Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  May 11, 2012

Some members of the Los Angeles Lakers were in Denver last night and found themselves on the wrong end of a blowout. It was yet another example of Kobe Bryant accepting the challenge, willing himself to do things that most wouldn’t be able to do while healthy, even though he himself wasn’t. There were no-shows as well, the most stunning and disheartening example being Pau Gasol. One thing about doing links posts is that you speed read a lot of material in order to assemble what you feel is representative and worthwhile.  And sometimes it’s informative, but not particularly fun – something akin to waiting for punishment, knowing that it’s coming. Pau seemed to be resigned to it before the fact last night, and it’s hard to understand why. For whatever reason, the fight wasn’t there. He looked like a man who had grown old overnight.

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

Kevin Ding at the OC Register says it’s time for the Lakers’ defense to start with hustle.

Dexter Fishmore at Silver Screen and Roll asks if Mike Brown’s job will be on the line in game seven.

Mike Bresnahan at the L.A. Times writes that Metta’s help on defense is seen as a priority. It’s so true. To say he has been missed is overstating the obvious.

Bill Plaschke at the L.A. Times says it’s a sick joke but the Lakers are forced into a game seven.

Beckley Mason at HoopSpeak writes about the Lakers and responsibility.

Yesterday, Zack Harper at HoopSpeak attributed Pau Gasol’s lack of involvement to Mike Brown. After the game he tweeted that perhaps it was simply Pau himself, and he had a point.

Aaron McGuire at Gothic Ginobili questions the Lakers big three’s lack of passion for the game.

Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports writes about Kobe after the game, and the conversations that he had, and will have, with his missing bigs.

Scott Howard-Cooper at Hang Time Blog also reports on the situation – Kobe and Coach Brown, calling out Andrew and Pau.

Emile Avanessian at Hardwood Hype takes a look at hero ball, and how it’s vilified by the new school observers.

Daniel Buerge at Lakers Nation takes a look at a new era in Lakers broadcasting, as the Time Warner deal kicks in.

And finally, Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie takes a look at Kobe’s flagrant foul on Kenneth Faried.

***

There’s a lot more articles, more opinions and blame and anger. The 24-hour news cycle will die down just a little before being stroked right back up tomorrow – the possibility of the Lakers losing three in a row to the Nuggets in the first round isn’t a big story, it’s a huge story. Buckle up as they say, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

- Dave Murphy

Dave Murphy

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9 responses to Friday Forum

  1. “Full of Vomit” was an awesome write-up.

    As a coach, I wanted my players to play so hard that when the buzzer goes off at the end of the game, they just collapse on the floor unable to move.

    If the Lakers aren’t exhausted because they have left everything on the court at the end of the game, win or lose. Blow this team up!

    The most egregious thing in all of sport is when a talented player plays at a level that is less than stellar on a nightly basis.

  2. If the Lakers were giving it their all and losing anyway, I’d still be proud of them.

    They aren’t. It starts with Bynum and Gasol.

    And it isn’t because “Kobe’s hogging the ball” or “They’re unhappy that Kobe isn’t involving them enough” or “They aren’t getting enough touches” or any of the other myriad of reasons for why anything that ever goes wrong is always Kobe’s fault.

    Kobe was sick. He was visibly exhausted. He needed IV bags before the game and at halftime. This game was TAILOR MADE to prove folks like Henry Abbott right that if only Kobe would get out of the way, Gasol and especially Bynum would dominate and demonstrate how much Kobe is holding them back.

    We learned the opposite lesson. Kobe doesn’t hold them back. He enables them to succeed and it doesn’t show up in the advanced stats. This was the game that Bynum and Gasol could show that they were franchise players still. They did not.

    Going on PER, Bynum has been the best Laker in this series. Anyone who has watched all six games knows that is an absolutely laughable conclusion.

    This team will go as far as the frontcourt takes them. As good as Kobe is, he is not physically dominant anymore. If Gasol and Bynum don’t play hard the Lakers lose.

  3. Funky Chicken May 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    The Gothic Ginobili post is really spot on, particularly in terms of Bynum. Seven years in, it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t care about winning in the way that is required of the leader of a championship team. He wants to succeed personally, and if team success follows that is fine, but it is hardly critical for him.

    “I’ve never seen a goofball statement or an interview indicating that Andrew Bynum looks at basketball as anything more than it really is to him — a job, and a means to make the sort of big money he needs so that he can spend his free time doing the things he actually loves to do.”

    I’d add to that list. It’s not just the absence of comments in interviews, it is ever-present tolerance for underachievement. With Kobe, you know that IT MATTERS to him. He lives to win. I’m sure he wants to “get his” and to do well individually, but Kobe leaves everything on the floor–even when the team is getting blown out. The losses stick with Kobe. The burn inside of him and motivate him to work ever harder. Have any of you ever seen Bynum do the same?

    As much as anything else, this view of his career as a “job” and not as a passion is one of the biggest reasons not to re-sign Andrew. We all know that he is injury prone, and there is an elevated risk in that regard. However, if he’d demonstrated the kind of passion and will to compete, I’d feel like the risk is worth it, because that same passion would likely cause him to work his tail off to return to full strength.

    What about now? If he signs a max contract, with a guaranteed $100 million plus, who can look at him and believe that he’ll do whatever is necessary to get back to full strength?

    This is not a character assassination, because I would put myself in the same boat as Andrew. I don’t have a passion for my job, and if someone guaranteed me enough money to never want for anything (regardless of my effort on the job) I’d be a slacker too. But I wouldn’t hire myself to a multimillion dollar guaranteed employment contract either….

  4. People are blaming Mike Brown? Bizarre.

    In view of the fact Pau didn’t bother to show up to last year’s playoffs either, and was so bizarrely inept at the time that his then coach, the most successful coach of all time in the NBA and a man widely viewed as an excellent manager of his players, actually punched him in the chest in the middle of a game because he was so frustrated with his vanishing act, isn’t it about time that Pau Gasol be held responsible for Pau Gasol not playing basketball?

    I was surprised Gasol was on the team when the season started (and that was his good fortune as much as anything) but, by mid-year, I was happy that he was back and playing at a reasonably high level. After last year’s debacle, I really wanted him to have a strong playoff run that was consistent with his pre-2011 playoff work. He’s not a perfect fit to play with Bynum, but collectively they provide tons of value and he’s a real easy guy to root for. But this is two bed-wettings in a row, with two different coaches. 3 and 3 in a close-out playoff game for a $20 million player? That doesn’t sound like a coaching issue.

    Some of it is that the Lakers lack of shooting- who could have guessed not having anyone who can make an 18 footer would be a problem- makes it easy to crowd the paint and take away easy inside looks, but Pau isn’t doing anything. Not offensively, not defensively, not anywhere. No adjustments or tweaks are going to get this Laker team over the hump if that doesn’t change.

  5. A new post is up. But please keep commenting on the great links that Dave put up in this thread.

    http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2012/05/11/are-the-lakers-playing-too-slow/

  6. Kobe and artest are going to close out this series tomorrow night!! i wrote all about it on my blog so come by read and enjoy! http://nbawagers.com/2012/05/home-court-advantage-will-prevail/

  7. CMB,

    I agree with you. In everyone’s rush to pile on Bynum they are basically giving Gasol a pass. Three points and three rebounds in a potential closeout game for a player of Pau’s caliber is an insult to Laker fans everywhere.

    That doesn’t mean Bynum should not be criticized. It just amazes me that Pau can pull the same thing two years in a row and be largely excused for it.

  8. I don’t think anyone is giving Pau a pass on his play the past four games, however, Pau at least was the no. 2 factor in the Lakers winning two championships. So, Lakers fans have that to hold back on Pau. Additionally, Pau adds at least another three quarters of an NBA season to his career every summer playing with his buddies for Spain. He is showing the signs of that effect at the close of NBA seasons.

    Bynum, on the other hand, is supposed to be the youngster ready to assume the mantle of alpha for the Lakers. Yet, he’s been disengaged since the second game of this series. Why? That’s the question everyone wants to know…why?

    This years Lakers roster is full of holes and everyone knows that the Lakers can only go as far as Kobe, Bynum and Pau takes them. Sprinkle in a reinvigorated MWP on defense and offense with a healthy dose of Barnes (as a hustle player, not a ball-handler or 3-pt specialist). A dab of Ramon Sessions with the stats and confidence from his first few games with the Lakers and the recipe is there for the Lakers to make a deep playoff run.

    Let’s hope that all the Lakers play the game tomorrow as if it’s there last game as a Laker. Sadly, if the Lakers lose for more than half of them this will be true.

  9. Chearn

    Great post. Yes Pau has been bad but with this stupid Brown offense he has become a after thought in the offense standing 20 feet out like LO used to do.

    Andrew on the other hand he clearly dosen’t care. I get the feeling he wants to lose because it’s to much work to beat OKC and the Spurs.

    He already is ready to start his summer, buy 3 or 4 more cars to park illegally and get back to the playboy Mansion.

    Or maybe he has his room waiting for him in Cabo ala Nick the Quick.

    Either way I personally am sick of the guy, talent or not the guy is a negative enity for the Laker brand.