Thursday Reading: Lakers vs. Clippers, Kobe & Crunch Time

Darius Soriano —  April 5, 2012

Last night’s Lakers/Clippers tilt has a lot of people buzzing. On a night where there were several marquee match ups, the battle at Staples Center may have been the best one. And in looking at that game, some very smart people shared their takeaways, which I’ll now share with you.

First up, Kevin Arnovitz was at the game and gives some first hand accounts of what he saw in the contest. He had several excellent notes on the game, but his thoughts on Bynum were especially thoughtful:

Remember when we used to refer to Andrew Bynum as raw? His temperament may still be immature, but for all the acting out and histrionics, he’s become one of the 10 most difficult guys in the league to defend. The jab, the emerging face-up game, his eagerness to move low the instant his man steps out — then the ability to seal him off. The 3-pointer aside, Bynum’s repertoire seems limitless and he’s approaching every touch as if it’s his last. No wonder he’s calling for the ball. Bynum finished with 36 points on 13-for-20 shooting from the field and 10-for-12 from the line.

Furthermore, Arnovitz explained how Bynum was able to gain the position that earned him many of his good looks at the rim:

The Lakers are a crafty bunch. One of the ways Bynum is able to get such deep position against his defender? The Lakers will run their 3 man — sometimes Metta World Peace and sometimes Matt Barnes — across the baseline on a curl, something they did on Wednesday night. On their way across the court, World Peace or Barnes would bump DeAndre Jordan, buying just enough time or space for Bynum to creep that much closer to the hoop. When that happens, the Lakers guards would instantly deliver the entry pass into Bynum. At that point, most of the hard work is done for the Lakers, and Bynum is left with a high-percentage shot against a off-balance defender.

Read his entire breakdown as it’s well worth your time.

When you’re done with that piece, head over to Zach Lowe’s takes on the game as he too saw plenty of things worth discussing. His points about the Lakers’ since the Sessions acquisition related to the team’s defensive decline were what caught my eye, most:

The Lakers have scored 114.6 points per 100 possessions in 373 minutes with Sessions on the floor, a number that would lead the league by a mile. Their defense has regressed since acquiring Sessions, but it has actually been much worse when he is on the bench; the Lakers have yielded about 109.5 points per 100 possessions since the trade deadline when Sessions sits and about 103.9 when he’s on the floor. The first mark would rank dead last in the league, and the second would rank among the bottom ten defensive teams.

We’re dealing with small sample sizes here, but the early evidence suggests the Lakers have made the expected offense-for-defense trade-off in nabbing Sessions from Cleveland. Sessions has obvious trouble navigating screens on defense, and he went so far under some screens against Chris Paul last night, it was almost as if Sessions thought he was guarding Rajon Rondo.

Those defensive numbers also show the Lakers have their own hole on the wing: They have no back-up shooting guard. That will only hurt for eight to 10 minutes per game in the post-season, but it still hurts. Mike Brown has tried playing Sessions and Steve Blake together, but the results have been disastrous, especially defensively, in the 36 minutes the two have shared the court so far, per NBA.com. Nick Young feasted against Blake on Thursday.

Lowe also discussed the Lakers performance down the stretch and how Kobe was able to do damage in crunch time. But rather than cite him, I turn to John Schuhmann at NBA.com who chronicled Kobe’s shot making prowess in the final minutes and notes that it’s indicative of his play of late:

In Wednesday’s big win over the Clippers, Bryant hit two clutch jumpers, one to give the Lakers the lead with 3:02 left and another to seal the victory with 25 seconds on the clock. A night earlier, he pretty much did the same thing against the Nets with two jumpers in the final 1:11.

Two nights before that, in Sunday’s win over the Warriors, Bryant hit a big 3-pointer in the final two minutes. And back on Saturday, after missing those first 15 shots, he hit the game-winner with 20 seconds left.

Now, go back to last Tuesday, when Bryant hit the game-tying jumper, and then another to give the Lakers the lead in the final minute at Golden State.

Five wins in six games for the Lakers, and eight straight makes for Bryant in clutch time.

Clutch time is defined as the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime with a score differential of five points or less. And until March, Bryant, despite his reputation, wasn’t performing very well in the clutch.

Through March 7, Bryant was shooting 19-for-71 (27 percent) in clutch time. Since then, he’s 20-for-38 (53 percent). And as a bonus, he’s also getting to the line more often.

Go give all three posts a read for yourself as there’s more nuggets of information to digest the day after a very good win.

Darius Soriano

Posts

89 responses to Thursday Reading: Lakers vs. Clippers, Kobe & Crunch Time

  1. I wouldn’t mind giving Goudelock some minutes as our backup shooting guard.

    Seriously, how much worse could he be than Blake has been in that role?

  2. @42 in the previous thread from The Point Forward, and Darius up above – Great link, and here’s the relevant excerpt:
    ————————————————-
    Brown has also tried pairing World Peace and Matt Barnes on the wing more lately, and the Lakers are surviving on offense in those minutes even though such lineups include even less three-point shooting than the three-challenged Lakers usually feature. The two have played 120 minutes together so far this season, and about a third of those minutes have come alongside Sessions. The Lakers have scored 107 points per 100 possessions in those 120 minutes and a whopping 126 points per 100 possessions in the minutes the two have shared with Sessions.

    Again, small sample sizes. But this would seem to have more promise, depending on matchups, than the Blake/Sessions pairing.
    ————————————————–
    Exactly what we’ve all been complaining about. Blake can’t defend the other team’s backup SG, and doesn’t do enough on offense to be a productive backup SG himself. He’s also one of the five worst rebounders in the NBA at the three non-big positions. Brown has to figure out a way to have MWP, Sessions, and Barnes in the game at the same time when Kobe goes to the bench. The Sessions-Blake backcourt is killing us every game.

  3. If anyone could point me to the link compiling the numbers for the Sessions-Blake backcourt and the Sessions-Barnes backcourt, I’d be really happy. I tried searching for it at 82games.com and NBA.com, but couldn’t find it.

  4. Anyone else noticing in the Sessions Era (yeah, it’s an Era already) that shooters are finding themselves wide open at the 3-point line with alarming frequency? Kobe–Kobe!–had no one within about 10 feet when he caught and shot at one point last night.

    MWP has been open often all season because teams aren’t really respecting his offense anymore, but he knocks down open jumpers fairly efficiently, it’s when he’s covered he’s miserable since he doesn’t have a lot of lift.

  5. Interesting thing Artest said postgame – He may not be in his prime and is getting beat off the dribble, but he is still the best defender in the league on pin-downs.

    Does anyone have access to stats that back this up?
    Also any general defensive stats for MWP would be appreciated, since it’s still generally consensus that is a good defensive player, I’m wondering if this bears out in the numbers.

    Basketball wise, does anyone know what constitutes being the “best” at guarding a pin-down? It seems like it would entail more of a team communication / scheme thing rather than individual defense, yet Artest seems to be adamant that he can measure this skill individually across the league.

    You would think that the best way to attack someone like Artest is to use screens and be on the move, as opposed to a standstill. Whereas these comments suggest he is more comfortable guarding pin-downs rather than iso situations.

  6. Very interested in San Antonio games.

    Someone please tell me which Spur is going to guard Andrew Bynum?

    Bynum top 10? Yes.

    In an NBA player draft
    Bynum is top 5.

  7. Totally agree with Jim C regarding Goudelock.

    Also, watching Bynum destroy Jordan last night was just inspiring. Jordan’s shot-blocking used to give Bynum problems, but now he’s got so many moves and uses his body so well, Jordan’s hops are basically useless. Drew’s offensive game is so far beyond any other center in the NBA now it’s just absurd. No one else has those moves, hands, size and power. Howard gets his, sure, but it’s not the same style — more athlete than finished product.

    Also, if McRoberts had jumped over a player the same way Blake climbed all over Pau twice last night, any doubt he’d have been whistled for two offensive fouls? The NBA is caught up in the hysteria over a guy who jumped a Kia, never mind what he does with his off arm while posterizing someone. What a joke.

  8. Treylake-

    I can’t put Bynum in the top five if there were a draft right now. Only because of injuries. If he had never gotten injured then I think he would crack the top 5.
    LBJ
    DH12
    KD
    Westbrook
    DRose
    CP3
    KLove

    I would take any of these guys straight up for Bynum right now only because his knees scare me. Take out the injuries and I can shorten that list quite a bit.

  9. @3 pretty sure numbers will support the eye test analysis that Sessions-Blake is a disaster.

  10. Funky Chicken April 5, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    It is hard for me to see this Laker squad competing for a conference or league championship without at some point needing a boost off the bench, most likely in the form of someone who can knock down threes and get into the lane.

    If I’m right, there’s really only one guy who could reasonably be expected to step into that role, and it’s a guy who hasn’t seen the floor in weeks.

    Andrew Goudelock is exactly the kind of player that teams that go deep in the playoffs need. To play a Sessions-Blake combo but not a Blake-Goudelock or Sessions-Goudelock combo is simply indefensible. I understand that we need Blake to be at least passable come playoff time, and these minutes might be helping his confidence, but I have seen nothing from Blake this year that cannot be replicated by young AG; and lots that AG can do that Blake cannot do (like put pressure on a defense).

    Treylake, I’m with you. It will be quite interesting to see how the Lakers match up against the Spurs. I have not viewed them as a major threat to the Lakers all year, and that may be partly from ignorance (I haven’t seen this year’s Spurs team yet), but I simply cannot imagine how they can find a body to match up with Bynum. Now that the Lakers have a PG who will make Parker play on both ends, I don’t think he’ll be quite as effective has he’s been in the past. At this point, if the Lakers end up with the three seed, and the Spurs don’t overtake the Thunder, I feel like the first round might be tougher than the 2nd….

  11. @11 – I think it’s safe to say after last season’s playoffs that our guys can’t afford to take any team lightly. The Spurs scare me.

    @10 – I’d really, really like to quantify it, though. That’s how I roll :D

  12. KenOak,

    OK. Don’t take Bynum in your top 5.

    Unless you have a top 5 pick and take DH, you will be running the risk of being dominated by Bynum.

    My top five

    LBJ, Durantula, DH, Bynum, (Love, DRose, etc.)

    Don’t agree with taking littles over Bynum.

    Bynum will have the opportunity to increase your assessment of his value.
    Maybe domination in the playoffs will convince you.

    To be continued.

  13. because steve frequently fails to initiate the offense in a timely manner, the lakers are left with bad shots, which lead to good shots for opposing teams.

  14. Funky Chicken April 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Dude, there’s no doubt that the Lakers can’t take anyone lightly (if they do they will be out in round 1). However, is there something you’ve seen in the Spurs that scares you vis a vis a matchup with the Lakers?

    I haven’t seen them, so I can’t really comment on how they are playing, aside from assuming that given their record and their lack of superstars, they must be playing hard every night. However, they still strike me as a very undersized team whose starting unit leans more towards half court sets. If so, that would seem to be a very favorable matchup for the Lakers. Just curious if you’ve seen anything different.

  15. interesting point about Spurs and Bynum, they wont want Duncan guarding him because of foul trouble, probably not undersized Blair, certainly not Bonner, Spillter has the most size but they dont play him much.
    I dont know why but I feel we match up okay with the Spurs, well we’ll find out soon

  16. No intent to belittle Spurs or “Pop”. Was just interested to learn people opinions of which Spurs players would guard Andrew Bynum and how it would work out?

  17. >>>a top 5 pick?

    Just ask if these teams are willing to trade for Bynum straight up?

    LBJ
    DH12
    KD
    Westbrook
    DRose
    CP3
    KLove

    Deron Williams

  18. I claim that the Spurs will just double Bynum at every opportunity and try to frustrate him. He has shown a penchant to check out of games when he isn’t able to get his shots/touches.

    The Lakers can combat this by running tons of PnR and let Sessions get Bynum easy looks on lobs and dump-offs.

    Treylake- I would agree with you about bigs/littles, but for Bynum’s injury problems. If Bynum were never injured, then he would probably be first or second on that list depending on how great you think LBJ is.

  19. @18 Do you think Lakers would trade Andrew Bynum straight up for DRose?

    Absolutely not.

    Laker don’t trade Bynum for Kevin Love.
    Are you kidding?

    Would the Bulls make the trade?
    Possibly.

    Size matters.
    Bynum is a talented big

    Only straight up trade Lakers would consider is LBJ, Durant and Dwight Howard.

  20. Bynum and Howard both have five 30 point games this season.

    Spurs are definitely scary. I’m sure Pop knows some of Brown’s plays he’s has an edge already. If the Lakers have 8 players playing well which they do now they can beat anybody.

    Lakers are 26-11 in Western Conference games. Haven’t beat the top 2 yet but that always gives me hope and the fact an upward trend in play is happeneing right now.

  21. Treylake,

    You’re smoking something extremely potent if you think that the Bulls would trade Rose for Bynum. They would not have traded Rose for Howard! Orlando would have jumped on that in a millisecond!

  22. Billbill – Are you saying you would trade Andrew Bynum for CP3?

    Lakers need a special guard right?

    Forget the fact you would be trading away the best offensive center in the NBA. Lakers would have their man to run the offense!

    Maybe you would have traded Bynum for Jason Kidd too?

    Put me on the disagreement list for both those trades.

  23. We were playing Goudelock and he was doing pretty good. To be honest at that point he was one of the only people you could trust to score coming off the bench. More importantly we had a decent replacement to give Kobe some rest. Then Sessions came and he, or Jordan Hill, haven’t gotten any or much playing time. Forget playing Sessions and Blake together. Use Sessions and Goudelock or Blake and Goudelock.

  24. KenOak,

    Keep extreme characterizations of my position out of it. Challenge what I said, if you will.

    I said Bulls may consider.
    Didn’t say they execute.

    More importantly, Lakers don’t consider.
    No trading of Andrew Bynum for a small player no matter how talented.

    Dwight Howard possibly.

    Not going to argue Bynum is better than DH but there are those who will.

  25. Ixnay on the adetray eculationspay, eoplepay!

  26. [edited due to trolling]

  27. @5 I live in OKC and the funny thing is that the fans here love Fish! When OKC signed him, everyone was saying that he was the final piece to the puzzle. That excitement has been tempered somewhat since they have actually seen him play (he has a PER of 0.9 since joining the Thunder!!!) but most fans around here still like him.

  28. @24 – Playing Goudelock at SG again would cause MB to make two changes: (1) lengthening his rotation; and (2) changing personnel. Letting Barnes play backup SG would not cause MB to make any changes. It’s a more realistic idea, despite how well Goudelock played in some games.

  29. I don’t know why Goudelock isn’t play (or Morris/Ebanks for thet matter).

    But I do know that Hill hasn’t been playing because of an MCL injury.

  30. Sorry that was not remotely meant to be trade speculation and I am truly sorry if it came across as such.

    Treylake-
    You had to realize that that was said in jest, but I apologize for offending your character. You said I didn’t not address your point, but I think that I did.

    We won 2 championships with Bynum doing almost nothing else, but anchoring our defense and grabbing rebounds. OKC has a team right now that has been the best in the West without a dominant offensive big man. Miami, and the Bulls also have dominated all year long without a dominant offensive big man.

    Now, once again, this is all a moot point if Bynum had never been injured. In that case, there is no way in hell that I would consider drafting him later than #3 in that list, but (and this is a big but) he has had a couple of injuries and I like what some of those other players have done while Bynum has been struggling with injuries.

    Please make sure you argue the true point I’m making here- which is Bynum’s worth over his career versus those other guys.

  31. Brown made an adjustment putting ron on cp3 and it worked. The sutle changes in the rotations while playing the same 8 players for the most part seems to be giving the team cohesion. Just 2 small things that have helped the team. May be time to move on from Goudelock he may not get PT unless there’s foul trouble.

  32. Dude,
    Haha. I agree with your desision. I was just trying to defend Treylake. I like when we add more smart people on this site.But I really meant what I said. Can you email my advice to him?

  33. Goudelock can’t defend 2’s, he can barely defend 1’s. Then again, neither can Steve Blake.

    How about playing MWP at the 2 and giving Goudelock Blake’s minutes?

  34. Yes.. GLock is not a back up SG. He is a scoring PG off the bench. The guy is barley 6-0.

  35. And it should be Barnes at the 2. But either way. Barnes should be playing back up wing replacing MWP or Kobe. A player like Gerald Green would be a nice back up 2 to get in the offseason. Oh wait…

  36. can anyone work out a subsitution pattern where we get the following lineups

    Sessions/Kobe/MWP/Pau/Bynum
    Blake/Kobe/Barnes/McBob/Bynum
    Sessions/Barnes/MWP/McBob/Pau

    Im too lazy to work it out but surely it can be done?

  37. Former NBA ref is now on 710 saying both Blake dunks were offensive fouls

  38. KenOak,

    Very much agree Bynum should return his focus to winning NBA rebounding title. He seems more infatuated by scoring big numbers.

    Are you saying Bynum, as is, injuries and all, should be traded if Lakers can get CP3?

    Are you saying OKC would not trade Westbrook for Bynum trade up?

    Not sure so about that but …
    Lakers wouldn’t do it.

    My point is if the Lakers are not going to trade Bynum then … throw him the ball in the post and force teams to double or get scored upon. Bynum should get as many FGAs as Kobe. Last nite was about right. 20 FGA’s each.

  39. btw word is Lakers hoping to avoid Grizz and Thunder until WCF finals (with good reason!). Thus, the ideal scenario would be for the Thunder to hold onto the 1 seed (they and spurs now both have 14 losses), and Grizz get 5th place and take Clips or Mavs in the first round

  40. Treylake,
    Please listen to the advice I emailed you via The Dude.

  41. Funky Chicken April 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Goudelock is not a worse defender against 2’s than Blake. Playing Blake at the 2 makes no sense at all, and if you are going to be playing a PG at the SG position, you might as well play one who can actually do more than run to the corner and shoot 3’s.

    This team needs good floor spacing and ball movement. Those things happen when you have perimeter players who can shoot–especially when they can put the ball on the floor against a closing defender and take (and make) a mid-range shot. There is pretty much only one reserve on this roster who does that.

    An 8 man rotation is perfectly acceptable for a championship run if you have talent 1-8. Pat Riley almost never went beyond 8 guys during the Showtime era. But the Showtime bench (6-8) were significantly better than the current squad’s version. That’s why expanding the rotation to include AG would be useful, particularly as you head to the part of the season when defenses get better and will almost certainly make a point of packing the paint. The current approach will be fine if the Lakers can win in the playoffs without any outside shooting or mid-range play from the 2nd unit. I’m just doubtful that is the case….

  42. If Bynum gets to the line like he did last night he can avg. 30. He should aim to get more FTs than Kobe.

    FunkyChicken: I think Brown sees Sessions/Blake similiar to when he played West/Gibson together. They had moderate success I’m not a fan of this pairing but it may work.

  43. the other Stephen April 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    observing the clippers celebrate their dunks, pau get bulldozed, and andrew try to be friendly with blake last night made me wonder about something:

    with derek or even lamar still on the team, the lakers would never have let the clippers strut around like that. there would have been jawing, staredowns, and perhaps even shoving. quite a few guys on this team have a reputation (e.g. ron, matt, and andrew), but i feel like this team is still lacking in the attitude should fuel their defense.

  44. With the sting somewhat diminished by time and the recent terrific play by RS7, I’m wondering what folks here now think about The Veto. Specifically, as great as Chris Paul is (and I think he’s very, very, very great), are the Lakers better off with Ramon + Pau than CP3 and no Pau?

    (For the sake of the discussion, please don’t mention the mouth-watering possibility that Ramon could possibly have been brought in as CP3’s backup…)

  45. the other Stephen April 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    food for thought: i wonder if lakers fans have ever considered chanting “offense” in between beats of clippers fans’ chants of “defense” at lakers-clippers games.

  46. Treylake,

    The answer to that question is no. That isn’t a move that I think we should make. We have Sessions. I think that it may have been considered before the season though.

    I’m not certain that OKC would do that either because they have a center right now that does what they need him to do. Let’s say they did that specific switch. Then they have Fish starting? As our resident genius, Aaron, will tell you- It’s hard to overcome the worst starting pg in the NBA.

    If injury considerations are out of the question, as I said before, I would draft him as high as 1-3 behind only LBJ or DH.

    I think we are really quibbling here, quite honestly.
    I say give the guy 15-20 shots a game and ride him until he gets injured again! ;)

  47. KenOak,
    Thanks for setting me up for this… Haha… And btw… Re the Bynum question… If there are no such things as injuries I only draft LeBron over Andrew Bynum. Too many great PGs out there to draft a PG in the top 5 and DH is too limited in the post to put him ahead of Drew. But it’s def debatable.

    “Predictable” by Kevin Ding

    The first game of the ESPN doubleheader Wednesday night before the Lakers-Clippers intra-city showdown pitted projected NBA Finals qualifiers Oklahoma City and Miami.
    Derek Fisher, traded by the Lakers to Houston and winding up with the Thunder, got to play in the marquee matchup. He did not have much impact in the game won by Miami, 98-93.
    Fisher shot 1 for 4 from the field (0 for 2 on 3-pointers) with two assists and no turnovers in 17 minutes. In eight games with Oklahoma City, Fisher has shot 9 for 37 (24.3 percent) from the field despite delivering some productive scoring in the Thunder’s victory over the Lakers on Thursday. Fisher has shot 3 for 15 (20 percent) on 3-pointers for Oklahoma City.

  48. Guys, please cut out the trade speculation. This isn’t Yahoo or AOL or the WWL. It violates Rule #7 up top.

  49. Hey Aaron-
    Then we are pretty much in agreement on that question removing injury from the equation.

    So, how do we somehow force Mike Brown to either:
    a) Never play blake/sessions together again.
    b) Give goudelock any minutes that blake is getting at the 2.
    c) Only play blake at pg for no more than 12 minutes a game.

  50. I want to see these two teams go at it in the playoffs!
    Can you imagine the drama with all that talent(Kobe, Pau, Bynum,Sessions vs CP3, Blake,Mo, D.Jordan) and all that crazy(RonRon, Barnes vs Blake, Kenyon and Reggie Evans)
    It will be NUTS!
    Please God, make this happen.

    BRING ON THE HALLWAY SERIES!!!

  51. KenOak,
    Mike Brown is not a dummy. He is an advanced stats guy. I think he has a little Phil Jackson in him. Or at least I am hoping ;) I have long thought Mike Brown is making sure we save our last bullet for the playoffs. I think we will see GLock and Jordan Hill take over for Blake and McBob starting with the last week of the regular season. I don’t think you can play Steve Blake (a short spot up shooting SG) at PG in a traditional offense. His only role at this point in his career is at back up SG when the other team is playing two PGs.

  52. @#3 The Dude Abides

    Not sure if this is what you are looking for on Sessions-Barnes and Sessions- Blake. Here is a breakdown of the Lakers Team Units

    http://basketballvalue.com/teamunits.php?year=2011-2012&team=LAL

  53. any_one_mouse April 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Random thoughts:

    1. In all this MVP discussion, why isn’t there any consideration to the fact that LBJ is getting his numbers when playing with DWade and CBosh? I mean wasn’t the whole point about forming a super team so that they could all thrive off the attention given to each other on the court? Would LBJ get those numbers/%s if he played on, say, the Knicks?
    To me, Durant and Love are more worthy at this point. But that’s just my POV.

    2. For all the ink that has been spent on how Foye had no chance against Kobe, isn’t this what LBJ and Durant face every game? They are always bigger/stronger than whoever is guarding them. I wish there was an advanced metric that tracked “difficulty of shots” when evaluating TS%. For example, a shot over Foye would carry less weight than shot over someone like Corey Brewer

    3. Layups/Dunks should not count against “shooting” %s. Or maybe they should be tracked separately like 3-pointers are.

  54. @51 Suggest showing MB video tape of Blake defending against OJ Mayo and Nick Young.

    Noticed Fisher’s recent streak of extra horrible OKC play has caused his PER to fall below Steve Blake in the lastest PER rankings. Statistically Fisher and Blake are among the least effective PGs in the NBA.

    A major reason Blake is a Laker is because he tore Fisher a new one when he was a Clipper in meaningless game at 2010 season end. Bad beats worse.

  55. Glove: Great find had to favorite that one. Some positive numbers that back up those lineups.

  56. The Lakers Offense: A rare Look at the 1980?s Celtics
    ———————————————

    The Lakers for maybe the first time in their history have five guys that play at the same time together who can creat their own shot (say what you want about MWP but not many SFs can guard him in the high post.) This makes the Lakers almost impossible to guard. You can’t put a big Center onto Pau Gasol because then who guards Andrew Bynum? You can’t put a length SF onto Kobe because then who guards Ron Artest in the high post? You can’t put a athletic long SG on Ramon Sessions because then who guards Kobe Bryant? We haven’t seen a versitle offense like this since the 1980?s. The Lakers with a new true PG are constantly getting to the guy with the biggest mismatch. Until the last two minutes of games. It didn’t hurt the Lakers last night as Kobe made two very difficult shots. However, in the future the Lakers need to feel comfortable with others besides Ramon, Bynum, and Kobe getting scoring touches. Last night the Clippers put a two guard (Foye) onto Ramon to slow him down the stretch. That left little CP3 on MWP. Ron Artest if nothing else is a great and willing passer out of the post. The Clippers would have had to double resulting in much more quality shots than the ones Kobe knocked down. This needs to change if we want to win close playoff games. We have five one on one weapons… Something nobody has had in the NBA in over two decades!!!! Let’s use them.

  57. I think I came up with a pretty good generic rotation plan that is similar enough to the recent substitution patterns the Lakers have been using to be feasible. Let me know what you all think:

    http://i.imgur.com/LVlBk.png

    In looking at MB’s rotations over the past few games, he’s definitely moving in the right direction. The Clippers rotation from last night is pretty close to the sub pattern I made up, aside from the Blake+Sessions backcourt he’s repping recently. He’s probably (I hope!!) just trying to get enough data points to get some degree of statistical significance before overreacting.

  58. Lowe’s piece is pretty good, but as is usually the case with CelticFan Lowe, a little Haterade drips on the analysis. The Lakers are “running the offense correctly” now for a simple reason: They have a PG. Lowe, of course, suggests the problem was Kobe’s personality. The rest of the stuff–Kobe moving without the ball, Sessions helping the O but not the D, Bynum having more of a low-post game, Barnes playing the 2–is all correct, although nothing people here haven’t seen.

  59. @Glove, thanks a million for that…exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately, despite what it says, it’s missing the numbers from six games, probably the most recent six, as it’s 288 minutes short of the total that the Lakers have played in 55 games. So in the first six games that Sessions played, here are the numbers for when Barnes and Blake back up Kobe at SG:

    Sessions-Barnes backcourt:
    30.02 min, outscored opposition 68-51

    Sessions-Blake backcourt:
    9.03 min, outscored by opposition 22-26

    Last six games, my additions:
    Sessions-Barnes backcourt:
    2.13 min, 4-4

    Sessions-Blake backcourt:
    26.63 min, 54-51

    Totals, 12 games:
    Sessions-Barnes backcourt:
    32.15 min, Lakers outscore opponents 72-55

    Sessions-Blake backcourt:
    35.66 min, Opponents outscore Lakers 76-77

    Not as much of a difference as I expected. I imagine it’s been worse when the opponent’s backup SG is a big guard like Mayo or Young.

  60. @Aaron 53,

    Spot on. Coach Brown has given every player on the Lakers a chance to show what they can do in game situations.

    Every coach needs a wrinkle in the playoffs, a play or a player that hasn’t been scouted. That could be the difference in winning in a series.

  61. Chearn and Aaron,
    I really hope that you guys are right about MB saving a wrinkle for the playoffs. We can’t throw that Sessions/Blake out there very often against the better teams. Just thinking about what Harden would do to Blake makes me shiver. Or, Manu? Ugh.

  62. All that’s ever needed from most benches in this league is to hold the line for half a quarter or so.

    Especially when you have a powerful starting five.

    To my eye, the bench is doing much better now at holding the line during their first shift at the start of the second quarter then they were for most of the first two thirds of the season.

    The problem as we saw once again last night, is during the second shift at the start of the 4th quarter where the bench is not holding the line and more often than not, is letting the opposition build momentum to make the game close at the end.

    I think resting Gasol before Bynum so that Pau starts the 4th quarter at center and then he becomes the go to guy with both Bynum and Kobe resting at that point may be the most troublesome contributing factor to this.

    Consider flipping that around so Bynum starts the 4th quarter when Kobe is resting or else Ramon has to be reminded to become a lot more selfish and offensive minded when he and Gasol are the only starters on the floor.

    If Ramon is overworked offensively at the top of the 4th quarter while Bynum and Bryant rest, he may need a blow for a minute or two at the halfway point of the quarter when Kobe and Bynum return.

  63. Dave,
    What Brown is probably thinking is that Bynum and Kobe are getting all the touches. He wants Kobe and Bynum to come in rested midway through the fourth since they will be doing the heavy lifting the last five minutes of games. So he is giving that time to Gasol at the start of the fourthl to work one on one in the high post. That’s his time to be a top option. Unfortunately he hasn’t been able to impact the game positively as that top option. Half of that is who he is as a player and the other half of that is he is playing alongside STEVE BLAKE and JOSH McROBERTS!!!!!!!!

  64. @matt

    nifty except I don’t want a lineup without either sessions or Kobe out there. But since Kobe is averaging around 38 minutes and Sessions around 33, it means that they’ll only be paired for 23 minutes, and I’m not sure if having a stable backcourt at all times is worth having your best backcourt out for only half the game.

    Same would go with Pau and Bynum. Pau is out 37, Bynum for 35, so it would mean that they’d share court only for 24.

    Of course this will only work for the most generic of situations and mildest of matchups, but would be very interesting.

  65. 55 any_one_mouse –

    1. In all this MVP discussion, why isn’t there any consideration to the fact that LBJ is getting his numbers when playing with DWade and CBosh? I mean wasn’t the whole point about forming a super team so that they could all thrive off the attention given to each other on the court? Would LBJ get those numbers/%s if he played on, say, the Knicks?
    To me, Durant and Love are more worthy at this point. But that’s just my POV.

    – LeBron put up historic numbers with Mo Williams as his second best player and a team of scrubs. He took Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall, and Drew Gooden to the finals. Nobody debates LeBron’s ability to put up numbers. If anything his numbers should go down with Bosh and Wade needing the ball more. That his not been the case, he has simply gotten more efficient.

    2. For all the ink that has been spent on how Foye had no chance against Kobe, isn’t this what LBJ and Durant face every game? They are always bigger/stronger than whoever is guarding them. I wish there was an advanced metric that tracked “difficulty of shots” when evaluating TS%. For example, a shot over Foye would carry less weight than shot over someone like Corey Brewer

    – This is why Kobe Bryant is Kobe and coaches are coaches and Henry Abbott is a blogger

    3. Layups/Dunks should not count against “shooting” %s. Or maybe they should be tracked separately like 3-pointers are.

    – Clearly Tyson Chandler is the best offensive player we have in the league, so I disagree with this /s

  66. Bynum would not have a top 10 trade value in the league right now, and it’s not because of his injury history. It’s because he hasn’t proven that he can be anything more than a 3rd option on a playoff team.

    I’m not saying he won’t have the opportunity to this year, but so far his best playoff performance ended with him getting ejected at the end of a 2nd round sweep.

  67. 27.Aaron wrote on April 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm
    [edited due to trolling]

    {chuckle}

  68. When Kobe’s crunch time numbers were being discussed during the game on twitter. I asked if anyone had the split pre and post Ramon trade.

    Gary Collard @lakersgmc responded that counting last night’s game Kobe was 9/12 since trade in crunch time!!!!

  69. One method of resting Kobe that PJ utilized was to take Kobe out of the game with 2-3 mins remaining in the third. Then Kobe would have the 2-3 mins break between the 3rd and start of the 4th. Kobe re-entered the game in the 4th at about the 9-10 min mark. If the bench managed to extend the lead Kobe remained on the bench until the 6-7 min mark or did not return at all if the bench maintained control of the game.

    Resting strategic players at the end of periods, allows them time to rest through the break and return near the top of the next quarter.

    Side note: Blake Griffin began acting cocky when CP3 and Butler joined the team, he played the game without histrionics which is why I enjoyed watching him play. But, once he got CP3 and Butler he started staring at people on dunks along with other shenanigans.

    Last night he unnecessarily pushed Ramon after a made basket, and he did the same thing in the last game against Goudelock. He never tried that with D-Fish because he knows Fisher would have called attention to those types of plays and forced the referee to give a double technical. Griffin won’t even try that with Blake.

    The dunk on Pau was an offensive foul in any league from middle school, to the D-league, to the European league. Then he pushed Pau down and taunted him…. Let Bynum try that and see how quickly he gets ejected or suspended.

    Thank you Griffin for fouling Pau on that dunk, because Pau is going to play with a renewed emphasis on his game in its entirety. We’re going to see the Pau that came back after Garnett bullied him.

    LOL, the Lakers have an attitude!

  70. @Don

    This is why Kobe Bryant is Kobe and coaches are coaches and Henry Abbott is a blogger

    Nice. Also there was a recent interview with Daryl Morey (Rockets) who said that coaches run ISOs during crunch time because it helps them control the clock better.

    Plays can be disrupted and can seriously waste valueable seconds so whoever that can create his own shot, however inefficient, is much better than risking a botched play and having no shot.

    That to me explains why coaches are coaches, players respect Kobe, and why both dismiss most bloggers out there.

    Also, it explains why players like CP3 are of utmost value in crunch time – not only can they create their own shot, they can create the right play. And again, as Kobe is not a bad passer (not a willing one though) it really makes sense that he get the ball during crunch time, and the team clear out to give him the best shot.

  71. @70, Chownoir – That’s some good stuff. Ramon could be making everyone better.

  72. 2 nights in a row Chris Paul has had the ball stolen from him in crunchtime. But I’m sure that will go unnoticed.

  73. @harold

    That is a good point. But I’m not sure I completely agree with Daryl Moreys point as there are plenty of situations where the clock doesn’t matter. For example 30 seconds left you want to use either the full clock or a few seconds and it wouldn’t matter too much to the other team since they would either get 8 seconds or 24 seconds – both situations where they would wait until the last 8 seconds to start the play anyway. Nevertheless there are critical moments where clock management is key and that is why every team goes iso heavy in the playoffs.

    I was more referring to the difficulty of shots. Players who shoot a high percentage in the clutch get better looks by passing up situations that they can’t get anything out of. Sometimes that leads to a good shot, sometime leads to a bad shot. But Kobe never passes up a situation, no matter how little he can create, and takes extremely difficult shots. I’m not saying he always makes the right play, but I believe the versatility of his arsenal makes his crunch time value much higher than the numbers suggest, esp relative to those players who pass up tough shots to pass to teammates.

  74. Griffin’s dunk on Pau was all over the news cycle but never mentioned the the Pau’s block in the end. It was even mentioned on Yahoo Sports that it was one of the favorite dunk in the year, oh how American basketball turned into brute sports as an extension of NFL but sometimes they missed the objective of the game which is to win at the end of the game. The lowly fans loved the show, the humiliation like those Roman crowds during the time of Emperors – shouting at the Coliseum ….kill, kill to the mighty gladiators. Yeah, they humiliated a foreigner, a lanky soft Spaniard but Pau, the smarter player got the last laugh in the end while the dunking king is puzzled why they keep on losing games despite his sensational dunks? Because a dunk is equivalent to a set shot with less stress on the body. This is the reason why Kareem played to Age 41 because he didn’t abuse his body.

    As long as the Lakers will keep their head up high and eye on the prize, they will go deeper in the playoffs with Ramon Sessions as the court general. Once they get into ambition of who is no. 1 and all sorts of childish antics then, it is the start of their downfall.

  75. any_one_mouse April 6, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Don@67

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Regarding LBJ, his numbers are actually down from previous years – whether it be points, assists, TOs or blocks. Yes, he is rebounding more and most importantly, “shooting” very well. Not to mention he has come into his own as a defensive menace.

    And there’s a good explanation for each of these – as you rightfully pointed out, he has to share the rock with Wade and Bosh, so that adversely impacts his numbers. As for the +ves – the Heat don’t have many good rebounders, unlike the Cavs. And the %s – well that was my original point – he cannot command the same attention as before because of Wade/Bosh.

    Yes, he is a very productive player, but all this hoopla about having a historic season – I’m not buying it!

  76. Per usual… If you wanna read a good Lakers beat writer… Kevin Ding… “Bynum is doing something right”

    http://www.ocregister.com/sports/bynum-348044-lakers-bryant.html

  77. @78

    Aaron, Kevin Ding emphasized this too, “We want it all now. If Bynum can score like a grown man now, he should act like one!”.

    ~~it also foments trust when discussing long term contract. I think the board of bloggers said it all which is also for the good of Bynum if you focus on the positive. I’m fascinated in this site when bloggers are being attacked for their posts, these guys/gals are really anonymous and their conjectures are stretchable and comprehensive from north to south and east to west based on the menu of the Lakers game and its personnel. Fan’s viewpoint is actually a good barometer or a weather vane in determining what is ahead? Fans are all nobodies, not even a public figure, they say things out of passionate care for the team. If athletes are individualistic and self-motivated like some Superstars who think they’re that untouchable, then go ahead, just do it. Most of them (based on history) get into crisis mode then repair it with expensive solution. Perhaps, Socks should treat such annoying morals by taking a cue from what Forest Gump said: “Mama always said life was like a box a chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

    Because he came back to play, (maybe only) after listening to Mama or set of advisers, he saved his job and reconnect himself to the Lakers fearsome Big 3.

  78. 2 – The other problem with the Blake-Sessions combo that occurs on occasion: Blake doesn’t fully seem to realize he’s playing the 2 spot. In the second half against the Clips, I counted 3-4 possessions in a row where Blake brought the ball up and ran the offense, while Sessions stood in the corner like a 2-guard. Inexcusable for Blake to take the ball out of Sessions hands like that.

    Going back and reading the game thread comments, everyone pretty much encapsulated how I feel about Blake Griffin. Let him have his offensive foul-dunks and staredowns while DeAndre Jordan kisses his a**. Pau humiliated him defensively. Griffin’s attempts at creating his own shot were comical. Another example of Gasol being mentally tough and playing through adversity.

  79. One more point I wanted to make:

    If you take his game on the whole, Bynum was just ridiculous on Wednesday. So many offensive moves, so many counter-moves … just no offensive weaknesses as far as I saw. It was incredible. It truly felt like the Kobe-Shaq days again.

    But there was one play that really got me angry. Watch Bynum on the play when Deandre Jordan came from behind and took the ball away from Sessions. I’ve rarely seen such pathetic effort. Bynum (already shuffling up the court slowly on offense) didn’t react to the steal, and started walking back up the court while his teammates were sprinting to recover.

    It’s one thing if that’s an isolated incident, but as Bynum has really come into his own and become unstoppable offensively, I’m seriously concerned about his lack of effort defensively. He doesn’t respect Mike Brown, and that may have something to do with it. Phil Jackson was able to sell him on being our defensive anchor and working on each possession. I haven’t seen that same effort on the defensive end consistently from him, and no matter how many points he puts up, we won’t go far in the playoffs if he’s lackadaisical on the other end.

    Forward to 7:17 here to see the play:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXGDJeScqT8
    Although unfortunately they don’t show the top camera angle on the replay, where it was even more egregious, watching him shuffle up the court. I’ve seen people at the nursing home move faster than that.

  80. Snoopy,
    No player is perfect. For a guy averaging a career high in minutes and being asked to carry the load on offense I’m willing to excuse Andrews imperfections in this compressed season when it comes to hustling at all times. Just like I excuse Kobe’s “zone defense” where he stands in the middle of nowhere to play “free safety” just to catch his breathe. Having said that… When the playoffs start I don’t think we will be seeing Andrew loaf. We will see him pay the way he did against OKC a few games ago. Going a hundred percent on both sides of the ball for the entire game. Bynum is a Kareem student. Anither guy who didn’t play hard till the playoffs.

  81. And what’s the point, Snoopy? He completely overwhelmed DJ in that game. He dominated him. If we put a microscope on Kobe or Pau each night we would find similar offenses. They won’t play perfect at all points throughout the game. The other team does play to win as well. Plus, they are human. Fatigue and/or mental disengagement can strike. But overall Bynum and Kobe were masterful. Let’s be glad for that.

  82. Bynum has much to learn, but he’s showing a willingness to grow, and at this point of his career that may be enough.

    Kobe’s influence on Lakers players over the years has been most evident by players playing through injuries, just as Kobe has his entire career.

    Bynum uses Kobe as an oar to navigate him through playing games with non-career damaging injuries.

    Bynum must continue to show that he is worthy of being a franchise player for the Lakers by earning his pay on both ends of the floor. Every Laker fan is pulling for him to succeed.

  83. Some quick thoughts about Bynum:

    1) I’m not at all a fan of his behavior as of late, most notably his slacking off on defense. Just because you’re worth the accompanying headaches doesn’t mean you have to provide said headaches.

    As the FB&G mantra goes, we’ll only go as far as our defense takes us, and he is its most important component.

    2) That said, would you rather be dealing with the drama Bynum’s brought to our team or the drama Dwight Howard’s brought to his? There’s something to be said for perspective.

    (Also, anyone who Bill Plaschke whines about can’t be all bad, right?)

  84. Kenintangibles,
    Agreed on all counts. And yes… Anyone Bill Placshe is against (he chose Shaq over Kobe a decade ago) I am inherently for.

  85. This is why I always thought Artest was a championship type of player. Not just because he plays hard, is super strong, and plays dominant defense. On Blake dunking on Gasol…

    “Next time, Blake is going to have to dunk on me and Pau and if that happens, it’ll be a poster,” World Peace said. “I wouldn’t mind. It’s a hustle play. It’s great for the fans and it’s great for commercials, but I won’t be in that commercial if they don’t pay, I’ll tell you that.”

    His asking price?

    “At least half a mil,” World Peace said with a smile, and a degree of satisfaction, the type that money can’t buy.

    If Artest isn’t on the Lakers, opposing teams might be more likley to go after Kobe’s wrist of Bynum’s knee. I think it’s fairly obvious Artest would make them think twice ;)

  86. Switching topics to the Lakers’ 33 game win streak during the 71-72 championship season.

    What a great quickie oral history article from the members of that team, here: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/40165/the-greatest-streak-ever

    The focus is on the streak – how did they do it? How did they keep focus? How did they win 4(four!) sets of back-to-back-to-backs? How did Sharman keep each of them motivated, and at optimum efficiency and rest?

    Good stuff. Lessons for our current team? Perhaps; let y’all brilliant theorizers opine about that. . .

  87. Also on the note of Dwight, did anyone else catch this article from poppa Kurt Helin over at probasketballtalk this morning?
    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/06/report-dwight-howard-signed-with-magic-to-avoid-trade-to-lakers/

    There are some very interesting quotes that I don’t think had surfaced before in there.

  88. 83 – And we’ve all gotten on Kobe for his centerfield tendencies as well…not sure how that’s relevant here at all. No one’s immune from criticism. This is a trend that’s been happening for many games now. With that said, I also acknowledged just how dominant Bynum is playing right now earlier in my post. I haven’t seen a combination of strength and quickness on the block like that since Shaq.

    Aaron – I agree. I’m willing to excuse Bynum for it if it’s simple fatigue in the regular season. But we can’t afford to have our defensive linchpin take plays off like that in the playoffs, so I’m more concerned about this becoming a trend that continues in the future. Our defense has slipped quite a bit since the break, and I think all our players need to get back on the same page.

    Take with a grain of salt, but since it involves the Lakers, I’ll share this:

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/06/report-dwight-howard-signed-with-magic-to-avoid-trade-to-lakers/