Preview and Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

Phillip Barnett —  March 23, 2012

Records: Lakers 29-18 (3rd in West), Blazers 22-25 (12th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 104.5 (13th in NBA), Blazers 105.0 (11th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 101.7 (10th in NBA), Blazers 103.8 (13th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Ramon Sessions, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Blazers: Raymond Felton, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Pryzbilla
Injuries: Lakers: none; Blazers: Elliot Williams (out), Shawn Williams (out)

The Lakers Coming In: After two straight losses to Utah and Houston, the Lakers bounced back with good performances from Kobe, Pau and Ramon Sessions. Kobe went into the game against Dallas with little rhythm offensively, having shot three-for-20 and 10-for-27 in the two games prior, but he ended up having one of his most efficient nights on the season in Dallas, scoring 30 points on 11-for-18 shooting. Pau Gasol also had a big night, scoring 27 points (his second highest mark of the season) on 13-for-16 shooting with nine rebounds. On top of that, Ramon Sessions seems to be coming into his own in this Laker offense, as he had his best night as a Laker (granted, he’s only played in four contests in the Forum Blue and Gold), recording 17 points and nine assists — more assists than any Laker point guard had recorded up to this point in the season. In the post-game thread, Travis noted that it was his first time being able to see Sessions play as a Laker, but was able to sum up his effectiveness pretty well: “The best part is his game is controlled and even though the ball is in his hands a lot, he rarely gets in trouble or lets the defense hone in on him.”

The Trailblazers Coming In:  Portland is coming off a big win over the Memphis Grizzlies that saw Nicolas Batum score 24 points, which included four three-pointers. Wesley Matthews, who has recently become a starter after Portland effectively got rid of two-fifths of their starters at the deadline, chipped in 18 points and nine rebounds. While most expected the already struggling Trailblazers to be playing for a lottery pick the rest of the season, they currently sit at 2-2 since the trading deadline, just like the Lakers — who many expected to be much improved with the addition of Sessions. Instead, Portland has now won two of three against playoff bound teams (the other loss was an embarrassing effort against the Milwaukee Bucks), and have been either really good or really bad with their new roster and coach.

Portland Trailblazer Blogs: Portland Roundball Society is a fantastic blog to check out all Blazer news and analysis.

Keys to the Game: I mentioned that the Blazers lost two of their five starters at the trade deadline, and they happen to be two guys who were best against the Lakers’ strengths. As far as under appreciated ballplayers go, Gerald Wallace may define that more than any other small forward in today’s game. He’s an energy guy who can knock down jumpers, attack the rim, pass well, and defend the hell out of some of the league’s best perimeter scorers. If you needed one guy to shut down Kobe for one possession, he’s one of the first three guys that I’d consider, and he’s no longer a member of the Portland Trailblazers. The task of guarding Kobe will now fall on either Nicolas Batum or Wesley Matthews, who Kobe has destroyed over and over again. With Wallace gone, Kobe should feel a lot more comfortable working within the offense, especially in the mid to low post with Matthews guarding him or around the perimeter with Batum guarding him. While Batum is no slouch on the defensive end himself (he’s the kind of tall, lanky defender Kobe has struggled with in the past), he hasn’t had the same success stopping Bean that Wallace has had.

The other guy the Blazers lost was Marcus Camby. While one of the oldest players in the NBA, Camby was still a serviceable post defender who was still rebounding at a nice clip. Before the trade deadline, Camby was at his best defensive rating in seven years and starting every night with the condensed schedule at age 38. Now with Camby gone, the Blazers lose some of the frontcourt depth that’s needed to counter the Laker bigs over the course of 48 minutes and now start Joel Pryzbilla, another aging big man but one less skilled than Camby. A heavy dose of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol should give the Blazers all they could handle on the night, and both Drew and Pau have had relatively good games when Camby was on the helm.

Even with Wallace and Camby gone, this is still a team that won’t allow you to key in on one guy defensively. The Blazers will run their offense through LaMarcus Aldridge (as they should), but both Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews could give the Lakers issues. Batum was fantastic from behind the 3-point line in January and February, averaging better than 42 percent from range. However, teams have finally started to close out and run the Frenchman off the three-point line, lowering his shooting from behind the arc to 32 percent in March. Even with his significant drop off, he’s still a dangerous shooter when open (as Memphis found out), and it would be wise for the Lakers to run him off the line and not trade two points for three. Wesley Matthews is another guy who can score the ball. While Kobe has repeatedly killed Matthews when Bean has had the ball, Matthews is the kind of guy who moves around a lot and has given Kobe problems himself. He moves well without the ball and is an excellent spot-up shooter, which accounts for 33 percent of his overall offensive production. Per mySynergy Sports, Matthews is hitting 42 percent of his spot-up threes and scores 45 percent of the time he spots up (this is accounting for the times he’s fouled). Finding Matthews, keeping Batum off the three-point line, and working hard to keep Aldridge from going off will all be instrumental, but obviously much easier said than done.

Where you can watch: 7:30 PM start time on Fox Sports West. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Phillip Barnett

Posts

134 responses to Preview and Chat: The Portland Trailblazers

  1. From last thread–
    Question to all:
    Would it make sense to start Sessions against teams with legitimate point-guards (Westbrook, Parker) and quick back-courts (Blazers?), and bring him off the bench when he’s up against the old guys and average points (Kidd and say… Chalmers?)…?

    Btw, reminder: Jim Buss will be on AM710 @ 4PM

  2. We might just jell to prevent this pattern, but teams do play hardest against us: Who’s going to have a career night vs the Lakers? My vote is Luke.

  3. From the LA Times

    2. Kobe Bryant gets easier shots. Just before the All-Star break last month, Bryant lamented how the surrounding talent and the current offensive system made him work too hard for points. Not anymore. According to NBA.com, Bryant has shot 46% when Sessions is on the floor and only 33% when he’s not playing. The improved shooting accuracy simply points to Bryant working more on the wing and off the ball than remaining the team’s primary ballhandler. Because of that difference, Bryant finds more catch-and-shoot opportunities in rhythm instead of running isolation sets.

  4. “If you needed one guy to shut down Kobe for one possession, [Gerald Wallace would be] one of the first three guys that I’d consider” – Darius

    Who would you choose to be the other two ?

    Tony Allen & Shane Battier ? Ron Artest ?

  5. #4. I didn’t say that. Phillip did. Since you asked me though, I’d put LeBron and Iguodala at the top of any list of wing defenders I’d like in a situation where I needed one stop. Ron would be up there too.

  6. Here’s a good article about the Sessions start tonight on ESPNLA:
    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/7728918/los-angeles-lakers-coach-mike-brown-start-ramon-sessions-comfort-there

    Some interesting quotes:

    -”Sessions, who reported to the Lakers practice facility on Thursday to go over scripted plays in Brown’s offense even though the team had the day off, said he’s doing his best to cram in the new system in a short period of time.”

    Aside from his numbers and his effect on the offense in general, I’m really impressed with Sessions’ work ethic so far in getting caught up with the plays etc.

    Another good one:

    -”Sessions said he appreciated the trust Brown has showed in him after joining the team just last week.
    “He’s been big for me,” Sessions said. “Him being the head coach and him just giving me the green light to play my game, to believe in me. … This is a team that’s won many championships and to bring me along four to five days in and give me the green light to play my game is big.”
    Added Brown: “I need him to trust his instincts first and know the sets second, because I think he can be that good, so I want him to have the freedom to go play basketball and then get a feel for what we’re trying to do after that.””

  7. Barath,
    LeBron, then Andre, then Ron and then there is a major drop off

  8. #4 – Matt Barnes and RonRon always seemed to get under Kobe’s skin. So I think they would be there. I agree that LeBron and Iggy would be there. Battier? Not sure. He reminds me of Tim Duncan – and Tim Duncan doesn’t scare anybody :-)

  9. Barath: Shawn Marion, Aaron Afflalo.

  10. Phillip: Sessions is starting & the game is at 7:30pacific.

    I’m extremely excited to have Sessions on the squad as a Laker fan, but I’m also very happy for him personally. The dude’s gotta be jumping for joy. He goes from backing up a rookie (albeit the probable ROY) on a lottery bound team to starting for one of the marquee NBA organizations who are right in the thick of a championship run. What a turn around.

  11. For all those ready to criticize Mike Brown, it is worth noting that only a coach who is really comfortable in his own skin would say to a player, “I need him to trust his instincts first and know the sets second, because I think he can be that good, so I want him to have the freedom to go play basketball and then get a feel for what we’re trying to do after that.”

    What ever Mike Brown is, he certainly isn’t a marionette. He will let players play. On a veteran and disciplined ballclub that attitude will likely extend an older player’s career and also keep him involved with the team.

  12. While I’m still ok with Sessions starting, the scary quote in that article about MB planning to use Blake and Sessions on the court at the same time gives me pause.

  13. 13. That certainly coloured me confused. The one thing I praise Brown for is getting Barnes more minutes by putting him as the back up 2. Is he really going to go back on that?

  14. Dude,
    Haha. I know. Yikes. Maybe this means Blake will be back up SG like I suggested and GLock or Morris will get a shot at back up PG? Haha. I doubt it though. C

  15. I’m with you Dude & James, using Barnes as the backup SG in order to get him more minutes with Sessions was probably the smartest rotation decision Brown has made all season. I sure hope he doesn’t change that up. I can see pairing Blake with Sessions in the back court AS LONG AS Barnes is in at the 3 with them. I don’t like the idea of Sessions, Blake and MWP at all.

    Also, I’d really like to see Hill get some non-garbage minutes. At the very least, let’s see what the kid can do.

  16. If Steve Blake slides to the 2nd unit, would that mean that we will see G-lock in 2 as well. I noticed that he was sent to the dog pound when Ramon joined the Lakers in the bench. He played with Barnes and Kobe while G-lock was rested. Blake is still partially injured with his sore ribs, perhaps it’s good idea if Darius Miles could share some minutes with Blake. This kid can play the PG provided he doesn’t get much responsibility. He can drive and kick and also run with the young Blazers. I also wish that Lakers could finally close the Blazers in three quarters to give Kobe, Bynum and Pau the much needed rest. Health-wise, they should be thinking of the games in May & June.

  17. I wanna see this unit close for us for every game:

    http://polynorthamerica.com/fridgeclosers.jpg

  18. isn’t the game at 730a tonight?

  19. (sorry, meant 730p obviously)

  20. Best defensive wings/big guards at this point (not necessarily in order):

    Lebron, Iggy, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Tony Allen

    Next level down – Marion, Deng, Wade (when he wants to be), and maybe MWP (if he feels like paying attention)

    I am reluctant to put Kobe on the list this year – as his D has been in cruise control this year.

    Pierce was at one point (but that athleticism is gone now)

    Overrated defenders – Affallo, Battier, Sefalosha

  21. The start time to the game has been fixed. It will be at 7:30pm PT tonight. Sorry about the confusion.

  22. CDog,
    Love your overrated list. But do you think Battier is still considered a very good defemder?

  23. han,
    cool poster,but the words are in the wrong order.

  24. Key to game: consistent effort for 48 minutes. Lakers are easily favored against a rebuilding team with a new coach. I hope Pau has another monster game to follow up against Dallas. I like the Lakers chances already, but I like them so much more when the Spaniard plays like he did vs. Dallas.

    Really interested how the bench plays with the change… especially Matt Barnes. He has been instant offense without the benefit of running plays for him.

    Cant wait.

  25. cdog: Afflalo overrated so your basically saying his success vs Kobe is luck? Don’t know about that.

    Deng is a great team defender in Thibs system. If you check the numbers from Lebron, Granger from last year playoffs Deng was getting torched.

    I’d say Lebron, Wade, Iggy, Durant, Marion best perimeter defenders

  26. Tony Allen is a monster defensively. I’d put him in the same bracket as Lebron or Iguodala, if not higher.

  27. Kobe vs Afflalo Last 6 games 48-143 31%

    Joel: While I agree with you. Tony Allen’s in the Arest, Battier, Prince category still able to defend but not at an elite level.

  28. Affalo is a good defender. He isn’t washed up like Battier in my opinion. But I just think he is overrated. The only guy who can guard Kobe one on one is LeBron and a young Teyshawn Prince that’s it. Kobe’s shooting percentages has more to do with team defense and his own barf shooting nights.

  29. Tony Allen starts in this league precisely because he’s an elite-level defender.

  30. Whoops… Was talking about Allen not Afflolo btw. I like tony Allen. He is a nice player. He isn’t all defense and no offense. I think Allen is great at guarding PGs too. I just think he is a little overrated as an overall defender.

  31. Joel: I agreed Tony Allen is still a great defender just not elite anymore. He makes guys work hard but doesn’t put a cap on their scoring that’s what elite defenders do.

  32. Can we at least agree he’s better than Battier at this point in time?

  33. Joel: Absolutely better than Battier. Allen vs Kobe Sunday expect fireworks.

    Does sessions get double digits assists tonight?

  34. Hilarious! NBA TV was showing a few minutes of the Nets-Hawks game in Atlanta. D-Will drove the lane and got called for a charge, and the Atlanta public address announcer said: “That was OFFENSIVE, Deron Williams!”
    ROFL :D

  35. I tried to get on the radio to ask Jim Buss about the inconsistent rotation of Mike Brown. They left me on hold and later told me the question was to negative for the show.

    Bummed.

  36. Kobe Alert: KB needs 3 steals to move past our own Ron Harper for 16th all time. Magic is 15th + KB needs 11 to move past him, which will make him the #1 Laker in steals. He also needs 4 FTA’s to move past MJ for #8 on that all time list. Just in case you guys were wondering about this stuff : )

  37. #37. It’s a shame steals weren’t tracked for (nearly) all of Jerry West’s career. Folks estimate he’d be one of the all time leaders in that category if they’d kept track of them during his era.

  38. West: Yes – he also made all defensive team in all 5 of his last 5 full years. Had they had that award for his full career, he might be on top of that list as well.

  39. Mickael Pietetrus injury looked bad

  40. wow, Pietrus in a stretcher probably injury in his neck.

    Now, we’ll see how the bench will play since RS7 will be the starting PG. I hope Matt Barnes continue offensively w/Steve running the 2nd unit. I think MB wants Steve and RS7 to be together on the floor its because it also helps spreading the floor in transition. RS7 fastbreak + pass to Blake for 3.

    Guess so.

  41. An old Laker tradition to wait until a player is on home court to insert them into the starting lineup.

  42. Chearn,
    Is that true? I have only been a fan since 1996 and I don’t pay attention to stuff like that. How long has that been going on?

  43. I’m watching this Spurs/Mavs game. Gary Neal just ran the screen and reset screen play Brown runs for Sessions.

  44. @41 – Wow, hope Pietrus isn’t injured too severely.
    As for Blake spreading the court when he’s in the backcourt with Sessions, that would work on paper if Blake were a decent 3-point shooter. Unfortunately, Blake is one of the worst 3-point shooters in the league (31.8%, ranked #106 out of the 119 qualified shooters), and what’s worse, almost all of Blake’s threes are wide open. He really is a terrible shooter, and should not be playing backup SG under any circumstances.

    FWIW, Kobe’s ranked #115 in that category, but all of us know that most of his threes are heavily contested and/or taken from 28-30 feet. He’s shooting his threes extremely well when paired with Ramon, as many of them have been wide open.

  45. good lord, kevin love with 48 and 14 with a minute to go in ot vs okc. fisher is playing crunchtime minutes for them.

  46. Feel bad for Pietrus – that looked like a back injury. Sure hope he’s alright.

    As to the Defender’s:
    Battier isn’t an elite defender anymore. He still has the smarts, but has lost so much athleticism that he relies solely on the flops.

    Tony Allen is a lockdown type of defender.

    And I’m fully comfortable saying Affalo is overrated. He plays the same D on Kobe that Raja used to play (get up into the chest and hope the Bigs behind cover up) and Kobe likes to take the bait.

    I’ve never watched Affalo play a game and went – wow, that guy isn’t going to let his defender score. Maybe the stats don’t back me up – idk.

    Just by eye test.

    BTW – Kevin Love just scored 50 – with the game tying 3 to go to overtime – against the Twolves… Wow!

  47. chibi: Be careful, you may start a discussion that has the following conclusion:
    That it made total sense for DF to start, then not be worthy of second team, even though Blake is now being debated for various levels of inadequacy, Mitch is a genius, + OKC is crazy. Make sense? : )

  48. 1st 3 Lakers possessions same play 3 different actions. Nice!!

  49. Wow, what a game going on right now between Minn and OKC .. Headed to 2nd overtime and K. Love has 50 .. Oh well, I’ll find out who won later cause it’s Lakers Time.

  50. Love with 51, Durant with 40, Westbrook with 45. Ridiculous.

  51. Kobe needs to keep pace with that 40 – he is 4-5 – let’s feed him- Don’t forget who eats first : )

  52. If only MWP can hit his 3 pointers consistently, this team is really REALLY dangerous in the playoffs.

  53. don’t patronize me, robert.

  54. @53, vhanz – If MWP plays lockdown defense and shoots 33% from three in the playoffs, we’re going to be awfully tough to beat.

  55. Don’t matter if Sessions is starting or coming off the bench. He plainly just makes this team BETTER! With this lineup change, Kobe Pau/Drew will spend some more time with the 2nd unit.

  56. Metta.World.Peace.

  57. METTA WORLD PEACE!!! How do you like me now?!?

  58. Kobe 8 game minutes of rest time

  59. Gasol is playing like a Laker Girl.

  60. @55 yeah absolutely

    -Nice job by the bench keeping the lead while Pau looks clumsy with the ball out there.

  61. Blake played 9 1/2 minutes in that first half, on pace for 19. That is way too many minutes for him.

  62. Perhaps Brown the wise could put AB on Aldridge before he scores 90, the worst coach I ever saw in adjustments.

  63. bynum with the dropstep and dunk looking like you know who.

  64. @Ken,

    I see MWP will be put to LMA, Andrew seems to have a weakness with shot fakes like Dirk did to him last night.

  65. Blazers 48 Lakers 53

    Portland 50% FG

    Bench Points Blazers 16 Lakers 6

  66. Feeling like another letdown against a weak team.

  67. I’d rather see us try doubling Aldridge to take the ball out of his hands. Now that Blake and Fisher aren’t playing significant minutes for us, we’re quick on the wings at recovering to shooters.

  68. Can we avoid bashing comments on the Lakers especially when we all know that the Lakers have a new coach. It’s irritating because we all know the Lakers have a new coach. He’s not Phil Jackson. He’s Mike Brown. He has his own thing. Based on our record, I think he’s doing a good job if you think about what we’ve been through – our roster have been changed multiple times and the new system because of a new coach. Even though they’re NBA players, they still have to adjust. I’d say they’re doing a good job adjusting.

    I know we’re criticizing about the Lakers because we want them to become better; we want them to win. What I find irritating is that, some people try to become the coaches themselves – being all knowing about the Lakers. If you’re such a good of a coach, why not apply to the Lakers. He’s there for a reason. Not all coaches are perfect, but what’s most important is that he’s coaching in a macro point of view. That way, when the playoffs arrive, we are better much prepared.

  69. Bynum won’t come out to contest long jumpers from Aldrige while Pau is getting abused in the low block. I guess they need to keep Pau on him and start doubling on the post. The offense slowed down when the Blazers used the zone middle of the second quarter. Let’s see how they adjust in the second half.

    Chuck Person discussed their gameplan as going single coverage on Aldrige so they can stay home on the shooters (Batum playing well of late, Matthews shooting 14-19 3pts since coaching change). Doesn’t matter if Aldrige scores 60pts, as long as the Lakers are on top at the end of the game. It’s the W that counts!

  70. gasol is soft…i accept it… his offense is real nice , but hes just a nice guy on the court… not willing to throw an elbow or give a hard foul

  71. Interesting how the official scorer awarded the assist to Bynum on Ramon’s pass to Artest for the lefty layup.

  72. Not many off ball play calls for Kobe by the coaches all Isos

    That 1/4 PnR is money Pau’s always open

  73. Gasoft sighting tonight…smh

  74. upon re-entry to any game blake has to trip on his own feet…unforced…must be a ritual right?

  75. Nobody in the league gets more reach in fouls than Barnes.

  76. So Kobe starts 5-6 and is now 5-14. Seriously, I have no idea how you miss 8 shots in a row after starting 5-6.

    Make that 10 shots. I’ve never seen a superstar who is more hot/cold than him.

  77. Two bad plays by Blake there. Missed the corner three but made no effort to get his own rebound after the ball bounced right to him, letting the guy who flew past him to contest the shot get the rebound. Then on that fast break, Barnes was wide open for the lob under the basket, but Blake missed him.

  78. the kobe we know and love is back after a 1 game hiatus

  79. @ Zirk you start going one on 3 like he just did…does kobe know we have a pg?

  80. Kobe’s missed his last 10 shots….horrible.

  81. Get Kobe out he is back to super man mentality. I get really sick of watching him care more about his points then the team.

    He missed every shot that quarter. It’s stupid.

  82. blake = fish.

  83. PLEASE run something besides Kobe isos, forcing too many shots. Again.

  84. 14 TO’s, 64% from the line, losing 22-6 on the bench. Any solutions for these problems that have been consistent all year?

  85. batman, I thought he did. Maybe I was wrong. Just be efficient! Geez!

  86. Chibi (not trying to patronize you): I agree Blake = Fish (as long as you take away Df’s leadership, KB control, and clutch shooting). Then yes they are equal.

  87. Can someone explain to me why Kobe is even in the game? MB subs out the other guys at the end of the third, and instead of putting a fresh GLock in, he leaves KB24 in to jack up horrible shot after horrible shot against double and triple teams. Just incredible.

  88. @Aaron,

    It’s something I’ve noticed since the Pat Riley era. I don’t know if they consider it a tradition.

  89. Speaking of fish….36 min, 2/11 fg, 5 pts…still got the win tho.

  90. Typical Mike Brown he’s going to play Sessions the whole 4th quarter.. smh

  91. I don’t care if our bench has fewer points than the opponents as long as they are keeping the lead like in the 2nd qtr. Sessions playing the whole 4th qtr because Blake was playing so bad that.

  92. LakersareinSession March 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Sessions having the ball is the best feeling, it used to be Kobe but my goodness.

  93. raymond felton looks like a rodent.

  94. LakersareinSession March 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Sessions for MVP

  95. chibi: LOL

    Nice play by Kobe for the hockey assist

  96. Ramon running the show…FTW!!!

    About bench points..
    -I don’t really care if our bench score less than 20 as long as they know how to keep leads and play defense.

  97. Session is awesome!

  98. I rather have sessions play the whole 4th qtr then have Blake in there.

  99. Kevin:

    As Herm Edwards would say, ‘You play to win the game.’ Playing RS7 the entire 4th TONIGHT gives us the best opportunity to do so n my opinion.

  100. Kobe has taken some really horrible shots tonight.

  101. We are literally down to a 7 man rotation

  102. Now I understand why Mitch Kupchack wanted to get Sessions even as far as two years back. He must have had some conversations with Rambis (Wolves coach at that time), and I remember they tried to get Ramon from the Wolves before he was traded to the Cavs.

    I say keep starting him!!!

    Check out the interview of Chuck Person by Mike Trudell (Blazers pre-game). Look at MWP at the background… same big shot he hit just now! We all hold our breath when he takes a shot, but at least he works on it in practice!

  103. I never understand why kobe can never learn
    to play easy way. Is it mb not drawing a play or is kobe too stubborn to force his way…
    Sigh… Someone pls tell kobe that we have a legit
    point guard now.

  104. There you go, First start and double double for Ramon.

  105. Chibi: totally random: LOL !

  106. Remember when McRoberts didn’t play for 7 straight game. Now Murphy is the down guy.

    Brown is very confusing.

    Sessions is unreal. Right now is Chris Paul that much better?

    Just asking.

  107. @Lakershow

    Kobe has only taken 17 shots, and two of those were heaves with the clock running down, not exactly gunning it. He missed shots it happens move on. He only took one shot in the fourth as they were doubling him, so what exactly are you complaining about?

  108. Good to know that Kobe is now the 3rd best player on the team. He could be the 4th if Pau wasn’t such a wuss half the time. Seriously, this performance tonight is worse than the 3-20 night a few games back since he actually started off hot tonight. I still can’t fathom how one of the best players ever can miss 11 shots in a row, and not have a single make since the 1st qtr. It defies all laws of science and literally blows my mind.

    Well, 3 pretty crappy performances in a row at home, starting with Minny last week. We were lucky to win 2 of the 3, but if we don’t clean up our act, like the turnovers and someone’s piss poor shooting, we’re in trouble when good teams like OKC come to town.

  109. How many taco games have we had this season?

  110. @ Clutch
    I’m not just saying for this game.
    In general, he just shoot too much and it’s not
    fun to watch NBA game.
    I know he will be the one of the greatest players of all time,right there with MJ but especially this year he makes a lot of people so frustrate with his play… I guess love him or hate him is right… Sigh

  111. Lakers are much more dangerous with in late game execution with a pg now.

    I said someone has to sacrifice every night. Kobe did in the 4th qtr. fed the post and let Ramon do his thing. Quit nitpicking 24

    Sessions is the Lakers Rondo. He’s going to take lakerland to very far.

  112. Zirk

    We won. Portland is not a bad team. Kobe was bad 2nd half but Pau was shooting bad all game.

    The point is we can win now with just Andrew and Sessions. That is huge.

    How can we not be pleased.

  113. Big game on Sunday for playoff position.
    I will send a text to Kobe asking him to put his sinister plot to take over the world on hold for one day.

  114. @106 – Agree. Ramon has been the x-factor so far…what a different team we have right now.

    And I also agree with you; MB seems to be lost…Can’t understand what’s on his mind…if there’s anything there.

    Maybe we’re 1 coach away to be a great team.

  115. Some thoughts on the game:

    1. Sessions is flat out good!!!

    2. The Lakers seem to be energized as a team and individually with FINALLY having a real PG who makes everyone else better and gets easy shots for them

    3. MWP seems to be just rounding into game shape. his shots look much better, he’s beeing proactive on offense and defense. Matt Barnes has also found his role on this team. Under control, hustling, passing, cutting inside, and being a great help defender

    4. Gasol and Bynum have a good interior passing game. Should bode well for our team going forward

    5. The team is just trying to get used to Ramon, and vice versa, so Laker fans, lets just enjoy our new legit star-PG and when these guys develop real chemistry, we will be a force in the playoffs

  116. Would like to see Hill and Glock get to play. Have seen enough of McRob and Blake.

  117. Nice to see McRob get some burn tonight and make the most of it. Played some nice D on Aldridge to cool him off in the second half and fit in nicely with the first unit as Pau got some rest. Would like to see Hill and GLock instead of Blake and Murphy, but hoping MB will see the light soon (I give it about 4 games).

  118. With Sessions the Lakers seem to breaking the century mark with relative ease now. That is a very positive sign. It seems like yesterday we were all lamenting the fact they had trouble just getting to 90 points. Hats off to Lakers management. Sessions was an excellent pick up.

  119. The Secret
    —————————-

    In Mr. Bill Simmons book he describes the thing that separates the best players of all time from the legends. That something special that a Magic Johnson had. I mention his name because he is the best example of someone who was just born with that knowledge. Most pkayers discover the secret during their careers. Tonight was the night kobe discovered “The Secret”. Tonight the night of Friday the 23rd, March 2012. Watch the game film if you haven’t seen the game tonight. As a basketball lover… It brought a tear to my eye from the middle of the third quarter to the very end of the game. The light bulb has gone off. It was the best game Kobe Bryant has ever played to me. It’s the reason I love this game.

  120. The Game
    ————————–
    *Gasol is not soft or bad. He played against the best or second best PF in the NBA in my estimation. LA is great on both sides of the ball and has all the moves inside and outside.

    *Bynum has the best hands at Center since 6-10 Hakeem Olajuwon.

    *I know I said stupid Lakers fans would say this within one month of aquiring Ramon Sessions but i have to say it… “Ramon is an All Star in the making”.

  121. Ken,

    Look at you with the optimism! I’m shocked! Haha! :-)

    Of course I’ll take the win. A win is always better than a loss. But I actually think Portland is pretty garbage compared to what they were earlier in the year. They’re 22-26 and have lost 11 of their last 16. And all they really have is Aldridge.

    But anyway, my point is that we’re far and above better than them, Utah, and Minny. We need to be putting teams like this away at home to rest some of our guys who have been logging heavy minutes all season. It’ll serve us well come playoff time.

    But like I said, at least we won. Now it’s on to Memphis and OKC. Let’s hope we clean up our game a bit and play more like we did against Dallas when these guys come into town. And let’s hope #24 can learn to find the basket again…

  122. You are kidding right, Aaron?

  123. Sessions had 34 minutes tonight, and started, which seemed about right to me. Yeah, 20/11/6. Can MB figure out matchups and rotations by playoffs?

    rr, almost simultaneous. Same wavelength, lol.

    Aaron, the secret of taking bad shots against double teams? haha

  124. LakersareinSession March 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Kobe can miss 11 shots in a row and the lakers can win. Woo

  125. tviper

    McRob was OK. I mentioned him instead of Murphy since Murphy didn’t play much.

    Either way, I think Hill deserves a little run with this roster. So does Glock.

  126. Robert,

    Yes, please send your guy, our guy, a text. He’s killing me right now. :-) The team winning is all that counts, but like you, since he’s my favorite player of all time, he’s the only guy who I literally pay attention to everything he does on the court. And games like this drive me insane! Haha!

  127. I think the word to describe Pau is aggressive. He was tonight 16 boards 6 assists. Big time shot over Matthews.

    If someone told you Pau & Kobe would go 10-31 and Lakers would win you’d think their insane.

    Can’t lie I doubted Sessions didn’t know what he could bring to the table but he’s a perfect fit.

    Blake has become ineffective.

  128. Ken,
    Wow. What a point. You’re a smart damn man. Wowzer. We just beat a pretty decent team with our best two players by far being not Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Wow. That’s how good Bynum and Sessions are.

  129. This may have been mentioned on another thread. but did Ken call in to Mason and Ireland to get in Jim Buss’ ear today?
    = )

  130. Sessions is incredible!

  131. It seemed like the Lakers big three got a lot of game time rest today. Kobe 36mins, Bynum 37mins and Pau 32mins. It also seems Kobe is feeling the extended minutes he’s been taking this season, and Sessions coming in and taking over facilitating and being the initiator/creator is a breath of fresh air and a blessing for Kobe. He will be able to rest a bit and refresh and reload for the playoffs.

    Overall, it was good to see our role players MWP, Barnes, McRob starting to play well and contribute on a consistent basis. If Metta finds his form and stays active on D, Barnes being the spark of the second unit, and McRob/Murphy or Hill being able to give quality minutes down the stretch, as well as Sessions continued emergence, we can really transform from being “contenders” to “serious-other-teams-are worried-contenders”. I hope Brown uses the last 20 or so games to provide minutes and opportunities for our ‘secondary’ players to get some real chances and time to get their confidence as he will need them come playoff time. Also cut down on the minutes of the big three especially Kobe and Pau. Bynum is young and he needs the touches/numbers to stay active and confident going into the playoffs

  132. RR

    I did but the left me on hold. They decided my question of Mike Brown’s scattered substitution pattern was to negative for Jimmy.

    I waited 30 minutes for that. Guess they were concerned about their future jobs.

    I was not pleased!

  133. I call this inefficient victory but still a W in the record books. Lakers could have closed this game in three quarters if they’d reduce TO’s and make those free throws. Without Mr. sen-Sessional, Lakers could have lost a home game.