Lakers/Heat: Too Little, Too Late, Too Much LeBron

Emile Avanessian —  January 19, 2012

Box score: Lakers 87, Heat 98
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 97.7, Heat 110.2
True Shooting %: Lakers 49.4%, Heat 52.7%

The Good:
Pau Gasol was excellent in this game. He was aggressive early, scoring eight points (on 3-of-4 from the field) in the game’s opening five minutes, crashed the offensive glass (two early, four for the game) and for the second straight game recapped by yours truly, nailed a 3-points from the corner. In all, Pau logged 37 minutes, hitting on 11 of 19 shots (one miss was a desperation heave from 35 feet out) – eight of those from inside 10 feet – for his 26 points, grabbing eight boards (including the aforementioned four offensive rebounds) and turning the ball over just once. It’s tough to see in the moments immediately following such a fiery wreck, but Pau Gasol’s performance on Thursday night was legitimately a thing of beauty.

Let’s see, what else have we got to cling to in the aftermath of a loss that would have felt artificially close at double the 11-point margin? Well, Metta World Peace connected on a pair of jumpers from beyond the arc, doubling his season total for made 3-pointers and nearly doubling his hit rate from long range- to 12.9%. So, uh, yeah… there’s that.

Best of all though? I had “Bad” and “Ugly” pretty well sorted out by halftime. So… thanks, guys!

The Bad:
Where to begin…

In the Lakers’ defense (words that will not be bandied about frequently in the aftermath of this showing) a significant chunk of Miami’s 15-point half time lead was courtesy of an awesome 3-point barrage, in which the Heat drained an 61.5% of their 13 attempts from beyond the arc. Beyond that, however, the story on Thursday night was one of effort and execution, and at every turn the Lakers were found wanting.

The game was tight early, with the Lakers poised to exploit their superiority on the front line. With Pau Gasol storming out of the gate (see above) and Andrew Bynum aggressively hitting the glass in the opening minutes, it looked as though the NBA’s best big man tandem would set the tone. Sadly, however, just over six minutes into the first quarter, Chris Bosh disposed of Gasol with a pump fake and attacked the chest of Andrew Bynum, drawing the Laker big man’s first foul of the night while draining a twisting jumper from the middle of the key. Just 23 seconds later, with the Heat leading 12-10 in a nip-tuck start, Bynum was whistled for a second on his opposite number, Joel Anthony. This sent ‘Drew – and his three early rebounds and incredible wingspan around the rim – to the Lakers’ bench, prematurely. Given Miami’s hot shooting, the Lakers’ depressing lack of effort on defense (even Kobe, which is unconscionable) and abysmal execution on offense, it’s debatable whether an uninterrupted (he did end up playing a “full” game, 37 minutes) game for Bynum – who did manage 15 points and 12 rebounds (though only one on the offensive glass) – would have dramatically altered the outcome.

It’s tough to argue that Bynum’s presence wouldn’t have at least presented a flu-ridden LeBron James with a higher degree of difficulty as he dissected the Laker defense, but there was no stopping LeBron on Thursday. In the first half he made half of his eight shots (for 13 points), and added six rebounds and six assists – five of which were on 3-pointers. He was every bit as dominant after the break – though now more aggressive about looking for his own shot and helping tighten the defensive screws as Miami opened up a well-deserved 23-point lead. He finished the game having played 37 minutes, during which he made 12 of 27 field goals attempts, a shockingly pedestrian line in a virtuoso 31-8-8 (plus four steals and three blocks!) performance.

The Lakers, meanwhile, failed (miserably) to execute on offense, with horrible spacing in the half court, no fast break to speak of and Miami’s aggressive D not only neutralizing Kobe Bryant on the pick and roll, but relegating the Mamba to an evening of contested, long two-pointers (more on this in a sec). That this team lacks the depth and offensive firepower we’ve come to expect from the Lakers is a) hardly news and b) not insurmountable against most NBA squads. What is disconcerting, however, is the ease with which the Heat were able to totally discombobulate the Lakers, sapping their attack of any rhythm and cohesiveness.

Now, it is important to remember that this is merely one game out of a slate of 66 – just 1.5% of the regular season – and that the team administering the beating is arguably the best in NBA. HOWEVER, it is also worth noting that this opponent, administerer of said beatdown and arguably the NBA’s best… managed the feat with one of the best two-guards of all time in a suit.

The Ugly:
Engage any knowledgeable observer of basketball in a conversation about offensive efficiency and it’s unlikely that you’ll have to wait very long to have pointed out to you that offensively efficient teams a) take advantage of their opportunities in the paint and b) do not settle for long 2-point jump shots.

I submit, for your disapproval and dismay, the Lakers’ shot chart from January 19, 2012 in Miami:

 

Play of the Game:
The Lakers’ execution on offense on Thursday was appalling. Early foul trouble prevented their anchor in the middle from ever really finding his groove. And the best basketball player on Planet Earth laid waste to their defense. These things happen. Sometimes a better team just kicks your ass.

However, cliché though it may be, hustle should never slump. For every facet of the game in which the Heat bested the Lakers, the most maddening was in the area of effort. According to Kobe Bryant, the Heat simply “played harder” than the Lakers did on Thursday night. When asked if the Lakers fought back against their opponents, Andrew Bynum replied “not really.”

I get it. Long regular season. Off night. Condensed schedule. LeBron is really good. The emotional return of Eddy Curry. I get it. Ya can’t win ‘em all. But can we please, please covert our breakaway layups when spotted 30 feet and a head of steam?

Emile Avanessian

Posts

38 responses to Lakers/Heat: Too Little, Too Late, Too Much LeBron

  1. One would think that the Lakers should match up nicely with the Heat. As they have superior length, and are able to attack their only real weakness inside.

    While the Heat doesn’t have the feared 6-foot super fast guard, and the main strength of their defense is their fast rotations, which superior length should be the ideal weapon against.

    I think the Lakers have a lot of the tools needed to dismantle the Heat later in the year.

  2. I’m betting Brown could turn the Show Time Lakers into the Old New York Knicks.

    Hey Mike it’s not working. You can’t have a inside out offense if you don’t have the outs.

    How did one guy turn the Lakers from 3rd best offense to 19th in one year?

    It’s called know your personal! Hey Rambis do you remember what Phil taught you? Help!!!!

  3. Missed the game (ugh, class) and glad I did.

    Here’s hoping for a W against the Magic.

    Hope. Now I know how it feels (felt?) to be a Clipper fan.

  4. With Kobe the main focal point of offense, mostly because of his own choice and some circumtances, Lakers dont have the INSIDE-OUT offense but rather an OUTSIDE-IN offense. The ball could only go to the bigs if they rebound the missed shot from the perimeter, credit goes to KOBe

  5. I’m depressed, but, unfortunately not surprised. The issue remains “team chemistry”–or even team identity.

    Good attitude and great cohesion win and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    With bad attitude and poor cohesion, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

    The Lakers haven’t even clearly identified the parts.

  6. Whats more depressing to me is the fact that Ken keeps on barking at the moon.

    Fisher! Mike Brown! Odom! Kupchak! Jim Buss!

    Yeah yeah yeah.

    Whatever happened to the “intelligent discussion” part of the blog?

  7. And I read back on the gameday thread and realized there’s more to be depressed about. This has become Ken’s ventoblog and I do not enjoy reading the blog when those comments make it out if mainstream.

    I get it Ken, you don’t like Mike Brown. You hate Jim Buss and your disgust for Fisher is our little secret. But I got a suggestion for you: go follow another team.

    Losses are always frustrating. Esp when we lose one with this much hype. But whats even more tragic is when you can’t talk about it without getting irate with comments that actually do nothing to help.

    Reverse the fortunes a little bit, had it been a blowout by the Lakers of some sort, we would be reading comments like “the Heat were missing D-Wade and Lebron was with flu… ” or so. There’s simply no winning with you. You take nothing less than a 18pt, 9-assist game out of Fisher for you to stop whining… you want everything, you hate everything.

    So did I mention I was suggesting you to follow another blog?

  8. Well, we could ignore it and take up the discussion of how Lakers match up with the Heat. Did this defeat show fatal weaknesses in the match-ups, or did it mainly show a Lakers team that was unable to utilize is strength and to execute its gameplan?

    I am not sure what to think, since I in theory believe the Lakers should match up well with the heat, but the games have over the years showed another story.

  9. I actually wasn’t as disappointed in the game as a lot of other people were. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting us to win anyway, but I thought we actually did a pretty good job on the defensive end. If you watch the Heat play they usually get tons of layups and easy baskets but we were able to keep them perimeter for the most part. If Kobe hit his shots it would have been a different game.

    I think we need to face the fact that we are not an elite team. We can’t beat the top teams right now. We are outmatched. No point guard and not enough shooting.

  10. Rusty Shackleford January 20, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Andrew Bynum’s offensive limitations are real. The box score hides how many possesions were wasted watching him fail to establish position on the block or trying to back his man down and kicking it out with 5 seconds left on the shot clock. He can’t even draw fouls. All of this on a night he was the biggest, strongest man on the floor by far.

    Without Troy Murphy’s 8 garbage time minutes the Lakers got just 17 points from anybody not named Kobe, Pau or Bynum. It would be nice for them to see what they can do to get Barnes more involved in the offense; or anybody.

    This is Josh McRoberts’ lane Lebron.

  11. Wow. This Lakers team, particularly on offense has me very concerned. I was trying to explain to my wife(a fairly knowledgable fan due to my influence) that the reason this team has problems on offense is that it doesn’t have an identity.

    The showtime lakers could fast break but then dump it to kareem in the halfcourt set. The post magic lakers were an up tempo team that could fast break too. The 3 peat lakers were dominated by shaq and kobe super duo and clutch shooters. When the team broke up and the team was awful at least it kobe had the green light to do whatever. But this team has no clue what they want on offense. They want to play like the twin towers but they don’t have the shooters or pg to make it work. They want to fast break but are so defficient there that Magic at 50+ could still run it better than anyone on the team by a mile. They work WAY too hard to make any points. Every point is slow, deliberate, methodical. It is a true struggle compared to their opponents. And because they can’t figure out who they really are on offense it shows! Figure it out soon guys!

    Bye.

  12. People are talking about the Lakers being doomed. This is the best compliment our team could have because we’re in the midst of a playoff run and probably 1st round homecourt advantage. To most teams in the league (if not all except the Lakers and the Leprechauns) that translates into a good season. To us, anything less than a banner is a wasted season.

    Now, about our current roster, the weak links are notorious. We can discuss the steady decline of Fisher and MWP or the lack of outside shooting or even Kobe’s shot selection. What I don’t see ayone talking about is the Lakers brutal schedule to start this season. The only “easy” road game we had was the one in Sacramento and, even then, we’re playin a lot of games on those old legs. Maybe the playoffs will suit us better, since there won’t be any back-to-backs. Either way, I’m not giving up on our title hopes just yet. We might just pull it off…

  13. I think you nailed it when you said Bynum coming out early really lost our momentum which we never got back. This one instance where I think I would have preferred just risking late game foul trouble and leaving Bynum in there (maybe a time out to talk with him about keeping head up and staying aggressive)

    Long term positive- Bynum and Gasol are stating to consistently look very good together.

  14. I guess people like to vent. The Heat are favored to win the NBA title this season, the Lakers figure to go no further than the WCF (losing to OKC). The Heat played at home, the Lakers on the road where they were 1-4 ENTERING the game. The Heat’s best player is better than the Lakers best player. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. Sure , I hoped the Lakers would win, or at least look good losing. They did neither. Unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised.

  15. People are venting because the Lakers have one of the worst offenses in the league with Kobe, Bynum, and Gasol on the team. That means the Lakers with maybe the best half court offensive SG, PF, and Center in the NBA are not good on offense? It makes it easy to blame Fisher and Mike Brown. Something needs to change… Probably both of those things need to change. Meaning a new PG and a new offensive coordinater.

  16. There’s reason to complain with this team. They’re playing poor team offense and have holes on the roster. But that doesn’t change the fact that when the the same guy(s) say the same thing(s) multiple times in the same thread it gets tiring.

    It doesn’t make those people complaining wrong. But that type of word vomitting in the comments doesn’t encourage a thoughtful exploration of the issues at hand. Which is kind of what I’ve always liked about this board.

    However, I also tire of having to even bring this topic up at all. Fans are fans and they’ll say what they want regardless of who doesn’t like it.

  17. This is Mike Brown’s first year. He was never noted to be an excellent offensive coordinator and he has stayed true to form with the Lakers. What you saw in the Heat last night is a team that, without Wade, that knew where they were going to attack, ran well designed plays that exploited the Lakers’ weaknesses (foot speed, cohesiveness, and hustle) and the better TEAM won. Now, what do the Lakers do??

    They definitely need better players in order to compete for a Championship and they also need a better game plan. Kobe is no longer that Dynamo on defense. He wanders, goes for steals which he never seems to come up with, and is just worn out given his age and condensed schedule. Pau, Drew, and Barnes are trying so now we need a point guard who can play some defense. We have Blake who is a good back-up, Fisher is an excellent emergency starter, but we need a true starter.

    The Bench. So many holes, so little time. It needs a scorer (a JR Smith type) and another big man (don’t care who but Murphy is not him). We have McRoberts and that’s it. The kids aren’t ready and Brown is reluctant to give Ebanks burn (unknown reason). So almost every position needs help. There are too many useless players on the pine: Walton, Kapono, Caracter, Gloc (D-League), MWP, and possibly Murphy (yeah, yeah 4 for 4 in garbage time) would be at the end of the bench for the Washington Wizards. Those areas must be improved before we have any chance at a decent showing (WCF or bust) this season.

  18. The only consistent offensive “system” for this year’s team appears to be the high pick and roll. That’s a tried and true play, but has it ever really been run effectively when the guard is more of a scorer than a passer?

    With Kobe as the primary ball-handler, the P&R is really more of a pick. Coming off the screen, Kobe’s first look is to get a shot off for himself (not a criticism here, just an observation). That differs considerably from the way the P&R is generally used, and perhaps that explains why it is a much less effective weapon with the Lakers.

    Unfortunately, I’m not sure what the other option is. Fisher is not a penetrator, so he puts zero pressure on a defense coming off a pick, and isn’t a consistent shooter. That allows defenses to pack it in, blocking the route for Bynum or Gasol (or whoever set the pick), limiting the offense to a perimeter-based system with a bunch of guys who aren’t good shooters. To this end, I would rather see more of Darius Morris playing P&R with Bynum, because Morris is probably the team’s best ball-handler and penetrator at this point (he says with a sigh…). However, when Morris is out there I see him defer more to Kobe, or just dribble the ball all over the court CP3-style, which aren’t playing to his strength or really helping his teammates.

    It’s easy to pick on Bynum or even Gasol for not being better finishers in the paint, but these guys are playing against practically the entire opposing team defense, since there is little need to guard Laker shooters. One of the reasons that Dwight Howard is able to put up monster numbers of offense (sometimes) is that he’s in the paint alone most of the time, as opponents are forced to honor the shooting skills of players like Anderson, Hedo, and Reddick.

    Nothing new here, I guess, as this is still just a call for a better PG and improved outside shooting….

  19. I’m sorry Dane but Bynum and Gasol couldn’t exploit the Heat last year and they can’t do it this year. These Lakers bigs are not the dominant post players you are dreaming of. If you honestly think that the Lakers “matchup” well with the Heat then you don’t watch basketball. Bosh and Gasol are a wash to some but Bosh has a better overall game IMO. Chalmers/Cole are better than any Lakers PG on the roster. Battier and Mike Miller and James Jones are better than SF on the Lakers roster, and Kobe is a wash with Wade (even though he didn’t play) and Bynum is the only real advantage except that he can’t handle a double team which effectively removes him from the equation.

    It’s as simple as this, this team does not have the talent to win it all and if you think they do you are dreaming. A quarter of the way into the season and the stats are there, this team has 3 players surrounded by inconsistent players who severely bring the team down. Keep hoping they can pull it off or come together but the reality is they need a roster shakeup and bad, here’s hoping Mitch can pull off a miracle but like I said last night even if the Lakers had acquired Chris Paul they still would be struggling. He would need shooters to pass to when getting in the lane, and that’s something the Lakers do not have. Sure they would be a second tier Western Conference team but when you have to guard only 3 players on offense you will not win a Championship. You look at every Championship team and they all have a few stars but they have to be surrounded by a great supporting cast, and the Lakers do not have this, and even getting 1 or 2 more stars to compliment Kobe will not make this situation better. Effectively replacing Pau and Bynum with _____ and ______ may or may not make them better but they still would be unable to win a title without a decent bench and that’s a fact.

  20. Sorry, meant to post this in the current thread. So I am reposting it here.

    ____

    It is clear that David Stern did screw the Lakers in the CP3 trade. However, you have to wonder if the Lakers should have made such an aggressive move a year earlier. Surely the FO had to know that the odds would be against winning a 3rd consecutive championship with Odom/Pau at 31+ and Kobe at 33+. Even if the fans and the press would rebel against trading Pau, Odom or even Bynum (at their highest value mind you) it would have been best for the organization.

    I don’t mean to be overly critical because I truly love the Lakers. My real frustration is that the FO has been a little too complacent in laying the groundwork for the future. I recall a quote from Jerry Buss many years ago. It was along the lines that a team doesn’t get 1 year older each passing season it gets 13 years older (or however many players are on the roster). I believe Buss said this in response to the trade of Norm Nixon, an established player, in exchange for the draft pick that turned into Byron Scott. The point being absent the integration of young talent teams can paint themselves into a corner. The Lakers currently find themselves in that corner.

    To a great degree the FO has tied their own hands. They gave Odom away, Pau is expensive & older (showing signs of settling into being a nice player as opposed to a really good one) and they have little else to bargain with aside from Bynum. If Bynum is earmarked as bait for DH then what do the Lakers do to improve?

    One way to have bought time while waiting for a bigger deal to unfold would have been to upgrade our bench over the past few years. Statistically, our bench is the second worst in the NBA (behind the Clippers who traded assets for CP3). The second unit scored 14 points last night. Is this lack of production the reason why the starters played so many minutes? If yes, then this is a pattern that guarantees a burned out Kobe/Pau/Bynum by playoff time.

    One avenue that I haven’t seen the Lakers pursue is young players that haven’t been a good fit on their current teams. Because of these fit issues their productivity is inconsistent and sooner than later they are in the dog house. These players normally cost less in both salary and in acquisition costs. My belief is that with the winning culture of the Lakers their talent can be brought out of them.

    In the last year a number of these types of players have been available and were not pursued by the Lakers: Michael Beasley was given away to Minnesota by Miami. Anthony Randolph went from Golden State to NY to Minnesota for very little. Rudy Fernandez went from Portland to Denver – he was originally drafted by the Blazers who bought the unwanted draft pick from Phoenix.

    I know there are many other examples and certainly hindsight is always 20/20. However, I think the FO should have been taking chances along the way and been more aggressive in pursuing talented youth.

  21. Tonight’s really the real barometer of how this team is doing. We simply do not play Miami well due to their athleticism. If we had them in a 7 game series, that’s different. but we haven’t had the chance.

    With Orlando, aside from the Bynum/Howard talk, it’s a real equal matchup and after last night’s beatdown, will reveal the mettle of the current team.

    I don’t know, I’ve loved our monopoly of size (Pau, Odom, Bynum) in the past, but the imbalance in our rotation is finally catching up. Remember, Mitch traded both Pau and Odom for CP3, and said that he had a “big” lined up which I believed was McRoberts. So he was willing to give up our size monopoly to balance the roster out more. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pau moved (again) for the same purposes. Teams like Miami are smart by spreading out their offenses (notice how few post up opportunities were present for the Heat) and making Pau/Bynum have to cover people like LBJ on the perimeter.

    Tonight’s game is the really important one. last night was sort of inevitable in my opinion.

  22. It’s going to be a lonnnnnnng season.

    I don’t think the Lakers’ offensive woes are curable without a change in personnel.

    Teams have figured out a very simple defensive plan to stop the Lakers:

    1) Double-team Kobe
    2) Pack the paint
    3) Let other Lakers hoist jump shots all night long

    Until the Lakers find perimeter players who can make teams pay a price for simply clogging up the middle, the offense will continue to sputter.

    No NBA team can consistently score playing 3-on-5.

  23. Re: 18

    PAL, agree that moves could have been done but were not pursued. I believe the FO has made the mistake of securing role players to long term contracts the Walton deal was a mistake before the ink was dry.

    Additionally, wenever should have let Ariza walk. It should have been clear that MWP would not be productive in his mid 30s.

    Our second unit has some gems in Ebanks. Morris and McRoberts. But none of them, at this point, can offer the scoring punch the Lakers sorely need from the bench.

  24. There are certain names when I see them, I just scroll past their comments and don’t bother reading. Not only has the horse been beaten to death, it’s been beaten after the glue factory is done with it. They don’t add anything new or intelligent to the current discussion.

    I love seeing different opinions, but the same old vent just gets tiring after a while. It does make reading this board a little tougher, having to scroll past those certain names. But that is the nature of internet boards regardless of topic. It’s an ongoing exercise not to respond to those kinds of people and give them the satisfaction of a response.

    That out of the way. I’m really disappointed in the team’s energy last night. Granted they had to travel but with their first two days in a row off and a big game, I’d hope they’d show more energy.

    As for the offense, I understand that Kobe’s the only creator right now. But the lack of movement is really disturbing. I’d like to know the cause of that. Unfamiliarity with the system? With each other? Brown not making it a priority?

    Messina is a respected innovative coach. Brown seems to respect his input. It’s baffling why they haven’t been able to implement more movement and creativity in the sets. It can’t all be blamed on lack of certain types of personnel.

  25. But that type of word vomitting in the comments doesn’t encourage a thoughtful exploration of the issues at hand
    ___

    I agree in a sense, although I think people spend too much time complaining about other people’s posts. But yes, we all know that the team needs a PG, is old and slow, and can’t play offense. We all know the FO has made mistakes and Stern dogged the Lakers. However, the same also applies the other way: the endlessly repeated stuff about “work in progress” “practice time” “learning the new system” “lunchpail guys” etc. is equally pointless and is not dealing with the issues, either. The Lakers are carrying six players–Fisher, Walton, MWP, Morris, Kapono, and Goudelock–and possibly seven if you think as little of Ebanks as Brown seems to, who don’t really belong on an NBA roster right now, and if they do are 11th/12th men. With Blake out, they do not have an NBA-caliber PG on the roster, and Blake is just a backup. The top of the roster has issues as well but some real strengths. But until/unless the Lakers get a starting PG and a decent backup wing who can handle the ball, they will continue to struggle.

    So, other than random game-to-game observations, there is not all that much to say about the team unless it makes some moves. The players we are talking about are not young guys, for the most part. Expecting them to improve suddenly or even gradually is mostly just blind hope. One guy who might–Ebanks–never gets to play.

    But, since some people seem to think that there is real hope, I will repeat my question from a few days ago which when unanswered: what should Brown do to squeeze a little more out of this roster offensively? No matter what he does, the players’ talent limits will still be there. But there may be adjustments in personnel usage he can make that improve the team a little.

  26. Sorry Warren, most of us believe that we need help quick, fast and in a hurry!!

  27. Nothing new here, I guess, as this is still just a call for a better PG and improved outside shooting….

    __

    Yes, but an articulate one. I have a post in moderation right now but you basically make the point: there is not much new to say about the team unless it makes some moves.

  28. Lakers fans should be looking for progress. And so far there has been no progress offensively. We look as bad as we were preseason game 1 to now game 17 offensively. Our floor spacing isn’t good and NEITHER of our bigs can get us 20-10. Pau played the best game he has since the dallas series he should be that aggressive every game. But as BIG and SKILLED as Drew is he DOESN’T DOMINATE ANY PART OF THE GAME. he’ll get his rebounds but he got pushed around by bosh, joel anthony and eddy curry. lakers have been outrebounded the last 5 games. WHERE IS HIS IMPACT? Drew said all last year i’m not getting minutes, if I was on the floor longer I can be effective. HE’S NOT EFFECTIVE ENOUGH. he doesn’t block shots and pay attention when he tries to finish the injurys have affected his ability to finish strong IN TRAFFIC.

    Kobe has been facilitating, barnes is playing well, mcroberts hustle is a plus but he can’t score outside of lobs. The Lakers saw they had a problem that’s why they tried for cp3 so at least we know that they know we need a change. so I expect a BIG MOVE by trade deadline and it should involve Drew.

  29. I have a post planned on the Lakers offense but every game offers some new observations while also highlighing the same deficiencies.

    My initial thoughts though, are that the Lakers run good sets but haven’t found good timing or chemistry within them yet. Cuts are mistimed, passes are a hair early or late, the reads are slower. This is gumming up the offense even more than any lack of creativity in the actual design, imo.

    Personnel issues also exist. The Lakers lack shooters and of the few that they have, Blake is injured, Murphy is often hesitant (and inconsistent), and Kapono doesn’t play to his strengths. Point guard play is a real concern as well, and with Blake out those issues are magnified.

    As for a rotation, this is where patience with Brown is needed but remains difficult to actually give. I think he *wants* to play guys in the same groupings during the same parts of every game. But I also don’t think he’s found what those are and every game there’s a bit of searching that’s hard to swallow as a fan simply looking for productive lineups.

    The fact is the Lakers – even with Fisher in the starting group – have a first 5 that can compete nightly. The issue is the 2nd 5 and finding a chemistry that actually works. That likely requires more tweaking to the minutes the first 5 plays together but separating that group goes counter towards building continuity with that group.

    To make a long comment longer, I’d like to see a handful of minutes (maybe 6) at the start of the game with the 1st unit in tact. After that, I’d likely start to go into the big man rotation to pair the guys that work best together. Right now, I’d guess that pairing Pau/McRoberts and Bynum/Murphy is the way to go considering what those secondary players do best (slash and shoot, respectively) mesh with the skills of the primary bigs they’re paired with (Pau’s passing to take advantage of Josh’s activity and Bynum’s inside presence being aided by Murphy’s ability to space the floor). This is a topic I’ll explore more in my post but is worth mentioning now.

  30. Excellent insight Darius. If Murphy can look as comfortable as he did in garbage time last night, he can open up alot of things for us. Miami didn’t know what to do with him except attack him on the other end (sigh….).

  31. I’m looking forward to Darius’ post on the offense. To my eye, the lack of practice is really hurting this team. As Steve Kerr pointed out during last night’s game, the Lakers’ spacing on offense is often just horrible. That’s a reflection of guys not knowing where they should be, rather than a flawed system (unless Mike Brown’s offense calls for bad spacing…).

    Poor spacing leads to player congestion, which cuts down passing lanes, increases turnovers, creates a lot of contested shots, and provides terrible alignment for transition defense. We’ve seen all of these problems in spades this year. Of course, nothing helps create spacing better than an effective shooter, so that gets us back to the personnel issue.

    With all of the well-known and documented problems, I’m surprised to see that trading Bynum for Howard continues to be a topic of discussion. Howard’s offensive game is even more limited that Drew’s, and putting DH in the middle of a packed lane without the benefit of surrounding shooters does not seem like an overall improvement to me. I’m not opposed to that deal, but I’m also not eager for it.

    Tonight will be an entertaining matchup of the two centers, but should also provide Pau with an opportunity to exploit his mismatch on Big Baby–unless BB’s physicality is too much for Pau. As a top 5 power forward, this should be a game that Pau dominates….

  32. I understand Mike Brown wants bynum and Gasol to be the go to guys on offense…but…I can’t see that leading to wins.

    Yes, they are long and skilled, but both are soft. They both get pushed off of the block, they both lose the ball when they get contact and neither will scare any defenses.

    Kobe was not aggressive…and that was the plan…and its a terrible plan. The only reason teams respect the lakwrs is due to Kobe being a threat to go off and win games, he puts pressure on defenses and allows bynum and Gasol to get easy buckets.

    Bottom line..Gasol and Bynum are good. But not great, our offense should revolve around our best player…that is number 24

  33. Right now, I’d guess that pairing Pau/McRoberts and Bynum/Murphy is the way to go considering what those secondary players do best (slash and shoot, respectively) mesh with the skills of the primary bigs they’re paired with (Pau’s passing to take advantage of Josh’s activity and Bynum’s inside presence being aided by Murphy’s ability to space the floor).

    __

    Offensively, I agree, and O is your focus. Defensively, harder to see it working.

  34. #34. Yeah, things get complicated when you start to move beyond that offensive focus. But if talking about the O, that’s a piece of what I’m exploring.

  35. Thank you for your comments Warren. There ate two types of fans. The ones who sit home or live in another state and live the Lakers from afar. There also are fans like myself who spends hundreds of thousands of dollars for season tickets for my company and brings my best customers as a reward. As a 40 year Laker fan I do get overly frustrated with poor performance and vent on this blog from my seats and after games on Laker talk.

    As for my leaving this blog because I tend to repeat myself, no problem. I would ask you to consider if the Lakers, whom my company spends season ticket money with and invite’s my company to all events feels the same?

    There is no Laker blog without people like me spending real dollars to support this team and help make it a profitable business. All Laker fans, just like opinions are created equal but some do have more financial value to the tram then others.

    I respect everyone thoughts on this blog but when it becomes so petty that people only want to read thoughts that they agree with or doesn’t
    Infringe on their own perception of reality, well then this no longer becomes a free forum of idea’s.

    Best wishes and I will enjoy and or be yelling from my seats without blogging.

    Knowledge is a frightening thing and it’s often better to not learn from others who actually may
    have played the game.

    I hope you allow my thoughts to be presented Darius. I Have enjoyed this site and the job you have done.

  36. Don’t see why Ken should leave. As I said, I think people should, within reason, (and Ken does not attack other posters) post and let post.

  37. #36. Ken,
    I’ve mentioned this before but all opinions are welcome. I’m not here to censor people’s thoughts nor try to convert people to only thinking a certain way. I’ve long believed that best discussions are born from those that have different points of view and are able to present them thoughtfully. Sometimes that’s not the case but most of the time that is.

    In the end, I’ve made what I like and don’t like about comments be known so there’s no reason to go down that path again. For the most part, I still think this board offers the most thoughtful commenters about the Lakers anywhere. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don’t. As long as we’re respectful to each other and don’t try to dominate the discussion I don’t see why that won’t continue.