Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  May 2, 2012

Game two of the Lakers/Nuggets first round series is in the books with the home team holding court. The Lakers let a 19-point lead slip away, but managed to hang on for the win during a lively fourth quarter. Kobe Bryant had a superb game, and the setting will now shift – the Lakers play in Denver on Friday. It can be a daunting environment but the storyline has to remain simple – control the pace, play inside-out, and keep advancing in the playoffs. Here are the links:

Brian Kamenetzky at the Land O’Lakers interviews Mike Brown and Kobe Bryant, in a look at expectations and the coach’s first year.

Andy Kamenetzky at the Land O’Lakers has last night’s rapid reaction to the win against Denver.

Dexter Fishmore at Silver Screen and Roll writes about the Mamba taking over.

Kevin Ding at the OCRegister reports that Andrew Bynum believes in his knees, now and later.

Mark Medina at the L.A. Times writes about Jordan Hill’s pending charges, his back pain, and his continued solid minutes for the Lakers.

Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports looks at this year’s Kobe versus last year’s Kobe.

Hardwood Paroxysm offers a diverse Lakers/Nuggets series preview, written by Jared Dublin, Scott Leedy, and Sean Highkin,

Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie writes that the Lakers are building something big. He also has a report on Matt Barnes.

Brent Pollakoff at ProBasketballTalk looks at the Lakers’ win, noting that Denver showed signs of life.

Daniel Buerge at Lakers Nation has video on last night’s win.

***

There’s a palpable difference from this time last year – the team is showing energy, solidarity, and commitment. If I I have any criticism of last night’s game, it’s letting Denver back into the game – it would have been nice to rest the starters in the fourth quarter. Coach Brown is using a tight rotation without Metta World Peace in the picture – any real bench burn will have to come with healthy fourth quarter leads. We’re well into our Denver segue, next stop is the mile-high city.

- Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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51 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. Pau Gasol is feeling good. He is being asked to play the role he always has wanted to play… A Kevin Garnett type of role. A finesse seven footer playin from the high post all the way out to the three point line filling in all the gaps offensively. Let’s look at last year to see telhe difference. Last post season Pau was asked to be in the post and bang with stronger (although shorter) players. He was banging and banging. He was missing and missing. It was a giant struggle for him at this point in his career. Now he just looks at ease. Like he is finally playing the role he was meant to play. He has gone from being called out every other playoff game by Kobe to bringing a strong game night in and night out. He is a Beta. He isn’t an Alpha. Pau is in the perfect spot. Pau is now more dominant than he ever was in the floor. He is being asked to do more while being asked to shoot less especially in the post. The guy just looks like he is finally playing the role he always has wanted to play. His entire Memphis career he was being yelled at to get more in the post. To be more aggressive. Now he is allowed to play the way he naturally wants to play. And he is again a dominating player because of it.

  2. I sure like reading Kevin Ding’s articles. Much more insight than the national writers or the LA Times fish wrap.

    Regarding the previous thread — Darius, of course we’re enjoying the game and our lead in the series. But it drives us crazy to watch someone who clearly shouldn’t be out there play so many crucial minutes. Blake has now gone scoreless on 0-7 shooting over the last 7 quarters, with 6 rebounds and only 5 assists against 3 turnovers. That is the epitome of the type of player the other team won’t even bother to defend, and his presence on the court is clearly hurting the Lakers by our eye test.

    Brown yanked Ebanks in crunch time after the kid made a great scramble to get possession of a loose ball, then committed a charge in trying to beat the shot clock. But that’s the type of turnover that doesn’t cost the team on the scoreboard, as it’s a dead ball turnover. Why not yank Blake after one of his timid forays to the basket, when Denver sags off him and blocks his passing lanes because they know he’ll pass up the open 8-footer? His turnovers in these situations are much worse, because they lead to Denver fast breaks. Or if by some stroke of luck he manages to pass it to a teammate, it’s with only five seconds left on the shot clock, leading to a hurried shot and another Denver run-out. I can’t understand why Blake doesn’t just take the open 8-footer. He’s hurting the team.

  3. #2 – The point is though that without Ron – Ron there will be times where Blake is simply the best remaining choice.

    Coach Brown is not going to insert a seldom used rookie during the playoffs at key moments in the game. Nor should he attempt an experiment like that with a more reliable resource available in Blake.

  4. when al harrington–a 4 with 3pt range–is in the game, he brings pau or jordan away from the basket. so, whenever there is penetration, it’s drew that has to come out and challenge the shot, leaving a 2 or 3 to rotate over and box out a Koufos, McGee, or Mozgov.

    I’d like to see somebody like Matt Barnes in there to cover Harrington, and hide a big on Denver’s least efficient 3pt shooter. That way, Bynum doesn’t hesitate to leave his man.

    In most cases this will be Corey Brewer. To counter this George Karl could sub in Afflalo for Brewer, but that’d really tax Kobe’s primary defender.

  5. Dude,
    As usual you’re spot on. Ding is great… Blake is not ;) But seriously Blake has only been useful as a spot up shooter his entire career. That’s why he is in the league. That’s the only reason. If he isn’t shooting well there is literally no reason for him to be in the game. Pretty simple. How many times has he turned it over because his pass is literally rejected by the guy guarding him? Like its not like he is even getting his passes picked… He is getting his passing rejected before they even travel a yard. He literally has trouble getting a pass away. Having said that I expect every one of his open shots to fall (although they haven’t been going in). He has made his living as a spot up shooter off of Juan Dixon in college, off of Iverson in Denver, off of Roy in Portland and then off of Kobe in the triangle. For the first time in his career (outside of a three week span with the Clippers he is being asked to play a traditional PG role… That’s not fair. He has never been asked to do that ever. I don’t blame Steve Blake. That’s like asking Fisher to play a traditional PG role. I blame Mike Brown for making Blake look so bad in a role he wasn’t born to play.

  6. Not to belabor the point, but arguing over Blake is akin to arguing over a side salad. It’d be nice if the salad was better but it’s not ruining the meal.

    I’d like to see Blake play better than he did yesterday. And, there will be times that he will – ala the OKC comeback or his 1st half stint on Sunday. The games where he’s not as good, he’ll play less – when there’s a viable option . Yesterday, no one was playing that well. Ebanks was probably the best of the bunch but it’s obvious Brown doesn’t yet fully trust him in crunch time. He’s said as much on multiple occasions. If you want to nit pick that, fine. But in a game the team won with the way all the principals were playing, I can defend Blake playing those minutes.

    And, at this point, I’m not sure what else Brown can do. He’s not perfect by any means but he’s playing the team’s best players each night and, in most cases, leaning on his veterans. That’s what most successful coaches do, save Popovich and even he’s gone to Boris Diaw over DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter lately.

    I just don’t get the uproar over Steve Blake. Yes he makes mistakes, but if the Lakers lose (in the big picture) I can almost guarantee it’s not going to be because of the back up PG.

  7. Chibi

    If Denver plays the:

    Lawson, Miller, Aflallo/Gallinari, Harrington, McGee lineup its pretty dangerous under your scenario, because on nearly every play Pau would be likely covering a ball handler or a cutter.

    The lineup would be: Ramon, Kobe, Barnes, Pau, Bynum.

    If Barnes is on Harrington; Kobe has to guard Miller (size disadvantage), which would require Pau on Afflallo/Gallinari. This would be a problem, because Gallinari can probably take Pau off of the dribble (as could afflalo), and they both would be cutters with Gasol having to run through screens. That’s not exactly Gasol’s forte.

    If you choose to then put Kobe on Gallo/Aflallo, then Andre will take Pau off the dribble on every play.

    Small lineups are just hard for the Lakers to play against because of the big’s mobility against them. I think we’d rather have Harrington jacking up shots then having Miller diving to the cup on every play or having Pau chase Gallo/Afflalo through screens.

  8. Blake: I have kept silent on the matter recently, because I did my complaining back when something could have done about this. I already voiced that I preferred Fish over Blake, + I think everyone remembers many comments about the unused TPE. We kept Blake and kept the TPE, so it is what it is. Brown did not do this – the FO did.

  9. I don’t know if Brown is playing the best players. I just think Morris is the better player today for this team if Blake is being asked to play PG on offense. If Kobe or Ramon are playing PG I’m fine with Blake being in as a spot up shooter as long as he has someone he can guard at PG. I wish Brown gave Morris more minutes the last couple weeks of the season so he could have enough experience/cohesion with his teammates to be comfortable enough to get an important 10/15 minutes backing up Sessions. Darius can play. He is an NBA PG and might be a starting PG.

  10. My question is…on what planet is Blake more reliable than Ebanks or Barnes? If the latter had pulled up one dribble earlier and made the shot to beat the clock, instead of getting called for the charge, would Brown still have yanked him in crunch time? His other option besides Blake was Barnes. Is Blake on Lawson and Sessions on Afflalo our best defensive lineup, especially with Denver getting so many offensive rebounds? Barnes has been cold from the outside, but so was Blake for the past seven quarters (he made all of his threes in the 1st Q of Game 1). Doesn’t Barnes give us better defense, better rebounding, and better cutting?

  11. I agree Steve Blake is a side salad. That’s what he is. But if one is choosing between a few great places to eat and one place has an awful side salad I’m going to one of the other great restaurants that has a side salad. In the playoffs a bad two minute stretch with your back up PG can be the difference between a win and a loss, a championship or a rebuilding offseason. Against the Nuggets at home those 8 point swings off of Blake unforced turnovers won’t kill you… Against the Thunder, Spurs, and Heat they most certainly will. Do you want to risk it on a career back up shooting guard who is in his thirties and was never athletic to begin with? This isn’t Ron Artest struggling to start the year out of shape with a bad back. Artest was an all star and a defensive player of the year. This isn’t even Derek Fisher who was an ex champion and good back up SG in his prime with the Warriors and Jazz. This is Steve Blake who in his prime was a solid back up spot up shooter off the bench. Do you want to risk a championship on loyalty for that kind of player? We will see how this plays out. I just think its risky to ask a spot up shooter to play PG for the first time in his career as he is declining as a player in his thirties and has underperformed for going on two years now. How much rope does a Steve Blake deserve?

    Blake is statistically the worst PG in the NBA now that Fisher is playing back up SG (something Blake should be doing). I just can’t see a scenario where Morris is worse than Steve Blake at PG. the odds are just against it as well as the eye test. It’s just so risky to play statistically the worst PG in the NBA on a championship level team. Just so risky. And for 20 minutes a game? Wow. Not a good risk/reward scenerio.

  12. #10. But that’s not the only question that determines why he plays. So, why narrow it to that?

    Also, and this is for everyone, continue to beat your head against the wall regarding Blake if you wish. I’ll join you if, when everyone is available to play (especially after Ebanks has shown for longer stretches he can play minutes at SG), Blake is still playing SG minutes paired with Sessions.

    But, until that point, he’s going to play. He’ll play over Morris and Goudelock for sure. For what the Lakers need at that spot, he’s better than them. The stats say so, and the eyeball test says so too.

  13. If Morris ended up being that bad you can always have Kobe play back up PG for 15 minutes a game sliding Barnes over to back up SG with Ebanks backing up at the three. This has just gone on long enough. An entire season being last in the NBA in PG PER? How did Blake earn all this rope he is hanging himself with? And how can you say the stats say so? Morris has never played with the rotation players. The only game he really played was the last game of the season with no Kobe, Pau, Artest, or Bynum. And that eye ball test showed to me that he is a lot better than Steve Blake (right now the worst back up PG in the NBA). So the odds say Morris is better than he is. Especially since Morris has much more experience running the point. Morris pkayed PG his entire college career where as Blake played SG off of Dixon and never played true PG in the NBA till this year.

  14. Brown played the West/Gibson or Mo/West lineup in cleveland. He sees an advantage in the small guard lineup. Both ball handlers, both can dribble/drive, both can knock down shots.

    Denver only had 5 off. rebounds each game. They avg. 17.5 this series so far that’s the only way they stay in this.

    Only reason Lakers lost 1 in Denver was Kobe’s shooting. He stays hot this is a sweep. The real worries in this series was Afflalo’s defense and Denver’s pace. In 2 out of 6 games they’ve hurt Lakers in transition other than that it’s been total domination by LA. Kobe has a hot hand I don’t see 6-28 coming. Denver is overwhelmed.

  15. Listen… We have seen how much the team improved taking two D league players out of the rotation (Murphy/McBob) and replacing them with a solid NBA player (Hill). Think how much of a difference it would make replacing the other D League level player (Blake) with a solid NBA player? Is Morris that? I think he is by watching him play the last game of the season and by what underclassman PGs drafted in the second round end up doing in the NBA. Ramon Sessions was one of those PGs. PGs are like running backs in the NFL. You can always get a good one anywhere in the draft. They grow on trees. I’m sure Morris is in that group but of course only time will tell for sure. I just hope all this trust Brown has in Blake doesn’t cost the Lakers a championship. Because as of right now it looks like it might.

  16. While Afflalo had some success against Kobe what’s not being talked about more Kobe is shutting Afflalo down 16-47 fg 34% in 5 games.

    Season vs Lakers nuggets putrid from three. 27-117 3pt 23%

    Lakers were +20 FGA in Denver.

    The game Lakers lost in Denver they were +17 in FGA, missed 8 FTs, 48 paint points, 38 pts-27 reb from Bynum and Pau but Kobe was 6-28. While these games are close in score they aren’t close at all.

    Miller is nuggets only hope he has to put his stamp on this series.

  17. 7/cdog:

    miller bodies steve and ramon up and rides them to the cup. kobe–strong enough to hinder miller’s penetration–is the best option.

    we know miller is not a 3pt shooter, so he has to spearhead their halfcourt attack. otherwise, kobe can sag and pack the paint, hindering penetration by lawson or afflalo/gallinari.

    if miller runs screen roll, the lakers switch and sag off an unremarkable jumpshooter.

    if the offense has to flow through afflalo or gallinari, i’m ok with them shooting contested two-point jumpers. if they want to use screens? switch, sag off, contest.

    these are the kind of shots you want to surrender. otherwise, penetration leads to fouls, freethrows, layups, kick-outs, offensive putbacks, and extra possessions.

    the nuggets don’t really run a motion offense. i’m not too worried about screens, curls, and cuts. if anything running stuff they’re not comfortable with will result in turnovers.

  18. Well, I don’t think Goudelock or Morris is an option, especially at backup PG. I think you’re alone on an island there, Aaron. My point is that Barnes or Ebanks is a better option than Blake at backup SG. Your SG should be a threat to make a play and Blake is no threat, and he’s also a liability on the boards and on defense. But I guess MB won’t alter his thinking until Blake’s abysmal play costs us a win, rather than turning a 12-point victorious final margin into a 4-point one.

  19. Dude,
    I agree with Barnes and Ebanks being a better option than Blake obviously as I’ve already said. And I am alone on that island with Morris on this site :) Just as I was re Fisher at first. People tend to eventually follow me out on the bandwagon. I suspect I will be proven right about Morris even if we have to wait for next year. Just don’t be too suprised if the Lakers get up 3-0 and Brown experiments with Darius Morris in game 4 only to see him as a capable back up PG (something Blake has proven not to be the last two entire seasons).

  20. @The Dude – playing devil’s advocate here. Brown ran a very tight 8-man rotation last night with Metta out. The rotation includes Barnes, Ebanks and Blake. If you don’t use Goudelock or Morris, and give Blake’s minutes to Barnes and Ebanks, doesn’t that leave a 7-man rotation?

  21. #15 – Aaron – Can’t agree with you at all on the suggestion that Morris is the best option as a backup PG for 20 mins a game.

    I’m still not persuaded that Ebanks should see a lot of duty in the post season once Ron Ron returns unless there is a foul trouble situation.

    I don’t think that Sessions should be relegated to less than 30 mins a game anyway. He should be playing closer to 35 – 40 mins. He’s young, he can handle it.

    So if Blake isn’t needed much more than say 10 mins a game and when he’s out there, he’s out there with Kobe, there shouldn’t be a major problem.

    And he might even hit a three pointer or two.

  22. Dave,
    I agree that if Blake is used as a back up spot up SG on offense he is not that harmful as I believe he can hit big time open shots. My only problem with Blake as I have repeatedly said is if he is asked to organize or initiate the offense. And if you’re asking him to play in PnR or create??? God save us all.

  23. Dave: Yes – Sessions needs to play 38-40 per game. That eliminates most of this problem. Blake can cantribute as a spot up 3 shooter (and that is about it).

    Mike Brown: We all know this team is not deep and 1 of our starters is out, so we are really thin. We can’t afford anyone out or any foul trouble or we are cooked. And that is not Mike Brown’s fault.

  24. Regarding Blake it’s probably clear to us all that he’s not the superstar we were all expecting when the Lakers picked him up for a song off season before last :0)

    But the trade deadline is long gone; so let’s consider this a Summertime homework assignment for the FO …

  25. I disagree that Blake shouldn’t see floor time, but I agree that a backcourt with him and Sessions isn’t the greatest thing for us, unless Blake is shooting lights out. Blake is our backup PG, but is a bad solution at backup SG.

    My hope is that once MWP is back, Ebanks will have earned enough trust that he can get some run at the backup 2, and we can relegate Blake to just backing up Sessions.

    Also, something that hasn’t been brought up much on this thread: How nice is Sessions? Man! Having a PG who gets into the paint as easily as he does is truly a breath of fresh air, and in my opinion, totally worth trading Odom (yes, I know the Odom trade didn’t directly land Sessions, but you get the point).

    The great thing is he’s still totally unselfish with the ball. Sometime he gets into the paint and dishes when he could easily just take it to the rim himself or shoot a teardrop (which he did last night in crunchtime, putting a huge smile on my face). As the playoffs go along, he’s only going to become a bigger threat to the opposing team and that is good news for our offense. Easy buckets for the big guys keep them happy and hustling on D.

  26. @20 – I don’t see that at all. Playing Barnes or Ebanks at the backup SG still leaves us with an 8-man rotation, as Blake is our backup PG.

  27. @23, 25 – Agree. Sessions should be playing 38-40 now that he’s healthy again, with Blake 8-10 minutes at backup PG, and Ebanks and/or Barnes playing backup SG, even when MWP comes back. Blake doesn’t offer us anything at the backup SG. He hasn’t scored a point in either game while playing SG, and is a turnover machine. In addition, his turnovers are the worst kind (pocket picked or steals of his bad passes, both types leading to run-outs). He doesn’t travel and he doesn’t commit offensive fouls.

  28. Morris is not an NBA-ready point guard at this point in his career. We saw that when he was getting a lot of minutes early in the season, and there’s no doubt the coaches have seen the same thing in practices over the subsequent weeks. If they saw otherwise, he’d have seen some game time.

    To call Morris “a solid NBA player” based on what he did in one meaningless game, and by “what underclassman PGs drafted in the second round end up doing in the NBA” is just absurd.

    That’s like saying all high school players who jumped straight into the NBA are studs because guys like Moses Malone, Kobe or KG made the same jump and had great careers.

    There are many second round PGs who have had good numbers in garbage time. There are few who have become solid players like Sessions or Nick Van Exel.

    If a solid point guard was so easy to find in the draft, why did the Lakers have to endure the likes of Smush or recent-era Fisher for as long as they did?

  29. @ chibi.

    Fair.

    But Gallo is a pretty decent ball handler. If you have Barnes on Harrington (which he is likely too small for), it means Gallo is diving to the hoop and Harrington is spotting up smaller players, with 1 instead of 2 7 footers being the last line of defense in the paint.

    Maybe Kobe would play “Rondo” defense in those situations, and just leave Miller to help the helper and dare him to shoot, and it would be ok.

    But if they took Miller out and put Afflalo in, Kobe couldn’t realistically do that because Afflalo is a consistent threat from deep.

    It also serves the problem on D that if they run High P&;R with McGee and Bynum has to come out, but Pau has to guard Gallo at the 3point line, there literally is no big in the last line of defense. If Pau sags back in, then Gallo is spotting up wide open in the corner, or worse, Lawson’s blitz of speed draws contact for fouls.

    So, in reality, probably better for Barnes to be on a Ball handler and Pau on a guy like Harrington – because that eliminates harrington as a consistent post threat and makes it more difficult for a guy like Gallo to get penetration.

  30. Funky Chicken May 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Guys, Sessions played 36 minutes last night. His minutes weren’t the problem. The problem was that Blake played 26 minutes.

    If Blake’s minutes were limited to the 12 minutes a game that Sessions is on the bench, I don’t see any problem at all. The problem is that there were 14 minutes where Blake & Sessions played together.

    Again, the issue with Blake isn’t his role as backup PG; it’s his role as backup SG, and to just say that “the Lakers are playing their best players” is flat out wrong. Blake is arguably (but not definitely) the team’s best backup PG, but he is most assuredly NOT the team’s best backup SG.

    I also find it a bit amusing when people use the “seldom used rookie” argument as a basis for explaining why Goudelock isn’t (and shouldn’t) be playing. Brown gives the kid minutes early in the year and he blows away everyone’s expectations. Then, Brown moves him to the bench and barely lets him touch the court–and now the argument is that he’s “seldom used?” That is the problem, not the explanation.

  31. Spurs are a machine and their stars are still getting rest. 2-1 vs Clippers, 4-0 vs Memphis.

  32. Dave M.,

    Perhaps, that’s the whole problem why is Mbrown using only 7 man rotation leaving 5 players on the bench who could contribute a spot job. Like for example Stu mentioned that Eyenga could contribute to rebounds and blocking; I think Morris could contribute D matching speed with speed of Lawson, McRob is an energy provider likr putting new batteries on your remote; and finally, Murphy could give perimeter shooting together with Goudelock.

    Now how are they going to be used in the course of the game, that is where Mike Brown’s coaching job comes in. It’s creativity vs. fundamentalism based on his video playoff books. Precisely, that why there are other four coaches who would train these guys as a task force for certain job responsibilities. But NO, Mbrown refused to listen like what he used to do during the season in benching Ebanks, McRob and later on Hill. The fundamentalist coach wanted to go on players that he can rely on, then changes horse in the mid-stream. Is there any surprise in store in Mbrown’s coaching?

    Having said that, Blake is not a bad option against Fisher at this stage. I still see Blake more of a SG rather than a 75%PG. Blake defense is on & off but his shooting could be scorching provided you don’t mix the job with facilitating, then he gets confused in the mix. There are many players in NBA who are one dimensional and others who are all-around utility players. Another thing, even if you combine Blake and Fisher, they are no match to today’s nimble PG’s like Lawson, Westbrook and Parker. You need a coaching creativity thru platoon guarding to stop them.

    At this early stage, I will say Lakers could vie for the Finals, not because of Mike Brown’s coaching but because of the combined efforts of Kobe, Bynum, Gasol, Sessions and the role players. Likewise, Lakers could also be eliminated in 2nd round if he insists in playing 7 man rotation or continue with Session-Blake tandem. They all get tired by the time they get to 4th Q.

  33. @33 – I’m not sure where you’re getting a seven-man rotation from. The Lakers are in a strict eight-man rotation, with Hill backing up our bigs, Barnes backing up the SF position, and Blake backing up at SG and PG.

    @31 – It’s like a broken record. MB and very few others believe that Blake is a viable backup option at SG. Sure, he’s an awful NBA PG as well, but IMO he is our best backup option behind Sessions. He is scoreless in the series playing backup SG. Denver is keeping one man reasonably near him to prevent good looks from three, then they automatically sag off of him and play the passing lanes as soon as he drives, because he’s no threat to shoot even wide open shots inside ten feet. Our halfcourt offense becomes four on five as soon as he has the ball in his hands. Remember that one time about ten games ago when he banked in a 7-foot runner? That was awesome.

  34. #34,

    i stand corrected and misread the post of Dave M. on #20. It should be 8 man rotation. How can you develop a deep bench with 8 man rotation? I think McRob can play and go for Harrington.

    Blake can produce, just go back to 3 games ago against OKC two OT’s, that’s Blake finest moments. On Game 1, he also did a good job. Unfortunately, last night was not his good night but he can be SG on a given night. On combination of Session and Blake, the job is not fully defined they both play interchangeable PG’s and facilitators.

    IMO, Blake, Murphy and Goudelock are our perimeter shooters. They should be trained solely for that job, drill 500 shots per day during practices and use them as spotters during the game for limited minutes only. If they focus only on shooting somehow they will get their spots because double teaming will be concentrated on Kobe, Drew and Gasol. Lakers need inside-outside game with snipers as surprise weapons.

  35. Personally I hope Ebanks get’s shooting guard minutes once MWP returns. That would limit Blake to just backing up Sessions.

  36. cdog, i’m ok with harrington in the post. he has a bad wheel and is not going to turn, face, and blow by barnes. let him shoot fadeaways and jumphooks.

    lawson is not a good jumpshooter. this is why he doesn’t run the high pick and roll all game long. his defender just backs off before the pick can even be set.

    zone up the strong side if they put gallinari or afflalo in isolation on the wing. funnel them baseline. sag off when they are below the 3pt line.

  37. I think what it comes down to on the offensive end is we need to get the ball to our playmakers (Kobe, Pau, Drew) in their spots. That’s easy when Kobe’s on the floor because, well, almost everywhere on the floor is his “spot”. When he’s not on the floor, we need at least one perimeter guy capable of entering traffic and drawing the zone or the double team away from Pau and Andrew so they can operate.

    It would be nice if Blake were one of those guys, but he’s proving that when he gets in traffic, he hesitates and creates unforced turnovers far too frequently. This isn’t a knock on Blake, that’s a tough job against playoffs teams with win or go home mentality on D. But, behind Kobe and Sessions, Blake is currently our next best option for owning that responsibility. Barnes and Ebanks can’t do that either, they’re on the floor as slashers who hustle and take open looks. Glock and Morris are NOT the solution, that’s way too much to ask of a Rookie 2nd rounder. That’s a serious pressure cooker situation for them that usually ends bad for rookies (remember Kobe/Rookie season/Utah?)

    Once MWP is back, MB will have the tools to relieve us from the Steve Blake “deer in the headlights” look. In the meantime, we have more than enough to close this series without him.

  38. Travis: I agree those 3 have to get the ball in their spots more during play. Out of timeouts that happens at a very high percentage but the play they run for Kobe that gets him right under the rim should be a staple for the bigs as well.

  39. Memphis really has a lot of weapons. Glad we don’t have to play them. They could be toughest matchup for Spurs.

  40. 1/2

    You forgot how they picked up off tbe scrap heap Diaw, Blair and Stephen Jackson who score around 30 per game while Mitch pickup up Murphy, McRoberts, Kapono and Blake who score around 8 per game.

    It’s called evaluating talent and that’s why they are clearly NOT going to be out in the 2nd round! Who’s going to beat them the Clippers with no SF and no shooting guard? The Griz who lost a 27 point lead while the coach was sleeping?

    Diaw, Jackson and Blair are each better then anyone we have had coming off the bench all year and together cost the same as Luke Walton and Fisher was paid. Now add Neal and Leonard, while they drafted next to last and you see how a great organization is built.

  41. Ko,
    Stephen Jackson makes 9.2 million dollars a year on his own. DeJuan Blair is still on his rookie contract as a 2nd round pick. Diaw was waived by the Bobcats and was having a pretty bad year w/ them – the worst team in the league.

    Your point isn’t a bad one and neither is 1/2 and 1/2′s. It’s just that the Spurs run a system and find players that fit into it with Pop nurturing them to help them fit. Their organization does a good job of helping find complimentary pieces and Pop does a great job of coaching them up. Much like Phil Jackson did for years with the Lakers and the Bulls (it’s why they’re considered the best 2 coaches of the their era). And, to be fair, much like Mike Brown did in Cleveland. Of course, Brown hasn’t had the overall success (in terms of championships; no where close) as those guys and he’s still trying to build up his first group in LA but so far, he’s doing well all things considered.

  42. 1/2decaf1/2regular,
    Sorry man. You’re smart man. You really are. So it suprised me you didn’t know Steve Blake was NOT a PG at Maryland. Juan Dixon was the PG and Blake was the spot up SG. In Portland Blake was NOT the PG. Brandon Roy played PG. he ran the PnR and always had the ball in his hands to run the offense and create for the team. As usual Steve Blake played off the ball as the spot up SG.

    Chris J,
    It actually was that easy to replace Fisher. The Lakers and the triangle offense (Phil Jackson) didn’t want to unfortunately. The only PGs the Lakers drafted were Jordan Farmar and gun wheeling JCrit. Farmar was the better PG (but he didn’t want to stay) and JCrit was traded (and ended up being a crazy person). I’m trying to rememeber if the Lakers drafted another PG the last eight years. I don’t think so.

    Ko,
    Evaluating talent means looking at the roster and not just at the seed. The Spurs were the one seed (like last year) and like last year they will lose a to a lower seed who has more talent and bigger players down low. Just match ups.

  43. Didn’t the Lakers draft Smush parker?

  44. CDog,
    I know that was a joke… But… No they didn’t. They signed him as an unrestricted free agent after they liked him in summer league. To his credit his career numbers were slightly better than Derek Fisher’s. Also I love Karl. He is the most honest coach in the NBA about certain things. He was the first coach to call Andrew Bynum the best post player in the NBA early this season… And now this…

    Before the series began, Karl answered a question about Bryant.
    The Denver coach’s words defined Game 2: “Kobe at times can have bad games, Kobe at times can kind of be selfish, but his will to win the game is pretty powerful.”

  45. 45 – No, Smush was signed as a FA.

  46. I remember few threads ago, Robert got into problems in raising a point about the F/O’s moves of not supplementing the role players status in the bench after they didn’t get Beasly and Crawford in the Minny and Blazers trade. They treated Hill and Eyenga as fillers and it took the last two games of the season to play them. This time, it’s KO’s turn who is saying that Spurs were able to beef up their lineup in getting scorers weeded out from other team to fill the 8th, 9th and 10th position while the Lakers benched their prospects after getting them. When Bynum was fresh and greenhorn, he got a great training from Kareem while our athletic recruits like Eyenga and Morris are thrown in the D’League to sink or swim on their own. Of course, they’re not really that important in MBrown’s rotation since they’re fighting for P/T in 12th or 13th position. If MWP did not get suspended, I doubt if we’ll see Hill on the line up or Eyenga in uniform.

    A Championship team is a mixture of veterans and youth; Superstar starters and a good supporting cast which define the deep bench. Role players who could provide defense and rebounds are important ingredient in a Championship team. We have finishers in our Big 3 but who will do dirty job for them. However, this team is concentrated on the Big 3 from the get go, they got Sessions in the trade ( a resounding thank you, free at last from the scrubs) and we’re back to our lazy-dozy comfort zone. They won the first two games and seemed satisfied for their initial accomplishment without the road trip nor faced the two teams above them.

    In a nutshell, I think Robert, Ko and Aaron have a point in their disturbing thoughts of where will talent come from hereon? Are the Big 3 plus Sessions enough?….. they are just saying “not too fast with homerism in 2-0; we ain’t seen nothing yet.”

  47. Snoopy,
    Well.. Maybe we now know why RonRon was back to being a two way dominant monster… Ad also why he is taking people’s heads off!! He just tweeted pics of a chart that monitored his weight loss and body fat losses over the year. And then he posted this pic of his shirtless body yesterday. Jesus. He might be on something :)

    http://t.co/SCSfYyZ6

  48. Great SI article on the ageless Kobe Bryant…

    Bryant racked up 31 points in Game 1, but was overshadowed by Bynum’s 10 blocks and triple-double. The landscape has obviously changed in L.A., where Bynum is now seeing the double teams and Bryant is enjoying the space. Time will eventually out-pace Bryant — NBA defenses are counting on it — and he knows he does not have many chances left at a championship.

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/lee_jenkins/05/02/lakers.nuggets.game2/index.html#ixzz1tpANvaj0

  49. 1/2 decap and 1/2 reg,

    Blake’s weakness is defense on 2, don’t you think it is a worse problem as 1 where he faced these fast PG’s? Problem in combining Session and Blake, they both perform PG responsibilities. If Blake is a spot shooter when Sessions is in, then don’t release the ball to Gasol or Bynum in the waning seconds, just shoot it!

  50. 1/2decaf1/2regular,
    He was listed as a PG because he is 6-3. Haha. He played SG on offense both in Portland and at Maryland. But you’re dead on with the scrab heap in SA ;)