Preview and Chat: The Houston Rockets

Darius Soriano —  April 6, 2012

Records: Lakers 35-20 (3rd in the West), Rockets 29-25 (7th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.7 (11th in the NBA), Rockets 105.7 (11th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.0 (10th in the NBA), Rockets 104.9 (15th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Ramon Sessions, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Rockets: Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee, Chandler Parsons, Luis Scola, Marcus Camby
Injuries: Lakers: Jordan Hill (out); Rockets: Kyle Lowry (out), Kevin Martin (out)

Are the rotations set?: I’ve been someone that’s harped on the Lakers’ rotations for much of the season. I’ve wondered what the end game would be and whether or not Mike Brown would be able to settle on personnel groupings that he’d be comfortable going into battle with. Well, it seems like that’s finally the case as Brown has shortened his rotation to 8 players (or 9 if there’s foul trouble) and mixing and matching those guys together to piece together groups that can be effective.

The key has been that Brown is making it so two of his best four players are almost always on the floor at the same time, with one of Sessions and Kobe providing a threat from the perimeter and one of Bynum or Gasol anchoring the pivot. The result has been a much better balance of resources and better production across the entirety of the game. And while there are certainly some issues to work out – the small back court of Sessions and Blake has trouble guarding bigger shooting guards while the bigger back court of Barnes and Sessions (with Ron playing SF) has issues spacing the floor – this approach has been pretty effective.

If Brown can continue to tinker within this 8 man rotation and find ways to match up and make adjustments to the personnel the opposition throws at him, I think this is a plan that can work going into the post season. It will certainly lead to heavy minutes from the Lakers top 4 guys, but let’s be honest here – the Lakers will need to play those players heavy minutes anyway if they hope to advance deep into the post season.

The Rockets Coming in: There’s a desperation to the Rockets that’s palpable when you watch them play. They’re fighting for their playoff lives each and every game and while it may not always lead to a win, it certainly makes them competitive every time they take the floor. They’re only 5-5 in their last 10 games but in that stretch they’ve beaten the Lakers, Bulls, and Grizzlies (all teams that had been playing well).

As was the case the last time we saw them, the injury bug is still biting the Rockets as Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin remain sidelined. But in their stead, others are stepping up – especially the trio of Goran Dragic, Courtney Lee, and Chandler Parsons. Over at TrueHoop, Henry Abbott has an interview posted with Dragic and he speaks of push for the playoffs and how (in reference to the the Bulls, Thunder, and Spurs) how they’ve played well against the best teams in the league:

I think all these great teams motivate us to play against all these great players. We play well against those teams. We have to play with that every game.

Well, tonight will offer another chance for them to get a win against a quality opponent and the Lakers should expect their best effort.

Rockets Blogs: Check out Red 94 for all your Rockets news and analysis. They really do a great job.

Keys to game: As noted above, the last time that these teams met the Rockets came back to win a game that the Lakers had in hand. Andrew Bynum got thrown out, the Sessions/P&R-centric attack turned into a Kobe/iso-centric one and with that the offense stalled and the Rockets seized momentum. If this game is to be different, the Lakers must play more like they did Wednesday against the Clippers by sticking with what works for longer during the game and playing to their advantages over this team.

Offensively that means going to Gasol (vs. Scola) and Bynum (vs Camby and Dalembert) often. This means featuring them in post ups but also using them as screeners in the P&R and making them defend Sessions (and Kobe) as ball handlers turning the corner and attacking them. None of those bigs have the swiftest of feet and while Camby and Dalembert can block shots, they’ll be leaving their man free to clean up misses if they engage smalls at the basket. So, get Pau and Drew involved in the action and force their man to make the hard choices that come with guarding such versatile bigs.

As for Kobe, he must work on the move and make his catches curling or cutting towards the basket. Too often in the last Rockets game he made his catches retreating to the three point line where he ended up trying to create offense from a stand still position in isolation. When Parsons defended him that meant Kobe was facing a taller, longer defender that also has good quickness by trying to beat him off the dribble 20 feet from the basket. Kobe’s a fantastic offensive player but asking him to do that too often isn’t a strategy worth repeating. Instead, Kobe needs to work tightly off screens and use his craftiness to work his way into positions where he’s 15 feet and in. He can also use multiple option actions to fake moving towards the elbow only to slip back door and get to the rim where he can open up for a quick pass for easy shots. Against the Clippers and the Warriors he was able to do this effectively and hopefully that can continue tonight against Lee and Parsons.

Defensively the Lakers’ number one priority is to slow Dragic in the P&R. Houston’s offense is predicated on him using that action to get into the lane and then either score for himself or move the ball on against the scrambling defense. So, hedging hard on him, making him a passer from non-threatening positions, and then using discipline in their rotations to contest shots will be key. Sessions will need to fight over screens and recover to Dragic quickly so that Pau and Drew can recover to their man and keep the integrity of the Lakers’ D. This is especially the case when Pau is guarding Scola since he loves to pick and pop into open space and either take his jumper or use the threat of it to attack off the dribble against a hard charging close out.

One other thing I’ll be watching is the battle of the benches. As mentioned at the top, the Lakers rotation has (seemingly) settled down and that means the play of Blake, Barnes, and McRoberts will become one of the more relevant keys to every game. Lately all three of those players have been playing to their strengths and that will need to continue tonight – especially since the Rockets will bring in players (Budinger, Patterson, Boykins, and Dalembert) that will test them with some scoring punch. The Lakers reserves needn’t try to match the point totals that the Rockets bench can bring, but rather must focus on defending, rebounding, and making the right play in front of them. If they can do that, they’ll be okay.

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

Darius Soriano

Posts

120 responses to Preview and Chat: The Houston Rockets

  1. Excellent preview. One thing I should point out is that the team actually has had substantially less difficulty scoring with the Sessions-Barnes backcourt (32 minutes, 72-55 for a +17) than with the Sessions-Blake backcourt (36 minutes, 76-77 for a -1). Stretched out to a full game of 48 minutes, these numbers would have the Sessions-Barnes backcourt outscoring opponents 108-82, while the Sessions-Blake backcourt would get outscored 101-103. And against big SGs, the numbers for the latter backcourt would likely look much worse.

  2. Will Andrew Bynum score 30+ points tonite?

  3. #1. Some of that is opponent based. It’s why raw plus/minus is a stat that needs a larger sample size (the same is true of adjusted plus/minus) to be meaningful. During the 4th quarter of the Clippers game the Lakers went with a Sessions/Barnes back court and the offense was struggling and ended up going back to Kobe.

    This is why I mentioned that Brown will need to tinker with these groupings and some of it will need to be opponent based. There will be times where Blake’s ability to better space the floor next to a penetrating Sessions will be better than Barnes’ slashing – especially when the 3rd perimeter player is Ron. But, that will be more true against teams that don’t have a strong scoring SG off their bench that Blake must guard.

  4. Treylake: I want to see another dominate performance. Let’s see how many he can stream together in a row. Dalembert has long arms and he was blocking his shot last game.

  5. Darius, the team did not go to the Barnes-Sessions backcourt against the Clippers in the 4th. They got outscored 8-0 in the first two minutes of the 4th with Blake and Sessions, then MWP replaced Sessions at the 10:00-minute mark. Kobe and Ramon then re-entered the game at the 7:11-minute mark for MWP and Blake. The Barnes-Sessions backcourt has only played a total of two minutes over the past six games.
    http://espn.go.com/nba/playbyplay?gameId=320404012&period=4

    Also, IMO the difference in 3-pt shooting between Barnes and Blake is negligible. They’re both among the bottom 20 three-pt shooters in the league along with Kobe and MWP (out of 120 qualified players), although Barnes doesn’t quite have enough attempts to qualify.

  6. #6. Ah, I was mistaken. It was Barnes that was in w/ the starters…another one of my pet lineups that didn’t do too well.

    As an aside, Popcornmachine.net posts “game flows” that show lineup constructs for the games that give a plus/minus for each group.

    Also, I’ll dig into the Sessions/Barnes, Sessions/Blake back court stuff soon. I have access to some stats that will help decipher what’s what. But, I should note, it’s not just the Barnes or Blake question but who the three other Lakers are on the court are that starts to complicate matters. And then the variable of who they’re playing against matters too.

    I’ve looked at stats for lineups where the Blake/Barnes pairing is in the negative in raw plus/minus but then you look at the rest of the Lakers on the floor and in what game it was and it makes more sense. Just as you look at the times it’s been successful and see similar trends within those factors.

  7. Lakers on the season

    pts 96.5 — w/ Sessions 101.4 — diff. +4.9
    ast. 22 — w/ Sessions 24 — diff. +2
    fg 45% — w/ Sessions 46% — diff. +1
    3pt fg 31% — w/ Sessions 36% — diff. +5

    Lakers w/ Sessions are scoring 101 pts while giving up 99. So differntial is still +2 I’ll assume fatigue has been a factor, but no doubt this is a better team with Sessions.

  8. The numbers in my comment were a combination of the lineups at the link below plus my own calculations. I had to go through the last six games and do it manually because even though the below link says the lineup minutes are through the games of April 5th, the aggregate team minutes (2,382) are exactly 288 minutes short (six games) of the number of aggregate minutes the team has played this season. http://basketballvalue.com/teamunits.php?year=2011-2012&team=LAL

  9. Well, Rockets will find out that they’re against a different Lakers at this time. One noticeable is Kobe. He changed his game pattern after NO game where he made the last shot but had poor fg%. Second, Bynum is unstoppable and surely he learned something from that early exit against Rocket’s that caused their defeat. Third, Session is the wild card, he has adapted to Laker plays more or less know where everybody’s favorite spot, so his p&r are more precise while he gets to the basket when no one is open. McBob and Murphy improved their running and rebounding game. As role players, they were able to rest Drew and Pau. on intervals. This is all happened because of Sessions activity which results to productivity from everybody.

    There is one more wish and I hope they will fill the 15th player – Lakers need another mini-Session PG from the D’League or Aaron Brooks who could jumpstart the 2nd unit. On the second thought, if MBrown is lukewarm in playing others except his 8 men rotation, then that addition will be a waste. Kevin McHale loves to run with young players such as Parson, Dragic and Lee, I think G-lock could help and Ebanks could give additional 6 minutes break from Kobe. What a miserable season for Ebanks who was a starter at the beginning and now he could not even convince Mbrown that he could play for 5 minutes? lol!

  10. @8 – But that doesn’t take into account the points per 100 possessions when Sessions is on and off the court. The bball reference number for when he’s on the court is the Lakers are outscoring the opposition 121-105 over 100 possessions. Not sure what it is when he’s off the court, but I would imagine it’s a negative.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/s/sessira01.html

  11. #9. I have access to stats through the NBA (it’s the same stats database I used in my breakdown of lineups the other day). Since it’s through the NBA, the numbers are pretty much always updated. It’s a great tool.

  12. @12 – I tried to find that link on NBA.com but couldn’t. Anyway, we all know that the Sessions-Blake backcourt doesn’t pass the eye test. I just hope that after that debacle against the Clippers, MB will junk that experiment and go with Barnes at backup SG.

  13. As an aside, I don’t have raw plus/minus data for when Sessions is on/off court. But I do have OEff/DEff splits. And, when he’s on the court the Lakers OEff is 114.6 and the DEff is 103.9 (+10.7). When he’s off the court the Lakers OEff is 95.8 and the DEff is 109.5 (-13.7).

  14. Man, Kobe, Andrew, Ramon and MWP having injury issue coming into this game. Hope they can be healthy when the playoffs starts.

  15. Darius @7,
    Exactly right. It’s not just that Blake and Ramon are in the backcourt together. It’s that Blake is in the game with Murphy/McBob also with that lineup. That’s two guys (Blake/McBob or Murphy) on the floor at the same time with D League level PERs. You can’t compete in the NBA that way even if the other three guys are Kobe, Pau and Andrew Bynum (which their not because that means its Ramon, Barnes, and Bynum/Gasol with them. I’m it’s utter insanity to think that lineup can ever compete with an average NBA team.

  16. #13. Not to belabor the point I was making before but I think it’s important to note that for six and a half minutes the Sessions/Blake back court was +3 at the start of the 2nd quarter. But, as you noted, they were -6 for nearly 5 minutes to start the 4th quarter.

    However, if you look at the game flow, you can see that there were a couple of differences. Foremost was that in the 2nd period, Sessions was rested as he sat the last portion of the 1st quarter. In the 4th quarter stint, he’d played the entire 3rd quarter and when Brown called timeout and made his subs, he actually took Ramon out to give him his rest. When Sessions went out, the Lakers stabilized the game but it was mostly because Brown took out McRoberts and put in Bynum.

    http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20120404&game=LALLAC

  17. Darius,

    I’ve been thinking that the bench problems break out into two shifts.

    First shift is the switches made going into and through the first half of the second quarter which seem to be working okay these days at least, from the standpoint that the bench seems to hold their own and not squander any advantage that the starters have given them.

    Conversely it seems like the second shift with switches made going into and through the first half of the fourth quarter is the very troublesome piece where leads are blown.

    It seems like what may be a major contributing factor is that Pau is left to be the major go to resource in terms of offense for at least the first 3 to 4 minutes before Bynum returns.

    This is not based on any analytical data. it’s strictly my sniff test. Does the data support any part of this view I have or am I just smoking something funny?

  18. dude: Your advanced stats show it’s improvements across the board offensively. He hasn’t affected the turnovers either way, but what a differene he’s made. Do you know the point differential is it higher than +2?

  19. Robert,

    From the Orlando Magic news today, you almost got your dream of having D12 play with Kobe and Gasol. However, Dwight was disturbed of just being the 3rd fiddle or a mere supporting actor, he wants his name out there prominent as big as Hollywood sign, therefore the new says he decided to sign two more years with Magic just to avoid the Lakers trade.

    With all the distraction he created lately wishy washy Dwight is a tricky Howard who cannot be trusted. I think we have a gem here from a misbehaving Drew. Dwight said that he doesn’t want to follow the footsteps of Shaq as a Laker. Well, Shag got his first three rings with the Lakers, a future of HOF from the Lakers, a good income from other teams because of his Lakers resume and lastly, his jersey to be retired soon at Staples because of being a highly rated Laker he got the TNT job not because of his journey with other teams. From all these evidences that Dwight does not like to play here, then why would the Lakers chase Dwight? In Baseball, Pujols knew the difference of what Southern California fans can pay, he switched jerseys with the same offer. Dwight could not visualize such prospect, he prefers Brooklyn who have no players to trade.

    Drew and Sessions will be the face of the Lakers for a very long time. When Kobe and Pau careers with Lakers are over, a lot of young stars are waiting, eager to step in to follow the success of Ramon which can be considered a resurrection of his moribund NBA career if he still with the Cavaliers.

  20. I just want to say this is an awesome conversation. This is the type of commenting and productive disagreement that drew me to the site and commenters in the first place.

    Great discussion guys.

  21. Thanks for all the responses on the previous thread. I don’t think I am that far away from your collective point of view, except for the fact that I have a higher standard for what I consider a good season (because I am spoiled and entitled). Nothing less than a trip to the finals is acceptable, so a 5th best team is not my ideal (note I have moved us up from the slot of “6th” which I have had us in all year).

  22. This could be off, but has anyone else seen a subtle shift in Kobe’s on-court demeanor since the Fish trade? I don’t see as much rage, angry glares; I see a lot more positivity – encouraging teammates even after they make mistakes, pepping them up, helping get others focused. Almost seems like Kobe has taken on more of the good cop role, recognizing that Fish is no longer here to balance out his fire. I’ve been impressed with the leadership Kobe’s shown this year.

  23. snoopy2006: Kobe took Fish’s role and Bynum took Kobe’s.

  24. @17 – Not belaboring the point at all, I love this discussion. My theory for why the Sessions-Blake backcourt has had more success in the 2nd quarter than the 4th is because in the 2nd quarter, the opposition has just been running their normal offense. But after halftime, the opposing coaches have gone in and game-planned what to do in the 2nd half, and have gone out of their way to exploit Blake outside of their normal offense.

    Memphis did it with Mayo in the 4th quarter to the tune of 4-4 FG and nine points in three minutes, during which they outscored the Lakers 12-3 in those three minutes. The Clips did it with Young, outscoring the Lakers 8-0 in two minutes as Young went 2-2 from the floor for five points before MB called timeout.

    Simply put, since the 3-pt shooting of Blake (32.1%) and Barnes (30.4%) is virtually equal, there is no logical reason for Brown to play Blake at the backup SG instead of Barnes, who defends, rebounds, cuts, and creates substantially better than Blake does.

  25. Robert, I think we all share your high standard, with this much talent it’s championship or bust. Aside from home court advantage, who cares what seed we are or what Hollingers championship projection percentage is. Im much more concerned with being healthy and gaining momentum heading into the postseason.

    This is an abnormal season, seeding isn’t as indicative of strength of a team as it is in a regular season. The last lockout shortened season the Knicks made the finals as an eight seed =)

  26. sbdunks: The strike/lockout season thing is a good variable, where “anything can happen”. I had us “6th” all year, even when we were seeded worse than that, so my 5th rating is not just based on record. I have trouble saying we are better than Miami, SA, Chicago, or OKC right now. Does not mean we can’t beat them if all goes well. This also explains my TPE/FO/Jimbo frustration, because when you are this close, every card must be played : ) Perhaps Jimbo needs to take up poker like his father : )

  27. Let’s keep it moving forward LakeShow

  28. Ironic that this comment will probably be posted right after sbdunks’ last comment n regards to seeding (which I happen to agree with), but San An has taken over the #1 seed out West after their victory tonight against the Hornets and the Thunder losing n Indiana. These last 2 wks of the reg season is going to be very interesting.

  29. Kobe Alert: At tip off, KB ties Johnny Newman for 36th on the all time games list; He made his 1500th 3 pointer in the last game. Kobe has an 11 point lead on Durant with 11 to go. Durant is obviously gunning for this, while his team his headed in a different direction. Don’t know about you, but I would not have seen SA as being on top of the West at this point, yet there they are : ) We are 4-0 towards my 6-1 prediction : ) Tonight should make it 5-0 !

  30. not that it matters to this game, but Blake Griffin’s push in the back was upgraded to a flagrant 1.

    No word on the offensive fouls yet, but apparently the Lakers asked why the dunks weren’t fouls on Blake Griffin.

    ——-

    I’d like to see what happens today with MB’s rotations. I understand that people didn’t like Blake in at SG and getting abused by Nick Young, but I remember the 2nd quarter Young wasn’t doing all that well even against that line up.

    I do think MB has resolved that Blake has to play the 2 guard… because he doesn’t feel he has better options that balance offense and defense. I’m sure most don’t agree here, but I don’t think that matters all that much.

    More than Goudelock tho, I am wondering why Ebanks doesn’t get more run at the three or the two for some minutes. He’s not a rookie, he’s a big guy, bigger than blake anyway, and is athletic.

  31. spurs are now 1st.

  32. Pau is not playing good early. Scola plays him well I think international ball has something to do with that.

  33. Sloppy and lazy so far. Two words that have been used plenty of times this season to describe the team’s play. Let’s hope they pick it up and clean it up.

  34. I’m curious if the Lakers’ official game statistician is blind. On Drew’s first basket when he got the and-one, the stats guy officially entered the FT as being made by MWP.

  35. I really like Ron’s confidence. Shooting the 3 and when he gets the ball is backing guys down being aggressive . Saw none of that last year

  36. Blake = SMH

  37. @38 – There comes a time when an NBA player needs to know his own limitations. Blake should almost never try to create off the dribble.

  38. I don’t know about you but I’m ok with this. This new strategy by the Lakers against the Rockets. Instead of immediately getting a double digit lead that they can lose, they are going into a double digit deficit to fight back.

    That’s gotta be it right?

    That defense is really really bad if a Rockets team can be at 30 points in the first quarter. Good news though is that Blake hit a shot not from the corner… that’s gotta be something.

    And yes, Bynum traveled…

  39. dude: blake needs to stand in the corner and just catch and shoot

  40. Can Kobe please go around this Parsons clown and stop settling for jumpers? Seriously, this stiff looks like a 12-year old kid.

  41. Blake is stupid bad and Brown is blind. Second he goes in game changes.

  42. Bets on anonymous being Ken? anyone? :)

  43. How was that not an and-one for MWP?

  44. Thank goodness MWP made it to the game.

  45. Just dropped in to yell- Peace!!! Go MWP!

  46. Nice work by MWP.

    Great fastbreak by Blake to McRoberts!

    Cmon Lakers.

  47. Excellent play by Blake there. Good rebound and then a perfect lob to McBob on the break.

  48. Loving the Energy from McRoberts .. And right on que, he converts the oop from Blake.

  49. lakers doing a good job of exploiting artest’s size advantage. punish them!

  50. Our backcourt for much of that scoring run was Blake and Barnes, with MWP killing his man on the low block at SF. Please, please let the Blake at backup SG experiment be over.

  51. Dude, sessions back in for Blake. You might be right… At least for tonight.

  52. Shin looks to be hobbling Kobe I’d like to see him get a game off once at least a 3 1.5 lead between 3 and 4 is there.

  53. Another layup by a midget guard with Bynum making no attempt to challenge the shot. Shocking.

  54. Metta Fast Break!

  55. Finally, Bynum with a challenge and a block. That’s what we need from him!

    Nice spurt to end the half. Let’s keep it up to start the 3rd…

  56. What a pass by Sessions to Artest and he makes the layup.

  57. It’s weird but I think we’re watching a different game than the team’s statistician. Someone must have pointed out to him that Bynum shot that FT on the and-one in the first two minutes of the game, as he went back and corrected it. However, he has only awarded Bynum one block, when I’ve counted three definite blocks and an additional possible block.

  58. why is sessions wearing a shoulder brace? is it a sprain or just tender?

  59. One other thing I’d like to see is our bigs crash the boards when Sessions drives to the hoop for a layup. He’s missed two layups tonight after contests from Houston’s bigs, and neither Drew nor Pau was in position for the offensive board. Those are tailor-made opportunities to pad your stats, Drew!

    @60 – He has a minor sprain of the left shoulder capsule.

  60. Holy crap! Bill Sharman is still alive :D

  61. Pau really needs/deserves post touches the way he’s been playing.

    His aggressiveness usually is set from the beginning if he’s not in the post no aggressions. As I type that he’s in the post gets an assist

  62. Ron Artest Smash

  63. Bench is trying to shoot for a new low this game. Currently down 18-4.
    Dude: Is Sharman available?

  64. I’m so sick of this team blowing leads. That’s no heart and no pride, right there.

  65. 2 nights in a row you can’t recognize 16 in purple and gold. He has to get post touches to be as effective as he can be. Bynum isn’t doing much tonight maybe try Pau down low.

  66. kevin
    The lakers should start Mc Roberts and feature Pau in the low post for the second unit. The first unit defense would improve (pau and bynum together are too slow against athletic teams). Second units offense would improve by featuring Pau.

  67. Dude
    I think your lineup looks good: Blake – Barnes – MWP – McRoberts looking good.

  68. Oh Andrew…

  69. ALL YOU BYNUM FINATICS EXCUSE THIS…

  70. This kid just doesnt get it

  71. Inexcusable. Get the f*ck off the team!

  72. This is such an odd year: 2 Centers the biggest Prima donnas of the league. Thankfully, we have Pau. He needs to rock now.

  73. What are you doing Andrew Bynum? The Lakers need you. You cannot be getting tossed in games, simply a lack of composure and maturity on the basketball court.

  74. Ugh…if you’re going to talk trash, do it before you’ve picked up your first T.

  75. Pau is a complete waste of space out there

  76. I feel that we’ll eventually retake the lead and pull away for the victory, but truth be told, this Rockets team is Good .. Solid 10 man rotation once their Starting Backcourt returns .. N regards to Drew’s ejection, refs could have let that go. Straight B.S.

  77. on cue: Pau two put backs in a row.

  78. is drew the most immature player in the league? wow totally inexcusable

  79. The T was dumb – because Drew was just barking and running back on D.

    But….

    No matter how good you are, you aren’t much help to your team when your in the lockerroom.

    Once you get the 1st T, just shut your mouth and play.

    Sad.

  80. khjohn: seems logical as long as Pau gets more post touches. too effective not to post up more

  81. Would be nice to have hill available right now

  82. Wow. Just wow. It’d clearly be too easy if we just happened to have the most polished, skilled offensive big in the league without any drama or problems. It should never be that easy for the Lakers.

    I blame Dan Gilbert.

  83. I think Drew has developed a reputation among the refs, and so he gets away with less than other players get away with. On his first T, McBob stopped him from getting anywhere close to Dalembert when he got up off the floor after Dalembert shoved him. But the refs gave him a T anyway.

  84. Given what’s been happening, don’t forget

    Andrew Bynum: Age 24
    Dwight Howard: Age 26

  85. Blame this loss on Bynum

  86. WAy too many excuses for Bynum. [edited]

    Kobe is laboring. He needs games off. Limping bad. Kobe has plenty hockey assists tonight. Making the right plays.

  87. it might not be that effective, but MWP is so versatile. The last game: he played CP3 to close the game. Now, bc Bynum is out, they put him on Scola.

    I don’t know any other player that could do that in the league.

  88. @87 Don:

    What are you trying to say? 24 is plenty old enough to be mature. Also considering you are getting paid 14million/year, you better learn to be more mature. No excuses for anyone of them.

  89. Game,set,match

  90. Way to let some 12 yr old scrub that nobody’s heard of drain a 3 that could end up being the dagger. Really?

  91. Money is not a good indicator of maturity…who gives a f**k he makes 14 mil a year….he’s just immature….deal with it.

  92. I’m serious: Anonymous has to be Ken! :)

    But wow, I can’t believe he got himself kicked out.

    But theres something to be said about Houston’s energy and their ability to match up against the Lakers.

  93. I just caught the end of the game and didn’t see Bynum on the court. I quickly scanned the bench and didn’t see him- okay I’m in a panic and start scanning FBG! Don’t be injured…don’t be injured. Oh he just got ejected again. Phew!

  94. turrible.

  95. The good thing for Bynum: It’s Friday night. No First Take tomorrow. No Around the Horn. No PTI. No Mike and Mike. No Herd.

    No talking heads talking about how bad he is and that somethings wrong.

    Of course that wont stop a lot of us to talk about it right?

    :)

  96. bynum better grow up fast

  97. Who is defending Bynum after tonight?

    But it’s alright he’s cost the Lakers a game but he’ll put up 30 points tommorrow. SMH

  98. Kobe is literally playing hurt. You can see it. he was a diversion late. He can barely move.

    But Bynum get thrown out. It’s okay he’s only 24. gtfoh

  99. Sorry Ray it’s not. I don’t use profanity. Just repeating posts.

  100. We’ll probably lose anyway, so maybe MB should bench Bynum tomorrow to teach that child a lesson.

  101. Mutiny against Mike Brown how about a mutiny against Drew. you know the vets are giving drew major side eye.

  102. No more excuses for Bynum.

  103. Rockets should have been called for over-and-back on that inbounds to Dragic.

  104. Hardly the way to honor the ’72 title team vets that were in attendance tonight. Yet another reason to miss Wilt: He’d have had some things to say about Bynum tonight.

  105. On the down side – Kobe and Pau are just plain gassed. Not sure about Bynum – hard to tell if he is gassed or loafing. I think Brown is going to regret not sacrificing some games to save his two captains for the playoffs.

    On the upside, if MWP plays with that effort (won’t always get those stats), the Lakers have a really good starting five. Plus Barnes makes six. Blake and McBobs equal a half, so that is 6.5 deep. Up from the 3 deep (plus Barnes) that started the year.

    More good news – turnovers can be fixed.

    More bad news – lack of defense is because players are tired and that is not going to be fixed.

  106. The Lakers last 19 game (since they beat the Heat) 15 of those games have been 6 points or less, win or lose, and 18 games were 9 points or less. Only one game, the road game against Dallas was a 10+ game, a 16 point win. The Lakers must like keeping the fans on the edge of their seats with all these types of games. Is it too much to ask for a couple of Lakers blow out victories before the season ends?

  107. This is the first time that Sessions wasn’t as effective as he has been since he came to the Lakers.

    Bynum getting kicked out was 100% his fault. Even if the referees were quick on it, he already had one, and was jawing since that first one. He needed to know not to do anything.

    Kobe’s shin didn’t seem to bother him until he came back into the fourth quarter. I wonder if sitting for so long made it tighten up. But what is MB supposed to do? Bring him in sooner? I don’t think he could have especially since most of us have been saying KB needs some rest.

    ON the good side: MB didn’t put Blake in a position of failure: he wasn’t a SG once and didn’t play along side Sessions once. This apparently means a reliance on MWP playing more minutes and Barnes playing more minutes. With MWP playing well and seemingly in shape, I don’t see a problem.

    I wonder if Pau has the switch to go aggressive once he needs to play the supporting role to Bynum when Bynum needs the post. Because it doesn’t seem like he is able to turn it on unless he needs to start that way.

    I am curious as to the post game comments by Bynum, KB, Pau and MB regarding the ejection. I’m not sure what answer will make me feel content. Is there an answer that would help?

  108. At least we only gave up a season high to Dragic, right? It wasn’t a career high… Come on guys! Glass half full.

  109. Wilt would just tell Bynum he’s got a long way to go to catch his record of 20,000.

  110. Watching highlights of Gilbert Arenas hitting 3 pointers. The Grizzlies scare me. I’m not sure we can beat any teams in the west except the Clippers, Dallas, and Denver. Everyone else will most likely send us home if we continue to play the way we have been.

    Glass half-empty. Channeling my inner-Robert!

  111. If Mike Brown was a smart/great coach he would sit Kobe no matter what Kobe says. Kobe knows he needs rest but is trying to set an example. The only way a shin gets better is to relieve stress. That means rest is necessary.

    Lakers now 1 1/2 games ahead of clippers with a game tommorrow.

  112. You all know my opinion on Bynum’s maturity.

    No need to beat a dead horse. Pathetic.

  113. Cousins 12 Techs 0 ejections knows when to shut up

    Kobe 9 technicals 0 ejections

    kenyon martin 6 technicals 0 ejections

    bynum 7 technicals 2 ejections

  114. I think everybody needs to chill about Bynum. Honestly, the man has an edge and I like it. If it gets him tossed out of a regular season game, then so be it. I’m not trying to make excuses for him or say it’s ok because he’s 24. I’m saying that fire is what makes him great. Sure, some people are “mature” at his age but a lot of people aren’t. Such a meaningless term, “mature” – you are mature until you aren’t. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody loses it, esp for these guys who have to do the same thing night in night out. You can say he’s had a string of “immature” incidents, but clearly nobody knows what its like to be in his shoes having skipped college, nobody knows the internal dynamics of the team, relationships are like etc.

    Bottomline is, do you doubt that his “immaturity” will be an issue come playoff time? Do you doubt that he will deliver when it counts? I don’t. Someone with a fire like that has what it takes to win and these “antics” support type of character that is conducive to winning when it matters, not when its some regular season game.

  115. Don-
    His “immaturity” came in to play last year in the playoffs. Yeah, I think he is suspect. However, he is who we have to roll with. I won’t knock him to much for that ejection, but he needs to pull it back a little bit.

    You got to admit though…he gets fouled an awful lot without any calls and that has to wear on ya after a while.

  116. Don: his immaturity showed last playoffs he nearly killed barea.

    Bynum been in the league 7 years. With a veteran team Kobe, Fisher, Lamar, Luke, Phil, Tex, Cleamons, Shaw, etc. He’s been surronded by professionals he’s seen first hand how to be a professional. He’s not immature he just doesn’t give a heck.

    Bynum cost the Lakers 2 games what if lakers finish 6 with no homecourt and 2 games out of 4th?

  117. @116 – Don:

    I ABSOLUTELY think his immaturity will be an issue come playing time. What evidence is there to the contrary?

    Is it the lovely image of him cheap shotting a guy half his size, ripping his shirt off and storming out like he did last playoffs?

    As for “what makes Bynum great”. He ISN’T great yet. He’s put up ONE all-star caliber season in his eight years in the league. One. He’s not yet been even the 3rd best player on a championship team. He has NOT earned the indulgence that folks like you give him.

    Just saying “he’s got fire” doesn’t change the fact that there’s having fire, and then there’s just being an enormous tool. Tim Duncan has fire. He lets it fuel him and make him better, not consume him and hurt his team time and again.

    But even then, there are tons of CLEAR CUT examples of immaturity that have nothing at all to do with “fire”. For example, was he showing “fire” when he parked in a handicap spot over the offseason? Is it “fire” when he laughs and high fives people on his way for being tossed out of his LAST game against Houston? How about when he tossed up a three, got benched, and then said publicly, “Yeah and I’ll do it again.”

    These are clear-cut maturity issues and have nothing to do with the type of character that is conducive to winning when it matters.

  118. Although Session is a pretty good offensive point guard, we now know why none of his previous teams held on to him. He is a poor defender, both on the ball and as a team player.
    Everybody thought Fisher was bad. OMG! Sessions is actually worse!
    I have been watching him very closely on and off the ball and he looks very “Cavalier” and disinterested when he is playing defense.
    I am shocked that Mike Brown lets him get away with this kind of defense. Blake is not much better either, but he at least gives the illusion of showing some effort!
    Lakers Record since getting Sessions is 8-5 despite having 9 games at home and 4 on the road.
    Lakers’ offense with Sessions averaging 101.8 but giving up 100!
    So, the net is actually worse than what it was when we had the 37 yo Fisher!
    What he gives you offensively, he gives it right back and then some defensively.
    Although I still like the trade because it got rid of Luc Walton’s contract, you cannot win championships with the PG position being this weak defensively. He is certainly fast and athletic enough to be a decent defender. Where is the effort?

  119. I think Bynum’s problem is the opposite of fire. If he played with the motor of a Kevin Garnett and pulled the ridiculous antics, I wouldn’t be as worried. Bynum’s problem, as Phil Jackson said, has always been his tendency to be lackadaisical. He needs external motivation. Bynum is so, so talented, but it just seems like he doesn’t give a flying frick at times (aside from his scoring). He doesn’t channel that into maniacal defense, he turns it into laughing off his coach’s instructions.

    But we’ll see the real Bynum come playoff time. We’ll see if his rotations are on point then or if he just laughs and shrugs in the backcourt while his teammates try to play transition D. I think he’ll come through. But then again, I was defending him after the Dallas series last year and didn’t believe he was that immature until all the stuff this year happened. So I really have no idea what he’ll do.

  120. Although Session is a pretty good offensive point guard, we now know why none of his previous teams held on to him. He is a poor defender, both on the ball and as a team player.
    Everybody thought Fisher was bad. OMG! Sessions is actually worse!
    I have been watching him very closely on and off the ball and he looks very “Cavalier” and disinterested when he is playing defense.
    I am shocked that Mike Brown lets him get away with this kind of defense. Blake is not much better either, but he at least gives the illusion of showing some effort!
    Lakers Record since getting Sessions is 8-5 despite having 9 games at home and 4 on the road.
    Lakers’ offense with Sessions averaging 101.8 but giving up 100!
    So, the net is actually worse than what it was when we had the 37 yo Fisher!
    What he gives you offensively, he gives it right back and then some defensively.
    Although I still like the trade because it got rid of Luc Walton’s contract, you cannot win championships with the PG position being this weak defensively. He is certainly fast and athletic enough to be a decent defender. Where is the effort?