Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  March 21, 2012

The Los Angeles Lakers continue their up and down season, both in games won and lost and within the games themselves, often swinging wildly from quarter to quarter. At their best, they are an elite team – currently in 3rd place in the west and certainly in contention for a championship run. When not at their best, which is too often these days, they resemble a train wreck. Last night against Houston, they dominated in the first quarter, and veered on and off the track for the remainder of the game. Andrew Bynum was tossed and laughed about it on his way out. The team could use an extra serving of leadership right about now.

Brian Kamenestzy at the Land O’Lakers, contrasts positives such as Ramon Sessions’ offensive push, with a lack of ball movement late in the game, and a continued reluctance to put Gasol down on the block.

C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll offers a number of game descriptions, including his least favorite – that the Lakers lost because they found out what worked for them and made sure to stay as far away from that as humanly possible, for the rest of the game. Clark also writes about Kobe today.

Mike Bresnahan at the L.A. Times writes that Bynum’s rejection becomes the Lakers’ dejection.

Devin Ebanks is one of the more seldom seen sophomores in the league this season. Bresnahan and Mark Medina report that his lack of playing time may affect his decision process for next season.

Over at the O.C. Register, Kevin Ding explains that he broke his leg before handing the story off to Jason McDaniel.

Beat writer Darnell Mayberry at the Oklahoman looks at the notion of Derek Fisher as a member of the OKC Thunder.


The Lakers are not what is traditionally thought of as a rebuilding team. The presence of our big three tends to draw attention away from an objective big picture. In truth however, the organization in its attempt to move forward for the future, has undergone seismic changes. A chorus line of coaches and players have exited stage left, taking some 34 championship rings with them. The incoming class has decidedly less hardware – Mike Brown worked under Coach Pop during the Spurs 2003 title run, John Kuester was an assistant with the Pistons in 2004, and Chuck Persons is the lone holdover from the Phil Jackson days. Fortunes will hopefully change as the team grows and learns but as we all know, the rebuilding process can be painful. The Lakers visit the championship Dallas Mavericks tonight, another team facing trials and tribulations.

– Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy


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  1. This post is from Slappy on the last thread. These numbers are real. And they are “real” scary. Kobe is in his 16th season (the same as Fisher) and is playing out of the triangle and in a condensed season. We have a reason to worry.

    Player: FGA/FTA (per 36)


    KAJ: 15.8/5.5
    JWi: 15.7/2.7
    NN: 13.5/2.8
    MJ: 12.2/6.0


    KAJ: 16.5/5.4
    BS: 15.7/3.6
    JWo: 14.2/3.3
    MJ: 11.6/6.0


    BS: 15.9/3.7
    JWo: 15.7/4.1
    MJ: 13.6/6.7
    KAJ: 14.1/4.2

    So far we have:

    KB: 22.0/6.3
    PG: 13.0/3.8
    AB: 12.4/5.5
    RS: 11.1/10.3

    So Chucker Bryant is shooting too much. And worst of all:

    Player: FG%/TS%/eFG%

    KB: .430/.525/.461
    AB: .578/.606/.578
    PG: .503/.548/.507

    His .430 is the worst of his career save for his first two seasons in the league while his TS and eFG are the worst of his career.


  2. Slappy,
    Those stats are very bad. I don’t blame all of that on Kobe. The coach is a part of it and the rest of the Lakers are a part of it. Kobe’s teammates can’t stand around and let him subbamarine the team by monopolizing the ball. Andrew Bynum has turned into unquestionably the best offensive Center in the league and the best one since Shaq was in his prime. Pau Gasol is one of the best face up high post PFs of all time. They need the other players to get them the ball. Kobe is not the only perimeter player. When Blake, Artest, Barnes, Session’s and GLock continue to pass the ball over to Kobe on a Bryant ISO that’s their fault as much as Kobe’s.


  3. Kobe seems be on the decline. And it’s his Bball IQ more than his ability. He’s pretty inefficient, doesn’t create for others as evidenced by his decreasing assist numbers, and doesn’t play a lick of defense.

    The defense part I do believe he’s saving himself until the playoffs. The inability or unwillingness to create easy shots for others is solved by getting Ramon so the lakers won’t have to rely on Kobe nearly as much.

    Not the tough part is addressing his inefficiency. A lot of things go into that. 1. The amount of minutes has to getting to him. 2. Mike Brown has to stand up to kobe realize this isn’t lebron in cleveland. Mike brown has to run more off the ball plays for Kobe like he did at the beginning of the season. Kobe has to trust his teammates and start making the right plays instead of just jacking contested shots and long 3 pointers.

    I don’t think Mike brown has the guts to rest kobe, run plays for others and when kobe does go into hero mode call him out on it. I don’t think kobe has the willingness to take a step back and stop trying to be the hero all game every game.

    Kobe has had more really bad games (16 under 40% shooting) than pretty good games(10 over 50% shooting) this season.

    Mike Brown and Kobe are the leaders of this team and all the lakers problems start with them.


  4. Kobe’s insistence on getting “his” is reaaaaaaaally getting old. Instead of sticking with what was working and capatalizing on our bigs who both had fantastic game, he HAS to keep shooting. It’s just becoming a deterimant to the team and it’s really sad. Sessions is proving his worth already and our team actually looked better with him getting into the paint and creating then when kobe was on the floor forcing his shots. The old adage that kobe HAS to shoot is compmletely ridiculous I think Bynum proved he doesn’t mind being an option in crunch time and that he can deliver. Instead of making the game easier for himself AND the team he continue to just stick to his ways. Even if those are shots he makes…SO WHAT they are not falling tonight pass the dang ball. This is a game that should have been a 20pt lead in the 3rd and a night where bynum or pau went off….instead kobe got his way and another loss. Then he has the nerve to question management when he has the key to the whole team. His stat line should be 22 7reb 7asst every night, those are mvp numbers not 3 straight games shooting horribly and playing hero ball and losing when your bigs are obviously very affective consistently.


  5. 1/2decaf1/2regular,
    I think you’re on the right track but are heading the wrong direction with your train (how am I so smart to just come up with a great analogy). Pau Gasol is a PF. He was “soft” last nigtht because he was playing out of position the entire fourth quarter against their first team center He is a thin finesse PF. That’s his game. I do think he is mentally soft though by how he let personal matters effect his playoff play last postseason and how he let the trade rumors effect his okay this season. I would use the word emotionally fragile more than mentally soft.


  6. I was watching the game with my father in law last night – we tuned in during the second half. He asked me what I thought of Mike Brown, and I said I liked some things he’s done, especially given the crazy circumstances this season, but still had some issues with the way he runs the team. Specifically, I said I didn’t like his rotations, or the way he coaches the ends of games. Then we watched while he made me look like Nostradamus.

    At some point, the coaching staff has to take some of the heat for all of these late game collapses.


  7. I have cut Brown more slack than many LA fans have this season, but the trade of Fisher and the adds of Sessions and Hill will have him on a shorter leash for me, personally. Sessions isn’t ideal–not much on D, not a great shooter. But he is a lot better option than what Brown had and Brown needs to utilize him properly. Even with Kobe off, the Lakers O has looked pretty good with Sessions the last three games.

    Ditto Kobe. I have always defended him, but as I said before the deal he will need to back off a little and let Sessions have the keys sometimes.

    The Lakers lost for many reasons last night. Bynum’s ejection, Houston getting 16 ORBS, bad team D. But I do put a lot of it on Kobe and Brown


  8. 2 great posts by C.A. Clark.

    Lakers had great ball movement since the Wizards loss with the exception for last night. Sessions’s first 2 games he was able to make plays when in the game. kobe was off ball and Sessions found him, Bynum caught a lob and he found Pau for mid range jumpers. One loss to Houston won’t change that Sessions will have the ball in his hands to create. i’m almost 100% sure if Bynum is in the game he gets the ball when kobe checks back in that’s happened for weeks now. His ejection hurt.

    Teams are taking it to the Lakers defense. Kobe is undisciplined plays out of position a lot and gets beat off the dribble. Metta consistently fades to the paint leaving 3point shooters wide open. PnR defense has been nonexsistent as of late. The Pau & Murphy lineup hurts the teams defense. All these things are correctable so that’s a good sign.

    Now Kobe he takes too many shots he’s shooting a low percentage and he breaks plays sometimes. But since the Wizards loss he’s been playing within the offense NOBODY can deny that. He reverted back to old habits vs Houston but if Bynum is playing Lakers win that game. And with all the shots Kobe missed he tied the game TWICE after both makes Lakers gave up off. rebounds which led to scores. Youo have to say the defense failed the Lakers last night.

    I’m going to go back the Detroit game and show up a growing trend: Maxiell got a crucial offensive rebound in OT vs Lakers, Trevor Booker w/ a off. rebound with Lakers down 1, Pek & Love pushing Lakers big around, Brandon Bass having a field day vs Pau, Gasol & Speights outworking Lakers bigs, Chris Kaman putting it on Bynum, Pek & Love dominating the frontcourt match-up again, Milsap drove right past Pau and scored over Drew for the and 1 and finally Patterson getting a off. rebound for FTs and Scola driving right past Pau for the layup.

    Lakers frontcourt defense has to get better.


  9. With all that said I’m willing to bet Lakers beat Dallas tonight.


  10. Aaron,

    So you are saying the other players should freeze Kobe out? Theoretically basketball is a game where the ball should be constantly moving from player to player until it comes to the best postioned player to take a shot. Players should be able to pass Kobe the ball and expect to see it keep moving if Kobe doesn’t have a good look.

    Some nights the only way to keep Kobe from going iso is to keep him from touching the ball. That is not realistic. Kobe has to learn to keep the ball moving. That is on him. When he goes iso the other guys stop because Kobe is most likely killing the play they were expecting to run. That leaves them guessing what to do next. And it leaves them standing around waiting on Kobe.


  11. Just a heads up, the preview will be up around 3 or 3:30 PT. Some things have come up that I need to take care of.


  12. Sessions Ast/TO ratio is 3:1 (15 ast 4 TOs) since signing. 11-14 FTs and bench is avg. 30 pts in 3 games.

    With all the 3s Kobe’s taking he’s shooting 32% this month (22-69). He’s shooting 40% FG and playing 40 mins sit him some minutes his shots will go down.

    Barnes has been doing his part this month making 3s and slashing to the rim. A little 09 Ariza

    Blake has taken less shots each month shooting percentages have plummeted too. Maybe the cartilage is hampering him but he’s still not aggressive.

    Lakers ability to not create turnovers makes their defense more valuable have to secure rebounds.


  13. So what’s the deal with Ebanks not getting any burn? Seems like Brown is afraid to take peoples’ minutes.

    Sessions – Goudelock – Ebanks – Barnes – McRoberts/Hill line-up. I want to see that.


  14. Fisher signing with OKC apparently…Anyone else think he’s angling for a shot at revenge against the Lakers in the playoffs?


  15. Hey guys, I think kobe goes into Hero mode on purpose for the overall good of the team. He goes into hero mode during the regular season so teams tend to double him and he forces shots. The same defensive strategy will be used against him in the playoffs, he will pass the ball to murphy/blake like jordan and will be praised for “changing” his game. I think his tendencies help us in the long scheme of things as defenses are not prepared for him to pass the ball in playoffs. I predicted the ron artest trade would work when everyone on this website didnt want the trade. Live with kobe during the regular season, he will change his ways in the playoffs and we will win a championship. Be patient, regular season doesnt really matter as long as we get home court in the first round.


  16. T. Rogers,
    It’s not freezing someone out… It’s called not not passing the ball to Kobe for a dumb perimter ISO every time he wants one. Instead of 20 times out of 20 throw it to him 5 out of 20 times. That’s what Fisher was able to do a decade ago. He would see Kobe yelling for the ball and pass it over to Fox or Horry to send it into Shaq.

    Ha.. I know you’re joking but… The term Power Forward is a stupid term. It just means a taller SF. It should be called Tall Forward. Gasol has the height of a Center but the strength of a small forward so he is the perfect height and size to play PF.


  17. Sufian,
    Yes… When it matters as Phil Jackson always has said “Kobe will play the right way… I am not worried.”


  18. i am no way taking away from this victory. Big three played well, tho it would be better if Drew passed out of double teams faster, but thats nitpicking. Sessions is a gamer (Aaron, good call on him, i never saw him play til now). role players were fitting in nicely, and no matter how many people yell at new-whipping-boy blake, the lead was never in jeapordy in the 3rd quarter.

    I will say one word of caution if we meet the mavs in the playoffs, they were missing Marion, their best Defender, and we all know how kobe loves those challenges to prove no one can guard him. so its a W, but doesnt matter if we play them in playoffs.