frustrated with this team right now.

    And Free throws into the half……… GAH

  81. damn sad day for us fans

  82. You know your point guard is slow when Chris Quinn blows by him like he’s not even there.

  83. This has to be the most hopeless things have been in 3 years. What are we gonna do?

  84. we blow a 7 pt lead at the end of the half against SA without their 3 best players and Bynum is out with an injury for this game and tomorrow.

    I’m going to go punch a baby seal now.

  85. Reggie, Steve, they were booing the officials.

  86. Waiiit, Jane! I need one too.

  87. Well…it certainly sucks to be held hostage by a injury-plagued player.

  88. I think we all need a hug

  89. Before I join the group jumping off the bridge, I’d like to hear the results of the MRI.

  90. I know this will probably be moderated but bynums fragility should have been a factor to consider when the lakers had opportunity to trade for carmelo. many ppl on this site noted this but were largely ignored because how well bynum was playing.

  91. @85. That baby seal was asking for it

  92. honestly, not to pile on at this point, but is anyone going to be surprised now if we lose this game?

  93. After all the preseason and season and the ups and downs of the past 7 months, the last 10 days set up what we witnessed tonite.

    Duncan in street clothes taking the night off while we are barely ahead of the San Antonio scrubs. And then the coup de grace Bynum injured.

    Can it get any worse?? Is it worth devoting so much energy of our miserable lives into fandom?? Isn’t there anything more productive for humanity?? Ofcourse if bynum’s only out a few weeks, all is forgiven.

  94. I agree emh101 hopefully the MRI Is negative let’s pray for Drew it’s not serious

  95. at worse, the lakers lose bynum for the post season and no championship. at best, he’ll play like he did last year, hobbled and not as effective. hopefully its the latter and the lakers can survive another postseason undermanned and win. i say the glass is 80% empty/20% full.

    truly depressing.

    oh and joe smith and ratliff will get into their bball groove on playoff time. more mins than they played all season long. depressing. lack of depth is what dooms this team.

  96. As per J.A. adande, the Lakers dont know if the hyperexteded knee is ligaments or bones until the MRI show up….

    For those Doctors out there, what would be worse? and what would be the recovery time?

    Also, as per Larry Coon, Steve Blake is probably out at least through the first round of the playoffs because of chicken pox.

    Couple that with Barnes hurt knee cap (as of today, dont know if that was cause of overcautiousness), and man, thats a ridiculous Tuesday evening in April…..

    And we still have a half to play against the spurs who are only playing their scrubs and are tied with us because Odom cant block out Splitter and the Lakers felt like fouling a whole bunch…..

    I am fuming right now.

  97. If Bynum’s injury is bad, no run. Period.

    I am not giving up that it is minor, but that is not Andrew’s history.

  98. And you deserve one, Simonoid…Glove.

    And we all deserve better than what the Lakers gave us at the end of the 2nd. How can SA have shot 33% (without their big three) and we’re tied?

    I’m tired. Sooooo tired.

  99. Just waiting for that Darius post to talk us all off the ledge…

  100. Cdog, apparently we’ve finished our ortho block but I remember almost nothing. This nugget I did keep though: MRI is usually for soft tissue injury, so they must be just ruling out ligament/meniscus damage.

    If they were really worried about bone, they would’ve scheduled him for a CT or X-ray. Hence, Adande probably got his information from another source and it got a little twisted during all the transfer.

  101. All hope is not lost. If we have to struggle, I’d rather it be now. Bynum will help us and we’ll bounce back. Adversity is what all true champs must overcome. Believe!!!

  102. I say we wait for the MRI before jumping to any conclusions, okay? It didn’t look good but injuries aren’t based off looks. If that were the case, Kobe would probably still be out with that horrific ankle sprain.

    Also, I’m only going to address this once: every report I read stated that Bynum for Melo was never on the table. The only reporter that talked about Devner/LA discussions was Brousard and he even said that talks were preliminary and that nothing got far at all. So, talking about that deal like it was done and the Lakers turned it down is revisionist history at its worst. Melo discussions in this thread (or later ones) will be moderated. I’m just getting that out there now so there’s no confusion.

  103. Also, from what I remember, it was the same knee as last season, when he did something funny with a ligament there – either tore it or strained it or something. So let’s really, really hope he didn’t aggravate that.

    EDIT: he tore it because he had surgery to repair it.

  104. So this is what it feels like to root for other teams…

  105. He said he got it from Lakers PR….

    Simonoid… If an MRI is only for soft tissue and they can rule that out, whats the worst case scenario, and best case scenario (realistically).

    We know the guy can walk, as he got up on his own, but he had this look on his face of pure sadness…

  106. Cdog – don’t know. =(

    I’m a medical student, and while I finished ortho, we didn’t go into much depth; so at this point, we can only pray for the best – like Darius said – and wait for the report tomorrow.

  107. worst case scenario is ACL tear. ACL tears are most commonly caused by hyperextensions. in practice you don’t need an MRI to diagnose an ACL tear. The Lauchman maneuver is commonly used to diagnose torn ACL and is a very specific test. The MRI is done simply to confirm and because surgeons require it to operate.

  108. That quote from Barnes about being able to “barely move” his knee is not the nicest news to get either.

    Eventful couple of days.

  109. 94

    “Can it get any worse?? Is it worth devoting so much energy of our miserable lives into fandom?? Isn’t there anything more productive for humanity??”

    LOL, I don’t think too many fans of other teams are going to have much sympathy for the ‘suffering’ of the Lakers faithful.

  110. OMG please no Paul. If he has a torn ACL he’s done for the rest of the calendar year. And it’d usually be very, very painful.

    Can’t you just do the anterior drawer to diagnose ACL? Or is that what Lachmann’s called? I forget…

  111. if it was an ACL tear (which means Bynum’s done for the year), he’d hardly be able to walk off the court, right?

  112. Championships can hang by delicate threads.
    Showtime 80s had several finals where
    Magic got hurt and Lakes got swept
    by sixers and pistons.

    Now we know why Boston fans still curse game 6 of the finals last year when Perkins was hurt.

    Things can change in an instant. Remember that pau had an MRI last week. Maybe this time drew
    gets lucky. Maybe this time it looked worse than it was.

  113. I said it before the season started (right here on this site) and I’ll mention it again:

    Bynum’s health is the most valued factor in regards to us Retaining Our Belts.

    I know for a fact that I will not be the only individual checking the wire outlets sometime around 6pm (nyc/est) for the results of that MRI.

  114. These talking basketball commercials aren’t cheering anyone up. Probably the worst set of playoff ads the NBA has done in a long time.

  115. for those of us who didn’t go to medical school, or who failed out because we were watching too much basketball (re: 107):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anterior_cruciate_ligament_injury#Lachman_test

  116. Can someone please tell Fisher to stop shooting.

  117. well, it was fun while it lasted

  118. Ok ya we should really stop panicking. An ACL tear is probably unlikely, and Andrew darling better be back in a hurry.

  119. long time reader, 1st time poster… im a die-hard laker fan since i was 9 years old so not bandwagoning or anything, but felt like maybe i could be of some use here. as someone who has torn an acl playing sports, i can tell you he would NOT be walking off like that. granted hes a professional athlete and im a husky white guy, but i had to be carried by 2 similarly sized friends to get off the football field. granted im not a doctor, and it DID look bad, but he walked off with no help at all and looked fine. obviously a ligament tear is worst case, but id guess that it was a strain and i’m hoping that i’m right. with some dumb luck this is correct and we get new orleans in round 1 and won’t need him and he can be back for round 2.

    great reading your opinions on the site and it sucks that my 1st post is under these conditions, but im holding my breath along with everybody. i bleed forum blue and gold. god bless.

    sal

  120. I guess no one gives a rats ass about chicken pox anymore.

    Ugghhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  121. Matt barnes is also out tomorrow – maybe we win tonight but tomorrow we will most likely lose to an up and coming team that really should have beat okc last night – which means #3 and Portland without bynum,Blake and possibly Matt barnes for at least the first game which takes away HC advantage

    I think these injuries with the way that our bench is constructed – 4 bigs – 2 wings – 1 guard – will be our biggest weakness going Into the playoffs – this team is not as deep as our past 3 runs – Powell,sacha, farmer were much bigger than we all gave them credit for and now our bench mob is beyond just being a shadow of it’s former self

    is ebanks going to be back for the playoffs? I know character got called up but I really wonder what we can do to bolster our bench in a few days?

  122. Welcome, sal. Stick around; we need the help.

  123. So if the Grizz lose again (or NO beats Dallas), NO could end up with the 7th seed. All the more reason to win out. Especially so we can give Drew time to recover.

  124. I agree that an ACL tear is not most likely case but I did just see a woman with an ACL tear that she had for several months and was walking fine. contrary to popular belief, you can walk with a torn ACL (see Blair, Dejuan).

    A drawer would work as well but I believe the Lauchman is slightly more specific b/c you can actually feel the “end-point” when you have an intact ACL.

  125. Why did Kobe get a Technical there, all he did was clap his hands at himself, thats ridiculous.

    Seriously, I feel like if the officials get their technical from the previous game rescinded, then they should be suspended for their next game, because they give them to Kobe (and Dwight) a lot of the time for absolutely no reason.

  126. Like I told myself before. The playoffs this season are probably going to be the most interesting/dynamic than it has been for a long time. So many new teams showing up.

    … We’ve all seen how we played in playoffs without Bynum. Lets hope he’s okay by playoffs.

  127. There is less scoring in this game than a nun/D & D player mixer.

  128. Paul – are you specializing in orthopedics?

  129. No wonder Lakers end of game defense suffers as per Silver Screen and Roll’s article. Odom and Gasol really can’t grab defensive rebounds. Can you say Odom is an “over-rated” rebounder? He does miss box outs A LOT.

  130. No but I did just finish an ortho rotation. That is the only reason it is fresh in my mind.

  131. Never thought the Killer B’s would be mocked by Kevin Harlan and Steve Kerr on national TV.

  132. Oh, I see I see; just curious.

  133. @paul you can walk fine after the swelling (which is almost instant and lasts for 2-4 weeks) comes down. but if he tore his acl there he wouldn’t be able to walk off. see the youtube vid of david west who was wheeled off in a pierce-mobile… errm… wheelchair…

  134. After 2+ years I still can’t tell what above-average NBA skill Shannon Brown brings to the table (apart from dunking).

  135. All this medi-speak would be a rather attractive display of intelligence if it wasn’t in this context. :(

    I’m panicking a little because the challenges of this team keep me up at night. Literally.

  136. Joel – I know what you’re saying about Shannon. He has enormous hands. And can jump. But it’d be nice to see him with something else. We all though that the deep shot was going to be that addition after the first month of the season, but it hasn’t lasted.

  137. Joel – jumping.

    Saldogg – Piercemobile! ROFL!

  138. Hehehe… Pierce-mobile. I like it.

  139. Phil – “they’re awful. We’re really awful out there… (Bynum) said he’ll be alright.”

  140. For those of you not watching my livestream, Cheryl Miller interviewed Phil at the quarter break. He said we’ve been playing awful (duh), but also said that he talked to Bynum and Bynum said he’d be ok.

  141. kehn – I will happily cling onto that soundbite from Phil. You’ve got to hope that’s true.

  142. shannon’s game has regressed so much that it’s not even funny. not only does he not help the team, he often hurts the team with his boneheaded plays.

    hopefully barnes and blake will return some time in the 1st round.

  143. “I’m gonna b alright.” Best words I’ve heard all night.

  144. I haven’t seen Phil call a timeout within a minute of the quarter starting on two separate occasions in one game since, what, the Smush era?

  145. And just like that I feel better. Phil is like a comforting grandfather. If he and Andrew think he is fine then I’m sure he is fine and will be 100 percent for Sunday. The good news about hyper extensions is if there is no ligament or meniscus damage you are pretty much a hundred percent a couple days later. If Bynum and Phil aren’t worried then either am I :) What worried me is that when Andrew had a slight hyper extension last year he tore his meniscus so I was sure the same thing happened.

  146. Man, our teams are old. I still hope we still meet in the finals (we won’t have Perk either, lol).

  147. I don’t know if its a good thing or a bad thing, but there’s no clear-cut favorite this year (assuming drew is less than 100%) the east is more top-heavy while the west is really balanced. But even without Drew, assuming the proverbial switch still exists we can play with anyone in the west (except maybe OkC who scares the hell out of me) but in my eyes the NO-DAL-SA west doesnt scare me as much as the POR-MEM-OkC west does (making some changes in seeding) if its chalk through the west, we know dallas and san anton well enough to beat them even without home-court or drew, and with the assumption that the east’s top 3 are gonna beat the snot out of each other, the survivor might be banged up going to the finals and from there its just a best of 7, leave it all out there. its bleak with drew out but still not impossible if we can get the right matchups.

    and shannon brown has a lower basketball iq than most high school players. he has the god-given gift of jumping ability and that made us love him, but hes almost certainly not coming back next year.

  148. Wait wtf was that? Wasn’t that a full-on takedown by Blair?

    If Bynum did that he’d be deported.

  149. I do love that here on FB&G, we have a “Smush era”.

    I’m pretty sure Blair didn’t need to hit Kobe that hard. That could’ve been bad.

  150. does shannon know how to defend? put your hand up at least.

    and now kobe. hand up. play some defense.

  151. This is a team with its back against the wall? Seriously?

  152. Oh, boy. Listening to Reggie Miller is akin to watching the Lakers play this past week.

  153. No kidding. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. He is relentlessly awful.

  154. shannon’s defense consist of ducking so the shooter gets a more open shot? i hope he doesn’t pick up the option at the end of the season.

    defense needs to pick up. neal getting to basket by 3 lakers is not going to cut it.

  155. FFS, RAISE YOUR DAMN HAND WHEN AN OPPONENT SHOOTS A THREE. #&(@*#@##@

    (I’m looking at you, Brown)

  156. Shannon Brown has a player option for next season, the decision to return is his.

  157. emh101 – Yes indeed. And he just added Lamar to the Killer Bs. Is that Lamar Bodom?

  158. 152 – I am definitely with you on that. Reggie Miller has been very annoying tonight.

  159. shannon brown is going to win the “most regressed player” award

  160. I am shocked, angry, disappointed, and embarrassed.

    Is there a silver lining to the Lakers’ play of late?

    Also, do not want to see Shannon back next year. His play earlier in the season does not make up for his embarrassing deficiencies that are so glaringly obvious during, arguably, the most important time of a season. His play now dictates his confidence level during the playoffs. Does anyone actually believe that Shannon will improve once the playoffs start?

    Better yet, will Shannon learn to put his damn hands up when running at a shooter?

  161. Dejuan Blair just works. I’d love to have him on my team. That being said, I hope he falls into a manhole.

  162. Shannon is fine when he runs the offense, instead of taking quick and long range perimeter shots. He’s also fine when he drives but the problem is that he far too rarely does either of things I want him to do on offense.

    Don’t even ask about his recent defensive choices.

  163. 161. Does anyone actually believe that Shannon will improve once the playoffs start?

    shannon is not fish. funny for all the *&#@ he gets, one of his best intangible is being able to step up in the playoffs.

  164. I know Ron Harper. I followed Ron Harper as a Cav rookie billed as Jordan-lite when I lived in Ohio the first time. I followed Ron Harper as he evolved into the prototypical Phil Jackson big 2-guard with the Bulls and Laker dynasties.

    Shannon Brown, you are no Ron Harper

  165. Whaaaaaat..?

    Andrew Bynum with a knee injury?

    Playoffs must be near.

  166. The Blazers have locked up #6, so it’s imperative that we find a way to sum up enough energy to beat the Kings 2morrow night. Normally, I wouldn’t b too concerned about who we match up against n the 1st rd, but with the gluttony of injuries that we’re nursing right now, Portland is the last team that I would want off top.

  167. a win! just one more. everyone needs to stay healthy. go lakers!

    did odom just call out shannon?

  168. Wait Lamar Odom has a problem with trying hard? Now our 5-game losing streak makes so much more sense.

    Kudos to him for his play tonight though. His interviews are hilariously awkward though.

  169. i am a little freaked out. but since Aaron seems calm, then it might not be that bad. Cuz if it were bad… we all know Aaron’s post will just be crying.

    But we REALLY need bynum….

  170. No pun intended, but nice rebounding effort by Pau (17) after just attaining his season low in rebounds.

  171. So.

    The W is nice. The play was dreadful. But I think we’d all love that to be the end of the regular season, with a 2 v 7 against the Hornets. Hope those seedings hold up.

    Honest appraisal from LO post-game. Team just too arrogant, and Playoffs are arriving at the right time.

    Really praying for Drew now. Get that knee right.

  172. When the game finished everyone was celebrating like the lakers had beaten the Celtics or something, i see very little reason they should be happy with this game.

    ps: Odoms interview was sad, he made it sound as if they just “decided” they wanted to win and won, I think it had more to do with SA going ice cold than anything else

  173. Lakers win. Win tomorrow and the #2 seed is theirs, everyone will be waiting for the news (hopefully very good news) on Andrew Bynum’s MRI.

  174. These have got to be the most ill-gotten tacos of all time. I’m hard pressed to think of a less gratifying way to end a 5-game skid, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

    Still, a win’s a win and it’s one we needed. I know they understand that the time to start getting serious is now. After that we’ll get 4 days rest and by the time we start our 2nd-round series, hopefully we’ll see relatively good health from our top 9 players.

    …right?

  175. We are five games behind #1 and we beat them by 9.

    Like I said, looking forward to playoffs this year.

  176. No problem with Brown back next year. It will probably be a lost season anyway. At the very least, it will be shortened by a lock out me thinks. I believe Drew’s contact ends after next season, then depending on the new CBA, the Lakers will have the oppotunity to sign somebody who is – shall we say – a little more durable. No, I take it back. A lot more durable. And, paired with Kobe, they might be able to set a record for technical fouls the following season.

  177. Yeah after next year, I think the Lakers can do a bit of housecleaning. Drew; Fish; Brown; Artest; Blake?

    That and a new offense to go with a bunch of new players. You know, an offense players can actually learn in less than half a career.

  178. @Dimitrie

    You are being sarcastic right? Lakers beat a starting five of Neal, Hill, Jefferson, Blair and Splitter in which no one played even 30 mins… you sure lakers beat the #1 team?

  179. R, Why don’t we focus on this year first?

  180. That look on shannon brown’s face was so sad when the camera was on him. We know he sucks and he knows he sucks.

  181. Brown will be back next year – after winning ”The most regressed player” award there is no way he will be opting out of his contract.

    If we only played our rooks things would look at lot better and we would still have that infusion of energy that we had with farmar and brown – 1-2 years ago.

    remember character outplayed cousins in summer league and ebanks was also averaging 20+ points

    I thought it was awesome when they were getting early burn but we could have used them more thoughout the year in case something like this happened

    I would love to see character in there instead of smith

  182. Ok gang, we can back off the ledge. Per Kevin Ding’s twitter:

    http://twitter.com/kevinding

    Phil said there could be a bone bruise that could cost Bynum “a couple games” but leans toward Bynum saying he’ll be OK.
    less than 10 seconds ago via ÜberSocial for iPhone

    Bynum says he will be fine and will be ready for playoff opener this weekend.
    2 minutes ago via ÜberSocial for iPhone

  183. @ Gomezd

    Yea you’re right…. it basically wasn’t the Spurs team, but I just wanted them to start the playoffs on a positive note. But I still do believe it will be a good playoff run

  184. Wow that sucks. Hopefully Bynum comes back strong for the playoffs. He had a vicious 1.5 month long stretch; if he comes back at 80% of that, we’ll be fine. Sad to see that he still hasn’t had a 3 month stretch of dominant basketball.

  185. Yeah, I know Shannon has been brutal but c’mon folks, let’s be optimistic. I’ve just read this entire thread and this is the most pity-party-having thread I’ve read. Honestly. We’re the back-to-back champs, Shannon might get better in the playoffs-players go through bad stretches. He had a good first half, he was quite good last year. Have you never had bad stretches at work? Sheesh.

  186. Darius @ 180 – OK, but come June … (grin).

  187. And really, Gomezd, can you leave Dimitrie alone? I thought it was nice for someone to put a positive spin on this.

  188. In addition to probably not losing Bynum for too long, the bright side is Lakers clinch homecourt vs. Boston and Oklahoma City if they ever meet

  189. Ray,
    Yea… I was pretty depressed. Like almost about to cry… But when Phil wasn’t worried and Bynum wasn’t worried… I wasn’t worried.