It’s Getting Crowded Down Here…

Darius Soriano —  May 9, 2012

The Nuggets have a defensive game plan that’s taken full shape now. They want to sag in the paint to disrupt post up chances and dare outside shooters to beat them. Be it Bynum or Gasol, the tactics are the same – barely guard perimeter players not named Kobe and make them bury the shots that they’ve struggled all year to hit.

For example, below is a still from the 2nd quarter. The Lakers have gone to their bench unit with Pau Gasol operating as the main offensive weapon. He’s surrounded by Jordan Hill, Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, and Ramon Sessions. The offensive set starts well enough with Blake bringing the ball up and Matt Barnes setting a back screen on Al Harrington to try and free Gasol in the post:

But while the Lakers are trying to free Pau, look at where JaVale McGee has positioned himself. Jordan Hill is trying to clear to the weak side, but there’s McGee standing right in the passing lane of where Pau will be in a split second.

With that option gone, Blake has no choice but to swing the ball to Barnes (who pops to the top of the key after setting his screen) and then in an effort to move the ball on, Barnes swings the ball to Sessions. After the catch, Sessions initiates a P&R with Hill to try and get something going to the basket:

Look how the D is playing this action, however. McGee isn’t hedging at all and is inviting Sessions to shoot a jumper. But, for good measure, Afflalo is sagging off of Barnes and denying lane penetration just in case Sessions still tries to attack McGee. At this point, Sessions does the prudent thing and moves the ball onto Barnes who is wide open. When Barnes makes the catch, he sees that Gasol is open in the post and delivers a quick hitting pass into the Spaniard so he can try to get a shot up against the smaller Al Harrington:

But immediately after Barnes makes his entry, Afflalo digs down to the post to take away the middle. Also, look at Andre Miller cheating off of Blake in the corner to dig down should Pau try to go baseline. At this point, the best play is for Gasol to kick the ball back out to Barnes. And, with the shot clock ticking down, Barnes shoots a three pointer that misses.

Of course, Gasol isn’t even the main Lakers’ post threat these days. That label belongs to Andrew Bynum. Below is a sequence from late in the 1st quarter. This action starts with Barnes bringing the ball up and dribbling to the right wing. Once there, he dribble exchanges with Kobe and looks for the post:

Look where Andre Miller is, though. He’s already backed off of Barnes to try and discourage the post entry. Barnes then makes the pass to Kobe who passes the ball right back to him. This is a direct signal that the ball needs to go into the post and Barnes again looks to feed Bynum:

But look where Miller is now. Understand, Barnes has a live dribble here. He can do anything with the ball that he pleases. But, looking to execute the plan, Barnes does enter the ball to Bynum who promptly gives the ball right back to Barnes (who slid more towards the corner to create a better passing angle). But, with no where to go with the ball, Barnes passes the ball back out to Kobe:

After Gallo got his hand on the pass, Kobe recovered the ball and had to attack with the shot clock winding down. He drove hard to his right hand but this is what he saw:

At this point, Gallo is shading him right, McGee is in front of Bynum, and Miller has again left Barnes to cut off Kobe’s driving angle. The result is Kobe kicking to a wide open Barnes:

Barnes takes the open shot afforded to him and misses.

—————————————

This is what the Lakers are facing on every single offensive possession. They want to get their big men post touches and the Nuggets want to take them away. When the ball does get entered, dig-downs are coming from the ball side wing and on other possessions coming from the weak side. The players getting cheated off the most are Barnes and Ebanks (when he’s in the game) as they’re the Lakers that shoot the worst from range.

At this point, counters are in order. After the game Pau spoke of using “different actions” to try and get the ball into the post and not just walking the ball up the court and trying to make a post entry right away. He called that “predictable” and he’s 100% right.

The Lakers need to move the ball more, cut and screen more, and then look for quick duck ins from their big men where they can catch the ball on the move or sliding into position where they’re more of a threat to score. By incorporating more ball and player movement before post entries are made, it should also afford the Lakers that extra beat of time they need to make a quick move to try and get a basket. Cross screens can also be utilized both in “horns” actions and in more simple sets that don’t involve the double high post look to begin a possession.

The bigs can also change ends faster while the Laker PG’s look to advance the ball more quickly. Rim-runs can be a good way to get the bigs more touches and shots close to the rim, especially against a D that isn’t yet set up fully. Remember, during the regular season the Nuggets surrendered the most points per play in transition situations, according to My Synergy Sports. The Lakers can run effectively against this team while not getting fully sucked into the type of up and down game that the Nuggets want.

In the end, though, the Lakers shooters must make the Nuggets pay. Barnes, Blake, Ebanks, and Sessions will continue to get open shots around the perimeter and they must knock some of them down to at least make the Nuggets think twice about ignoring them on D. I fully expect the Nuggets to continue to shade towards the Lakers big three but made shots will turn that strategy into a losing one, rather than what the Lakers saw last night.

Darius Soriano

Posts

103 responses to It’s Getting Crowded Down Here…

  1. The Lakers have been in need of shooters for…I can’t even recall.

    The Lakers either get newbies or oldies as shooters and neither contribute consistently. The Lakers are in dire need of seasoned shooters, so I guess we’ll get Sasha Vujacic back next season.

    Murphy is a better shooter than Barnes, but he has no confidence to take the shot.

    Blake is so reluctant to shoot that it is ‘stomach turning’ to watch him on the floor. Last night the last shot of the game should have been taken by Blake. He was wide open, jumped in the air and decided to pass the ball to a semi-defended Sessions.

    So many times in the game, Sessions caught the ball at the 3pt line and merely passed it. He didn’t look to probe and dish, kick, lob or nothing!

    On Kobe’s 3pt shot with 20 secs left in the game: I guess no one believes Kobe is tired with 16 full seasons (including playoffs) of basketball on his legs. He played the entire second half and single-handedly brought the Lakers back to within 3pts. He took that 3pter thinking he would hit it and break the Nuggets spirit at the same time. Some people thought the Lakers could extend the game by taking a two (myself included) but when you look at the game from Kobe’s perspective, each possession of the ball meant more time for a fatigued Kobe on the floor. Even if the game went to overtime who was going to have to score?

  2. If people think the Lakers are gonna but out all their tricks in beating double teams in the first round against (Stephen A Smith voice)… THE DENVER NUGGETS… You are sorely mistaken. I wouldn’t expect counters and opposite actions until the Spurs, Clippers, or Heat. OKC and Memphis have “good defensive Centers” so this year they have doubled a lot less. Although that has resulted in Bynum averaging over 30 points on over 65 percent shooting in four games against Marc Gasol. I have to say though… Perkins if healthy can at least make Bynum shoot over his 6-10 body with his strength and slight help from teammates. My point is (just like with keeping Jordan Hill on the bench till the playoffs) Mike Brown probably knows this a marathon and not a sprint. Again… Don’t fire all your bullets at once. I’m impressed so far with his foresight. Phil Jackson esc

  3. One thing is evident there is NO weak side movement.

    :15 sec before the set starts. :6 sec left until Pau get a post touch. Not good. Maybe on the post pass when Pau has it Sessions and Barnes clear to the weakside one in the corner 3 the other the wing 3. Gives nuggets defenders a farther distance to close on shooters and Pau room to operate. And Hill flashes to FT line.

    :15 sec until a entry post pass is attempted. Bynum had horrible post position (as is the case many times is a reason he couldn’t get the ball) :5 sec for Kobe to make something happen. Blake was open in the corner but Kobe passed to Barnes.

    Karl is on to what Brown is doing. That’s been the case since game 2. Still no distinct change to see where the bigs have room to operate without 2 or 3 teammates bringing their defenders to help double drew. These shots will eventually fall.

  4. Last nights game was an embarrassing display of effort by a team in the playoffs.

    The guards were afraid to shoot when they were left wide open with more than 10 seconds in the shot clock because they are afraid of Denver running – and Kobe ended up with the ball way too many times with 5 seconds or less on the shot clock. If the Lakers bigs are going to be doubled off the ball AND denver is going to press our guards, then the guards have got to drive into the center and create contact to give the Bigs opportunity to get offensive boards, or they have to not be afraid to take an open shot thats given to them. This is the NBA, you are wide open. Take. The. Shot.

    But there is a much bigger elephant in the room that is plaguing the Lakers more than anything else. Our supposed all-star center is not deserved of that status. And he certainly not deserved of one of the best big men in the game status.

    I said in the first comment of yesterday’s game thread that there were two major concerns for last nights game. Whether Kobe’s outside shot would start falling again (it took awhile, but it did in the 4th quarter to lead a comeback.)

    And whether Andrew Bynum was going to try.

    He didn’t.

    There is absolutely no excuse to not show up for a playoff game at home. And I don’t care about the double double because they were meaningless numbers. Javale McGee didn’t just outplay him. McGee made Bynum look like a joke of a basketball player.

    It’s one thing not to get your shots. Its another thing to not play help defense and let JaVale McGee handle you one-on-one – AT HOME – and embarrass you in the process.

    This isn’t Dwight Howard, or Shaq, or Hakeem, or Ewing, or even a Yao Ming or Vlade Divac level player that’s making Bynum look like a chump. Nor is this a crazy defensive stopper like a Ben Wallace, or Mutombo in his prime.

    JaVale McGee had a PER of 19.90 this year. He’s a 46% free throw shooter who more often leaves his man to try to get a sky high block than play solid defense. His Career per every year in the league before this is 17. He is an above average player for this league – and PER favors big men because it gives extra value to rebounding.

    This is the guy not just outplaying Bynum – who has a PER of 23 for the season (which should be All Star level) and he’s a good free throw shooter to boot – but rendering him completely useless while at the same time leaving him to help block shots.

    Every year before last Bynum was at best the 4th option on the Lakers. There was no pressure to perform on him – that pressure was laid at the hands of Kobe and Pau. Now, while Kobe still bears the brunt of the pressure in every playoff loss – those years for Pau have passed as he has aged and given up his post game in order to acquiesce to Bynum.

    Last year, Bynum acted as our Best post option – and in reward for that honor – decked J.J. Barea to the ground and embarrassed the Lakers in the process.

    Last night – Bynum not only threw McGee to the ground, but once he realized he couldn’t contain him, he through a smaller player (Faried) to the ground as all.

    The Stats speak for themselves. The actions speak for themselves. Bynum’s not a gamer, and proving it on a daily basis.

    The Lakers would be smartest to feature Pau as its best offensive post option and feature Bynum as a defensive player. Maybe if he only focuses on one side of the floor he will bring something valuable from time to time.

  5. Darius: Very interesting breakdown. One of your last sentences is what I feel is the key: “the Lakers shooters must make the Nuggets pay”. Without the ability to hit an open shot, Mike Brown could come up with an extremely complex counter set, but it will not be successful. We need to hit open shots. Barnes + Sessions not doing it is bad, however Blake not doing it, is positively ridiculous, because he literally adds nothing else. Blake may have morphed into Jason Kapono as a basketball player.

  6. My sentiments exactly. Except I would put Kobe third all time behind Jordan and LeBron respectively by the time both he and James retire (Chris had Kobe just in the top ten). Sorry. I couldn’t link anything. It’s an insider account.

  7. Frank the Tank May 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    “They’re committing three people,” Bynum said. “It is what it is. I just have to find another way to get the ball and be effective. They have the ball, they’re looking to get it to me. It’s not like they’re not trying.”

    I think this quote is pretty telling, and speaks for itself.

  8. Frank the Tank May 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    “I’ve been in this position before,” Bryant said. “A lot of guys on the team haven’t been in this position before. It’s important to remind them that, ‘Yeah, this sucks, but it’s not the end of the world.’ You got to go up there in a tough environment, gain some experience and earn your stripes.”

    As stated previously, if the Lakers are to win the title this year, they must do so by winning on the road. Now is a great time to start.

  9. Funky Chicken May 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Aaron, the Lakers didn’t pull out all the tricks in the first round last year against a vastly worse team than the Nuggets. The result is that they got extended to six games, expended a ton of energy, and got thoroughly beaten down and swept in the next round.

    Your “secret weapon” theory (previously applied to the now-benched Goudelock and the previously injured Hill) is impressive for its creativity, but totally off the wall. Coaches don’t willingly expose their players (especially their OLD players) to any more playoff games than necessary under any circumstances, and certainly not in a playoff season that has seen no less than D. Rose, B. Davis, J. Smith, A. Stoudemire, and possibly K. Perkins all go down with one form of injury or another.

    Darius, I think one of the things to note in each of the screen shots above is also the shot clock. The Nuggets are a well-coached team, and they understand that they have next to no need to play perimeter defense for the first 15 seconds of each possession. The Lakers have been schooled to not shoot too fast for fear of falling into too fast a tempo. The Nuggets understand this, and know that aside from low post touches, the Lakers simply won’t shoot with more than 8 seconds left on the clock. So, what would you do if you were Denver? You’d pack the paint and dare the Lakers to shoot for two reasons: (i) they are bad shooters; and (ii) they are afraid to shoot “too soon” against this team.

    In a sense, the only good thing I’ve seen from Brown is that he’s pretty effectively communicated the need to slow the tempo; but in this case he might have been too effective. Sessions looks nothing like the guy who played the last month of the season, and Blake (timid by nature, it seems) has no problem at all passing up shots.

    Seems to me that the Lakers need to both get the ball inside AND take some more mid-range shots a little earlier in the clock. At this point, they are 100% predictable and defendable.

  10. Good stuff in this thread from Andrew Bynum via Frank the Tank, Darius, and Robert.

    As to Aaron’s POV: I think we are at better than 50/50 for a Game 7. If there are any bullets we haven’t used, I would think about firing them.

  11. rr,
    If Phil Jackson employed every strategy and rotation in round one he would not have all those championships. One needs to think about the last step as much as one does about the first three.

  12. Frank@5
    “They’re committing three people,” Bynum said. “It is what it is. I just have to find another way to get the ball and be effective. They have the ball, they’re looking to get it to me. It’s not like they’re not trying.”

    I think this quote is pretty telling, and speaks for itself.

    Here’s what kills me about Bynum- He knows that the Nuggets are keeping the ball out of his hands, but he still seems to be getting frustrated at his teammates and loafing on defense. There is no way he should be letting Javale Mcgee do what he has been doing. Zero reason. Drew has not put forth the same effort since game 1 on defense.
    -Stop loafing.
    -Defend
    -Rebound
    -Hustle back down court on defense
    -Play team defense!

    Now this is pretty darn easy for media guys, bloggers, and arm-chair point guards like us to say… He still needs to behave like a professional. Don’t elbow opponents or pull them to the ground.

  13. There’s a pretty easy solution to answer the defenses Sagging on Bynum/Pau in the paint. Put bynum at the Free throw Line and Kobe at the top of the key just behind the arc.

    If they are going to continue to shade Bynum on every play, then the speedier players – read Sessions and Barnes, can then attack the basket from the wings. If Bynum’s defender comes off him to help in the paint, Bynum can then dive to the basket (you know, like a Big man is supposed to do to crash the boards.)

    This puts the nuggets defenders out of rebidding position, and gives Bynum the opportunity to free up in the post.

    If Kobe is going to be utilized in the play, run the 2/5 pick and roll and wait for the trap to come off Bynum and onto Kobe. For Bynum it “should” be a clear lane because they aren’t going to want to not help off Kobe driving to the basket.

    This would also give room for Gasol to cut into the Lane during the shot and get offensive rebounds similar to how Hill is getting them.

    In essence – if they are going to give so much attention to Bynum – make him the decoy.

  14. I like the cut of #13’s jib.

  15. CDog,
    Exactly! Me and someone else said that last thread. You’re spot on. They won’t let Bynum shoot the ball. And the wide open looks Bynum is giving his teammates have not gone in very often. So I agree. It seems obvious to make Bynum a decoy. But that’s what makes me think Brown knows what he is doing. He is keeping his card very close to his chest. Any high school coach would know this. Mike Brown must. But he obviously is choosing to not give OKC, San Antonio, and Miami any game film on how he chooses to beat constant Bynum double teams. Am I the only person who thinks this? Really? It just seems so obvious to me. I doubt Brown will show anything to anyone unless this series goes seven.

  16. Where is the Dude? I need Dave or the Dude here. Hello? Dude? Dave? Anyone?

  17. 2nd that. Those quotes from Frank the Tank is good stuff

    What this comes down to is Karl having no faith in Lakers shooters and not willing to get beat by Pau and Drew. He’s made that very well known since game 2 highlighted by the total disrespect for Lakers shooters by not guarding them yesterday. Either Lakers will continue to shoot those shots and knock them down, which I think will happen, or Brown has to come up with an adjustment. Since no adjustment has been made in 4 games can’t expect one and just have to knock those shots down.

  18. What bothers me most about bynum and even gasol to an extent, they both say they need more touches, but neither have the conditioning necessary to shoot the amount of times they want to shoot, Gasol is always sucking wind, Bynum is playing between the foul lines and both accept getting fronted and pushed off the block.

    And I can’t see one muscle between them

  19. Don’t we have a pure shooter on the bench in Goudelock? He’s no magic answer in any way, but if Blake is afraid to shoot, then stop playing him. He’s made some good hustle plays, but does it make up for the complete disregard they have for him when the Lakers are on offense? We know Goudelock isn’t scared, and its his NBA skill. Why not use it?

  20. I agree MB has keep his cards close to his vest and it would have been great if they could have won this series without making any adjustments but unfortunately I think they have to now, especially on offense.

    Game 6 (when up 3-2) is where the superior team must make the nessessary adjustments to prevent a game 7, where anything can happen.

  21. CDog,
    I mean are you excepting me to disagree? GLock was leading the NBA in spot up shooting percentage before he was benched. So you know I have no clue why he was benched. Haha. I thought they were hiding him and resting him (he is a rookie) for the playoffs and trade deadline. Man was I wrong. Oh well. Apparently it’s an NBA rule the Lakers must play the worst NBA PG (for ten years starting) for half the game.

  22. I don’t know if its the right logic that Brown is saving that action for SA.

    SA has seen that action before. In fact, the Duncan/Ginobili/Parker combo have seen that exact action. In 2004, thats the action that Phil Jackson did to Shaq as an adjustment off his sagging double teams. The put Shaq at the Free throw line and Malone just outside one of the Blocks, and it gave Kobe plenty of room to go nova. And when the ball moved, it gave shaq the ability to set up deeper post position later in the shot clock to force the foul.

    Maybe OKC – but I truly doubt it. As they are just going to solo Bynum with Perkins and Let Ibaka roam to protect the paint.

  23. Aaron, your ‘secret weapon’ theory grows increasingly outrageous the more you try to stretch it to fit whatever situation is at hand. The fact that you acknowledge that ‘any high school coach would know’ to use Bynum a decoy should, imo, invalidate the idea that such a strategy is being held as some kind of secret weapon– I mean, do you really think that Karl will be stunned into paralysis if we break it out in game 7? I remember PJ once saying that SA knew the Lakers’ plays better than the Lakers did and would move to cut off the 3rd option sometimes even when the Lakers didn’t yet recognize it was there– sure, the playoffs are made of adjustments, but there are no secrets here: by this point, pretty much everybody knows what everybody else runs but that doesn’t mean they can stop it. It’s much more a matter of playing hard, smart, and executing.

  24. Enjoyed the visual breakdown again. The level to which Afflalo is sagging off Barnes is incredible. At some point I do think Goudelock needs to be dusted off…which wouldn’t have been necessary if MB hadn’t buried him in the first place. We need someone that can go out there and earn the defense’s respect.

  25. The luxury of having Ron is you can play him at the 4. Versus a fast small lineup team his value skyrockets against someone like Harrington. And to space the floor giving Bynum or Pau the 1in/4 out look. It wouldn’t be fair to give brown a pass because he hasn’t earned it but if ron played the 4 some this series I don’t think Lakers would have as much trouble on offense. Ron was a big part of this team late that’s why Lakers still have a chance to upset special next round.

    Would Murphy playing some PF to space the floor be a option this late?

  26. #24. I think you touch on a good point. I’d add that Ron’s value as a post up option against smaller players is actually where I think the Lakers miss him the most offensively. The Lakers have played Blake a lot at SG to close games next to Kobe and Sessions and that’s allowed the Nuggets to play Miller at SG with no repercussions. Now, imagine Ron bullying him in the post or on the offensive glass down the stretch of games. Of course, that wouldn’t be every possession but that option is there. Add that to his ability to guard either Miller, Afflalo, or Gallo and his value goes up exponentially in this series. The Lakers really do miss him more and more as the series progresses.

  27. The sign of a good team or player for that matter is that the other team knows what you’re going to do, but can do nothing to stop it.

  28. Chearn: The ultimate example of that type of confidence was the PJ quote: “We have Shaq and nobody else does”
    Kevin/Darius: The post by Kevin had 2 parts. Part 1 was MWP + Part 2 was a question about TM. Darius gave a very thorough response to part 1 + bypassed part 2 (he is being diplomatic), so allow me. Answer – No. The question is not bad, + in fact MB has probably asked that himself. The problem is the answer, + TM is not the answer to anything, although the “Lakers” might be the answer to the future trivia question: “Name the last team that Troy Murphy played for”

  29. Completely off-topic …but as I read the news that the Magic have interviewed Adonal Foyle for the GM position, is anyone else surprised that no team has pursued Kevin Pritchard? He’s not the GM in Indiana, I’d imagine he’d be interested in taking up a GM position again. Despite the fact that he was able to buy draft picks, I think he has a stellar draft record and did a much better job than many of the execs in the league. Some different breaks, and I think he’d be close to the pedestal that Presti is placed on. If I were Ted Leonosis, I’d be sending Pritchard flowers every week instead of extending Grunfeld.

  30. Frank the Tank May 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Aaron –

    I mostly agree with you, but your whole persona loses its effectiveness when you misspell words constantly. Using excepting instead of expecting is maybe understandable, but Kibe Bryant? Really? Not trying to be the grammar police, but for someone who constantly posts their opinion as fact, you might want to go through the trouble of spelling these “facts” correctly.

  31. Look for Sessions to have a big game if Denver continues to crowd the paint like this. They were literally daring him to shoot open 20 footers and he wasn’t taking them. I thought I was watching Rondo play out there. If he watches some tape, he’ll realize they were giving him way too much space for him to be so passive.

  32. Memphis getting Gasol going early. great action to get their bigs open and everyone is clearing out. Hope brown is taking notes.

  33. Darius,

    Yes, I acknowledge Nuggets quick hard double to the post was effective. Denver’s game plan was to force outside jumpers and Kobe reinforced their plan with10 first quarter FGA’s.

    There were no apparent adjustment to Denver’s wing doubling by MB or Kobe. Hopefully we agree that 30+ FGA’s by Kobe is too many. Our disagreement is about the intensity Kobe brings to keeping Gasol and Bynum involved in the game with touches.

  34. Treylake,
    You’re arguing FGA’s are too high for Kobe with the implication that “touches” for the bigs will equal shots if Kobe just makes the extra effort to get them involved. But, as the pictures above show, the Nuggets are making it difficult for the bigs to get those shots off of their touches. At this point, we don’t need to go back and forth anymore. If we don’t agree, that’s fine. I’m not out to convince you at this point. But I’ve reviewed countless possessions and trust what I’m seeing here. So, again, if you don’t agree how these possessions evolve, that’s fine.

  35. And, I should add, I usually try not to judge Kobe (nor other players) by raw FGA’s but rather how they occur in the flow of the game and the quality of the look. In this regard, I didn’t have many issues with Kobe last night but have had issues with him in th past to be sure.

  36. BlizzardOfOz May 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    The Memphis fans absolutely *hate* the Clippers. It’s something to behold, booing Griffin after he got hurt (or more likely, to be fair, faked an injury in an attempted flop).

  37. The Grizz have Z-Bo or Marc against Griffin in every possession. I can’t understand why they don’t go to that every time down.

  38. To bad the Lakers don’t play with the heart and guts of the Clippers.

    Wonder why?

  39. Can you go to the finals 3 straight years and win 2 championships without heart and guts? Are you saying that we are missing Fish?

  40. I am saying that Andrew and Pau were not playing hard. Losing LO and Fish meant losing the heart left to only Kobe. Also think there us a lack of respect from some players toward Brown.

    Don’t you find it odd that Andrew didn’t start acting up until Phil was gone. What do you think Phil would say to the media about AB’s mouth and actions this year.

    All Brown did was make excuses for the guy.

    This is not nearly the same team. 75 minutes a game was from LO,Fish and Shannon. That makes a difference.

  41. I won’t argue that we miss Fish and LO for their locker presence, if nothing else. Although I claim we could use a few of Fish’s intangibles right about now.

    Drew was acting up last year under PJ though! JJ Barea? Not to mention the other huge flagrant foul that he had against Beasley.

    Funky- You know…sometimes I block out our exit out of last years playoffs. I can see where both of you are coming from.

    Pau just had an awful shooting game early which got into his head. I don’t know what was wrong with Drew. I think that his teammates should just start wearing kid gloves with the guy. Just force the ball into him no matter what early in the games, so that he will keep his head up.

  42. Funky Chicken May 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    KenOak, this team did not go to three straight Finals. That was a very, very different team. It’s entirely appropriate to question this team’s heart and guts.

    This team played poorly on the road all year, routinely give up big leads, and have come out flat in two of the last three playoff games. Going back to last year, the have won three out of their last nine playoff games. They quit last year and got blown out of a closeout game (in a series where they were swept).

    This team has given us many reasons to question their heart and guts….

  43. Ko: Subtract LO, Fish, Shannon, and Phil Jackson, then add Josh McRoberts, Sessions, Hill, and MB. Is that a net addition or a net subtraction? : )
    Further, I think LO + Fish were traded. Shannon was not signed, and Phil got caught up in the game show called the Family Feud. So my next question is: Who is accountable for this?

  44. Mr Tank,
    I am always typing quickly on my iPhone and iPad. So I apologize for typos. Auto correct has a mind of its own.

  45. Robert: My answer to your question is Mike Brown. His failure to utilize talent is hurting the team. Him also having a offensive coordinator gives veterans and fans more reason to think he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Even thinking back all he did was give the ball to LeBron because of that one move he now has the best job in sports for accomplishing nothing. The drop in talent as you noted is fair and better moves were there to be made as you’ve noted for some time but Lakers 2nd best player is rendered useless because of his coach.

    If a team knows the starting 5 will do these things: Kobe Iso, Kobe post up, Bynum post up, Ron post up, Sessions PnR. Notice Pau wasn’t included in that. Those are basic sets and Karl sees that and has overwhelmed Lakers offense with great defensive strategy.

    Brown has no answers to anything that ‘s being thrown at him and that’s a far bigger issue than not making 3s.

  46. @44 – Putting things that way, IMHO, Jim Buss.

  47. Robert I am not taking sides just thinking that all the subtractions may have resulted in this years team lacking the leadership and team heart that made up prior teams.

    I have felt Brown was the wrong guy to deal with changes in the team. Also the replacement parts are all journeyman who have been flipping around the league.

    Kapono, Murphy, McRoberts? What is their identity? Throw in journeyman Blake and we have a group of strangers with a stranger coach, staff and unknown scouts. It’s like the big three and boat of castoffs. Hard to build unity with so many questionable non-Laker new pieces.

  48. Kobe tells it like it is to the KBros:

    Last night, Kobe downplayed the impact of losing out on potential rest.

    “It doesn’t matter. I don’t care if you give us a year to rest. If we’re fortunate enough to move on and play Oklahoma, that year’s rest isn’t going to make us any faster,” he said.

  49. 47,

    Magic Phil, among those players mentioned I missed Shannon Brown who could easily add 10 pts. per game. LO was OK during the Championship years but got distracted by the Kardashian family, while Fish is really for the memories. It’s really time to hang up the gloves, I don’t think he could chase Andre or Ty at this point.

    I like the addition of Sessions and Hill. Ramon is still adjusting but you could sense the improvement since he joined the team. Hill was a tremendous, he should have played a lot after he recovered from injury, perhaps we could have landed the 2nd position.

    Having said that, I have an idea, see if you like it. Supposing the last 3 minutes in Denver will be close and Lakers are leading by 4 pts. As usual, Coach Karl would play the two PG’s Miller and Lawson, instead of Blake on Miller, I would go Jordan Hill playing #3 and go for zone D where Bynum, Pau and Hill will be in pyramid formation, Bynum on top while Pau and Hill on each side. It is a spartan formation where you put equal strength on three sides. Kobe and Ramon will be in the perimeter switching defense and fighting for the screens, will it be effective? I noticed when Hill approaches Miller or Affalo, they could not penetrate his defense. I also observed that in Game 1 Bynum and Gasol were very effective in doubling their tracks, what slips from Gasol, Bynum follows with a block on his long reach without forcing any contact.

    Blake has the speed and was effective in the early quarters. However, in the 4th he was being given a graduate schooling on fly-bys moves by Miller. One slipped should be enough for MBrown to adjust, but we saw several smart moves and it’s just painful for fans to digest. They know their basketball and started booing the team, the coach because they could not stand the ineptness and emptiness without effective response until Kobe did a 911 rescue in the end.

  50. Have been looking at all the posts on the Lakers roster and what went wrong etc. Personally, I don’t think anything went wrong. The Lakers are rebuilding, but with the luxury of having a big 3 we have remained relevant. The Spurs rebuilt around their big 3 over the last 3 years to get where they are at now. I feel we are off to a good start. This year we have added a quality young PG in Sessions and the perfect compliment to our twin towers off the bench in Hill. It also appears with a full training camp that Ebanks is also ready to join the rotation next year. Thats 3 young rotation guys in only one year. Not bad. Hopefully we can resign them. I even have faith in McRoberts. We haven’t seen the guy we signed yet. He actually shot the ball with the Pacers and was pretty good at it. Maybe he will be more comfortable with a year under his belt.

    Next up is a back up point guard and a shooter. With a summer league and training camp Morris could be the back up point guard, he appears to have all the tools. I think this off season the goal will be to find a shooter. I am not sold on G-lock. He is undersized and struggled on both offense and defense, although I love his swag. Again with summer league and a training camp, who knows?

    It will be interesting to see what we do with Metta and Blake. I have a feeling one of them will be let go. I was thinking that Metta even had some trade value with his play late in the season until the elbow. If he plays big in the playoffs, I think Blake will be the one to go.

    I still think this group can win it all if Metta, plays at the level he was playing at and Bynum plays with more consistency. But next year if we can resign the young guys and find one or two guys who can consistently stretch the floor, we could become very hard to beat.

  51. Some great, insightful comments here.

    Also, a lot of denial and cognitive dissonance.

    Kobe needs to share the ball and opportunities with Bynum, period. People can talk Xs and Os, play diagrams until the cows come home.

    If Kobe can get 20-30 shots playing alongside a young, dominant Shaq, Bynum can get at least 18 a game.

    Denial is not a river, it is a state of mind.

    And also, yes, Brown should make more substantive adjustments, and make them decisively.

    And I know basketball, having played varsity and practiced against college level players.

    Again, in disclosure, Jordan was my favorite player as a kid (I’m over 30) until I believed that Kobe eclipsed him. Kobe is now my favorite all-time player.

    But Kobe has regressed a bit this season by choice, not skill or age. He intends to do it his way, which he can — as long as he shares.

    The constant excuses of shot clock winding down are tired. Of course there will be 4 or 5 of those a game. Constructive criticism offered by those such as my self has to do with the other 8 or so shots that are unnecessary by Kobe and come over the course of the entire game.

    It is especially at the beginning of a game, when leaders set the tone for their teams. Teams follow the leader.

    Expect a sober, realist Kobe to pass more and get his team involved more tonight early on b/c:

    1. He’s older, and must save his legs for OKC, despite his attempts to downplay the need for rest in his comments.

    2. He knows Denver is gaining confidence.

    3. If he wants the ring, he is going to have to stop the hazing of Bynum, the new favorite scapegoat of Laker fans.

    The result will be that a young, temperamental Bynum (hmm, sounds like a young Kobe, right?) will play better defense, “guarding the house,” and the Lakers will win.

    But it didn’t have to be this difficult. And yes, contributions by the role players matters. But you only get to a Steve Blake hitting a big shot if Kobe and Bynum have their chemistry working.

    Denial is not a river, it is a state of mind. When Kobe willingly shares the keys with Bynum, and cares enough to help Brown find creative ways to include Bynum and Gasol, the Lakers will win.

    Does anybody seriously think Shaq never got double or triple teamed? When you care about sticking to a game plan, you do it.

    Bynum must do better to pass out of the double teams, be more aggressive, and Kobe must care enough to try his best to get Bynum the ball and keep him in the game.

    Kobe did this all the time with Gasol on their championship runs. Somehow, this is forgotten.

    I believe Kobe is better than even most think he is, which is why this is so frustrating to watch. He’s better than this.

    And I know all his stats, moves, etc. I am a Kobe nut. But facts are facts.

  52. Michael H,

    The front office is bad with talent evaluation regarding free agents and have a better track record in trades. Eg. The contract they gave Blake was ridiculous considering the other options available.

  53. Hale,
    Steve Blake was the only option. Phil Jackson didn’t want a PG. He wanted a triangle PG, meaning a SG in a PGs body. The only guy like that on the market was Steve Blake. That’s wasn’t a Mitch hire… It was a Phil hire.

  54. Michael H,
    As usual spot on. Let’s be honest… MWP is just too good now to be amnestied. He isn’t making Gasol money… I mean seven million a year for a dominant defender and muscle bound playoff type offensive SF is not a bad deal. 4.5 million for a waste of space (Blake) is a bad deal. Expect Blake to be traded along with a first round pick next year for another FA to be be young athlete like Ramon and Hill.

  55. Btw… Based on fan “hate” and media “hate” Andrew Bynum is now right behind LeBron James as the second best player in the NBA. Oh… If you didn’t know my theory… It’s that the best young players get the most hate. The better and younger you’re the more you’re hated. When Kobe Bryant was the best player in the NBA starting out (10 years ago) he was absolutely blasted. People didn’t think he was a top 5 player. TMac was better. Vince Carter was better. Kobe could never win without Shaq. He couldn’t lead. It was all too funny. I laughed then as I laugh now with all the LeBron and Bynum Criticism. Because in all the hate is a pathway to exactly where we should be sending our love. Let the hate guide you.

  56. The analysis here is pretty good. One little thing I’d like to point out is visible in the 4th and 5th picture down. Too often the Laker bigs are parallel. This speaks to the lack of weakside movement mentioned above, but also makes it easier for double teams to come from the weakside. Putting the weakside big at the elbow creates far more uncertainty for his defender in terms of leaving his man. Looking at photo 5, Hill could either back pick Gallinari or Brewer, or he could pop to the elbow/foul line and with McGee creeping up on Andrew’s right shoulder, receive the pass and then hit a spinning Andrew on the lob.

    The weakside big also has the opportunity to set a back pick for the wing, potentially creating a bad switch situation, or at least a compromised box out, with a guard forced to keep Jordan Hill off the O Boards (good luck!).

    Another option is putting the weakside big to the foul line and setting up high-low. This would be less effective with Hill, who’s not a great midrange shooter, but either Pau or Andrew can hit from 15 feet out.

    Hitting shots is the “easiest,” most direct option, but there are ways to get the ball to the guys you want even if they are receiving extra attention, if spacing is effective.

  57. Magic Phil@47: Yes- you have said the “magic” words. Agreed : )
    Ko: Your use of the word “journeymen” is extremely accurate. It brought a smile to my face, + I am sure it has done the same for rr. And to add to it for rr: Hill has turned out to be a “Problem Child” : )
    Kevin: Let’s wait for the final results for the Mike Brown eval. How he handles the return of MWP is a huge item for him (in fairness, it is also a very difficult task).
    Quis: I agree that KB can/should play better, but I do not think this is all contrived as you are implying. People have wondered why KB does what he does for 16 years : ) Kobe Alert to follow : )

  58. @ Aaron – 56.

    Bynum – the 2nd best player in the NBA? No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.

    Right now, without any viable argument, and in no particular order, Chris Paul is a better player. Tony Parker is a better player. Lebron is a better player. DWade is a better player. Durant is a better player. Westbrook is a better player. Harden is a better player. Derrick Rose is a better player. Kobe Bryant is a better player. Dwight Howard is a better player. Carmelo is a better player. Manu Ginobili a better player (he just can’t stay healthy). Dirk Nowitzki is a better player. Kevin Love is a better player.

    In this series, JaVale McGee has been a better player.

    The list goes on and on.

    Bynum is a big man who can’t handle double teams and doesn’t get back on defense consistently. He also manages to no-show in playoff games. While Lebron has had his share of fourth quarters, Bynum’s has series of games where he is complete no factor. And he doesn’t have the stamina or health to play big minutes and play consistently as part of a team.

    He may have the “potential” on any given game to be the best player on the floor – but he isn’t consistent. Yes he had the 30 rebound game against the spurs, and then he had the 2 rebound game. Yes he had the 10 block game against denver, and then he let McGee go for 20+ and 16 rebounds – TWICE. After watching this series, if the whole league had an all-star game again, I’m not even sure Bynum would start on the West squad (without the L.A. fan vote) (assuming everyone was healthy).

    Based on this series (where he is being thoroughly manhandled by the way), McGee would start over him. LaMarcus would start over him. Love would start over him. Griffin would start over him.

    The Hate of Kobe was because he was actually that good and there was fan jealousy who saw that in his early years Kobe had Shaq. He did the little things. Played both sides of the floor, and worked his bum off every time he played.

    The hate of Bynum is because he has been elevated to be a player – and let it get to his head – that is one of the best in the league where he simply isn’t. He doesn’t do the little things. As of right now, he is a work in progress, not a winning basketball player.

  59. Aaron,

    Possible however that would be an exception that doesn’t squelch the rule.

    Does anyone think that 2012 Kapono was the proper or only choice with a team that was/is super slow on both sides of the ball? I could justify Murphy given how recently he was a good player. I know they can’t will every quality free agent to come here for a bowl of chocolate M&Ms but I don’t recall a quality free agent signing in recent years minus Matt Barnes.

  60. At this point, it seems fans reactions to Bynum are actually reactions to other fans’ opinions.

    When looking at Bynum it’s best not to talk about how great he is as a player, but how much he can impact a game. His size and the position he plays allows him to have a disproportionate impact on the game in comparison to where he’d rank amongst the league’s elite.

    In this series, Bynum has been up and down. Some of that is on him and some of that is scheme. He can certainly be more aware defensively and give the extra effort that he doesn’t always give. He could also work harder to get the deep post position that will make it harder for him to be double teamed as easily as he has been. That said, he’s getting double teamed *a lot* and that’s helping his teammates get open shots. When he’s shooting, he’s typically efficient – shooting a good percentage both from the field and the FT line. And he is still having an impact defensively. Not at his game 1 level (where he was phenomenal) but he’s deterring and altering shots in the paint and still rebounding well).

    I see no need to be so hyperbolic in either direction about Bynum. He’s a fantastic talent that doesn’t always play *well*. In varying degrees, that’s pretty much every player ever.

  61. I forgot about Ron Artest as it almost seemed a trade.

  62. Are the criticisms on Andrew B. expressions of hate or constructive criticisms on his way to maturity? Why will a Laker fan “hate” the progress of Andrew? If he becomes a monster in defense like Game 1 even though contribute little in offense, was he blamed for lack of offense or got a rousing raves for great defense? If defense is converted in pts., it contributes pts. too because it is a deduction on your opponent total points.

    I think the criticisms on Andrew are just realistic based on his perceived behavior in the court. If he follows those hurtful and earful advice and turn the negativity into positive outlook, it will turn out to be good insights on his road to full maturity.

    I have said a lot of times, he may not have innate talent since he learned to play basketball in HS, he should now borrow talents from the legends. Study the tapes, books of Bill Russell how he plays defense or Moses Malone on box outs and control the rebounds or Wilt Chamberlain in dominating the post with his height or Kareem/Alcindor creativity in hiding the ball through hook shots. If he can incorporate in his game just one half of those treasured talents, it will really improve his game rather than getting into this street smart delinquency as a potential jackass. Every Laker fan want Andrew to improve based on what is capable of, and never stop learning. His progress will be translated to Lakers extended dynasty.

  63. Robert: you’re right a full roster will give us a better indication of what brown can do with the team but this series has been disappointing as far as coaching. I always said I like our chances.

    Kobe has done a good job taking what the defense gives him and is sometimes baited into taking jumpers. For Bynum to get the ball more he has to get better position. What happened to the rim runs? Denver bigs are playing with force and pushing him and Pau around. Shaq worked as hard before getting the ball to get position than when he had it another reason he was so great.

    When you watch Kobe post up everyone clears out the same should be done for the bigs. He’s very savvy in the post as well he’ll get the ball take two dribbles down low pass it out quickly get better position then seal his man next thing you know he’s at his spot the elbow. Pau and Drew have to do more work besides sticking their hand up 15ft from the basket. When they get the ball they have to be decisive too many times they hold it and wait for the double.

    And as Pau said their plays are “predictable”. If your only throwing post entry passes from the wing. A coach will see that and will defend it. The Memphis game last night there was so much off ball action before the post pass to get Gasol/Randolph open then everyone cleared out therefore forcing the bigs to shoot.

    Just noting here: game 1 Bynum had 7 shots Kobe had 24 and it was the best game Bynum’s played as a Laker.

  64. Funky Chicken May 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Judging from the reaction of the Memphis crowd last night to Griffin’s knee injury, one could make the argument that he is the best player in the league by Aaron’s metric. Of course, the reaction had nothing to do with Blake’s basketball ability and is purely a reaction to his now well-known penchant for flopping….

  65. Anyway you slice it… Andrew Bynum has been the second best player in this years playoffs behind LeBron James and Drew is the only player in these playoffs who is being double teamed after every catch and even about 30 percent of the time before the catch. He literally is getting double teamed without the ball. You’re what the defense says you are.

  66. Aaron: I agree he can affect the game like no one other than LeBron on DEFENSE. He can be Bynutombo if he wanted.

  67. Renato Afonso May 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

    The Lakers have two ways to counter what happened last game:

    a) pound the ball and attack the rim. Force the refs to blow the whistle and win the game at the FT line. Obviously a young Kobe would help a lot, but we can try it.

    b) hit the shots. Honestly there’s no way to go around it. Your offensive scheme doesn’t matter as much against certain defenses, as you must take what the defense gives you. Right now, the Nuggets are giving two open perimeter players and that’s what we must take. These guys are professional players who are paid to score those open looks. Without scoring them we will be out of the playoffs, either in this round or the next.

    About Bynum’s effort, most of you are right. His effort is subpar but we must recognize his impact in the game even if he’s not going full throttle. It’s on the coaching staff to extract the best out of him on every single night. I don’t blame Bynum for his lack of effort, I blame the coaching staff…

  68. Aaron you are so delusional it’s ridiculous, the university of our eyeballs all recognize that Bynum consistently checks out of games when he isint fed the ball – this entire post was pointed to the fact that Denver will not let him get the ball, which I agree shows his value, but he puts next to no effort on the court -pierce,rondo, jsmith,harden,Parker, Kobe Even McGee have all outplayed/hustled him so far in the playoffs so maybe u need to watch some other games

  69. “You are what the defense says you are.” That could be true. But it could also be true that opposing teams know Bynum gives up if he doesn’t get going early, so the excessive doubling is just an easy way to manipulate him from being an effective player.

    Pretty easy method for teams to play 4 on 5 actually, because once Bynum is discouraged, he’s typically a liability on the court.

    Good players can impose their will on the game when shots are falling and things are going their way. That’s why home court advantage is an edge, because its easier for good bench players to feel comfortable, have their shots fall, and then are more alert for the little things throughout the game.

    Great players can often impose their will on the game by doing the little things that turn the outcome of the game. (See Jason Kidd last year, no longer a superstar – playing spot on on-ball defense against first Kobe, then Westbrook, then DWade and never allowing them to be comfortable).

    But the difference between a good player, a great player, and a superstar top NBA player, is that the superstar player imposes their will on the game regardless of whether their shots are falling or things are coming easy. (See Ex: Kobe Bryant, 17 rebounds, Game 7, 2010 Finals, in probably his worst shooting night ever).

    And Darius – I agree that even fantastic talents that don’t always play well should be given the benefit of the doubt for their bad games, because they are in fact people too, and those things happen. I give plenty of players the benefit of the doubt when the effort is there but its just not their night.

    But there should be a line drawn between not playing well because the defense has schemed against you and the opposing team is doing an excellent job executing their game plan on both sides of the ball and the touches aren’t coming or shots aren’t falling, and not playing well because you are pouting that touches aren’t coming and shots aren’t falling.

    There are so many other elements in a basketball game that determine the outcome – hustle plays, rebounds, charges taken, timely fouls, backbreaking picks, boxing out so your teammate can get the rebound, hustling and closing out the lane so the other team doesn’t have uncontested layups, manipulating the officials so that the calls start to go your teams way – that they define the true value of the basketball player as well.

    Which of these things does Bynum bring consistently?

  70. Let’s face it. Andrew is a head case. He’s petulant and checks out of games more often than not. Especially when he doesn’t get the ball on offense. That’s just who he is.
    Just like we accept Metta for who he is, we have to accept Andrew for who he is.
    He’s not going to change.

  71. Funky Chicken May 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Bynum is doubled so frequently because he is so easily doubled, and is so ineffective against it. He does not fight for position, he’s an awful passer out of the DT, and he becomes so thoroughly frustrated when he is denied the ball that it removes any threat that he’ll actually crash the offensive glass.

    Moreover, doubling Andrew Bynum has the added benefit of reducing him to a bystander on defense, because his attitude is so poor that if he isn’t getting his points on on end he doesn’t bother to try on the other end.

    To conclude that the constant double-teams are nothing but a sign of his greatness is to ignore the reality that it’s the easiest way to turn the Lakers into a thoroughly average and beatable team.

  72. I remember when teams employed similar defensive strategies against Shaq. In these instances, Shaq, at his best, would run down the floor in transition and seal his man in the paint to get early offense before the other defenders could swarm him. I’ve seen little interest from Bynum in creating those kinds of possibilities but I have seen plenty of shrugs, eye-rolls, throwing up his arms in defeat, looking around for someone to blame, etc.

    While the illustration of the sagging defense is a hugely important component of the question of Bynum’s touches (and this is another great post, btw), I personally don’t find it paradoxical simultaneously to criticize what seems to be a pretty blatant and even repellent lack of effort, even as one acknowledges that, sometimes, the looks aren’t there.

    Then again, it’s the Lakers– always seemingly coasting (other than Kobe and, even then, maybe other than Kobe in the 2nd half) while other teams fight like crazy. It’s our lot as fans to root for Goliath over and over again against lesser teams that work their asses off– well, so be it, it’s the team I love…

    Prove me wrong, Drew: explode tonight! And keep exploding! Believe me: I’d like nothing better in life than to see Drew fold Perkins into a tight ball and jam his surly mug through the rim.

    Go Lakers!

  73. @59
    Amen!!!

  74. MICHAEL ZARABI aka ZERB May 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

    is it true that kobe is sick?

  75. Kobe has gastroenteritis and is a game time decision.

    Guess he’s been vomiting all day.

    Great.

  76. Who writes these scripts for the Lakers?

  77. Kobe will play. Might need some IV fluids but I can’t imagine him sitting out with food poisoning. I hope it wasn’t room service again.

    Ironically I had a very timely post on this yesterday … but I guess it was construed as a vicious personal attack and was moderated. Let’s just hope he can gut this out and get this win in Denver, the last thing we want is an anything-can-happen (like Drew forgetting there’s a game and not showing up to the arena) Game 7.

  78. food poisoning, again?

    note to Kobe- do not order room service on the road ever.

  79. I remember he had a food poisoning accident in Boston a few years ago in the final

  80. rr,
    If Phil Jackson employed every strategy and rotation in round one he would not have all those championships

    ___

    Assertions aren’t facts, buddy–and I say this as a guy who likes you.

  81. Your use of the word “journeymen” is extremely accurate\

    Perhaps. But, again: you never offered a concrete alternative that was any better. As far as Buss, any evaluation of him needs to include the Paul veto.

    As to the game, maybe this can be Kobe’s “flu game.”

  82. Wow, what a thread this is, full of interesting comments, only at FB&G. This year we have been without LO, and World Peace in the first round, that has not helped our cause at all. World Peace will help the Lakers win some games, IMO.

  83. Kobe’s food poisoning is unfortunate. Hopefully he can play. Another reason why you have to close the series out while you can (i.e. game 5 in LA)…anything can happen. Case in point.

  84. Good points Robert and overall from everyone. Kobe is Kobe. He has been very successful. I smell a big game for the entire team tonight.

  85. @ Aaron & @ Cdog: Bynum has been **one of the best** players in the playoffs for 3 games (I wouldn’t say 2nd best, even Kobe has had better games). He’s been outplayed by JaVale Mcgee for 2 games (both Laker Losses)

    Kobe food poisoning sounds a lot like Kobe. Big game big moment, lot of doubts. He’ll probably score 40.

  86. Kobe 36 FT’s – Bynum and Pau 35 Ft’s through 5 games.

  87. Paint Points. LAL – DEN

    game 1 64 – 44
    game 2 52 – 60
    game 3 32 – 52
    game 4 48 – 52
    game 5 44 – 58

  88. Lil pau,
    I asked my lakers insider and he/she says they don’t want Bynum making rim runs in this series because they don’t want him speeding up the pace of the game. They don’t feel Denver can score in the halfcourt. Against OKC they will only have Bynum do that occasionally in OKC but in LA against the Thunder expect a lot of Bynum “rim runs”.

  89. 66, You’re what the defense says you are.
    ____

    Okay, but IMO, that is the following: ‘In this series (in particular), you are a man among boys who will likely make the difference between your team winning and losing but you are so weak-minded and prone to selfishness that if we take away your ability to get touches you quite likely will refuse to work on the other side of the floor which will enable Ty Lawson and Andre Miller to float to the rim with ease.’

    I accept the structure of the narrative, but dispute the dialog.

  90. Sad part is, when Andrew was talking about players quitting in close out games, he was drawing on his own experience. He and the Lakers didn’t come to play last year in game 4 in Dallas. Bynum found a way to check out early of that one with the cheap shot on Barea.

    Drew is an enigma to me. He seems to be a front runner who doesn’t seem to be able to deal with adversity during games. I hope he gets it together and finds it within himself to give a whole-hearted effort every time he steps on the court. Positive results will follow if he does that.

  91. Bynum and Pau – McGee and Faried

    G1. 11/21 fg 23 pts 21reb – 4/14 fg 12 pts 14 reb W

    G2. 17/30 fg 40 pts 19 reb – 7/13 fg 19 pts 19reb W

    G3. 12/24 fg 34 pts 19 reb – 14/28 fg 28 pts 30 reb L

    G4. 14/24 fg 32 pts 16 reb – 5/13 fg 14 pts 11 reb W

    G5. 9/18 fg 25 pts 22 reb – 14/17 fg 31 pts 25 reb L

    Lakers know what they have to do to win. Contain McGee and Faried.

  92. Don’t mean to number crunch you do death this is the last one. -Sessions/ Blake +Lawson/Miller

    -G1. 9/18 fg 5/9 3pt – 23 pts 9 ast
    +G1. 8/24 fg 0/3 3pt – 19 pts 9 ast

    -G2. 6/20 fg 0/6 3pt – 14 pts 5 ast
    +G2. 11/21 fg 0/3 3pt – 25 pts 15 ast

    -G3. 6/17 fg 1/8 3pt – 18 pts 9 ast
    + G3. 14/31 fg 2/4 3pt – 38 pts 13 ast

    -G4. 9/20 fg 3/8 3pt – 22 pts 5 ast
    + G4. 12/26 fg 2/6 3pt – 26 pts 9 ast

    -G5. 6/18 fg 3/7 3pt – 17 pts 10 ast
    +G5. 12/23 fg 2/5 3pt – 31 pts 16 ast

    Need better play from the PG’s. Next round only gets tougher.

  93. Either Andrew Bynum is the Lakers most valuable player, or you guys are overstating his importance. The Lakers (a 3rd seed) are up 3-2 on the Nuggets (a 6th seed). There are a lot of things going on both sides, yet these threads always devolved into a shootout between Bynum’s diciples and Bynum’s enemies.

    The reality is had Pau and one other starter had “normal” games on Tuesday the Lakers would be getting set for OKC right now. Scratch that. Had Pau simply had a normal game this series would be over. In the rush to burn Bynum at the stake people are forgetting just how bad the Lakers other startes were (Kobe exluded). And to be fair, Kobe hasn’t been exactly stellar in this series. Last game was the first game where he looked like 2008 league MVP Kobe. The other games, not so much.

    This series turns on a lot more than Andrew Bynum’s pivot foot. With 10 players on the floor and three officals its like people are only watching Andrew Bynum. It’s getting to the point of being obsessive.

  94. Gasol is the key. Bynum is getting doubled, Kobe is producing, but Gasol, once again in the playoffs is nowhere to be found. Who would’ve predicted coming into this series that Pau would be getting dominated by the 6ft3 Faried? I doubt Luis Scola would’ve disappeared like that Sunday. I’m just sayin……..

  95. I just wanted to chime in on the discussion about fans “hating” Bynum, as per Aaron.

    It seems like that comment was pointed directly at posters here on this site. If that is the case, then I just want to say. No. Just because some people disagree with your hyperbole, when it comes to Drew, doesn’t mean we are haters. It just means that we don’t believe that he has reached the levels that you *think he has.

    Don’t let the media pull wool over your eyes…Drew hasn’t been the MVP of the playoffs this year and he certainly hasn’t been the second best player. Ask yourself a question…why would the media want to elevated Andrew Bynum to superstar status?

  96. KenOak!

    NBA directive to the media push the young players it’s their league now. I totally agree Drew is not the MVP, he lacks the commitment to doing it night in and night out. An MVP brings his best game if not his A game, night in and night out. Kobe is still bringing it, night in and night out. He’s still the MVP for the Lakers in these playoffs.

  97. KenOak,
    My observation was based off of my entire lifes observations of the greatest players in the game. I’m also not talking about this site… I’m more talking about fans and the media. The youngest and best players are always hated. The better and younger they are?.. the more hate. Blake Griffen is a perfect example. Hate him for flopping? Really? Yea… He should be hated by everyone because he flops a lot? Man o man. The most hated player is LeBron and he has been the best player in the NBA for the last five years. It’s a great tool to really find out who the best young players are. I remember as a kid I had to argue with my classmates who said Pippen was better than Jordan (this was during the 1991 Finals before Jordan won his first ring) because Jordan was too selfish, was a ball hog, and wasn’t a leader. Also there was a notion that a bug time scorer couldn’t win a championship. I was the only kid in my class who thought Jordan was better than Magic. I was one of the only kids who thought Jordan was better than Pippen (who was a “team player”). Again… Follow the hate.

  98. Funky Chicken May 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Drew as MVP of the playoffs. If ever there was a statement deserving of a condescending “hahaha” from Aaron it is that one.

    Two good games (out of 5) is on par for a role player, not an MVP.

  99. kobe’s got stomach flu, missed morning shootaround.

    so he’ll get another 40+ tonite.

  100. Aaron-
    I actually agree with a great deal of what you wrote at #100. You’re right that with greatness, comes jealousy, and hatred. I will agree with you there 100%.

    Having said that, I don’t see Bynum generating exactly the same amount of hate that Jordan, Lebron, or Shaq, and certainly not as much as Kobe. Kobe is perhaps the most polarizing figure in the history of basketball.

    I think that it mostly has to do with the media propping up these players, to such a degree, that engenders so much hatred towards them. There is only so much Tim Tebow that you can take….which bolsters my argument. Tim Tebow is not better than Brady, Manning(s), Brees, but he was getting more face time than those guys who were having record-breaking seasons. People hated Tebow for that, and not for his “greatness”.