Lakers/Nuggets (Game 2): Just Buy Your Tacos

Rey Moralde —  May 1, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 104, Nuggets 100
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 111.8, Nuggets 107.5
True Shooting %: Lakers 51.7%, Nuggets 52.2%

Seeing as the two other playoff games earlier tonight couldn’t hold home court, we’re all hoping it’s a different story in Staples Center.

THE GOOD
And well… it showed early that this was JUST a bad match-up for Denver. The Lakers’ size was just too much to handle. Andrew Bynum had a playoff career high 27 points and Pau Gasol played the facilitating big man (13 points, 10 boards, 5 assists). When they’re not doing their damage, Jordan Hill came in to neutralize Denver’s hustle. Personal problems and all, he put that all aside by grabbing 10 rebounds. He’s been quite a good third big man for them Lakers. Also… Devin Ebanks? Way to go for doing the little things. Not the best day on the field but he grabbed 8 boards!

Kobe Bryant scored 38 points on an efficient 15-for-29 shooting. He was putting on a clinic early on creating space for his jumpers. He got a bit more erratic in the second half but, overall, it’s hard to criticize 38 points while making over half of his shots.

It’s also good that they turned up the hustle in the second half because the Nuggets were pummeling them on the boards early (they were getting so many offensive boards and second chance points). I attribute that to Hill’s infectious energy. For the most part, the Laker ball movement was good but then there was a period in the fourth quarter that the offense was stagnant. That enabled the Nuggets to come back. But, hey, at least, the Lakers weren’t in Santa Claus mode tonight. They only had 10 turnovers tonight.

THE BAD
Maybe Bynum was only looking for offense tonight. Note to Bynum: the Lakers play better when you play defense. And he didn’t seem too engaged in playing that and boxing out. Bynum got 9 boards simply because he’s a big dude but when this guy hustles, he should be able to grab 15 to 18 boards even with Gasol or Hill there.

It seemed contagious. Denver seemed to get off the shots that they wanted; they just missed them. Ty Lawson’s lightning drives and jumpers were there (he had 25 points). Kenneth Faried’s rough and tumble play was on (14 points and 10 rebounds). Corey Brewer (13 points off the bench) shot decently. But, overall, it was just a rough day in the office in terms of shooting. The Lakers got lucky. The Nuggets shot 4 for 19 behind the arc (that missed 3 by Ty Lawson when the Lakers were up, 95-91, was a dodged bullet, no question).

The Nuggets did beat them in transition, though. Not like you expected the Lakers to get back on transition D but the Nuggets had the edge on fastbreak points, 30-15. When the Nuggets were playing their tempo, there wasn’t much the Lakers could do about it.

And while we make fun of JaVale McGee a whole lot, he did have six blocks. The Lakers oughta pump fake more. Or tell him his mom is making out with Dr. J again.

Oh, yeah. The Lakers might wanna move around a bit more on offense. Especially in the all-important 4th quarter.

THE UGLY
Not that the Lakers were better behind the arc. The Lakers shot 2 for 15 from Downtown (SWV would be disappointed), which made a nice two-story house inside Staples Center.

THE PLAY OF THE GAME
Kobe with the block on Al Harrington’s dunk in the third quarter. The old man can still run fast and jump high! I don’t think I’ve seen Kobe chase down a block in years. Good hustle!

But, alas, the Nuggets scored 100 points so the Staples Center crowd didn’t get them tacos and Twitter L.A. didn’t get virtual tacos. Hey, the Lakers and their fans (us!) shall take the victory, though. They held home court and now go to Denver up, 2-0, in this best-of-seven.

What concerns me a bit is that Denver was able to make this close and they’ll look at this as a moral victory. Yes, moral victories don’t equal real wins in basketball games… but now they’ll have some confidence going into Game 3 in Colorado.

Still, the Lakers are the superior match-up. Take care of business in Game 3. And they can step on their necks while they’re down in Game 4. One game at a time. Push it real good.

But mmmmmmm. Tacos. This recap is over. I’m hungry.

Rey Moralde

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43 responses to Lakers/Nuggets (Game 2): Just Buy Your Tacos

  1. it was a nice win by Lakers. we defended our home well, now its time to conquer them on their turf. go Lakers!!!

  2. Whole team effort was solid with a few lapses.

    Pau and Drew should initiate offense more. The more jumpshots in denver more likely 30 fast break points.

    Everyone was a + except blake and barnes will need their A game in denver.

  3. Concerns:

    -MB played the dreaded Sessions / Blake line up w/o positive results too many minutes. This could be disaster against Lawson and Miller in Denver.

    -Kobe took too many bad shots leading to run out fast break points.

    - Kobe was dangerously close to attempting more FG’s than Bynum+Gasol. A known formula for a loss.

    -Ty Lawson is loose.

  4. That Sessions/Blake backcourt is terrible. Why not try a Sessions/Ebanks backcourt? I don’t see a problem with this.

  5. I think people too often look at the box score to decide how a game went. Kobe played a very solid offensive game. He was very efficient and under control most of the game. His shot total and miss total went up at the end when he was forced to take a handful of tough shots against the clock as the team failed to effectively run the offense for much of the last five minutes or so. I only counted two and possibly three “bad” Kobe shots in the fourth. For the first three quarters he was very efficient so I would not put this “close” win on him. He played a mostly magnificent game.

    The Blake/Sessions backcourt just doesn’t work. O can’t believe Brown is still sticking with it. Ebanks has earned those minutes.

    Two simple reasons the Lakers let Denver stay close/get back into the game:

    1) far too many offensive rebounds allowed
    2) lazy/terrible transition D.

    That’s it.

  6. anti Dwyer Abbott May 2, 2012 at 12:21 am

    @3

    Awesomely effective play from ”spry” Kobe saving many possessions, strong plays,and ones,an incredible Lebron block etc despite refs open agenda not calling anything.

    You may hate on and pour more gas.

  7. Trey,

    Having watched the game, I came away with a much different impression. The Nuggets were doubling Bynum before he could even touch the ball, and half the time with Gasol too, if he came too close to the basket. Kobe was looking for post entry passes every time he touched the ball, but was given little by the Nuggets defense. Kudos to them for playing disciplined defense. Further, many of Kobe’s second half ‘bad shots’ (15-29; terrible shooting night, amiright?) came on the tail end of possessions as either Steve Blake or Sessions failed to initiate actions earlier in the clock. I Aaron semi-photographically counted 5 or 6 Kobe bombs that were last second heaves. As #6 anti-Dwyer said, stop drinking the hatorade and watch the game.

  8. Steve Blake will be doing a Fisher-2001 this playoffs… he will be shooting lights out the rest of the way.

  9. The single play that bugged me the most about the game was the one in crunch time when Ebanks grabbed a loose ball, did a short dribble drive, and pulled up one dribble too late for his jumper to beat the shot clock, as Miller got in his path for the charge call. Brown immediately yanked Ebanks as if that play was some huge mistake, when his quickness and length let him grab the ball in the first place. That turnover was the least costly type, the kind that results in a dead ball change of possession.

    Meanwhile, the team’s veteran backup point guard bricked every single shot he took, got burned repeatedly on defense in the half court, was frequently not positioned properly on offense to rotate back in transition D, and committed some of the most horrific turnovers you will ever see, resulting in fast break points for the Nuggs at the other end. He is so timid about shooting inside the arc that as soon as he pump fakes from three and drives toward the basket, the defense sags into the passing lanes knowing he won’t take the wide-open shot from six to ten feet, AND HE PASSES ANYWAY. Some of those turnovers were so bad that it almost looked like he was giving the ball to Denver on purpose. This is the guy you yanked Ebanks for, Coach Brown?

  10. Warren Wee Lim May 2, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Couple of points:
    1. Pau Gasol is a true star. You seldom have your third wheel having no problem deferring to a true star and a rising star… that just makes him the best among them. Aren’t we lucky we never traded him.

    2. Kenneth Farreid is someone I really enjoy watching play. He has his bummer mistakes but hey, he’s a rook. He has a Joakim Noah type of activity in his career and his drawback is lack of height.

    3. If you think Ramon Sessions is fast, Tywon Lawson is just a blitz. Blinding speed.

    4. George Karl needed this kind of performance to make sure that his team pull off an important game 3 win. This was an emotional win for them.

    5. Being up 2-0 is just a breath of fresh air.

  11. kehntangibles May 2, 2012 at 6:43 am

    @9-Dude:

    +1, I was having similar frustrations watching Blake. He had a nice hustle play towards the end of the game to snag a loose ball, but I refuse to believe that Ebanks wouldn’ta done the same. Blake’s turnovers were all headsmashingly bad in terms of timing. I’ll give him a pass for bad transition D as that was frankly a team-wide issue last night. But still…, if Blake does one more pump fake from 3, drive in a loop around the baseline and kick out to a double-covered guy with 4 seconds on the clock, I am going to drive to Brooklyn, grab Jordan Farmar by his outstretched ears and drag him back to L.A. because boneheaded FG attempts >>> boneheaded turnovers.

  12. Another thing that led to several Nuggets fast breaks in the first half were Sessions’ missed layups early in the shot clock. These were unforced errors that led to the Lakers not being in defensive balance. The Lakers bigs had not yet established position for O Rebounds and no perimeter player had rotated up to prevent the Denver runout.

  13. Agree that some of Kobe’s late shots were at the end of the shot clock. But with Gallinari on him late, he didn’t even try to get to the basket and simply settled for pull up jumpers. Credit his amazing skill to be able to him some of them, but if they are going to double Bynum off the ball – why not use him as a screener that dives to the basket? This would give Kobe more space to operate towards the hoop and would free up possessions to get Bynum the ball.

    Every missed shot was a layup. Laker’s got caught playing Denver’s game in LA. Unfortunately, I don’t think they know what laker basketball is yet this season – so they are probably going to keep doing it.

  14. There is a persistent anti-Blake sentiment on the board, particularly with regard to the Sessions-Blake backcourt (Full disclosure–I am in the camp that believes that backcourt combo should be limited to as few minutes as possible). It appears that, as Laker fans, we are in fairly-universal agreement (with some exceptions) that this is a bad idea. While I’m guilty of the “coach so and so is an idiot” rant from time to time, and while there are genuine questions about coach Brown and his coaching acumen compared to his playoff peers, I guess that because we are all at home doing what we do, and he is coaching in the NBA, he must (or at least should) know more about this issue than I (we?) do and should be more observant than we are.

    So does anybody know–is there some advanced metric I’m unaware of that supports Brown’s maddening insistence on this pairing that seems to give away double-digit leads with regularity–some stat that belies what everyone’s nearly-unanimous eye-test opinion is about Blake and the Blake-Sessions backcourt? Anyone?

  15. When you are shooting with less than 5sec on the clock you are not settling for a jumpshot.

    Once more, with feeling, MB is not going to last long as a Laker coach if he doesn’t stop putting Blake in with Sessions. The FO forced his hand by trading Lamar and Fish. Maybe they should force his hand again over the summer.

  16. Steve Blake makes DFish look like league MVP.

    Mike Brown’s rotations make me Ill.

    Game 3 to Denver in a run away. Literally.

    Brown can not adjust.
    Karl can.

    Andrew’s one game love affair with defense is over. Back to “me the man”.

    Oldest guy on tbe team had that most hustle and was quickest to the ball.

    That would be Kobe.

  17. That block by Kobe was just unreal. I think my chin is a bit bruised from hitting the table I was leaning forward over when that happened.

    I want more Bynum on defense! When he hustles and dominates on that end, we are unstoppable.

  18. Steve Blake didn’t have a good game but what’s the need to pile on? The Lakers still won the game and at this point in the season, that’s all that matters. Every win puts the opponent into a more untenable position. The Lakers will need to play better – especially the reserves – but they showed on Sunday that they can play well (and that includes Blake whose three point shooting was key in extending an early lead, lest we forget).

    I think we’d be wise to remember that Denver is a good team. They’re one of the most explosive offensive teams in the league and if anyone thought these games would all be like Sunday’s they were fooling themselves. Last night’s game followed the same script that nearly every regular season game vs. them did. It was close but the Lakers pulled it out at the end by making the key plays.

    Would you rather have that or the alternative? Look around the league and you’ll see that the Pacers, Bulls, and Grizzlies have already lost home games. OKC was in two nail-biters against the Mavs. At this point, I’ll take the win and be happy for the team to go back to the film room and use some of those mistakes as teaching moments for the rest of the series.

  19. I did not watch the game, but by reading all these negative comments, I thought we just lost the game….all Nugs’ fan wish to be Lakers’ fan now

  20. While in this site, a lot of posters are not satisfied with Kobe shooting performance and Bynum’s defense and rebounds, both are credited by Mark Kriegel.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/nba-playoffs-andrew-bynum-restlessness-good-news-for-los-angeles-lakers-in-victory-over-denver-nuggets-050212

    ~~Indeed, where would the Lakers be, if they don’t have Kobe and Socks in the line up. Lakers would be 1-1 instead of 2-0. It is part of the game where mistakes are made on the ebb and flow from offense to defense at a fantastic speed.

    Speaking of speed, sometimes a good coach could think of something that is outside the box. During practices, try to use a speedy rookie to a mission, match speed with speed and stop the hemorrhaging scorer of Denver, Ty Lawson. I’d sacrifice Darius Morris to shadow Lawson wherever he goes, don’t let him get the ball or dribble to the basket just concentrate on Lawson and nothing else. I’d do in place of Blake who was proven too slow against Ty.

    I qualified my suggestions that this is something unorthodox and has to be rehearsed in practices of what are his specific assignments.

    Lastly, while the moderator does not agree to discuss “hard news”, we are totally out of loop on the Jordan Hill’s case in Texas. It is not about basketball but it’s part of drama during the playoffs. There other stories like Amare’s frustrations, Major injuries on Bulls, Magic and Clippers, Disqualification of Artest and Rondo – these events are not about basketball but part and parcel that affect the playoffs contention of a team. Sorry to raise this issue, I forgot that I’m in a controlled blog.

  21. Classic playoff adjustments.

    Denver showed better in game 2 which good post season opponents invariably do.

    The final score wasn’t indicative of the game which was controlled entirely by the Lakers.

    In two games the Nuggets have never had the lead.

    As the venue shifts to Denver the series will likely transition again. The Nuggets are too good to be swept in my opinion so the goal is obviously to split with them on the road, retain momentum and come back to LA for a close out.

    I wouldn’t mind it if this series lasted 6 games because I fully expect the Lakers to face OKC in the second round opening on the road and would prefer to start that series with Ron – Ron back in the starting line-up.

    Everyone harping about Coach Brown’s overuse of Blake seem to have forgotten that the team is without Ron – Ron.

    If he were playing in this series then the opportunity to use him together with Barnes and Sessions at the 1-2-3 slots whilst Kobe rests would be the most likely and desirable line-up off the bench.

    Blake would be used whilst Sessions was resting but playing beside Kobe and either Barnes or Ron – Ron at the other wing.

    I believe that was the rotation Coach Brown was beginning to toy with on that last Sunday of the regular season with OKC before Ron – Ron and the elbow.

    And finally for those who keep harping on bench scoring comparisons as the quintessential measurement of bench success, the Lakers bench was outscored by the Nuggets bench 35-8 but the Lakers never relinquished the lead the entire game.

    The point is that the purpose of the bench IMO, especially in the post season is to bridge the critical minutes between the second and fourth quarters when the starters are resting, which means not giving up huge runs and momentum swings to the opponent.

    That’s whats required from them. Anything else is gravy.

    The bench has done their job in both playoff games.

  22. Thoughts on the game.

    Bynum played well on offense but he went back to defensive indifference.

    I thought Gasol got a little too cute out there with his passing but overall he played well.

    Kobe had a 2-3 minute stretch of hero ball but besides that played fantastic.

    Sessions was okay, took a couple of out of rhythm, forced shots which he really hasn’t done this year.

    Hill was great with his energy, wow is he a pleasant surprise!

    I like Eubanks defensive energy and his rebounding, Barnes was off today, and Blake had a couple of rage inducing, momentum killing turnovers like he usually does

    Overall I thought the Lakers played okay, not great.

  23. We won’t know who this Lakers team is until the next round. Denver just isn’t good. They are not a quality playoff team. They have no all stars and nobody that can create their own shot. But… the real question is this… What should the Lakers do if they win game 3?

    If the Lakers win game 3 to take a 3-0 series lead and OKC is also up 3-0 what should the Lakers do in game 4? Do we want to play in OKC without Artest for the first two games? Or should the Lakers just sit out their starters in game 4 and bring them back in game 5 in LA to close out the series making Artest available for game 2 in OKC. It’s common knowledge you can’t tank playoff games. It was also common knowledge that the world was flat and one should take Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. Sometimes everyone is wrong.

  24. Darius’ post @19 should be read mutliple times. This is the playoffs folks, the West playoffs at that. In the West playoffs any team can lose on any given night. Any win is a good one.

  25. Bynum dominated game one and Gasol dominated game two. No Gasol wasn’t getting doubled on every catch like Drew… But he was the Lakers PG through three quarters. He was at the elbows and even at the three point line setting up the offense and choosing the right spot on the floor to move the ball. Some of the best basketball as a facilitator I’ve ever seem from a seven footer. Probably the best.

  26. Lakers played well Denver made the runs they’ve made all year. They’ll make those 9-0 runs question is can the Lakers make their own 5-0 run to counter or will it snowball to a 20-7 run in Denver’s favor.

    Lakers will need to box out in Denver. 35 off. rebounds for Denver in 2 games on the road that has to be a point of emphasis. That’s the only reason these aren’t 30 point wins.

    Kobe 69 points – Lawson, Afflalo, Miller 64 points. I thought Lakers backcourt was in trouble but I shall never doubt the Mamba again. He’s getting it done. Afflalo 7 – 23 fg 30%

  27. Good for the Lakers to have Ty Lawson as their opponent because they can be some what ready for possible match up against another lightning quick guard name Westbrooks.

  28. -Kobe had a great game…period

    -Bynum had a nice game…but I was disappointed in his rebounding & “D”. If I remember correctly he had 5 rebounds in the 1st quarter. Yet only totaled 9 for the game.

    -Gasol, wow what a special player…Good game

    -Sessions, his 4th quarter made up for his 1st 3

    -Ebanks, 2 early fouls derailed his game early, his rebounding (8) was sweet

    -Hill, the Lakers have found their 3rd big…if he can stay out of jail

    -Blake, good 1st game…not so good 2nd game. 3rd & 4th games on the road. Which Blake will we see?

    -Barnes, obviously his recent injury is bothering him, hopefully these 2 days off prove helpful. We need Mr. Energy.

    -MWP, 1st game during his suspension I believed he was missed, (Barnes still not correct & Ebanks early foul problems) however Lakers prevailed. 3 down, 4 to go until the NBA once again experiences World Peace.

    How sweet it will be to win that 1st one in Denver :-)

  29. No one mentioned the terrible shooting night for Gallinari yet. He had a ton of makable shots last night and luckily they just weren’t going down. I suspect this was a statistical anomaly and we’ll be wishing we had MWP defence in Denver. I would love to see Ebanks get rotated into Barnes’ #2 spot when MWP comes back.

  30. Funky Chicken May 2, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Agree with the write up except for the play of the game. Kobe’s block was a real highlight, for sure, but the play of the game was his steal in the lane late in the 4th, followed by his bull-rush to the other end, finished off by a pass to Bynum for dunk and a foul. That was a 5 point swing late in a game that they won by 4 points. It was Kobe at his absolute best. Purely relentless, and refusing to be denied–except that in this case his effort ended with a beautiful assist instead of a shot attempt.

    Darius, I think the pouring on Blake is understandable in a season where Mike Brown has repeatedly limited minutes of guys who either previously or later show themselves to be worthy of minutes. It’s happened with Ebanks, Goudelock, Barnes, and even Hill (who admittedly was initially injured but who suited up and was available to play in several games where he got no burn). It’s just hard to defend Blake’s minutes as a backup SG when he really doesn’t do anything well at that position (aside from hitting the occasional three; which he’s no better at that Goudelock–who also has the ability to pressure a defense off the dribble….

    Aaron, you can’t seriously be suggesting that it is a viable option to throw a playoff game by not playing your starters, can you? Denver is hardly the garbage team you described, and I would be surprised if the Lakers don’t drop at least one game in Denver. But come on, man, you never, ever, EVER hold your starters out of a playoff game regardless of your lead in the series. In a league FULL of cocky players and coaches, that’s a degree of arrogance that has never been seen…..

  31. Sometimes the negativity here is appalling. I for one am happy we pulled out a close win as oppose to back to back blow-outs. Keeps the team grounded and not over-confident and provides fodder for things to work on during practice.

    I also cringed at the few ill-advised Kobe shots in the fourth quarter but that’s a part of what makes him the best closer in the game. Great win.

  32. #31. So, it’s Blake’s fault the coach puts him in? I’m not a fan of the Blake/Sessions back court either and am on record about that. However, last night, Ebanks made a mistake in the midst of the Nuggets final push and Barnes was playing poorly. Without Ron, I’m not sure what the alternative was besides riding one of those two. Being fair, there wasn’t a great option last night and Brown went with the smaller guy to match up with Denver’s smaller lineup. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I understood.

    And, at this point, regular season rotation patterns are water under the bridge, imo. Brown is now playing the Lakers 8 best players on a pretty consistent rotational pattern. When Ron returns, I’d imagine Ebanks will go back to playing spot minutes but that he’d be a viable alternative to Ron/Barnes should either not play well and he’d be in the mix with Barnes as the primary back up to Kobe. Of course, that may not happen but based off the rotations from the last few weeks of the season, I’d imagine that’s how it goes. And, I’d be okay with that.

    As for Goudelock, I’m a supporter of his but I’ve looked at his numbers closely from the time when Blake returned and he shifted back to SG and they’re not good. And, when I looked at the team numbers, they were equally bad. I was going to write a post on them but, honestly, it wouldn’t have been worth it. He’s a fringe prospect at SG. In the future, I see his role as a back up PG/change of pace guard who can be a scorer on a second unit with the ball in his hands. But, he’s a rookie still and makes mistakes. So, I don’t blame Brown for sticking with the veteran in this case. He’s not the only head coach that does things that way, a guy named Phil Jackson did too…

  33. R.R. Magellan May 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

    FUNKY: Believe me, I thought about putting that as the play of the game. But at the same time, the Lakers should’ve never been in that position. To me, that play by Kobe to Bynum was more of a “relief” play than anything. They truly dodged a couple of bullets during that sequence.

    This question has been raised everywhere. “Should we wait for MWP to get back by throwing away a couple of playoff games?” NO. NO. NO. You don’t ever, ever mess around in the postseason. Even if you’re up 3-0, ONE game can change the course of the series. Get it done… and get it done immediately.

    Be happy with the win, guys. I don’t understand the doom and gloom attitude, sometimes.

  34. Funky Chicken May 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

    “#31. So, it’s Blake’s fault the coach puts him in?”

    Um, no. Who said that? My comment did exactly the opposite, and suggested that it was the coach’s rotations that were the issue (which you went on to address).

    The point I (and I think others) make regarding Blake is that while he is the team’s best backup PG, he is most certainly not the team’s best backup SG. He cannot defend that position, he is a terrible post (and last night, perimeter) passer, and his offensive repertoire consists of spotting up for three point shots. In other words, as a SG he does one thing. Goudelock, by contrast, can shoot the three better than Blake, and is a significantly better offensive player. If you’ve got an analysis of Goudelock’s minutes at the SG position while playing alongside Sessions (which would be the only fair comparison) then I think a lot of us would love to see it.

    I share your longer term view of Sessions as more of a backup scoring PG, but that doesn’t change the fact that he brings a lot to the table that Blake does not. If Blake could offset that with veteran savvy and comparatively fewer mistakes, that would be one thing, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Moreover, this has been a season-long issue. By this point in his rookie season, Goudelock would have been a lot more solid if he’d gotten the minutes he deserved earlier in the year.

    “Sticking with the veteran” is hardly a strategy. You play the guy who is better, and even Mike Brown seems to get that in some cases. That’s why two veteran power forwards haven’t seen the light of day since Jordan Hill started to get some burn.

  35. Funky Chicken May 2, 2012 at 11:37 am

    R.R., I hear you. I wasn’t being critical of your choice of play of the game, as yours was a totally legitimate choice. It was a great play, and a tone-setting effort (on a night that other Lakers weren’t bringing game 1 intensity).

    Frankly, I think it speaks volumes that the two obvious choices for play of the game were a Kobe Bryant defensive hustle play and a steal, drive, and assist. This is the Kobe Bryant that many of us love.

  36. @ Darius:

    And that is the point of my post above at post-15—I’m not piling on Blake for performing poorly when Coach Brown puts him in a bad position that has proven to be a bad position many times over–it is the coach’s job to put lineups out there that put people in a position to succeed–and then the players have to go do it. I’m asking if there is any evidence to support Brown’s decision to continue putting that back-court tandem out there when the smart thing would be to remember my poor paraphrase of Einstein–stupidity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result….

    And as for Ebanks’ “mistake” in the late going last night–his “mistake” wouldn’t have seemed so huge were it not for the multiple turnovers and terrible offensive possessions the Sessions/Blake backcourt had, leading to the melting lead phenomenon–again–not crucifying Blake–questioning why Brown keeps putting those two guys in what has consistently been a bad situation….for example–in game one–Kobe and Blake were a good tandem…..

  37. Funky,
    My point is this: why the need to pile on Blake? You went on to answer that question with a critique of Brown, but that’s besides the original point. My original point was that Blake played well on Sunday and poorly last night. He’ll be up and down but in the playoffs, it’s the wins that matter. Helped get one on Sunday, not as much with last night’s, but the wins count the same.

    As for Goudelock, I don’t believe he’s a better option than Blake right now. Whatever you think of Blake’s defense, Goudelock’s is much worse at this stage of his career. He’s consistently picked off on screens and gets lost off the ball. Blake is better in both areas right now. On offense, at this point in the season, I still believe the Lakers are better off with Blake’s low usage game rather than Goudelock’s ball dominant one. I also think Blake is more adept at sticking to the gameplan of a slow down, post centric game while getting the team organized on that side of the ball. Again, Goudelock is not a natural PG and it will take time to find his comfort zone in that role. I don’t think the playoffs are the time to try and get him those minutes.

    Ultimately, the bigger point is that neither are SG’s. I’m hopeful that when Ron returns Blake won’t play any SG as either Barnes or Ebanks take all those minutes behind Kobe.

  38. Mindcrime,
    Statistically, there’s little evidence that the Sessions/Blake backcourt is worthwhile. However, again, with Ron out the rotation is shortened and there will be moments in games where *someone* has to play that spot. Last night, there weren’t many good options and Brown went with Blake. I’ve been someone that’s been critical of that decision in the past but after re-watching the game and how it was developing, I understood the logic behind it. I could totally see Brown choosing the lesser of several evils at that point. But – and I can’t stress this enough – I’m hopeful that when Ron returns we see a 9 man rotation with Ebanks in the mix with Barnes and ahead of Blake as the back up SG. He’s earned those minutes in the course of the game. When it’s closing time, Kobe will be in the game and he can be flanked by Sessions and whoever of the Ron/Barnes/Ebanks trio at SF that’s playing the best ball.

  39. Funky Chicken May 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Darius, I agree with your assessment of Goudelock’s defensive deficiencies, and I”m not here to suggest that he’s a great defender or even a good option at backup SG. However, it’s a little extreme to suggest that there is a big difference between Blake & Goudelock on defense, because neither of those guys can guard the 2 position.

    As for offense, I respect your opinion but disagree totally that the Lakers are better off with a one-dimensional, bad passing “low usage” shooting guard than they’d be with a guy who can actually put pressure on a defense and draw defenders away from the post. Blake’s good minutes on Sunday consisted of taking and making three 3 pointers. I still don’t understand how the team would be worse off with a guy who can shoot from distance AND, when defended on the perimeter, put the ball on the floor and make (or simply TAKE) mid-range shots. Offensively, Blake is pretty much Fisher, without the clutch shots.

    Besides, it isn’t as if we are talking about a huge number of minutes here. How much damage could Goudelock do?

    In the end, I think those of us favoring AG getting most of the backup SG minutes while MWP is out think that the success of guys like Ebanks and Hill (when finally given the opportunity to contribute–even in the pressure cooker of a playoff game) offer hope that we might find another gem on the roster if just given the chance.

    Finally, I think the problem here is that we are talking about a lineup that has Blake in the game at the same time as Sessions. I haven’t heard anyone argue that Blake should not be getting all the minutes backing up Sessions. In a sense, what Brown is doing is playing (instead of resting) Sessions rather than giving Goudelock some minutes. Against a team like Denver, I think the Lakers can give the AG experiment a chance….

  40. Steve Blake has stepped up to fill an important niche that was left empty when Derek Fisher left. He’s now the old, slow, over-used point guard that everyone either complains about or tells others not to complain about, while occasionally have clutch moment of brilliant 3-point shooting that makes everyone forgive him and love him, at least until next time he bring the ball up on offense and takes too long to do it.

    Please read that paragraph in the tongue-in-cheek spirit it was written.

    Steve Blake is on the floor because no matter how good we think Morris or Goudelock are, they’re both rookies, and they both made mistakes in critical moments during the regular season. Blake keeps his head about him, and stays calm and composed by comparison, so Brown put him on the floor instead. To me, that makes perfect sense. Yes, the rookies need to learn how to handle intense pressure, but the Western Conference playoffs is not the place for that.

    Ramon Sessions is in his first ever playoff series as well (and he did seem a bit overwhelmed in the first game), but he has been in the league for a few years and can be expected to adjust. I think the main complaint against Brown (expressed in complaints about Blake), is frustration that Blake keeps playing at the point guard position when Ramon Sessions is on the floor.

    According to my husband it is because moving Sessions to shooting guard lets us move Kobe somewhere, and apparently there’s advantages to that. At least I think that’s what he said, I was a bit distracted watching the game. :)

  41. Watching Sessions last night he seemed to be calm and in control. He also proved he could come up big in the fourth. If he is able to play minutes at the two with Kobe at the three, the team can flourish in the absense of MWP. With a front court of Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum, there is great versatility. Kobe and Gasol are exceptional passers while Bynum has been efficient and dominate against Denver. Kobes high post game, Bynum’s low post game, and the versatility of Gasol would be difficult for any team to contain

  42. You guys,

    Steve Blake is not headed for the hall of fame BUT didn’t he make some big threes in game one? I realize we can’t expect to remember everything that happens in Laker history but can’t we remember SUNDAY?