Preview and Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

Emile Avanessian —  March 25, 2012

Records: Lakers: 30-18 (3rd in West), Grizzlies: 25-21 (6th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers: 104.7 (15th in NBA), Grizzlies: 102.8 (21st in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers: 101.8 (10th in NBA), Grizzlies: 101.5 (8th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Ramon Sessions, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Grizzlies: Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol
Injuries: Lakers: none; Grizzlies: Darrell Arthur (out)
The Lakers Coming In: Euphoric. A team that was already experiencing more success than the eyeball test would have suggested has addressed its most glaring deficiency and now looks not only like a lock for a top-3 playoff seed, but a legitimately nightmare matchup once the playoffs begin. As we’ll see momentarily, the Lakers have played some solid ball all season, but it’s rather quickly become obvious just how hamstrung this squad was by woeful point guard play in the season’s first three months. Thanks to wins in 16 of their last 22 games, including 7 of the last 10, the Lakers have bypassed the Clippers (loser of 10 of 17 since the All-Star break) for the top spot in the Pacific (now leading by 3 games) and tonight’s opponent as well (the resurgent Memphis Grizzlies), who now trail Kobe & Co. by 4 games.

Now, it would be crazy to suggest that Ramon Sessions will maintain the incredible 58%-shooting, 50%-from-3, near-26-PER form we’ve seen in his first five games as a Laker, but what fans are justified in banking on are the skills he’s brought to this team – namely top-shelf foot speed and quickness, along with an ability to pose a multi-dimensional threat coming off of a screen. It’s a bit early to get too deeply analytical about the long term impact of Sessions on these Lakers – extrapolating off this small sample might lead to a slightly premature Hall of Fame induction and the aggressive tempering of expectations is just no fun – so, as we’ve done in recent days, let’s revel in the fact that we’ve now got a lead guard, and enjoy our own irrational, Linsanity-esque ride for as long as it lasts, knowing full well that if the Ramon Sessions we get in the long haul is even 60% of this Ramon Sessions, the coming weeks are going to be a blast.

The Grizzlies Coming In: The Grizzlies, like the Lakers, had been playing some excellent ball of late. Since a 10-point home loss to the Jazz on February 12 dropped them to 14-14, the Grizz have prevailed in 11 of 18 and, until this week, appeared to be cementing their place in the middle of the West’s playoff seedings.

However, while Memphis, now back at full strength following the return of Zach Randolph, is still a safe bet to finish among the conference’s top eight, losses in each of their last three, including a convincing defeat at the hands of Clippers yesterday, has dropped them into the dogfight at the bottom half of the West bracket. Though currently sixth and just a game behind the Clippers and Mavericks for #’s 4 and 5, the Grizzlies are in a virtual tie with the hard-charging Jazz and and a half game up on the Nuggets in the final three playoff spots, with the Rockets and invigorated Suns breathing down their necks.

As can reasonably be said of many teams in similar situations, the Grizzlies simply cannot afford to allow this current slump to extend much further. The Lakers will need to approach this contest with a bit of caution, as evidenced by the absences of Rudy Gay for the entirety of the fourth quarter and Mike Conley for the final 19 minutes against the Clippers, rather than exhausting all of their resources in what likely would have been a futile comeback attempt, the team is likely to see the very best the Grizzlies have to offer.

Grizzlies Blogs: 3 Shades of Blue and Straight Outta Vancouver do an excellent job of covering the Grizz. Give these guys a read.

Keys to the Game: This game is a treasure trove of fascinating matchups. For starters, Ramon Sessions will face the toughest head-to-head matchup of his Laker tenure, when he squares off against a rested Mike Conley. On the wings, each squad’s top perimeter scorer will lock horns with the opponent’s top perimeter defender, as Tony Allen will check Kobe Bryant, while Matt Barnes/MWP attempt to keep Rudy Gay quiet. However, the determining factor in this one is likely to be the battle in the trenches.

While the Grizzlies limited (to some extent) Z-Bo’s minutes following his return from injury, he saw the floor for nearly 38 minutes against the Clippers. With the exception of his 25-minute, 25-point outburst off the bench in his first game back, Randolph’s game has yet to reach its max potential. With that said, he is beginning to look like his old self and is likely not far from a vintage, ground-bound Z-Bo 25-18. It will be vital that Pau Gasol check him aggressively and carry that aggression to the offensive end to make Randolph work on D, preferably out of prime rebounding position.

Meanwhile, the best big man battle in the Western Conference will be waged on the other side of the paint, as Andrew Bynum and Pau’s “little” brother, Marc (one of the only bigs in the NBA capable of matching Drew’s strength) square off. Again, aggression will be the order of the day, as Bynum, in what should be an excellent challenge, will be called on to bring max effort both at the defensive end and on the boards, while controlling his aggression to avoid foul trouble, as he will have to give the Lakers at least 20-12, and no fewer than 35 minutes.

On the heels of a potentially epic Heat-Thunder clash, this ought to be another must-watch. At the end of the day, the Lakers will probably have too much length up front and enough backcourt firepower to prevail, though a blowout would come as something of a surprise. 

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

Emile Avanessian

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189 responses to Preview and Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Snoopy,
    Haha. Yes. It is funny. “The Secret” is almost more Zen philosophy than religion but it is an odd way of thinking and seeing basketball. It’s not Bill Simmons’ basketball idea but he did name it basically. In the longest basketball book ever written Simmons interviewed hundreds of the best basketball pkayers and coaches to ever live and they all collectively came to the concussion that there is a “Secret”. A way to play with your teammates and maximize everyone’s ability as a whole unit. “The Secret” is the compilation of talent, basketball IQ, expereince, and a gift from the basketball gods. You don’t need to call it “The Secret” that’s just a cute name Bill Simmons put to it. We will see… But it appears Kobe has it. That “it” being something most NBA legends says only a hand ful of pkayers have ever discovered.

    My prediction for tonight… Jordan Hill is introduced into the Lakers rotation permanently.

  2. the “secret” is also called chemistry.
    it applies to just about anything creative; movies, food, music, sports, relationships, etc etc.

    Linsanity was a good example of how chemistry works in sports, also Magic’s lakers’ squad. let’s hope the addition of Sessions is the “secret (no pun intended) sauce” to turing this squad into champions.

    it sure does give our team a solid 1 to 5 set, no real weaknesses to exploit, and difficult to match up with because we have more than a couple guys who command double teams.

    secret sauce… funny guy, am I. ;)

  3. I’m ready to see what Hill has. I see him playing with Gasol, wondering about a front court featuring Bynum & Hill. So does Hill make it a 10 man rotation or is he replacing Murray or McRob? G-Lock, 11th man.

  4. So stoked for this game, Sessions era Lakers ball is addictive

  5. For those of you watching in Southern California, tonight’s game will also be on Fox Sports West…

  6. BiCitySid,
    Jordan Hill can hit a midrange jumper so I see him playing with both Bynum and Gasol just like Odom did off the bench and I see him taking all of the Murphy/McBob non blow out minutes.

  7. And when do we stop calling a matchup against M Gasol a challenge for Drew after Bynum has destroyed Marc on both sides of the ball the only two times they have played this season ;)

  8. Memphis vs Lakers last 6 games Lakers 4-2

    Memphis avgs. 14 stls a game. High 18.. Conley 3 stls per

    Lakers avg. 18 TO a game. High 27 (Somehow LA won this game). 112 TO’s last 6 games vs Memphis. All w/o Sessions still have to watch the passing lanes.

    Pau’s avg. 15 PTS 10 REB 3 AST

    Rudy’s missed last game w/ concussion he’s avg. 21 PTS 5 REB 2 AST

    Sessions had a 20-11 game vs Memphis last time he played them

  9. Aaron, most attentive fans can see that Hill should be playing in the role that you mention, but can MB? Does he see and just waiting for Hill to learn the sets? Guess we will find out tonight. Really hoping to see Hill get 12-15 minutes. Would also like to see GLock’s minutes increased and Blake’s decreased. He just doesn’t bring anything to the table unless he is hitting 3’s.

    Anyone know what is going on with Eyenga? DLeague? How does he look?

  10. TViper,
    Yes…I think mike brown can. He has shown he likes to slowly implement one player at a time into the lineup. He has taken now Ramon from the back up PG role to the starting role. Now I think he will take Jordan Hill from the bench warmer role to the back up role behind Bynum and Gasol. At least that’s what I predict.

  11. I’m as tempted as the next guy to question what a coach is doing in terms of lineups and stuff, but they spend a thousand hours more each week than I do watching film and running practices so… /shrug. Whatever happens, happens. If any of us could coach L.A. better we’d be doing it, right?

  12. Reggie Jackson was more of a threat than Fisher in OKC’s offense because of dribble drive ability. Lakers post players gave Fisher room on the perimeter. He won’t have that luxury in OKC.

  13. Fisher still can’t shoot. Some things never change.

  14. I know I shouldn’t wish ill, but Fisher to OKC may have been the last piece of the puzzle for us to get out of the west.

    As for ‘the secret,’ I think Kobe had it all along. Else he couldn’t have won 3 championships with Shaq. He just needed to get it drilled back into his head after so many years of undisputed alpha and omega status.

    BTW, the book by Simmons is close to a must read. Not just because he ranked Magic ahead of Bird.

  15. As the first person to head the “Get Rid of Fisher” campaign… We have done our job. He is not playing for us anymore. But let’s root for an all time Laker role player. He is not on the Lakers anymore but he is still a Laker. If he stinks it up in OKC (which we know he will:() then so be it. But we all should be rooting for him unless he he is playing the Lakers.

  16. i do think Memphis is the worst matchup for us (bar OKC) in the west so will be interested to see how we match up with the Grizz at full strength

  17. Kevin, agree with your assessment of RJ v. Fish. IMO, OKC made an error of hubris assuming that they had the West handled and they needed a locker room presence with Finals experience. Not saying I heard such a thing from OKC, but what other possible reason could there be to sign an over-the-hill PG that is known as the “flopper emeritus” and shoots a horrible % from the field. We will see whether such a mistake will hurt them in the playoffs.

  18. Have no problem admitting I’m 1500% rooting for OKC in this game

  19. Kevin Durant is schooling LeBron right now. LeBron may have the stats but Durant in his 5th year is far better player than LeBron in his. Durant has developed into a unstoppable force already. LeBron still doesn’t have a consistent jumper or FT shot 9 years in.

    That’s why Kobe respects players who worked hard like he did to own his game. Guys like Durant, Rose, Westbrook, Wade have taken bounds and leaps since entering the league.

  20. Aaron,
    Haha I was just calling it what you called it. I’ve never read Bill Simmons’ book, I have no intention of supporting him.

    How many times has Wade done that ridiculous shot from 3/4 court? That’s the 2nd time I remember in his career.

    Of all the fantastic match-ups in OKC-Miami, I like getting to see Haslem and Perkins go at it. Haslem’s game has dropped off a lot but he’s still one of the true hard-nosed players in this league.

  21. Thunder look scary good tonight.

  22. Thunder really did a number on the Heat today. Just too much good passing and solid execution. Durant handily won the battle with LeBJ.

  23. Kobe Alert: After moving beyond MJ in both FT’s (4th) + FTA’s (8th), he needs 25 FTA’s to move into 7th past J West to become the all time Laker in yet another category. KB still needs 2 Steals to move beyond Harper for 16th + 11 more for the all time Laker spot (Magic). Let’s see if eventually his minutes go down, because unfortunately he is ascending that list at a rapid rate as well.

  24. kupchak eating ice cream WITH AUTHORITY.

  25. Lol I’m sure Mitch has eaten ice cream during games before and the camera’s never caught it … but there’s something symbolic about it, how relaxed he looks with the keys turned over to Sessions.

    I haven’t watched a ton of games closely this year, so I might have just missed it … but I first noticed the 4/5 pick and roll against Portland, I like how Bynum slipped the screen twice and float to the rim for an alley-oop. Not sure how long we’ve been running that, but it’s a nice twist.

    It’s not even worth saying at this point … but Bynum’s confidence in the post is so incredible right now.

    Was the ref just laughing at Pau?

  26. Less pin downs, post ups for Kobe more back cuts, off ball movement Mike.

  27. Alright Drew games started whenever you’re ready to play D go for it

  28. Blake may not have been super before but he seems to have totally imploded since Ramon came here

  29. Steve Blake is up to no good out there.

  30. David St. Hubbins March 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Is Troy Murphy hurt or has he just fallen out of the rotation?

  31. Why is Blake playing.

    On the team.

    In the NBA.

    Is Brown blind or stupid.

    AG can’t be as bad as this guy. Soon as he goes in 3 TO and bad d. He might ve worse then Fisher.

    Play RS 40 minutes brown this guy is just zip.

  32. Free Jordan Hill.

  33. Fisher sort of shielded Blake as both of them were not quite average starting PGs, but now that we have Sessions, the difference is quite glaring…

  34. Does Artest think he’s back in 2004 or something?

  35. Judging from the expression on Arenas’ face, Tony Allen is either an awful storyteller, or has horrible breath.

  36. Their 2nd team is just as pathetic as ours is.

  37. Get Blake off the court before your down by 20.

    You can’t be this clueless Brown.

  38. I used to like the Blake-Goudelock-Barnes-Murphy-Bynum bench combo. Basically Bynum surrounded by 4 (theoretical) 3-point shooters. Gave him a lot of space to operate. MB seems to have gone away from that.

  39. I don’t know what everyone else thinks, but I feel that Goudelock should be playing over Blake. Even though Blake plays better defense than he does, Goudelock is at least a threat to make things happen on the offensive end. I’d love to see him get Blake’s minutes at the point.

  40. I can say Blake is the better PG but Goudelock has hit 60% of his spot up shots

  41. Brown/Kuester needs to find a way for the offense to work for Kobe not Kobe work for offense.

  42. Wow Blake with the masterful strafe to avoid Haddaddi. Clearly he should be playing dodgeball not basketball.

  43. Starting to come around on the Blake-Goudelock issue if we’re going to be seeing this version of Blake for the rest of the regular season and playoffs. The offense is completely stagnant with him out there, and I have no idea why he has played more minutes than Sessions so far. I think Drew picked up that turnover when he was doubled because it was Blake who was the open man.

  44. This offense and team is so average when Blake is in the game. I 5 year old can see that. Perhaps Brown should watch more film instead of spending all his off time following around his son who sits on the bench in high school.

    This is going to ruin the good roll we have with his coaching. Minus 10 already for Blake.

    Just stupid.

  45. Haddadi’s dunk right there brought back a flashback of Leon Powe running down the middle in the 2008 Finals.

    Nice defense, Blake.

  46. Mojo: I agree that Blake + Murphy are worthless, but if he doesn’t play them, we are back down to that brutal 7 man rotation. I don’t mean to keep looking back, but the time to have solved this problem past 10 days ago : )

  47. Lakers are not playing well right now, playing lazy. What has happened to Goudelock?

  48. When’s the last time a Sunday Lakers game started at 7:30?

  49. Goudelock doesn’t really play point, however I guess the bar being set by Blake is not very high, so – yes – why not.

  50. Gasoft on full display tonight…

  51. Not watching the game…but just checked the box score…wth is up with Kobe? Another horrible shooting night? That used to occur 1 in 5 games. It’s more like 4 in 5 games nowadays when he has a horrible shooting night..fricken horrible!!!

  52. In fairness the whole team isn’t communicating on defense. Memphis is getting into the paint at will. Pretty infuriating.

  53. Is Fisher still on this team? Who are these supposed Laker fans that continue to denigrate Fisher after 16 years in the league. If, when some of these young players play 16 years and win five championships, maybe then you’ll understand and appreciate the body of work that a 16 year veteran that didn’t take games off for hangnails, colds, groin pulls and sprains offered.

    Congratulations to Luke Walton for going 3-4 in 26 mins for the Cavaliers in a loss.

    Bynum needs to play energetically on the defensive end not just the offensive end, or it’s not going to matter if Ramon, Blake or Fisher is playing pg the Lakers are going to lose!

  54. Bench Points Grizzles 13 Lakers 3

  55. Lakers are really lazy on defense tonight, terrible performance so far

  56. So we’re getting a beatdown by a team that’s 0-3 on their road trip and just got blown out by the Clips. Good job, guys.

    And this is pretty much the norm for Kobe these days. So I wish the announcers would stop saying he’s having a bad shooting night. When you’re shooting a sh*tbox 42.9% on the season, you’re pretty much shooting like crap every night.

  57. obviously blake is not the type of player to break down a defense and make plays for others. for that unit to execute on the offensive end players must set good screens, cut hard, and hit open shots.

  58. I’m not upset about the last 3 as it was a contested look with time running down or even the good open perimeter looks that Pau missed; no, the zillion easy baskets that Memphis got from forcing turnovers and outhustling us on the defensive boards – those were what put us in the bad position we’re currently in.

  59. looks like lakers are going to lose ground on the spurs after this pitiful performance.

  60. Well, now I’m going to be on pins and needles until I find out if anything is wrong with Drew. And remember how we were so impressed with the chemistry between Sessions and Barnes? They were on the court together for a grand total of one minute in that first half. I sure hope that changes in the second half and the rest of the season.

  61. When you keep playing bad players over and over and over and getting the same results that’s called insanity.

    Hard to believe Goug and Hill aren’t better then Blake and Murphy.

    I see a really bad hire of Mike Brown. You tell me this was the only guy they could hire for $4 million a year?

  62. 55 – Nice to hear Luke’s getting playing time again, I wasn’t following the Cavs.

  63. Kehntangibles – Exactly. It’s not the offense that’s the issue (well, not the shot selection part of it anyhow). It’s the turnovers and the failure to secure the defensive glass.

    Lucky we’re hitting our FTs.

  64. Lakers have to play defense. Bynum has to grab more than 1 rebound 2nd half.

    Lakers bench has 3 points 1st half after 6 all last game. No wonder so many people thought it was a good idea for Sessions to stay on the bench.

    Kuester needs to find a way to get Kobe the ball on the move and OPEN. Instead of catching the ball with a defender on his hip

    Lakers will get it together

  65. @59, chibi – True, but it’s also the responsibility of the point guard to get everyone in their right positions and run that sort of offense, instead of making no progress dribbling around for 12 seconds without probing the defense. This results in Kobe eventually getting the ball with five seconds on the shot clock and having to create a shot while being closely defended.

  66. Yeah, if Sessions is the starter, then Barnes should come in at the 6 mark or so, except perhaps in some matchups where MWP’s D is really a big deal.

    But the issues tonight are that Pau and Kobe are 4/17 and poor D.

  67. Aaron, looks like your prediction was early (we all hope). MB is driving me batty with his vision-challenged rotations. Echoing many others above, how can anyone watch Blake and Murphy for any length of time and decide to put them in an NBA game against a team close behind in the standings. It is unfathomable that Hill and GLock (not to mention Ebanks) get no burn whatsoever while those guys get torched.

  68. did they not just take drew out to prevent him from drawing a 3rd foul?

  69. Lakers did one thing well in the first half FTs (13-15). Lakers not taking care of their defensive rebounding.
    10 offensive rebounds for Memphis and 12 defensive rebounds for the Lakers.

    Hopefully we will see a different team in the second half.

  70. As several people have pointed out already, we’re getting killed on the offensive glass whenever Memphis misses one of the wide-open shots we’ve been giving them. Right now the Lakers only have 12 defensive rebounds to Memphis’ 10 offensive rebounds.

  71. Whew! All it was, was Drew being taken out of the game so he didn’t pick up his third foul, and just went early to the locker room to get stretched.

  72. Match ups make any sport more difficult. This match up is bad for the Lakers. The two teams that the Lakers we have the most difficult time against are Memphis and OKC. Memphis matches our length plus their bigs are meaner and more physical, they are too deep, and we do not match up with Gay. He is MWP’s Kryptonite. He is fast and long just like Durant. Kobe should be equally as hard for them, but he shoots jumpers.

    OKC is a fast, long team also and they are deep as heck. Durant eats MWP’s lunch because he is the original long, tall Sally.

    Let’s hope that MB realizes that he needs to give the kid Ebanks some burn in order to see what he can do against a quicker longer team. Trust me, we are going to need this kid. We either use him or lose him.

  73. Other than scoring, a lazy first half for Bynum.

  74. That’s what they pay to see Kobes

  75. For better or worse, we go nowhere without Kobe…

  76. Man this team is good when they actually focus.

  77. Good defense Bynum and Gasol! We need more of that.

  78. Kobe picked his play up Lakers followed his lead.

    Way to show fight Lakeshow

  79. There’s the run we’ve been waiting for. The only problem is that it’s come with the starters all playing the entire quarter thus far. What happens when Blake et. al. step back on the floor?

  80. Seriously, though, did Ebanks buy the wrong pet food for Mike Brown’s dog or something?

  81. Sessions’ 3-point shot looks so effortless. I guess his numbers with the Cavs this season were no fluke.

  82. I’m amazed how mentally weak this team is.

  83. Not…sure I understand what Barnes did there.

    I don’t really understand what Kobe just did either. That move was bananas.

  84. Haddadi 5 rebounds

    Bynum 2

  85. The Lakers are not a team yet, but they are getting there. They’re still adjusting.

  86. What the hell was Blake doing right there? Get out of the way!!

    Nice lefty shot by Kobe to end the qtr.

  87. @Snoopy2006

    Not…sure if that’s a bad thing.

  88. I am not sure what KB did just there either – but I love it !!!!

  89. Stupid play by Barnes…hopefully that single point won’t come back to haunt us. Kobe with a left-hander to end the third!

    Can our bench get us 5 minutes to start the 4th?

  90. Blake should play no more than two minutes at the start of the 4th quarter. I’d like to see Sessions and Barnes get at least a few minutes of burn together in the 4th. And Busboys is right, Rudy Gay is the toughest guy for MWP to guard in the league.

  91. Bynum with 2 rebounds so far?

  92. Barnes + Sessions minutes together on the floor is still sitting at 1, right Dude? Ugh. Turns out that game or so that MB brought in Barnes as the backup 2 was not a smart rotational move to get them more minutes together but rather dumb luck/a fluke. For being a smart analytical coach, Browns rotations are sometimes baffling, at best.

  93. I’m not seeing the point of Sessions and Blake in together.

  94. And almost as soon as I say that, Sessions comes back in and MB takes out Barnes, leaving Blake in at SG…smh

  95. This season is becoming the Ironman: Kobe show. Likely to go over 40 minutes this game too…

  96. I really don’t want to see this Memphis team in the playoffs. That advantage down low that we supposedly have against every team is none existent against Memphis.

  97. I cannot see any rationale for Blake getting minutes over Goudelock. Not sure what happened to Steve, but he is simply atrocious.

  98. @96, sbdunks – Correct, still only one minute together. At least Blake made a three, so that’s progress, I guess.

  99. Their bench is up 25-6 and they have played 20 more minutes than ours. This takes a toll on our starters.

  100. What in the world wrong with Brown. Putting a 30% shooter like Blake St shooting guard and losing rebounding which you already were getting pounded on.

    This guy has got to be tbe worst coach in Laker history.

    He will keep us out of the finals this year.

  101. And what’s worse, the matchup that MB wanted when he left Blake in was Blake guarding Mayo! DO NOT WANT.

    Edit – Mayo was 4-4 with 9 points during those three minutes when Blake was defending him.

  102. Point after point against Blake. This team will never win with the fool Brown as a coach. He plays him in spite of bring a minus 14.

    This is just a bad coach. Bad bad

  103. Ken: MB does not add anything, however can we blame this on him? We have had no bench all year, + our TD move with regard to the bench was to add J Hill? How was this going to improve our bench which was well known to be one of the worst in the league?

  104. Mike brown is an idiot. He should pair Barnes with sessions as much as possible because those are the only 2 players that can run the floor.

    But the lakers overrated defense fails them again. They are just to slow footed and lazy to prevail in games like these. Lakers still have lots of issues

  105. Lakers have been incredible lazy on transition defense.

  106. If we lose this game than it’s all about effort. Every key Memphis bucket is us falling asleep on defense. The turnovers you can kinda live with, as Memphis is the best in the league at forcing them, but how many penetration buckets have we allowed from a guy you saw approaching from 20 ft away?

  107. Coach Mike Brown, wave the white flag and play the reserves, give Ebanks, Morris and Goudelock some playing time.

  108. Sessions on the bench Lakers points 30, 29, 36, 30

    Last 2 games 6, 9

  109. Look, fisher was done, but he had 1 year left at 3.4M, instead of keeping him as a veteran presence, we kept steve blake (who i hated since before we signed him) who has TWO years and 8M remaining. Horrendous. I would amnesty blake over ron. Useless player. He can take his pool guy mike brown with him too.

  110. The team defense has been atrocious in this game. Aside from a 5 minute stretch in the 3rd (where the Lakers went on their 15-0 run), Memphis has been able to get anything they want – including layup lines to the basket.

  111. Wow Kobe benched. Intrigued.

  112. Memphis just outplayed us this game. It’s as simple as that. We do not want to see this team in the playoffs.

  113. Wow. Is Mike Brown benching Kobe (temporarily) for hero ball? Giving him time to cool off? Spin it however you want…that takes cojones.

  114. Yeah Blake did hit that three but then he proceeded to get TORCHED by Mayo on multiple possessions, inside and out. Why in the world is Brown trying maximize Blakes playing time?

    And how does nobody on the coaching staff see the effectiveness of playing Barnes (and to a lesser extent, McRoberts) with Sessions as much as possible?

  115. Interesting sub of Kobe there – even MWP was surprised. Though… Kobe had played the whole second half, so he had to sit at one time.

  116. We had a guy who could score and did Robert. Now AG gets zero minutes and instead he put Blake at shooting guard! That’s plain stupid.

    Blake just got beat 2 times in a row. They win this game if he never played a minute. Look at this idiot Brown he now puts Kobe on the bench.

    This will get him fired fast.

  117. Didn’t see the game, but Bynum has two rebounds or is that a misprint in the box score?

    P. Gasol has 14 in four fewer minutes.

    Can someone fill me in on what happened with that?

  118. Gwnius move Mike, give kobe a statement benching, not when he deserves it for shooting too much, but when he’s playing well

  119. Any effort or interest by a Laker fan concerning this team is a complete waste of time. This team is equal parts heartless and clueless. They routinely quit or simply do not show up for games. On the road and now out home. This team is ZERO threat to win anything. They are closer to missing the playoffs than they are winning a title.

  120. Who the hell is Mike Brown to bench Kobe?

  121. Of all the times to ‘make a statement’ by benching Kobe, why tonight?

  122. We can still win this game. Two FTs by Pau could cut it to seven. I just hope that when Kobe comes back in, it’s to replace MWP and not Barnes, who has been doing a better job on Rudy Gay.

  123. By the way Blake is a minus 17 and Kobe on tbe the Bench till the lsdt 1.50. Anyone who says Brown knows what he is doing knows nothing about basketball.

    Zero!

  124. Well… Memphis is far, far better than their record and they were probably hungry for a win after their last 3 losses.

  125. Anyone else wish we completed indiana’s old idea and traded mcroberts for mayo?

  126. Its obvious Mike Brown is just guessing out there. I think he closes his eyes points to someone on the bench and that’s who enters then game and then they get to close their eyes point to someone on the floor to sub in for.

    It’s obvious that the blake/sessions/kobe line up doesn’t work. Sessions needs to go back to the bench because they are horrible without him

  127. Grrrr…….would somebody please set a high screen for Sessions?

  128. Bummer loss – Memphis was the aggressor all night.

    And that game made very apparent how elite of a defender Tony Allen is.

  129. Lakers don’t seem to handle adversity very well. Memphis is just tougher.

  130. A total lazy, lackadaisical, and uninspired effort again at HOME! Pathetic!

    And MB is a freakin’ joke!!

  131. I would not want to be a fly on the wall at practice tomorrow. Horrible team effort tonight. Kobe flat out fell asleep on defense on the long T. Allen jumper, which is a mettaphor for the entire evening.

  132. 121) Easy. Bynum doesn’t want to play defense or rebound, he only wants to score points.

    Wow, when Kobe wanted to be the man on the team, he was on first team all defensive for years. Bynum cannot be the man until he takes responsibility for the defensive end, too.

  133. we lost tonight because of steve blake disagree if you like.

  134. Portland must have played horrible, because this Laker team looked bad tonight

  135. 3-3 since the TD.
    Bench loses 41-9
    This problem was not solved.

  136. Good thing this game came after the Thunder dismantled the Heat, that makes me feel a lot better about our chances.

  137. If this dosen’t show the fact that Brown MUST be fired nothing will.

    These guy has no clue on what makes a good player. He didn’t know it in Cleveland that’s why they were always rotating players.

    Brown must go or Lakers will never beat OKC. They will get swept.

    Wait and listen to clueless Mike on the post game show and listen to the excuse machine.

  138. Oh, I’m not letting Blake off the hook by any means, but he was not the only lazy defender/TO machine out there.

  139. Complete lack of effort, professionalism, leadership and pride. I am officially off this 11-12 team. They literally make me sick to my stomach. Just hope OKC knocks off the Heat or Bulls. It was nice to see a team play with passion and pride on National TV, looks like Fish will have the last laugh.

  140. Things for the Lakers to talk about:

    – Defensive rebounding
    – Turnovers
    – Closing out on jump shooters

    (stop me if you’ve heard this before)

    But seriously, it was the D tonight that just flat out killed us. For most of the season, I would’ve been more than happy to score 96 as a team (despite the bench being essentially null and void when it comes to getting the ball in the hole tonight). But if we’re going to be that lazy on defense, and not wrap up the defensive boards, it will always hurt. The amount of points in the paint that Memphis got was astounding. I know they have size that can match ours, but still, there were a LOT of layups.

    And as many here are commenting, Mike Brown’s rotations/minutes allocation seem almost entirely random. I think we were spoiled with Phil and his clockwork bench rotations, but if you were Ebanks or Goudelock, what would you be thinking at the moment? They can’t even get on the floor when our bench is DYING for a spark sometimes.

    Obviously there were some positives tonight with Kobe’s improved efficiency and Sessions continuing to score well. Bynum was active on the offensive end, and Pau grabbed a lot of boards. And as a team we shot pretty well from the FT line. But as the result would indicate, far more negatives than positives to take out of this one.

  141. Bynum 4 rebounds

    Haddadi 6 rebounds

    What did Kobe do to get benched? Who does Mike Brown think he is to bench Kobe?

    When a well oiled machine (Lakers bench) was functioning fully with Sessions on the bench he took him off a messed up the starters chemistry.

    Mike Brown could’ve just killed the whole season

  142. And Fisher was that much of a cancer huh? Still better than Blake

  143. Am I offbase in thinking that, in spite of his 30 pts, I can point to Bynum’s (lack of) effort on defense and only 4 rebounds as one of the biggest contributing factors in our loss?

    It’s only one game, and it’s against a good Memphis team, so you can’t take too much from one game, but this loss is still to me troubling in that it shows a relapse towards a lot of the same problems we’ve had all season except for starting PG production (Sessions had a decent game)

  144. This loss can be essentially be chalked up to lack of effort – slow close outs, weak help defense and poor rebounding. Bynum only grabbed 4 boards in 41 minutes! Memphis was a desperate team, having come in 0-3 on their four game roadie, and the guys should have recognized that and matched their effort.

    Maybe this will wake them up and they’ll get it going defensively. As of right now, I’m ready to start posting Missing – Lakers Defense posters around the city.

    And then theres Browns rotations, but thats a whole ‘nother story.

  145. It’s funny that all the problems I have harped on for two years came to a head in one game. They do not attack the rim, they are lazy, they whine instead of stepping up their games. They are not deep, the are not well coached, they have no heart besides Kobe, Barnes, MWP, and Drew.

    There were no adjustments made by the coaching staff and when OJ went off, we should have seen what Ebanks could do. Blake is a slow footed defensive liability. If he are Murphy aren’t taking shots and making them, they should not be on the floor. Until the Lakers address their lack of a back-up big, back-up point guard, and bench scorer they will go nowhere.

  146. Overall, we lost the game because of poor team defense, including defensive rebounding. However, the decisive portion of the game occurred from the 10:29 mark of the 4th quarter to the 7:18 mark. That was when Sessions re-entered the game to play PG, but instead of Blake going out, MB took out Barnes, ostensibly because he wanted Kobe to play SF so we could have the optimal Blake-Mayo matchup. During that stretch of 3:11, Memphis outscored the Lakers 12-3 (from 77-73 to 89-76), and Mayo went 4-4 with nine points. Blake, playing at shooting guard, did not take a shot, did not take any FTs, and didn’t grab a rebound or get an assist.

    All the buzz from this game is going to be regarding Kobe’s 4th quarter “benching,” but IMO that was not why we lost the game. This game was still close and perfectly winnable when Sessions re-entered the game. I’m hoping that this is the last we see of the Sessions-Blake backcourt this season.

  147. I haven’t read the contents yet… Just got done watching the game. This is a great loss. We are a great team. It’s easy to see it. Wow. Trust me on this one. If Kobe is Thw live of the last few years we can’t lose. The team plays great together and moves the ball. But to be honest… The reason I think the Lakers will win a championship his yer now… Is cause of Bynum. On a night he didn’t get many rebounds and most of the time he wast even around missed shots… He is now officially the best offensive Center in the NBA. He is unstoppable against a pretty good defensive center. He is making Hakeem turnaround fadeaways now??????

  148. Kevin @145: You and I agree again. Let’s review this thread. I see a bunch of Blake bashing, + a bunch of criticism about a lack of heart from the Lakers. Hmmmm. Got Fish?

    And yes everyone – I did say this right after he was traded.

  149. Well, I think I now know what it must be like being a Knicks fan.

    Ok, maybe not, and in a way I guess it’s no different from the Laker teams we’ve rooted for before.

    So much potential… so little realized.

  150. @Dude – Bingo, nailed it. At that point, I understand not wanting any number of guys to defense a quick wing scorer (looking at you Kobe and MWP), but was Blake going to be the answer?

    I didn’t mind benching Kobe as it sparked a minirun and challenged the rest of our starters to (finally!) step up their game; the reality is that the game was lost well before then when MB kept Blake in. Frustrating, but if we respond well with our upcoming homestand than it’ll just be the random bad game you get from this team. /crosses fingers

  151. Dude,
    Give credit to Mike Brown for playing with lineups this season. That’s how it should be done. He will soon learn its better to have Barnes in at SG than Blake. But he is testing things out. He will soon learn that Morris or GLock should be the back up PG and Barnes should be the back up SG/SF, and Hill should be the back up big. But it takes time and testing to make sure those are for sure the best lineups/rotations. :). In time everything will be right :). We have a solid roster now. Right? It’s all coming together perfectly. Btw… I can’t beleieve I was wrong on my Hill getting min tonight. I can’t be wrong. I’m never wrong!!! I must have been off by a game. Haha. That must be it. Next game he will back to Bynum and Gasol. Haha.

  152. Remember earlier in the season we said the Lakers won ‘ugly’?.. Is it possible to have beautiful losses? Offense is looking better.

    The defense, though, is unbelievably atrocious. This is supposed to be a defensive-minded team?

  153. @151, Aaron – Drew’s almost complete lack of effort at defending the rim and on the defensive boards was a major contributing factor to our loss tonight, so let’s not gloss over that fact. He let Haddadi, yes Haddadi, kill him on the boards. Perhaps he’s not trying hard on the defensive end because MB is playing him too many minutes (41 min. tonight). Perhaps he’s being selfish, or he’s overconfident when a backup center guards him.

  154. I said as Sessions should stay on the bench.

    It’s a reason Harden comes off the bench you saw the energy he brought off the bench vs Miami tonight.

    Lakers bench w/ Sessions 30, 29, 36, 30

    Lakers bench w/o Sessions 6 and 9

    Wasn’t impressed with Bynum tonight he’s been half-a**ing on defense last 5 games

  155. In all 4 of our home losses this season we were wearing our special white jerseys.

    I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’

  156. OJ Majo would have been great for us, I wonder if a McRoberts for OJ was discussed at the TD?

  157. Wonder how many stories ESPN is going to run tomorrow about Kobe getting benched. I’m looking forward to a Henry Abbott masterpiece on how Kobe’s clutch stats while on the bench pale in comparison to other players on the bench in the 4th quarter.

    Things take time. Tonight was not a good night. I’m willing to be patient. But this team needs to get back to the defensive principles and effort we had earlier this season. With Sessions in the fold now, the offense will take care of itself. It might be hard with a lack of practices, but MB needs to get this team back on the same page defensively.

    1) Mitch Kupchak is never allowed to eat ice cream again
    2) I really want to see Sessions-Barnes-Ebanks get some run together. I think Sessions could have a similar effect on Ebanks’ game. Obviously he’s not the same cutter Barnes is, but the potential and athleticism is there. That could make for a potent, high-octane bench.

  158. I’m a Mike Brown defender who thinks he has done a good job considering the circumstances, having said that his rotations are wearing thin with me. First it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify Blake being a rotation player. His defense is bad his shot is shaky and his passing and dribbling are subpar for an nba guard. Goudelock should be taking his minutes. Even if you do think he should play, Blake on the court with Sessions makes absolutely zero sense. Second, McRoberts and especially Murphy should be end of bench players, I’d rather put Metta at the 4 or try out hill then play really limited players. Mike Brown needs to figure his rotations out quickly.

  159. Robert: right it was always bigger than Fisher’s numbers. Matter of fact him and Blake numbers were about the same.

    I side with Kobe on this one. Kobe’s 3rd quarter ENERGY got the Lakers going. Had Kobe been shooting horrible I’m fine with the benching but this way is senseless.

    Officially off the Brown bandwagon. Been supportive but that was stupid.

  160. This is another game that clearly showed MB’s coaching problem. At around 9:30 min mark in the 1st quarter just when Lakers established a rhythm and took the lead by 3 points. MB took out Session and Gasol, thus broke the team momentum. As soon as Blake came in, we lost the lead. MB’s substitution problem was alarming. He left Kobe in the game the entire 3rd quarter plus the 1st half of the 4th quarter. At the most crucial moment of the game when the team trying to make another come back, he substituted MWP for Kobe; and put Kobe back in with less than 2 minutes left in the game. MB had trouble managing the game. The players recognized the problem. They lost hope and energy at the end of the game. MB must go before this team can have a chance to succeed.

  161. Busboys: Since everyone is venting, here is my thought as to what should have been discussed at the trade deadline. We have a TPE. Does anyone in the league have anyone better than Murphy or Blake that you want to dump (+ by the way – we will throw in a pick). Now to be “fair”, I wasn’t in the room – so I do not know if this was discussed or not : )

  162. Robert,

    Sessions is not going to solve every problem. He is one guy. Also, it was clear prior to the deal that Blake is almost as bad as Fisher. People are seeing that now. As Kevin and others have said, a major issue is D. They are slow to begin with, and I think Pau, Bynum, and Kobe are tired.

    Finally, Memphis started play tonight only 1/2 game ahead of the team in 9th. They needed this one more than the Lakers did.

  163. Add: I want to see Hill next game. Aaron said we would see him tonight, but if it happens, it will be after a loss.

  164. I would love to know how players who were guarded by Bynum and Blake FGM-FGA were?

  165. Keep in mind that it’s very possible that the guys MB isn’t playing are demonstrably worse than the guys he is.

  166. rr: I think you know that if you had asked me at any point during this season, if Sessions was going to solve all of our problems – you would have received a resounding – NO : ) That said – the Fish move was unnecessary + the fact that it cost us a pick is comical. Lastly – we did nothing to improve our bench so getting trounced on the bench while the starters are exhausted should surprise nobody.

  167. Defense was the culprit in this Lakers lost. Offense was decent but the defense was a suspect. I think word has spread in the league that Lakers Achilles heel is defense in the post. Mayo, Allen and Gay got a hey day in scramble and hassle against our generous bigs. Kobe could no longer hold on the ball that long, his guards don’t go with his fakes but still command respect by double teams. Sessions is mortal, he also makes TO’s, can’t win them all. On any given night, NBA teams make their own runs thru give and take games. It’s no longer the 80’s when Lakers are supposed to be the dominating team in West.

    Anyway, It’s ok to lose against the Griz’ provided they can reserve their energy against the Thunder on Thursday.

  168. @170,

    I don’t think so. Going on basic stats over the last 2-3 years, Hill is arguably better than McRoberts and can certainly do more than Murphy. Blake and Glock…about the same.

    Also, Pau and Drew need more rest.

  169. Well, the FO apparently believed that Fisher would cause trouble in the clubhouse if he had stayed. No way to know. Blake’s deal would have been harder to move–has two years after this year.

    And Hill can help if Brown will play him.

  170. kehntangibles: Bingo. We simply have no bench players. It is a lack of talent + it has been all year. If Kobe had a bad game tonight we would be KB bashing. Since he played OK – the board is Mike Brown bashing. All of this is just a distraction from the obvious talent issue. Swapping Fish for Sessions has not solved that.

  171. 170,

    Robert, I believe there is a difference between Sessions and D’Fish in the last three games, Ramon improved that PG position remarkably. Unfortunately, Lakers need three more Sessions in order to win every night.

  172. rr: I agree – let’s play them. Hill, Glock, all of them. It can’t get worse on the bench. However, do you agree that to expect Sessions replacing Fish to be an epiphany for this team is asking for a bit much? We have the same bench we had (except we have Hill instead of Kapono/Luke). We also have the same TPE we had (sorry – a bit frustrated tonight).

  173. Having relaxed a little, I guess i can live with it.

    I mean, losses happen. It’s a contracted season. Our main horses are TIRED.

    So yeah, while I wish MB could be Pop and seize opportunities to play bench players who otherwise won’t in a close game, it’s hard to fault him for that as Pop’s the only one who’s doing it.

    Also, given our history with this team, I’m glad we got away without an injury.

  174. I hope the two trades that were not made do not turn out to be the moves that torpedo our season. The first was getting Beasley for Fish that was turned down because they did not want the second year of Fish’s contract. The next was Blake for Crawford which I don’t know why that didn’t work.

    Both those trades would have improved our bench and give us secondary scorers that we so desperately need. Getting rid of Fish was not a bad idea, but Mike Brown is not going to use Hill just like he does not use Ebanks. Both of them can really help us athletically.

    Blake and Murphy are to slow footed defensively liabilities. If they are not making shots, then they contribute nothing. At least play Hill and Ebanks to see what they have.

  175. Edwin: Of course I am happy we have Sessions. However he does nothing for our bench. We all knew the issues going into the TD: Point guard, Offense from Small forward, and Bench. We solved one of those and did not solve the other 2. Especially the Bench.

  176. Our bench plays 53 minutes, scores 9 points.
    Hamed Haddadi plays 13 minutes, scores 10 points.

    Nuff said.

  177. @161, – The thing is, when we played Memphis in Memphis a couple weeks ago, Mayo was awful. I actually believe he’s a little overrated. Either Kobe or Barnes defended him in that game, and I think he shot something like 7-23 and hardly got to the FT line. In this game, Mayo was 1-5 until that moment in the 4th when MB put Blake on him. He went 4-4 with Blake on him and 1-2 after that.

  178. Poor game to bench Kobe. Make your point when it’s clear (as in 6 other games prior when you didn’t have the guts, MB). Blake atrocious. Doesn’t even have it down to STAT get back to your man and relieve the big on a P&R. Too small and slow @ the 2. MB, again. Bynum just plain unfocused and lazy on one end, surprisingly good on the other. Give Glock and Hill some burn. Sessions should be paired with Barnes with the bench for good stretches.

  179. Memphis 52 paint points 14 offensive rebounds

    Lakers shot 42% Pau was 4-15 tonight

    Steve Blake continues to be a liability.

  180. Dude, I mostly concur with your assessment of why we lost. I was even more confounded by the fact that some no name pargo was being guarded by sessions, while Mike Brown had exclusively talked about sessions guarding two guards in a Blake and sessions lineup. So I have no idea why sessions wasn’t on mayo

  181. @169, 181 –

    Hamed Haddadi plays 13 minutes, grabs six rebounds.
    Andrew Bynum plays 41 minutes, grabs four rebounds.
    Bynum and Haddadi were matched up against each other for 12 minutes, and Haddadi had 10 pts (5-7 fg), 5 rebs, and 3 blks in those 12 minutes, while Bynum had 9 pts (2-4 fg, 5-7 ft), 0 rebounds, and 0 blocks in those 12 minutes.

  182. 180,

    Look at the Lakers run, are they not the same as the Grizzlies that’s run and gun then hassle, give and take, give and go and pick and roll. Can our players outrun and out shoot the Grizzlies? My point here, I was looking for some coaching strategies of slow down the game and more battle of attrition like using zone defense or sealing their point guards and using the long reach of our two seven footers instead of track meet. Anyway, we lost the track meet in the game of runs. If you give the Lakers an OT opportunity, perhaps they could won again similar in Memphis. This is the forte’ of PJ, he makes adjustments and neutralize the most energetic players through defensive positioning and court management when his teams are leading.

  183. The Dude

    True, he is overrated but is he better than Blake? Yes!!! Would he be a better asset than someone that MB barely uses? Yes. Sessions, Beasley, and OJ would have been everything the Lakers lacked. Plus addition by subtraction by reducing the other teams’ depth.

  184. Dude: Horrible. Despite Bynum’s numbers he was outplayed all night giving up layup after layup. That was enough for sending a message to him as well.

    No Laker was effective tonight. Barnes hasn’t been since Sessions became the starter.

  185. Robert it is clear Buss will not use the TPE. Let Sasha bow away and will let LO’s go away. $91 million is it. Another 10 or 18 when they could be a one and out is a bad poker hand.

    Dosen’t matter who we get. Brown simply isn’t smart enough to manage a team. No scoring from bench and the guy who was your best scorer Gou get zero minutes. But he plays the guy who was a minus 17 and the 58 rated guard in the league at shooting guard.

    The genius then benches Kobe for 5 minutes and isn’t even smart enough to put him in between Pau free throws losing another 1 and a half.

    Brown failed in Cleveland, rbe players hated him by the 3rd year and he was fired. And this is the guy jimmy hired?

    You could give Brown the dream team and he would play the ball boy. He is a clueless coach who just sits around reading stats and spends his spare time following his sons high school team instead of learning how to coach.

    Fire this guy or you will lose Kobe and the team and get swept again in the playoffs!

  186. Robert,

    I always supported getting Sessions but never said he would fix everything. Your points are on the mark. But Hill can help a little with the talent shortage and he can give Pau and Drew more breathers.

    Rotations:

    If Brown wants to start Sessions, then he should bring in Hill and Barnes for Bynum and MWP about six minutes in. Have Sessions and Kobe play the whole first. Bring in Murphy for Pau after 10 minutes.

    Then, start the second with Bynum/Murphy/Barnes/Blake/Glock. Bring Sessions/Kobe/Pau/MWP and Hill or McRoberts back after about 4-6 minutes. Give Bynum a quick breather and bring him back to finish the half.

    Another option would be to start Barnes, so he gets more time with Sessions.