Lakers/Mavs Game 2: The Hole Just Got Deeper

Darius Soriano —  May 4, 2011

If today was a must win (and before the game I stated that this was as close to that as there was), the Lakers just came up short in their most important game of the season. In the game preview I mentioned that the Lakers needed to play harder and smarter for longer than the Mavs, but tonight they couldn’t do it and fell 93-81 to fall behind 2-0 in the series with two road games now staring them in the face.

Their were many things that went wrong tonight. If I were to list them all, I’d probably not sleep so I’ll keep the list short:

*The Lakers didn’t do anything different on Dirk and he against punished the Lakers to the tune of 24 points on 9-16 shooting. He hit jumper after jumper, quickly finding his comfort zone against Gasol and never looked back the rest of the way. He had his entire arsenal going as he hit step back jumpers, fade away jumpers, wide open jumpers, and even took the ball to the cup effectively.

*Meanwhile, Gasol’s offensive game has pretty much abandoned him. Pau only hit 5 of his 12 field goals and 3 of 6 free throws to score 13 points. His jumper isn’t falling and his post moves aren’t as successful as they’ve been in the past. You can see the frustration and anguish on his face whenever his go to moves fail him. The match up that I was looking forward to the most this series has turned remarkably one sided. Pau knows it and so does Dirk.

*The Lakers bench essentially no showed. Lamar went 3-12 for 6 points. Blake missed several wide open jumpers (going 0-5 on the night) and looked to have lost his confidence to the point that he began to overpass, committing turnovers when quickly looking to get rid of the ball rather than being aggressive. Barnes only played 10 minutes, but didn’t earn any extra burn by going 0-2 on his only field goal attempts and looking generally out of sorts on both sides of the ball. Shannon was the lone highlight of this group, going 3-4 and scoring 6 points. That’s 12 points total for the bench. That’s not going to get the job done.

*The worst part of the game, however, was the Laker defense. I mentioned Dirk’s success, but that’s pretty much a given at this point. Where the Lakers really struggled was in dealing with the Mavs’ P&R, consistently getting caught rotating too slowly or worse yet not at all. Lamar Odom’s attempts to hedge and recover were comically bad as he often ended up screening off his own man who then had to navigate two players (the screener and Odom) to chase the ball handler coming off the pick. J.J. Barrea benefitted from this the most as his ability to turn the corner, keep his dribble alive, and then probe the Lakers’ paint produced lay ups for himself or wide open jumpers for his teammates.

*The Lakers simply couldn’t buy a three point basket. They ended the night 2-20 on the night and for the series are 7-39 from distance. Meanwhile the Mavs made 8 of their 25 three point baskets. And while that 32% mark from the Mavs is well below their average, the were still able to outscore the Lakers by 18 from beyond the arc. Considering the Lakers couldn’t make up the difference via points in the paint, the Lakers inability to make a sagging Mavs’ D pay with made jumpers was the (statistical) difference in the game.

I could go on and on, but there’s really no point in performing a complete autopsy on this game. The Lakers absorbed many “kill shots” in this one; identifying them all isn’t necessary.

But, all is not lost. This game did not clinch the series and the Lakers season is not over. Sure, it may feel that way but it’s not actually the case. There are adjustments that can be made and I think it’s clear that the Lakers can play better. Shots will fall in the next game and there are defensive tactics that can be used to slow down the Mavs’ attack. There will be more obstacles to overcome  (Ron Artest may be suspended for a late game flagrant foul that he committed on Barrea) and both Lamar and Gasol will need to find their stride(s) sooner rather than later. But Kobe has been playing relatively well (he made 9 of his 20 shots for his 23 points) and Bynum did come through this game (18 points, 13 rebounds in a very good bounce back game). The Lakers simply need to have that one breakthrough game where they play well together, as a team, to get a win. Once that win is achieved, they can build on it. Yes, the hole got deeper but this team is not buried. There is some fight left in this group, I have a feeling we’ll see it on Friday.

Darius Soriano

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54 responses to Lakers/Mavs Game 2: The Hole Just Got Deeper

  1. Funky Chicken May 4, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    “There is some fight left in this group, I have a feeling we’ll see it on Friday.”

    Hope you’re right, Darius, but I’m not so confident. Still waiting on Gasol and good pick and roll defense after 8 playoff games….

  2. So, we actually have a healthy Bynum and score 81 points at home against the Dallas Mavericks in a must-win game. Consider me surprised and disappointed. I was excited to see how we’d do the full squad – now a second round exit looks likely.

    This is why you can’t lose that game 1 after building a 16 point 3Q lead. Because you never know when you might lay a complete and utter egg. And it happened tonight, big time.

  3. I don’t think fatigue is much of a factor as mother time. Kobe, Artest, and to some extent Odom and Gasol are not in their primes. Kobe has become very predictible in that he relies on his jump shot as he lost a step. How many times have we seen teams double team Kobe this year?

  4. Can someone explain Phil Jackson’s playing horrible bench for extended minutes in the 4th quarter of last game? He already collected his fat check and wants to retire and go fishing?

  5. LA has a lot more potential to tap than Dallas does. I smell a blowout W in Game 3. If the threes fell today, it’d be a much different story. Panicking is for the birds.

  6. This whole game I was waiting for a “kobe to the hole for a monster dunk” moment of the type that turned the New Orleans series around. It didn’t happen. I’m not sure why he is suddenly so reluctant to attack the basket.

  7. Lakers just had a horrible game yet were pretty close for most of the game even with there horrendous shooting.

    After seeing kobe’s press conference and what he said( i suggest you watch it if you have not) I find the current hole the Lakers are in to be refreshing. They never had this much adversity since the 2008 finals. We all know what happened than. Now we can see how they respond in a similar predicament after winning the last 2 championships. Its going to be an exciting game 3. This is the time were champions show what there made of. I am truly excited for it.

  8. It’s a measure of how strange this season has been that I can absolutely see the Lakers rallying back to win this series in stirring fashion, and building on that through the rest of the playoffs…or limping meekly into the offseason. Either outcome seems equally plausible.

  9. Waiting for Kobe’s press-conf to be put on the website.

    I have not seen evil, grumpy, I-eat-no-shit Kobe all playoffs. Has he lost that feeling of being able to take on the world on his own?

    I am not watching this Mavs team in awe, nothing makes me feel the Lakers cannot utterly crush this team.

  10. Mike Penberthy May 5, 2011 at 12:17 am

    You know, it always susprises me how shocked and angry the fans are when their team’s successfull “run” finally ends. Always happens. It’s like they think it’s just gonna go on forever. It was gonna end at some point. Ok, so the Lakers will likely lose one/two rounds earlier than most people thought they would. They weren’t beating Miami in the finals anyway. This Kobe era (from 96 till now) has been a pretty damn good run for this franchise. I don’t know, but i’m just not angry or surprised.

    Also, this Gasol bashing is pretty silly. Did you all forget that irrelevant fringe playoff team the Lakers were for a few years before they got Gasol?
    BTW, it wasn’t the lower seats people who were booing. The people who were booing were the same people who start fights at Dodger stadium. Everybody knows who i’m talking about.

  11. Since this is the post game thread can we refrain from calling for Mitch’s head and questioning Gasol’s manhood on this thread? The Lakers have it in them to pull this out. I just hope they can summon the will to do it. It is not even an issue of what they need to do differently. I think everyone (including the team) is aware of that. It is simply an issue of actually getting it done. I’m crossing my fingers.

  12. Do they actually practice shooting 3 pointers like athletes paid millions should do?

  13. 9- You couldn’t be more spot on about Gasol and fan reaction overall. However, I don’t think you can really say with any certainty the Lakers would have lost a series to Miami or really any other team in the league. This team is incredibly enigmatic. Their best beats anybody else’s best. Would I have bet on them in a series with the Heat? Maybe not, but to say they “weren’t beating Miami in the finals” is silly.

    Also I wasn’t at the game, and while the lower level maybe were not the ones booing, they were from what I could see (and have seen 75% of my dozens of games I attend every season – in the lower levels) not really doing much of anything. They act bored. The Lakers fan base should be more like Portland and less like Miami.

    Oh, and to say the Kobe “era” is over is silly. Kobe didn’t put this team in this position and while Kobe 2011 may not be Kobe of 2002, to say his era is over is ridiculous.

  14. “If you wanna make history, you have to do historic things.” – Kobe Bryant

  15. For some reason everyone is waiting for the lightswitch to be turned on but we just don’t realize that it has been on the whole season. This game pretty much sums up the whole season. Inept play, poor effort, and no consistency. You just never know what team is going to show up every night. You get the sense that even when they are trying their best its just not good enough.

    This team is ready to fold. The Mavs are going to come out gunning and their fans are going to be rabid next game. It is not going to be easy and seeing how easily they shrunk today in the 4th quarter doesn’t instill confidence. Hoping for a miracle (in the 2nd round? ffs) but even if they can pull it out will they still have enough in the tank for 2 more series?

    This team has serious problems but it seems like its too late to fix them.

  16. shannon brown is the 2nd coming of smush parker

  17. Yeah, I’m not feelin’ this series.

    Dallas seems more amped and excited to be here, and our Lakers seem easily demoralized and tired.

    At one point they were 7/22 from the arc while we were 0-for-20. Which means from a straight possessions standpoint, we’ve put ourselves in a 21-point hole versus them.

    For a team with three 7-footers (Bynum, Gasol, Odom) inside near the basket, is there a reason this should even be happening?

    You can’t blame this loss on the refs. There were some awful calls, but even if they got every single call correct, all that would change is the margin of loss would be smaller. And it wasn’t the refs that made us go 0-18 from the arc until Kobe made one with 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

    The Lakers are tired from three consecutive years of battling into the Finals. Not even Michael Jordan got there 4 years in a row. Our ball handling is awful, our shooting is awful, our free throws are awful, our bench doesn’t exist, and our starters are tired from carrying. Even if we win the next three games in a row, making it 3-2, unless they’re in convincing fashion (meaning by more than 10+ point margin), I still don’t feel comfortable.

    We didn’t just get beat. Our boys didn’t even play, let alone together.

    Maybe the road will bring more focus for us – but we’ll still be down 0-2 at that point. Feels like our run ends here.

  18. the reason why everyone is so frustrated is because it is impossible to figure out this team. They seem to be stubborn about taking advantage of their mismatches. Instead of matching Dallas’ quickness we should make dallas match our length. Second, our biggest advantage is not pau or bynum, its kobe. they have no one to guard him and they should play around that. Kobe should torch them until they double so that he can effectively pass the ball to the post or the shooters. Plus, they need to start knocking down shots. Kobe’s 0 assist in game one was due to the lack of shots made from his teammates. Only positive is lakers cant play worst and dallas cant play any better. Game 3 should go LA’s way Game 4 will be the series. Lakers can do it now its just a question of wether they want to and will figth to.

  19. Also, follow-up comment: Is anyone else kind of tired of this, “Let’s stay relaxed, composed, stay Zen, in the moment, calm,” kind of mentality? I realize it’s benefits for many (if not most) situations, but doesn’t Phil Jackson understand the importance of a good, fired-up, yelling, halftime monologue to spark the team? I hate seeing the Lakers stay calm and do their best to suppress emotions and remain unexcited. I want to see fire, passion, ANGER. I want to see yelling, cheering, taking hits, giving hits. I want to see our team ACT with some swagger, not just promise that they feel like they have it.

    I appreciate the success, but I can’t help but envy the intense nature of Doc Rivers’ speeches, or the blunt barking from Van Gundy sometimes. It feels like Kobe is the only one on our team that truly gives a damn, deep down. Gasol is passive, Odom is passive, Bynum is tentative thanks to his knees, Fisher is passive, and even Ron Artest has been subdued by the league and his psychologist.

    I see LeBron james bouncing and screaming, I see Kevin Garnett cheering and yelling, I see Dirk going crazy as well as the Dallas bench… but I don’t get any of that sense of energy from the Lakers. Not in this series, not in the last one with New Orleans, and not during the season.

    It seems Phil Jackson’s approach to making sure his team always stays even-keeled backfires when his team gets behind, because they aren’t trained to ignite an inner fire and run off adrenaline and emotion. Which is why PJ’s teams, when they lose, they lose BADLY. It clearly isn’t working for this team right now – especially our fragile bench. Am I the only one who sees this?

    I’m blaming this team’s lack of preparation and energy coming into these playoffs (and especially Game 2 of this series) squarely on Phil.

    Our team is on the verge of another 2004-esque collapse. Someone needs to light the goddamn fire.

  20. Buzz Lightyear May 5, 2011 at 1:52 am

    We know Kobe Bryant is hurting (knee, fingers, ankle)

    We know Andrew Bynum is hurting (given how easily his knee gets re-injured, it can’t be 100%)

    It’s very probable Pau is hurting. He has no speed, no quickness, no ability to hold his base against physical play, nor can he seem to move his feet on defense. I suspect his tricky hamstrings are bothering him again.

    Lamar, who has always been the perfect Swiss-Army-Knife do-a-little-of-everything third banana has played at the same level for so long he’s no longer capable of raising his game.

    Artest is increasingly dependent upon his strength and hand quickness to be an effective defender. If those don’t work, he’s very much a statue on defense. And his offensive game is terrible fit for the Triangle.

    Fish is old, Barnes is hurt, Brown is still a forward learning to play guard on the fly, Blake is probably still a little weak from the chicken pox.

    Walton is useless. Ditto Theo Ratliff. Ditto ditto Joe Smith.

    Did I forget anyone?

    This is what happens to championship teams. They win, and management feels obligated to keep together the same core group. They win again, and the pressure to keep them together gets even stronger.

    Meanwhile, that core group plays an extra half-season every 2 years because they go deep into the playoffs.

    During the regular season, there are fewer ‘laughers’, because *every* team brings it’s best game to face the world champs. They may get crushed by bottom-feeder X two days later, but if they beat the champs, it makes their season.

    The grind of playing an extra 30-40 ‘playoff’ games every year (actual playoffs plus playoff-intense regular season games) wears players out.

    So it was with the 80s Celtics and Lakers. So it was with the early 2000s Lakers.
    So it is with the current iteration of the Lakers.

    Had the Lakers resigned Ariza, had Shannon Brown developed, had Jordan Farmar been a Rajon Rondo, or even a Ty Lawson, the Lakers might have staved off this fate for another few seasons.

    But they didn’t, and in the drive to give this core group one more shot at the title, youth, athleticism and shooting were sacrificed to bring in savvy vets who would fit with the specific demands of the core group and the highly specialized offense they run.

    The net result of this philosophy is:

    —No Laker besides Kobe (and occasionally Odom) can create his own shot.

    –No Laker besides Fish (when he guesses correctly) can even slightly contain the crop of explosive point guards that now dominate the league.

    –No Laker is dead-eye outside shooter.

    –The Lakers can’t really go ‘small’. They can go big…or bigger.

    –The relative slowness of Bynum, Fisher, Artest (and to some extent Kobe and Pau because of age/injuries) means that fast break/transition offense points are few and far between.

    –There is no ‘energy’ guy on the team who lifts the team through sheer force of effort.

    Because the Lakers are so specialized, teams have figured them out. Make Kobe work for his, clog the middle, and dare any non-Kobe Laker perimeter player to beat you.

    If the Laker smalls hit their outside shots, the Lakers win. But if they don’t, the opposition gets long rebounds, runouts and easy baskets.

    Had the Lakers been fully healthy, they probably could have pulled one more championship out of this group. But luck was not with them and their margin for error has never been smaller.

    I thought it would be OKC in the Conference Finals that would finally end the Lakers’ run, but given how lethargic and undisciplined the Lakers have been since their 17-1 post-All-Star-Break run, it doesn’t surprise me all that much that they’re bowing out earlier.

  21. It seems like a passing of the torch year. Pass it to Bynum guys! The next great is already on the team, let him have a crack at it!

  22. I’m a little confused why the Lakers aren’t going under the screens on the pick and rolls. They finally seemed to do it with a few minutes left in the game, forcing Barea and Kidd to shoot long jump shots. It just seemed like they got into the lane and carved up the defense at will when Fish, Brown, or Blake went over the screen on them.

  23. Renato Afonso May 5, 2011 at 3:14 am

    We made it to the Finals on 3 straight years, winning 2 out of 3 and we’re bitching about being knocked out so soon… we’re definetly spoiled. Any other fan base would be happy with it.

    Anyway, while I don’t think we can get out of this hole we dig, there is room to improve. 93 points is not that bad, considering that Dirk has been ultra-efficient. Our scoring, on the other hand, is just ridiculous. How many games have we lost because our perimeter players can’t knock down open shots? Execution doesn’t matter if you simply don’t score when you are given the chance to.

    We’re not winning twice in Dallas if this keeps up. Maybe we should have gunned for different role players. Those Bulls teams from the 90′s always had excellent shooters who actually scored when open. Same for our Shaq teams. But this one is different… There’s no magic powder or superb tactical adaptation to be made. We made 2-20 on 3-point attempts in a game we lost by 12. Those were wide open looks mostly, so 8-20 wasn’t irrealistic. That’s 6 points. A couple of fast breaks after a defensive rebound (Dirk being less efficient) and it’s a two point game. Tactically there was nothing wrong…

  24. …hi guys, just got a call from a friend of mine. He is a Spurs fan, him and some Celtics fans are arranging a big get together for burned out vets, they are asking if we are going to join them!?

  25. Part of the blame has to go to Mitach Kupchak for acquiring Steve Blake as THE main acquisition last off season. Kupchak is not good at spotting talents. Throughout the regular season and the playoff games, we see so many guards, who are less known and earn significantly less money than what we paid Steve Blake, outperforming our guards. Basketball is an emotional game. Blake brings no energy to the court when he enters the game. He is not creative and has very low confidence in himself. Most of all, he is weak. Other teams sense that in Lakers.

    Last night was typical. When Blake was in the game, Dallas simply packs in the middle making it almost impossible for our BIG guys to shoot the basketball. When Gasol or Bynum wanted to pass the ball out, Blake disappeared. When Blake penetrated, Dallas knew he would not shoot the ball, so they just blocked his passing lanes. As a result, the Lakers were very predictable when Blake was on the court. Dallas didn’t even have to play hard defense when Blake was on the court.

    It was painful to watch. Having a non-factor point guard on the court for such an extended period of time, other Laker players were basically emotionally drained. They were so overwhelmed by the pressure of scoring 4 on 5, that they had little energy left to play defense.

    We often blame our big guys for not being aggressive. But it is tough to play basketball 4 on 5, or sometimes 3 on 5 when Brown is in the game.

    The big question is: why didn’t Kupchak foresee Blake’s weakness. Blake has been around for a while. His weak psychological profile should have been apparent from his history of being kicked around different teams in his career. What a shame!

  26. “I am not watching this Mavs team in awe, nothing makes me feel the Lakers cannot utterly crush this team.”

    How about Chandler and Haywood as compared with Fesenko, Kristic, Lopez and Perkins? Or Nene, Yao/no Yao, and Fesenko again? Howard wasn’t much of a threat as he was the Magic’s only inside presence, what with Rashard Lewis and Turkoglu combining to hoist up over 900 3 PT attempts in 08-09.

    I am not writing the team off, but I am going to blame Aaron if they lose. You don’t tempt The Fates by speaking to this is a historically great team when they haven’t won anything yet this year.

    And my point above with the names there is that the Lakers had some good fortune in their prior runs, since there really wasn’t a team that matched up well against them save for the Celtics in last year’s finals, and we saw how close that was to loss.

    And it pains me to say it, but Pau is being exposed as “soft”. The defining moment for Pau’s playoffs for me this year was the possession this game when he took the pass down low, didn’t even make a move towards the basket, passed it back out after a tad, and then took the pass again, but this time two steps farther out than where he was before. That isn’t re-posting, that’s avoiding contact.

    It’s like the Euro players in the NHL, two of whom are exactly the same player in Europa before coming over, but since the NHL is more physical than Euro hockey, the soul who doesn’t mind and can deal with the extra physical performs pretty much the way he did in Europa, while the soul who can’t re-posts two steps farther out and isn’t the same player (as it were).

    Next, while I’m of speaking of hockey, note the run from 79-80 through 83-84 here:

    http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/NYI/

    Never heard Trottier or Bossy saying that dynasty ended because they were tired. That’s a lame and pathetic excuse.

    Next, the one soul above got it just about right. The Mavs simply retooled to meet the challenge. That’s Chandler and Haywood. Two bigs who will body you up and who are as quick and nimble, or very nearly so, as all our bigs. Toss in a Dirk and a Marion to go with Terry and Kidd and you can see why this had the potential for trouble.

    And to borrow from the one other soul on the game thread, the difference between perception of Kobe and reality of Kobe is significant. I don’t think it is a loss of step so much as the condition of his fingers, as he simply does not have the same control of the ball, and he needs that control if he’s going to be weaving through the paint (how many times have we seen him simply lose control of the ball while driving?).

    The Mavs are otherwise able to accomplish what some want done with Dirk, which is to have Terry (or Kidd) run Kobe all over the court, and if they want to, Kidd can post up Fish at will. And while Lamar is the best answer to Dirk, he’s never going to stop him, just as back in the day, no Kobe-stopper ever stopped Kobe. You can make him work a tad more, but forget about stopping him. Don’t even try, at least not to the extent that you leave their competent jump shooters with forever and a day to bury the open jumper or drive the lane.

    Now back to nimble and quick, they can use Chandler, Haywood and even Marion on the outside screen and all three can beat Bynum and Pau (and Ron) back to the basket (that’s those alley oops that some are complaining of). The team simply can’t have our big on their small guy, who will drive right past our big, and we can’t have our big even or in back of their big, as their big will beat our big to the basket.

    Lastly, I hate to give Cuban credit ’cause he’s a jerk, but they did a good job of building a team to challenge the Lakers. Which is not to say that there is no hope at this point, but theirs is a good team, built specifically to challenge the Lakers, and everyone needs to recognize that. Outside of last year’s Celtics, this is easily the best team that the Lakers have played over the last three years in the playoffs.

    For an almost forgot, back the The Fates of Greek mythology, they sure work their magic, since I never thought that I’d miss Sasha and Farmar. Farmar to hit the jumper that Blake isn’t and ditto the showing of aggression vis-a-vis driving to the hole. Sasha, well, who really cares if he was all practice with his shot, since at least he wouldn’t be dribbling for the sake of dribbling and he’d otherwise play some defense.

    For another almost forgot, there’s Kwame. As I said in the run-up to the season, should have signed him instead of the statue gathering bird feces. Look at his line this year. In proportion to minutes, would have worked out fine with the Lakers. And by the way, the two statues gathering bird feces are a not insignificant part of the problem of who plays late, as one of Gasol or Bynum has to play C for the 2nd unit since the two statues gathering bird feces are just that, and as such, they have wreaked havoc with rotating the bigs.

  27. Lakers will win this series in 7.

  28. It is not so much that the Lakers lost last night, but the way they lost.

    In this game the Lakers continually played from behind and I never got the feeling they were going to be able to get over the hump. Like Darius said, there was no one thing that made the difference, but the tenor of the game was very negative – from a Laker fan’s point-of-view.

    The Lakers got outplayed and Phil certainly got out-coached. Something has to change and I don’t see any obvious solution on the horizon. Kobe is playing well – he just has no help on this team. It is Dirk who has the supporting cast so far and it is Carlisle who has made the right moves. I don’t expect Phil to make any major changes and I don’t expect the bench to change much. The other starters have certainly been consistent – not a compliment.

  29. #17 I totally agree with what you wrote here:

    Had the Lakers resigned Ariza, had Shannon Brown developed, had Jordan Farmar been a Rajon Rondo, or even a Ty Lawson, the Lakers might have staved off this fate for another few seasons.

    But they didn’t, and in the drive to give this core group one more shot at the title, youth, athleticism and shooting were sacrificed to bring in savvy vets who would fit with the specific demands of the core group and the highly specialized offense they run.

    ***

    I think the Lakers still win the series in 7. But they need to bring it!!

  30. @10 I agree completely. It was a great run for the Lakers and Kobe. 5 championships and 7 finals appearances. It had to end at some point and it appears that it will in this series. Due to the Lakers cap situation (long term contracts for Kobe, Pau, Artest, Blake), there really isn’t anyway to change up the team unless someone will take Artest, Blake and Walton off of our hands.

  31. To even think of the Mavs missing two very solid starter-caliber players in Caron Butler and Baubouis (!?) is a bit crazy. They are nothing if not deep.

  32. I think the Lakers are fatigued (physically and mentally) from three trips to the finals. That may seem like a cop out, teams rarely ever go to the finals 4 years in a row.

  33. I agree with Craig W @ 28, and Darius’ recap. It’s not so much that the Lakers lost as that they showed, generally, so little fire. I do believe that significant build-up has accrued on the Lakers and that their extra games over the past three years are catching up to them. There’s a reason threepeats don’t happen often, and that no team has won more championships in a row than that since the ’60s when the talent was not so deep. The Lakers are generally tired and that will limit their performance.

    All that said, we’ve seen how talented this team is. The crowd in DAL is going to be practically rabid on Friday night. Kobe loves noisy crowds and shutting them down. Going on the road is a great way to fire up a team-uniting them behind the common purpose of silencing a hostile arena. Yes, one would think pro athletes with as much experience at the highest levels as these Lakers would not need such motivation, and perhaps the Lakers won’t win the series, but I wouldn’t be surprised either, if the Lakers came out in DAL and reminded the league of what they can do and why they are the champs.

  34. Not to be entirely facetious here, but the only reason I can think of why Pau is so underwhelming is that there is some “Delonte West”-esque team chemistry problem going on with the Lakers. They are not meshing, and not to imply outrightly that someone did such a dastardly thing that Delonte is accused of doing, but something else that would cause Pau to be so detached. He doesn’t seem into the game for whatever reason.

    Dirk is unstoppable. We need to live with that and stop double teaming him because Dallas has way too many 3 point shooters. If Dirk drops 30, so be it. But the team will be damned if Jason Kidd averages 25ppg in the series, and other role players are left to practice jumpers. Remember, Peja and Jason Kidd are #4 and #3 respectively, in terms of all time 3 point shooters. I feel it’s sort of a defensive cop-out to leave your shooter to “help” on Dirk, when he’s going to score on you anyway or find open shooters. Our D is too predictable.

    Still, I hold the faint glimmer of hope that this team can pull it off. But if we are to even fathom winning it all, it seems it’ll take 26-27 games to get another championship. Do we have enough in the tank to get us there? We will soon find out. And yes, to the Dude, I still wish we could have picked up Dorrell Wright (if he wanted to come to the Lakers).

  35. I really disagree with a lot of the analysis and sentiment here. I thought the Lakers were trying hard. What I saw was a team stepping on the gas pedal, but getting no response. They were 0-20 on three pointers and stayed close. They battled.

    As others have pointed out (and I did last night), the Lakers lose the athleticism battle to most teams (interestingly the other older, less athletic teams, SA and Bahstan, are out and on their way out, too). If they can not get the outside shots to fall (say 30%), they don’t have a chance.

    It is that simple and you can not pin it on any one player. The team wins and the team loses. Here’s to hoping they can muster a historic comeback and if they don’t, I still give them a standing ovation.

  36. DY I agree with your analysis completely. Something is wrong in that locker room, Bynum said as much after game 2, whether they can overcome that well see.

    In terms of defending Dirk, PJ is overthinking and overcoaching. The lakers need to pack the lanes when the guards penetrate, single up Dirk and live with whatever happens, even if Dirk goes for 40.

    Lastly, I’m not in panic mode yet because the lakers have been a better road team than home team this year, so has Dallas. Would not surprise me at all to go back to Staples 2-2.

  37. It’s definitely the effort level.

    The Lakers looked confused out there and can’t stay on their man or when the
    Mavs swing the ball they are too late and the shot goes through.

    That whole game was just weird, everything that could have went right went wrong. Even when I thought the Lakers were making a move to catch up on the scoreboard, something like a Odom layup that wouldn’t roll in or a three point shot that would rattle in and out made it frustrating to watch. The Mavs made the Lakers look like they didn’t know how to play or have a plan to win.

    The effort level didn’t seem to be there too. Much like others on here, that seemed to be the real problem, because there is nothing that scares or overwhelms me on the Mavs from a statistical standpoint. On paper, we should have them covered. Yet, so far it’s the things not on paper that scares and overwhelms me.

    That’s the department the Lakers usually have an advantage at.

    Bye.

  38. I have said this during the first round when the series was tied 2-2, the biggest problem of the lakers is on the OFFENSIVE end. Our defense is good enough to hold Dallas below 100 pts but we cannot score enough. I hope the coaching staff make the necessary adjustments to get our players their sweet spots to score more points.

  39. Shannon Brown is not the reason Lakers are losing, he’s a good bench guy, he is what he is..

    Dirk is awesome, underrated if that’s possible.

    Tyson Chandler, perpetual role player and underachiever, is a problem. Good defender against Pau and Bynum, quick enough on the p & r to get easy slams.

    Poor Steve Blake. I was excited when he signed, he’s a solid NBA point, good 3 point shooter-look it up. He’s not playing like himself right now. Light a candle.

    Lakers, Lakers, Lakers-PLEASE spread the floor, swing the ball sometimes, and get the defense moving. You cannot beat this team constantly going one on one. Even if Kobe takes more shots, it has to be a team game.

    I have a hard time booing Pau, good guy, done a lot for this team. Think twice, folks.

    God I hate Dallas, but right now they are the better team. Ouch, that hurt.

  40. Very good recap Darius.

    I am glad you simgled out Odom for his PnR defense, he wasn’t just bad last night but incompetant. I mentioned in game thread there were at least five times where he literally stood still while watching the Dal guard drive right past him and into the lane. He actually stopped his Laker teammate more than the Dal player!

    As bad as the Laker D was last night I think our biggest immediate comcern is our offense. 39 and 32 second halve points isn’t going to win enough games. Dallas is packing it in so much that they have multiple defenders harassing our bigs, thereby negating their effectiveness. (Pau is extremely frustrated, which is only making it worse).

    A lot of people havementioned it but Dallas is simply getting WAY more good and uncontested looks at the hoop. The lakers need to break down the Dallas defense by using MUCH quicker ball and player movement. The lakers are normally a deliberate team on offense anyway, but they’ve been getting progressively just SLOW rather than deliberate. Without having quick penetrating guards to break down a D we need to break it down with more quikc and decisive execution.

    Pau is a finesse player with great skill, but too often the Lakers get him the ball in a ‘slow’ fashion with the wing player waiting for pau to get set, then dump the ball in, then slowly move through the lane to give him space. This allows bigger defenders to get set and use their strength to muscle Pau, which often frustrates him. The Lakers need to get him the ball in a shooting spot before his defender can get set.

    Plus, the Lakers are simply going to have to make some outside shots (by players other than kobe) or else Dallas will just collapse to contest our shots in the paint.

    We’ve got to break dowm their defense to get more good looks. Even though we have talented players capable of hitting shots over contending defenders it is a simple fact that you are more likely to make your shot when your defender is not in position to seriously contest it.

  41. Pau doesn’t look to attack the rim on his posts. If you look at when he receives the ball, he doesn’t take a quick aggressive step. He peers over his shoulder, looks at the perimeter players, then usually passes it out. So essentially, that kills 5-8 seconds. Couple that with how slow the team usually walks the ball up the court (7 seconds), the slow entry passes (3-5 seconds), you are talking about 3-4 seconds for the ultimate shot-taker. That is simply bad clock management. If Gasol is unwilling to post up, give the post spot to Bynum. He is way more aggressive right now.

    We really have to keep a single man on Dirk. What is killing us is throwing a Fisher or another perimeter guard to steal the ball. Watch Dirk, unlike other bigs we successfully double-team, he rarely puts the ball on the ground for the double to swipe. So then, what’s the point of the double? It just leaves the aforementioned deadly 3 point shooters open. Dirk will do his damage, but limit the damage of other role players. This ain’t over. (A game 3 loss…yes…then I will start utterly panicking).

  42. I’m not ready to write the Lakers off yet, but we all have to admit it seems pretty unlikely that we can win 4 out of the next 5 games with 3 of them being on the road.

    This may sound irrational, but I just don’t understand Phil Jackson’s coaching anymore. Why was Steve Blake out there for so long? In my opinion when he missed jumper after jumper that’s when the game changed…And he couldn’t stay with Barrea. So why did Phil keep him in the game? Also, Phil is coaching like these are regular season games with how much rest he is giving Kobe. Down 0-2 I don’t think we have a choice but to have Kobe play most if not the whole game. If we have to sacrifice him being the closer down the stretch of the game then so be it. I don’t feel confident when he is out of the game in this series.

  43. kobemoney777 May 5, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Yes this is indeed an awkward situation for both LA players and fans. Down 0-2 in the playoffs. Should Kobe & company just hand the crown over to Dirk nicely or will there be a fight where Dirk and Dallas Mav owner have to yank it out of Kobe’s paws?

    There’s a lot of blame here. It start’s at the top however. I have to agree with several other posters here.

    1. Mitch Kupchak: Why did he not get a better guard that could penentrate and shoot? I mean Blake needs to be in the C league in my opinion. He know’s that Fish is old and only good for a few last minute heroics.

    2. Phil: He appears lethargic and disinterested, this nonchalant attitude has fallen upon our already half-sleep laker players. He has no energy as a coach. None. If it weren’t for MJ, Kobe & Shaq he would have but 1 ring.. Maybe its not so much the coach but the players themselves -the chemistry-the timing etc that has bestowed him the honor of having all those rings.

    3. Laker Assitant coaches: wow so none of you guys developed a real solid plan on guarding or doubling Dirk? & You have no real plays to get the ball down low to Pau or Bynum in “good” postion. & what is all that movement for if at the end nobody gets the ball “on the move”.

    4.Kobe Bryant: Why do you listen to the “hype”? So what you took all those shots last game—deep down he knew that’s what it was going to take since the rest of the team was playing like garbabe. But no! He felt compelled to “go inside” to get others involved etc. At no point did he turn on the Mamba and try to take over. He should have!

    5. Artest appears to be in a hypnosis stage.
    6. Odom doesn’t know what to do out there.
    7.Shannon Brown needs prozac!
    8.Blake needs the CBA
    9.Bynum: wants it to be his time. But it’s not! If it were–he would be fighting for postition and making Chandler pay!

    10. Pau: Please leave this guy alone. He is who he is. A really good player. He’s not as great as some have hailed him to be. He can’t be counted on when the “pressure” is on. But still he’s one of the best in the league right now. He just needs a boost of confidence.

    ***The Laker fans: Oh my Geesh you guys are so pathetic! You are so spoiled its ridiculous. What home court advantage? Laker fans at the games sit on their chairs as if they are in the oval office.. Then they have the nerve to booo a player who has given them championship rings. Whatever. The fans need to look up the definition of a fan. Oh if you can’t find a dictionary check out OKC or Hornets they could tell you a thing or two.

    Lakers in 7…Kobe shows up!!

  44. Winning when down 0-2 has happened in recent years. The list below (I am going by memory so if there is a mistake please feel free to correct me)

    2004 Lakers vs Spurs
    2005 Mavericks vs Rockets
    2006 Heat vs Mavericks
    2007 Jazz vs Rockets
    2007 Cavaliers vs Pistons
    2008 Spurs vs Hornets

    Only in 2005 the Mavericks lost the first 2 at home. So I am not sure how many instances there were that a team has dropped the first 2 games and was not able to come back.

  45. #40 Good points all around.

    Lakers need to get it together and I believe they can. To say Friday is a big game is an understatement.

  46. Friday is a closeout game, pure and simple!

  47. 3 days between games 2 and 3, hopefully will allow our team enough time for adequate rest and to summon that champion’s heart/will to win that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing the last 2 years.

    Win Game 3 and its a whole new series.

  48. Shoot. You are right Mojo.

  49. what will always make pau a second tier player compared to the greats like kobe is that he does not find other ways to be effective when certain elements of his game are taken away. the guy had the entire summer off, while kobe and bynum worked their way back from injuries. odom played the entire summer and won the 6th player award. i may be guilty of not reading every post closely, but I’m surprised that bynum’s musings about “trust” have not been mentioned more here. That seems like an issue that has lingered the entire season.

  50. Two crucial things we cannot change due to time:

    1. Gasol and Bynum are two athletic, soft-handed, willing passers with touch who have range from 15 feet in. Bynum and Gasol have both proven to be physical ENOUGH to succeed in the playoffs. Yet there is rarely any synergy between them on the court and this is because when you take into account all the injuries, they really have not logged that much time together. You don’t see much high-low between them or the kind of interior passing that leads to dunks and fouls. Lamar and Pau have this connection to a better degree, which is part of why Phil has preferred to close with that combo.

    2. Kobe’s hand injuries have significantly hurt his handle, far worse than his shot. His hand’s not going to get better, so what to do?

    Re Issue #1: Run as many 4-5 screen sets to get one of the two, especially Drew, on Dirk.

    Explore some more high low sets. Theoretically, this would not only free up the low big to have space down low, but help with our transition defense. If we attack Dirk consistently in the low block, Chandler/Haywood are going to have to choose between leaving Dirk to guard players he can’t handle down low or helping and abandoning seven footers with
    a knack for offensive rebounding.

    The key to this, imo, is persistence. I haven’t checked, but has any Laker other than Kobe taken/made two straight shots in a game this year? Three? Strategies like “Wear out Dirk” need to be hammered home and adhered to consistently. The Lakers have this equal opportunity vibe on offense (unless your name is Kobe) and even if one guy scores, he rarely sees the ball on the NEXT possession. He may touch the ball, but there is no prioritizing. The Lakers’ size advantage is attritional. I’d like to see Dirk have to bump and pound and fight on consecutive possessions, or on 4 of 5 possessions for stretches. Posting him up once and then coming back to it three minutes later is not “wearing him out.”

    Phil has shown a willingness to make drastic adjustments, such as all but junking the Triangle against the Spurs in ’04 (not coincidentally when the Lakers dug themselves an 0-2 hole.) I think the things I’m calling for exist within the Middle-Earth vastness of the Triangle, but wherever they are, I think they’d go a long way to winning a game in this series.

    In return for this commitment, Pau and Drew need to be decisive and quick with the ball. Both tend to hold the ball longer than they need to. Of course, be quick, but not in a hurry, but I’d argue that a “hurry” is not so bad because it forces reactions from the defense. Remember, given proper spacing and energy, a missed shot has proven to be one of the Lakers’ most potent weapons the past three years.

    2. For Kobe, more sets that end in catch and shoot and catches on the move. Asking him to create off the bounce or to run pick and rolls requires more dribbles, and the more times he dribbles, the more opportunities exist for the D to take the ball or knock it away.

    No panaceas, but steps in the right direction.

    The biggest issue is fight. The effort was there, but will it be there when the Mavs make a run and the Dallas crowd goes berserk? The Lakers do have a long history of going down ugly when they do go down. I suspect that’s not going to be the case. something amazing and transcendent is ending sooner or later, and I think deep down this team senses it and will respond.

  51. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. Hell no. and it ain’t over now. Kidd-dead jj- dead dirk – dead

    Lets do it

  52. Was this the site where someone questioned before the series whether Pau was better than Dirk? Curious, have you found your answer yet??

    Much respect to the Lakers but they and their fans have completely underestimated a team that they share the same regular season record with. That’s why I myself had the Lakers in 7. But so many had Lakers in 5. Pau better or equal to Dirk etc… Really??

  53. At 54

    I have the Lakers in 7 as well. But, you are ignoring the fact that the Lakers won in Dallas last time they played there, and then humiliated the Mavericks in LA–both games with Dirk. Add in the two teams’ playoff histories, and there you go.

    Also, it is not just “Laker fans” who had the Lakers in 5 or 6. That was a common prediction all over the net.

  54. So I am not sure how many instances there were that a team has dropped the first 2 games and was not able to come back.

    __

    Three teams in NBA history have lost the first two at home and then won the series. The overall record of teams down 0-2 is 14-224.