Lakers/Mavericks: That Was Fun…

Darius Soriano —  April 15, 2012

Without Kobe Bryant for the 5th straight game, the Lakers sought their 4th straight win and got it taking down the Mavs 112-108. The win gave the Lakers a season sweep over Dallas and bumped their lead to 1.5 games in the Pacific Division over the Clippers. The Lakers seem to be finding their stride right now and in doing so, set up Kobe to come back to a primed team that looks like it can make some noise in the playoffs.

This was a great game to watch. It helped that the Lakers won, but just consider these things: the game, as it got going, had some playoff level intensity for two teams that are still battling for positioning in the west; the game went to overtime and had some fantastic shot making from both sides and some big defensive stops down the stretch; there were 17 lead changes in the back and forth affair with neither team really gaining an advantage for the final quarter plus overtime.

From the Lakers side, it’s difficult to come up with a player that didn’t impact the game in some positive way. Steve Blake’s boxscore shows 4 points and 2 assists, but he played hard on D chasing a red hot Jason Terry off shots that, based of how he was playing, likely would have gone in.  Josh McRoberts was more productive – in terms of raw stats – than usual, scoring 8 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in his 17 minutes of burn while also bringing his usual energy and aggressiveness. He also had a nifty bounce pass on a high/low entry to Bynum that led to FT’s that was quite memorable for it’s precision. Only players with good feel can make that pass and McRoberts certainly has that.

When looking at the rest of the players that saw action, you could pull any name from the hat and find that he helped secure the victory in a major way…

  • Ramon Sessions had 22 and 5 on the night and was huge down the stretch of regulation. He scored 5 points in the final three and a half minutes and without that burst of O, there likely isn’t an overtime and the Lakers lose in regulation.
  • Andrew Bynum didn’t have the best shooting night (9-24) in getting his 23 points, but he made 4 of his 7 shots in the 4th quarter and overtime, scoring 10 points along the way. His final basket was his biggest, though, as he knocked down a sweet turnaround jumper from the a step inside the foul line, getting separation from Haywood after a hard shoulder fake that’s become a staple of his growing arsenal. When you add in his 16 boards and the fact that he did all his work with an upper respiratory infection, he deserves his due even though is overall efficiency on O left us wanting.
  • Ron Artest had another good scoring night with 18 points, though he needed 20 shots to get them. He did chip in 6 rebounds and 4 assists too. But, it was his 2nd half defense that was a difference maker. In the 1st half, Delonte West had 16 points on 8 for 11 shooting, doing most of his damage in the P&R as his man got caught on picks without recovering. In the 2nd half and overtime, Delonte West had 4 points on 1-4 shooting. What changed? Ron Artest guarded him in that second half, that’s what. Of course the team D was better on West as well, but it started with Ron fighting over screens, using active hands to disrupt passing angles, and basically making it hard for West to even catch the ball.
  • Pau Gasol put up 20 and 10 but hit the two biggest shots of the game – back to back three pointers(!), both of which turned one point deficits into two point leads.
  • Matt Barnes flirted with a triple double finishing with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists by playing his typical scrappy, heady game. But it was the defensive play he made on the Mavs’ final possession that will be remembered most. With Dallas only trailing by 2, they ran a P&R with Jason Terry finding daylight to the rim with no one in his way. Barnes rotated to him at the last second, made him double clutch, and ultimately bothered the shot enough that Terry missed right at the rim. The game easily could have been tied and headed to a 2nd OT had Barnes not stepped up, but he did.

Of course not everything was perfect in this game and there are still things the Lakers must do better. Their P&R defense still needs a lot of work as Bynum – especially in the 1st half – sat well below the screen and gave up countless mid-range jumpers that were made too often. When you combine Bynum’s hanging back with Sessions going under screens all too often, the result was even more open jumpers. And when guys weren’t going under screens, they were getting caught on them way too easily, often times forcing a switch that left small on big and vice versa. Down the stretch Dirk got several good looks taking jumpers against Sessions because Ramon couldn’t get over the screen and ended up having to stay on Dirk.

The offense also took a fair amount of time to find any sort of rhythm. Early on, the sets were disjointed as the bigs didn’t fight for post position and the ball didn’t move well enough to make a sagging defense pay. The Lakers also looked all too eager to shoot the first shot that seemed open rather than working for a better one, only to later pass up good shots in order to move the ball on to less open teammates (this was especially true with the 2nd unit). Over time this was smoothed out (especially in the 3rd quarter where Ron really got going) but it was a bit concerning to see them struggle with the same defensive scheme they’ve seen from the Mavs all year.

In the end though, this was a great game for the Lakers that shouldn’t be nit picked too much. They played without Kobe and got their 4th straight win (and 3rd straight over a playoff team). If they can continue to fine tune their defense and focus on getting good shots on offense, this team really is dangerous.

Darius Soriano

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46 responses to Lakers/Mavericks: That Was Fun…

  1. Another win where we came through in the clutch without Kobe Bryant. I hope Kobe and the coaching staff are paying attention, and that when Kobe does come back we have a more varied and unpredictable attack down the stretch than Kobe isos 90 percent of the time. Great wins that also have a nice side effect of buying Kobe more time to rest and heal.

  2. What we saw in the last few games is team chemistry–and it’s come just in time. The question is, can the players stay bonded together when Kobe is reactivated?

    As this game progressed, the Lakers were forced to problem solve on the fly. That meant getting offensive production and defensive stops in unusual ways. Matt Barnes and MWP have delivered both offensively and defensively as we’ve hoped, and Ramon has proven he belongs.

    The trick will be for Kobe to add frosting to the cake rather than trying to be the cake himself. If he had tried to be frosting in this game, the Lakers victory could have been much more convincing. If Kobe had pulled a Dirk Nowitzky, maybe the Lakers would have lost.

    Right now, the balance is very delicate.

  3. The good thing with Kobe out is that Bynum, MWP, Barnes, Pau and even Blake are ‘forced’ to produce. now, that doesn’t mean they will shoot well every night, but knowing that the burden is on your shoulders forces people to take charge and take responsibility. Even better that they are getting confident at the right time. even if MWP shot 0-5 from 3, most of them were on line, within the flow of the offense and shot with confidence (unlike at the start of the season). The Lakers will need a MWP offensive threat to keep defenses honest on Kobe and Drew, and with the effort and scrappy production of Barnes as the backup SG/SF, it gives the team another threat off the bench.

    The key now is Kobe keeping the ball moving and the offense flowing when he comes back, and for MWP, Barnes and Pau to still have that confidence and sense of urgency to produce on offense even with Kobe back, as opposed to just being an afterthought and being hesitant during the first half of the season.

    Kobe will need his teammates to produce and the team needs Kobe to be Kobe in the playoffs. Would prefer Kobe to come back and play 3-4 games before the playoffs and have one of the starters alternately take one game off to rest one game each

  4. anti Dwyer Abbott April 16, 2012 at 2:32 am

    The balance is very delicate.Lakers will be indestructible with Artest & co and will bulldoze Miami to win it all.Bynum is shooting lights out.
    Kobe should retire already so that ESPN will give a collective sigh of relief.

  5. Our season is mirroring that of the Knicks, with Sessions being our Jeremy and Kobe now playing the role of Carmelo (hopefully not Amare).

    Gasol making two three pointers? Now we know where Bynum is getting his ideas from…

  6. Wow, I must say the tone pertaining to Kobe worshipers justifying his “I eat 1st” comments & taking 29% of his teams fga’s has finally, finally, started to change.

    It’s amazing, in the last 5 games (4-1, 4 game win streak), Bynum, Gasol, MWP, have looked more energized, more determined, & yes more productive. Barnes has played like a guy who one day wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Cooper, Horry, McAdoo, & D. Fish in their hay days. Even Blake has “rediscovered” his game, as per a recent article by Andy K. Even McRob is earning props. And one more thing…fewer people have been killing Coach Brown about his rotations & offense schemes.

    Is Ramon Sessions really that good? Will we start to hear how the Lakers pulled off another “one sided Gasol type trade” getting this kid?

    Or is it just that no one is taking 29% (23) of his teams 80 fga’s?

    We’re scheduled to find out soon…only five games to go before the post-season begins. And as Kobe has stated, he’s due back very soon.

  7. Kobe’s return will likely disturb shot balance, playing rotations and team chemistry. Can Lakers win his first game back?

    Spurs start 3 games in 3 days tonite.
    Will Pop play the 3 amigo’s tomorrow versus
    Lakers?

    Would like Devin Ebanks to remain in rotation after Kobe’s return. Ebanks is athletic and bringa floor running speed to the mix. Ebanks was a considered a good to great college player until he was injured. Its not a fluke he is contributing. Ebanks in the rotation eliminates need to play Blake at SG where he gets defensively abused.

  8. @ Trey–I don’t mind seeing Ebanks remain in the rotation as long as the minutes he is taking are some of Blake’s at the 2, and not Barnes’ minutes. Barnes seems to be the answer to the season-long question “who can provide back-up minutes at the 2?”

  9. Kobe can be Kobe and we can still get the same production from everyone else. The guys gotta stay aggressive and affect the game in their unique ways.

  10. Aaron-
    Not going to read the article- I’ll just respond to your headline.

    “JA Adande asks, Can you throw it into Howard deep in OT?”

    No, you can’t. He would get fouled immediately. This is precisely why Drew has a leg up on players like DH12 and even Shaq. Towards the end of the game teams couldn’t count on those 2 guys producing. Drew can actually hit his free throws! It’s so refreshing to see a big guy not clank 55% of his freebies…

    About Kobe coming back and “eating first”. He’s still going to eat 20 shots a game. But, Bynum and Gasol will go back to hitting close to 60% + of their shots instead of 45% without Kobe, so it will be a wash. I want the big guys to eat too, but Kobe helps them eat healthier. :P

    What I really want to see come out of this is; A fresher Kobe Bryant for the stretch run and the playoffs, and a more trusting Kobe towards Bynum and Gasol.

  11. @9 Mindcrime – with you 100% on that.
    Barnes should not be on bench with Blake at SG. Bryant, Barnes, MWP, and Ebanks rotate through SG/SF spots.

    MB seems to match up Lakers line up to opponents rather than making opponents match Lakers. Translation, MB goes small with Blake and Sessions for no productive result.

    Is it possible for Kobe to play during the regular season, Lakers win the game and Kobe win scoring championship? Or is it better for Kobe to rest, win scoring crown by default and allow Lakers to win their remaining games?

  12. Kobe’s legacy and the regular season scoring championship is the elephant in the room. No one is discussing but it impacts Lakers fortune during their remaining games. Most Lakers fans know team has better chance to win remaining games without Kobe.

    My vote is shut Kobe down until playoffs or 3rd seed is clinched.

    Other players step up when they know there is no Kobe to “close”.

    Because scoring championship is on the the line and Kevin Durant may go off any game. If Kobe plays, he has score big or he is just giving the title away.

    Best to shut Kobe down until playoffs or 3rd seed is clinched. If Lakers are locked, maybe Kobe plays versus sactown and score the ball on fresh legs to close out ARCO Arena or whatever they are calling it.

  13. Treylake-

    If that is the case, then why bring Kobe back at all? It’s obvious, to you, that the Lakers have a better chance of winning without him. Why not “shut him down” completely and then trade/amnesty him next season after we host the Championship trophy without him?

    lmao

  14. Treylake: that first paragraph makes no sense.

    Wade and Rose came back their teams didn’t skip a beat. Both times Kobe missed games in April with legs injuries both times Lakers won 16 games in postseason.

  15. KenOak: That is funny
    Trey: I do not think Kobe will win the scoring title if he sits. Durant has a 50 pt gm in him if needed. Durant will probably win that in any case.
    The Lakers need Kobe to have any shot this yr. Ideally he comes back with at least a few games left to get everyone re-acclimated. I do not think it will be good for us if his 1st game back is playoff game #1.

  16. Guess what Bynum has been taking 21.4 of the teams shots and only made 41% in the 5 game Kobe’s been out.

    Is anyone complaining that he’s shooting too much?

    LOL

  17. It is truly amazing how much negativism there is regarding Kobe in Lakerland, whether he is playing or not. And these are so-called Lakers fans!!

    I don’t hear too much about how the Bulls are better without Rose, or how Rose needs to change his game when he gets back because the Bulls have been winning without him, and they haven’t won anything.

    Seven finals, five championships, and maximum effort at all times, yet he is still the fans whipping boy. Some fans have been trying to run him out of town since 2001 because he didn’t get along with Shaq.

    Now it seems as if the Lakers fans have their sights set on Bynum. The Orlando fans help run Shaq out of Orlando with their criticism about his free-throw shooting and personal life, I guess Lakers fans want to do the same to Bynum.

    The truth of the matter is that everything the Lakers do doesn’t have to involve criticism of Kobe, whether he is playing or not. Calm down!!!

  18. Let’s not go overboard with how the Lakers are playing without Kobe. The last 2 offensive plays of regulation resulted in a MWP prayer, and a RS turnaround fadeaway that were both missed. Then in OT we were helped by a Barnes put back of an AB miss, not 1 but 2 three point shots by Gasol, + a MWP shot that he had not made the likes of in 6 years : ) I would not count on all that being repeatable : )

  19. @ 10, Joel & 17, Big Ern. “Kobe can be Kobe and we can still get the same production from everyone else. ”

    I want Kobe to come back, as aggressive as ever, but as a more selective shooter. Isn’t that possible? Kobe is needed. Kobe draws so much attention when he’s on the court, it’s a major reason A. B. & Gasol have season fg averages of .558 & .505 respectively.

    HOWEVER, if Kobe tweets his game, say by reducing his average of 23+ shots per game out of the Lakers game average of 80 shots (a whopping 29%) by just four shots thus allowing Bynum & Gasol to get two more shots a game, all three could average 20+ points per game. Current per game stats:

    Kobe: 23.2 fga’s, .430 fg%, 28.1 ppg
    Bynum: 13.3 fga’s, .558 fg%, 18.6 ppg
    Gasol: 14.1 fga’s, .505 fg%, 17.4 ppg

    Opponents won’t know who to double when you have three guys all capable of giving you 25+ points a game. Just consider the better looks Kobe & Gasol get when guys are double or even triple teaming Bynum.

    There really is only one reason for Kobe to return and continue taking 29% of the Lakers fga per game…and it’s called personal records.

    If Kobe truly wants a sixth ring and a 17th title for the franchise, I believe his best opportunity is to make adjustments. Less shots, less iso;s better ball movement, & better “D”.

    FACT: Currently six players have won five titles in Laker uniforms: Mikan, Jim Pollard, Kareem, Magic, Cooper, D. Fish, & Kobe.
    Kobe is the only one capable of winning a sixth wearing the gold & purple…it’s just a matter of adjusting.

  20. Dave b,

    I get where you are going. However, to be fair Bynum gets swarmed when he touches the ball in the way Kobe no longer does. It opens up lanes and frees players up for shots providing Bynum makes the right play (sometimes he doesn’t). Plus it’s a lot easier to clean up a missed shot from 5 feet away vs. 20 feet away. That is especially true when there is another 7 footer near the rim who is an excellent rebounder. Lastly, even with Bynum’s shooting woes the ball continues to move and other players remain involved. Yes, missed shots are missed shots. But context matters here.

  21. We can’t ignore the more recent games Kobe played. Or the games since Sessions started.

    Check the box scores of last 5 games Kobe played.

    vs Houston all 5 starters had double digit shots

    vs Clippers Bynum had more shots than kobe

    vs Nets Pau had more shots than Kobe (w/o Drew you wouldn’t expect that)

    vs Warriors 4 players shot double digit shots

    vs Hornets 4 players shot double digit shots

    The season long stats tell a different story than recent games. It’s obvious Kobe isn’t trying to score 40 points now before the trade you couldn’t make that case.

  22. People forget that Coach Brown asked Kobe to carry the offense early in the year to help ease the transition from the Triangle and because of a shortage of practice time caused by the lockout.

    Kobe can adjust his game. He has played on well balanced teams before. I believe that he has his eyes on the prize and his priorities in order.

  23. Kobe wants to win no matter what. If that means taking less shots he will do it. I don’t worry about Kobe in that regard. I just hope Barnes and MWP can keep up their play. With Kobe and the Bigs the Lakers are already dangerous. But if Barnes and Ron keep up their recent play the Lakers will have a real shot at winning it all.

  24. @16 that’s real. Durant may have a 50 in him and not allow Kobe to win scoring crown by sitting.

    Scoring crown adds spice to the play/not play decision.

    Not suggesting Lakers are better off without Kobe.

    Am saying Lakers are better off without Kobe taking more shots than Gasol + Bynum combined which he has done in numerous Lakers loses this season.

    Do I think Lakers have better chance to win remaining regular season games without Kobe? Yes.

    Do I think they need Kobe for playoffs?

    Absolutely.

  25. Dave B,
    Ironic for sure since that’s what Kobe is shooting in the whole season. However… Bynum is shooting that against double teams (Kobe has been single covered the whole year) and when Kobe shoots it was usually without the ball moving another players getting involved. His misses were also from long range so there was a lot of fast breaks going the other way. When
    Bynum misses seven foot hooks against triple teams his misses are usually rebounded and out back in for two points. And there are definalty no transision points the other way. Also… I don’t think we will see Bynums shooting percentages go up when Kobe comes back. Bynum was facing the same triple teams the last month with Kobe playing. He is just going to have to learn how to score against double teams more effectively when he chooses to not pass out.

    KenOak,
    As far as adjusting to life with Kobe… I don’t think it will be a problem. Since Ramon was inserted into the starting lineup Kobe has played team basketball and was shooting a high percentage. It’s not something I’m even worried about at all to be honest.

    Also… The reason as well as fts you can’t go to howard is because Howard is a PnR Center… Not a low post guy against quality defensive centers. So you can’t just go to him amd put the ball in his lap. You need to run PnRs and in the playoffs teams game plane and take away that option. They will force the ball to someone else.

  26. Trey: I am with you. As to the spice, I also agree there. However, that is where I am genuinely concerned about KB. He has played through the wrist, the nose, the divorce, the knee, + the ankle. Now with the seeding + scoring title on the line he takes a 5+ game hiatus? Not unless he is severely hurting. Get well soon KB !

  27. I sort of think there might be some utility to Kobe keeping up his “ballhog” persona for the rest of the regular season. Kobe having fewer ugly volume shooting nights in the regular season would be nice, but one consequence is that players/coaches are going to be more likely to commit to double teams against him in the playoffs if they think he’s going to shoot no matter what. This should make everyone more open. Even if adjustments are made there’s still going to be a psychological edge based on his defender not really knowing what is going to happen. You know how Pau always seems to be open when Kobe + Bynum are in the game? It’s going to be pretty rough when you have to double two different players, leaving at least one of Sessions (50% 3pt)/MWP+Barnes/Pau open. Good luck Chicago haha

    Also consider: playoff points don’t count towards career regular season points :-) The scoring title this year + his final place on the career scoring list have clearly been on his mind. He has no pressure to maintain 28 points per game if it’s not easily available to him in playoff games.

    Final point: this year might be the last year he takes as many shots/puts up such a large usage rate – I think he’s been trying to get his money’s worth before next year/the future team direction. If they win the cookie this year, then anything goes, though.

    I’m really excited about this team’s playoff prospects. The seedings seem to be playing out perfectly for us (as long as SA stays 2nd), and we may not even have to face OKC if anyone on their side of the bracket can knock them out. The team is getting into excellent form just in time (a little later than last year!) and we suddenly have 7 legit players getting minutes. I don’t see any teams with a better starting 5, and it’s starting to look like the Lakers might not get blown out every time two bench players are on the floor anymore. It’s unreal how much the production at the 3 has improved in the last month, I just hope it keeps up for another month or so!

  28. Great points T. Rogers, a shot is just not a shot perse . Long contested jumpers lead to leak outs and easy transition baskets for opposing squads. The proof is in how many putbacks Gasol, Barnes, MWP, and McBob seemed to have gotten since Bynum has become the focal point on D. This team definitely needs #24 to compete with the the top teams in the league, but this older crew will have to make teams adapt to their style of play, not the other way around. A post dominant squad is what this team is, like it or not, and will be the only way they will host the trophy at the end.

  29. Why are the Lakers and Heat gonna meat in the Finals? Sometimes it’s as simple as both teams have two players who are the best at their positions…

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/5-on-5-120416/nba-best-best

  30. I do not think Kobe is sacrificing team success for his pursuit of records. Rather he truly believes that by taking most of the shots – he is giving us the best chance to win (he is often correct – but not always). That said, he is aware of the milestones, + there are more to be had, in the playoffs. I have not been able to issue a “Kobe Alert” for a while, however I can tell you that he needs 718 points to eclipse MJ as the all time playoff scorer. So : )

  31. BigCitySid @ 21 states and then asked:

    I want Kobe to come back, as aggressive as ever, but as a more selective shooter. Isn’t that possible?

    Yes, it is possible and I believe that he will do so. Since RS7 has been inserted into the starting lineup (and has been the predominant ball handler), Kobe’s fga’s have subsided a bit and he’s taking ‘better’ shots.

    The bigger concern, for me @ least, is the production of MWP, Barnes & Blake once Kobe returns. Will they continue to be aggressive offensively or will they wilt under the presence of Kobe and return to being passive and indecisive?

  32. Robert,
    In the regular season I agree he plays for records… But historically the only records he plays for in the playoffs are championships trophies. Kobe has always played the right way in the playoffs. In the postseason his one and only goal is to win the game. I agree with Snoopy… And have for a while. This team is loaded. No weaknesses. It’s really the perfect team. And now it’s a perfect storm for the perfect team. Everything is coming together at the right time, especially with Kobe getting a little rest before the playoffs. I predict we will see a similar run we all witnessed in 2001. That 15-1 postseason. The only team that can match our talent is Miami and that team DOESNT HAVE A CENTER ON THE ENTIRE ROSTER! Literally. They don’t have a center. I think you need a center to play with the Lakers right ;)

  33. Sessions 7th in assists (7.3) in April behind Rondo, Paul, Nash, Deron, Wall, Felton.

    Both Pau and Bynum average 20 pts 10 reb in April.

    SF’s field goal % in April Ron 49% , Lebron 49% , Melo 51% , Durant 51% , Pierce 43% .

    SF’s rebounds in April Barnes 8.4, Lebron 6.6, durant 6.8, Deng 6.4, Melo 7.3

  34. Kevin,
    Those are some interesting statistics. It shows how this Lakers starting lineup is uniquely talented. I brought up this point a coupe weeks ago as soon as MWP started playing like Ron Artest. The last time a team had this many offensive weapons in one starting lineup Ronald Reagon was in office. And this is without Kobe. This is a scary team on paper. And I always go by paper. That’s why even when we were losing tons of games I saw how easy it is to get a good PG (since the NBA is littered with them) and new with a good starting 1 this squad was more talented than any other in the world. It was easy to see how much Fisher was killing us in a traditional PG centric offense. This turnaround was very predictable. We all need to enjoy this kind of basketball because win or lose rarley does an NBA team come around with five guys as talented as Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ramon Sessions, amd Ron Artest. Those guys playing at the same time on the floor together is beautiful to watch.

  35. I would love it so much to be able to agree with aaron’s perfect storm for the perfect team idea, and witness a run similar to the one we had in ’01. imagine if rs7 / blake started shooting 3s like fish did during that run…

    but I saw up close how westbrook tore through our backcourt the last game against okc. and memphis’ depth and how they match up against us (they semi-tanked to get to the 8th seed to play the spurs last year… might be doing something similar this year, losing to the undermanned hornets yesterday… to try to get down to the 6th seed and play us?) makes them a nightmarish 1st round opponent. perimeter defense and depth… how did we take care of those issues back in ’01?

    wouldn’t mind seeing this daily in like 5 years:

    http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1060483/kobecoach_medium.gif

  36. More Kobe haters through the wood works. I think that paying attention to his more recent games clarify the personal stats VS. team ball argument and vindicate Kobe somewhat. This imo is better than relying on season long statistics, because it focuses on the type of game planning post-sessions acquisition.

    20.3 FGAPG
    25.3 PPG
    4.7 RPG
    3.7 APG
    43.8 FG%
    33.3 3PT%
    54.2 TS%

    So he’s taken fewer shots and shot at a fairly reasonable clip (considering FT) in his last ten games. It seems that he’s (/sarcasm) listening (/s) to those of you screaming for his head.

  37. Kobe should be the man all he wants.

    He’s earned it.

    My only complaints are these.

    Quit stopping the ball from moving! His offense must come out of the natural flow.

    Every time Kobe becomes the Bermuda Triangle, everyone else stands around and watches and it destroys the chemistry.

    Second. Play defense like Kobe is capable of playing when he’s dialed in. We need great defense more than great offense.

    Kobe is a great, great defender when he wants to be. But a lot of the time he mails it in with his roaming tendencies, selling out on all or nothing steal attempts.

    A lot of times, the guy Kobe should be guarding is getting wide open looks. No reason for it.

    Stop being a hero all the time, every time and do your freakin’ job Kobe.

    If Kobe focuses on doing that, he does his job better than anyone and we will be right there with any other team.

  38. Dave 39-
    I think you’re wrong about Kobe’s defense. He simply cannot play that type of defense any longer. Just like he can’t blow by his guy every time he puts it on the floor. He’s older and slower and not as athletic. It’s been 3 years since he has played great defense.

    I’m also curious as to what is different between Bynum’s version of the “bermuda triangle” and Kobe’s? These double-standards from certain people need to stop. Kobe has averaged almost 5 assists as a shooting guard for his entire career. If players want the rock passed to them, then they need to keep moving and cutting through the lane.

    What does this even mean?
    “Quit stopping the ball from moving! His offense must come out of the natural flow.”

    If the ball goes into the post for Kobe, then it IS the natural flow of the offense! Just like it is the natural flow when Gasol posts or Bynum posts.

    Here is what I would love for Kobe to do from now on in. When he gets the ball with less than 6 seconds left on the clock and he is not wide open- pass the ball to someone else. Who cares if it leaves that guy with less than 4 seconds left to shoot. Keep passing that hand grenade like Lebron does all the time.

    Kobe is the most polarizing athlete in the history of basketball. Pretty hilarious :P

  39. Kobe is going to be dialed in and play the right way come playoff time as he always does. In fact he’s only had one “me first” series his entire career and that was the 04 disasterous series against Detroit where even he acknowledges how horrible he played.

    Don’t worry about Kobe Bean Bryant
    , he knows what’s up.

  40. Team is winning and Kobe is helping on the sidelines, still it’s Kobe’s issue or Kobe’s fault if he comes back.

    When Kobe was playing, was MWP play like Ron Artest or just a bummer that lot of posters here want him to be traded? Was Barnes that accurate in the perimeter, or lot of people wanted him to be packaged too? suddenly, they shown brilliance, now it’s Kobe’s fault for not passing the ball to them.

    When Kobe was playing before ASG saving the Lakers on last second heroics “ordered by the Coach” he missed those shots, the following topic it’s all about him. If he makes those shot, oh how just fine? Kobe’s PG at that time was Fisher who’s deemed to old to be playing as PG starter, however nobody want to admit until they saw Sessions. So many here love to cheer for scrubs like Luke, Kwame, Cook. Mihm thank God they’re all gone while Kobe took them in his wings and even went for two Championships for some of them, still the main critique is about Kobe, an uncontrollable freak, ball hog that delays Bynum’s progress etc. etc. How can you reconcile then that you call yourselves a Laker fan and at the same time a Kobe hater all these years?

    I’m asking these question because he’s not in the game, helping on the sidelines, yet he’s still the subject of conversation on “ballhogism”.

  41. Frank the Tank April 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Aaron –

    I mostly agree with you, but to say Kobe hasn’t seen double teams all year is just silly.

    On a different note, i was watching old Lakers championship videos recently, and something from the 2000-2001 season struck me. In that year, the narrative went that Kobe was trying too hard, seeking his individual goals at the expense of the team. He was injured mid-season and the Lakers started playing well together as a team, winning games. Kobe saw this while he was out, and came back with a renewed commitment to his teammates. As you all remember, that was the team that swept the first 3 rounds and only lost 1 game in the finals. For those of you questioning Kobe and his commitment to winning or even ability to subjugate his needs for those of the team, i’d say this is a pretty good sign. He’s done it before.

  42. I agree with those that are saying Kobe is a different beast in the playoffs. He apart from maybe the 2004 finals, plays the right way every time. Everyone remember in 2006 when Kobe suprised everyone by taking less shots against the Suns and pounded it inside and we were 1 rebound away from stunning a 2 seed. Dont worry Kobe in the playoffs is all about winning

  43. #40 KenOak – Kobe played great defense as recently as 2010 when he had to guard Rondo most of the time in the Celtic series.

    I’d prefer Bynum not stop the ball either but can live with it more easily because at least his possessions invariably result in a high percentage scoring opportunity close to the basket as opposed to a 20 foot fall-away jack coming on the heels of 15 seconds of up fakes or dribbling between the legs against a defender 20 to 25 feet from the basket.

    There’s nothing about that occurring in the natural flow of the offense. It’s bermuda triangle. The ball goes in and doesn’t come out.

    I’m conscious of the fact that Kobe’s teammates shackle him with desperation shots from time to time, but that’s not the lion’s share of it.

  44. Dave 46-
    He sagged off of Rondo and never had to worry about his shot. He just back-pedaled and kept Rondo in front of him. He went under every single screen. Not a great defensive performance.

    Double standards plain and simple, but it’s okay man. I appreciate your opinion and agree with you to a point.

    Sometimes Kobe makes me throw up my hands when he launches a long 2 or a heat check 3, but I see the same things in Bynum. I also see Bynum get doubled or tripled and refuse to pass the ball out or get stripped because he kept the ball low.

    I see Gasol turn the ball over or be so passive that he passes up a great open look. I take the good with the bad though….