Preview and Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

Darius Soriano —  March 31, 2012

Records: Lakers 31-20 (3rd in the West), Hornets 13-38 (15th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.0 (14th in the NBA), Hornets 100.4 (27th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.5 (11th in the NBA), Hornets 105.5 (18th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Ramon Sessions, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Hornets: Greivis Vasquez, Marco Belinelli, Al-Farouq Aminu, Carl Landry, Jason Smith
Injuries: Lakers: Jordan Hill (questionable); Hornets: Eric Gordon (out), Emeka Okafor (out), Trevor Ariza (doubtful), Jarrett Jack (questionable), Chris Kaman (questionable), Gustavo Ayon (questionable)

The Lakers Coming in: With only 15 games left in the season, now is the time for this team to start to sort out some of its issues and find its stride. However, this is easier said than done. The Lakers’ bench is struggling and Mike Brown is still seeking out lineups that work. Ramon Sessions has looked less comfortable in the last two games, scoring a total of 14 points while only taking 10 shots over his 60 minutes of game action. Kobe’s also struggling with his jumper and the Lakers have reverted back to looking to isolate him more on the wing, mid post, and the top of the key. Add in the up and down play of the Lakers SF’s, the big men being a bit more inconsistent in the past week, and the defense not looking as in sync and the Lakers look worse than usual.

There are no easy answers right now. The team is trying to integrate a key player on the fly and his style of play is one that none of the core players are used to having to mesh with. Mike Brown’s rotations are still erratic and while he’s trying to zero in on who should be playing come playoff time, the players he wants in the game aren’t necessarily performing well enough when they’re called upon.

What can happen, though, is the team playing harder and getting back to basics on both sides of the ball. The defense has been slipping and that’s effort and focus related. The same can be said about the rebounding. The offense, despite aesthetics, has actually taken a big step forward with Sessions on board so while we’d like things to look better, it’s more a matter of refining and finding a way to mesh better than an actual overhaul. If Brown can settle on a rotation and get his key players a bit more rest this team can get back on track. That’s certainly a realistic goal, whether it happens or not remains to be seen.

The Hornets Coming in: Right now, the Hornets are a M.A.S.H. unit. Their best two players (Gordon and Okafor) have been and remain injured while their next two best players (Jack and Ariza) are nicked up. Add in Kaman’s flu and Ayon being away from the team for the birth of a child and this team was missing 6 key rotation players in their last game. But, even though missing these guys has made it difficult to win games, that’s not necessarily a bad thing for this franchise. The more losses this team accumulates the more ping pong balls they get in the upcoming draft lottery. As the old NBA saying goes, you have to get worse to get better and this year the Hornets definitely fit this mold. Give credit to their head coach Monty Williams, though. He’s not letting injuries or missing players affect his team’s preparation or effort level. He’s got them playing hard and as competitively as possible. With a better, healthier roster who knows how good this team could be under his guidance, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d be in the mix for a bottom seed in the playoffs.

Hornets Blogs: Hornets 24/7 is a great site, check them out. Also give a visit to At The Hive for more Hornets coverage.

Keys to game: How competitive this game is will be dependent on who’s available to play for the Hornets. If Ariza, Kaman, Ayon, and Jack are able to suit up this team is sneakily good enough to hang with a lot of rosters. If they’re not, they become one of the worst – if not the worst – rosters in the league.

Either way, though, the Lakers need to attack this team with ball movement and quick decisions. As they showed in the 1st quarter of the OKC game, when the Lakers move the ball inside-out and from side to side they can cripple a defense because their talent level in the post and on the wing is too good for most teams. Today, they need to recapture that mode of attack to make a hustling Hornets’ defense scramble all over the court.

To accomplish this, the ball must move. When Bynum catches the ball in the post he must make quicker shot/pass decisions. Drew has been excellent at scoring the ball and overpowering his man but he’s also been too willing to hold the ball in order to get his shot and that’s meant less ball movement and more standing. In essence, he’s looked a like a post up version of the Kobe that draws ire as a ball stopper.

Speaking of Kobe, he must find his shot soon or become more of a facilitator. To help him get easier baskets the Lakers must look for him on curls and weak side duck-in’s so he can get shots going to the rim where he’s not actively having to work off the dribble to create for himself. To aid in this, Kobe must do his work off the ball with smart movement – he must set up his screens and time his cuts a bit better. In watching him work off the ball in recent games that pep in his step hasn’t been there and it’s allowed his defender to body him off picks and make his catches harder, pushing him farther from the basket to do his work.

Defensively, all I’m looking for is more effort. Mike Brown’s defensive system isn’t that complex. He runs a hedge/recover scheme in the P&R and the back end rotations are straight forward. However, he asks his players to cover a lot of ground and that means they must be active and hustling at all times. Lately, this hasn’t been the case. Players are doing a lot of pointing and asking another man to rotate for them. Shots aren’t being contested with the same vigor they were earlier in the season. With the defense scrambling more but not hustling as much, the rebounding has suffered. If the Lakers simply go harder for longer, these issues can be rectified. I understand the minutes have piled up. I also understand that disjointed offense can lead to players not going after it on defense all the time. But, the guys need to push through those things and get back to playing defense.

Bad habits have been setting in lately and today’s game offers a good chance to move away from them and get back on track. The Lakers are talented enough to make a run in the post-season but not talented enough that they can’t try give effort and still win. Settling for the easy play won’t get it done for this team and doing so will only lead to disappointment long term. Today, they have the chance to break out of the malaise that’s hurt them this past week. Here’s hoping they do.

Where you can watch: 12:30PM start time on Fox Sports West. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts

127 responses to Preview and Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

  1. “There are no easy answers right now.”

    Totally disagree. There are plenty of easy answers:

    1. run the offense through Sessions, let him create and break down the defense, stop the heavy isos

    2. Keep Murphy permanently on the bench, and play Blake only if you have to due to foul trouble or injury

    3. Give GLock and Ebanks minutes with the second unit (and Hill when healthy) and tell them to shoot the ball and be aggressive on defense

    4. React quickly to matchup problems using time outs and substitutions (e.g., OJ on Blake, Rush on Blake, Klay on Blake, etc.)

    These are easy answers that can be implemented today. I am sure there are countless others, but these are the first things that come to mind.

  2. The quality of the offenses the Lakers are seeing now is very different from that of the season’s early stages. At this point, opposing teams have had a good amount of time to get in shape and regain their form, and work on things like how they space the floor, time their cuts, and execute their sets.

    I think LA’s defense will round into form once it becomes accustomed to this level of competition. Brown does know defense.

    There is some lag in the offensive department, but the front office replaced our old sparkplug with a new one, and there’s a month’s time to fine tune the engine.

  3. #1. Yes, because changing the entire nature of the offense and handing the keys to the guy that was acquired a week ago and away from the leader of the team that’s been key to 5 championships is easy. Because changing the lineups and rotations to the point that guys who haven’t played will now play prominent roles and guys that had key roles go the bench is easy. Yes, none of these things have the potential of causing any issues at all and should go over swimmingly.

    Ignoring how the changes you’ve suggested could negatively impact the team and saying that they’re “easy” is disingenuous and is why I’m happy fans don’t make coaching decisions (or make personnel decisions).

  4. #3 in response, when you have ineffective players, you need to change lineups and rotations. There was no hint in my suggested easy changes that all “should go over swimmingly.” The point is that the status quo is not working. Anyone can see that. OKC was simply toying with the Lakers. Down 12, there wasn’t a hint of worry because they knew they weren’t threatened, and on the road no less.

    Re: “changing the entire nature of the offense”, that already happened with the elimination of all vestiges of the triangle. Since everyone (hopefully) agrees that ball movement is key to good offense, one would be silly indeed to suggest that having Sessions walk the ball over half court and throw the ball to Kobe and Bynum and then just watch is somehow enlightened and will get us through OKC and the West.

    KB24 is playing heavy, heavy minutes and it shows in his shooting %. One can continue to do something that is not working, or one can make changes and hope for a better outcome. I wasn’t ignoring negative impacts. I was suggesting easy changes that could be implemented to change the course the Lakers are now on. Whether or not they would be positive is unknown until they are tried.

  5. It is a little late to play Ebanks, but there is nothing unreasonable about suggesting that Goudelock and Hill get to play. Blake and Murphy are both 31 years old, both are very marginal, and we are 51 games in. Blake is a 10 MPG guy at this point in his career. Here is the 82games.com lineup data again:

    http://www.82games.com/1112/1112LAL2.HTM

    Blake/Lock/Barnes/Murphy/Bynum has worked. Brown has gone away from it.

    And Kobe does need to be off the ball more–the Synergy data makes that very clear.

  6. #4. My point is that, the things you suggest aren’t “easy” by any means. I’m not saying they’re not options to consider or that they can’t be good for the team in the long run. But to ignore the potential fallout of these decisions and imply that they’re easy changes is, again, disingenuous. I said there aren’t any easy answers and you said that you totally disagree. So, I’m looking for an explanation about how any of these suggested changes are easy.

  7. And, for what it’s worth, I think Goudelock should play a bit more. I’m working on a lineups post to try and see if there are mixes of players that have shown they can have a positive impact on the game. But, at this point in the season, I think all change will be hard to some extent.

  8. goudelock can’t play pg. he doesn’t handle ball pressure very well, and you don’t want to gift opposing 2nd units with points-off-turnovers.

    that being said, i’d like him to get in there for 2-4 minutes a game, and nibble away at kobe’s minutes at SG. if he plays poorly, not a big deal. if he plays well, extend his minutes and buy kobe more rest.

  9. Interesting but somewhat depressing video breakdown on Lakers and Thunder:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zl3dnjvh4Q

  10. #6, I concede the point that “answers” means “answers that will work.”

    Instead of “totally disagree” I should have said, “Perhaps these aren’t answers, but here are easy changes that could be implemented today that have a high likelihood of procuring positive results IMO.”

    Here is another:

    5. Play Barnes more minutes with Sessions as they seem to play very well off of each other, e.g., instead of bringing Blake off the bench to sub for Sessions in Q1, bring Barnes off the bench to sub for Kobe (the man needs more rest!).

  11. Sessions plays well with Barnes, because Sessions can find open man , and Barnes can run, cut to the basket. GLock and Ebanks should play more because they run, shoot the ball. Coaches always said that you beat team with ball movement. Lakers FO and Mike Brown believe this Lakers team can win championship this year, so they don’t give young players a chance to play, but if you have Sessions and you don’t know how to choose a group of players who can run with him, you don’t take an advantage of a PG.

  12. Lakers are last in the league at forcing turnovers at 11.7 per game (Orlando is 29th at 13.1 opp turnover) while turning over the ball 15.3 per game which is 19th in the league. Lakers opponents are averaging 16.3 points per game off of Lakers turnovers while the Lakers average 12.2 points per game off of turnovers. Lakers lose 4 points per game off of their turnovers.

    Lakers cannot afford to give opponents easy turnovers as they have the worst turnover differential in the league. Opponents have scored 205 more points off of Lakers turnovers than the Lakers have scored off of their opponents turnovers.

  13. Of the next 7 games, 5 of them are against non-playoff teams. The other 2 games are against a 4 seed and a 7 seed. I am gonna go out on a limb and predict a 6-1 stretch here. However even if we go 6-1, I will still have the team rated the same as now (“6th” best). However the 6-1 record should send the forum pendulum into a full optimistic swing : )

  14. Darius is right… Just because it’s the right thig to do does not mean its the easiest thing to do. In fact there is probably a negative coorilation there. But it’s obvious to everyone that has ever watched basketball that the best course of action is for your PG to run a traditional offense. It’s just the way basketball is played.

    Something tells me Jack won’t go for a season high today as he did against Fisher a couple weeks ago.

  15. “The Hornets Coming in: Right now, the Hornets are a M.A.S.H. unit. Their best two players (Gordon and Okafor) have been and remain injured while their next two best players (Jack and Ariza) are nicked up. Add in Kaman’s flu and Ayon being away from the team for the birth of a child and this team was missing 6 key rotation players in their last game.” Darius.

    I agree completely, why not it’s so obvious. This is a bad team with a lot of injuries & not a lot of motivation to win. So to me, in my eyes, a simple win by the Lakers is not enough. No, I’m not saying they have to blow the Hornets out, but I do believe the Lakers should be able to win this game w/o Kobe or Gasol playing more than 33 minutes. Is that to much to ask? Once again, the Hornets, a last place team when healthy, may be missing 6 of the regular 8 rotation players. Mike, Kobe, let’s think of the BIG picture.

    Kobe & Gasol are the OLDEST two players in the top 20 players in terms of minutes played per game this season. And Joe Johnson is the only other player on that list 30 years of age or older.

    Lakers need to win today w/ Kobe & Gasol each playing 33 minutes or less. If our bench can’t do that………

  16. Tviper

    Exactly right on your first post.
    Zero Murphy, little Blake, more AG, much more Sessions and a coach who can react DURING the game not after the game in his babbling post game excuse fet.

    Easy answers but then we are not coaching.

  17. Darius is correct. It is too late for dramatic change, which includes those of you who want Kobe to submit to hypnosis to change his on the court demeaner. We are what we are. We have to hope we get hot and other teams go cold. I think MB will be able to execute that plan quite nicely : )

  18. The answers are easy but implementing them are not. Very difficult to take the ball away from Kobe and bench veteran pkayers that have played the whole year for us albeit at a D League level (Blake, McBob, Murphy)

  19. sweet georgia brown.

  20. What a nice bounce pass by Kobe to Sessions for the slam dunk.

  21. Kobe playing the role of distibutor so far today. And doing it well…

  22. Hate to say it but Kobe can’t shoot outside shots anymore.

    Perhaps someone could design a inside game for him.

    Under 30% three
    Soon under 40% from field

  23. Steve Blake = Momentum Killer

  24. Seriously Kobe just dosen’t get it. He can’t shoot anymore!

    This guy will never stop missing.

    7 for. 25 games are now the norm for him.

    Play him less since he can’t be coached.

    Getting to be sad to see.

  25. Well there went that 14 pt. lead. And Kobe starts the game 0-5. I’m not surprised by either. In fact, I’ll be more surprised if Kobe ever has another 50% shooting game the rest of his career. Unbelievable how someone can’t forget how to shoot…

  26. steve blake dribbles until 13 seconds remain on the shot clock, then gives it sessions.

  27. why is sessions playing off of blake? shouldn’t it be the other way around?

  28. Mike Brown on why he’s not playing Goudelock

    “Playoffs are coming and I’m going with guys who’ve been there before” What exactly has Blake done in the playoffs?

    Ken: Kobe’s shooting is poor. The problem is he’s having to work for offense coaches don’t design anything easy for him.

  29. Steve Blake turnover (his second straight) leads to a fast break layup for the Hornets and a Lakers time out.

  30. Blake with Sessions on the court together and Blake is the one playing PG? Who’s coaching this team?

  31. Brown is just a fool. Once again he plays Blake as his shooting guard. The guy is crap. AG can actually shoot but Brown refuses.

    Please someone take over this team. My god is he clueless.

  32. BLAKE SIT BACK DOWN PLEASE!!! AND WHY IS THE BALL IN YOUR HANDS WHEN SESSIONS IS ON THE FLOOR!!! I dont get it

  33. *that’s* how you use steve blake.

  34. Two short corner threes in a row for Blake.

  35. Blake should only be playing 10 minutes a game it is that simple and should defo not be playing the 2

  36. Kobe Alert: He did eclipse J West for #7 all time FTA’s. He needs 4 more dimes today to pass Dave Bing for #41 on that list. He is only 26 points ahead of Durant + is definately an underdog for the scoring title.

  37. James,
    Where else do you play Blake? He has been a SG the bulk of his career as a spot up shooter. His best seasons came playin SG off of ball dominant guards (Iverson/Roy)

  38. Kevin

    In the top 50 shooters in the NBA Kobe has the 2nd to the worst shooting percentage.

    Just think about that? That can’t be all the offensive. 2nd worst in rbe entire league and heading down by far the last month.

    Sorry Kobe but you are hurting this team when you shoot 7 for 25 games over and over.

  39. Every time they show Pau’s face on camera he looks like he just ran a marathon

    Ken: that’s bad. we all hopes he turns it around

  40. you can see why Brown has a tough job, needed to bench Murphy as he has been so bad but need a shooter at the 4 when Bynum and Sessions is in

  41. It’s hard for me to even watch this screwed up offense. They are playing the worst team in the NBA with 4 starters out and it still a struggle.

    They look like pre-season team. That has to be lack of coaching.

    I just get angry watching them.

  42. Kobe is in the worst slump that he has ever been in as a professional. (That I can remember.)

    Why do posters feel the need to say the exact same thing over and over and over again?

  43. bynum for three!

  44. Bynum gets his three point attempt for the game.

  45. Kobe is just horrible.

    The guy’s game has gone to junk.

    How can this team be this bad on offense.

    How can no one blame Brown.

    If they lose to this team at hone it’s tine to fire the coach just like they did in Cleveland.

  46. It’s called venting Oak.

    Lakers mean more to some then others depending how much time one has vested in the team over the years.

    Why does that bother you?

  47. Kobe’s struggles can be solely blamed on Mike Brown. just too many minutes. Kobe isn’t a 42% shooter a 33 yr. old tired Kobe is. Rather have an 8 seed than a tired Kobe.

  48. Well, when Kobe keeps shooting and missing over and over and over again it’s kind of hard to ignore.

  49. since no one else will:

    great job by Blake in the second. after those two terrible turnovers in a row, he put in 3 3s in a row. if he gets his confidence back up and starts hitting his 3s, Blake will be a good rotation guy for this squad.

    Lakers closed the 2nd terribly, all with starters.

  50. and since Kobe’s struggles are directly related to MB, i’d like to blame this weather on MB, the housing market, and 9-11 all on MB’s shoulders…

  51. Kobe has the same FG attempts as Barnes, so it’s not too much. And the shooter shouldn’t be afraid of shooting even if he’s in a slump, eventually he’ll shoot himself out of it.

  52. Be honest out there.

    Does anyone really feel this team can get out if the West?

    This bench, coach and a clearly diminished Kobe.

    Anyone?

  53. Is kobe washed up? Hes been playing like vince carter lately lol

    It really does hurt to watch. Hopefully hes just over the regular season.

    The playoffs will tell so much about his Laker team.

  54. raydiaz1238: 2 Questions. Should Kobe be playing 38 mins a game? When’s the last time you remember Kobe receiving the ball in the paint?

    Ken: I do. Lakers give team’s matchup problems.

  55. @Ken…yes i do.

  56. I ask that commenters not use profanity and avoid posting variations of the same comment over and over again. We get it, you don’t like (insert the name of person X here). We don’t need to read it multiple times each thread. Even the game thread. Thanks.

  57. It bothers me because it is the same statement from the same people over and over again. We get it. Saying it again will not change anything.

    I don’t think that this is diminished skills so much as it is just a slump. This is in his head at this point. He missed a 2 footer.

  58. @Kevin
    it definitely is not ideal for him to be playing that many minutes, but i havent noticed any decline in his lift or his push. he is struggling, but i havent seen y thats connected to his minutes.

    Bynum and Pau are post up guys also, so they take up time in there. Pau is going off today and Bynum gets an auto double team every time he touches the ball. they should get majority of touches.

    case in point, kobe was wide open 2 feet from basket and missed the putback. legs looked ok, he just missed.

  59. Status quo is not working, hasn’t worked (with MB) and won’t work. How many minutes did Sessions get with Barnes in the first half? How many times were plays run for Bynum, who is being covered by scrubs? I mean, it isn’t really that difficult, so let’s stop trying to make this “rocket science.” Kobe needs to sit and rest. It is obvious. But, then, what do I know?

  60. Gasol is having a nice game today

  61. not watching the game, but just saw the box score…looks like Kobe is sucking it big time…smh

  62. Keep shooting Kobe. Get out of this slump. This is crazy!

  63. Kurt Rambis said on Max & Marcellus Friday this Lakers team has no identity on offense or defense. 50+ games in don’t see how that’s possible. But it’s the truth.

  64. “not working”

    Lakers are 3rd in the west even with a new coaching staff, td deal bringing in a new starter, and limited practice time in a condensed season.

    3rd in the west. 1st team is OKC – coach has been there for a while, no new major pieces.
    2nd in west – SA – biggest change was SJAX, who played there before.

    We arent the Warriors. its working fine. Its not supposed to be easy.

  65. It’s becoming embarrassing to watch this team

    There is a serous leadership problem.

  66. 63. That is exactly the problem, im not sure it can be done in a shortened season with no practice or offseason to be fair to Mike Brown

  67. bynum must have 60 lbs on his defenders.

  68. Hornets made a shot to take the lead at 55-54 Why didn’t Brown call a timeout to stop some momentum. He waited next possession til they made a 3 to make it 58-54. BAD COACHING

    James: main reason he deserves some slack.

  69. @Kevin. ok maybe u have a point on Kobe playing too much. haha. 0-12?

  70. #65, you may want to take a gander at the standings. We are only 4 games out of 9th place, and struggling with one of the worst teams in the league without 4 starters, at home. In other words, not working.

  71. With the highest payroll and 3 all-stars and your comparing them to Golden State.

    Come on this team has looked terrible the last month. That has to be mostly coaching.

  72. Even Stu can’t resist!

  73. I wasnt calling them the warriors. i was saying some people here complain like the Lakers are the Warriors.

    and i did look at the stands. they are 3rd in the west. even with their crappy play since the trade deadline, they r third in the west.

  74. I have never seen Kobe lose his confidence before this. This is as bad as a pro golfer with the shanks. Wow.

  75. Nice time out Brown.

    Nice leaving Kobe in Brown.

    Nice going with Blake Brown.

    Like I have been saying and will repeat.

    This is not a good team with a bad coach and a clearly rapid declining ex-super star.

    Should have blown it up like Magic said!

  76. Most field goals attempted in a game, none made: Tim Hardaway (0-17)

  77. Perhaps Kobe should consider taking the ball to the basket….

  78. The Lakers come out lethargic for the 3rd quarter every game. He can change the lineup for the 3rd!

    I don’t care if McHops has zero offense, he plays hard every second he’s on the floor.

  79. whoever has that kobe voodod doll, cut it out already. we get it, we’re tired of it and it’s starting to get old, old and old.

    get back on track lakers.

  80. Ken: We all hate to see this. I especially wanted to see more change to the roster than we received. However we are what we are, + we are fans, so we at least have to root for the best.

  81. Even though Kobe is shooting terrible he is running back on defense. Trooper. the most Kobe thing ever would be to get hot and win this game.

    Sorry to keep harping on Brown but he hasn’t done 1 thing this year that benefits the team. I can name 5 things McHale, Adelman have.

  82. KOBE SCORES

  83. I can’t believe that after he was 0 for 8, that they didn’t draw up some kind of lob for him to get an easy look. Something to shake this off.

    YES!

  84. If Brown wants to play D League level pkayers (Blake/McBob) you can’t play them together. That’s 40 percent of your team.

  85. Yay momentum!

  86. darius: it was me. voodod is code for voodoo.

    Go Lakers !

  87. Kobe had the opportunity to throw the same exact fast break pass to Ramon that he made in the first quarter but we know fourth quarter Kobe and first quarter Kobe are different players.

  88. Kobe just refuses to except the fact that he can’t shoot. He keeps shooting leaving guys wide open.

    Amazing what has happened to this team. They can’t best Antonella these days, never mind playoff teams.
    Hiw can Jerry Buss sit there and watch this?

  89. I will say this about Mike Brown, he doesn’t appear to have much inclination (or ability?) to change things that aren’t working.

    When your star player is having a historically bad night, primarily by shooting long jumpers, you draw up a play for him going to the basket.

    When your bench is routinely bad, and you have no shooters to surround your big center when he’s playing with the bench, you maybe put your best shooter (Goudelock) on the floor.

    When the opponent slices your, or opens up their own, double-digit lead, you call time out.

    This team has rapidly become unwatchable.

  90. that move by bynum was shaq-like.

  91. PG’s still killing the lakers

  92. Come on Lakers we have to stay ahead of the Clippers!

    Does anyone wonder if Kobe is still having some sort of after affect from the concussion?

  93. I especially wanted to see more change to the roster than we received

    That’s fine, but Howard wasn’t coming and you didn’t want to trade Pau for multiple pieces. You don’t like the Fisher deal. Not clear on what you are getting at here by going back to this.

    The problem today is that Kobe is 2/20–not lack of roster changes.

  94. chibi 91
    Great move by Bynum, but Shaq would have dunked it.

  95. No, seriously Kobe has not shot well since the nose injury. Remember how he was playing prior to the ASG and even during the ASG. His shooting woes started after that, we attributed it to the mask. But, maybe there is some underlying problem that hasn’t been addressed.

    Pau can rebound all game long, but not when we really need a rebound.

    I’m KOBE BEAN BRYANT! Seriously, I think Kobe needs to be re-examined.

  96. never change, kobe.

  97. @Willardradio: Gasol, Bynum, Blake, Sessions, MWP, Bellinelli, Jack, Vasquez, Smith, Henry, Aminu all have more pts than Kobe. Kobe leads game in shots.

  98. darius: that smoke you smell is the voodoo doll being burned up…

    Go Lakers !!

  99. That’s why he is Kobe Bryant.

  100. Kobe’s three gives the Lakers the lead by 1. 86-85 with 20.2 left in the game.

  101. good D Blake!!!!

  102. Every close game you win is important, no matter who it was against.

  103. He put Blake in for defense not Metta?

    Wow!

  104. fyi: MB made the coaching decision to take Pau out of the game and insert Blake to prevent the mismatch on the Hornets P&R.

    that was a good adjustment.

  105. 82 1st paragraph

    Lucky to win this one. Moral boost

  106. Jarrett Jack misses a layup, Barnes gets the rebound, fouled and makes both free throws. Pau blocks the three point attempt and the Lakers win.

  107. KenOak,
    Omg. That’s too funny. As soon as Bynum made that move I said to my brother “great move. Wow. But Shaq would have dunked it ;)

  108. Beautiful D by Pau to close this horrendous game out! Great job everyone for playing through this mess.

  109. Hard to see the Lakers advancing out of the first round, and a championship is entirely out of the question.

    There will likely be an all out push to trade Pau this summer. At $19 million, he’s simply not worth the money. Not sure that he’s worth that to anybody else, but certainly not to a Laker team where he is a third option. This team needs significant improvement this summer, and there’s no way to do that with the current salary structure. The current roster is just much too devoid of talent to be a legitimate contender.

    The fact that some on this board offer up the “we’re third in the west” defense is merely evidence of how far we’ve fallen. Third in the west, with a minimum of two vastly superior teams in the east means that this team is, under an unlikely best case scenario, the 5th best team in the league. That translates to a 2nd round loss–best case. Match up against Memphis earlier than that and they could be out in round 1.

  110. NO played without:

    Gordon
    Landry
    Okafor
    Kaman
    Ariza

  111. se que mierda débil fuera de aquí!

  112. Brown needs to give Kobe some games off a la Duncan, we have no chance with this Kobe

  113. 6th best team in the league.

    ___________

    Heh. My guess is that Robert agrees.

    = )

  114. darius: we fanatics love it when “we” win. now back to mowing the lawn..

    Go Lakers !

  115. A win is a win is a win.

  116. Hey Aaron-
    I wasn’t knockin’ the move at all just to let you know. That was fantastic footwork and he got fouled a bit to boot, but yeah Shaq woulda dunked it :P

    I think that when a team is this old, that we cannot be front-runners. We’re going to have to come together in the playoffs, and it just comes down to whether or not you think we can do that. I think that with the right matchup we can go far. I think that this team can beat the bulls or the Heat. The only problem is getting out of the West.

  117. Kobe 11 points in the 4th

    This is one of those games you just forget about and move on.

  118. 10 and 10 for Sessions.

  119. Kobe Rules !!!!

    He may rule over the “6th” best team in the league, but he still rules !! : )

  120. Kobe’s shot selection was much better than against OKC but NO doesn’t play playoff caliber defense.

  121. darius: one final thing: kobe will be noted and highlighted in your next trifecta of the good, the bad and the ugly post fer sure, fer sure.

    Go Lakers !

  122. Btw… Blake almost lost the game. He hedged too hard and fast and made Barnes have to bak off Jack and pick up Blake’s man. Because of that Jack blew by Blake and thank goodness for us he missed a wide open lay up.

  123. storyline should be: 3-20 shooting almost doom Lakers.
    Headline will be: Kobe hits go ahead 3 pointer to beat Hornets.

    such is life with the most determined scorer/shooter of his generation.

    a Win is a Win

  124. i think that we should not expect a title this year because even management dont. If Buss et al wanted us to go on another title run they would have kept the triangle, kept Odom, hired Brian Shaw and tinkered around the edges. It was clear that with the hiring of Brown and attempted Paul trade that they wanted to completly change the makeup of the team without tanking which i expect to continue in the summer with the trading of Pau. They must have know that it would take more than a shortened year to do so and thus dont expect Buss to consider this year a faliure if we dont win

  125. James: The problem is that the FO did not do “everything” they could to win this year – IMO – Darius : ) We did not use the TPEs, after dumping LO’s salary, + we did not re-sign Shannon. If we had done this as a “plan” as you are stating, then we did not do that well either. You can consiously position yourself like Cuban is doing. We clearly did not do that, as we traded our picks, + we are old and expensive.

    So we are in no-man’s land. In other words = “6th” best.