Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

Darius Soriano —  March 18, 2012

Records: Lakers 28-16 (3rd in West), Jazz 22-22 (9th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 104.1 (17th in NBA), Jazz 105.7 (8th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 101.4 (9th in NBA), Jazz 106.5 (23rd in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Blake, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Jazz: Devin Harris, C.J. Miles, Josh Howard, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors
Injuries: Lakers: none; Jazz: Al Jefferson (questionable), Raja Bell (questionable), Earl Watson (questionable)

The Lakers Coming in: One game into the Ramon Sessions era and so far, so good. The Lakers picked up their 5th straight win and their new addition contributed with his speed, ability to set up his mates, and his feel for the game. As this team moves forward it will be important to not only integrate a key player but to continue to evolve as a group and better refine their schemes to raise their games even further. And for all the hand wringing surrounding Mike Brown, achieving this certainly looks possible. Over the past few weeks the Lakers have shown greater comfort on offense, seen Bynum continue to grow his game, and had Kobe continue to play at a high level.

As an aside, what’s gone mostly unsaid about the Lakers with all the change after the trade deadline is that Pau Gasol is still with the team. In Friday’s game, he definitely looked relieved and seemed to play with a clearer mind. He moved well around the court, was aggressive when he caught the ball, and just looked better. As with Sessions, a one game sample doesn’t automatically create a trend for the future, but it was good to see Pau play unburdened. If that continues, the Lakers may have picked up another player at the trade deadline: an invigorated Spaniard.

The Jazz Coming in: The Jazz are 3-2 in their last 5 games but have still – even if only temporarily – dropped out of the playoff race in the ultra-competitive West. This may actually be the preferred course of action for a young team that’s still rebuilding and trying to sort out their roster into workable pieces that fit together for long term success. They have a logjam in their front court with two high lottery picks (Kanter and Favors) playing behind two good veterans (Millsap and Jefferson), and are still sorting out who their long term answers will be on the wing, with both Gordon Heyward and Alec Burks proving to be inconsistent at these early stages of their careers. Another lottery pick wouldn’t be the worst thing for this team, as it could give them another player that may help their long-term plan to become that perennial playoff team they were with Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan. It’s a painful process to rebuild in this manner, but it could end up being what’s actually needed after this team showed they could not sustain their strong play from earlier in the season.

Jazz Blogs: Salt City Hoops and SLC Dunk are both very good sites for coverage and analysis of this team.

Keys to game: This will be the 4th and final time these two teams face off this season, and the Lakers have the opportunity to claim the series 3-1 with a win tonight. In the previous three games between these teams, a few trends have developed:

*The Jazz have been very good at attacking the offensive glass, grabbing 18, 10, and 18 offensive rebounds in the three games. In the last game (the lone Jazz win in this series) Millsap had 6 and Jefferson had 4 OReb’s and they’ll need to be closely marked and bodied to keep them from getting extra possessions. Gasol will need to be especially active, as Millsap will lurk on the weak side when shots go up and use his quickness and instincts to move to the ball and secure the rebound. Pau mustn’t get caught watching the ball too much or lose sight of Millsap, or else he’ll find himself chasing the Jazz forward after the rebound is already lost.

*The Jazz have not proven capable of hurting the Lakers from beyond the three-point line in any of the games. They’re 9-39 from behind the arc in the three contests and the Lakers should force them to take the long jumper again and again until they prove they can make those shots. This is especially true with the Jazz’s emphasis on getting points through their post players and with Raja Bell (their best deep shooter) questionable. Dig downs from the guards should be a point of emphasis to bother the Jazz big men, but with LA’s wings still closing out under control back to their shooters to still contest shots.

*Andrew Bynum needs to get his touches against Al Jefferson (should he play) and Derrick Favors. Bynum has the size advantage on both players and in the last Jazz game he scored 21 points on only 14 shots while helping to draw fouls on the Jazz front line. Bynum’s recent play has buoyed the Lakers’ offense and tonight that should continue with some matchups in his favor.

*Kobe’s been great at getting to the FT line against this team by attacking the basket and using his repertoire of fakes and feints to get his defender off balance and draw contact. He should continue that trend tonight, especially if Jefferson plays. When big Al and Millsap are in the game, the Jazz don’t have a big man that can defend the rim and Kobe should use that as incentive to try and get to the paint. If he doesn’t get a good shot right at the front of the rim, he’ll either draw a foul or get one of his big men a good look via an offensive rebound or a dump-off pass, a method of fueling the Lakers’ offense when they don’t simply dump the ball into the post or run their screen actions.

Tonight gives the Lakers a good opportunity to keep their momentum going and continue their push for a strong playoff seed. The Lakers are excellent at home, so the expectation is that they’ll play well — but they must do it on the court and not just expect it to happen. With the added energy of the Sessions deal and the big three showing strong chemistry of late, here’s hoping the good play continues.

Where you can watch: 6:30PM start time on Fox Sports West. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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169 responses to Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. I hope MB brings Sessions in at the six-minute mark of the 1st quarter, along with Barnes. That would give him approximately three 1st quarter minutes with the Big 3, until Drew gets subbed out for Murphy or McRoberts (make it the latter sub, MB!). Sessions can also lead our running 2nd unit, with Drew anchoring the middle, vacuuming up rebounds and starting the break with his improved outlet passing, while Sessions, Barnes, Goudelock, and McRoberts run the fast break lanes.

    Blake could then get brought back at about the six-minute mark of the 2nd quarter for about three or four minutes, with Sessions at the point for the final two or three minutes of the half. I’d like to see Ramon play close to 30 minutes tonight. Utah had to go into OT last night, so hopefully our guys can build up a cushion, giving the Big 3 some rest and even let Sessions play out garbage time for some extra minutes.

  2. @1 Dude- Agree. Sessions seems to work well along with Barnes. And the 6 mins mark is perfect to get him to play with some starters.

  3. Fish bought out:

    Just as I experienced a heart vs head schism about the Lakers trading him, I feel the same way about him possibly playing for a contender.

  4. So, does the buyout mean we’ll be seeing Hill tonight? Any word?

  5. The Clips and Pistons are in OT. Hope the boys from Detroit can pull off the win. We need the Clips to keep losing so the Lakers can have the Pacific Division all to themselves.

  6. @3 – The only Western contenders that might have a hole at backup PG are OKC (but Harden has been ably handling those duties since Maynor went down) and Memphis. I suppose he could go to Miami if the Heat don’t trust their rookie backup, and Orlando is a remote possibility. My guess is Memphis, as their two backups have been execrable so far this season.

    @4 – I think Hill will suit up, as there was a practice yesterday and Fish is now bought out. As for playing time, I’d rather see him out there than Murphy, but you never know. Hopefully we can blow out the Jazz so he at least sees some garbage time.

    Edit – There is a family connection with Fish and Memphis as well. Little Rock is pretty close to Memphis.

  7. I think Fish signs with the Suns.

    I’ll be counting how many post ups to PnRs the Lakers run. Hope it’s not to drastic either way.

  8. It needs to be said that the Lakers for the second straight game have an advantage at the PG position. After not having an advantage their for 8 straight years (Gary Payton) the Lake Show have one for two consecutive games 🙂 Let me to be the first on here to say “Look for the Lakers to attack with their PG (Session’s) to take advantage of his speed and quickness.”

  9. okc has a rook by the name of reggie jackson backing up westbrook. don’t think fish winds up there, but he might be a good fit playing with harden, their 2nd unit’s primary playmaker.

    he has a higher PER than chris duhon, so maybe he’ll sign with Orlando.

  10. This game should be a blow out. The Jazz are coming and playing their 3rd straight game (back-to-back-to-back)

  11. I wonder if Orl is a viable option given the weird politics surrounding that team. I can just imagine the Orl beat writers mocking management for failing to surround Howard with a player like Nash or Monta Ellis… ‘but at least we got Fisher!’

    To me, bringing on a player like Fish is a major PR risk for a club that is trying like hell to keep the lid shut on that can of worms.

  12. well, orlando’s gm said a few minutes ago that he liked the roster and wouldn’t add anybody like fisher or turiaf. boston needs big men, so i figure turiaf might wind up there. he’d probably receive PT, which is huge for somebody in a contract year.

  13. I’ll be curious to see if opposing teams’ offensive rebounding statistics drop when Sessions is in the game. After all, why not crash the offensive glass like crazy if the opposing PG isn’t a threat to beat you in transition?

    This is just another example of offense and defense being inseparable, not to get all Sacred Hoops on y’all.

  14. @13 – At a minimum, our defensive rebounding rate should see overall improvement because Ramon himself is one of the three or four best rebounding PGs in the league. I also expect our offensive rebounding rate to improve as our bigs gradually adjust to having a penetrating PG as a teammate.

  15. Kapono released.
    Fisher released.
    Next Walton released.

    Sure tells us what the rest of the NBA thinks of the Laker talent.

    Oh well.

  16. Is it possible that there were some behind the back deals?

    Kapono and Fisher are both being bought out which leaves Walton (who probably will have some value as an expiring contract – something that will be fairly valuable in the next season) as the only guy left.

    It’s almost as if Mitch got others to do what he could not – buy people out who aren’t contributing. Anyway, looking forward to Devin vs. Ramon, although maybe only in spurts.

  17. I will be sitting across from the visitors bench on the floor next to my dad (bald guy). I’ll only be their for the first half (my mom and brother will be there second half). Wish me luck 🙂

  18. Watching the MIA-ORL game, one thing is crystal clear. D12 is such a terror around the basket on defense, that opposing player miss easy shots they usually make simply for being worried about getting swatted any moment. No other player in the league has this degree of unseen impact in the paint.

  19. Avidon: I promised Darius everyone else that I would move on, so please don’t rub it in : )

  20. With respect to Blake starting, the MB quote I heard after “foreseeable future” was “It might be his job for the rest of the year.” Exactly what I was afraid of in trading for Sessions, but thought the issue would be Fisher, not Blake!

    Excited to see what Hill does in his debut tonight.

    Will be keeping a close eye on Blake and Sessions to get some game data from which to draw conclusions.

  21. Kobe Alert: He needs to make 5 Free throws tonight to move beyond MJ into 4th place all time. Kobe likes it whenever he puts MJ in his rear view in any category.

  22. Enjoy the game Aaron and hopefully you’ll b able to give us some ‘Inside Stuff’ …

  23. in his last 10 games(previous to this one) bynum is shooting 73% from the stripe.

  24. Are we starting another turnover festival?

  25. horrible.

  26. wow, 6 early TO’s.

  27. Team must have drank green beer last night.

    Andrew looks bumbly.

    Kobe dosen’t want to shoot the ball so far.

  28. Several early turnovers disrupting the Lakers offense in this game.

  29. mcroberts in before murphy. lots of footspeed in this lineup with gasol at the 5.

  30. We look really bad tonight. Everyone turning the ball over and no one seems to be in rhythm.

  31. Drew does not want to pass tonight, thats 3 travels already!

  32. Just an awful quarter and we are only down 3. Has to get better from here. Oh and Ramon is friggen fast!

  33. Pathetic. Let me know when the team decides to wake up.

  34. Andrew has really fallen back into bad habits the last couple of games. He was showing some decisiveness against the double-teams in previous games, but against MIN and now tonight–the ball is getting stuck. He has to pass out of the post in those situations, but he is trying to beat the double and triple team for a bucket

  35. 10 Lakers turnovers lead to 12 Jazz points. Offense has no rhythm right now.

  36. Andrew looks like a rookie. 4 TO in one quarter. He must lead the league in traveling.

    I still have no clue what Brown’s offense is suppose to be. When Kobe is shooting bad the offense comes to a stop.

    Good thing Utah is missing 3 guys, they could be killing us.

  37. Don’t worry, if we fall 17 points behind, we’ll just take care of things in OT.

  38. We have a fast break again!

  39. There we go…

  40. Man, this Sessions+Barnes combo is gonna be good.

  41. I’ve got to say that I like the “running team” (the 2nd unit). Matt Barnes seems like a new player with Sessions on the floor. Having Drew low, Murphy as a stretch 4 and GLock & Barnes on the wings is a nice 2nd unit setup for Sessions to work with.

  42. Ramon “Magic” Sessions.

  43. Sessions/Bynum…good stuff.

  44. Sessions really has improved the Lakers fast break. He had a very nice pass to Barnes for the layup. Enjoying seeing the Lakers getting out and running.

  45. @chibi
    That’s blasphemy!

  46. Do we really have to play Blake tonight?

  47. Drew’s left hand off the glass is one of the best post moves in the league.

    Like how Sessions draws lots of fouls.

  48. Am I the only one who’d like to see Ebanks on the floor with Sessions at some point? Without actually seeing it, it just feels like something that could work.

  49. Can we put Fish on the list of players that “Kobe made better” or is that too much?

  50. I’d sure like to know the stats the opp. offense numbers when Murphy and Pau play together. It can’t be good the opponents get a lot of easy buckets.

  51. This is why KB24 is different from other stars right now. 1st=0 pts, 2nd=starting to score, he is so deadly even though he haven’t scored a point in such a period that everybody playing against him feels like he is still a threat out there.

  52. It would be nice to see if Kobe can learn to play off the ball when Sessions is in the game. His usage would go down, and you would think the offense would have more flow. It kind of defeats the purpose of getting Sessions, and takes Sessions out of his comfort zone, if you are going to make him a badly undersized two-guard when Kobe is in.

  53. Kobe just looks horrible. Been doing this a lot lately. Can’t dribble or shoot. Wonder if it’s the mask or something else.

  54. Take Kobe out there is something wrong with him tonight. Rest him.

  55. holy moly 17 turnovers!

  56. Perimeter oriented offense tonight not a lot of pounding the paint which made Lakers successful past 2 weeks.

  57. Vhanz what game are you watching?

  58. 17 turnovers in the half exceeds the avg per game for every team in the NBA. We avg 15.2. To lose 17 in a half is hard to do.

  59. 17 Lakers turnovers lead to 16 Jazz points in the first half. Lakers only have 15 FGs. UGLY. Lakers fortunate only to be down 1.

  60. Pau and Bynum have 8 of the TOs. Kobe has 4. Sessions, incidentally, has 0.

  61. Starting PG zero
    Starting Small forward zero

    Well looks like under the outstanding coaching of Mike Brown that hasn’t changed.

    Think he reads stats?

  62. Is this the game where Kobe decides to show his unhappiness with management, or is there genuinely something wrong with him?

    1-8 is not a line i’m used to seeing from him, even at his very low.

  63. 2nd unit with Sessions flowing way better than 1st unit with Blake.

  64. Lindsay just said absolutely nothing.

  65. Lakers crowd is pathetic

  66. kobe is completely letting his frustrations get to his game and subsequently the rest of the team

  67. Kobe is making CJ Miles look like an all-world defender. Miles can’t even guard himself.

  68. Kevin: Laker crowd is always a liability. Compare to OKC’s crowd. It is like playing 5-6.

  69. Kevin, they probably wish they stayed home to work on their tax returns.

  70. Robert,inwit: Crowd needs reason to get excited as if seeing the Lakers in person isn’t enough.

    I’m with you guys. Blake doesn’t need to see the floor rest of the game.

  71. I like lakers crowd there’s a certain LA “Swag” about them. It fits the team don’t need a college okc type crowd.

  72. Kobe is pressing now. Bynum is dominating, but (still) isn’t getting the ball enough. I love you Kobe, but please, recognize it’s a tough night for you before it’s too late.

  73. This is just not Kobe’s day, honestly i dont have a problem with a single shot he has taken today, most have been in the paint, minus some open threes. And Kobe in the paint on his floaters, drives and pull ups is normally money. Hes not forcing anything he is just ice cold

  74. I hear you Kevin, but I admit switching back and forth to Tennis Channel to watch Nadal play doubles.

  75. Man, if Millsap got to play the Lakers every game, he would have MONSTER averages. He just kills us in every way.

  76. I have never seen Kobe play this bad. 1 for 12 with 6 turnovers. Brown just sits there with zero coaching going on. Make some changes Brown. Do something!

  77. This may be the worst I have ever seen Kobe play. Ever.

  78. @ Ken

    I agree this may be kobe’s worst game ever, he just seems to be having one of those days where nothing, and i mean nothing goes or feels right.

  79. Kobe must be on the bench. He clearly is having a personal problem tonight. 7 TO. Wake up Brown. Are you this clueless?

  80. eeeek 7 TO’s and 2-13; also 3-5 from the line. Wow – at least we still have the 4th Q

  81. I see it’s kill Kobe night. Bigs getting bullied and 21 TO’s aren’t helping. Team just looks out of wack tonight.

  82. WTH is up with Kobe.

  83. i won’t be too upset if the lakers lose this one. they deserve the L.

  84. Brown can not coach!

  85. It’s like the bad news bears out there.

  86. I never bash Kobe – I was just acknowledging the stats – since I am usually constantly cheering him : )

    On a positive note – he needs 2 more free throws to pass Jordan : )

  87. Lakers have 1,000 turnovers and Kobe’s off only losing by 6. Jazz are in trouble in the 4th.

  88. Kevin7 of those turn overs are Kobe. He is 2 for 13. Bigs are fine. Nothing from zmetta’s, Blake and bad from Kobe.

  89. I never bash Kobe – I was just acknowledging the stats – since I am usually constantly cheering him : )

    On a positive note – he needs 2 more free throws to eclipse Jordan : )

  90. Like Stu said, ‘They have 12 mins to clean up their act.’ Considering how many turnovers we have, fortunate to only b down 6.

  91. Lakers give up another career high to another player. Geez.

  92. Ken:Kanter,Milsap are owning the paint. Kobe’s a part but the team’s not playing well together.

    Lakers will win this game.

  93. That didn’t look flagrant to me.

    But props to Sessions for running so hard, trying to bring us back.

  94. Sessions made that into a flagrant because of how fast he was going. This guy can play.

  95. Does Ramon already have the most FTs by a lakers PG all season?

  96. Is Hill actually eligible for playing tonight, and if so, why isn’t he out there?

  97. Is barnes ever consistent 2 games straight. geez our small fowards are a joke on offense.

  98. And MB says that Blake will continue to start for the “unforseeable” future? Seriously? Yeah, I’m with Ken on MB…

  99. Ramon is so fast, it’s ridiculous. I think he’s going to be taking the starting job from Blake in no time at all. That little shovel pass to Bynum for the dunk was NOICE!

  100. Sessions almost single handedly keeping the Lakers in the game. Wonder if he’s fit enough to play the entire 4th.

  101. Zirk-

    I think it’s the right move. You don’t want to rock the boat. Ramon will end up starting, but by making him “earn” the starting position, it looks better to everyone involved. If Ramon was CP3, then there never would have been a doubt about who would start, but Sessions wasn’t even starting on his own team.

    There is nothing wrong with what Brown has said so far. Give the guy a friggen break. We have like the 5 best record in the league and the 3rd best in the west. We will challenge for the second seed with his ‘horrible’ coaching.

  102. Interesting line-up with both pg’s on the floor together and Kobe @ the 3 …

  103. Lakers deserve to lose tonight. Probably took Utah lightly tonight knowing no jefferson. Oh well.

  104. Ok, I’m going to sleep.
    It’s almost 1am here in Brazil and I won’t be up anymore to watch this crap.
    The team is completely awful tonight (except for Bynum).

    Hopefully I’m the problem and they can turn it around after I leave.

  105. On Blake starting/Sessions coming off the bench–

    I also^ think it might be the right idea. Also, I don’t mind as long as Sessions gets the bulk of the minutes and he finishes the game. Plus, as it’s been said, Sessions and Barnes make a good combo.

    Side note: I’m tempted to call Sessions ‘Sesh’ but unsure because that’s his dog’s name. :p

  106. Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) will not return to the game with bursitis in his hip.

  107. Are we really going to mess up our home win streak to the jazz with no jefferson. Ok

  108. Give it to Drew

  109. Kobe SUCKS

  110. The more he misses, the more he demands the ball. Get it inside to Bynum and stop giving up layups on the defensive end. So frustrating.

  111. I understand Kobe is off today, but he can’t play defense either?

  112. Gasol sorta dissapers in the 4th.

    And brown please put sessions back in.

  113. Yeah, let me shoot a 3 pointer when I’m already shooting 10 percent. Kobe is playing worse than a d-leaguer. You SUCK!

  114. Kobe just let that Burks guy show him up.

  115. Take Kobe’s shooting out the game and the Lakers are shooting 56 percent. You take out Kobe, Goudelock, and Sessions and the Lakers are shooting over 70%. Wow, what a bad shooting night can do to a team.

  116. The lose goes all to Kobe. And Brown not having the guts to bench the guy when he stinks.

    This could be a problem, also Brown plays Blake who has not scored in three games.

    Bench Kobe. Playing no defense either.

    Brown is weak.

  117. Let’s try to keep Celtic battle cries out of the game thread

  118. Ken, ouch, the truth hurts.

    Kobe needs to have some sort of epiphany ASAP.

  119. Wow. We have no answer for Paul Milsap. I love the way he plays.

  120. In general the lakers continue to blow opportunities to get closer to san antonio in the standings.

    I continue to believe the lakers defense is overrated because they never get stops when they truly need them.

  121. Pau is sooooo slow footed

  122. Wow Ken.

    What about the last game when Bynum was 3 of 15 or whatever it was. Everyone has horrible games and this was definitely a horrible game. Wash our hands of it and move on to the next one.

    Wow- 3/20 for Kobe. That is ridiculous. The loss is on his poor shooting for sure and the lack of defense on Utah bigs and the ridiculous amount of turnovers we had.

  123. Why didn’t they call a timeout? Kobe killed us. Stu, the lakers weren’t flat. Kobe was. Take it like a man and take the blame for the loss Kobe!

  124. I’ve never seen Kobe play a worse game than he did tonight.

  125. I don’t get the game since I am in sf so I only saw the stats via espn game cast. Can someone let me know how Kobe goes 3/20? What was his shot selection like and did he defer to Bynum
    (12/14) or just continue to lay bricks?

  126. Kobe is really just all about his ego. 3 for 20 and yet he still throws up more junk. This is what happens when you have no coach.

    Blake zero points yet he closes.

    Brown zero time outs the last 2 minutes to call plays and get ball out of Kobe hands.

    This is the reason Lakers will jot get out of the West.

  127. Jazz announcer:

    “Kobe woes carry to the final seconds of the fourth.”

    Ouch. :/

    I think they said Kobe has had sixteen game-winners this season. So give him credit [I guess].

    Ugly night, can’t wait to forget about this one.

  128. And our starting PG had 0 pts tonight. What other team has a starting PG who scores 0 pts. Yeah, but let’s keep starting Blake.

    Turnovers and Kobe’s piss poor shooting killed us tonight. Way to lose to a team that hasn’t won a road game since the Stockton/Malone era. We can’t give away games like this if we want to win the division and get the #2 seed.

  129. Kobe had a off night so what.

    His shots were good shots. Just an off night not like he lost the game

  130. This was mostly on Kobe, but the other players need to go away from him when he is forced out of good post position. Don’t force feed him the ball 23 feet away from the basket, reverse the ball and throw it in the post and then run action from there.

  131. I’d like to see you bench Kobe, even Phil didn’t try that!

  132. The Lakers always have trouble with short, active, physical 4s–Carl Landry, Glen Davis, Reggie Evans. Pau and Drew don’t matchup with guys like that. Millsap is the best of that type of player in the NBA, so it makes sense that he would chew the Lakers up.
    Kanter ate them up tonight as well.

    That said, this loss of course is mostly on Kobe. 3/20 with 7 TOs was enough to waste a time capsule game from Bynum. Kobe may be getting tired, and remember he is playing with a injured wrist. But that is no excuse. He was terrible tonight.

    Sessions was just 1/7, and Glock was 1/5, meaning the Laker guards were 5/33 as a group. Blake was 0/1.

    Even at 1/7, Sessions scored 10 points, had 6 ASTs and 0 TOs. I don’t really get why, after seeing Sessions, anyone would think Blake should play more 15 or so MPG.

  133. Well, just when this team was starting to make a statement, they lose to a horrible road team. Can’t really predict what this team is going to do this year, but pretty safe to say they are probably not going to get to the finals, not this year.

  134. You guys are not right tonight. I can see dishing blame where it’s due but tonight Kobe didn’t lose the game.

    Jazz 52 paint points 10 off. rebounds

    Lakers 24 turnovers

    Kobe was off but he didn’t lose the game.

  135. 24 turnovers, 15% from 3, Kobe 3-20, Sessions 1-7, Bench outscored by 6

    I was waiting to see what the comments would be like after we had the first bad loss after the TD.

  136. Kevin: I appreciate your effort, however holding back the Kobe bashers is like holding back a mosh pit.

  137. I agree it is never one players fault that you lose. You win as a team, you lose as a team. Stop blaming Kobe, he had an off night, it happens, but less turnovers and we probably win this game.

  138. Kobe was flat out off. I don’t think he took bad shots or went into chuck mode. For the most part kobe took shots that he normally takes. But defensely, he didn’t have any energy.

    But the bigger picture is Kobe is averaging 43 minutes over the past 5 games. With him playing so much at this age he’s going to have these type of games (even with a day off in between games).

    Kobe should be averaging about 35-36 minutes a game and instead he’s playing 39.

    Mike Brown should’ve called a few timeouts just to get Kobe some rest, especially that last play.

  139. 3-10 is an off night, NOT 3-20 buddy. We lost by four points. You don’t think those extra attempts could’ve been used for Bynum attempts!

  140. Robert: You know I’ll gladly bash Kobe if I feel he deserves it. Not tonight. 24 turnovers and the only effective players tonight were Barnes and Bynum.

  141. Robert,

    I have a post stuck in moderation, But Kobe was 3/20 with 7 TOs. There were other problems, but this loss has to fall in large part on him. No way around it. Millsap is always going to be a bad matchup for the Lakers.

  142. Utah Favors, Milsap, Kanter 53 points 27 rebounds

    Can’t blame Kobe for Milsap scoring at will down the stretch. Pau’s defense was nonexistent tonight so was Bynum’s.

    Lakers are going to lose games it happens.

  143. Kevin/rr: No doubt Kobe had a bad game. However we have seen this before + we will see it again. He is what he is. He is great – but he will have games like this. I have no issue with your comments. I only have issue with the ones that either end in a Boston type cheer, or that attribute Kobe’s play to some sinister plot to protest management, + overthrow the entire world : )

  144. Robert,

    I think there’s a difference between Kobe bashing and calling him out for a crappy game. Like you, he’s my favorite player of all time. Nothing will change that, just like nothing he does from here on out will change his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time.

    But, with that said, a lot of us aren’t going to hang off his n*ts no matter what he does. When he plays great and does amazing things, which he does more often than he has games like this, I’ll be right there with you praising the crap out of him. But when he has games like this, shooting 3 for 20, with all the turnovers, he deserves to be criticized. Any player does. If Pau shot 3 for 20, I would be all over him too! I mean, c’mon, 3 for 20 is absolute garbage! Especially when Drew was 12 for 14! Some games, you just don’t have it. So is it too much to ask him to recognize that? If you’re going to be off and make only 3 shots, go 3 for 9, not 3 for 20.

    But like Kevin said, this loss isn’t entirely on Kobe. Too many turnovers and poor interior D contributed as well. But when your star player has games where he goes 3-20, 8-26, 9-31, well that stands out and plays a big role in the outcome.

    Like I said, I’m not bashing Kobe as a player. I’m just pointing out that for this particular game, he stunk up the joint.

  145. Yeah, can’t blame Kobe for milsap scoring, but we could blame him for giving burks a new career high. He torched Kobe.

  146. Zirk: I agree. I am not saying anything different am I ? : ) I think 109 + 113 are bashing in the purest form. If you are saying the same things that Boston fans do – you are bashing. True?

  147. Robert,

    I agree. It’s fine to say “Kobe played well” or “Kobe played badly” or whatever else is true. But the psychodrama some people endlessly attach to it is a joke. Kobe didn’t force much tonight; they just didn’t drop. The guy is going to shoot; that is what he is–a scorer.

    I wonder if Hill was eligible tonight; he has the quickness to perhaps help against guys like Millsap. Pau and Drew are just too slow. Hill needs a little burn. He is better than McRoberts. Not much better, but a little better.

    And Blake should not be getting 27 minutes anymore with Sessions on the team. Knowing the plays and nomenclature is important. So is having the physical ability to get into the paint.

  148. 106 Exactly (Kobe can’t play D?). He isn’t engaged defensively that often anymore. I’ve seen him save his breath so often when his turn over or clanked shot leads to a run-out and then, too, his playing centerfield gets us burned so often with what upside exactly? With this D and with his shooting us out of games lately (tho tonight the selection wasn’t so bad), do we question his bb IQ or gravitas?

  149. Was Blake trying to be benched? Zero points and two assists? I would have Blake play back up SG. Start Sessions obviously… Then have GLock back him up. This offense needs guys at PG who can play PnR. Pretty simple.

  150. I hope Artest is alright Lakers could’ve used his defense down the stretch.

  151. Besides Bryant just plain sucking in this game. Pau, MWP, Blake all struggled as well. All the older guys had no energy or quickness… this game was just FLAT. This is the kind of game where the coach would have been better served to play the younger guys for longer stretches…

  152. It’s not like Kobe was taking a bunch of horrible shots…on a normal night, he makes at least 6-7 more of those. It just wasn’t happening for him. On to the next one…

  153. Too much green beer yesterday.


  154. Not much positive to take from this game. Bynum was a beast….on offense. Sessions continues to impress, despite his poor shooting. Ramon played a fine floor game. Drew & Pau need to improve their interior defense. Kobe was terrible and the turnovers were inexcusable. Despite all that, The Show still had a chance to steal back this game. Just a weird game all around.

  155. Bynum was content with having a monster offensive game. Kanter and Milsap destroyed the Lakers bigs in the paint. Bynum and Gasol didn’t even attempt to block a shot tonight.

    Additionally, gave up defensive rebounds in crunch time.

    Say what you will, but the Lakers missed MWP on defense in the 4th quarter. That’s where he usually causes a turnover, gets a steal that leads to a basket that energizes the Lakers on defense.

    Finally, a pg that understands how to pass the ball ahead on offense, that’s the only way to get fastbreak points. Everyone thought Barnes was horrible, but didn’t realize that he wasn’t being used properly.

    Early in the season Ebanks ran the floor on offense, yet the Lakers would not pass the ball ahead for him to finish. In the second unit Barnes did the same thing, and often became frustrated.

    Raah-mon will start on Tuesday.

    Kobe was due a game like tonight. It’s been an emotional season for him, LO getting traded, Fish being traded and a quasi impending divorce. Not worried about Kobe!

  156. The renegades were thrilled about the trade, and expected the Lakers to begin blowing teams out. The chemists have been worrying and worrying and worrying–when they weren’t depressed.

    Was it just a bad game by Kobe, and unusually bad communication–or has the natural Laker chemistry been disrupted?

    Can’t blame Sessions, but the Mojo seems to have fizzled a bit.

  157. That pass Sessions threw to Barnes 3/4 of the court on a dime between defenders was sweet. Haven’t seen that since forever.

  158. We can’t hang this one on Fish.

  159. anyone that defends Blake starting after this one…well, I don’t know what to say. Keeping track of good plays and bad plays for Blake and Sessions (yes, entirely subjective and biased) the final tally was Blake=Good:1, Bad:9, Sessions=Good:13, Bad:1.

    In addition, the team was out of sorts with Blake in and looked much more fluid with Sessions in. Looking at the box score now…Blake-9, Sessions+1

    And a big bronx cheer to the overmatched MB who is entirely responsible for this loss. Way to see what you have in Hill, and great idea to play the big 3 each 37 minutes.

  160. dr rayeye,

    Kobe put up the 6/28 and the 9/31 games when Fisher was still on the roster. One thing we know about Kobe: he is going to shoot the rock no matter who else is on the floor with him.

    The whole “mojo” thing would be a little more persuasive if you showed up and talked about it after games that don’t fit your narrative.

  161. On to the next, texas state. blame MB and apply to be the coach. Sessions will start soon just have patience. Before the trade deadline everyone is complaining about FO on having a point guard and some people said here that just be patient. Now, after trade deadline most people wants to start Sessions on Blake. Now, I’ll tell everybody that we need to have patient. It will happen soon.

  162. tviper: yeah don’t know what I was thinking defending Blake. If he’s going to take 1 shot and not be aggressive he should just warm seats. He’s been in a funk for more than a season now.

  163. As we discussed yesterday… The first unit really struggles without a true PG in this offense as Kobe becomes the defacto PG and the ball tends to stop. Again… If Steve Blake was a competent starting PG it would be a no brainer to have Sessions provide energy off the bench. But alas he is not… Just because Session’s would start doesn’t mean he can’t play with that second unit. Bynum is always with that second unit… doesn’t he start?

  164. viper,
    Not sure Hill was eligible–buyout needs to be official.

  165. About kobe’s shooting, yes Kobe was bad tonight, really really, really really, really bad, just an absolute off night. however he only took 20 shots which is actually less than his average on the year. Also thinking back i cant think of any of the shots kobe took that were bad shots, even by normal player standards. The majority were in or around the paint and very few were forced they simply didn’t go in.

    Also Kobe took 20 shots and 9 free throws, that accounts to essentially 24 offensive possessions ending in a shot attempt. Bynum took 14 shots and 12 free throws which results in 20 offensive possessions ending in a shot attempt, not exactly a major disparity or an example of Kobe taking shots away from Bynum.

  166. The starters have just been playing too many minutes, the two OT’s very recently did not help.

  167. sT: I’ve been beating that drum for about a month now. Kobe and Bynum are averaging 40 mins a game in March.