Lakers/Nuggets Game 5: Nightmare Fuel

Darius Soriano —  May 8, 2012

“Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

That line was tweeted to me by longtime Laker observer Gary Collard. And, to be honest, he’s completely right.

The Lakers fought furiously down the stretch. Kobe Bryant went nova from behind the arc and set the internet ablaze with shotmaking that only adds to a legend. But, the fact is, the Lakers still lost as his clip ran out of ammo when the game was close enough to grasp. It was a sight to behold watching him sink three after three but in the end all his barrage did was give a frustrating night about 10 minutes of fun.

And really, it’s the frustration that will sit with me now as the adrenaline wears down.

The Lakers did not come ready to play this game. Their offensive execution was substandard almost all evening. The ball didn’t move and neither did the players. Facing a sagging defense that doubled Andrew Bynum every time he touched the ball, kickout passes were sent to open shooters that couldn’t make the defense pay, only emboldening the Nuggets to stick to their plan of clogging the lane. And with the paint contested and shooters missing, the Lakers’ offense went where it usually does in those instances, to Kobe bail outs with the shot clock winding down far too often.

Their defense wasn’t ready either, though. The Nuggets successfully ran isolations with Gallinari to great success early in the game, with Devin Ebanks unable to contain him. Gallo rained in jumpers and used crafty moves off the bounce to get into the lane and score at the rim. When it wasn’t Gallo doing damage, it was Arron Afflalo finally finding his offensive game, coming off curls to hit mid range jumpers, hitting a three in transition, and making smart cuts to free himself around the rim. Sprinkle in some fine play making from Ty Lawson and the Nuggets had an early formula that gave them the burst they’d need to build and hold onto an early lead.

But the real stars for the Nuggets were Andre Miller and JaVale McGee. Miller simply outclassed every Laker that tried to guard him. Steve Blake literally had no chance against Miller’s bruising style, consistently getting backed down and shot over the top of once the lane was gotten. On several crucial possessions late, Miller was able to work over Blake and find his way to within 10 feet where he’s simply a terror against a defender of any size. The Lakers should have been helping off of non-offensive threats to aid Blake (who fought as hard as he could) but it never came and Blake was forced to operate on an island most of the night. Again, though, Miller abused nearly everyone he faced, even taking Matt Barnes to school on a couple of drives that ended with finishes at the rim.

And then there was McGee. The Nugget big man brought his A+++ game tonight and completely took over the game at one point. He grabbed offensive rebounds and finger rolled in follow baskets. He caught lobs in transition and in the half court. He even worked the post on a couple of possessions, masterfully finding creases in the defense to get up good shots that fell. When you add his offensive exploits to his impact on D where he blocked (and goaltended) several shots to make his presence in the paint known, he was – just like in game 3 – the difference maker in this game.

Add it all up and this is what made this night so excruciating.

Before the game Andrew Bynum commented that closeout games are “easy” in that if the team doing the closing brings the needed effort they can bury the other team and make them quit. The thing is, the Lakers didn’t bring the needed effort. And they surely didn’t bring the needed focus. Instead, they attacked with little regard to strategy and when it came time to knock down their open shots and defend with purpose, they didn’t do it. Denver, on the other hand, played like a team with their backs against the wall and never gave up. They were able to build up a big enough lead so that a classic Kobe push became, essentially, irrelevant as the hole was simply too deep to climb out of.

And now, the Lakers must go on the road and try to clinch the series. Sure, they’ve proven they can win on the road but the opportunity that they really needed to take advantage of just slipped through their fingers. Give the Nuggets a load of credit in this game as they stuck to their script and got the W. But also blame the Lakers here. They knew what needed to be done; knew what type of game they needed to play and refused to do so. Kobe’s late heroics were the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig; it only served to cover up the ugliness of what had transpired for the previous 40 minutes. The fact he almost pulled it off is a testament to him. The fact that he even needed to try is a testament to how his team played on a night where they needed to give more than they did.

Darius Soriano

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73 responses to Lakers/Nuggets Game 5: Nightmare Fuel

  1. Also, this didn’t make the recap but for those that want to complain about Kobe’s FGA’s a lot of those came down the stretch when he was trying to get the team back into the game (and then win it). I’d suggest you also look at Barnes’ FGA’s. He took more shots than Bynum or Gasol too. Was he hogging the ball?

    The point is that the Nuggets defensive scheme funneled the ball away from the bigs and into the hands of the wings. The Lakers needed to find better counters to the D that could have gotten Pau and Drew more shots but never came up with them. Instead, they were relegated to passing out and hoping the wings created something. For most of the night, they didn’t. And really, that’s that. We can argue all night about Kobe this or Kobe that, but in reality the Nuggets are actively trying to take the Lakers big men out of the game and today they were successful. Brown said post game that the team didn’t swing the ball – a key point because swinging the ball will lead to secondary post up options on the weak side. Instead, the ball stayed strong side or ended up being passed to a wide open wing who missed shots against a D that didn’t close out. That’s how perimeter players end up with more shots than the big men.

  2. My friend had a great analog, comparing this to the 2009 Series with the Houston Rockets, where the Lakers had more superstars, but the Rockets had more heart and drive.

    That one went to seven games before the Lakers finally prevailed. This one feels like it could, too.

  3. It’s become normal to see a guy fly by Bynum and dunk then Drew look at his teammates as if he’s not the center and not suppose to challenge/block shots. After game 1 he said if I play defense Lakers have a better chance of winning. If he doesn’t play defense Lakers won’t win anything.

    It was plenty timeouts and dead balls at the end of the game where Brown could’ve subbed someone in to guard Miller. And subbed him out at a dead ball. Brown may have been mezmorized by the performance he was witnessing and fell asleep at the wheel. Adjustments were there to be made.

    Lakers had chances to tie the game but out of bounds plays were not good. It left Kobe in a Iso situation. Last game he was in a PnR and made a play for Blake for the open 3 (Blake was wide open this game too). Again that may be the effect Kobe’s ability to make miraculous shots has on people. A better play could’ve been draw for him.

    Barnes has been anemic from 3 (2-20 in series) and Sessions a disappointment. Can’t wait until Ron is back.

  4. Darius disagree.

    Kobe had 24 FGA’s at 4 min in 3 qtr.
    Way too many.
    Kobe was in volume mode all game.
    He had 16 fga’s at half time.

    Kobe actually slowed down pulling the trigger late 3 qtr early 4 qtr. He is clearly aware his FGA’s are problematic because it causes team mates to stand around during his ISO’s and Nuggets run out on his long misses.

    Kobe was stuck on 29 FGA’s then had flurry at the end to reach 32.

  5. Treylake,
    Okay, so you disagree with the assessment that a lot of his FGA’s came late. What about the analysis that by crowding the bigs, it forced the wings to take more shots? You disagree with that too?

  6. yes, we lost this game not because of Kobes shot, we could have won this because of him. we loss this due to poor play / intensity of our bigs/guards.

    i really feel that this game should have been ours, but we let it go. we let them build big lead, in our homecourt, something that should not happen again.

    at the end, this game will be beneficial if we can close it out on gm 6 and bring on the OKC, with MWP and the whole lineup complete.

    this is a nice series given by Den, however we can surely beat them in a 7-game series. we should not forget what our aim is, move on and continue winning until the trophy is ours… again.

  7. I don’t have a problem mentioning when Kobe plays bad selfish basketball. Tonight was so far away from any of those nights it’s basically a joke. No offense to anyone that disagrees. Its just so far from the truth I can’t beleive how someone who watched the entire game and didn’t just look at stats could think Kobe played selfish basketball. He made the right plays the majority of the time. And he was flat out amazing tonight. He is a winner. This was a Kobe game. This was the game where other teams are now afraid of the Lakers. Big time. They all have seen Bynum attract multiple Nuggets for every second he is on the floor… But now they see the legend. They see can still do that in the playoffs. Do Kobe. Just the fact he did Kobe once. Now people know… Now players will be thinking, Kobe still can be Kobe. And who knows? Maybe Bynum will run one time down the floor without seeing a sea of angry faces falling down upon him. Maybe just for one possession? I mean the Lakers do have Kibe Bryant at SG right? Shouldn’t that be enough to take away 15 percent of those doubles and triples? And… We MWP will be coming back for the entire OkC series. We can pretemd it’s not a big deal. But to go against Durant without Ron freaking Artest for the first game most likley put the Lakers in a one game hole against a great team. So pardon me for not being torn up about a loss that gives LA a chance to close out in six games ;)

  8. that holding call on AB’s flush sure seemed late.

    Heard from a text about ‘fans’ leaving staples before the final flurry

    Laker game 7’s and the return of MWP=ratings.

  9. Yes I do. It is the guards responsibility to execute game plan that should be Gasol and Bynum touches. Last time I checked Bryant is a guard.

    The fact Gasol only had 1 assist is not an indicator of his play, but his lack of touches. Offense didn’t flow thru him.

    If Nuggets interior defense is so potent the only recourse is Kobe going volume Lakers are in trouble.

  10. Kevin,

    Make sure to check out Aaron’s explanation of Bynum’s performance in post 197 of the other thread. It is…interesting.

    Darius,

    Agree with most of Post #1. Skilled analysis.

    My .02:

    I think many people, including of course our own Ken, have been too hard on Mike Brown at times this season. But this is a big moment for him. He needs to come up with a matchup/defense tweak of some kind to slow down JaVale McGee and/or Andre Miller. These guys are good players, but they are not David Robinson and Magic Johnson. Miller and Gallinari being problems with MWP out was something that was easily anticipated. And Brown needs to win this series. If the Lakers lose to OKC, well, OKC is really good. Denver is pretty good, but the Lakers should win this after being up 3-1. This isn’t the 2006 Phoenix matchup. If they lose, then everyone–from MB on down– needs to be looked at very hard.

    Also, the FO’s failure to replace Shannon Brown looms large, as it has all year. Mike Brown has cycled through Kapono, Goudelock, Fisher, Barnes, Ebanks, and now Blake trying to find a way to soak up backcourt minutes. None of them has really worked out, due to their limitations as players. I would have just gone with Ebanks myself, but he is basically a rookie and is not really a 2, so I kind of get it.

  11. The perfect play to illustrate our problem came in the 4th quarter when Sessions, guarded by Lawson, was trying to enter the ball to Bynum on the block. Lawson literally was sitting in ‘Drew’s lap to deny the pass.

    Why? Because Lawson didn’t care one bit if Sessions puts up the 3. The Nuggets have no fear. So, when this happens and the clock gets run down to 8 seconds and our PG passes to our forward who then passes to Kobe after a couple of seconds and whaddaya know! There is then 4-5 seconds on the clock and Kobe has a hand grenade.

    Treylake- It must be so easy to have such a simplistic view of why the Lakers lose. I really think that you believe the Lakers win in spite of Kobe.

  12. I think people believe teams will just let you dump it down in the post, maybe that’s why Bynum believes it. Zones are legal, so a loose man to man sagging off terrible shooters choked post play.

    But you can get offensive rebounds, you can block shots, you can box out, set good picks, get loose balls, show hard on the pick roll, bump cutters, rotate to shooters, double down on mismatches….

    Bynum does none of these things, niether does Gasol for that matter.

    They both pout and get tired easy, they both fail to help on weakside drives and box out there man, and they both have body language that sucks to say the least.

    But all the matters is FGA? I bet that’s what they think too

  13. Darius,
    I have to give you credit. I remember growing up with all those great inner city teacher movies of the 90’s. Man on man how I loves those. You’re like that hero. You won’t let a kid fall behind. Bless you.

  14. 32 shots to get 43 points is Carmelo Anthony like.

  15. Treylake,
    Well we can agree to disagree then. But I just don’t see a way for Bynum to get more shots when he’s being doubled on the catch. It’s simply too difficult to get shots off as a big when the 2nd defender is in your lap.

  16. Treylake,
    I promise you the team tried to get Bynum a load of touches the entire game. I promise you. You could see it. Some times they couldn’t. Most of the time they did but Bynum was imidiatley doubled and the ball was thrown to the open man whom unfortunately missed an open jumper. But the coaches and the players were trying. And they did get Bynum the ball in the post. The ball unfortunately was forced out soon after to “shooters”. Oh. Haha. And Carmelo might not be a great player. Or even a great scorer. But he is a pretty darn good one. So I’ll take that from Kobe on many nights.

  17. Responding to Robert from other thread:

    Yes, the Lakers were 9/24 and Denver was 3/19 on 3s. That is a bad sign, because Denver is likely to have one game–like say a possible Game 7–in which they hit 35-40% of their 3s.

    The bench numbers are bit misleading since McGee played 32 minutes and Mozgov played 13. But as I said before the series, McGee is a tougher matchup for Gasol and Bynum than Nene was, due to his ups.

    I think you and some others are being too hard on Sessions. He is still a big upgrade on O, but he was never going to be Tony Parker. Sessions didn’t shoot well, but Lawson didn’t kill the Lakers–McGee and Miller did. Sessions would look better if Kobe and Blake played better D, since as we knew going in, Sessions is not much on D himself.

  18. Kobe FGA’s is a key stat, like turnovers and offensive rebounds allowed. An interesting component is that Lakers tend to lose even if Kobe goes high volume with efficiency.

    Lakers win with offensive balance.

    Game 5 box score was whack.

  19. Darius, yes we disagree because if you have bigs like Bynum and Gasol who only get 19 FGA’s and that is acceptable, we have different philosophies.

  20. Treylake:Kobe had a bad first quarter we all know that. 2nd quarter his frustrations boiled over and a few turnovers later Denver had a lead. But he gave his team every chance to take control of the game. Barnes was missing shots, Pau sat on the bench with a busted lip smh.

    Nobody had anything going. He brought the team within 3 points of tying the game when all hope seemed lost. If you want to blame someone blame Brown for leaving everything as is and not making adjustments when the game was within reach. Or Bynum giving McGee O rebounds and finger rolls on crucial possessions. Those last 2 threes were tough but can you blame him with such a hot hand.

  21. Man. You can lead a horse to water…

    I’m worried that the Nuggets now have momentum and can draw this out to 7 games where anything can happen. I am kinda with Aaron though- This means that we will have MWP for the full series against the Thunder. A fully rested and very very hungry MWP who will be itching to D up all comers.

    My only real gripe with Bynum is that he doesn’t try as hard on defense when he doesn’t get his touches. It doesn’t matter WHY he isn’t getting them, but he just starts loafing.

  22. In game 6, when the Nuggets continue to double Bynum hard, the Lakers need to make them pay by having one of the other players cut towards the basket on the weak side and getting the ball to him. It won’t work every time, but it’s probably better than settling for and taking long jumpers, certainly the case for players like Barnes. Hard doubles can create holes for the other players to utilize, but I felt that the Lakers never took advantage of them.

  23. KenOak is right. For whatever reason when Bynum doesn’t get offensive touches he seems to lose interest.

    Solution?

    Touches.

    Gasol on the high post.
    Pau is tremendous feeding Drew, but can’t dime without the ball.

    Kobe certainly didn’t try to get his team mates off in the 1 qtr tonite. Kobe took more 1 qtr shots than normal.

  24. Treylake,
    I don’t want this to sound insulting….

    It seems you’d prefer to look at the boxscore to explain how the game went. I’d rather look at the game that was played to better explain the boxscore.

    So yeah, we do fundamentally disagree here. You can have any last word you want on this one because I don’t think we’ll see eye to eye here.

  25. Sorry to best on a point. But———

    Mike Brown was fired in Cleveland for getting throughly out coached in the playoffs.

    So Lakers hire him so he can get throughly out coached in the playoffs.

    My 7 year old son asked why don’t they put somebody else on that Miller guy.

    Guess he should be coaching the Lakers after he gets out of school. He is good at reading stats off a page also like Brown.

  26. Maybe if Mike Brown doesn’t allow Bynum to suit up for the next game there won’t be 100 comments in the game thread complaining about everything he does. Maybe he will also institute a 20 shot max for Kobe in the next game. As soon as he takes his 20th he is pulled for the rest of the game. That way all the complaining about his FGA can stop.

    Gasol was 4-11, Barnes was 5-14, and Sessions was 3-12. Criticize Kobe and Bynum all you want. But when your other key guys are putting up numbers like that don’t be surprised when your team loses. If anyone wants to play the blame game please spread it generously.

  27. Definitely blame MB for zero adjustments.

    However, wasn’t impressed with Kobe’s late game heroics. They lost.

    Bottom line is Kobe didn’t get his team mates involved in Game 5.

    Look at last OKC Box score Kobe 26 FGA’s and Gasol + Bynum 33 FGA’s Lakers won. Kobe went hero … but Lakers were in the flow.

  28. Darius,

    Ah no.
    Not sure how you reached a your conclusion about my game assessment but its incorrect.

    When Lakers lose, inspect box score to see if a key stat like turnovers, offensive rebounds surrendered, defensive fg% influences outcome. In Lakers case, during Gasol era, Kobe FGA versus Gasol and Bynum is a clear indicator. So during the game if you notice a trend developing that likely leads to loss to you stop it.

    If you watched the game tonite it was clear Lakers were out of sync. Why?

    My rationale was offensive imbalance showed up visually and in the box score.

    Is your rationale for Lakers obvious offensive struggles Denver’s superior post defense imploding Lakers game plan?

    How about Kobe and Gasol PnR?
    Didn’t see many of those.

    Denver took that away too?

  29. The Lakers played like the British fought the Japanese in Malaya. If the team doesn’t wake up soon, Percival will be marching, out of step, in those ridiculously baggy shorts, into surrender and degradation. Oh, and by the way, whoever is responsible for jacking up that 3 with :20 seconds left ought to be relieved of command. Take and make a 2, 98-99, and if they hit 1 of 2, it’s 2 point lead, and if they make 2 of 2, it’s that same 3 and there’s still time to jack up a 3.

  30. Treylake,
    Since you asked, I’ll bite.

    No P&R (with either Kobe or Sessions handling the ball) was that effective tonight because the defense sagged down off ball handlers to protect the paint while still rotating to Gasol when he floated on the wing after screening. This took away outlet options for Kobe when he was handling the ball and gummed up the action.

    Simply explaining this is my entire point in a nutshell. You’re (mostly) talking FGA’s and with little discussion of *why* and *how* those shots came to fruition. You’ve yet to acknowledge how a defense that sags off ball handlers into the paint influences passing angles. You’ve yet to acknowledge how hard double teams force passes out of the post. You’ve yet to acknowledge how half-hearted closeouts on the Lakers wing players invite either a jumper or another pass around the perimeter (rather than a pass inside because wing defenders are sagging in the paint discouraging post entries).

    Without going into these basic facts about the Nuggets defensive game plan, it’s impossible to accurately explain why the game developed the way that it did. But yet, here you are telling us all that Kobe shot too much and he didn’t get his teammates involved. Did you see how many open shots Sessions passed up? How about Barnes after he missed several in a row? Or Blake, in the usual manner of him looking to make the extra pass? These are all factors in how the game played out but, again, it’s on Kobe for shooting too much.

    Kobe did take a lot of shots. Some of them were forced. Some of them were off actions run for him to get shots. Some were the result of him being a bail out option late in the shot clock. Some were predicated solely off the way the defense was playing the Lakers’ big men. Failure to acknowledge these factors is too simple.

  31. With the poor 3-point shooting and the continuing double-teams on Bynum, I think the Lakers will have to look at some other options to break down the defense than through straight post-ups for Andrew.

    For one, they could put Gasol down in the low post more. While Harrington is pushing him out pretty well, Pau can get good position on Faried. When the Nuggets double on Pau, he is much better at making a pass that compromises the defense out of that position. The double-teams have come from various places, often the weak side wing. When Pau swings the ball there, Bynum then has to be ready to duck in against a scrambling defense.

    Brown could also try to hit Bynum on the move instead of always forcing him the ball against a stationary defense ready to help (didn’t Phil Jackson run some sets like this when Shaq was always doubled on the catch?). Maybe a simple big-on-big screen can do the trick for a couple of easy baskets. Or imagine Kobe setting a screen for a Bynum curl to the basket and himself slipping to the corner, that would also be hard to defend.

    It might also be a good idea to turn Sessions loose a little bit more and use his abilty to get into the paint. I’d personally would like to see it off middle pick-and-rolls with Gasol. Sessions can attack the paint for a floater or a dump-off to Bynum while Pau pops to an open space around the high post area for either a jump shot or a high-low entry to Bynum if he can seal his man. Or you run the middle pick-and-roll with Bynum to draw McGee out, have Bynum roll to the basket and Gasol rotate up to the high post to vary the look of this action.

    I liked some of the plays that put Kobe on the move. When he comes off the curl under the basket and back to the middle and catches around the high post, the Nuggets have also looked vulnerable. The key in these situations is for the bigs to seal when their defenders are still looking at how Kobe’s curl turns out and whether they have to rotate to help. So this comes down to execution and effort, both areas that were lacking in Game 5.

    Overall, I think the Lakers still have their offensive options with this rotation despite the terrible 3-point shooting. But I’m also open to trying out Goudelock for a short stretch to see whether he can space the floor and be a threat from outside.

  32. fun with +/- stats

    KB24 -6
    PG16 +12
    RS7 +9

    McGee -6
    Miller -5

    Who’s getting blamed for what? Had our chances, they’ll get some more. Its about the journey as much as the destination. Hopefully OKC gets cold waiting for us.

  33. It’s real simple. Nuggets sag all defenders down low and dare the Lakers to make wide open jumpers. Gasol is rendered useless inside. Even when he gets the ball down low he is ineffective! Bynum is too slow and indecisive attacking the double teams. Matt Barnes sucks at shooting, bottomline! Mitch Kupchack has never been known to stock the Lakers roster with Shooting Forwards that can actually “shoot”… Kobe almost bailed the Lakers out, but at the end missed the last 2 long-range bombs and Sessions also missed one. San Antonio is deadly from the outside. OKC is perimeter oriented. Dallas destroyed the Lakers last year with the same style. This is the way it goes now in the NBA, if your shooters are cold all game, you wont win! You must be balanced inside and out.

  34. R.R. Magellan May 9, 2012 at 1:27 am

    I thought I was pretty adamant about not talking about OKC in the Game 4 recap.

    Why Steve Blake gets time instead of Devin Ebanks and Matt Barnes? He’s a better shooter and can stretch the floor. Yes, it was Kobe Time nearly the entire game but the Denver bigs were bullying the Laker bigs throughout, too. Don’t blame Kobe for the game; blame the entire team for looking listless.

    Lakers can play better, yes, but so can Denver. Now the Nuggets have all the confidence and the momentum in the world. I still say the Lakers are going to win in Game 6 with the match-ups and all but they’re in for one hell of a fight.

    Don’t look past these guys.

  35. A scenario that happened countless times in gm 5:

    Bynum or Gasol passed out from double team to wide open/ semi-wide open teammates (mostly Barnes, Ebanks and Sessions), only to see them passing the ball to heavily-guarded Kobe at the perimeter immediately. With shot clock down to inside 5 sec. Without slightest intention of attacking or creating anything. I think this scenario can pretty much sum up our struggle in offense.

  36. This is a good test for the Lakers. They must win playoff road games if ever this team will play until June. Starting second round until finals they don’t have the luxury of home court advantage. (OKC, Spurs & Heat)

  37. HI Darius, great recap.
    Re Kobe, I was only able to watch 3rd and 4th quarters (Central European Time is challengin at times) – but Kobe basically put the lakers back in the game by himself. It was some kind of unbelievable. However, I didn’t like at all the 3-pointer he took down 3 with about 20 seconds on the clock. We were in reach, the shot was forced – he didn’t even look for teammates there, played the possession as if it was a meaningless reg season game – for the show. Otherwise, I liked the shot he took down two, right after the 3-point barrage, and even the last 3-pointer he took (leaving enough time on the clock for one last chance did it go out).

    The lakers seem to play (again) the “flip-the-switch” game, and I don’t know if they can afford it anymore. I frankly hope they can.

  38. Ramon sessions is uniquely horrible on defense, it takes effort to be that bad, even Steve Nash tries and he’s an offensive genius. Sessions literally will not stay in a defensive stance long enough to deter his man, his effort is borderline criminal.

    And we expect this guy to hold his own against westbrook? Tony parker?

    At least fish would take a charge

  39. Treylake,

    I think everyone here agrees that kobe taking 32 shots is generally bad for business but your assessment of his play is off. It’s a chicken or egg type of deal – was kobe taking too many shots so the offense bogged down or was the offense bogged down so kobe had to take too many shots? To me, last night it was clear that it was the latter. I mean the Nuggets guards were digging into the post before Pau/Drew even caught the ball! NBA players need to make the defense pay for that by knocking down WIDE open shots (sessions, blake, barnes). Overall they weren’t able to knock down these shots consistently enough to force the defense to play more honest and too often they didn’t even take the available shot. This led to over-passing and kobe taking a larger % of the team’s shots than we would have liked. Blaming Kobe for this loss tho is absolutely silly. His shot-making was the only reason this game was competitive down the stretch and he was the only Laker that played with intensity/focus every minute he was on the court.

  40. I am waiting for a writer, somewhere to adequately explain this loss, and why, it is, in fact on Kobe. The reason they lost had little to do with what actually transpired in the game. The Lakers increasingly lack initial passion because their leader is subtly sapping it. Mike Brown needs to put his big boy pants on, immediately.

    1. I have been a big Kobe fan for years, but last night he gave every detractor a large measure of satisfaction. I am one of those that will argue with you until blue in the fact about how close Kobe is to Michael.

    2. The heroics were unnecessary. Here’s why: You have a semi-dominant center. Yes, Bynum made a dumb pre-game comment. But coach Brown said it himself: “We need to help him [Bynum] back it up.”
    From the jump, reading the body language of both Gasol AND Bynum, they checked out because Kobe checked out on them, shooting poor shots, including an airball three to start the game.

    3. Bynum needs more touches, period. Do people realize this? Remember Shaq’s comment: “If the big dog isn’t fed, he won’t guard the house,” or something to that effect.

    4. Kobe has been freezing Bynum out now for several games. Three reluctant posts feeds a game is irrelevant. It is Kobe that needs to grow up, all over again, and fast.

    5. We as Americans have short attention spans — apparently basketball fans are worse. All it takes is a few three pointers and most forget how this series could have been over in 4 games.

    6. Kobe is holding a grudge against Bynum for Bynum slapping his hands together and saying he wanted the ball a game and a half ago in Denver. Lakers ended up losing and Kobe believed he was right not to give Bynum the ball after Bynum missed two free throws in crunch time.

    7. When Bynum missed those two free throws in Game 4 I believe, a leader (Bryant) would have gone right back to him, pep him, letting him know that he has his back. Instead, Kobe continued to jack up shots.

    8. Kobe looks like a hypocrite. Bynum is coming up, and Kobe won’t share the keys with him. Shaq did share with Kobe — to the point that Kobe would sometimes shoot 30 times in a playoff game whether or not Shaq was in foul trouble.

    9. Kobe has to prove he’s better than Jordan, but he is going about it in a dumb way.

    10. Mike Brown might not be the coach long term, if he is unwilling to engage the leader/monster, Kobe. Bynum has to get in Kobe’s grill and demand the ball or confront him in practice.

  41. Kobe Alert – Special Treylake Version: You asked for some stats about KB volume games: KB has scored 40 points or more in 112 regular season games. Only MJ and Wilt have more. The Lakers are 78-34 in those games. He has now hit 40 or more in 12 playoff games. The Lakers are 10-2 in those games. The 2 losses are last night, + the infamous Phoenix Game 6 of 2006.

  42. We all have our things we like to pick on when the Lakers lose. Some like to bash KB, others are annoyed by AB, and of course there is the human punching bag – MB. As everyone knows – my favorite target is the bench. Last night’s game certainly did not change my mind. The outscored us 50-19 and we shot 8-24 from the bench. Further, they brought in 2 significant sources of offense off the bench (McGee+Miller), while we just do not have that. Yes – I know Mozgov hardly plays, but I would counter that with – neither does Ebanks. Further, due to this, our starters do not get enough rest. We had 4 starters over 36 minutes including KB at 43. They only had 2 starters over 30 minutes. I think everyone also knows that I hold the FO accountable for this, but let’s table the cause at this point. The simple fact is that we are badly outmanned by Denver’s bench and this will only get worse in later rounds. As I said before, when we get anything from our bench, we get all ecstatic, and it is like a teacher who grades on a curve and gives the student an “A” for effort. Well this is the playoffs which is akin to a standardized test – and we are failing.

  43. Another game where wings won’t take open shots (except Barnes who couldn’t make and Ramon like once) so Kobe gets the ball late. Why not move the ball up court with some pace and run some offense? We waste 12 seconds of every possession. Break-downs on D come with continued movement–get into it, in a controlled way, but get into it. Use Ramon to bring the ball up, please. Give help on Miller and body McGee after the first alley-oop alerts you to that. Please start to anticipate and rotate and make some heads-up D plays. Seems Barnes is the only one with those skills. This was players and coaching–a mess.

  44. Anyone who thinks that this loss is because Bynum wasn’t getting the ball enough doesn’t know basketball, period.

    Bynum was looked for on nearly every possession. But he consistently failed to establish the quick, deep post position that would make him able to beat the constant double teams being sent his way all night long. But he was getting the ball. A lot. He just couldn’t do much with it but pass back out because he wasn’t working to get the ball in the right spots.

    He jogged (and I use the word loosely) up and down the court at both ends. Basically this was an even worse version of Game 3 where he came out completely checked out mentally and unwilling to play. Unforgivable even once, but absolutely unfathomable when he’s admitted doing it once already in the series and ran his mouth prior to this game.

    This was a Rasheed Wallace in his last year with the Celtics level of effort from Drew. His defense was flat out the worst I’ve ever seen and it was all because of a lack of effort all game long.

    We lost this game because Bynum didn’t come to play. Everything else flows from that. He IS one of the two central pillars of our offense and THE central focus of the defense. When he mails in a performance like this it shows up in everyone else’s game. It shows in Kobe being forced to take tough shots against the clock. It shows in poor floor spacing. It shows with Bynum being beat down the floor for an easy layup after a made basket not once but TWICE in the first quarter alone.

    Go back and rewatch the tape. I can’t remember the last time I saw such an embarrassing effort.

    But hey, don’t take just my word for it. Here’s Silver Screen and Roll:

    “Nobody was a bigger factor in the loss than Andrew Bynum. What’s there really to say about Drew at this point? He’s a weird dude who at times just doesn’t give a ****. Tonight was one of those times. It was the worst defensive performance we’ve seen from him all year. He had no awareness of where the Nuggets were attacking from, defended with zero exertion and repeatedly got caught motionless while McGee hammered down one of his many, many dunks. He finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, which seems like an acceptable stat line, but I don’t need to tell you guys how much he sucked. (It was a lot. He sucked a lot.)”

  45. .
    1/2 decaf

    Perfect! You said almost word for word what I said on Laker Talk cast night. Andrew is a sulking child who will never be a leader.

    Pau Gasol was the 2nd biggest no-show in the playoffs this year. Go watch Marc Gasol to see number 1.

    And as for Brown! The answer is he is a bad coach. He was in Cleveland and he is here. Blake can’t guard me and I am only 6″3″. No chance on Miller. Karl is a coach, Brown is a fan that conned his way into being a coach. Fast Talking Mike should have be working for Madoff!

  46. McGee thought it was 2011 because he had his own dunk contest again on Bynum’s court. Then and now Bynum was just a spectator. The only way he imposes his will it seems is cheap fouls he had another 2 last night. For a game and a half Bynum has played hard this series. To say team goals are his first priority would be downright silly “he just wants his numbers”.

    Brown has to find a way to counter Karl’s defensive scheme. He’s two steps ahead and Lakers have no answers. Making outside shots would help since that hasn’t happened some secondary actions to get players open have to made available.

    Sessions 39% this series. No impact on any game. His numbers are misleading he’s a very average player.

  47. * Denver doing a good job of forcing us into becoming a perimeter team by sagging off of our ‘Shooters.’ Basically, rendering Drew useless on offense. Doesn’t mean he can’t bring a more concerted effort on the ‘Championship End’ of the court. No excuse for getting outplayed, but mainly, outworked by JaVale McGee. None.

    * Coach Mike Brown, who I have defended quite often on this site, doesn’t get that benefit from me after last night’s performance. It was just asinine to keep Blake on Miller. He was getting abused damn near every time down court when it counted in the 4th qtr. He should have swallowed his pride and owned up to the fact that this particular defensive assignment was not working. To say the least. Should have gone with Ebanks, since Blake was not contributing anything offensively anyway.

    * Kobe’s fga’s had nothing to do with the loss. We lost because we got ‘Outworked’, just as Kobe and McGee eloquently stated during their post-game interviews. What makes it even worse is the fact that it was a Close Out game AND on our Homecourt. Didn’t see a sense of urgency from no one besides Kobe. This shouldn’t have occurred.

    * Simply Put: Pau’s face needs to be put on a Milk Carton.

    @ # 33, Tsig: Those numbers are why I don’t value ‘Nerd Stats.’ The ‘Eyes Test’ is all I need to evaluate a performance.

  48. Ha… While it’s obvious those who think Kobe played a bad game don’t know much about basketball… It’s also obviouse those who think Bynum ayed a bad game don’t know anything about basketball. He was the Lakers best and most effective player on both sides of the ball. That’s just obvious. He was constantly getting double teamed oppening up a gauntlet of shots and driving lanes for his teammates from the tip off to the final whistle. He also was mainly responsible for again keeping Lawson out of the paint. He flat out played well on both sides of the ball from almost every advanced statistical meassurmemt. It’s funny people need scape goats amd they mostly choose the wrong goat. Steve Blake made Amdre Miller look like Gary Payton. Post ups are one thing… But getting beaten to the basket by a 45 year old guard was Derek Fishers job. It’s almost impossible to help Blake when he gets beaten so quickly and easily. Are the Lakers going to have to guard Miller like he is a 22 year old Kobe now? Shading over the nearest help defender?

  49. Dear Jabroni Drew,

    Know your role, shut your mouth!

    Sincerely yours,
    The Rock

  50. You know what was so simple but effective that Lakers miss. A Ron post up. In april he could get to the foul line, get 2 points or find a window to get the bigs the ball. Such a simple play but it worked.

  51. Aaron: If Kobe is not the issue, and AB is not the issue (I agree on both), then what is the issue? : ) Certainly Blake is part of it as you noted. What about Barnes at 5-14? What about Hill at 0-4 in 19 minutes? Collectively – these guys are known as our bench : )

    Sorry to be “redundant’, but we have dozens of posts arguing about Kobe and AB, and they are not the issue.

  52. That flurry of shot-taking by Kobe at the end was just him realizing the team hadn’t come to play, so he’s going to play this himself. He somehow got the Lakers close enough to give them the chance to make some team plays at the end to pull it out but, I think, right or wrong, he didn’t feel the Lakers deserved the chance. I think he’s right. They didn’t deserve it. If those last shots had gone in to win it, we’d still be left with an embarrassing effort. Better the loss might be a kick in the a that gets the team having to play basketball before trying to take on an even tougher opponent.

    Kobe took lots of shots because the team didn’t come to play, not the other way around. I’m a big Pau fan, but face it, he just didn’t have it. He played listless, was shoved around, and wasn’t able to do much when he had the ball. Bynum can only do so much, but I also didn’t see enough effort there for much of the game. Other players didn’t make enough plays, either couldn’t hit shots or wouldn’t take them. Putting it all on Kobe to get these guys competing is nonsense.

  53. Robert,

    You’re using “bench” when you mean “roster.” This team is just a little short on talent, relative to the very best teams, as we both know and part of that IS because Kobe is almost 34, Pau is almost 32, and Bynum, while excellent, is not what Aaron tells us he is. Hill and Sessions have improved the situation, but they have limitations and will play badly some nights.

    Aaron,

    You are a lot like Bill Simmons as an analyst–“that’s just the truth”, “that’s just obvious” etc, and, like Simmons, you come up with alternative narratives/rationalizations to explain away your misjudgments and overstatements.

    Simmons is a talented writer, but he is mostly a zero as an analyst. Bynum is very good player, but that’s it. It has been obvious for a long time.

  54. Robert,
    Nail on head my friend. The issue clearly from a game tape standpoint and box score standpoint is basically everyone not named Kobe and Bynum. But they are the superstars so thats who people want to talk about. Gasol, Blake, Barnes, Hill, Sessions, and Ebanks are why the Lakers lost last night… and in that order. It’s pretty simple. Haha. But people don’t like obvious answers. They are ordinary and boring but normally right.

  55. Also… Man o man does the Lakers offense suffer when Blake is playing PG. Many times they couldn’t get into any actions until the shot clock got into single digits. It was pretty pathetic for a so called NBA lead guard (which he isn’t). Again. He is a spot up shooter. Not a true PG. Not fair to ask that of Steve. I feel for him. He isn’t as bad as he often looks.

  56. “Sorry to be “redundant’, but we have dozens of posts arguing about Kobe and AB, and they are not the issue.”

    Robert you may need to repeat this several more times over the next several hours. People with an axe to grind turn on the games specifically looking for Bynum to come up short. Or they watch specifically to count Kobe’s shot attempts. Those people missed the fact that as bad as they think Andrew played, Pau, Barnes, Blake, Sessions, and Hill were worse!

    Why is that important? Because if the Nuggets are going to double Bynum all game every game it is those guys who must make up the difference because they are going to get the shots he is being denied. That is not to say that Bynum looked all world last night. He did not. But he was not as bad as some of these posts indicate.

    Last night Bynum was decent. Kobe was excellent. The team lost because everyone else was abysmal.

  57. Also… I forgot who mentioned it… But yes… Get Gasol the basketball at the high post!!! They obviously won’t let Bynum get the ball. They won’t let it happen. The Lakers don’t have the shooters right now to make them pay. But the Nuggets aren’t doubling Gasol much being guarded by 6-8 PFs. So just go through Gasol right now as the number one option. To me that’s the point of having a Gasol. When teams are paying all the attention to Bynum he should be the guy that gets the touches in the high post. Isn’t that kind of obvious? Is Gasol just kind of washed up now? I don’t think so.

  58. Check me on this, but didn’t I see Sessions, during a possession in the 4th quarter, run down the floor and fling up a long-range shot before pretty much anybody else arrived? I thought that’s what I saw and it made me ask, _is_ there an offensive plan?

    Something else that’s really bothered me in this series how often I can look at the beginning of a Lakers possession and saw “this is going to end in a turnover” and it does. This is not about me — I can’t do that watching other teams, so there must be something about the poor flow of the Lakers offense that is a red light. They should be able to execute what they set out to do whether or not the ball falls in the hoop.

    That was about the only thing I liked about the final possession of the game — they executed to get two long-range shots. (Missed, unfortunately.) Having seen the Clippers and Celtics fail to get off closing shots the last couple of nights, I’ve stopped taking that for granted.

  59. Aaron, a lot of ESPN heads on SC right now criticizing Bynum’s game and showing individual moments when he just loafed on D and then looked around for someone to blame when Magee either blew past him or snuck behind him for a dunk. Let me anticipate the response: ‘Hahaha more people who don’t know anything about basketball, for anyone who does, it would be obvious that…’ Only I’m talking about watching the tape, not listening to the talking heads.

    I was at the game last night and Bynum’s defense was pathetic. Disengaged, lazy, and always looking for someone to blame with a whiny scowl when his man got to the rim. He sauntered up and down the court during a change of possession, which killed the Lakers on both ends– on offense, he failed to establish early post position before the defense could swarm around him and on D, he was vulnerable to lobs that he could have disrupted had he kept up with Magee. And when Miller beat his man, Bynum would never rotate over to contest. We could have borrowed Birdman for a more valuable defensive contribution.

  60. Lil Pau,
    Oh… And I saw the same first take show with Legler ;) You can’t get anything by me. One time Bynum stayed on McGee late in the fourth to avoid another McGee basket as Steve Blake was quickly eaten up by Miller and the other time Gasol was even closer to McGee than Drew when he dunked and got fouled by Gasol. Haha. Don’t try and mislead me my friend. You’re too good for that. And the point of that segment was to blame Bynums effort on his lack of touches. Haha. We also know that Bynum got a lot of touches last night. They made two entirely wrong points. No offense.

  61. Looks like the blame game is going all around. I haven’t seen Mike Brown’s name mentioned. He fails to make the correct adjustments and just waits until his superstar bails them out. He’s reduced Pau’s role to that of zydrunas ilgauskas. Pau is much better than that. He actually has a more refined post game than Bynum but he either refuses to play near the post or Brown refuses to put him there, even when bynum is on the bench and Pau’s at the 5. I believe its more of the latter. Pau has to be that x-factor like lamar was over the past 4 years, but even better. The lakers were supposed to look like the 02-03, spurs but they are looking more and more like the Cavs when shaq/big z were on the roster.

  62. Ok,

    Everyone goes up and down and back and forth about Andrew Bynum. Andrew is a player that has been taught to play basketball. It’s not what he did growing up, as some have said he hasn’t been playing since he was 6. He didn’t grow up eating, sleeping and thinking basketball. So when he plays well it’s because of something that he’s motivated by , touches, all-star appearances, whatever. He’s a very smart guy. But it’s not about being the best, or being the NBA champion or hating to lose. It’s not who he is. The Lakers made him into a basketball player because you can’t teach height, but his thought process is not that of a competitive athlete most of the time. That’s why his performances are so up and down and his comments some times strike us as strange. If any of the great centers from the past were around they would have Andrew for Lunch, breakfast and dinner. Dwight Howard is a beast but he doesn’t even compare to Russell, Ewing, Parrish, Shaq, Moses Malone, Kareem , Wilt and so on. If Drew was truly into basketball he would be the best center who ever lived.
    If he just played hard every game he’d be the best center in the last 5 years. But he doesn’t have a basketball mentality, basketball is what he does, not who he is. It’s not his love, it’s his living.

  63. I hope you guys take the next game. I for one cannot wait for the OKC and Laker series. Hope Perk is ready to go. OKC in six, in a flip of last year.

  64. At what point did the Lakers take over “Most Knuckleheaded Team” in the NBA from….Denver?

    Lakers make no (or poor) adjustments, quit playing, pout, complain, and spectate, and coughed up seven 4th quarter baskets in the paint while trying to overcome a 15 point lead. The role players are shell-shocked, timid, rushed, and un-organized (except Jordan Hill).

    Denver executes wonderfully, albeit an utterly simple game plan in the 4th quarter: sag on everything defensively, Iso Miller on Blake, and Miller scores or hit back-cutters (Afflalo and McGee). Repeat over and over.

    There is plenty of blame to go around, but little of it falls on Kobe, who saved it from being a 10 pt home loss.

  65. BTW, forget Howard, can we trade Bynum for McGee-When-Playing-Against-Loafy-McLoafy-Bynum? That McGee is awesome.

  66. Funky Chicken May 9, 2012 at 11:21 am

    This thread is downright humorous. Why are people trying to pin this loss on one player? I defy anyone here to persuasively argue that one player last night played well, or that Mike Brown did a good job of coaching.

    EVERYONE SUCKED.

    Everyone. Kobe did shoot too much in the 1st quarter, and it is inaccurate to blame his 10 first quarter shots (with only 3 makes) on Denver’s great defense.

    Pau was vintage 2011 Pau. Nowhere to be seen, and routinely outhustled and outmuscled by a skinny 6’8″ guy.

    Andrew was totally disengaged, and thoroughly outplayed by a scrub. When you aren’t getting looks in the offense, and when your guards are shooting like garbage, there are LOTS of offensive rebound opportunities–but he didn’t fight, he sulked.

    Sessions and Blake were terrible on both ends of the floor. Offensively, they seem so intent on not shooting jumpers early in the clock for fear of creating a fast tempo that they just become bystanders who dribble around for 18 seconds before dumping the ball off to Kobe.

    Barnes at least played with effort, but he is as out of sync as he’s ever been, even airballing a layup.

    And, finally, Mike Brown went yet another game without even a semblance of an adjustment. Twice coming out of timeouts in the 4th quarter the Lakers had no play and difficulty even inbounding the ball. On two other timeouts Denver came out and ran the exact same play (Miller lob to McGee from damn near half court) and the Lakers are caught off guard.

    When was the last time the Lakers forced a defensive switch? Could they maybe set Drew up on the weak side, and have Pau (or Ebanks/Barnes) come across and set a screen for him to come to the strong side? How is it that a terrible and undersized defensive team is able to consistently pack the paint and deny Laker big men good looks at the basket? Is there nothing that can be done to counter this? What is the point of “going back and looking at film” as Brown always does if you can’t learn anything from the film to formulate adjustments.

    Frankly, every Laker player, coach, and even Staples Center fans sucked last night. This team had no business winning this game, and unless they can defy history and “flip the switch” it would be a miracle if they can win even one game against a bigger, stronger, faster, tougher, and deeper team like the Thunder–if they get that far.

  67. It would be sad if Brown and Bynum are the future they are Lakers biggest problems.

    Brown’s failure to utilize Pau has hurt this team. His passing and post play is his best attribute and he’s stuck in no man’s land on the perimeter. Brown failure to make the simple adjustment in game is alarming. He’s getting badly outcoached and doesn’t know what to do. Vitti should keep the clipboard he knows more about the game than Brown.

    Bynum is so selfish he’s told us what his agenda is “He wants his numbers”. That’s what he plays for and it’s shows on the court. Any court because “there’s a bank in every city”. Bynum doesn’t care where he gets his numbers, team success or pre game workouts. His main objective is getting to the team facility first to get the handicap spot. Bynum is Jermaine O’Neal buyer beware.

  68. since’79Lakers May 9, 2012 at 11:33 am

    PEOPLE!! to you new folks, kobe has been shooting too much and taking bad shots since ’96. when will you get over it? no other player in the league today will be a 30k pt player(bron passes too much). it is what it is. if you can’t talk about how the b-ball moron that is Javelle McGee posted and boxed AB out all night then why talk? regardless of touches AB claims to not get, how does a starting all star center get clowned in his house(the paint)by a guy that has numerous blooper reels on youtube? if you JUST WATCH AB during any game, you’ll see pouting, stomping of the feet and arm flailing. you won’t see great ‘d’, board crashing or shaq-like box outs. i’d take javelle over AB just for his hustle alone since they both have limited court knowledge…

  69. I don’t think blame lies with any individual player. The team as a whole was not motivated enough, played poor defense, and failed to execute on offense.

    Of particular concern on the offensive end was the hesitation of our role players. As Sammo #36 above mentioned, after we slowly bring the ball up the court, our perimeter guys passed the ball around, afraid to take the shot, and just dumped it off to Kobe late in the shot clock. That is not going to get it done.

  70. From my view of the game and replays of certain portions…

    * Kobe was very generous with the ball. He did some probing, dribbled with purpose, and passed in the flow of the offense. Guys didn’t make shots.

    * Shots that Pau and Drew normally make were not going down.

    * Hill did what he is supposed to on D but his shots were not falling.

    * The bigs were not in position to get rebounds, mostly due to good work being done by the Denver bigs and because the paint was packed with perimeter defenders.

    * Drew did his job in that he drew players to him but he didn’t have room as they came at him before he had the ball.

    * Blake is a poor post feeder and when he is not shooting well or defending well, as was the case last night, the team has issues.

    * A few runs the Lakers had going were punted by unlucky TOs, especially on run outs after TOs (example Sessions dribbling the ball out of bounds with an open lane to the bucket). Seemed that a lack of focus caused a few of these.

    * Drew was no more effective stopping Lawson then Hill was. Meanwhile, the cuts (especially backdoor) were utterly invisible to him. A few slashers got easy baskets on good passes from Miller and those lobs by McGee were on Bynum losing his focus. I think this was the biggest factor in the loss. Too many easy buckets due to Bynum’s lack of focus.

    You can live with bad shooting nights if the defense keeps you in the game. As the game tightens you have the big men there to batter a tired opponent and Kobe to make plays.

    Against OKC or SAS this would have been a 15-30 point loss and if the Lakers make it that far, you can count on 2 or 3 losses of that kind. On the other hand, if the Lakers can maintain their focus they will control the tempo of a number of games with their bigs and timely shot making from role players. It starts and ends with the bigs and I think both our bigs did a few things well but we need complete games from them. Andrew is responsible for the sleepy D and the perimeter players are responsible for the packed middle. Team loss.

  71. There you go, 1/2 D & R provided the first salvo and Funky Chicken summarized the whole game – they all sucked including the Coach. The mentality of the On & Off switch is back again on business. The individual player has an “off”, thinking that the 3 bigs would salvage the W in the 4th Q. Well, the amiable Mike Brown knows the “whole story’ why they won or why they lost? but could not find specificity in providing the solution at the game itself. He is a resurrection of the 90’s Coaching, the MidWest mentality like Del Harris. They are nice people but just not ready to represent the intense life in Hollywood! When he was informed in the afternoon of the remark of Bynum’s “closing is easy”, MBrown just laughed. No control of his own personnel. During the time of Riley, playoffs time means preparation for the Finals, with PJ it is Zen moment to concentrate on the objective. Everyone are on the same page. This Lakers team are just as inconsistent as they have been throughout the season which accumulated losses on so many winnable games because of their lackadaisical attitude and experimental coaching. MBrown is not sure what he wants to accomplish? He wants the win but not sure how to do it in real game? He is a winner during interviews.

    Are the Lakers going to win in Denver? Yesss, that’s how an inconsistent team reacts to a loss, they recover then back to being carefree drifters to lose again….win one, lose one…. C’est la vie.

  72. “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” has always been one of my favorite all time quotes, and it’s very nicely used as the lead-in to this post. Well done.

    Also would like to say, that there’s a ton of thought provoking comments in this thread. Diverse, certainly, but some good stuff.

  73. Big fan of this blog. Also, I’m just a kid with a dream and my own Lakers blog. Feedback is appreciated! Go Lakers!

    http://lakerslane.wordpress.com/