Something To Build On?

Darius Soriano —  March 4, 2012

The Lakers came out and did what many wondered if they could – they beat a top tier team and did so pretty easily. They controlled the game from the outset with Kobe setting the tone on offense and Ron setting the tone on defense, ultimately riding that wave of energy through the end of the contest. And while there’s a fairly big caveat for this game (Chris Bosh didn’t play) the Lakers’ desire to compete shone through to the point that this is the true takeaway from this game, not who did or did not play.

We’ll have a full report on this game up a bit later, but for now enjoy this win in the comments. The Lakers stepped up their level of play today and did so in a nationally televised game against one of the elite teams in the league. If there’s a game this team can build on, it’s this one.

Darius Soriano

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36 responses to Something To Build On?

  1. Wade looks like he has lost a couple steps since his only championship season and one step since last year.

  2. Wade complained about “headaches” after the game after getting hit in the head in the third quarter. The only headache was one Kobe Bean Bryant.

  3. Scott (from previous): It seems all teams in the league seem to be thinking they are “stronger” recently. Orlando wants to try to keep D12, Boston is now talking about standing pat, and now the Lakers may feel bold after this win. If everyone has inflated perceived values for their players, then deals could be few. Cuban and Riley smile and laugh.

  4. Bynum and Kobe seem to have some sort of great energy together since the ASB. Wonder what they said to each other?

    Lakers still give up too many offensive boards and foot speed remains a problem. I like the offense adjustments more plays more cuts more high low action more movement.

    Steve Blake brings so much more moxie to the bench. He’s a true PG without the athletic ability.

    The next 16 games favor Lakers they are all winnable. A move should still be made but the chemistry is obviously coming together.

  5. While we still need an upgrade, we may only need another PG. Metta’s play has been improving by the game. There isn’t one guy on the trade market that would have been able to do what Metta did today. now if G-lock can become more consistent on the road we have another 2nd unit shooter. As for D Howard, what could ha bring that Drew didn’t today? It’s all about health and if he can stay healthy we have no worries inside.

  6. Sorry to add another roster-move comment to the thread – I did enjoy the win! – but I can’t help but feel there’s another small tweak that could really help the team – adding a veteran 4/5 who can play good D for 15 minutes and shoot a little pick & pop. I don’t know who that would be, but there’s got to be someone out there like that who’d come cheap.

    Murphy has his moments here & there, but it seems like Brown has basically settled on a 3-man rotation of bigs and I just don’t think Troy can handle that job night in and night out. He was pretty dreadful today. He’d be acceptable as a 4th 4 or a spot guy.

    I’m fine with Barnes/Blake/Goudelock, those guys have settled into their roles.

    Love Kobe’s game, love the effort from MWP, love how Drew & Pau’s games are meshing.

  7. This was a great win, but it seems that everyone is swinging over to the “we only need tweaks” camp. We need more than tweaks to win it all or make the finals. This is true after this Miami win, + it will be just as true after the next bad loss. Yes – we “could” get a 3 seed with the tweaks (maybe even without them). However, being 3 in your conference makes you about 6th in the league (please see earlier threads).

  8. The better the Lakers do, the less the odds of a trade. Whenever the front office takes a hit, someone will always, rightly, bring up the fact that we just can’t maintain the salary level we have been use to. Sorry, but that may be the lesson of the Lamar trade.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some move is made, but I really doubt any blockbuster – not with the chemistry developing the way it is.

    It will be up to another team presenting a deal Mitch can’t pass up, rather than us stretching to give up extra picks that will be extremely valuable in the future – salary-wise.

  9. Robert

    You have to throw out the first part of the season because it no longer applies. It’s how we have been playing that counts. The early schedule was brutal. That’s over. We need one guy and we are serious contenders.

  10. This was by far our best defensive effort of the season. Holding the Heat to 83 points is remarkable.

    People are down on Gasol’s performance but you have to understand that his length played a big role in the Heat missing so many shots at the rim.

    The only complaint I have about this game is the complaint I have after every game. We need a point guard!!! We struggled in the 2nd half of getting the ball into the post because our point guards could not handle the pressure.

    This was World Peace from 2010 game 7 finals. The only question I have is will he be able to play like this the rest of the season?

  11. I completely disagree with you Robert. I think that a PG and some sort of scoring punch off the bench is what we need. Small moves. No need to move Pau/Bynum.

    We are currently in 4th place as constructed. I think we can get to the third seed even if we don’t make any moves. We could probably get to the 2nd seed if we add a PG. We are right where we need to be. Anything can happen in the playoffs when the game slows down and size really starts to matter.

    The only way I think of giving up Pau is if D-Will is offered, but that doesn’t seem likely at all.

  12. Funky Chicken March 4, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Imagine how much easier this season (and even this game) would have gone if we had even a below average PG instead of the worst one in the league. The Heat were playing 5 against 4 most of the game, which made Kobe’s efficiency all the more impressive (and, for a happy change, at least it wasn’t 3 on 5 as MWP stepped up nicely). If there’s any way to add Sessions and Beasley without giving up any starters (unless someone out there wants the union president), I’d feel like we had a great shot. Right now, it’s still not going to be enough.

    This was a nice win, for sure, but that one caveat is a huge one. Miami’s bigs were as bad as the Lakers’ PG, which is something that would have been a lot different if Bosh had played. Moreover, it wasn’t particularly pleasant watching Pau get dominated on the low block by a small forward….

  13. The only question I have is will he be able to play like this the rest of the season?

    __

    No. The hope for Lakers fans with MWP is that he has a “playoff gear” (Aaron alluded to this earlier) and will be a + player in post-season. I expect that if the Lakers actually do something, big or small, it won’t involve getting a 3.

    To reiterate what the KBros were talking about, they suggested that the Lakers beating Miami might actually increase the likelihood of a move, in that Buss may think the team IS good enough to make the Finals with an add. Or, of course, it might have the opposite effect or no effect.

    Incidentally, Deron Williams has 45 points with 6 minutes left in Charlotte.

  14. And yes, as noted here and in the game thread: Bosh not playing was a big deal; his quickness and face-up skills have been a huge matchup issue for the Lakers.

    But…beating James and Wade is beating James and Wade.

  15. Miami was without Bosh. Put him in place of Juwan Howard and Haslem things may have been different. It still was a good win a gut check type win. Lakers are a dominant home team 17-2 (Cleveland with Mike Brown was one too).

    Foot speed and a penetrating guard is still a need. Every game Bynum plays well and dominates makes 18 mill look that much more expendable.

    How about Kobe’s defense on Wade. LOCKDOWN. Sorry I ever doubted the Mamba he still sits atop the SG ranks in my book.

  16. Funky: I am assuming that your “…” at the end implied some level of sarcasm, but in case it didn’t, I think that we can all agree that LeBJ is not exactly a small forward. Sure he might be a bit shorter than the majority of today’s 4s, but the strength and bulk are more than there to play PF. Compare him to the likes of Barkley & LJ in years past. He’s like an uber-Charles to be honest.

  17. I have a big problem with the general media consensus that Wade is somehow Kobe’s equal (or near equal). Wade’s a fantastic player, with numerous accolades, and he had a spectacular run in the ’06 playoffs and Finals (dubious officiating notwithstanding). He obviously has a chance to add to his legacy. But, he is 30, and he has not accomplished anything close to what Kobe has accomplished, by any objective evaluation, either as an individual or as a team player. And, I seriously doubt he’s going to be playing like Kobe is playing when he hits his 16th season in the NBA.

    Yet somehow, I hear all the time that he is just as dominant a force as Kobe, and that their careers are a good match for each other’s.

    That’s why a game like today is extra sweet.

  18. MWP won’t play like this the rest of the season!

    Still glad he came up big today.

  19. @10 and 12 – Yes, when opposing teams play up on our PGs to cut off the entry pass to our fronted bigs, Fish and Blake are not able to make them pay because neither one has a first step. It really was a struggle watching them try to initiate the offense when Miami stepped up the pressure. Fortunately, our guys didn’t try to force the issue very often, which would have led to a lot of runouts for Les Douches Deux.

  20. rr/Kevin: I appreciate the balance shown in your comments. This was a very enjoyable win, but we are what we are.
    Michael H/KenOak: Don’t worry, we only have 11 more days of a discussion focussed on iminent change (or not). I will root for the Lakers strongly after that no matter what happens.

    With regard to the playoffs: What usually happens in the NBA, is that one of the top 2-3 teams wins. The Lakers of all teams know this.

  21. As an fyi, I’m still going to be deleting common trade speculation that pops up. The site’s commenting guidelines haven’t changed.

  22. A couple of take aways from the game –

    -Bosh’s absence shows how important full health will be in the playoffs. Injuries to any key players will be a huge factor for top heavy teams like the Heat and Lakers.

    -A few weeks ago I had said the Lakers were not as bad as some commenters seemed to think – the three point shooting and MWP would come around. Brown is a decent coach. I think that is pretty apparent now. This team can compete in the playoffs – don’t think they are a championship team yet, though.

    -I would agree that a strong push by the team now might prompt the FO to go get an upgrade at PG and see if they can make another run with the big three. (An athletic shooter off the bench might be nice too, but I’d be thrilled with a starting quality PG. Maybe Glock can be that guy.)

  23. Announcer says what? Calls Lou Williams of Philly a Sixth Man of the Year contender, an award that Jason Terry of Dallas won last year. What a moran!
    http://i3.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/001/296/morans.jpg

  24. Funky Chicken March 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    AusPhil, it wasn’t meant as sarcasm at all. No doubt that LBJ is not a typical small forward by any stretch, but he’s no power forward (you really cannot compare him to Barkley when the guy averages a little over 7 boards a game for his career), and he should not be able to routinely deny a seven footer the ball.

    To be fair, the Laker guards are especially weak at post entry passes, so it’s not all on Pau, but Pau’s inability to hold his position against a guy 6’8″ should be fair warning to those on this board who sometimes speak of trading Andrew for a PG and moving Pau back to the center spot.

  25. Deron Williams ended with 57, including 21/21 FTs.

  26. Funky,

    James is 6-8, ~270 and one of the freakiest athletes on planet earth. “Small forward” is just what we call him for convenience.

  27. Lebron is 6-9 and 260+. If he played PF for 30 minutes a night, he would average closer to 12-13 rebounds per game. Personally, I believe that he expended a lot of energy throughout the game playing ball denial against Pau. He’d been killing the opposition in the 4th before today, but he only went 1-5 from the field against us in the 4th.

    I’d rather have him expend his energy playing ball denial against Pau than have him wreak havoc on the perimeter and blindsiding our bigs near the rim from the weak side. I also thought the officials gave him plenty of leeway in his physical play, actually calling Pau for an offensive foul, a three second violation, and calling no fouls on Lebron.

  28. @rr – He’s always been listed as 6-8, but a couple years ago he mentioned that he had grown an inch and was now 6-9. Either way, he’s not your prototypical small forward ;)

  29. jodial @17: Agreed. Wade is just another name on the long list of guys who they have compared to KB over the years. Iverson, McGrady, Carter (most of them look comical now). However, the media is a strange thing and that is why I root against the Heat. I do not want the Wade supporters to have any more ammo, and I want the Bronze to continue to be LBJ’s biggest accomplishment as the team leader.

  30. rr, Deron is just insane. It’s hilarious that 50% of the NBA coaches and GMs voted him as the best PG in the league last year, but this year he didn’t get any of the votes.

  31. Is it wrong that I think Yahoo’s game recap titled “Kobe scores 33, Lakers beat Wade’s Heat 93-83″ is funny?

  32. Funky Chicken March 4, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Guys, I’m not denying Lebron’s physical stature; I’m just saying that it is disappointing when your power forward is dominated on the low block by the league’s best perimeter defender. I think Pau himself would acknowledge that 11 points is not a great showing when you have a height mismatch like that.

    Dude, you may well be right in attributing his fade in the 4th to his effort defensively–whatever else I can say about Pau’s effort, it’s not like LBJ did not work his butt off out there, and at least Pau made him work.

    Whether it’s Kobe, Lebron, Durant, DRose, DWill, or even Rondo, it looks like now that the all-star break is over the league’s stars have strapped up and gotten ready for a 2nd half battle. It’s easy to lose sight of the other talent in the league when we are blessed to watch Kobe night in night out, but there are some ridiculously talented guys at the top of their game right now. Many on this blog have blasted the idea of trading for Rondo, and while such a move might not be appropriate, look at the historical night (day) he had today. I mean, when you throw down a triple double the likes of which have only been done by Wilt and Oscar, you are just killing it.

  33. Deron with 57 and rondo with 18, 17 and 20 (thats a pretty impressive triple double). It must have been the day for PGs to have big games.

    Great game by the Lakers. The defense was excellent. MWP seems to be getting in better shape. I don’t think he will ever be a efficient offensive player anymore, but I think a big part of why he was so bad at the beginning of the season was just being out of shape.

    Lebron probably weighs as much as Gasol, so the fact that he was able to deny him by fronting him in the post isn’t that surprising. Especially when the refs were letting him be very physical. The Lakers also didn’t run anything to move Gasol across the lane to try be able to get a clean entry pass into him.

  34. The Lakers still need a PG
    DWill is still one of the best two PGs in the NBA
    Gasol should not be able to score on LeBron ever
    Bynum has become the best passing Center
    Kobe has outlasted a younger Wade
    Artest is still a freak defender

  35. @ Aaron

    Do you mean Gasol “should be” able to score on LeBrawn? Which he should, if placed in the proper position to score.

    Other than that, I agree on all points with minor adjustments.

    Artest is still a freak defender, when motivated and he’s allowed to play physically. Being older, he can not keep up with younger, faster 3’s like Durant.