Preview and Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

Darius Soriano —  February 20, 2012

Records: Lakers 18-13 (5th in West), Trailblazers 17-15 (8th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 102.7 (16th in NBA), Trailblazers 104.4 (11th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 100.6 (10th in NBA), Trailblazers 99.2 (5th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Trailblazers: Raymond Felton, Wesley Matthews, Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby
Injuries: Lakers: none; Trailblazers: Greg Oden (out indefinitely)

The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers lost on the road again last night but that’s not close to being the story of the day in Laker-land. After the loss, Kobe held court with the media, and spoke his mind about the trade rumors circling around the Lakers and specifically Pau Gasol. The money quotes have been out there since Kobe uttered them last night, but here’s the gist of them from ESPN LA’s report:

“Basketball is such an emotional game, you got to be able to have all of yourself in the game and invested in the game. We didn’t have that,” Bryant said after Gasol had 17 points and 12 rebounds against the Suns. “Pau, it’s hard for Pau because of all this trade talk and all this other stuff, it’s hard for him to kind of invest himself completely or immerse himself completely into games when he’s hearing trade talk every other day. I wish management would come out and either trade him or not trade him.” Bryant made it clear that he prefers that the Lakers choose to not trade Gasol, the four-time All-Star who Bryant paired with to win consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010. “I talked to (Gasol) a little bit about it,” Bryant said. “It’s just tough for a player to give his all when you don’t know if you’re going to be here tomorrow. I’d rather them not trade him at all. If they’re going to do something, I wish they would just (expletive) do it. If they’re not going to do it, come out and say you’re not going to do it. This way he can be comfortable, he can go out, he can play and he can invest all of himself into the game.”

My thoughts on Kobe’s comments are two-fold. First is that I’m glad that Kobe spoke his mind here. Normally it’s the team’s best player that’s in the center of these types of trade rumors (see Melo, now Dwight Howard) and can’t really speak up about how trade speculation can affect a player or the team. In this case, Kobe is the team’s best player and its leader, and is in a position to positively affect his teammates by speaking up about how this situation may be affecting a key contributor. This plays well in the locker room with his mates and shows that he has their backs (especially Pau’s). Second, I don’t think this changes the front office’s approach nor does it affect Pau’s trade value. Mitch has openly said that he’ll make a deal only if it improves the team, and I don’t expect that to change now that Kobe has spoken up. Kupchak has made it clear that he doesn’t have to trade Pau, and if these comments inspire a bunch of low-ball offers for the Spaniard, I expect those will be rebuffed (as they have been up to this point).

Do Kobe’s comments bring Gasol’s mental state more to the forefront than they already were? Yes, they do. However, I’d argue that after every loss or poor performance by Gasol the questions about where Pau’s head’s at were there already. I don’t think that was going to change until after the trade deadline for this season and/or until the Lakers make another big move that does or doesn’t involve him down the road. This would be an ongoing story with Kobe talking or without him talking, so I don’t see much of a difference.

Lastly, some of what makes a team successful is a bunker mentality where the players can rally together and find a common enemy (of sorts) that serves as extra motivation. Phil Jackson was a master of this during his time with the Bulls and the Lakers, and I’ve got a sneaky feeling that Kobe learned a thing or two about this tactic during his time under Jackson. Right now, this Laker team needs all the extra kick in the pants it can get. If this helps in that area, I’m all for it.

The Trailblazers Coming in: At the start of this season, the Blazers were the surprise team of the Western Conference (along with the Nuggets), looking like a real contender that could make a deep playoff run. They started their year 7-3 and boasted wins over the 76ers, Lakers, Nuggets, and Thunder. Since that point, though, they’re only won 10 of their 22 games and are now 8th in the West. Of course, as the Lakers know, the Western standings are a slippery slope where a team can have home court one week and struggle to hold onto a playoff spot the next. That said, the Blazers are a team that’s seemingly lost its way and there seem to be several reasons for it.

Inconsistent guard play has really hurt them. Raymond Felton has played very poorly this season and has become the whipping boy for many Blazer fans (as well as Coach Nate McMillan). Jamal Crawford has come in and seemingly thrown Wesley Matthews for a loop, stunting what looked to be a development path that was on a strong upward trajectory. When you combine these factors with Nic Batum not getting a contract extension before he’s set to reach restricted free agency and some strong questioning about Nate McMillan’s coaching style, you have a team that’s just not where it could be. Whether they turn it around or not remains to be seen, but they have the talent base to do so.

Trailblazer Blogs: Check out Portland Roundball Society and Blazers Edge for all your PDX news and analysis.

Keys to game: From Phillip’s recap last night:

The Lakers were able to kind of make a game out of what looked as if it would be a blow out. This falls in the ugly category because it led to Kobe playing 40 minutes and Pau playing 36. The Lakers were able to bring the lead down from 25 to 10 more than once in the fourth quarter, and with the score just a few possessions away from the lead, Mike Brown continued to go with Kobe and Pau down the stretch in a game that was a lost cause from the beginning. (Monday), the Lakers will be playing their third game in four nights, and their second of a back-to-back against a very good Portland Trailblazers team.

So while the Lakers return home – a place where they play like one of the best teams in the league – fatigue may be an issue. The Lakers must be ready to compete from the opening tip against a Blazer team that always wants to bring its best effort when they face off against the Lakers. This match up is a blood feud of sorts, so if nothing else goes right, the willingness to go hard all game must be there. Of course, the game will come down to more than just effort. As John Wooden said, we shouldn’t mistake activity for achievement. If the Lakers are going to win this game, they’ll actually need to do some things well.

Defensively, this starts with containing all-star forward LaMarcus Aldridge. LMA’s game is based on strong post play and a feathery jumper, so Pau Gasol will have his hands full. Pau will need to make sure he’s changing ends well, because Aldridge runs like a gazelle and likes to establish position early in the clock to make defenders honor the space he eats up on the block. If Pau can push him farther from the hoop and make him dribble to get into his post moves, that’s already a minor win on any given possession. Pau, though, can’t simply bang on LMA to try to get him off his spot. This is because one of Aldridge’s pet moves is spinning off his man and catching lobs for easy finishes at the hoop.

As hinted at above, pace will also be a factor. In the last matchup between these teams, the Lakers were careless with the ball against pressure Blazer D and that led to fast break chances. This was especially true for Gerald Wallace, who dominated the game with his activity level and his ability to race the floor to get easy baskets. If the Lakers are to slow Wallace, they’ll need to make him a half court scorer by racing back on D and being more careful with the ball when trying to initiate their own sets. By taking care of the ball, the Lakers won’t allow Felton, Batum, or Wallace to play full court basketball, while also limiting the trailing options of Crawford and Matthews to shoot uncontested jumpers against a collapsed defense.

This translates to a careful, deliberate attack on offense by the Lakers. Meaning post touches for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. In the last match up, Bynum used brute force to overpower the slender Blazer bigs and scored at will early on. This led to double teams that Bynum struggled to navigate (which led to the aforementioned turnovers that helped the Blazers’ offense). At this later stage of the season however, Bynum has made some strides in dealing with the double teams he’s seen, often making his moves before the double can be fully established, making good passes to strong-side wings, or hitting a sliding over wing at the top of the key. Of course there’s still room for improvement in this area, but if the Blazers attack Bynum in this manner tonight, he should be better equipped to make them pay.

Of course, the Laker shooters must also make the Blazers pay for double teaming Bynum (or Pau or Kobe). Murphy, Fisher, Goudelock, and Blake will all see minutes tonight and all must hit some shots to keep the defense loose. Matt Barnes and Ron can also help out by slashing off the ball into the open spaces when defenders turn their heads to watch the ball. If LA’s small forwards can move well off the ball, they can get buckets in the paint and draw fouls on the Blazer big men, which will also further aid Bynum and Gasol. It’s a circle of effectiveness but all sides must play their parts.

Ultimately, tonight would be a good game to win. Not only because of the standings but because of all the peripheral drama I mentioned earlier. Nothing soothes things like a quality win and tonight would represent exactly that. Here’s to the Lakers getting it.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start on Fox Sports West and TNT. Also listen live at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts

106 responses to Preview and Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

  1. Wow, Greg Oden had microfracture surgery today on his left knee. A real shame.

  2. Edwin from the last thread-
    If trading Pau would get the Lakers either DWill or Rondo, then Kobe would sign off on it in a heartbeat. Kobe likes Pau, but-and I will say this again- he would jettison *anyone* on this team to secure his 6th ring. Even Fish would get the boot if it would insure a 6th title.

    On the topic of today’s game…I was expecting this one to be a loss already and Kobe played 40 minutes last night with Pau logging 36? Gah….

  3. I completely, though respectfully, disagree with the idea that Kobe speaking up to rip the front office was a good development. It was a naive and immature thing to do, and something that demonstrates total ignorance of the facts.

    The Laker front office is not starting any trade rumors, and it is totally unreasonable to say that they have the responsibility to either trade Pau now or go on the record as saying they won’t trade him. What team does that?

    The only player who is not tradeable is Kobe, and that is purely due to his no-trade clause (not loyalty to his past service to the team). If a deal comes up that improves the team, you do it. Period.

    It’s a shame that Pau’s feelings are hurt by these rumors, but the Lakers aren’t going to make a bad trade just to put him out of his misery now, rather than waiting for a better deal as teams become more desperate to make deals near the trade deadline–nor is the team going to lie and say “Pau will not be traded” because the team doesn’t know what kind of deal might come up in the next few weeks.

    If Kobe wanted to buck up Gasol he could and should have done so in private by telling him how much he respects his game and needs him to perform at a high level. Then, during the game, Kobe should make a point of getting the ball to Gasol in spots where Pau can put up huge numbers.

    As for tonight’s game, I think it’s all about Gerald Wallace. That guy kills the Lakers wherever he plays. Let’s have a little more Artest and a little less “Peace” tonight.

  4. Funky-
    There was nothing wrong with Kobe saying what he did. I think it was a good thing. It lets Pau know that his teammates have his back if management does not. In fact, we don’t even know if Kobe talked with Mitch about this first. The entire team could be “bucking” Gasol up in private. Scared about tonight’s game too.

  5. #3 – Funky Chicken

    “If a deal comes up that improves the team, you do it. Period.”

    Lamar’s TPE disagrees with you.

    By the way, Kobe should say something as he’s the leader of the team. Not to try and unite Pau, if even until the trade deadline, is what would be immature on his part.

    This is a no win situation for Pau, until final resolution. Hopefully that happens soon, one way or the other.

  6. Smooth (nobody is as smooth as Wilkes…),

    Actually, the Lamar example does illustrate my point: namely, that the organization, like any in professional sports, will make a move that it thinks improves the team even at the expense of hurt feelings and loyalty. That giving away Lamar for an as-yet unused TPE seems to have made the team worse doesn’t undermine that point at all (it just means they either got it wrong this time, or that the jury is still out until they use the TPE).

    As for Kobe, exactly how does Kobe’s public outburst help the situation? You can’t possibly think that by demanding that the FO does something that there is no way in the world they’ll do he has improved the situation any more than my suggestion of privately encouraging Gasol, can you?

    I think everybody (you, me, Kobe, Gasol, Mitch…) wants to see this resolve sooner than later, but the issue isn’t timing–it is results. They acted on Lamar pretty quick (and in the minds of many, prematurely). It is hard to believe that the Lakers can get the same quality deal for Pau today as they could at or near the trade deadline, which is the whole point of letting him “hang out there.” The FO isn’t being “mean,” they are simply doing what any good business person would do–trying to maximize the possibility of a good outcome, and it seems at least a little unfair to criticize Mitch for giving away Lamar too soon but not trading Pau fast enough….

    I just don’t get how venting your frustration about your employer publicly is a sign of “leadership” or does anything to unite the team or empower Pau. It’s not like Kobe said “don’t trade Pau” he essentially said “I don’t care whether you keep him or trade him, just do it now.” That’s hardly the kind of leadership I’m looking for….

  7. 2,

    I’ll bet the opposite KenOak, this is a W game mainly because it’s a home game, a game after mild rant from Kobe and a game of redemption after losing in Portland and just last night in Phoenix. Did somebody say you’re dealing with an inconsistent team?

    On your post about Kobe, he may be self centered player but not as brutal as you have described. Gasol is not Kwame/Smush. IMO again, Kobe wants clarity, finality and stability so that they can move on to the next task smoothly.

  8. 6,

    FC, here’s the quote from Kobe (verbatim):

    “If they’re not going to do it, come out and say you’re not going to do it,” Bryant said. “This way, he can be comfortable and go out and can perform and play and he can invest all of himself into the game. 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.” Los Angeles Times

    You can interpret anyway you’d like, just saying Kobe’s relaying the sentiments of a player who is being asked by reporters if he’s looking for a place to live in Boston or in Houston or in Chicago or in Twin Cities etc. How can you focus on the game and get double-double production?

  9. anyone know where a stream can be found?

  10. As for Kobe, exactly how does Kobe’s public outburst help the situation?

    It might have made Pau feel a little better, and I don’t think it will affect the FO either way. People are making too big a deal out of it on both sides IMO.

  11. Felton/Crawford. 30
    Fisher. 0

    Wallace. 23
    Metta. 1

    Brown 236 dazed and confused looks on bench.

    Final Score

    Lakers 93
    Portland. 90

  12. Ha, I remember when the GM went to Eddie Jones house and told him that he would not be traded. He was traded that week, lol.

    Pau/Bynum filler are worried about their wardrobe, they don’t know if they’ll need a Speedo or a Parka.

  13. Kupchak is right, his hands are tied, he is going to entertain offers for Gasol as he should, he’s not spreading rumours all over the place. Its an unfortunate position for Pau but it will all be over in 2/3 weeks

  14. Dave from Prior: From 1980 – 2003, there has been only 1 time that a team won the championship with only 1 HOF player on its roster (94 Rockets). I stopped at 2003, because of eligibility. However in addition to proving my superstar point : ) I am again giving props to #24. It should be obvious now that he will have won back to backs as the only HOF player on the roster – a unique feat. Still say baloney? I’ll take 23 – you can have 1 : )

  15. Kobe was right for speaking up that’s what team leaders. Plus he’s always been known to go against the grain. Kobe defending Pau was great should tell you who he wants he never spoke up for Drew.

    Blazers have always been a matchup nightmare for lakers. Lakers will have fire tonight and win. Unless Brown plays Kapono.

  16. I totally agree with you KenOak,

    Kobe is the most competitive guy in the league, he would trade away his best friend if it meant he would win ring #6 (Pau is not his best friend I’m just making a point). Winning titles is all he cares about at this point in his career, (he’s even said so many times on record), his comments were nothing but a smoke screen to me. He knows Pau is a goner he’s just trying to maintain the appearance that he’s against it and also maintain his relationship with Pau after a deal is done.

  17. By the way – we need to start winning games to have any shot. Dave made me go back into history: Since 1990, only 2 teams have won the championship while finishing with worse than the 4th best OVERALL record in the league. Nobody has won it after finishing worse than 10th. The Lakers are currently 11th. So pay attention to what Darius said about what we need to do, and root for it : )

  18. Agree with rr that too much is being made of Kobe’s statement, but to characterize it as “leadership” is to leave out the adjective “bad.”

    “One way or another, do something” is hardly the the sort of ringing endorsement that makes a team or player stronger. On to the game….

  19. first impression, bad body language, no energy

  20. Fish 0-4 and we’re up by 7? wierd

  21. wow. ball movement!

  22. Wow Brown is learning. Barnes in. Now Fish?

  23. Kobe’s rant was way too premature. I’m surprised he went off, considering that March 1st is around the corner, and just about everything points to the Lakers doingsomething.

    Even if the moves are nothing big, it just means we’re not doing a fire sale just to go from first-round exit to second-round exit team. Mitch is smart. Fans are not quite as smart.

  24. My god get rid of Fisher! 0 for 6.

    It’s is sad.

  25. Drew 9 min played and already with 8 pts and 9 boards.

  26. So much pressure Kobe released by speaking up. Its obvious

    Bynum dominating why take him out

  27. Lakers up 22 to 7 in the 1st quarter.

    You know what that means.

    Big letdown in the 3rd, and they tie it with 2 minutes left to go in the 4th, making the starters play 38+ minutes again.

  28. We’re going to win this game, but we’re also going to blow much of this 22-pt lead.

    ETA: @28 – hey, Everclear, get out of my head. :)

  29. FINISH HIM.

  30. Everclear – I’m sadly fearing the same thing. But I’ll stay positive and hope for 28 minute games for Kobe, Pau and Drew.

  31. Robert,

    Maybe what’s needed is a little more clarification in terms of what you consider to be a superstar or a star.

    The fact that more than one HOF player happened to be on the roster on most every championship team isn’t really relevant to the point you were making unless I misunderstood.

    By example, last year Jason Kidd was a member of the Dallas Mavericks and I suspect he’ll go on to the HOF but in terms of 2011, he wasn’t even on the All-Star team much less a top PG any longer.

    If you’re going to say that you count him as a superstar or even at this stage of his career a star in the context of the league’s very best PG’s then yeah, I’m sticking with my Baloney comment.

  32. Blake let Portland score! Waive him now!

  33. Wow!! 21-0 run. Where was this energy & effort last night?

  34. Only in LA can the home team
    be up by 30 and you can hear a pin drop…

  35. Blake has just out scored tonight Fisher for the season.

    Think Brown was watching!

    Or understands?

  36. @34 – I posted in an earlier thread – Bynum commented after last night’s game that the team had no energy to start the game last night because Brown put them through a two-hour practice early yesterday afternoon (disguised as a shootaround). Kind of dumb of Brown, IMO. Yesterday was the first game of a stretch of four games in five nights.

  37. I think the point I’d like to emphasize regarding Kobe’s comment is that if the players or the fans want to be pissed off over the way this is playing out….

    Tell it to Mr Stern for crying out loud! This whole deal was signed, sealed and delivered before the first game was ever played this year.

    This isn’t the way that Mitch wanted to see this affair conducted and he took steps to handle it professionally to avoid this kind of embarrassing situation.

    This is on the League office guys. Not the Lakers FO.

    And Kobe knows doggone well that’s true.

  38. Kobe stood up for Pau last night

    Love how the team is standing up for Pau tonight

  39. Kobe messed up a chance to go up 30 plus but cant really complain

  40. Two very silly boneheaded TO’s by Kobe to end the half. That said, I’m going to give us a pass on the sloppy execution we’ll likely see in the second half, though. We have two killer games later this week, so if we are saving energy and focus for those and don’t play Kobe/Gasol 23423423 minutes, sure… fine… whatever.

  41. I’m not sure I know of or can remember a star player who’s so completely prone to stringing together a series of dumb decisions on the court in such rapid succession the way Kobe does.

    And the end of the half there is a perfect example of it.

    On the other hand if he’s going to do it, it’s best to have it happen when they’re up by 30.

  42. @ 38 – Copy That. I do recollect you mentioning that in the last thread.

    22 pt halftime lead. We need to come out at the start of the 2nd half and bury them. Don’t even give them a since of life in regards to a comeback.

  43. Funky-
    I don’t really understand what you would rather have Kobe do here? He had to, at least, nominally stand up for Pau. He’s the leader of the team and he had to, at the very least, appear to have Pau’s back. For all we know he went to the FO before he went public with this. If Kobe and the rest of the team stays silent, then Pau would probably feel like he was unwanted. That doesn’t help him on the basketball court.

    And if you didn’t catch the part of the quote where Kobe said that “he doesn’t want Gasol to be traded,” then I don’t know what to tell you because it was there.

    Edwin- Dude. Kobe would definitely fire Fisher himself if it would guarantee that 6th ring. He likes Pau, but you can tell that he gets ultra frustrated with him sometimes.

  44. Have to keep making the extra pass. Ball movement was superb.

  45. Dave: We can resume our other convo tomorrow, but now you are picking on my guy KB. Your first sentence @46 is a little harsh : ) He has the best +/- on for the game, and he only has 2 TO. The announcers are praising him heavily, and I think he is playing pretty well. You aren’t a closet hater are you? : )

  46. Yea Kobes !!!! Toooo pretty

  47. Wow – right on queue – that’s my man – Kobe you are too much

  48. Thats the 4th crap lob fisher has thrown today

  49. should have had a timeout 4 minutes ago, whats going on? where is blake barnes?

  50. As great as Kobe is he freezes his teammates out too much. Have to pass the ball

  51. Can someone tell me what’s wrong with Mike Brown’s brain.

    Fisher 4 turnovers.

    Artest 2 points.

    Blake and Barnes watching.

    This guy is really a horrible non-coach.

  52. KB moved into 42nd all time games played tonight. Combine that with the 208 playoff games + that is lot’s of mileage like reggie said.
    Kevin: He needs 7 more dimes to move into 43rd all time there. Told you guys – I will be fine either way : )

  53. That’s 2 quarters in a row that we closed out poorly. Not quite the gap I was hoping for that would ensure rest for Kobe-Pau-Drew. Although it looks like Drew’s minutes are being managed this evening anyhow.

  54. Does Genius Brown consider coaching his players with 1 second on the clock? Or does he just want to walk up and down the court looking confused?

    I just don’t get why anyone would sign him to a 4 year contact. Anyone!

  55. Everyone, let’s not have trade talk in the game thread and if you want to complain about MWP/Fish/MB, then don’t make it repetitive.

  56. Blazers 7-9 from the 3 in third quarter to make this a game.

  57. The refs hate Andrew Bynum.

  58. Terrible 3rd quarter. Hopefully this game doesn’t end up going down to the wire .. We were up 30 at one point in this game.

  59. Robert: his stats are phenomenal

    But how many times has he let teams back in games because he shoots 5-6 times in a row?

  60. 1/2Decaf: I am rooting with you for Otis to come to his senses, but you never know : ) I am with you all the way: Jerry/Wilt, Magic/Kareem, Kobe/Shaq, Kobe/_____ it just makes too much sense. : )

  61. sorry Dude – just saw your post

    Go KOBE

  62. So… think we’re getting tacos?

  63. Joey Crawford is on a mission

  64. Ok Simple Simon Brown get Kobe and Pau back in the game and take out your hack a smack team before you screw up another game.

    What a coach.

  65. Kevin-
    How many times does he let his teammates take 5-6 times in a row and watch the other team climb back in it?

  66. Tweet from ESPNLandOLakers: Joey Crawford, fourth quarter closer.

  67. There are few things more irritating than watching the Lakers play with a 20 pt lead

  68. I don’t think I’ve seen Aldridge play this poorly in quite some time, he’s just missing the shots he typically hits

  69. Kenoak: I saw ball movement 1st half. 3rd quarter kobe shots galore and what do ya know kobe shot again

  70. risky move from Brown…I’ll leave it at that

  71. Kobe’s really mastered ‘The Dirk’ …

  72. The Lakers need to get rid of their dead weight. This was a McRoberts game. Put him out there against Crash. Murphy stands no chance against him.

  73. Oh yea – 24 has 24 He will do his best to get you the Tacos

  74. Geeez Dude if I didn’t complain about Fish/Metta/Brown I might as watch Pawn Stars cause Lakers would never lose.

  75. LOL +1 to Ken for comment 79

  76. Kevin-
    I guess you see what you are looking for…
    I saw turnovers.
    I saw the Blazers hitting all of their 3′s.
    I saw the refs making some horrible calls.
    I saw Kobe miss some shots.
    I saw Pau, Metta, Murphy, and Goudelock missing some shots.

  77. Perhaps one of our coaches should tell the guys to pass it down low to Drew. He’s only had two or three touches in post in the entire second half.

  78. kehntangibles,
    One of those things is watching them play with a 30 pt. lead.

  79. @83 – That’s crazy talk. That’d interfere with our second half game plan of forced jumpers and half-assed D against open 3 pt shooters and penetrating guards.

  80. Why doesn’t Brown do what Phil used to do and ride the starters the whole 3rd quarter, build a 40 point lead, and sit them the whole 4th?

    The refs are keeping Portland in this game!!

    Hack a Metta?

  81. Ken, Ken, Ken…your complaints about those three get fired out of your keyboard like bullets from a machine gun.

  82. First great timeout by brown. run some offense end on a high note.

    Kenoak: not harping but no denying kobe freezing teammates in 3rd. Bynum amd gasol had double doubles in a half then kobe wemt into gunner mode.

  83. There was no hitch on MWP’s two made FTs there.

  84. Get Metta out of the game before he makes Mitch freak out

  85. Hack a Metta

    How embarrassing is that.

  86. wow. bynum’s passing has gotten really good really fast.

  87. Ridiculous pass by Bynum there!

  88. Reggie Miller is in full Kobe mode – gotta love it

  89. I hope we haven’t met our season’s quota for transition buckets in this game alone…

  90. Why not take Kobe out of the game at that timeout when it clearly became garbage time?

  91. Well, it was only an extra 10 seconds, but still.

  92. Good win – we needed that

  93. After being up double digits all game Kobe plays 40 mins again after 40 last night.

    Brown can’t seem to get it right.

  94. Good win for the Lakers

  95. Well The Sky Bar Wins Again!

    Yea that’s where the Blazers were last night!

    Sky never losses.

  96. Kevin: MB is trying to move him up on that all time list as well. He is currently 19th : )

  97. Ken: skybar is for winners too
    Robert: he’s making sure kobe gets in the top 10. This year

  98. It was great that Kobe cleared the air about his comments on Gasol in that post-game interview. A leader has to support his teammates and lead them in a positive direction. It’s good to see that Kobe took the initiative and did just that.

    Good game today, very nice show. Hopefully the Lakers can continue to trust each other and become more consistent. ‘Trust’ can make or break a team; just look at the Spurs (wow) compared to the Wizards (barf). Although the Wizards’ situation is a whole ‘nother, more complicated story…

  99. This game wasn’t the Lakers winning as much as it was the Blazers losing.

  100. Kevin, fyi Kobe played 35 min 41 seconds.

  101. So perhaps Kobe should go off on the FO more often? Protecting his troops can’t be a bad thing.

    Now if could only he can convince Fish and zmetta to take up skeet shooting, or a reality show, or tandem dancing, or team shuffleboard, or luge racing, or sitting in a room and going through the entire Internet.

    I can go on forever!

  102. Whatever happens at the trade deadline and subsequently the rest of the year… Again I urge all of us to appreciate and admire what Kobe has been and continues to do as a basketball player and human being. To play every game the way he does. How hard he does. With the skill he does. It’s rediculous what he does. And to a much lesser extent we need to appreciate the kind of Center Andrew Bynum as become. How long doesn’t usually to take for Centers of his size and strength to learn how to navigate double teams? Usually a whole care passes. He is truly a well rounded player… I’m sure some credit goes to Kobe and Gasol.

  103. 106,

    I think it was both. The Lakers won it and the Blazers lost it.

  104. Michaelh: still too many, lol

    Good win nice passing kobe got to the rim. Nice night for lakers fans. JV lost again