Lakers/Kings: Still Looking For A Win

Darius Soriano —  December 26, 2011

The Lakers couldn’t find their groove for the 2nd straight night and found themselves in a hole that was just a bit too deep to climb out of, falling to the Kings 100-91 to bring their record to 0-2 on the season. The loss is certainly frustrating, as the Lakers simply couldn’t string together effective offensive or defensive possessions until the 2nd half.  When they finally did start to make their push, the Kings were still able to hit enough shots to keep the Lakers at arm’s length. By the time the Kings finally started to show some cracks on both ends – due to ramped up defensive effort by every Laker and some excellent passing on the other end – the clock became L.A.’s biggest enemy and they simply didn’t have enough to get over the hump.

Below are some free flowing observations, bullet style, on what transpired in this one:

  • Kobe’s final line of 29 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds certainly looks good and he played a pretty good floor game most of the night. He worked well off the ball, kept his turnover count low (2 on the night), and generally played within the flow all evening. He did take 24 shots, though, and missed all 4 of his three pointers on the night. All in all, I thought Kobe played well but he did go isolation a bit more than I would have liked (especially late in the game), especially considering how well he was moving off the ball early in the contest and how that movement was occupying defenders off the ball in a manner that was freeing up his teammates for open looks.
  • Kobe’s main partner in crime, Pau Gasol, continues to be up and down. His numbers – 15 points on 7-12 shooting and 9 rebounds (4 offensive) – were good, but not up to the standard he’s set during his tenure with the team. He only shot 2 FTs on the night and his 5 defensive rebounds show his lack of activity in really going to the glass on that end most of the night. He did have some beautiful plays tonight – a fantastic right to left drive where he up faked, stepped through, and finger rolled in a basket in traffic comes to mind immediately – but overall he needs to do more with Bynum out and tonight, whether the analysis is fair or not, he didn’t.
  • The Laker that did raise his game tonight was MWP. The former Artest acted out Mike Brown’s vision of his role to perfection, doing loads of damage in the post against a Kings’ 2nd unit with little bulk on the wing. On several possessions, MWP simply bullied his man on the block by backing him down and then using leverage to spin off his man or power through him to get a shot right at the rim. He also moved well off the ball to make catches moving to the rim, where he was able to finish more easily. He finished the night with 19 points on 14 shots and carried the Lakers’ O for stretches in both halves. If he can be even half this effective on most nights, he’ll really help the team this year in this role.
  • Where the Lakers continue to struggle is on defense. The Kings guards and wings were able to break down their men off the dribble much too easily for most of the night, and it led to the type of defensive breakdowns that this team simply can’t afford. When the D collapsed to help on penetration, the ball would be kicked to the perimeter for open jumpers. When the help was late, shots at the rim were the easy result. If those shots were missed, the scrambling Lakers wouldn’t always be in position to secure the rebound and the Kings were able to reset and take another stab at the D. And the biggest culprit on D continues to be foot speed. The Kings had 19 fast break points and many of them came because they simply outran a slow group of Lakers that simply couldn’t change ends as well as the home team. This is especially obvious with L.A.’s big men, as neither Murphy nor Gasol are changing ends well. The key to transition defense will always be how quickly the big men can get back to wall off the paint and help the perimeter players better cover the wing when the ball is coming at them. The Lakers aren’t doing this well and it’s really hurting their effectiveness on that end.
  • The Lakers couldn’t buy a three pointer tonight. They only hit one(!) of their sixteen(!!) attempts from distance and their inability to hit anything from the outside completely undermined their offense as the floor got shrunk, driving lanes disappeared, and post chances got disrupted by dig downs. Meanwhile, the Kings hit half of their 18 attempts from deep, which was pretty much the difference in the game when you consider the Lakers won the battle of the boards, had more assists, and fewer turnovers. (As an aside, if you take away the Lakers 3 point attempts, they made exactly half of their FGs and 16 of their 19 FTs too. Sigh.)
  • This was a game where the Lakers’ roster imbalance really came back to bite them, as all three of their main SFs played well (Ebanks and Barnes both, in limited attempts, shot 50% and were active on the boards) while Goudelock – the only natural SG on the roster besides Kobe – played poorly (0-4 FGs for 0 points, with 0 rebounds, and only 1 assist). This meant that Kobe had to play heavy minutes (38 in all) and neither Barnes nor Ebanks got enough run because MWP was playing so well. (Also of note here, Darius Morris was inactive tonight, but both Blake and Fisher had rough outings to the point that having the rook active could have provided a spark. Unfortunately, both Kapono and Walton were active and that meant LA had a whopping 5 natural SF’s active but are only carrying 2 natural SGs and didn’t have their 3rd PG active. Again, roster imbalance is a proving to be a real issue).

Overall, this loss is difficult to swallow simply because the Kings – as young and as talented as they are – did hit some shots that on a typical night you’d think would not fall, and the Lakers couldn’t buy a basket from deep that could have made a world of difference in helping with spacing and keeping Sacto’s D honest. Plus, Kobe and Pau both played heavy minutes and with another game tomorrow night, weary legs by the key contributors could be an issue. Not to mention, 0-2 isn’t ideal either. However, it’s still hard to make any real judgments on this team without Bynum in the mix as he’s a key player who will have a domino effect on the rest of the roster through changed rotations and personnel groupings. It’d still be nice to get a win or two before he’s back, though.

Darius Soriano

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50 responses to Lakers/Kings: Still Looking For A Win

  1. This team looks like the Lakers of 2006 with a Kobe that is 5 years older

  2. Plain and simple the Lakers are one if the slowest teams in the league with by far the worst point guard in the NBA. Pau has become weaker and a average player. Sure they will be better when Andrew comes’s back but they can not contend playing 4 on 5. Fisher can’t shoot, can’t defend and can barily dribble without falling down.

    Could be worse. LO was 1 for 11 and looks horrible. How’s that 9 million trade exception doing there Mitch? Find a guard who belongs in the NBA not the over 50 league.

    Mike brown can you say Rudy T? Nice defense!

  3. Good recap. Bynum will help, but I would like to see the roster/rotation issues (at the 1 and 3) addressed decisively and I would like to see Kobe used more off the ball.

    Finally, I do not blame Luke at all for sticking around and collecting his 12M, but there is no need to play him with three SFs on the roster who, while limited, all are NBA players.

  4. Agreed with the roster imbalance problem. Goudelock is going to be up and down. Life of a rook. But I’d like it if he relegated himself to a spot-up shooter and played within himself for now. He took too many off-balance shots and tried to createshots off the dribble, but his lack of height really seemed to create problems for him getting his shot off.

    Anyone else love the sight of Ebanks getting out in transition? I feel bad for him, he has no one to run with. He’d be a beast running with Miami’s athletes. Among many other personnel moves we could make, I wouldn’t mind seeing us picking up an athletic 2 (Azubuike?) and a change-of-pace PG (Brooks); we need some easy points in transition but we have no players that can push the ball or run with Ebanks.

    Interesting dynamics going on in the Lakers world right now. I believe in Mike Brown and I think the defense and rebounding we see now will be nothing like what we have at the end of the season. Whether that will be enough is highly suspect, but at this point I’m interested to see how this all plays out.

    With any luck Gavin Maloof broke a rib pounding his own chest.

  5. Horrendous rotation by coach Brown. No burn for Morris, and Walton comes in before Barnes? That is terrible. With 4 other small forwards better than Luke, how does Walton make the active roster and get minutes but Morris is inactive? How much more of the worst PG play in the league does Brown need to see before getting the rookie some experience?

    I was willing to give Pau the benefit of the doubt that last year’s playoff collapse was an aberration, but through two games it is increasingly clear that all-star Pau is likely gone forever. This new passive Pau is infuriating to watch. Being soft is one thing, bit playing passively night in, night out is something entirely worse.

    So far, this year’s team is proving the doubters and skeptics right. Right now, this team appears to lack the talent and the coaching to get out o the first round. Hopefully, the return of Drew will somewhat alleviate the talent issue. Not sure what it is going to take to improve the rotations…

  6. robinred: u are correct about the West having no doormats and the fact that we lost games against weak east teams. uggghhh.

    Ken: Rudy T ? :) I was thinking the same :) slowness is not solvable at this point (Mitch tried w Paul)

  7. I didn’t see the whole game because I was flying, but in the first half a lot of the problems looked correctable. We are asking old dogs to learn new tricks on the fly while injured, undermanned and incorporating new dogs.

    When people are on the same page, moving with the knowledge of what they’re trying to accomplish was when they looked good. Other times they turned the ball over, wasted clock or gave up and went iso because they weren’t all on the same page. To that extent, the team will improve.

    Brown is also clearly learning his new team. I’m not sure where the rotation ends up, but like that he’s giving people chances.

    Other things won’t improve. They aren’t getting younger and probably won’t magically learn how to stay in front of guards. We’ve known this for a few weeks that this would be a rough stretch, and it has been frustrating, but I can live with growing pains provided they are in pursuit of progress.

  8. 25% from 3 yesterday and 6% today. I thought we added shooters?

  9. 1) The defense was terrible. We were repeatedly lax and allowed the Kings guards to brokeback us all night long (penetrate + kickout). Kobe, why the heck were you in the paint on defense when Thornton was floating around the 3PT line? Even though we outboarded SAC, it really felt like they controlled and bullied their way on majority of the 50-50 rebounds.

    2) The offense was just as choppy. Kobe yet again chose to “rise above pain” by “diving head first into a cesspool of mediocrity”. I thought our penchant for overdribbling disappeared when Shannon moved onto Phoenix, but Kobe proved me wrong tonight. At least he cut down on his TOs, but his overdribbling clogged the offense multiple times. I think the ridiculous structurelessness of the offense was best exemplified when Fisher went iso sometime during the 2nd/3rd quarter. THERE IS NO WAY THAT FISHER SHOULD EVER HAVE MORE SHOTS THAN MCBOB, EBANKS AND BLAKE COMBINED. Moreover, Fisher and Kobe missed a lot of open guys tonight. When World Peace is your best offensive player, you know your offense was screwy that night.

    3) Poor depth chart decisions really stood out tonight. There is no way on God’s green earth that Walton should EVER be ahead of Matt Barnes on the depth chart. I’d even argue that Barnes should get more minutes than World Peace. Also, as mentioned previously, Brown needs to think long and hard about finding a way to give PT to Darius Morris, even at the cost of Fisher’s minutes. Giving Morris solid PT would alleviate Kobe’s ballhandling duties and allow him to become more efficient by playing off the ball more (something that will also increase when Bynum comes back).

    4) Tonight was a prime example of why Bynum is important to the team. Pau just got outmuscled by Hayes and Cousins. A lot of rebounds were missed simply because Pau was our center instead of Drew. Having Drew in the paint would have allowed our guards to closeout harder on 3PTs. On offense, having Drew as a second legit post option allows more read & reacts instead of awkward, choppy iso plays. With Pau being our only legit big/post player who was largely nullified by the defense of Hayes and DMC, it’s little wonder why our offense stunk tonight.

    Overall, if we were lovable losers yesterday, we were straight up lazy losers tonight. It’s a good thing tomorrow’s game vs. Utah is back home, otherwise, if it were in SLC, I was going to start mentally preparing myself for an 0-3 start.

  10. UCLA yes we added shooters but that dosen’t mean Brown is smart enough to play them. He played Walton! lol lol lol lol. Your about 8 years and 40 million late on that one Mike.

    Breaking News! labron James no longer plays for Mike Brown to bail him out on bad rotations.

    I might need to get another hobby this year.

  11. Mike Brown himself said that in the beginning of the season he was going to have to experiment with lineups and his personnel. Since there was no real training camp and a month of pre-season games, he has to use part of the shortened season for that, unfortunately. This is certainly new to me, watching this type of Laker team play the way they are, but it has to get better as the season progresses.

  12. Really ST? Fisher will get younger, taller and quicker. Pau will get tougher. Walton will retire. Kobe will grow a 3rd hand. Jimmy B will learn basketball. Stern will give a re-do on Paul. Magic will come back. West will come back. Phil will come back. They will re-open the Fabulous Forum.

    Really?

  13. Ken: Magic and Jerry (current day versions) coming back would not make us any slower, and only slightly older.

  14. Four losses–two in the regular season. Not what we’re used to. Instead of seeing the Lakers tested and vindicated, we are finding out a bit about ourselves as fans.

    Derek Fisher continues to be a great Laker pg playing an impossible role–once again adapting on the fly to fit in with new teammates: stopping breakaways, setting the pace, adjusting to new rotations. Pau is once again playing out of position with a new (changing) role and new teammates while nursing a sore shoulder. Bynum isn’t playing at all, unable to learn the lessons that Brown is still teaching at gametime. Luke is looking for a chance to once again make a “team” contribution. Kobe, struggling with his mortality, must be for the Lakers rather than the Lakers being for Kobe.

    I’ve supported some of the Lakers on this team for more than 10 years, and almost all of the recent trade and acquisition decisions as well–including the number of years in the contracts. I’ve personally bought into this team–including players that are mercilessly maligned by some nearly every game the Lakers play.

    Perhaps the most obvious team improvement this game was the dramatic reduction in turnovers–especially by Kobe.

    There will be more.

  15. We all support our team. I for over 40 years, many as a season ticket holder. We also expect our team to be one of the best and should both cheer when they win and point our the truth when they don’t. They will get better but if you think Fisher is a great PG I must protest. PG is the single biggest negative on this team and Fisher was in the bottom 3 in shooting, assists and points against last year. He is older and slower this year. Great guy but would not start or get off the bench on any other team.

    The Lakers can no longer be a contender with Fisher as a starter. The plain simple truth!

  16. robinred: u are correct about the West having no doormats and the fact that we lost games against weak east teams. uggghhh.

    ___

    Utah tomorrow–they have not played yet, so their legs will be fresh. Then New York and a back/back home/home with a very deep Denver team that destroyed Dallas tonight.

  17. Snoopy on Ebanks, “I feel bad for him, he has no one to run with”. Great line.

  18. The Lakers are showing their lack of training camp… but I am not that worried just yet. Hubie Brown mentioned we’re still operating half our offense and half our defense with Bynum out and he is actually right.

    For now, this will have to do. Do we have trades on the horizon we need to do? Yes we do, not necessarily CP3… oh wait… or Howard.

    I would like to see the Lakers be more consistent on the team concept with Pau more involved… but you who’ve lost faith in Pau I could never agree with. Intelligent people just don’t disappear… emotional ones may struggle but they also come back stronger.

    I have an idea: why don’t we acquire that Lamar Odom guy for the TPE? Oh wait…

  19. I’d like to see more of Artest’s game last night… he did bully his way into scoring in the post and he had a nice game.

    Kobe is averaging 28.5 with 6 and 6. The 6/6 is more impressive than the 28.5ppg but I expect these numbers to improve when Bynum comes back.

    Ebanks has been quite efficient with his minutes on both games, but the good game coming from Artest made it impossible for him to come back in the game.

  20. The league is so competitive now that if you are not athletic, you are going to lose more often then not. Name three teams less athletic then the Lakers? Add the aging problem and this team is simply not that good.

    To me this is the mid 90s Lakers with an old Kobe.

    I am still amazed the Lakers took no legal actiont the minute the Paul trade was nixed by Stern.

    Pau and Lamar for CP3 was a steal and we beat the other teams to the deal and it was made by someone with supposed authority and we just had to walk away.

    If you think its bad now, wait until Kobe starts mouthing off. He wont let himself finish his final years on a .500 team.

    This could get ugly real quick.

  21. When Bynum comes back, this team will start to come together. Some random observations.

    -McRoberts and Murphy were great pick ups (at their prices) for their limited roles. No complaints.

    -Ebanks is going to be good. Barnes and MWP are solid role players. All five of these guys above play hard (it seemed to be lacking some last year).

    Pau is a four, not a five. It is who he is and it is not changing. He is a really good passer and that needs to be exploited more.

    - Bynum is now the first or second scoring option, not Pau.

    -Luke should never play, Fish could play spot minutes here and there, but is no longer a starter. I think Morris should get some run for experience and to see what he can do.

    -I don’t think GLock is the answer to back up Kobe. I’d like to at least see Kapono, though my expectations are very low.

    -Young, deep teams are going to have a serious advantage this season due to the schedule.

    I expect the Lakers will make the playoffs (barring injuries) as a low seed. A second round exit seems the ceiling for them (barring trades of some miraculous sort)

  22. Just finished watching the remainder of the game I wasn’t able to see. The more I see it is that the more we need out of the PG position.

    Fish takes 5-6 seconds just getting by his defender, the opponents know that by doing so you are already forcing the Lakers to a bad shot coz they will be wasting 1/3 of the shot clock just setting it up. Go along with Mike Brown’s not-exactly-fluid offensive sets, and you got yourself the answer to the Lakers troubles – something that Andrew Bynum won’t be able to solve even if he comes back.

  23. Ebanks played well and measured. Barnes came out fire breathing. I’d like to see some of that in Ebanks. That should come in time.

    Troy Murphy is slow. hahahahhaa That fast break sequence was enough humor to keep me from strangling Brown for subbing in Walton.

  24. hey darius:

    is it just me or are the lakers turning whiter and whiter? This may work for Duke but this is not college basketball and we certainly don’t have coach K.

    your thoughts??

  25. Isn’t one the main problems here that we are playing without one of our most important offensive and defensive players, since Bynum is out? Nothing is going to be set in stone until Brown and his staff have had a chance to work him into the rotation, and figure out how they want to use his minutes.

    And that leads to another problem, namely that Brown doesn’t know his new players yet. The players don’t know each other, which means that until it becomes second nature for them to look for each other in their favorite spots on offense, and instinctively know who needs help and when in defense, we’re going to see mistakes and turn-overs. That’s inevitable when there are a lot of personnel changes, combined with a short training camp. But Brown is learning the team and its players just as well, and he will keep experimenting with various combinations until he believes he has found one that works.

    So with the above in mind, I say, give them a month. I know, that looks like a lot with the shortened season, but to expect the team to play perfect together as a synchronized unit, is a bit unrealistic when they have only had a week or so to figure each other out.

  26. Same only story as last year. Weak D at the point guard position, and abysmal long distance shooting. No system is going to change this. Why Jimmy boy made zero attempt to address these issues is beyond me.

  27. George Best @20: I have posted this a few times, so we think alike. Going to be very ugly. Kobe is not one to coast and gracefully retire on a 500 team. Nor should he.

    CP Trade: Yes – Now that we have seen Pau, LO, and Paul play this year, that trade would have been genius.

    robinred: Quit depressing me with the schedule :)

    Mimsy: Hang in there. I have not given up on my “ring for Kobe” dream so please keep your dream alive as well.

  28. Oh no it is happening. I just caught myself thinking about “just being competitive”, rather than “how can we win a championship”. I will stop this thinking immediately !!! Need #6 for Kobe !!!!

  29. Basically, everybody’s right:

    Bynum will help, obviously, and the players learning the system better may have some impact. OTOH, the personnel shortfalls and the roster imbalance problems aren’t going anywhere, and won’t go anywhere, until they change the personnel and the roster–and those problems are serious.

    As a few others have said, there is a bit of similarity between this year and 2003. Shaq missed the first 12 games after Toegate, and a weak roster went 3-9 without him. His coming back did indeed help a lot, but the other problems dragged the team down in the conference semis.

    One problem that Buss and Kupchak have in terms of roster construction is that they are set up to make a big move or two (like trading for Chris Paul) and they can make little moves (like signing Troy Murphy). But they can’t really make mid-range moves for 2nd and 3rd-tier players, because they don’t have players of that level that other teams want. The Vujacic trade exception has expired. Presumably the mid-tier move, if one is made, will be set up through the TPE.

    As far as Brown, I agree there will be some experimentation, but I don’t really see any reason to “experiment” with Fisher playing 30 minutes at this point or with Walton playing at all. There are no problems that are going to be solved by doing either of those things.

  30. Not ready to jump out the window just yet over these 2 losses. Especially since we gift wrapped that Chicago victory for them. As mentioned earlier, SacTown was fresh last night. As Utah will be tonight. Hate to make excuses, but when your an older team going up against younger teams with fresh legs on their 1st game of the season, it makes a difference .. I mentioned, before the season started, that I had a problem with our imbalanced roster and now the issue is coming to fruition. Hopefully, with the return of Drew, Coach Brown can get a better semblance of how the roster should take shape n regards to defined roles and substition patterns. Imo, Matt Barnes needs some burn. He brings a combination of defense, energy and athleticsim that we lack. Considerin’ Ebanks (who I’m feeling) and Metta (good gm last night) have the 3 position locked down, Barnes can get time as the backup 2. G-Lock has a specific skill set (shooting) that can be of value to us, but if he’s off (as he was last night), what else can he provide? Will be interested to see how the mins r divied up between T-Murph & McBobs (hopefully, there’s room for both) once Drew laces them up. And only when garbage is n front of the word time do I want to see Luke and/or Kapono. It’s on you Coach Brown.

  31. Perhaps, we can suggest some ideas on how to get the first W for purple and gold. Here are my take:

    Defense: I say zone because individually Lakers are slow to check those ” drive and kick” offense. Gasol is also slow in double teaming at the top of perimeter and back to his post down low. They have to build an imaginary wall in the shaded area.

    Fisher and Blake cannot keep up with young legs when they go on screens, it has to be a group effort guarding than man-to-man formation.

    Offense: More pick and roll plus double screen and pop for the 3 point shooters. We want to see more attempts from Blake, Murphy and Kapono (for God’s sake, will we ever see him on the floor?) Artest and Fisher should be relegated to bulldozer role than a shooter. If there is no more strength in running then maybe it could be used as a concrete wall divider instead.

    Experiment: I think Morris, Ebanks, Gloudelock and Kapono are worthy for experimentation than going with old and same result Walton. Walton is just a Christmas decor there in the bench for his handsome features.

    Spirit of being a Laker: Coach Brown, please tell the newcomers that they are now representing the purple and gold standard, no longer there settling in Midwest teams or in college hoop satisfied with satisfactory efforts and moral victories. For longtimers who have been riding with glorious past and Laker tradition of excellence, there are only two kinds of players and no middle ground either: they are a Championship caliber or another player scrub on a layover in LA. Be proud to be a Laker now for there will never be 2nd chance in the future.

  32. @Robert:
    I am! That’s why I’m going to give them time to figure things out instead of giving up on them just because they lost both pre-season games and the first two real games of the season.

    I’m convinced they’ll get there, and things will be good. Once Bynum is back, we’ll have McRobert and Murphy playing with the second unit more, and Pau can go back to playing forward instead of having to play against centers, which means both that he’ll be able to do a lot more of what he’s actually good at, and that he won’t nearly as banged up and worn down by going up against bigger and strongerplayers every night.

    So in short, I am frustrated by the losses, but I remain convinced that given enough time to get to know each other and their new coach, the Lakers will pull through. This is a very smart team, where Kobe and Fisher sets the tone, and those two are nothing if not hardworking professionals. So I’m still optimistic. :)

  33. robinred: With reference to 2003: I get the comparison, but that year we had the best personnel in the league, and we came within one RH 3 pointer of winning the title. This year? If we get DH in the second half of the year, we “could” be simlar to 03. Else we are looking at 05 or 06.

  34. I would relax if I was everyone… We knew Gasol can’t play Center and we knew we had maybe the worst starting PG in the history of the NBA. The Lakers second best player is coming back in a couple games and I guarantee the Lakers will have a new starting PG within the next 10 weeks. However I do think Fisher has some incriminating photos of Mitch to have been on the floor at all the last few years let alone starting. As my brother said… “It’s one of those things basketball historians will be studying for decades to come.”

  35. SomeGuyInSanDiego December 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

    One thing that I’ve seen here and in other forums repeated.. “Great job, Jimmy on not getting us a point guard” or some variation of that. All I can say to them is… CP3???? Instead of hating on Jimmy, hate on the league.. that’s what happened to the Lakers and it was wrong.
    Moving forward.. this is not anywhere close to a championship caliber roster.. especially *all* the pgs and the backup sg. Small forward is adequate.. and I think if you could put Metta or Barnes in a package to get an *adequate* (I’m thinking Dragic level to be realistic) pg.. that would be a good start. That position is just a black hole.
    If a good deal involving Pau comes along that makes the team significantly younger and more athletic.. jump on it.
    Gonna be a rough year.. and longer.

  36. robinred: You can still be GM though, They have to make statements publicly that are more optimistic than they actually feel. I wonder how Mitch feels right now?

  37. Late in the 3rd, I had to rub my eyes to be sure. The lineup was Blake, Barnes, Metta, Luke and Troy. Now each one of those guys has a function… but not at the same time!

  38. The points Darius hit on are even more evident in person. What I saw was still confusion on offense, especially from some of the new guys. Gasol failing to be assertive. Pau missed some point blank shots early going and for whatever reason there was a real lull after that. Our second best player had 3 points at halftime. Whoever made the point that Ebanks has nobody to run with is spot on. Marcus Thornton had himself a game. Early on the lack of a Kobe closeout hurt and later it was the drive and kick to the corners. What was pretty evident was the point guard spot. I know the defensive scheme did a good job in curtailing Rose in the opener, but in this game it was pretty evident the attack mode the Kings guards were in against Blake/Fisher/Goudelock. Magnifying this was the lack of a shot blocking big especially when Pau was on the bench.

  39. Would have been smart to hold onto Lamar for a little longer, wait for him to get his head on straighter, and then look around the league for a team that has too many PGs and not enough PFs…maybe look down the hall at the other LA team that has a former Cleveland PG with a similar salary to Lamar’s. I can’t say that Mitch and little Jimmy have been all that smart after the Stern rejection, although the Murphy and McRoberts signings have added some inexpensive talent.

  40. The team is still suffering through the growing pains of having to learn on the fly due to the truncated training camp while Coach Brown is still trying to figure out his rotations…however, both games, particularly last night, have shown two issues that need to be dealt with immediately:

    1) The screen-roll defense is doing a terrible job of adjusting to any guard who reverses direction, and this is especially true when Pau is the defender. Whenever the oppositon decide to flip the side of the screen, he stays rooted to the original side of the screen instead of anticipating and moving to aggressively show on the defender. Basically, he’s being lazy and instead of actively playing either side, he’s banking on the guard only using the original screen. Further, and this was particularly evident last night vs Sac, if the big does do a good job of show, the guards are doing a poor job of pinching the dribbler and cutting off their ability to split the double-team. The flip screen and double-team split are killing our screen-roll defense.

    2) The offensive execution is very poor in the 2nd and 4th quarter of games. It’s almost as if the team executes only after Coach Brown reminds them about what to do(ie pre-game and at half-time) but then as soon as that wears off, we revert right back to the primary isolations. It’s a major reason why we finished the Bulls first half poorly(7-0 run), that game poorly(7-0 run), and finished each of the last 3 quarters against Sacramento poorly(7-0 run, 11-4 run, and 11-2 run).

    Lastly….the loss last night didn’t showcase many positives but at the very least, i hope it gives Coach Brown a better idea of substitution patterns/playing time. Fish cannot play 30 mins a night, Goudelock has to see some time on the floor at either the 1 or 2. We have a lot of versatility at the sf spot with Ebanks, Ron and Barnes and each of them needs to have significant minutes(particularly since Coach Brown often inter-changeably uses the sg/sf spots).

    Hopefully, we see some changes tonight and not the same exact issues that have consistently reared their ugly heads in these first two losses.

  41. Aaron, you “guarantee a pg within the next 10 weeks”? Just like when you guaranteed CP3 and Dwight were both on their way to LA?

    I think front court issues will be fine once Bynum comes back because we all now realize this team needs to lean on Kobe and Bynum more than Kobe and Pau. Backcourt issues are what’s killing this team. Fisher needs no more than 10 minutes a game, I’m sorry he is better served as a coach than a player especially with Steve Blake playing well. I realize Brown has to experiment with the lineups but if you see that something isn’t working and the game is on the line you go with your best option which wasn’t Fisher.

    Barnes and Ebanks need more PT, Barnes may struggle on offense sometimes but he is a bear on defense and he makes things happen with his hustle. Until the Lakers solve their backcourt issues I would really love to see Kobe run the point, Ebanks at SF, Barnes at SG. Kobe with one hand is better than Fisher/Blake combined plus he brings the ball up the floor half the time anyways. That would give LA their most athletic lineup on offense and defense.

  42. I love Luke, but the only reason he’s getting playing time must be to showcase him to the other 29 teams. Right? Right..?

    Key word for this shortened season is chemistry. The coaching staff is obviously just tinkering with the lineups to see how every player fits on this squad. The goal is to develop solid team play throughout the season and make the playoffs. From there, anything can happen with a veteran squad.

    I love being a Lakers fan more than ever before.

  43. A lot of excuses for Pau’s play. I guess his injury is the latest crutch. Considering what he’s getting paid, I’d like to see him play a whole game with the same effort and intensity. The disappearing act is a continuation from last year. I certainly hope Bynum’s return will improve things, but I think Pau will be more than happy to pass on whatever responsibility he has and dump it on Bynum.

  44. With the current makeup of this team, there is no defensible argument for Luke Walton to be on the active roster. There are no fewer than 5 active players who can play the SF spot better than Luke if you include Kobe.

    With this group, I would like to hear Mike Brown’s explanation for leaving Morris off the active roster. “Experimenting” with veterans like Fisher and Blake makes very little sense, as we all know what we have with those two.

    It is time to get the youngster some experience, because neither Blake nor Fisher will ever be the answer at the point, and whether Morris is or not is something that can only be known if he gets a chance to play–and it is extremely unlikely that he will play worse than either of the other two PGs.

  45. @Lakers8884,
    In Aaron’s defense, CP3 was on his way to the Lakers. I don’t think anyone expected Stern to stomp trade into the ground the way he did.

  46. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1lde0RIdBY

    morris was a DNP-inactive last night. is he hurt?

  47. Another positive from last night’s game that I saw was that it looks like Mike Brown may have found something when he had Kobe, Barnes and World Peace on the floor at the same time. That was our best defensive lineup. We got back in the game with that lineup and may have tied the game up had it not been for our horrific point guard missing Matt Barnes for an open 3 pointer which could have tied the game.

    Mitch – please send us Lakers fans a late Christmas present by picking up or trading for a point guard who can stay in front of other point guards. I don’t know how much more dribble penetration I can take from the oponents.

  48. Get used to it Laker fans….:-P…

    This is the team we have, and this is likely the team we’ll be stuck with.

    Unless the Lakers can trade either Gasol or Bynum for a substantial players at BOTH PF/C and PG, not much is going to change.

    Let’s pretend the CP3 trade had gone through. Your Laker starting lineup is:

    CP3
    Kobe
    Bynum (when he gets back)
    Murphy or McRoberts
    TAFKARA or Barnes or Ebanks

    Is that a whole lot better than the current Laker roster? Maybe, but instead of running isolation plays and burning the Lakers’ PG, teams would run P&R to switch one of our horribly slow forwards on to a PG. Moreover, we’d still have the same weak bench.

    What if the Bynum+Gasol for DH12+Turkeyglue trade gets done?

    Our starting lineup is:

    DH12
    Kobe
    Fisher/Blake
    McBobs
    Barnes/Ebanks/TAFKARA/Turkeyglue

    That’s still defensively suspect at two positions (PF, PG…and add SF if Turkeyglue is playing). It’s still the same weak bench, and our backup center is ???

    This is almost inevitably what happens to championship-caliber teams. The core is kept together until it’s demonstrably past it (usually a year or two too late). Role players get overpaid in order to maintain chemistry and continuity. Expensive backups are brought in patch holes as other teams poach the champion team roster for players “with championship experience”. Eventually, the whole mess becomes expensive, unathletic, and overpaid.

    That’s where the Lakers were in 2003 when they traded Shaq and let Fisher/Fox/Horry/et al. leave.

    That’s where the Lakers are now.

    The real genius of the squashed CP3 trade is that it would have freed the Lakers from Gasol+Odom’s salaries. If, at the end of the 2012 season CP3 declined his player option and the Lakers amnestied TAFKARA, they would have been way under the salary cap and could have offered DH12 a near-maximum contract. They could then re-sign CP3 and have the DH12/Kobe/CP3 core going forward.

    That, I believe, was the plan, and all the whining about Jim Buss/Kupchack being idiots doesn’t face up to the realities of the current Laker roster and the new collective bargaining agreement.

  49. The best thing about last night’s game while watching on the NBA’s international league pass with the Kings’ announcers: at one point in the 3rd quarter they actually said “the Kings can’t find anybody to disrupt World Peace”. And they didn’t even realize how ridiculous that sounded.