Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  January 11, 2012

Kobe lit it up again last night, with an unlikely assist from Luke Walton. An ugly, crazy mess of a game, as it often is this season, but not for lack of hustle and effort. At least we don’t have to hear about “the switch” these days.  And then, about 3 minutes before an end that was still in play and Kobe goes thunder-dunk mode.  Suddenly the Suns were fading fast in the rear-view mirror. The hand and wrist may be in pieces but the legs, remarkably, have been infused with flubber – 48 points and a nice hug from Shannon Brown at the end.

Andy Kamentzky from ESPN’s Land O’Lakers, examines the above-mentioned brotherly love that Kobe has for the high-fly act we once called ‘UPS’.

Mark Medina at the LA Times Lakers blog writes about Kobe defying the odds – he wants you to say he can’t do it anymore, he’s refusing to concede to injury.

Brian Kamentzky, Land O’Lakers, looks at it logically – expecting Kobe to provide like this for another 55 games, is suicide.

Dexter Fishmore at Silver Screen and Roll also considers Kobe’s basketball mortality, and tosses a bone to Luke Walton’s rise from the ashes.

  at the OC Register, goes so far as to ask whether Walton actually out-shined Kobe, pointing out that with Luke on the floor, the Lakers outscored the Suns by 32 pts.

Straying outside the Kobe/Luke storyline, ESPN’s J.A. Adande writes about the Lakers’ white factor and refers to my man Slava as Russian. Excuse me? Ukrainian!


Wins and losses feel different under Mike Brown compared to Phil Jackson.  Nothing seems quite as cool, there’s not that languid nonchalance.  Mike Brown doesn’t divine alchemy from a wood grain pattern under his feet. He paces and yells and dances in place. He obstructs the view of people who pay a lot of money for those floor seats.  And, he hands out chances. Luke Walton got 25 minutes of burn last night – 6 pts, 8 boards, 3 dimes and a steal. When’s the last time that happened? Dig it Phil, your favorite son is back.

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy


to Wednesday Storylines

  1. Since this is probably the best type of post for random stuff, my biggest hope for the season: Matt Barnes letting his hair grow until it reaches full Rick Fox glory. And Barnes then being as integral a role player in a great playoff run.


  2. RE: Matt Barnes as the new Rick Fox: He definitely has the requisite toughness. Of all the guys on our team he’s the only one I can picture in Foxy’s place slugging it out with Doug Christie (Kobe’s has too strong a hold on his emotions).


  3. “languid nonchalance” – That’s a good name for cover band.

    Didn’t see much of the game (it wouldn’t have gone over very well if I told my wife to wait at the airport until the game was over), but from what I heard on the radio, and read in the write-ups and comments, it sounds like Kobe did the majority of his damage within the flow of the offense, generally starting without the ball. That should be extremely effective, especially with the threats of Bynum and Gasol that defenses need to account for.


  4. Good catch by Anande, err, I guess: “Flipping through the pages of the Lakers’ media guide shows this is the most white American players the team has had since the 1977-78 squad had Tom Abernethy, Brad Davis, Ernie DiGregorio, Don Ford and Dave Robisch.”

    Aah, the days of Don Ford (my ironical FB&G namesake), “power” forward. Heh. The mid-70s Lakers were like the ~93-95 Lakers, like the 2005-7 Lakers. Only now we’re, uh, well, whiter.


  5. exhelodrv, Get a dvr, I don’t know how I watched sports before it.

    A big reason for Kobe’s efficiency was because he worked off the ball more and within flow of the offense. Thought he also had a couple of hockey assists in there too. Vintage all around performance.


  6. An outstanding article by Ding (seriously, he is an amazing beat writer). Love the insight – that encompasses both the good and bad of Kobe.


  7. Kobe said: “You have to figure out a way to get it done. There’s no time to make excuses. If I play bad or have one bad game like I did in Denver, everybody cries for a change or cries for the fact that I’m too old when it’s just a bad game or a bad wrist. Nobody wants to hear that, so I make adjustments and go from there.”

    Suns guard Steve Nash didn’t seem surprised by Bryant’s showing. “He’s the best player in the world,” Nash said. “You come to expect that type of performance from him. He does it regularly throughout the season and he was phenomenal tonight.” – Los Angeles Times

    ~~I guess Kobe was also addressing to all his fans who lost confidence on him in this blog or any other site. Well, personally I defended Kobe but it’s just fair to critique him when he doesn’t go with the flow of offense and cause the team’s demise. However, Kobe is a man from another planet, what looks impossible to us is just ordinary to him. I’m sure after that Denver game, he set aside a lot of hours practicing those jump shots say 500 times a day until he gets it perfect. How many players are really that dedicated to sharpen their skills when they’re already considered in tip-top condition or in the case of Kobe in rehab. condition? Very few indeed and much fewer if you’re hand is hurtin’, most of them love the limelight and glamor but forget to hone on fundamentals that catapulted them to that glory.


  8. The Luke Walton “triple-single” was the real highlight of the game. Glad we kept him around.

    Bynum needs to figure out double teams or else D12 will be replacing him maybe not this season but definitely by next.


  9. Last night on NBA TV Chris Webber (someone I don’t respect) and Gregg Anthony (someone I do respect) both said Andrew Bynum is already a better player than Dwight Howard. And all this on a night when Drew played his worst game of the season. Having said that… As I have all offseason… I would trade for Dwight in a heartbeat as Bynum will never be as durable. DH is just a machine.


  10. There’s an energy about this squad that’s really interesting. It’s not always quite the same dynamic game-to-game, although Kobe’s part in it is fairly constant. Pau’s attitude jumped out last night – as odd as it sounds, there was a little swag in his step (and in that one-handed jam).


  11. Rusty Shackleford January 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    @10 – Isn’t it nice to see a Lakers team that refuses to lay down when the other team comes out of the gates with more energy? How many times over the past 4 seasons have we seen the Lakers mail it in in the 2nd quarter? Mike Brown has my support. The way he has this team playing right now is the way a team needs to play to win playoff series.


  12. “The Luke Walton “triple-single” was the real highlight of the game. Glad we kept him around.”

    Man, this had me on the floor crying of laughter!!!


  13. matt is too light (in weight and muscle) to be a rick fox type player.


  14. Man, can’t wait to have McRoberts back! It’s become comical re: Fisher. There must be some inside prank about starting him, or some bet. All kidding aside, we actually don’t have any option but to start him b/c that’s the best place to hide his deficiencies. Put him as the lead PG on the bench, coupled with MWP and Murphy, and things could get real ugly. If and until another (I’m talking to you MORRIS) PG steps up, things will remain this way (Fish starts, plays about 20-22 mpg; Blake finishes, plays 26-28 mpg).


  15. @Dave M
    I said that after the first pre-season game! The swagger is back. 🙂

    One of the things that impressed me the most with Luke Walton last night was his energy level. He hasn’t played in forever, has been maligned, the focus of countless trade demands and probably lots of frustration as a result. Never mind any of that. He comes out with a vengeance, hustles, fights, plays hard and with more energy than any Lakers on the floor not named Kobe.

    It says a lot of the guy’s professionalism and work ethic that he comes out so well prepared and ready to play, despite how long it’s been.


  16. First off DY, if Blake started we would not see guys like Nash killing us on pick and rolls. Nash only scored 2 points on Blake. If Fish came off the bench he would play his 12 minutes against 2nd and 3rd string point guards.

    Also as for Luke, this would work out to somewhere around $900,000 per point over the past two years.

    How do I get that job?


  17. Rusty and Mimsy –

    Sorry for the late reply but I much agree with you both. I complained quite a lot about the Mike Brown hiring at the time, in fact, used it as staple fodder in my Searching for Slava blog. I freely admit that I underestimated Brown. And, I think I underestimated the players’ capacity and willingness to buy into a new system. As for Luke, I couldn’t be happier. He’s had a lot of scorn thrown his way over the years. Regardless of what the future holds for the guy, it must have felt good to get out on the floor and play hard again.


  18. 14)
    You’re right on