Preview and Chat: The Phoenix Suns

Darius Soriano —  February 19, 2012

Records: Lakers 18-12 (5th in West), Suns 12-19 (13th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 103.0 (15th in NBA), Suns 101.7 (21st in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 100.4 (8th in NBA), Suns 105.5 (22nd in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Suns: Steve Nash, Jared Dudley, Grant Hill, Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat
Injuries: Lakers: none; Suns: none

It’s been two days since these teams squared off last and that game looked very much like the one a little over a month ago when the Lakers ran away from the Suns. Some of the details varied but the overall theme was the same: Kobe was nearly unstoppable, the Lakers bigs did a good job of manning the middle on D while contributing enough on O, and the Suns simply couldn’t keep pace.

Today’s game may end up the same way and if it did I don’t think anyone would be surprised. What the Lakers have proven is that they match up well with the Suns, able to take advantage of their perimeter defense by attacking off the bounce and then finishing inside due to the lack of rim protectors. On defense, the Lakers have seen Nash and this system for many years and even if there are still wrinkles that are difficult to stop, the knowledge on how to slow it enough is there.

All that being said, today’s game is not yet in the books and the Lakers playing on the road is always an adventure. So while there are things we know, the outcome of today’s game is not one of them. With that in mind, a few things to look for tonight:

  • How will the Lakers defend the P&R? Last game the Lakers seemed extra focused on the shooters parked on the weak side of the floor and it affected their rotations to the paint to cover the screen man rolling to the hoop. This resulted in Marcin Gortat getting several point blank looks at the hoop that he easily converted. Tonight, will the Lakers rotate sooner to cut off Gortat’s path to the rim or will they once again stick to shooters in the opposite corner for that extra beat to dissuade Nash from passing to that man? There’s not really a good answer to this question as the Suns smartly play capable shooters in that spot and tell their screen man (especially when it’s their Center setting the pick) to crash the paint and make the defense rotate. If the rotation is late, Nash hits the dive man for a shot at the rim. If the rotation is early, Nash picks out a shooter on the weak side to get up an open jumper. For years this was the foundation of their Nash/Amar’e teams and now that Gortat is in Phoenix the same is true. The Lakers, though, will need to be better at defending this action than they were on Friday. My suspicion is that we’ll see crisper rotations to slow the roll man with the hope that a close out can disrupt the outside shooter.
  • Will the Suns double team Kobe? In two games against the Suns, Kobe has totaled 84 points. He’s attacked off the dribble relentlessly to get into an early rhythm and then let his jumper fly to bury the defense. The Suns, meanwhile, mostly single cover him with Hill and Dudley and dare Kobe to keep making shots. So far he’s done it and at some point you have to wonder if that strategy will change. The law of averages says that Kobe will miss some of these shots, but when he’s getting lay-ins and runners in the restricted area I don’t know if relying on misses is that practical.
  • Will the bench’s solid play carry over to the road? Friday the bench poured in 34 points and were key in extending the lead in the 2nd quarter – a stretch that proved to be one of the main factors in the win. The reserves hit shots, played good defense, and played with great confidence. Role players usually have trouble playing on the road, though, and that’s one reason why the Lakers have struggled as the visiting team this season. The Lakers’ bench will need to show that same spark tonight, hit some shots, and play up to the level of their counterparts – you have to figure the Suns’ role players, now at home, will play better than they did on Friday – to help pull out this win. Far too often this season the Lakers’ big three has had to carry the load on the road but with a steadied rotation, here’s hoping the bench has found some semblance of stability that carries over to their production.

Where you can watch: 5:00 start time on KCAL. Also listen live on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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140 responses to Preview and Chat: The Phoenix Suns

  1. Darius is correct: This game should be business as usual against the Suns, however nothing is a given for the Lakers on the road this year. We have 4 games left before the ASG. Would be incredible to go 3-1. Then we watch Kobe and AB play in Orlando. After that – we will see : )

  2. Hoping for a strong road win too. The day off between games will probably make the difference for the Lakers.

    While this may be a tad off-topic, I’m watching Mavs-Knicks (first time really watching a Mavs game) and Lamar Odom just seems listless out there. When he was with the Lakers, he was so animated (most times!) with a bounce in his step. Sad to see . . .

  3. Hopefully, that same cohesion as a Unit that we displayed on Friday night can be carried on the road for tonight’s game. As Darius noted, this is a team that we match up extremely well with. Still in all, we’ve been a terrible team away from Staples, so with that in mind, this game has some meaning. If we’re fortunate enough to build a big lead tonight, lets hope that we can keep them buried and get the starters some rest. Portland will be awaiting our arrival back in L.A. 2morrow night.

  4. So JR Smith has 4 3 pointers today in his first game today.

    We could have had him but instead Mitch to use the spot to acquire McRoberts who plays 0 minutes.

    Why does he still have a job?

  5. Actually, I thought Lamar looked pretty good. Of course there were those LO plays where his brain seems to be somewhere else, but he was fairly athletic and used his length to good effect. This is the Lamar I am used to. Now that he is on another team, it shouldn’t surprise us when he seems to doze off periodically.

    However, he wasn’t in the game at the end, when the Mavs just couldn’t stop the Knicks.

  6. My feeling about Lamar coming into this season was and is, that his stock value would never be higher again in his career.

    On that basis I was thrilled to see the Lakers receive a high priced trade exception and a first round pick for him because he’ll never be better than he was last year again playing for anybody.

    Mitch needs to put those assets to good use here in the next couple of weeks and parlay them into something that adds back value to the present and future team to make it all count.

    But moving Lamar when they did was absolutely the right thing to do at this stage. No doubt about it.

  7. Jeremy Lin is legit. I was a little skeptical that he just caught fire in those first few games, but he just plays basketball so smart.

    I like watching him play.

  8. I really, really wish we hadn’t traded LO. I’m sure numerous people here agree.

  9. @5 I suppose in the sense that he could actually help this team and/or many people feel as if he could have been part of a bigger trade. Nevertheless this year would have been his last as Laker as the last 2 years of his deal were only guaranteed for $2 million I believe. It all goes back to the fact that “basketball reasons” trampled the possibilities and a move to make a move was the result.

  10. Joshua,
    Look at the comment right above you. Trading Odom is flabby, old, and un athletic. We got very lucky in trading him when we did. The guy didn’t walk a block during the lockout for six months. His most productive seasons came off of USA basketball summer duty (the only time he trained or played ball during an offseason).

  11. We couldn’t trade Odom at this point if we packaged him with Gasol.

  12. I don’t know how we got into LO bashing, but, I have him on my Fantasy Basketball team, and will be releasing him asap. He just lost something in this last off season. I am not happy at all about today’s stats from him.

  13. So is lamar odom’s play equivalent to artest’s? Maybe we should have dumped him on dallas too.

  14. Not bashing Lamar at all….

    The Lakers got amazing value out of Lamar from the time he came in the Shaq trade. He’ll be long revered as a Laker great amongst all of us.

    But this isn’t a sentimental business.

    Holding onto players extensively past their prime, (exception being a guy like Kobe) puts your franchise where Danny Ainge has put the Celtics right now. In harm’s way.

    The only thing left for them is a scorched earth strategy of crash and burn and start over and now it will take several years or even the better part of a decade for them to make another title run.

    Pau is next. Mitch isn’t going to give him away, but he’s an expensive 31 year old who won’t get better than he is right now, hence his value won’t be any higher than it is right now.

    This is why Mitch was moving both Pau and Lamar for Chris Paul prior to the start of the season.

    He already tipped his hand. We know what he wants to do. it’s a question of patiently waiting for the right deal.

    Sell High. Buy Low. It’s not supernatural guys.

  15. RE Odom: Being out of shape is one thing. Playing for a new team, in a new system, in a new city is quite another. Some players have a hard time adjusting to that with all of the emotions that get tied into being traded.

    The question is, would he have been better here than in Dallas. The answer to that know one knows because the new system and sting from being in the nixed trade would have still been true. But, the new team + new city wouldn’t have been an issue. We’ll never know though…

  16. Wanted to note as well that there may not be a recap tonight. My attention to this game won’t be 100% (some things have come up) and that means I may not be able to see the entire game, which means a recap may not be in the cards. Just an fyi.

  17. bit worried about rumour Chris Sheridan has up on his website

  18. # 14
    Minnesota, Philadelphia, Golden State and Chicago have all had some interest in Pau. They all have pieces we could use, although Minnesota would probably have to bring in a third team to make it work.

  19. Dave: Well stated. I referenced Ainge + scorched earth previously. Now the Celts appear to be headed correctly for the scorching (unlike they did at the end of the 80’s and they paid dearly). The question for the Lakes: Can we re-build on the fly, or do we also need to scorch it? We do not want to be in between like Red A was at the end of the 80’s.

  20. #17. Remember the #1 rule about rumors: They’re put out there by someone with an agenda. In this case, think of who the report is tied to and then think of the logical reasons a deal like that is floated. I don’t think there’s any smoke to that report, much less any fire.

  21. Michael H: Being the optimist that you are, I am surpised you are throwing PG around like that : ) From my standpoint, I am not interested in trading PG for role players. He needs to either be in a blockbuster, or lets keep him. If we trade him for role players it will be a white towel coming from Jim Buss’ office.

  22. These Pau rumors are getting more and more ridiculous. I know he finds them funny because us Laker fans sure do.

    Teams focus should be high after good efficient game Fri. Ball movement has to continue and Kobe has to feed the bigs he got his last game. Big game from MWP tonight. (insert joke here)

  23. James,

    I wouldn’t worry about the Sheridan rumor.

    The Lakers aren’t likely going to be responsible for adding the piece to the puzzle that pushes a true title contender over the top unless they’re about to be the recipient of something amazing in return.

  24. I am more concerned with Mitch’s comments. They “could” be a smokescreen, but they are the furthest thing from speculation, and I am not sure anyone wants to totally stand pat.

  25. anyone have a link?

  26. I just don’t understand what is wrong with Brown. Metta is sleep walking out there. Dudly killing him and he just stands on offensive.

    Can Brown be this clueless?

    Barnes scored 17 last game Metta Mess 2 yet he starts him again.

    Help!

  27. Mitch’s MO has been to work deals behind closed doors. The Sheridan rumor is nothing but that. There is no way the Lakers take on a contract like boozer unless Deng is involved and I would imagine he’s untouchable.

  28. Josh McRoberts is alive

  29. that was a very poorly coach quarter

  30. Great 5 on the court Brown! Is he throwing this game?

    Clueless

  31. Were the Lakers over confident coming into this game?

  32. The good in the first quarter Bynum’s rebounding with 7.

    The bad Lakers defense
    McRoberts 3 fouls, 3 minutes

    The ugly 7 Lakers turnovers resulting in 6 Suns points

  33. Only thing worse than the lakers D right now is their O. Barnes came into the game about 10 minutes late, Metta just looks lost out there. Overdribbling on O, slow rotations on D.

    Feels like we’re getting outrebounded right now. And as I type that the suns get an off rebound on a missed freethrow.

  34. What the heck is Brown doing. Walton?

    What a idiot!

  35. Luke Walton sighting. Coach Brown tinkering with the rotation. Only Kapono and Morris yet to play tonight.

  36. Bad energy. Too many turnovers. Not boxing out. All bad things the Lakers are doing. Add to that the worst officiating since the Denver/Utah road back to back and we’re toast so far.

  37. This is just who the lakers are now. Can’t score or get stops when they need them

  38. So we’re down by 600, and Kobe and Pau have been on the bench for like an hour. Good job, dumbass Brown.

  39. @Mojo–no, it’s just that Murphy and McRoberts already have three fouls apiece

  40. Ken, totally agree. Brown looks clueless

    After all these lethargic road games I’m convinced Mike Brown isn’t able to get Lakers up for road games.

  41. you can just tell from Pau’s body language he is not happy, im sure trade stuff is in hid head

  42. 38. Why does it matter how many fouls McRoberts gets?

  43. Kevin: Like I said – focused : ) When the Lakers win it doesn’t mean they are 1 role player away, and when they play like this it doesn’t mean we are headed off a cliff. We need major change if we want to contend. It is true as much now as it was before the game. And it will still be true if we come back and win : )

  44. Team is Sleepwalking out there this 1st half & Coach Brown’s subbing as if he has an eye on tomorrow nites game.

  45. Brown was scared of LJ with Cavs. That is a fact.

    Now he is scared of Metta Mess. Starting the guy who I guarantee was not in his room at 2am based on the picture emails I was sent last night from my friends is a joke.

    Brown must go.

  46. sternized fouls.awesome officiating..

  47. Pau looks in a daze.

    Lakers need to feed Drew EVERYTIME. Lakers got some momentum and what do you know. Brown puts fisher and metta in

  48. Get garbage Metta off the floor or Dudly will score 50.

  49. Look at this idiot Brown no time outs just sending and watching.

  50. Agree with Robert at 42.

    The compressed schedule has lead most teams to have ups and downs–OKC is having a bad game so far tonight. But the Lakers have basic personnel deficiencies that we have talked about many times. For example, tonight, Kobe has shot only 7 times and hit 4, and the Lakers are getting blown out by a lottery team. So, all the stuff about “ballhogging” or conversely, “gelling” or “practice time”
    –not significant. I have not been impressed with Mike Brown, but this team is what it is. “Inconsistent” really means “not that good.”

  51. Not a very good Sunday night game for Laker fans.

  52. everything in this half has been lazy lazy lazy and Mike Brown has completely s**t the bed

  53. Nobody came to play.

    I wonder what Brown’s motivational speeches sound like?

    Robert: I hear you. Still this team isn’t this bad. No heart tonight

  54. What scares me is we’re down 20 and we still have our dreaded 3rd quarter to go. Over/under on points in 3rd at 18?

    Lakers look lazy tonight, not moving their feet. Barnes needs more burn, Metta is hard to watch. Bynum needs to demand the ball.

  55. All I can say is WOW, no words can express the egg this team laid the first half. Hopefully they can get the lead down to 10 and go from there in the second half.

  56. Robert,

    The thing that’s hard to know is how amenable are teams to the prospect of trading with the Lakers at this particular juncture?

    The Lakers have had almost too much success playing poker like this in the past.

    Now having said that, there are a couple of GMs out there that I believe have to show progress this year by elevating their teams into the playoffs for the first time in awhile.

    Houston and Minnesota are interesting in this regard because they’re both so close they can taste it.

    They both need to get over the hump, they both have some young assets and they both need an additional championship caliber big man in their mix in order to assure that it’s going to happen.

    The Lakers are different than the Celtics in that they have a component which is hard to come by.

    A young, quality center, who if he manages to stay healthy can be the piece that along with Kobe, carries the Lakers to the next generation of championship runs.

    If we could manage to persuade Houston or Minnesota to part with a couple of those younger assets (like a point guard plus something else for example) the remodeling effort might just become the route without having to tear everything down and start over.

  57. This team has lost all respect for brown. After Metta blasted him in the media he did nothing and continue to start him.

    These aren’t rumor Darius these are facts.

    Metta 2 point last two games and out scored by 28 points for the 157th rated defensive player and last in the NBA in shooting.

    Brown must GO and Metta Mess myst be released.

    Wake up Buss and admit your mistake. How did JR Smith do today with that mid level you gave to McRoberts?

    I am sick of what this great franchise has become under Jim Buss and Clueless Brown.

    I am done for today.

  58. Hey Anonymous @51: Next time – key your name in. I could use a guy like you : )
    Kevin: “Still this team isn’t this bad.” Exactly, but they also aren’t that great either. As constructed, we could be the 6th best team in the league if things go well – 10th best if they don’t. Does that excite you?

  59. Robert: it excites me when they play to their capabilities. Don’t know if it’s steady rumors or not being prepared on the road. I keep hoping they get right but nights like tonight give jim ability to do something stupid.

    Could be a turning point can Lakers comeback?

  60. I seriously cannot believe Mitch sees the Lakers not making a move this season

  61. Devin Ebanks must be just awful if he can’t even sniff the floor, as badly as Artest is playing, and with the way Artest has flapped his gums lately. It’s just inexplicable.

  62. 8884: You and me both. Those comments concern me though. I am surprised more people are not talking about that. He usually just says nothing.

  63. Trade rumours day after day could destroy a man s focus and ability to play the game.
    Just release him or show him full confidence and tell him he is going to stay.
    Otherwise, team can resent this situation

  64. Seriously Robert, thats what I mean he usually lets the trades fly under the radar, but he said the same thing last year going into the playoffs which is why it baffles me. Last year was understandable standing pat but this year its like playing russian roulette.

  65. These road losses are no coincidence.

    Mike Brown can’t motivate this team. Brown puts Kapono in before Goudelock. Huh!

    Pau is basically punching his ticket out of town with these performances. Come on Lakers get it together.

  66. Not only does this team suck, but now I’m completely convinced that they are absolutely stupid as well. A 5-yr old playing basketball for the first time wouldn’t be making the idiotic turnovers that this clueless team is making. And yes, Kobe, that includes you tonight.

  67. MWP + Pau are at $26 million combined.

    We might have been able to get Scott. Definately could have had Brian Shaw.

    Again though – MB is just adding to the root of the problem – which is roster.

  68. And kapono is still in the game. No barnes, no goudelock

  69. Kapono s only ability so far in his career has been to score 45% in 3p%.
    What s the point in having him in the court (and even in the roster) if he can t knock down a 3pt at all?

  70. KB even with 10 turnovers you are still a pleasure to watch

  71. Dear ken 2.0

    That’s because I have not received a answer to my question.

    Kapono and Murphy still in the game.

    No problem there right?

  72. Not sure why Glock and Barnes both didn’t get on the court in the 4th. Lakers didn’t show up ready to play but the substitutions were certainly questionable…

  73. Ken, the reason is that Murphy is +3 and Kapono is +11 for the game. They both spread the floor, so even if they’re not finishing a lot, they can have an impact on the game.

  74. Oh man, McRoberts 4 minutes and 4 fouls tonight. lol

  75. Kapono is still in the game. No barnes, no goudelock

    Brown left Kobe in to get his 30. Great coaching, Mike. Bynum had it going but mike went away

    Rotation basura, play calling basura, coaching basura.

  76. Kevin: Did not know you were bilingual: The word for the day however is Cambio

  77. Dave: Just saw your response @57. I agree – the league hates/fears us, so trades are tough. I am aware of the Minn/Houst possibilities, however I am not sure that our roster is a contender after those trades, and I do not see the post-Kobe centerpiece. This is why I have been pounding the table on D12. It is the only answer – but of course it could be too late now. Preseason was the time.

  78. Sad to watch. Lakers had absolutely zero energy in the 1st Q. This roster is nowhere near championship quality. Too much dead wood that doesn’t produce on a regular basis.

  79. Words of the day:.no mas.

  80. Barnes coming off 17 points against this same team. 11 minutes.

    Bynam on bench last 7 minutes.

    Kapono 21 minutes
    Murphy 24 minutes
    Your 2 worst defenders.

    Metta 21 minutes 2 points.

    Clearly I must nit be as smart as Mike Brown.

    Clearly

  81. Robert: I have no words for this performance

    As it pertains to Kapono Lakers had all momentum chance to cut lead to 9 then kapono brick. Goudelock, barnes have played well mike brown can’t justify kapono’s minutes. Murphy is our best option kapono isn’t

  82. @Kevin – With Bynum in the game, the Lakers saw their deficit increase to 78-52. They whittled that down to 82-67 the rest of the 3rd quarter while he was on the bench. Then he played the first six minutes of the 4th, and the lead ranged from 12-17 points. Mike Brown wanted to see if a little quicker lineup plus the spacing provided by Murphy and Kapono could make the game close again, and they got it down to 10 or 11 a few times. When you have a big deficit in the 4th quarter and need to scramble on D, you don’t want Drew in the game playing heavy minutes, especially when we’ll need him tomorrow vs. Portland.

  83. “I seriously cannot believe Mitch sees the Lakers not making a move this season”

    He isn’t going to push the button in desperation with other teams who are looking to grab up a talented player for a song, is what that means.

    If all that’s available right now are teams looking for a bargain at the Lakers expense, it’s better to say thanks but no thanks.

    The trade exception will have to be used. But there is no timetable for the other assets.

    It’s strange how some fans act like the Lakers can just go get whatever they want.

    This is not the case. They have precious few assets to work with and they need to spend them wisely.

    When they dealt for Pau, they had to wait patiently for that deal window to open up for them.

    No need to trade Pau before the deadline if we can’t get reasonable value in return for him.

  84. James Worthy is ripping the Lakers at the moment, ugh.

  85. Gortat ate up Pau and Andrew for the 2nd straight game. Laker big man dominance is a myth. They are too slow on defense.

  86. Kenny T: I think you just rang Aaron’s alarm clock.

  87. No Ken we are awful & coach Brown definitely makes us worse….we know fisher is awful, we know metta sucks on O (I argue his D on star 3’s is next to none however)….saying the same thing over, and over, and over, and over without us making a roster change and gets old really quick…but i know what you’re saying…this team MUST make a move or we are dead in the water…just the repetition of well known and documented facts can be quick to grow old…i do appreciate your non repetitive input though with your experience with retired players and their perspectives

  88. If Mitch doesn’t make a move this season he and Metta both need to see a psychiatrist.

  89. BTW Westbrook and Durant outscored the Lakers by themselves tonight.

  90. 8884: Yes – and an Arenas type pickup does not count as the move : )

  91. dude, you don’t want kobe in the game either just so he can get his. Soothing kobe’s ego.

    Pau didn’t have it tonight drew should’ve been in. kapono hasn’t played in 5 games in that ti,e goudelock and barnes have produced. Why was McRoberts in you saw his court rust with 5 fouls.

    No way you can defend any part of Brown’s coaching tonight. Just no way

  92. “this team MUST make a move or we are dead in the water…just the repetition of well known and documented facts can be quick to grow old..”

    Ken 2.0:

    What if the only moves available to Mitch right now, are moves that would be made in desperation and would result in regressing the roster instead of improving it?

    Surely you’re not saying do something, anything is better than this?

    Jerry West once said sometimes the best trades are the ones you avoid making out of desperation.

  93. After a huge win fri. Brown couldn’t motivate this team. He’s letting kobe do what he wants. Ron is sniping him in press. Brown can’t draw up plays. Doing a good job with defense but this team doesn’t seem motivated.

    Everybody isn’t all for 1 right now with all the FO noise.

  94. I love Pau as much as the next guy but if he continues to underproduce he has to be moved. His performance this year does not warrant his massive contract. He either produces or you trade him away for cap flexibility with younger players or trade him for other veterans that can help immediately. It makes me shudder to think that he could continue to regress the next few years with the money he is owed.

  95. We got swept with PJ last year. We then lost Shannon, lost LO, and messed with PG’s mind. Why is this surprising? Coaching is not helping us, but bringing back Phil does not make this team a contender.

  96. Kevin, are you saying both Drew and Pau should have been in the game the final six minutes, or should it have been Drew and Murphy? Pau was -5 in 36 minutes, while Drew was -17 in 28 minutes. Both of them had average offensive games, but Pau defends the P&R much better than Drew does. When the team was down by double digits in the last six minutes, it was understandable to keep Murphy in the game for his spacing. The game was likely lost anyway by that point, so I’d just as soon see Drew rest up for tomorrow.

  97. Dave: You speak alot of sense, however you also mentioned scorched earth earlier. Unfortunately – that is another option – one that I would not like to see. However it is better than 3 years of this, followed by a complete re-build (which is what the Celtics did). Yes Kobe is Kobe (I am the biggest fan), but the franchise comes first.

  98. Aaron – you were a little slow on the alarm clock – but you answered nonetheless : )

  99. Dude, i’m saying drew hustled blocked shots in the 1st half he deserved some run in the 2nd half. Pau defends but he doesn’t block shots drew has a presence down low.

    I agree rest was needed for drew for the b2b. Brown should have waved the white flag and sat Kobe too. Sending mixed signals when you leave a guy in to get his numbers.

  100. @Kenny T – don’t worry about Aaron, he’s kidding about the ban. As for Gortat vs. Pau/Drew, it helps to have a functioning PG who gets you every one of your points on pick and rolls or pick and pops.

    @Kevin, I see your point, but MB probably thought that the team was one 3-pointer plus one stop from getting back in the game, so that’s why he left Kobe in until one minute remained.

  101. “functioning PG” : What are you implying? : )

  102. Dude

    Plus minus means zip when you have Fisher 0 and Metta 2. All-stars will be minus with those two getting nothing and giving up 30 against.

    Kind of simple isen’t it?

  103. The only thing that’s truly broken is the team’s motivation. One major move to cause a shake-up oughta wake us up.

  104. Love how Kobe stepped up for Pau. He sees the affects the rumors have on the team. What a leader we have. Shame he didn’t step up for Bynum though.

  105. Ken 2

    I know I repeat but no one will pick up the phone to talk to me during Laker games because they don’t want to hear it.

    March 14th is next Retired NBA players event. Send me your names and you all can come ask if this team is alright and Brown has a clue.

    It’s a good event and my company is the sponsor.

    Barnes 11 minutes off a 17 point game?
    Kapono over 20?

    Helppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp!

  106. Kobe just went off on a rant:

    (source: The Associated Press)
    INDEX: Sports
    HL:Bryant rips Lakers management, says team must make decision about trading Gasol
    By Bob Baum
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    PHOENIX — Kobe Bryant has lashed out at Los Angeles Lakers management for leaving teammate Pau Gasol wondering whether he’s about to be traded.
    In a post-game monologue punctuated by a couple of profanities, Bryant says the Lakers either need to trade Gasol or come out and say it won’t happen.
    Bryant’s comments came in the aftermath of a 102-90 loss at Phoenix on Sunday night.
    Bryant says he doesn’t want Gasol to be traded but it’s unfair for his teammate to try to play when he doesn’t know if he’ll be somewhere else the following day.
    As Bryant put it, “If they’re going to do something, I wish they would just … do it.”

  107. Like I said, these last 4 games before the All Star break would be the real test for the Lakers. Game 1, Blowout on the road, but then again whats new.

  108. Ken: The last time I spoke to you earlier tonight – both of our comments were deleted : ) I think it was like a double negative cancelling each other out : )

  109. Plus/minus sometimes means zip, and sometimes it’s apparent. In tonight’s game, both Fish’s and Artest’s minus scores almost equaled their minutes. So yes, it’s tough for our bigs to overcome. However, we were down by 26 when Drew and Fish were replaced by Blake and Murphy with 5:15 remaining in the third quarter, and they helped cut Phoenix’s lead to 15 by the end of the quarter. So the main point that’s being debated is our big man rotation at the start of the fourth quarter, when the lead was down to 15. Should Drew have replaced Pau, should he have replaced Murphy, or should he have remained on the bench? I think MB decided to go with what was working, and in the first three minutes of the 4th, the lead was cut to 12 and the team had two chances to cut it to nine, but twice missed threes.

    Drew replaced Pau at the nine-minute mark and the team down by 14, and they were able to cut it to 11 over the next 1:22, but then Drew got caught rotating out to Frye beyond the arc, who went around him for a layup and the foul. The lead went back to 14, and MB decided to take Drew out again for Pau with 6:35 remaining. I can see his point, because the team needed more firepower beyond the arc and better defense on the P&R, so it was best to have Pau defend Gortat and Murphy defend Frye.

  110. Please reference my nightmare that I summarized some time ago. We have reached the Kobe explosion portion of it.

  111. BK in Rapid Reax:

    ———

    That’s nearly non-existent production from two starters and arguably their two best backups. When people ask why the Lakers can’t win a title this year, here is your answer. It’s not that Kobe shoots too much or Pau isn’t tough or Bynum inconsistent. It’s that too often the Lakers play three on five, and don’t have much coming off the bench (23 points, some coming in garbage minutes).
    —–

  112. Even though Kobe is my guy, his explosion is not timed very well. The time for this was either A) pre-season B) After the ASG

    What does he think they are going to do right now?

  113. So how did the fire power thing go last 6 minutes for Jason and Troy? About as well as Frye going around Jason to the bucket?

    Barnes and Drew are slightly better then Kapono, Metta and Murphy. Yet look at the minutes played and the performance. Add in Fish 0 points, Blake 2 points 37 minutes and Golublock getting 8 minutes and you tell me Brown knows what he is doing!

  114. Robert,

    You’re assuming that everyone’s view of the team, including Kobe’s, is as Howard-centric as yours is. That’s not the case. I obviously don’t know what is in Kobe’s head, but I would guess that he, like most people, is more concerned with the 1 and the 3. Here’s a quote that indicates as much:

    ——

    Bryant said the Lakers have the foundation for another run at the NBA title with Gasol, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to Phoenix.

    “It obviously starts with myself and Pau and the emergence of Andrew (Bynum),” Bryant said, “but you can’t have one of our pillars not knowing if he’s going to be here or not. Do something. One way or another, do something. If they trade him at least you have some type of closure, he gets some type of closure.”
    ____

    So, based on this, if Kobe posts here, will it get deleted? ;-)

  115. Since there was no post game write up I will offer one.

    Brown started Fisher and Metta again. They scored 2 points. Brown played Kapono and Murphy the last 8 minutes with Andrew and Barnes on the bench.

    Lakers got smoked by a lottery team but Metta had a good time the night before at a local night spot.

    Good. None
    Bad. Players
    Ugly. Coaching.

    So how did I do?

  116. The countdown to Pau’s days as a Laker has begun. Man I wish it were Drew.

    Ken said this season would be rough.

  117. Poor Mitch: Nobody wants to trade with us anyways, and now everybody knows we are totally desperate.

  118. now everybody knows we are totally desperate.

    —–

    All you have to do is watch a couple of games to see that the Lakers need to make a move. Kobe’s quotes don’t really move that needle. Buss and Kupchak do need to talk to the team, though.

  119. rr: I am not blaming that on Kobe. The needle has moved in the wrong direction everyday since the veto. As you know, some of us wanted moves in the preseason, and the team waited (as many on this board wanted). Now the price has gone up and the options are limited.

  120. Kobe’s comments of support for Pau are understandable from a human perspective but it’s still just preposterous nonsense on his part.

    It takes two parties at least to agree in order for a trade to be consummated. The FO doesn’t control a timetable for something like that. How could they be expected to?

    And no, they’re not going to say “we’re not making any more deals.” We have an expiring trade exception we’ll have to act on if nothing else.

    Saying the team won’t make anymore trades is in effect saying to the fan base “don’t expect things to get a whole lot better”. Almost nobody thinks this team is a legitimate contender in it’s current form.

    Kobe can be as frustrated as some of the posters on this message board.

    “Just do something! Anything! I don’t care what is . Just do it now!” is acting like 3 year old.

    Hey Kobe. The issue will be settled one way or the other in less than a month. So relax. Okay?

  121. The Lakers need to make a move, right?
    Ok, so where? PG? Really?

    Well, yes. We need a decent PG, but after this game (and almost half of the season) I think we need to make a move in the coaching staff. MB is clearly not a coach.

    The guy is a joke. I can spend the rest of my night here trying to understand what he’s up to, but I will not.

  122. Per K Ding – Kobe calling on the front office to either trade Pau or commit to keeping him. Kobe said he would prefer Pau stay.

    I think that is a good move by Bryant – show support for a teammate – enough of the limbo for Gasol. The dude’s been trying to rise above it, but the daily gossip has to be a grind.

  123. VoR: Right. Pau is too good a person and player for his name to be mentioned so much espicially with these bums.

    Obvious LA’s in a transition period. Just hope it’s not as bad as post PJ bulls.

  124. V R

    Better move by Kobe would be, get a point guard who belongs in the league and a small forward who is not LAST in the NBA in everything.

    While your at it get me a real coach not a talking head.

  125. Now the price has gone up and the options are limited.

    —–

    Well, buddy, according to most reports, the price for Howard has been the same all along, and Buss has said–emphatically–in public that he won’t pay it. In terms of other deals, there will be more options now, not fewer, particularly after 3/1. If by some miracle Orlando caves and trades Howard here without asking for Pau back with Andrew, that will not happen until about 11:59 EST on March 15, after Otis Smith has looked at every other conceivable option.

    I know your position is that they should have traded Pau and Drew for Howard and Turkoglu in pre-season. But ultimately we don’t know if Orlando would have done that then and we don’t know if Howard would have signed an extension if they had. Both things might well have occurred, but we really don’t know.

  126. My biggest issue with Brwon tonight was having Kobe go 40 and Pau 36.

  127. Robert,

    I think we have core 2 all-star caliber components right now in Bynum and Bryant that have considerable remaining life to carry us through with the belief that we can contend for championships regularly meaning most if not all years in the foreseeable future whilst we re-tool and assemble a younger, more athletic, more affordable supporting cast around them.

    As I said I think a young center (Bynum) who is among the better players at that position in the league is a real important component because they’re extremely hard to come by at that position. Practically every other franchise is desperately seeking help there.

    And Kobe is all-world, one of the best players in history with probably 3-4 seasons of remaining high caliber, all-star level play.

    So that’s the baseline the franchise has to work with and it’s world’s apart better than for example, the one Boston has to work with at present.

    Especially when you consider that we also have an asset like Gasol, who is extremely valuable in the short run and probably more so to another team who finds that they’re a quality big man away from going deep into the playoffs or making the playoffs in the first place.

    If we can navigate through this cycle to make sure we get exceptional value in exchange for for this unique asset then we will have our bridge to the next series of championship runs, whether that takes place this year or whether we’ll have to wait a season before the new components begin to make their contribution.

    I think you would agree with me that we ought to expect that the FO can get (between Gasol, the trade exception and the couple of draft picks) a couple of outstanding young players to begin to fill out the supporting cast we’ll need.

    If not, then perhaps in another year or so it would become more obvious that blowing up the foundation and dumping the remaining talent in favor of starting over might become necessary.

    Worst case, i could live with that given the franchise has produced multiple championships in the past several seasons.

    But I’m not inclined to think that is going to be necessary.

  128. rr: Whatever the price is for D12 just pay it. It is the only hope. If we trade Pau for youngsters and role players it signals the end.
    Kevin: What happened? Is this another Milwaukee game where you go from one extreme to the other all within 24 hours? : ) In any case, you are a good guy. Most of the optimists just hide when the team loses.

  129. “Well, yes. We need a decent PG, but after this game (and almost half of the season) I think we need to make a move in the coaching staff. MB is clearly not a coach.”

    Phil, that’s just not going to happen. I don’t see anyway that Brown can be reasonably assessed in terms of his performance when he doesn’t have the components in place yet to run the style game he prefers and when he had no preseason to install his system to begin with.

    No reasonable FO is going to hire a guy under those circumstances and then not giving a reasonable opportunity to show what he can do when he’s not handcuffed by those circumstances.

    You can hate on the guy all you want. But he’s here to stay for at least another year. So I suggest that you get over it.

  130. No way Lakers should trade our two bigs for one big, I think Howard will not be agreeable to weaken the team where he’s going. Leave the Lakers Big 3 alone unless it worthy like a Superstar PG and Howard.

    It happens in NBA where teams give and take on their home courts, can’t explain why road games are just difficult for the Lakers. They don’t have the killer instinct nor the cohesiveness to be consistent on their objectives.

    Best deal right now I believe will be Agent Zero replacing Caracter while trading McRob or Ebanks (they’ve trade values and not playing by MBrown + Tpe for Ramon Sessions. You have to trade or cut one player to add a new one.

  131. I don’t think you can possibly convince me that trading for D12 is a good idea, not when he has made it abundantly clear that he’s going to test free agency regardless of where he is traded. Yes, D12 is a superior player to Andrew Bynum, but the Lakers can’t risk a 6 month rental only to have D12 walk and the Lakers receive nothing in return. Same goes for Deron Williams.

  132. “Whatever the price is for D12 just pay it. It is the only hope. If we trade Pau for youngsters and role players it signals the end.”

    Robert, it offers no hope at all for this year. Kobe and Howard with nothing but a bunch of bushers as a supporting cast aren’t going to compete for a title this year. Surely you have to know that’s true.

    Moreover, Dwight isn’t leaving Orlando just to play for another Orlando which is what the Lakers would be if they give up everything in trade for him.

    What good does it do to trade for him now only to see him leave to go play for Mark Cuban next season because he’ll be surrounded by a better supporting cast?

    I can’t think of a worse scenario.

    We don’t need a center anywhere near as bad as we need a lot of other components.

  133. Robert: My hope is still their with this curremt team. If there was a sharpshooter at SF we wouldn’t be talking trades.

    I said earlier before Ding’s report Pau looks in a daze you can truly tell he wants to be a Laker. Has brought this city success with him and fans want him out. Andrew “Black Hole” Bynum’s the one who needs to go. Pau’s the nest big in the game. Give Lakers a guy like Dudley who can knock down open shots Lakers are contenders.

  134. “Leave the Lakers Big 3 alone unless it worthy like a Superstar PG and Howard”

    Don’t agree with that. A 31 year old Gasol at max salary isn’t putting the resources of the franchise to it’s best use.

    We already pay Kobe more than any other player in the league and in the next year or so Bynum will have to elevated most likely as well.

    This ties the hands of the FO going forward to make other sensible deals. We need to move Pau as soon as possible for equal high value in return.

    Hopefully that will be in the next couple of weeks. If the right deal isn’t ou there then obvioulsy you don’t just give Pau away.

    But we need to move him as soon as possible. He’s too expensive and he doesn’t have enough upside remaining for the Lakers to justify holding onto him any longer than is absolutely necessary.

  135. Sorry Kevin…

    Sentiments aside because I like what Pau has meant to the franchise as well.

    But a 31 year old max salary guy who won’t get any better than he already is and has a limited shelf life left, just doesn’t represent a sound investment of scarce resources any longer.

    The team is entering a fiercely competitive period where acquiring talent means that the Lakers are going to have to have every financial advantage they can when going up against the likes of guys like Cuban.

    What happens in the next 12 -18 months in terms of where the best talent lands could shape the league and winners and losers for the next decade.

    The lakers can’t afford to play this high stakes game with one hand tied behind their back because they’re feeling sentimental about players like Pau and Lamar.

    Pau and Lamar have been well compensated for their performances and contributions and we’re just reaching the stage where it’s time to part ways.

  136. Dave: Pau is 31 but his game is one that’ll age well because he’s so versitale. His passing ability and ability to use both hands around the rim will keep him good for the remainder of his contract. Look at Duncan he’s lost his athleticism but can still play.

    Bynum is one dimensional is he really deserving of a max contract. That’s what’ll happen if Pau’s gone. I’m for trading Pau for say only for ELITE pieces not these scraps that are mentioned. Lakers should trade Bynum and let Pau and Kobe contract run out 2014.

  137. Robert,

    I agree with Dave in 136. While it is just one game, watching Howard play against Miami today with Davis, Turkoglu, Nelson, and Duhon, at least one of whom the Lakers would have to take back in the deal, is clear evidence that Dave is right about this year. You always say you want titles–getting Howard for Pau and Drew is not getting you one this year. You add in Howard’s contract situation, the fact that taking on one or two of those Orlando guys would make the Lakers’ cap and tax situation even worse, and everything beyond this year becomes very murky.

    Also, I think you would help your case if you would stop referring to all non-Howard options as if they are junk: role players, youngsters, journeymen, problem children–you never seem to grasp that the Lakers can acquire pretty good basketball players for Pau and/or for the TPE. And the Lakers really need some pretty good basketball players–maybe more than they need Dwight Howard. There are huge gaps between pretty good basketball players and the Lakers entire roster 4-14. Long-term, one more time: there will be a clean cap in 2014.

    But I am not sure about Dave’s 139. Dumping Odom, has, to this point, done nothing positive for the team. McRoberts is hardly playing and burning the MLE on him took them out of the running for JR Smith. Further, it has given Cuban another salary to cut as he pursues his D-CUBED dream team. Pau misses playing with Odom; their skills connected better than Pau and Bynum’s do.

    And as to Pau, yes, Pau is 31 and he makes more money than he is worth, but I think he would do better with a real PG and if he knew he were staying. I would be careful about trading him right now. Buss needs to either do something big or convert the TPE. I think Pau for PG + PF should be Plan C.

  138. RR

    Nice to read someone who gets it. As rare on here as a NBA PG on the Lakers

  139. IMO the Lakers made decisions last year that cemented into place their core roster through next year. This year, they made a decision to hire a coach and staff to implement a new system intrinsically incompatible with the capabilities of this core roster. Call it Jimmy’s blunder if you wish.

    They’ve replaced the two backup centers from last year with upgrades at the power forward position (McRoberts and Murphy). Shannon Brown seems to have been replaced by Goudelock. And Lamar has been replaced by a spendable $9 million or so.

    That’s still a triangle team.

    Brown seems to have decided that the Lakers he inherited rest on Kobe, much the way that his Cleveland teams rested on Labron–but even Kobe now seems to recognize a team out of balance.

    The good news seems to be a convergence between the coaches and squad on the gritty defensive basketball the Lakers must play to win. The question seems to be whether or not they can be good enough to compete for the Western Conference Championship–or more.

    For at least this year, they don’t have any choice but to try with what they have–possibly with one key player added–and a pray for chemistry every night.

    The only true alternative IMO is the nuclear option ASAP and a 5 year plan.

    I’m not ready for that.