Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

Darius Soriano —  January 5, 2012

Records: Lakers 4-3 (6th in West), Blazers 4-1 (1st in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 103.9 (14th in NBA), Blazers 106.4 (9th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 98.4 (7th in NBA), Blazers 98.1 (6th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Matt Barnes, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Blazers: Raymond Felton, Wesley Matthews, Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby
Injuries: Lakers: Derrick Caracter (out), Josh McRoberts (questionable); Blazers: Greg Oden (out)

The Lakers Coming in: The games are strung together like popcorn tinsel and even after yesterday’s day off this will be the Lakers’ 8th game in only 12 days. The pace will slow down some, but not for a while as this will be the first night of a back to back with the Warriors visiting Staples tomorrow. So, get used to seeing lots of game action even if the team could use a bit of a rest.

What you should also get used to is Kobe playing with a bad wrist because that doesn’t seem like it will change soon either. From Kevin Ding’s latest at the OC Register:

These days, over Bryant’s right wrist also rests a fat postgame ice wrap roughly the size of rookie guard Andrew Goudelock, Bryant trying in vain to minimize swelling after acting on the court as if there isn’t a torn ligament in there. Bryant has been taking a numbing injection to that wrist before every game in hopes of performing normally. Yes, it’s that bad. He does not want to publicize all the details of his wrist, which is usable only because the bones were not moved permanently out of alignment without the ligament to hold them in place. But it’s now clear just how problematic the wrist is, and it’s fair to wonder where all this will take Bryant.

At this point, I’m not sure what’s best for Kobe. Taking time off, in a condenced season, isn’t something the Lakers can afford. Not with the team so reliant on Kobe’s play making and scoring ability from the wing. But, if his wrist is going to hamper him this way all season, that’s not a recipe for success either. Every game it will get whacked again, with every shot becoming an adjustment in mechanics that hasn’t allowed his normal accuracy from the floor. So, the team marches on with its leader banged up but still fully needing his contributions.

The Blazers Coming in: The evolution that the Blazers have been going through over the past couple of seasons is now pretty much complete. Greg Oden, sad as it may be, will likely never suit up for the Blazers again. Recurring injuries have him sidelined again, likely for the season. Gone too is Brandon Roy. Injuries also took their toll on him and have removed him from the game much too soon, as bone on bone knees left him in chronic pain and gave him no choice but to medically retire this off-season.

(As an aside, I’m truly going to miss Brandon Roy. His game, built on change of pace and direction, timing, and exploitation of angles was as exciting for me to watch as the games of players who dominate through explosive athletic prowess. Roy understood how to play the game and how to keep his defender guessing and was a master of getting to his spot when and how he wanted. His game was a transplant from a different era but modernized through his flair. His sense of the moment was also so special as he’d can game winners and end of quarter buzzer beaters like it was second nature. He was a special, special talent and now, because his body betrayed him, he’s a specatator like you and I. Regardless of what you think about how much money he made or how he got paid to play a game, it’s sad when someone wants to do something they were so good at and what they loved but no longer can because they’re physically unable.)

So, this is now LaMarcus Aldridge’s team and the Blazers are well off this way. They’ve complemented him by bringing in an uptempo guard in Ray Felton, trading for  rugged combo forward Gerald Wallace (who can play beside him in both big and small line ups), and have given him the reins on offense to play the inside-outside game that many envisioned for him when he left the University of Texas early. LMA now is, by every definition, the Blazers’ franchise player and he’s helped lead them to a fantastic record by picking up where he left off last season.

Blazers Blogs: Portland Roundball Society is a very good site. Blazers Edge is also one of the best team sites out there.

Keys to game: Much like the Denver games, this will be a game where style of play is very important. The Blazers play at the 4th fastest pace in the league while the Lakers still prefer a slow it down game, playing at the 9th slowest.

The Lakers need to control the tempo of this contest by running their sets and utilizing their match up advantages in the half court. That means going to Bynum against the light framed Marcus Camby and to Gasol at the mid-post against Aldridge. Bynum should be able to outrun and out-muscle the aged Camby and the Lakers should look for him after he bodies his way to deep post position. Gasol should also see his touches and I’d like for him to be aggressive when he does have the ball. Pau has been excellent in being assertive with his jumper and I’d like to see that continue with a few more post possessions mixed in. Aldridge offers good size and will fight Pau for position, but when the Blazers go small, Pau is likely to see some of Wallace (or even Batum) and it’s in those moments when Pau can go to the block to do some damage.

Defensively, there are two keys. First is for the Lakers to disrupt the Blazers’ running attack. This can be done in a variety of ways but it needs to happen. LA can attack the offensive glass to keep the Blazers from rebounding cleanly and running out quickly. Bynum can be especially effective in this role but so can Pau, Barnes, and MWP. Second, the Lakers must sprint back and shut down the lane. Felton will push the ball much like Ty Lawson did and a wall must be built to slow him down. The Lakers must also mark Gerald Wallace in transition and not let him catch the ball on the run with an angle to the hoop. Wallace is fearless attacking the rim and if he gets a head of steam he’s difficult to stop.

The second key is to keep LMA off balance and not let him find his comfort zone. He’s become a true inside/outside threat and will just as easily stroke his feathery jumper in your face as he he will bang you down low and look to work you 10 feet and in. He loves the left side of the floor and will almost always look to go to the middle when attacking. He loves to turn and face and then power dribble to his strong hand and then shoot his jumper over the top of you with his high release. The Lakers should shade him in that direction, force him to his left hand and contest everything. If he finds his rhythm, it could be a long night, so I’m hopeful that Pau or Bynum can force a few misses and get him to press a bit.

Portland has long served as the Lakers personal shop of horrors. Getting victories in the Rose Garden has always been tough for this group and tonight should prove no different. However, the Lakers do have a formula and the personnel on hand to get this game. It will take discipline and a few shots falling but that’s no different than many other games. Here’s hoping they follow through.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on KCAL and nationally on TNT. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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93 responses to Preview & Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

  1. Rudy (from previous post),
    “I’m pretty sure everyone here would want Odom rather than Murphy on this team right now.”

    Yes, but compared to last season, so far this team will be deeper in “bigs.”

    McRoberts + Murphy + Gasol + healthy Bynum > Odom + Gasol + gimpy Bynum + ?

    I would rather have this year’s group than last year’s group.

  2. Aldridge is a fun player to watch, and Wallace has a history of giving the Lakers’ players fits. It won’t be an easy game tonight by any means.

    A few years back the Lakers and Blazers met in what was one of (if not the) first games of that season. The TNT people put up a graphic about how these two teams’ young centers were poised to dominate the West for years to come. Injuries sure killed that concept.

    I was never sold on Oden as a pro prospect, but I would have liked to have seen him succeed or wash out on the floor, going as far as his skills would take him. Unfortunately for his fans (and Roy’s), and the NBA in general, we won’t get that chance. But at least this isn’t the NFL – those guys won’t walk away hurt and have zero money coming in, thanks to guaranteed contracts.

  3. Kind of funny how Portland is now playing at a much faster pace compared to past years. Script is flipped a little bit when they were more methodical than even the triangle Lakers.

  4. With a shortened season, it seems the league is a notch more competitive. I like how the Lakers are playing these young, fast, gritty teams. Playing against such teams will probably help the Lakers make adjustments when the group plays teams like the Heat, Clippers, Thunder. Top teams that are fast, and have capable PG’s.

    Tonight we face a challenge in a tough place. I’m excited to see how Gasol/Bynum perform on the interior, defensively.

  5. thisisweaksauce January 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Kobe’s injury is really starting to scare me.

  6. Why is Lakers management not going after Gilbert A? I think he would of embrace a opportunity with the lakers and would play for the league minimum. If they are gunshy because of the hope of signing D12, I say forget D12 let’s roll with AB and get a guard that strengthens our backcourt…

  7. Tonight’s matchup for me is the first early test of the season. 7 games in, and with Bynum around for 3, a win at Portland would mean a lot (though early season wins/losses aren’t that important in the course of a season).

    I also find it laughable that NJ Nets fans think they can resurrect the purported 3 team trade for Dwight which included Wallace going to Orlando. Portland would be nuts to trade Wallace anymore. He’s going to be perfect for this team, with Batum as a backup as well. Though Portland is our natural rival, I like the makeup of this team and as a basketball fan, I enjoy their team. However, Lakers loyalty > basketball fan curiosity. Go Lakers!

  8. @6 enut4eva – Because Arenas is terrible now? He was one of the worst players in the league last season, and now he’s a year older.

  9. 6)enut4eva

    Probably because the team is already having some trouble with Kobe having his way with the offense. We shipped out Odom to keep team chemistry stable. Bringing in a cancer like Arenas would probably be a bad idea, on and off the court. From what I’ve seen, Arenas still plays like he did before the injuries, and his play is not at the level it used to be.

  10. LT (previous post):
    Of course we need to take other metrics into account. Which ones are you using? How do you justify Kobe’s high usage rate? Is he really the greatest ever? No metric is perfect but using some is still better than using none.

    Should we trade Kobe? From a pure analytical standpoint (WS, WS/48, eFG%, $/WS, etc.), the answer is YES. From a practical standpoint, it would be very difficult. First, most Laker fans would kill me (or Kupchak). Second, Kobe’s contract is HUGE ($80m/3yrs). It would be hard to make the salaries match. Third, it would be near-impossible to get decent value in return.

    “Your analysis suggests that if the Lakers had traded Kobe instead of Lamar, the Lakers would win the same number of games”

    Exactly. Odom’s usage rate last season was 19.7% vs. Kobe’s 35.1%. Kobe was involved in almost 2x as many plays as Odom. If the Lakers used Odom that much last year, and he played just as effectively, his WS would almost double from 6.6 to ~11, similar to Kobe’s!

    @8 Dude: “Because Arenas is terrible now?” Couldn’t have said it better.

  11. Let Shannon Dunk!

  12. Re: Arenas, and this is a serious question, were there rumors of him being a “cancer” in Orlando? I thought the problem with him in Orlando was his lack of athleticism rather than his attitude. I think the FO’s reluctance on Arenas is due to “basketball reasons” as opposed to personality reasons per se. I just don’t think he is physically ready to play right now or the plethora of teams (including ours) that need a PG would have scooped him up.

  13. to control tempo, the lakers must defend screen-roll and guard against the corner 3. let lamarcus aldridge score 30 points if he can; thwart his supporting cast and the game belongs to us.

    i’d like to see progress in our transition attack. players that do not reward drew and pau for rim runs must be yanked.

    i think a win may depend on how well the lakers attack the zone–which we will see tonight. i don’t want to see 3s being chucked if there’s an old, slow lineup out there. i’d rather see goudelock/blake/ebanks/barnes against a zone than fisher/kapono/artest.

  14. 6

    Arenas is nothing but a name at this point. As Dave Chappelle would put it: He’s f***ing done son! It’s over! And even when he was good he was grossly overrated.

  15. Calvin,
    I think the concern is that you’re using various versions of the same metric to make a complex argument seem very simple. You’re also not acknowledging any relationship between usage and efficiency or what players’ roles are within the context of a team.

    Plus, win shares, on its own, is not that great a metric. It overvalues rebounding and if you’re going to give it this much weight, I think you’re doing yourself a disservice. Like any other efficiency or rate stat, WS must be used judiciously lest you want to come to conclusions that the eye test also won’t back up.

    And ultimately, this is what basketball is becoming. It’s a game where there’s loads of information out there for our digestion, both statistically and through watching games/film. And to give the best, most thorough analysis that we can, we must look at as much of that information as possible in order to come to conclusions. Not to be overly critical, but you have not done that here – not when you say “from a pure analytical stand point”, but then cite some variation of WS as 3 of your 4 metrics. That’s not a pure analytical standpoint. That’s a position based off win shares.

  16. 11)DY

    There were rumors of tension between Arenas and Coach Van Gundy. Arenas had a hard time fitting in with the Magic, and according to rumors, he had a problem with playing time and his role on the team. No, nothing too dramatic, but I’m not sure if Arenas is ready to come off the bench, or if he’s willing to change his game to suit the starting position of this Laker team. I think his style of play wouldn’t mesh with this team. I wouldn’t welcome him.

  17. Andrew Bynum, version 2012, age 24, @ 7’0, 285 lbs, should have his way against the oldest center tandum in the league in Kurt Thomas (age 39, 6’9, 230) & Marcus Camby (37, 6’11, 235). However in order to do that…he has to get the ball. Somebody inform Kobe.

  18. there’s an awoj article about how golden state is willing to trade for dwight howard without a guarantee he will re-sign. the article purports steph curry is being made available, but that doesn’t make sense, because they’d need to include either david lee or monta ellis to make salaries match in a deal for howard and turkoglu, and that’d leave howard in g-state without much of a supporting cast.

    i think this article is an example of how gms use the media to communicate with other gms without appearing desperate. i think the subtext of this article is that the warriors are looking for a third team to get involved and exchange expirings/prospects/picks for ellis and/or lee.

  19. Barnes against Wallace should be fun, those are two hard-working, no-nonsense guys. From the little bits that I’ve seen of the Blazers, Wallace comes across as kind of the heart of the team, the guy who sets the tone for them despite not being the best player.

    Wes Matthews always made Kobe work when he was in Utah, but had his difficulty with him in the post if I remember correctly. Might it make sense to put Kobe out there with Murphy next to either Bynum or Gasol? That way Kobe could have some space for mid- to low-post isos.

    Also, if you have time, check out this short NBA Sounds of the Game compilation for a Mike Brown nugget that made me crack up:

    And carrying over from the last threads regarding Bynum/Howard, one thought to take into account: Bynum’s game is now built around size and strength, but also solid footwork in the post. Athleticism plays a part, but his game should theoretically (=without additional major injuries) age better than Howard’s style of play still based more (more than Bynum that is) on speed and jumping ability.

  20. Heck if we’re talking about discarded shot creator PG’s, why not look at Iverson? All baggage issues being equal, I’d take AI over Arenas right now. Arenas has multiple forks sticking out of him.

    AI by most accounts can still ball. It was the mental issues and pride that caused him to be out of the league. If you could actually convince him to be a role player and come off the bench, he’d be exceptional going up against 2nd unit and giving penetration. Imagine Peace down low, AI ready to penetrate to shoot or dish to shooters. It’d be just like his Philly heyday. He’d also make a great change of pace guard like what JJ did for Dallas last year.

    This is all pipe dream of course, just to illustrate that if you’re going to reach for a PG creator, AI is much better than Arenas.

  21. maybe because curry is so fragile.

    why not rest kobe a few games and see how the team does? i wouldn’t be surprised if they had a similar win/loss ratio.

    it’s not like the regular season record matters that much, as far as getting into the playoffs.

  22. There are two people in my life I will discuss basketball with… My brother and my friend Matt. Well I just had lunch with Matt and for the first time he brought up things I’ve never thought of before. He suspected Lamar’s TE doesnt depreciate along with players salaries over the course of the year. If this is true we could trade for a player making lets say 16 million this year once his team owes him less than 9 million. I am going to need some feedback from most likley Darius here.

    Also… non Laker related… I was discussing with him how Blake Griffen will never be a quality defender as he is too short and not long enough inside. My friend Matt blew my mind when he suggested Blake should be playing SF. Blake at 6-8 would become the second best defensive SF behind Lebron right away. He all of the sudden would be bigger and longer than most SFs ad would be just as fast. Now that he can shoot the ball from the outside this should be a no brainer for the clippers. Especially with the PF spot so riddled with talent in the nba. The Clippers would have an easy time bringing in a quality PF.

  23. DS:
    You misinterpret my words. Yes, my arguments are based on statistics. I did not claim that they were the most comprehensive. I readily agree that statistics is an inexact science. I never claim that WS (or PER, +/-, etc.) is the “best” . That’s a debate for another type of site.

    What I do claim is that without some sort of objective measure, any argument becomes simply “expert opinion.” Why is my opinion any better than someone else’s? What proof can you show me to change my mind? Metrics helps us quantify & understand trends, and lends objective support for our arguments. The best decisions must be made using BOTH objective and subjective evidence. Professional poker players know the odds of winning a hand but may play against the odds based on intuition, experience, or other subjective reasons.

    For instance, regarding the Howard/Bynum controversy, a lot of this discussion hinges on how healthy Bynum will remain. If you think he’s injury prone, then regardless of how efficient he is (e.g. high WS/48), you should trade him because his usage rate will be low (missed games, few minutes). On the other hand, if you think those were freak accidents (unlike Brandon Roy’s knees), then based on a predicted high usage rate and high efficiency, it makes sense to keep him since his overall production will probably be similar to DH. I’m just using metrics to back up my claims.

  24. Great article on the effective Kobe/Bynum working relationship.

  25. Yeah, trade kobe and give lamar a higher usage rate. I’m sure that the bynum/gasol/lamar lineup will have tons of spacing to allow everyone to be as effective.

    Sounds awesome.

  26. Wojnarowski says the Warriors are going after Howard.

  27. didn’t see chibi’s post–my bad.

  28. I like the way that Bynum has been playing. Can this be the year that he has a breakout season and become All star worthy or is this just a flash in the pan: he plays well for a few games to only disappear?

  29. Fellow Laker fans, please stop talking yourselves into this silly debate. Drew will always flash his intriguing size and potential, right until he goes down with another yearly knee injury. Meanwhile Dwight will continue to dominate the league defensively and collect boards in just about every available game. There is no debate to be had here, sorry.

  30. Wait… Reggie and Charles are calling the Lakers game tonight?

    God help us all.

    EDIT: Thank goodness, it’s the Hawks game. I wasn’t planning to watch it anyway.

  31. igor, can you explain why drew didn’t suffer a catastrophic knee injury last year?

  32. Darius,
    Can you please answer my question regarding the Lamar TE? The answer might give the Lakers a lot of flexibility in bringing in a PG. I’m sure you’re in the process of looking it up. I don’t even know if anyone aside from Larry Coon knows the answer.

  33. barkley is horrible.

  34. Watching Radmanovic is turrible! How were we even a contender with that guy starting?

  35. Arron, the TPE can only be used for a player with a yearly contract of TPE+$100,000 or less.
    “A non-simultaneous trade may take up to a year to complete, but the team can only trade away one player, and can receive no more than $100,000 more than the salary they trade away.”
    more info in FAQ’s 71 and 72

  36. Aaron,
    Isolate is correct. Specifically speaking to your question, what teams have to pay players becomes pro-rated as the year goes on. However, this does not affect the value of their contracts for trade purposes.

  37. Rusty Shackleford January 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Please don’t delete moderator; haven’t SF 49er fans been though enough?:

    I’m having extreme excitement for the 49ers playoff game. I was very young during the 49er Glory Years. A good example is that I was in 4th grade when they whipped San Diego’s ass in the Super Bowl. The 49ers beat them 49-26. They doubled the creampuffs in points every quarter except for the 2nd (when they outscored Whales Vagina 14-3) and the 4th when the Knuckleheads outscored them 8-7. In other words they blew them out. Jerry Rice 149 yards and 3 TD included a 4…………4 TD reception.

    Whenever anyone doubts this 2011-2012 team I ask them if they truly believe that the 49ers have reached their full potential. Do you think they have? Think if they improved in the following areas: Quarterback, Depth At Runningback, Deep Threat Wide Receiver and cornerback. How dangerous would this be? They do have question marks an their defensive backfield in that two Pro-Bowl players (Dashon Goldson & Carlos Rogers) are not under contract for next year but I do believe this year’s success will keep this team together. Rookie running back Kendall Hunter looks to be a speedster who can contribute as both a runner and receiver very well.

    AND, Aldon Smith should not be a footnote to this 49er season. 14 sacks as a rookie? He’s going to be something special.

    Great job Coach Harbaugh.

    LAKERS – Games at the Rose Garden never give me anything to look forward to. The state of Oregon can sit on it. I’m hoping all of the high-motor guys (Barnes, Whitey’s and Ebanks can impact the game in the Lakers’ favor because Portland always brings it against the Lakers at the Rose Garden. Tell me if my opinion is poor or not but I think Phil Jackson teams used to lay down when they knew the other team had more energy out of the gates. It used to be ‘Do just enough to stay in the game. We just don’t have the energy tonight. Ok 3rd quarter or beginning of 4th quarter let’s make our push and D-it-up.” For me, that was hard to watch as a fan. I like this team’s grit; especially in the frontcourt. They went from having Lamar Odom (6th man of the year last year) to Metta World Peace and Josh McRoberts (not gonna do a stat comparison because this post is getting too long already). As the Lakers are an older team, it would behoove them to A) improve their depth because the bench mob was something Jeff Van Gundy or some other idiot made up and B) You saved money while: seemingly at this point in the season because of Bynum’s improved production and assuming he will stay healthy; they also got younger and have shorter contractual commitments.

    Then we’ll see how the rookie backcourt additons do……….

  38. Igor: I agree. At this point. There is no comparison between Drew and DH. “If” Drew continues to go nuts and does not get hurt for the next year or two, then and only then is there a discussion. I think people are forgetting how dominant DH is on D. (although I am loving Drew’s performance to date this year).

    PG Discussion: Magic Johnson is available.

    I just wanted to take the conversation from the rediculous to the sublime to save time (although I would seriously rather have today’s Magic as opposed to Arenas or AI).

    Besides we have a PG: His name is Kobe. In the 4th quarter he plays both PG and SG : )

  39. I wish the Lakers would have signed TMac instead of Kapono to backup Kobe. He is doing a great job of playing within himself. Maybe that would have rubbed off on Kobe…

  40. Damn you Atlanta!!!!

  41. Great, one seven footer to another with the fast break and dunk!

  42. Hawks = Morons.

    Thanks TNT, at least we’ll get to see the second half of the game.

  43. Defence? anyone… lol to be fair that was great 6 minutes of offense by both teams

  44. Paul L: I agree that someone like TMac would have been good, but b4 you use him as a bat against Kobe, let’s not forget that TMac is one of the many vanquished, that at one time were compared to Kobe (and even injuries aside – the fact that some argued for TMac over Kobe at one time, is a little comical now).

  45. Seriously, could Atlanta be any more useless? At home against Miami with no James or Wade, and they still look set to throw this one away. Remarkable.

  46. double ot? jesus christ, chalmers.

  47. Wow, Bynum with the dunk, moving players aside under the basket at will, unstoppable.

  48. For some reason this site won’t let me post a link, but firstrowsports. tv has the KCAL feed.

  49. Bynum looking good early 5-5, Kobe is 4-6 and Gasol 4-4. Balanced scoring for the Lakers in 1St Q

  50. Just another reason to hate the Heat — we’re going to miss the whole first half the way this ordeal at Phillips is going.

    But at least we have Kevin Harlan to tell everyone where all of the players went to college once every possession.

  51. wow. going to miss the entire first half.

  52. man we really dont know what were gonna get from MVP each game, also Murphy kills our defence

  53. Can we just cut MWP? Or how about everytime he shoots, make or miss, fine him $100K? Seriously.

  54. Hawks-Heat in triple OT

  55. All Kobe – All the Time – He is a stud

  56. Interesting. When Kobe made that layup after giving the layup to Wallace on the other end, after the whistle, he made a beeline to Brown on the sideline, shook his head and said “I f-ed up.” Brown gave him a pat, they sort of shook hands, and Kobe went back to shoot the free throw.

    Good to see Brown’s making inroads on Kobe’s defense. Giving up baseline layups mean you did F up, Kobe. 🙂

  57. Blake is definitely coming into his game, dude has 100x more confidence than last year.

  58. It really boggles the mind that Kobe is still doing this after all these years.

  59. @24 Aaron – interesting read, and some commenters at that link made the point about the author stating that Drew isn’t much of a passer: they said he rarely gets doubled (which is true), and a better time to evaluate his passing abilities will be when teams start to double him.

  60. @ #41 Derek:

    Prophetic .. @ least I’ll be able to see the 2nd half in its entirety. Unbelievable!!

  61. Blake and Barnes both doing work this game (and year). Really happy with them.

    I think the rotation misses McRoberts.

    Murphy needs to take the three from time to time.

  62. 31, chibi

    Drew missed the first chunk of the 10-11 season due to recovering from knee surgery. Then he hyperextended his knee in the end of the regular season which ended up having a deep bruise and clearly affected his performance.

    This game is not going to end well for our boys if we don’t buckle down on D. Hate to mention it, but some poor officiating going on, too.

  63. Felton is simply torching Fish right now, there’s no other way to describe it. Fish isn’t doing a thing to slow him down in the backcourt after made baskets. He’s letting him work up a full head of steam.

  64. pau must have the weakest hands in the world

  65. we are so out matched in speed and athelticism its scary

  66. Size doesn’t mean a goddamn thing if your team doesn’t have an ounce of athletic ability compared to your opponent. Yeah, we don’t need an athletic PG. Why don’t we just put Luke in while we’re at it? Way to get run out of the building in that 3rd qtr.

  67. Come on Ebanks .. You’re suppose 2 be 1 of our better athletes.

  68. ebanks does everything better than barnes.

  69. 3rd q. collapse, eh? what a cliche

  70. Everything offensively for LA looks like a struggle versus Portland can get whatever look they want. LA simply isn’t athletic enough to matchup and it’s creating horrible defensive rotations.

  71. Portland has done a good job taking care of the ball with only three turnovers for the game mid way through the 4thQ. Lakers need to force some turnovers to get back into this game.

  72. When did Pau become satisfied with being a high-post passer/jumpshooter?

  73. Our offense is so damn methodical. Throw it into the post, back it down, back it down. For Portland, everything is off the dribble. Either PnR or cross over, cross over and take it to the rack. Yup, speed and athleticism.

    Did we have a chance to get Crawford, BTW? Was he too athletic for our team?

  74. Jamal Crawford might be the best pickup of the offseason.

  75. @ Glove — Tough to turn the ball over when the Lakers are playing defense as horrendously as they have tonight. Brown’s going to puke when he watches the tape of this debacle.

  76. You could put Blake and Fisher on the court at the same time and together they couldn’t guard Crawford. He is a tough player to guard but he is getting whatever he wants.

    Bynum was playing really well but you can tell his conditioning has hindered his performance tonight.

  77. despite not controlling the tempo at all, the lakers are an average night from the 3pt line away from a tie ball game.

  78. Mistakes today both offense and defense can be easily corrected. Even with the lost today, I will be happy if Lakers face Portland in the playoffs. Pick and pop and Crawford doing his thing can be adjusted by the defense.

  79. I didn’t expect us to win this game.. but the lack of athleticism is impossible to ignore. I fully expect the FO to make a move some time this season.

  80. That Crawford and Aldridge pick and roll might be one of the tougher plays in the league to defend if they can keep this up.

    Portland is a very talented team, they have a solid chance of getting deep in the playoffs. LA had a poor second half showing but they are better than that, although their lack of athleticism really showed tonight.

  81. If Bynum expects to finish games now that LO is gone, he better get in shape. Guy looked winded in the 4th.

  82. Hopefully Drew can play himself back into shape. He was clearly running on fumes for much of the second half.

  83. You know Bynum has come a long way when people are ho hum and semi-satisfied with a 21/12/3 line. The KID has arrived.

  84. I respect some of your optimism in spite of this loss, however for me, this is not good. Kobe and Bynum both had good games and we lost by 11. We are slow, can’t shoot 3’s, and can’t defend the PG. See pre-season discussion. The sample is large enough now. We are 8 games into a 66 game season and we are barely in playoff position.

  85. Robert, I’m starting to lean in your direction.

    Maybe the next time we play Portland, or any team with speed and athleticism, the NBA will let us go running clock.

    Or maybe we can petition the league to let us play our regular season games in a 50 and over rec league. That should level the playing field.

  86. The inability to defend the point, and the lack of anybody other than Kobe who can break down a defense will keep the Lakers from getting past the first round, and maybe not even that far. If they don’t finish in the #4 spot or better it will be tough as hell to get past a first round matchup against OKC, Portland, or the Clips in a 7 game series without home court.

  87. 3rd Quarter Fatigue, they played only 24 minutes of intensity basketball while Portland phased themselves throughout the game with Crawford and Wallace doing the damage in the 2nd half. It appeared during the preseason games against the Clippers, against the Bulls at Staples, again in Portland. Where are the Lakers weakness? Who other player can help Kobe and Bynum in offense? Who can stop Wallace and Aldridge on defense? Murphy and Kapono were supposed to be our gunners, they were reduced to facilitators and shy to shoot. Since we are all day dreamers, will Orlando take Walton, Fisher and Metta Peace when DH walks out at the end of the year. The salary matches.

    After losing CP3. we stopped shopping for a PG, why?

  88. “will Orlando take Walton, Fisher and Metta Peace when DH walks out at the end of the year”

    It is hard to put yourself in a position where you could even make an offer like that. How did we get here?

    Edwin: We are stuck now. We must wait. As brutal as that will be.

  89. It’s tough to consistently play well on defense when your getting torched at the 1 and 2 spot. Yes I said 2 spot also. First I like Blake on offense this year but he’s getting absolutely touched on D. Guys are going right him basically in a straight line with no fear he can stay in front or challenge a shot.Second if Kobe wins first team all defense this year they should stop giving the award out. He’s always had an occasional brain freeze with close outs and losing his man but it’s chronic this year. Is Kobe being lazy not closing out? Does he not trust his knee to adjust if his guy puts it on the floor? Is he not challenging shots because of his wrist? Is this just the DH part of Kobes career(magic and kareem had that part to)Are the stats backing up what im seeing? Am I being too hard on Kobe’s D? Questions galore..

  90. Agree with Robert. This game wasn’t
    about Kobe gunning too much, or adjustment periods, or the new system, or someone being hurt. It was just about the team’s basic roster weaknesses and a quality opponent that could exploit them.

    Sure, the Lakers will “normally” go 4/11 or 3/11 rather than 0/11 from the arc. But they have these games because the only pure shooter on the team, Kapono, is too one-dimensional to play for more than few minutes.

    I think it should be noted, faults and all, how well Kobe is playing with all his ailments.

  91. Kobe: 24 shots/26 points-8 rebounds-3 assists–4 turnovers–no three pointers in four tries–4/5 free throws–30 points.

    Kobe is doing well?

    Shouldn’t we be looking for a triple double and no turnovers from a superstar?

    Leadership/carrying the offensive load–or just calling his own number and volume shooting?

  92. Drrayeye if you are looking for a triple double go watch Lebron, Kobe never has been and never will be a triple double guy and it makes no sense to expect that of him now. The guy does have the players to hit open shots to even give him 10 assists in a game. Watching that game last night Kobe played extremely well, stats don’t say it all I am using the eye test. He had no help in the second half, point blank period, not even Bynum because he’s still too out of shape.

  93. (93)Lakers8884

    2 assists–three turnovers

    Did you get a chance to see all the passes Kobe didn’t make? Or all the stops he failed to make on defense?

    Basketball is a team game.