Preview & Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

Darius Soriano —  January 16, 2012

Records: Lakers 9-5 (5th in West), Mavericks 8-5 (7th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 103.2 (12th in NBA), Mavericks 101.8 (18th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 98.9 (6th in NBA), Mavericks 96.8 (3rd in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Matt Barnes, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Mavericks: Jason Kidd, Delonte West, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Brendan Hawyood
Injuries: Lakers: Steve Blake and Derrick Caracter (both out); Mavericks: none

The Lakers Coming in: I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: the Lakers are the type of team where depending on whether or not the team wins is what drives the narrative. After every W, the Lakers look like a team that can put it together with a formula of Kobe scoring, their bigs controlling the paint, and one or more role players stepping up to be a difference maker. After every loss, the conversation shifts to Kobe’s shot selection and volume, how that impacts the play of his teammates (especially Pau and Andrew), and whether or not the coach has a handle on his team.

Both story-lines have truth in them but neither is as clear cut as it seems and we’ve seen the epitome of that in the past week where the Lakers went 4 and 1. In the wins, the Lakers played mostly team ball but rode a hot Kobe (and strong defense) to wins. The bigs carried their end and some strong play from Barnes and Blake helped produce the W. In the loss, Kobe again went off but his mates looked disinterested at times and that leads to comments about whether or not the coach has a grip on his superstar or if that superstar can seen the forest through the trees (while the team’s defense and lack of rebounding were largely ignored to instead focus on those sexier story-lines).

In the end, I prefer to think that, like tonight’s opponent, the Lakers are a work in progress that needs more of the season to truly find their identity as a team. They’re even more top heavy than in season’s past and that means an off game by one or more of the big three makes a W more unlikely. The bench, meanwhile, has some talent but the roles aren’t yet fully defined and injuries to key contributors to that group haven’t allowed a real chemistry to develop at this early stage. Add it all up and the margin of error on any given night is as thin as it’s been in any competitive season since 2003 which leaves nearly everyone a bit on edge. I think it will get better but time will reveal if that’s accurate.

The Mavericks Coming in: The Mavs are a definite work in progress but have rebounded from a slow start to get (somewhat) back on track. After losing their first three games of the season, they’ve won eight of ten by feasting on teams that championship teams are supposed to. This has led to a bump in their statistical profile as they’ve racked up big wins against the Kings (99-60) and the Bucks (102-76), while also putting up double digit wins against the Hornets and Pistons. Again, this is not a murderer’s row of opponents but the schedule is what it is and I can guarantee if they’d lost to these teams the questions about whether or not this team is any good at all would be tossed around.

But while these wins have quieted some of the critics, real questions do remain. The Mavs lost Tyson Chandler and JJ Barrea – both, vital contributors to their championship – to free agency and and also lost Caron Butler (a key to their early season success last year). They’ve replaced these players with names we all recognize – Lamar Odom, Vince Carter, and Delonte West – but it remains to be seen if those three can reproduce the magic and chemistry that their predecessors produced in last year’s run to the title.

Speaking of Odom, I’d be remiss if I at least didn’t touch on the former Laker that is so missed by so many. His campaign has been mostly miserable so far, though he’s had some better games in the past couple weeks. After first joining the Mavs he was distant and out of place as criticism about his conditioning and mental preparedness were leveled by his coach. It’s since come out that he went so far as considering taking a year off after another trying summer where tragedy and then attempted trades left him feeling neither relaxed nor wanted. It’s hard to know how long his funk will last or if he’ll ever truly find his game in Dallas but I have my doubts on both counts. Not because Odom is suddenly some broken player or that his regression is a falling back to earth of numbers that were career bests last year but because I wonder if Odom really fits into what Dallas does on both sides of the ball. Odom’s best working as a leader and grew into that role in LA after many up and down years where it was only he and Kobe and Phil that were the constants. After the the emergence of Bynum and then that same season the Gasol trade, Odom found his niche as the player that could do it all while filling in all the gaps on a roster that offered him that flexibility. Meanwhile, with this Dallas group, the leadership is covered with Kidd, Dirk, and Terry and the jack of all trades style he’s played while working off of other star players is less available due to the presence of a similar player (Marion) and the more rigid confines of a roster that’s much more specialized. Does this mean that Odom can’t find a role? Of course not – he’s much too talented to write off. That said, in a shortened season with little security beyond this year, the man that wears his emotions on his sleeve and has the game that thrives off his connection to his mates may not get to that point with this team.

Mavericks Blogs: I love the work that Rob Mahoney and crew do at The Two Man Game. That site is well worth your time.

Keys to game: I could go on and on about X’s and O’s here (as I love to do) but the biggest factor in this game will be revenge. The Lakers want it and the Mavs want to bury it like they did all those jumpers last May.

This is the first meeting since the Lakers were dispatched like an injured thoroughbred at the hands of the Mavericks last spring. The fact that the Mavs went on to claim the championship only enhances those bitter feelings (Some would argue losing to the eventual champ provides some solace, but do you think Kobe feels that way? Fisher? Gasol? Bynum? Me neither.) So the Lakers will be looking to right the wrongs of last season even though tonight’s result won’t erase those losses.

With that in mind, so much of tonight will come down to energy and focus. It will come down to keeping a level head while giving everything you have inside to win. Often times is easy to lose the needed steadiness it takes to compete at this level when emotions run high and this is what the Lakers will be up against tonight. They badly want to beat the Mavs; they probably want to humiliate them. Staying calm in the face of that desire will be key. Having Odom in the enemy garb only complicates this.

Of course, doing actual basketball things well will matter too. Gasol will get a steady diet of Dirk tonight and the Spaniard will need to have his legs under him to chase around screens and contest jumpers. Dirk’s unconventional game doesn’t lead to having a plan on any given possession, so Gasol will simply need to play him straight up but with a step into him to better contest the J and encourage the drive a bit more. On the other end, Pau can’t let Dirk off easy by settling for the jumper every time down. Gasol’s been much more perimeter oriented of late and that’s mostly by design in order to free up Kobe’s work in the mid post and Bynum’s at the deep block. However, moving Pau to his preferred left block to make Dirk defend can also be designed and I hope to see some of that tonight. Pau can still work over his Euro counterpart in that area of the floor and the Lakers would be wise to let him give it a go.

Kobe’s role in this is also key, of course. He’s been feeling his offense lately and that will of course lead to him attacking. But the bigger question is who will Kobe be going after. The Mavs are likely to start Delonte West at SG but he’s too small to guard Kobe so that leaves Kidd or Marion. Either offer an interesting match up as Kidd will be better chasing Kobe off picks while Marion offers the size to disrupt Kobe’s post ups and wing isolations. In any event, the Mavs are likely to cross match on D and that could give the Lakers a chance to do some damage in early offense should they actually push the ball and try to initiate their sets early in the clock. Because while the Mavs retreat and seek out their man, the Lakers can run the ball, have their bigs go to the front of the rim and set up shop to get the types of easy baskets that can make half court match ups a moot point.

The Last key I’ll be looking at is how much zone the Mavs play. The Lakers haven’t seen much of this D this season but in year’s past it befuddled them. I’d bet that the Mavs want to see if the Lakers can hit enough jumpers to make them stop sitting in Kobe, Bynum, and Pau’s laps in the low and shallow post by throwing the zone at them early in the game. This could be a contest where Kapono and Murphy end up needing to be the role players that make a difference.

Where you can watch: (A hopeful) 7:30 start time on TNT. Also listen live on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts

126 responses to Preview & Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

  1. More insight on LO

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/custom/sportsconnection/la-sp-lamar-odom-20120116,0,1599405,full.story

    I’m apologize for using LO as my personal soapbox, but I can really relate to him. I worked for the Government and they sent me to DC (from LA) when my superiors knew that my ederly mother had fallen and broken her collerbone. I was her only child and her only source of support. When I finished my assignment I quit working there after 16 years. I then worked for a Credit Union that did everything it could to keep me next to her until her passing. I will always be grateful for them even though I no longer work there. They were and still are my family.

    Taking care of an ederly family member takes alot of patience and understanding and it is best done by someone who knows and loves them. We do not see the person that they have become, we know the person that they are. For the Lakers’ FO not to take that into consideration shows the cowardess that we now deal with. I hope that they one day make ammends to LO because, as you can still see, his Laker family misses him greatly. Not only for the contributions that he made as a team mate, but also because of the person that he is. I only hope the best for him and he is, and always will be, sorely missed.

    I hope he scores 20 tonight, but we win by 20 also.

    Come on LAKERS!!!! Revenge is best served (on a) cold (MLK Night)!!!

  2. A Few Things I’m Looking Closely At

    1. How do the bigs play in the 1st half? Keep a close eye on how long they hold the ball before making a move.

    2. The Offense. Is it all Iso’s with not cuts and no 3 point shooter close by. Or do we see new plays.

    3. The bench. Who steps up and is aggressive.

    4. Our energy.

    4.PnR defense. this is a mike brown staple Iexpect it to improve tonight

  3. Robert, (when he gets here):

    The Dallas cap question is discussed in the other thread. Dallas is in position to get down to one salary–Dirk’s–if they can trade Marion, Beaubois, and Jones. Tim McMahon of ESPN Dallas:

    “Specifically? Dallas would likely have to release Brendan Haywood through the amnesty clause next summer, trade away Shawn Marion without taking back any salary and also give away young guards Roddy Beaubois and Dominique Jones, while also letting free agents-to-be Jason Terry, Lamar Odom, Vince Carter and Delonte West walk.”

    ____

    The Lakers need to get some work out of McRoberts tonight.

  4. TO: Busbuys4me

    Your story is very touching, and I’m glad you were able to find a situation that allowed you to care for your ailing mother before her passing.

    However, I don’t think it’s fair to call out the Lakers for trading LO. Ultimately, even though it’s a tough pill to swallow, the Lakers organization’s consumers are their fans, and their investors are management (including the Buss family, and any corporate partners). They have a responsibility to both their fans and their investors to put the best possible product on the floor by doing whatever they can. If you as a fan or an investor found out they considered another player to no longer be in the best interests of the team to keep, but kept them anyway for sentimental/personal reasons, how upset would you be? Sorry, but I can’t blame ownership/management for doing what they felt would help the team be better (big caveat here: assuming that was the reason for the LO trade).

  5. Tonight: How many pts are we going to spot Dallas from the 3 pt line 2night. Darius: I noticed you closed with Kapono and Murph. Let’s see if they can do anything : )

    roninred/zephid: They dump LO+Vince. Let Terry+Kidd walk, amnesty Hwood = they are @ $32 even with SM and the rooks. If they get the Wizards (LOL) to take SM they r at approx $24. Wow. You say: Lebron’d, or Shaq’d: Jerry West knows why they would do this. Orlando did it years ago, + Cleveland did it. The fact that both of them did means that history could repeat itself. If so Cuban gets DH + DW which would be a better buy than the Tequilla company he bought on Entourage.

  6. Darius,
    ‘I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: the Lakers are the type of team where depending on whether or not the team wins is what drives the narrative’

    I think it’s ‘bigger picture’ than that – how does each game play into whether or not the team looks like it can be a contender is what the discussion is generally focused on.

    BusBoys,
    Should the front office keep Odom if it negatively affects the team on the court?

  7. Fifthrune has it right. Lamar Odom (plus Pau) was traded for Chris Paul. That does not need to be explained or justified by the Laker organization other than the potentially high price they were paying for the league’s best PG.

    The opportunity to pair the best PG in the league with the best SG in the game, and the 2nd best center (assuming they can’t trade him for the best center…) is one that the Lakers had to take. Oh, and they’d have saved over $41 million in the process.

    I understand that Lamar was hurt by this (just like Pau) but I don’t understand his inability to see the Lakers’ rationale. His comments suggest that he continues to think that the decision to trade him for CP3 was irrational and “personal” when it was anything but that. The fact that the team ended up trading him to Dallas after the CP3 deal fell apart is an entirely separate matter, and one for which LO has absolutely no reason to complain about, seeing as he requested that very trade. Moreover, seeing his devastated emotional state (and perhaps his less than ideal physical condition), the team gave him what he asked for rather than be on the hook for the salary AND the attitude.

    So, there’s a proposed trade for the best PG in the league, followed by an actual trade that LO requested. I can understand the disappointment for sure, but I cannot fathom his confusion about what the Lakers were doing here….

  8. To all who question my LO viewpoint.

    Should the Lakers have kept LO if he were going to be a distraction? No. Would the Lakers suffer with a wounded LO? No, he was too important to the team, the team would have rallied behind him to show his importance to the FO.

    There was no guarantee that he would have been a distraction. He obviously was told that he was going to traded regardless of the Chris Paul trade because the FO tried to trade both he and Pau after the initial trade failed. WHAT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED was LO should have been told that he was not going to be traded, the matter then brought to Kobe and Fish as the team leaders and they would get LO back into the fold. The signing of McRoberts would have still taken place (we still needed big men depth but not slow-footed Murphy) and the Lakers would have gone on to fight for another championship.

    If you read all of what is written and not assume you will see that LO was trying to figure out whether he was coming back at all prior to the trade. He was considering taking a sabatical away from the game. He was unsure because of the two deaths that took place during the off-season and the lockout itself whether he was ready and able. When his family finally convinced him to come back for another year, he finds out that he has been traded to New Orleans.

    http://blacksportsonline.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/New-Hornets.jpg

    Check out the picture above of the guys that were actually traded for Paul. Do they look happy? Hell No!!! And these guys came from the worst organization in basketball, until recently, Donald (Dumb S***) Sterling’s Clippers. Pau was going to Houston with a possible parring with Nene and LO was going to Hell with his father staying here. I would be shocked too.

    Lastly, they did nothing with the trade exception for Sasha. Mitch has continually said that it gives the Lakers flexability, but stated that the Lakers did not have to use it (they are not). It is a money saving device plain and simple. The Lakers have had chances to improve themselves but have done nothing more than the trade that did not go through (which in my opinion was a bad trade). I was glad it did not go through because it would have meant getting rid of all three of our bigs plus some to get a big and a super point guard back. It would have been Kobe, CP3, D12, McRoberts and Barnes to start and who on the bench? But given how it was handled, we will be lucky to have that.

  9. So about Lamar being upset about all of this ….I would be too. Heres why:

    Lamar took a pay CUT to play here, he loves LA, he has a network here, he has contributed 2 championships in a row and 3 finals appearances as well as community work and being the BEST locker room cohesive force we had besides maybe Fisher.

    We had multiple opportunities to trade Bynum for Carmelo Anthony, players like Jkidd 4 years ago. We didn’t could you imagine a front court of Melo, Lamar, Pau? with kobe? someone else who could create like carmelo? but we wanted to keep bynum.

    How has the LO deal helped the team? How are you taking advantage of kobe’s window? I would argue that now we’ve wasted 4 years of kobe’s prime if we don’t win this year. If I was kobe I’d be pissed, If I was lamar I’d be pissed. It’s just the situation that makes no sense other then a whinny guy trying to make a name for himself in Jim Buss. How do you honestly justify this?

    I just want to add that Lakers fans have completely disrespected Pau Gasol. Pau Gasol is NOT shaq, the most dominant force in the game, what he is is probably the most skilled 7 footer since Olajuwon to play the game other then Tim Duncan, BUT he is a better passer and runs the floor better then Duncan. People need to respect Pau a ton more he delivered two rings to the city and 3 straight finals appearances. It’s ridiculous that we’ve placed so much faith in Bynum and he hasn’t contributed to one significan’t playoff run.

  10. Sorry Darius,

    Great synopsis as usual.

  11. Busboys4me – thanks for the LAT link, and for sharing your story. Here’s a link to something I wrote earlier today, about L.O.. Hope you enjoy it. http://tinyurl.com/7jt752f

  12. Interesting that Phil Jackson called LO to help him with his mental problems and performance.

    How come he hasn’t done the same with Fisher and Metta who have been far worse?

    Curious!

  13. To Ken @12

    Phil always understood how fragile LO was and how important he was to the Los Angeles Lakers. His comment was that LO was irreplaceable. For all of Phil’s faults, he loved his players. He knew that Fisher was done and that MWP is a train wreck. He also saw the writing on the wall with the new FO run by lil’ Jim. The Lakers were in trouble and it was his time to leave.

    http://searchingforslava.blogspot.com/2012/01/look-homeward-angel.html?showComment=1326768675518#c2512827018584298186

    This is a must read for all LO fans. A great piece, IMO.

  14. wow. a laker game in its entirety on tnt. awesome.

  15. Will someone else step up for the lakers? The lakers pretty much don’t have a bench and have been 4 deep(if you count barnes) for the last 5 games or so. Who is going to step up and contribute consistently off of the bench, Morris, Artest, Murphy, McRoberts? The lakers need somebody else to contribute.

  16. Joel

    Artest is not on the team. It’s Metta World Brick now!

  17. ODOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!, thanks for helping the Lakers win 2 titles

  18. See why Kobe must shoot!

  19. Kobe’s off-target tonight. I hope he doesn’t try to force things.

  20. Ken –
    I’m with you. It’s kind of hard to lambast Kobe for going into attack mode when our bigs aren’t getting it done.

  21. Every game I become less sure about Andrew.

  22. I’m a touch late to the party today. What’s been happening in the 1st thus far (other than a lot of Lakers missing shots)?

  23. Artest should never try to take anyone off the dribble, he has zero lift and no speed

  24. Anyone have a link to watch the game online?

  25. Bynum is terrible tonight. The whole game is ugly, actually.

  26. AusPhil, absolutely nothing has happened so far, except that they’ve had to change the rim at both ends a few times because of all the bricks that both teams keep chucking up.

  27. why do people on this forum think Morris good? ive seen very little evidence

  28. James, I’m with you. The kid thinks he’s CP3 and dribbles for 20 seconds while going nowhere before he just turns it over. And no, being a rookie is no excuse for that.

  29. As a 40 year Laker fan I am embarrished to watch Metta. We keep Metta, Walton and Fisher and give away LO and Brown?

    Why does Mitch still have a job?

  30. @James I think we are so sick of seeing Fish and Blake that any flash of talent catches our hope that he will take over some of the PG mins.

  31. Even though Drew has converted twice against Haywood, he’s also had 2 of his shots swatted. He needs to recognize that Haywood is a legit 7 Footer. This isn’t Varejao or Nene. More elevation on his attempts are required … On another note, terrible 1st quarter offensively from both teams.

  32. In Morris’ defense he is trying to run a unit with very little scoring talent. Sure Kapono can shoot if open, but other than Bynum the unit he is playing with is far too predictable offensively.

  33. Watching LO, do you still think the FO made the right decision? I didn’t think so.

  34. They have Carter, terry and LO.

    We have Metta, Walton and Morris!

    Hummmmmm

  35. The lakers offense is just awful. It takes them 16 seconds to get into their sets. Nothing but iso post ups for the bigs with the entire side of the court cleared out so when the double or triple comes the only pass available is a dangerous cross court pass. The lakers are lucky they aren’t down by 15 already.

  36. Pau should wear a white shoulder brace under his uni to match the color of the swan that he’s being. :P

  37. Mojo – That post pretty summed up my thoughts on the front office as well. They’ve done everything that could be expected of them, and completed a huge trade before the preseason started, only to have it thrown back in their faces by the league. And it does seem tough to find the type of PG help that LA clearly needs.

  38. @ #37 I think they’re not lucky because they are playing awful offense. They are playing defense also.

  39. FIsher with a PUJIT… I hope I won’t see it again, ever…

  40. Well, all things considered, a 4 point lead at the half is kind of great. Everyone bar Drew is shooting pretty poorly, but it’s good to see a 9/8/8 distribution in FGAs from Kobe/Pau/Drew. But we can’t expect the Mavs to only muster 35 points in the 2nd half.

  41. I want to make a comment about Lamar and everyone feeling bad for him. It was almost shocking to see that guy so upset by the news of the trade. He underperformed on the court in the playoffs and he as well as everyone in the world saw that. How in his right mind did he think that there wasn’t a chance he was getting traded. I guarantee every fan on here knew that he had a chance to be traded right after the Lakers got swept (he was one of the only 3 attractive assets to trade). How does his agent not tell him you need to be prepared for a trade.

    This is a business at the end of the day and it is about performance, he didn’t do his job therefore the front office felt he was expendable. In the real world if you don’t perform on your job you get demoted, transferred, or fired. I understand the emotional side of things but going into this season he should have expected some type of trade.

    BTW I love Lamar, but the guy was one of the biggest enigmas ever in sports for me. All the talent and tools in the world, just never put it together consistently in his career.

  42. I think at this point we need to accept that the Lakers are no longer a pretty team. If they are gonna win, they are normally going to win ugly. But if Lakers are going to do anything come playoff time, they are going to need at least 2 other people to become consistent offensive threats a long with much stronger production from their bench, and I quite frankly don’t see either happening in this Brown system right now.

  43. @James I think we are so sick of seeing Fish and Blake that any flash of talent catches our hope that he will take over some of the PG mins.

    Correct.

    @Busboys

    Never liked the move and still don’t.

  44. James-
    I too have never understood people’s insistance on this forum to see Morris get playing time. He can’t shoot and he can’t get by his man. I’d rather see Goudelock. At least he can shoot.

  45. Lakers may not win the West but a guarantee the Mavs have zero chance.

    Cuban is clearly playing for next year.

    And we are are are are============== ?

  46. Pau with the pathetic defense

  47. Dallas Bench 18 Lakers 6.

    Yea you all are right Mitch had a excellent plan B.

    Kobe 4th turnover.

  48. Who else is tired of Steve Kerr talk about the triangle offense?

  49. Ugh; I’d love to see the LO issue put to rest.

    let’s move onnnnnnnnnn …..

  50. The tape of this game should be banned for the sake of the sport.

  51. This offense is gonna make me puke. I’ve seen high school teams run better sets. Of course, I’ve also seen high school teams with more talent.

  52. I am convinced that no one besides Kobe knows what to do when they get the ball. I mean I know he has a super high usage rate, but really it’s like he’s playing with high schoolers.

  53. Ken, considering he is the only guy who can create for the Lakers 4 turnovers isn’t horrible.

    At this point the Lakers are lucky the Mavs aren’t hitting their normal shots or they would be getting blown out.

    With Pau being nothing but a perimeter shooter, and Bynum unable to convert on a consistent basis I would rather have Kobe shoot 40 times than to watch this.

  54. boy is this ugly

  55. This has Nothing to do with exceptional Defense. Bottom Line: This is Pathetic Offense from both squads.

  56. I mean seriously the Mavs are missing their shots, the Lakers are beyond fortunate to be in this game.

    Steve Kerr thinks we should run the ball through Pau who is 3-10 and shooting perimeter jumpers. Really? Like really?

  57. the score is seriously 51-45 with less than a minute in the third.

  58. Lakers putting the finishing touches on a single digit scoring quarter as a team.

  59. I am embarrished and ashamed watching this team. Worst quarter in franchise history.

    Announcers are laughing at Metta.

    This would make the Lakers 0 and 6 against top ten teams.

    Who was the genius who claimed this is a contender in the West?

  60. Lakers barely avoid a franchise low points for a quarter.

  61. So this is what happens when Kobe doesn’t go off for 40.

    At this point, I’d rather see Luke in the game. Might as well…

  62. At this point, this team is Kobe or bust. Pau can’t be that second scorer anymore and Drew is going to start getting doubled more often. People wanted Kobe to stop shooting so much and play facilitator, well this is what happens. The man is a scorer, let him do his thing while he’s still got it.

  63. Is this basketball?

  64. A little late to the party. Looks like neither team is hitting any shots, and yes, if Dallas were hitting them like they were in the Playoffs, the Lakers would be getting blown out by now.

    The game is still up for grabs. The score looks like a half time score at this moment, middle of the 4th.

  65. at least there was one good thing that happened in this game

  66. Tonight isn’t gonna be a taco night, is it?

  67. That stiff Delonte West dribbles from the 3 point line and gets a layup. I guarantee if that’s D12 in there, that sh*t gets sent or West gets knocked to the floor.

    And someone please tell Drew that he’s allowed to jump more than 2 inches off the floor and dunk it off the alley oop. He doesn’t have to come down with it, take 6 minutes to gather himself, and then take another 5 minutes to go back up with it. I’m pretty sure it’s not against NBA rules.

    Finally, Drew!!

  68. all kobe does defensively is gamble and loaf.

  69. Mmmm…smells like beautiful lockout basketball.

    A couple observations:

    -We’ve all talked about this for the last couple weeks, but right now it is so, so apparent that Bynum must learn how to pass out of the triple teams more effectively. And he needs to learn fast. The effectiveness of our bench unit hinges on it. They’re sending 2-3 guys at him and he doesn’t have the vision right now to find the open man.

    -Darius Morris has absolutely no clue right now. He seems convinced that by pounding the ball and dribbling back and forth, he’ll somehow be able to break his man down and make something happen. When the ball was swung to him on the perimeter and he had room, he had two effective choices: shoot or swing the ball smoothly, as the defense was scrambling. He chose to jab-step and stand still, letting the defense recover.

    Come back, Steve Blake. The rookie has a steep learning curve right now.

  70. Zirk, I thought the same exact thing about Dwight on that layup by Delonte

  71. great close-outs by morris on terry

  72. Steve Kerr: “3/8-man, 3/8-amazing.”

    What happened to to the rest of him?

  73. @R #51

    It’s isn’t just a LO situation, it’s a Lakers thing. We get people who fit our team and then we get into pissing matches and let those players go. Lamar took a pay cut to stay here. He signed a contract with an opt out clause that would have allowed us to trade him easily next year (which I think he knew would happen).

    Shaq screwed up by yelling “Pay Me!!” at Dr. Buss. Caron Butler, Kobe’s perfect compliment, was traded for Kwame. Trevor’s Agent got into a pissing match with Mitch. You speak of professionalism, those are examples of our FO taking things personal.

  74. Lakers8884, besides sheer athleticism, I think that’s the biggest difference between the two.

  75. ill give Morris this, he is a million x better defender than Fisher, still dosent make up for endless pointless dribbling

  76. Fisher with the steal and layup.

  77. At least we’ve ramped up the D in the last few minutes. Need to since we’re not gonna win this one with our O tonight.

  78. OMG finally the lakers figure out where dallas always passes the ball!! Good steal by fish but we need to jump the passing lane right there more thats ALWAYS where dallas passes it to on bailouts

  79. First team to 70 takes it.

  80. Fisher: He shows up when it matters.

  81. I think we’re actually trying in this game, as opposed to well…. 99% of 2010-2011 (you all were there too).) I’m not sure if that should gratify or horrify me.

  82. Fisher connecting with the PUJIT!!!

  83. Fisher converts a PUJIT! I’m still not happy about his choice, though…

  84. Kobe giving it up there should make some people happy.

  85. Darius, when you do your Good/Bad/Ugly recap, how many pages are you gonna have to dedicate to the Ugly part?

  86. He actually rattled home a PUJIT. Less impressive.

  87. Any Thunder fans watching this are probably feeling pretty good.

  88. Yes nonuser Fisher has been good. That is 1 game in the first 15.

  89. That ball right there on that offensive rebound is why Dwight Howard is better than Andrew Bynum. Bynum didn’t even jump for any of those rebounds, he just tried to use his length and as a result two points for Dallas

  90. Good defense by Gasol on Dirk

  91. have to hand it to Gasol, his D on Dirk has been great

  92. Even though Kobe has been off tonight, it’s amazing how bad the offense looks when they don’t go thru him in crunch time. Well, the offense has looked bad all night, so maybe my point is moot…

  93. Without Kobe making shots this is 8th seed. Sad

  94. HARPOON!!!

  95. Fisher with the trey!

  96. he’s not afraid of the moment!

  97. Lakers8884..that is the reason why the Clips had many O rebound, both of our bigs dont jump, they just rely on their length!
    Lead by 3pts with 3sec left, we should foul!!!

  98. Been waiting 2 years for that! Help me Aaron!

  99. Karathree chop!

  100. Go Fish!

  101. FISH!!!!!!

  102. Vince Carter waits to see that the shot missed (of course if he makes it he’ll jump in celebration) and then bends down to hold his foot. These jokes just write themselves.

    Good on Fish. He made some good plays when no one else would, and then the final shot. Respect.

    Also good on Staples for the ovation that Lamar got. Ugly game, but some entertainment at the end.

  103. Ken + Aaron = Derek :D

  104. Ugliest win since Game 7 of the 2010 Finals

  105. OLD-MAN-RIVER!!!

    Here’s a suggestion for your post-game Darius:

    The Good:

    -Defense
    -Fisher

    The Bad:

    -Offense
    -Kobe
    -Bynum
    -Gasol
    -Bench

    The Ugly:

    -Fastbreak full sprint footrace between 37-yr old Fisher vs the 38-yr old Kidd (reminded me of the sprint race between Barkley and Bavetta during the ASW)

    On a serious note, this was a trademark MB win. When the shots aren’t falling, the defense held up, and the team scrapped and clawed its way to an ugly, ugly win.

    Now, for the Kobe haters out there. this is what you have been calling for. Kobe to not shoot as much (less than 20) and not dominate the ball. Who else is there to create, score and make opportunities for the team? NO ONE. Gasol still is hurt. Bynum still panics at the sight of varying degrees of double and triple teams, and the other players are useless other than getting open looks and drop passes.

    But I love how the Lakers stuck it out, and grinded out this victory. This was an East-coast type of win that we will see and hopefully a mentality the team will keep even if their offense starts clicking

  106. The worst pg in the NBA just got a steal, made his foul shots, played great defense, scored almost all of the points in the last 3 minutes.

    Then there was that three!

    Those of you who have abused Derek Fisher and are considering whether to abuse him again–first go to El Pollo Loco and order some crow–then go home and wash your mouths out with soap.

    Derek Fisher is Derek Fisher.

  107. Wow. Props to fish. He’s been awful this season, I hope this game give him more confidence in his shot. The lakers will need fisher and mwp to really find their shot next game against miami.

  108. Kardashian could play better then Metta. 1 for 7 now shooting 7% in three’s. Has there every be a worse player? Please release him and sign Smush Parker or Slava Medavenko.

    Bench out scored 36 to 12.

    And we WON?

  109. Fisher with the throwback game. Really, really ugly game, but a really, really sweet ending!

  110. Without Metta Artest, we don’t win Game 7, and it’s not like he’s been the only Laker who can’t shoot straight so I’m ok with not swapping him for Slava.

    That said, ugly ugly ugly win, but the ‘win’ part is the only part that matters.

  111. In a triumph for small markets and competitive balance, Dwight Howard has officially added the Clippers to his “wish list.”

  112. Beautiful three by Fisher! The man is still fearless, and you’ve got to respect that. :)

    Other than that and Matt Barnes, UGLY game. Ugly.

  113. The Lakers played scrappy defense when it counted; I don’t think we’ve seen that kind of Laker defense since Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2010. For all of his offensive faults, Mike Brown has gotten this team to play pretty consistent defense, something Phil was never able to do.

    I do, however, greatly miss the triangle. Most of these Mike Brown sets seem aimless, whereas the triangle always had set goals, always seemed to get into some kind of a play before a horrible Kobe shot went up.

    Despite his offensive crappiness, Gasol played exceptional defense on Dirk in the 4th quarter. I’ve honestly never seen someone defend Dirk that well.

  114. Good win tonight and I’m glad that people finally are figuring out that Morris is a joke on offense. Kid pounds the rock for 20 seconds each possession, can’t make basic passes to the post or shooters coming off screens, can’t shoot a lick, etc.

  115. Kehntangibles
    I have a real problem when people who only talk about a player who had 2 good games in 3 years. He is terrible and who is to say that a Ariza or a Barnes would not have played better and made the series a sweep.

    You can’t shoot under 30% and 7% from 3 and be a professional basketball player.

  116. Zephid (115),

    I’d say give it more time. I think that very little practice time has been devoted to offense. Fisher just said in a postgame interview that it’s still going to take time, as many of them have played in the triangle for years. Our offense will start to look a lot more San Antonio-like soon. Their offense doesn’t seem so aimless, right? Well, that’s the hope.

  117. In the TNT post game Kenny smith said the Lakers are a 6’3″, athletic guard away from being title favorites. Not contenders, but favorites. Thoughts?

  118. no way in the near future that Fisher or Morris grow a few inches and morph into Russell Westbrook…

  119. Yeah Travis, his name was Chris Paul

  120. Wow lucky for me I am 6’3 and can still shoot. Going to start working out tomorrow!

  121. (116) Ken,

    You have a right to say that Derek is terrible–but this might not be the best time to say that.

    Let’s at least be factual. Derek had the highest 3 pt. percentage on the Lakers last year–and was the only one not to lose his touch against the Mavericks in the playoffs. He also had scored nearly all the points in the last part of this game, singlehandedly reversing the Mavs lead.

    It made a lot of sense to go to Derek for that final 3–and Derek has had a knack for making them–time after time.

    I’m not sure that you have eaten any crow or washed your mouth out with soap, yet–but you should at least consider it.
    ———————–
    (118) Travis, Kenny Smith was saying that before the game, too.

  122. E beat me to it. :)

    A backup shooting guard and a resolve at the point guard position would be ideal. @Travis

    If I were Mitch I’d be discussing trade possibilities with a team like the Wizards. They’ve got Mo Evans right? Mason?

  123. Lakers fans were fantastic in giving Lamar Odom a warm extended welcome.

    If not for emotions by management and Lamar he would still be a Laker.

    After Fisher entered the game and stole the ball, he appeared to acknowledge Quinn Snyder. On that play, even if the Mavericks use that same passing angle all game, the Lakers were wise to shoot the gap at an optimum point in the game. Otherwise, the Mavericks would have adjusted much earlier in the game, and that particular play would not have been available to the Lakers in the waning moments of the game.

    Sadly, the Lakers are offensively challenged!

    Morris is not ready for prime time, but that does not mean that he should not get playing time. Our other option is Goudeloch and he is not quick, not fast and too short.

    The Lakers are in desperate need of practice time. During a dense season with a new coach, new players and no practice time, it is difficult to get any fluidity to the game.