Lakers/Thunder Game 4: It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

Darius Soriano —  May 19, 2012

If you missed this game, I feel sorry for you and envy you at the same time.

The Lakers played hard tonight. Coming off a back to back game, I feared for how their legs would hold up. I feared how a young, talented, and vengeful Thunder team would take it to them mercilessly. I knew that the Lakers had a plan that worked but worried if they’d have the gas in their tank to execute it.

Early in this game, my fears and worries seemed to be misplaced. The Lakers looked to be the fresher team. They played a quicker tempo than expected and took advantage of their transition opportunities. After a rough start defensively, they found their stride on that side of the floor, getting up on screen actions and contesting shots. They pressured ball handlers and controlled the back boards. They played well.

Kobe Bryant was in full attack mode. He flashed his trademarked footwork but did his work quickly and decisively. He’d swing through, take two dribbles, and explode to the rim. He’d dribble once, slow, and then explode out of a hesitation move. He worked the post, turn and face, and then take a quick first dribble before elevating for his jumper. He drew fouls every which way imaginable. He was brilliant. Until he wasn’t. But we’ll get to that later.

Bynum, too, brought his ‘A’ game. He controlled the post offensively and had his entire arsenal going. On one possession he’d hit a middle jump hook. On another a turnaround jumper. Then, a couple possessions later, he’d sprint the floor for a dunk. After that he’d step through and draw a foul and earn FT’s.

Others also did well. Jordan Hill made an impact on the glass – especially on the offensive end. Ron hit some big three pointers and played hard nosed D, getting his hand on loose balls and helping to force turnovers. Sessions was again very good in getting into the paint and creating for others while Blake was also solid even though he had a rough shooting night.

Things were going well and this is why if you missed this part of the game, I feel for you. The Lakers were holding a lead in the 7 to 10 point range for most of the night and while they weren’t cruising, they were mostly in control.

Only thing is, with a team as good and as explosive as the Thunder, control is fleeting. And this is why if you went and saw the Avengers tonight or had a nice dinner with a loved one or if you simply got caught in traffic, I envy you. Because you wouldn’t have watched the Lakers surrender another lead down the stretch; you wouldn’t have had your heart broken for the 2nd time since Wednesday.

The Lakers led by 13 with 8:02 left in this game. When you lead by that much but then lose by 3 it’s a slow death; it’s stepping in a pit of quicksand. And when you lose that type of lead, it doesn’t happen because of a single play.

The Lakers played poorly on both ends. Things started to pile up and they didn’t have any answers for what the Thunder were doing to them. Defensively, they couldn’t slow Russell Westbrook. He was magical, creating shots out of nothing by sliding through the cracks of the Laker D and masterfully using every inch he was given. If the Lakers didn’t step out high enough on the P&R, he’d hit a pull up jumper. If they came out high and thwarted his first attempt to attack, he’d pull back and then attack again to find the crease he sought. He truly was something special tonight.

Offensively, the Lakers simply couldn’t regain their formula for success. OKC started to front the post w/ Perkins taking away easy entry passes to Bynum. Gasol was also fronted when he tried to post but he then countered by moving to the elbow area and shallow wing. With their bigs disrupted, the ball stayed on the perimeter but no one was moving or screening and the ball stuck to a single side of the floor but with few options for release. When this happens, Kobe normally ends up with the ball and he’s going to shoot it. We’ve seen this for years – it’s not a Mike Brown problem, the same thing happened under Phil Jackson. I’m not necessarily even going to blame Kobe here either. He’s on the perimeter and guys are looking for outlets. He’s a pretty aggressive guy in making himself available for the ball and doesn’t mind shooting. Maybe he could have done more to get everyone going. Maybe not.

In the end, Kobe’s play is just one piece of the puzzle though. Again, the bigs couldn’t carve out space. When Pau caught the ball (which, to be fair wasn’t even that often) he wasn’t assertive looking for his shot. The same could be said for Blake. When Ron caught the ball he had no problem shooting but due to his earlier success, he was being guarded more closely and was not afforded the type of open looks he’d already proven he could knock down.

And with all this going wrong, the Lakers gave up their lead. The Thunder chipped away, the Lakers continued to stumble and that was that. Pau’s errant pass and Durant’s dagger three were just the final bright neon signs that fancily displayed what had already been occurring for a full seven and a half minutes. I know those two plays will get the headlines – they were major plays in the final minute of a close game – but let’s be real here. Those plays aren’t even part of the equation if the full collapse wasn’t already on. They may have been the proverbial straw the broke the camel’s back but it’s really the million other straws that break it, no?

After a thousand words of this recap, though, I only have one last thing to say. There’s a way of viewing this that the Lakers have been the better team this series. They’ve only won a single game but have been mostly fantastic in two others with a tragic inability to close out what looked to be sure victories. To that, I say, that’s a nice story but the better team – the team that’s been favored to win – is the one that’s leading 3-1 in this series. Back when the Lakers were winning championships they were the team that would win this game in the way the Thunder did. No lead was ever safe; no game was ever really out of reach. And when the Lakers would win those games – under circumstances very similar to the ones that led to the Thunder winning this one – we’d all say that the Lakers were the better team. We’d say that they found a way to win. Well, give the Thunder credit because in game 4 they found a way to win, they were the better team.

Darius Soriano

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125 responses to Lakers/Thunder Game 4: It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

  1. whew!!! again and again i thought we won but to no avail we are again defeated…i just hope and pray we’ll win the next two games to atleast force a game 7…good luck to us all!!!

  2. We should be up 3-1 !!!!!

  3. The only Lakers player to blame for not getting the ball down low into Drew in the 4th quarter is Drew himself. He let Perkins and Collison front him too easily. There was no effort to get in front of them. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. So don’t blame Kobe/Pau/Blake for “going away from the game plan”. Drew allowed himself to be removed from the equation late in the game.

  4. Great recap, summed it all up well.

    Darius – what did you see tonight that made them fronting the post so successful? It looked like a combination of Bynum not having the energy to fight off his defender (it’s one thing for them to front immediately, and another for Bynum to establish post position and then let Perkins get around him to front) – but it also seemed like we didn’t counter it as a team. Swinging the ball quickly should have allowed Bynum to pin his man and open up passing angles, and I’m not sure why it didn’t work. I thought on a couple plays I saw congestion on the weakside where the helper took away the inside pass, but if our spacing was on point that should have gotten Pau an open jumper.

    On some plays, just going off memory, Perkins didn’t get fully around Bynum to front, but simply cut off the passing angle by getting around the side of Bynum. Having a perimeter player in the corner (ala the triangle) would have given a clear angle to get Bynum the ball in that case. Haven’t gone back and looked at it, but I feel like we should have been able to get the ball to Bynum with better counters. But then again, if he had more energy and fought harder, it might be a moot point.

    Pau made a poor play that came on the heel of many poor plays. He shouldn’t be scapegoated. We had plenty of changes to really put the dagger in and go up by 20+, and they hung around. Kudos to them.

  5. Emotions have died down and blame hat is off. Here are a few numbers.

    Lakers up 11. Kobe checked in Thunder end game on 25-11 run. I’m sure the back to back had something to do with Lakers slowing down at the end.

    Kobe in 4th vs OKC 7-25 (28%). VS Den 16-39 (41%). Total 23-64 (35%). No excuses but fatigue is a factor. 41% to 28% is a huge drop off no matter who’s guarding you.

    Sessions +11 Westbrook +9 this game. WOuld’ve liked to see Sessions in the game late. He did a great job off dribble drive all game.

    Lakers missed 8 FT’s (21-29) missed 1 game 3 (41-42). Took the makes for granted last night. Lakers win if they shoot the same percentage from the line as they did game 3.

    Pau has been a set up guy all year. His instincts were to pass because he’s been doing it all year. No way I can blame Pau for the loss. But as great as him and Kobe are/have been were are seeing decline. They need someone to set them up for them to be as effective as they can be all 48.

    Series isn’t over. Nobody can take 3 straight finals. 2 rings back to back titles away from us. Still the best franchise in the NBA just need some retooling. I’ll never admit defeat but Lakers may have already had their chances already.

    Positive: Brown’s defensive mind has shined bright this series. And the team didn’t lay down like it did last year. He’s made i farther than PJ’s last season did in a shortened season. Kudos

  6. Did we really think we could beat OKC

    6th best team in NBA
    Worst bench
    Worst PG
    Clueless coach
    Scouts fired
    Team run by someone’s kid

    Come on guys. This is no longer a elite franchise.
    It is what it is. Overpaid and under talented.

  7. 5,

    It’s really convenient to ignore the fact that half of our team was assembled on the fly and our new coach had a condensed season to make things work. There are other factors at play, so let’s not recycle same garbage we’ve had on this site’s comments section all season long. If anything, this Lakers team overachieved this season.

  8. Pau choked. Plain and simple. A guy of his stature cannot play scared. And he was playing that way for a while. If you dont have confidence in yourself, it only raises the tension for everyone else. Paus last mistake was really the culmination of several that helped erase the lead and any semblance of unity among the lakers. It’s not Paus fault the lakers lost, but he had a significant role in it.

  9. It is another tough loss. The series is over. Thunders will move to the next round.

    Here are some thoughts:

    1. NBA is for profit business. They need to market the most profitable product. Would you market a 33 years old declining star or a young 23 years old rising star? When I check the refs who were officiating the 4th game, I already knew the odds towards thunders. It is another Stern’s “grand scheme”.

    2. Lakers is going to be run to the ground by Jim Buss. His ego and ignorance will ruin lakers dynasty. From the moment he started to clean up good people from the lakers organization, the lakers are doomed.

    Bryant shaw could have been the better candidate for lakers head coach position. All the experienced lakers scouts were let go and replaced by another know-nothing-about-basketball buss and bartender jimmy’s buddy. It is karma. The way Jimmy treated the people is why lakers are doomed.

    3. Mike brown is ok coach. But he is not up to par as head coach of lakers. He doesn’t have “it”. His hiring was jimmy’s ego play.

    Kobe is getting old. He can’t shake the good defender on isolation play anymore. Why can’t Brown see it and set a good screen for Kobe to get a clean look? Don’t they watch the type of seeing how Perkins set the hard screen to give Westbrook or Durant a clean look?

    So much of being a good defensive coach. Where is the defense, coach Brown? Barnes had a bad series, why can’t you give Ebanks a chance? Where is the trapping of hot hands like Westbrook or Durant?

    On the offense, where is the adjustment? Why can’t lakers run more P/R to get better look? Swing the ball from left to right, really? Come on, that is a horrible turn-over prone strategy.

    4. Too many mental collapse from Gasol, Blake. Kobe will share some blame too. The turn-over is a sign of being mentally weak due to lack of focus and confidence.

    5. Lack of bench costs lakers a season. Brown failed to develop the bench and overplayed the starters during the regular season. With compact playoff schedule, the tiring legs caught up with aging lakers.

    When other team packed the paint, lakers lack of reliable outside shooters.

    Sadly, lakers are doomed. Kobe’s era is over. The lakers run is over.

  10. Good recap.

    It should be sent to Abbott and Co. at True Hoop.

  11. Pau had a mental ‘fart’ on that late turnover but other factors caused the Lakers in the game and the series. This game worried me more than the game on Friday because the Lakers were ahead most of the game and all season long they’ve had a propensity for letting teams back in the game. And, once again this factor reared its head.

    One thing we have to realize in regards to Pau is that he is one heck of a durable player! His entire time with the Lakers he’s played every game devoid a major injury. Add to the fact that he plays every summer with Spain without sustaining an injury and the Lakers have been quite fortunate to have him on the team. Just look at Perkins he’s been injured the past two seasons and incapable of playing at a peak level.

    In regards to Bynum: To be fair this is his first year playing an entire season, so in many ways Bynum is a rookie. He’s had to learn to pace himself energy wise to make it through a condensed season and in the playoffs thus far. Had this been a regularly scheduled season Bynum might have fared better with the extra rest.

    Going forward MB is going to have to monitor his players player time more effectively.

    Not giving up on the Lakers just yet.

  12. lotr went hard nice post

  13. I call BS on LOTR’s comment about the refs. Enough with the conspiracy crap, the Thunder are the better team. Everyone gets old… we watched MJ play way past his prime. Just f’ing get over it and accept reality.

  14. Maury Ballstein May 20, 2012 at 1:08 am

    The story is there to see for people who can read the box scores for games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles:

    53 fouls called on OKC
    41 fouls called on L.A.

    53 FTAs for OKC
    71 FTAs for L.A.

    And OKC still got the split. I’ll give credit to the Lakers for making the right adjustments after Game 1, leading to 3 tightly-contested games, but for anyone to say that the refs helped out the Thunder at any point this series is totally ignorant.

    Also, the Lakers played themselves out of two wins this series by quitting what worked on offense and letting Kobe throw up bricks for most of the 4th quarter and letting Durant and Westbrook get to the rim or get open shots late on defense.

  15. Michael Smrek May 20, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Anyone notice that a lot of the Pau criticism (passivity, not shooting and looking for the pass, etc) sounds VERY similar to past Lamar criticism?

  16. Pau Gasol is basically Lamar Odom now. He has the same role as Lamar did back in the day only he’s not suited to it well. Pau is expected to be a facilitator most of time and give up touches to Bynum but expected to be aggressive qt other times. Nevermind the fact that Pau plays in the high post instead of the low post most of the time. He’s 20 feet from the basket there he’s not Lamar Odom he can’t handle the ball THAT well. To get the most out of Pau you need to out him in the low post where he has moves onto of moves.

    Here’s my take on game 4:

    http://4hoopsheads.com/2012/05/20/lakersokc-game-4-thunder-up-lakers-down/

  17. Avidon: I’m not sure what you mean. Did no finger pointing gave solid stats and analysis.

    Didn’t like how Kobe went at Pau. For a guy who shot 2-10 in the 4th. Not sure how much room he has to be calling teammates out. You would think Kobe would take the blame and pressure of Pau but he’s piling on.

  18. Well, another heartbreaking loss. But Darius’s analysis, as per usual, was spot on. We just shut down offensively, not moving and screening when the post position was disrupted, and defensively there was nothing we could do to stop westbrook and durant at that point. I think it makes sense just from a willpower standpoint that we could have the energy at the beginning beginning, but becuase we’re older to not be able to finish as strongly as the SIGNIFICANTLY younger thunder. But they have been building towards becoming a championship caliber team for the last few years and this I think is the culmination of their talent, development, hunger, and finally experience coming to fruition. And now they have the final ingredient. I would say now after observing them in this series and following them all season and the last few seasons that this is their time, and that we are witnessing a passing of the torch. And as much as i hate to say it, i just don’t see the Lakers becoming the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the series. I know we all we expect them to win a championship nearly every year, but hey, on the bright side, I think they overachieved all things considered. I for one expected there to be a larger drop-off with the loss of Odom, the coaching change, condensed schedule, etc, but we basically just maintained where we were at last year.

    So, enjoy one or perhaps two more games, take a breath and forget about them for a little bit, and then we can begin to look to next year and speculate about what needs to be done/will be done moving forward. (All you diehards like myself know what the issues are they need to address, and i think we may need to come to terms with the fact that there may be another rebuilding period ahead, because I think we can all safely assume at this point that their current team can do no better than they already have. These past few years have been fun, but all good things must come to an end. :) + :(

  19. Well, finally time has arrived.Props to OKC.Great team,gonna be a great finals team I guess.
    LA dominance era seems to be over.Kobe was great until he wasn’t.Pau choked and has been too tentative.Bynum choked as well.
    So,time to amnesty Kobe(thanks for everything) and trade Blake+Pau+Ron and start over I assume with a more conventional line-up.No 2 seven footers clogging the lane.Traditional PF,etc.

  20. Serge Protector May 20, 2012 at 3:13 am

    wow surprised that the Laker fans in here actually know a thing or two about basketball. I was honestly expecting to read stuff about the refs giving the calls to OKC or something about how Kobe had an off night missing those tough shots.

  21. Ugh. So close.

    Brutal loss.

    Sigh.

    Feels like series is over. But Lakers can win game 5. Just too much iso Kobe in the 2nd half, and when his legs ran outta gas, the Lakers had nothing else going.

    The shots in the 4th Quarter for the Thunder were too easy – either Layups or wide open jumpers. Maybe the Lakers were just exhausted (because with about 7 minutes left they all looked it), but it was a slow and painful death.

    Kevin Durant is a monster as well. Thats 2 close games in a row where he’s hit all net on threes from the same spot. Artest can’t guard him anymore. Otherwise would’ve got up on him and trusted the help D at the end.

    Ugh, Ugh, Ugh.

  22. Some things are just a given, when a player gets hot you trap him…..this is standard, especially if the primary defender is terrible and the offensive player is a turnover machine

    Getting the ball out of the hands of the star….again you double durant immediately at the end of a game…this is standard

    The team is flawed, no shooters, lack of athletes..etc…but you have to do the basics.

    If your rep is built on defense you don’t let what happened happen.

  23. Long night over on the East Coast taking in the game.

    It was clear, incredibly clear that OKC just has better players on the perimeter. There have been no answers for Westbrook for the entire series, although Blake had some great moments making him take some tough shots.

    Great move by Scott Brooks fronting the post in the second half. When you front and pressure the ball on the perimeter, it makes feeding the post all the more difficult.

    I would have liked to see our bigs step out on ball picks and attempt to double when Westrbook, Durant or Harden handle the ball. I’d rather have Ibaka or Perkins taking more shots. But overall, ball picks are shredding the LAL defense.

    Let’s see if the team can get one, just one win in OKC.

  24. Yeah, BS on the ref conspiracy. In Game 3 Harden had five fouls called on him, not ONE of which was a legitimate foul. Only one or two were even borderline. The first three were totally phantom fouls, one after another. (I’m a Lakers fan, and of course the refs also didn’t call Perk’s moving screens when they made a run in that game, but the overall conspiracy theory is weak.) The Lakers are a huge ratings draw: if anything the leagues motivation should be to draw this series out as long as possible. So I give that conspiracy theory an F.

  25. I just feel like something drained all of my high spirits from my soul. Like Durant just walking up to the three point line, and draining that 3 pointer like it was a practice shot.

  26. People, people, people.

    Lakers got sweep last year in the 2nd round.
    This year they won one game.
    OKC is much, much better then Dallas.
    Spurs are better then both.

    Lakers were much better last year with LO and Brown off the bench and even DFish.

    Jackson, Shaw etc were much better coaches then Brown and his band of fools.

    Last year we had experienced scouts to scout other teams. This year we have the abuse family reunion to scout poker games and nightclubs.

    Bad bench. Bad PGs. Bad coaches. Kobe and Pau many more minutes. Pau worst stat year of his career. Kobe most shots with worst shooting percentage.

    Lakers are a mid level playoff team. Bairly better then Griz, Clips, Nugs. The worse place to be to rebuild your team. They HAVE no 1st round drafts as they gave them away for two guys that are free agents. They won’t use LOs $8.9 million just like they flushed Sasaha’s.

    Bottom line this is a team on a serious decline while most every team in the West is younger, faster and on the rise. Boys and girls we are screwed.

    If this was a stock, dump it! If this was a house in Newport Beach, foreclose it. If this was a old model used car, blow it up.

    This team under Junior is like a ponzi scheme. Looks good for a few months, then gets to payday time and it’s exposed for what it is. A cardboard cut out of Laker teams in the past.

    I enjoyed the ride but now the car has a bad engine and bald tires. With this FO and this coach the Lakers will be avarage for years. No 6th ring for Kobe, just a lot of missed 4th quarter shots and demands to be traded. Bigger problems from Andrew coming. Pau, Barnes, Sessions, Blake and Mitch will be gone and Laker fans will become like the Knicks or Celtics, talking about the past and suffering with the future.

    Show Time is gone and has been replaced with the new Money Ball called Jimmy Ball! Wait for the book and movie. It will disappoint as well.

    Thanks to all and to all a good night.

  27. I couldn’t disagree more with any point that implies or outright states the league would lean towards fixing games. This isn’t wrestling. If the games are fixed, why invest time or money in it? Why care about the results? Why go to a blog and comment on the state of an organization if the outcomes are predetermined?

  28. The easiest argument against any conspiracy is that the buffoons in the NBA offices could never keep the thing a secret. I mean, do you really think the NBA meets secretly on a remote island to detemine who they are going to favor with officiating? And everyone is sworn to complete secrecy : ) Laughable.
    Of course it is as laughable now in defeat, as it was listening to Kings fans in 2002.

    Of course the Veto, was to some extent by definition a conspiracy, with multiple conspirators.

  29. after the clips loss, mo williams made a comment about how Pop demands 1) that the players pass to the open man and 2) the open man shoot the ball. no exceptions, not even for duncan and parker. this is the reason players like Green and Leonard are making ridiculously clutch 3-pointers. on the other hand, you have Kobe looking like he’s going to kill someone when MWP makes the correct basketball play passing to Blake for the open three. yes, i know players are professionals and should act that way, but it’s human nature to mentally checkout if they’re constantly being used as window dressing for 1 v 5 set. the last 5 minutes, the Lakers were basically the NY Knicks West, but with better talent. Like Carmelo, Kobe has no respect for his coach or his teammates (seriously, what’s with throwing publicly Pau under the bus)

    MWP on the last 3-pointer (paraphrasing): i would have played Durant closer, but was afraid of getting screened. it would have been nice for my teammates to communicate to me that no screen was coming.

    being an elite defender isn’t about steals or blocking shots, it’s about recognizing what your teammates are doing, why they’re doing it, and communicating to them what they should be doing. this is the reason duncan, garnett, and tyson chandler are so devastating defensively without putting up monster stats individually.

  30. I don’t post very often anymore on this blog but I just wanted to share a few thoughts on the season.

    It was clear to me several years ago that this Bynum/Gasol front court idea wouldn’t work. They basically play the same position and have the same skill set (although Pau is a better passer). The years the Lakers won their titles a Pau/Lamar front court is where the Lakers made their money. I was so adamant a few years ago that the Lakers trade Bynum for Bosh but few people wanted that. Bosh would have complimented Gasol nicely.

    This brings me to my next point that I am torn on putting the blame for Gasol on these 2 previous seasons playoff exits. We have all known since 2008 that Pau has a softer side and can sometimes shrink in the moment but he also showed the capability to be there when Kobe needed him in a few series. Part of the problem with what I previously mentioned about Pau’s skill set (and Van Gundy mentioned it last night) is that the Lakers completely abandoned what he is good at this season. It was a horrible idea to put him in the high post all the time when he is one of the few true gifted post players in the league, where he won 2 titles with his abilities. He was never a high post mid range shooter that the coaches were trying to make him out to be. The biggest issue with Pau is his contract, for a guy making close to 20 million a season you should expect 10 rebounds every game minimum and at least 15 points a game. And now with his age and productivity slipping who is going to dare take back that contract? The Lakers will be lucky to even get back 1/3 of equal talent back.

    Kobe, to me one of the greatest ever, he’s been my favorite player since I started watching the NBA very closely, 16 years nearly half my life. Going into this season I had no expectations for this team, and no matter what happened I knew they had no chance at winning. I didn’t renew my league pass, didn’t watch every game of the season like I typically do I would mostly just read recaps here. I can’t thank the guy enough for all the memories he’s given me over the years, my best basketball memories. I don’t think he’s done yet, but you can see he doesn’t have that lift anymore and without help from a consistent capable #2 scoring punch he can’t do what he does best, and that’s close by scoring. The guy wasted every ounce of energy he had guarding guys like Harden/Westbrook and scoring through 3 quarters that he had nothing left in the 4th.

    To my final point of the day and of the season, Kevin Durant is truly special. I know many on this blog hate him because they think he has an attitude (which is funny because many non-Laker fans would say the same about Kobe), I don’t call it an attitude I call it passion. He in my eyes has taken the torch from Kobe as the next great one in the Jordan-Kobe line of players. He has the skill set, mid range, driving ability, outside shooting, he’s getting better as a rebounder and he’s finally accepting the challenge of guarding the other teams best players when needed. Sure he isn’t a passer like Lebron, but Kobe and Jordan led by scoring not passing, and that’s what Durant does. He is cut from the same mold, and throw in the fact that he’s not afraid to take and consistently knock down shots in the clutch, we are witnessing something special. Hate on him if you want but he does things right in my eyes, in a world where players (even high schoolers) follow Lebron’s “Decision” and announce on live tv for attention and publicity, you have a guy like Durant who quietly announces he’s signed an extension with the Thunder. He is a professional who isn’t cocky, just confident in his abilities.

    Anyways everyone take care on here, see you next season.

  31. It’s crazy how the very first game of the season was a forerunner of how the year would end.

    When the Bulls rallied from an 11-point deficit with 3 and 1/2 minutes to play, it was just disgusting and partially ruined my Christmas. Watching the Thunder do it twice in the last three games has ruined my spring, but honestly, we’re blind if we couldn’t see this coming.

  32. Lakers need a PG. As great as he’s been as much as he’s done for the Lakers as great as he still is he isn’t the same guy.

    Lakers controlled 3 games out of 4 games this series. It all came down to the last 2 minutes (you know the time they say LeBron is at his worst). The difference in this series is Kobe is no longer the best player in the west. Durant is a better player. He closed game 2 and game 4. No game is won on one play. But 2 games came down to 2 minutes a time when Kobe was money. And Durant came u big. Not Kobe.

  33. @29

    if Pop will coach the Lakers:

    the BIGS will not complain about TOUCHES
    after 2 missed defense plays, they will be sent to the showers
    benched
    2,000 pushups

    Fisher would have being benched 2 years ago and not resigned

    Ebanks will replace Barnes after 2 air balls from 3

    ohhhhhhhhhhh

    and will have some resemblance of OFFENSE!

    and some smarts about P&R defense

    some well “timed” Time Outs?!

    mo Williams does not know what a Coach is: he had Brown the Clown and Vinny the Black Hole!

    should i continue… or these small samples will do it?!

  34. PS: forgot the most important one: the players will know how to SET clean, hard screens, not some “drifting” towards Kobe and helping/inviting the defenders to crowd his moves

    remember some games ago when Kobe was setting those screens for Sessions? he was free as a bird – floating toward the basket.

  35. Very frustrating to say the least. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    Bynum needs to repostion in the post better, flash to the other side and come back, swing the ball and then post him, SOMETHING. He stays in one spot and wrestles with Perkins/Obaka, gets frustrated, and then the clock is down to 5 seconds. If he gets touches in the last 6-7 minutes, Lakers win.

    This series could have been tied, or Lakers even up 3-1!

  36. Since he gets hammered by the fans a lot: Mike Brown has done a great job with his defensive scheme this series. His man zone hybrid that made it difficult for durant to even get the ball was brilliant.

    Darius, great post. Lakers, so long as their head is in it, are still in this series. They’ve played really well but need to find a way to close out the games.

  37. In the playoffs, teams will have a bad game, you got to take advantage of it. In game 2, Lakers failed to do that. Lakers did not have HCA, this season OKC playing much better on the road, some Lakers fan forgot it.

    Bynum will get better in next 2, 3 years, if you want to be offensive player, you have to learn a lot, NBA coaches are not stupid, they will find your weakness and beat you, so Bynum will continue to learn these
    tricks, create new moves like Kobe before to beat defenders.

    The Lakers FO have two problems, you can’t throw too much money to super star players and forget role players, if you don’t want to spend more money then you got to draft well.

  38. Serge Protector–

    Daily Thunder is that way >>>
    ________________

    I would like to suggest that we wait until another loss before the eulogies.

    ; )

  39. Durant averaging 27 points on 18 shots. 27-8-3-1 54/41/85

    Superstar. Wouldn’t want to lose to any other player.

  40. Darius your comment about accepting the fact the the Thunder are better is spot on. I see too many comments from fans on multiple blogs that “Lakers are the better team, it should really be 3-1.” Ironic, since that’s what opposing teams’ fans have said about the Lakers during their Championship run. In fact, I think Cuban said during the 2009 Finals that Orlando was the better team and should have been up 3-1.

    Wrong on both counts. Great teams know how to come behind after they they’ve been outplayed for most of the game, and they know how to keep a lead when they’re winning for most of the game. The Thunder did that, the Lakers didn’t, simple as that. Let’s not start blaming the refs or saying “If only the Lakers did X, Y, and Z they would have won.” Sounds too much like the excuses other teams fans come up with.

    Instead, let’s hope they play their best Monday (though given their history in road elimination games, I expect a blowout). Most of all, I hope they keep their cool and not do anything embarrassing like Drew did last year, which would only hurt them next season.

  41. I definitely had the feeling that the losses we’ve gotten this series are the kind that we used to hand out. Hang around, hang around, then raise the effort and win it in the final minutes (or steal it with KB shooting).

    Any conspiracies featuring OKC are pretty funny, considering that all the thinking outside of Laker boards like this is that the NBA would be protecting its big market/big name teams. Like what they’re doing for the Celtics (totally kidding).

  42. From the beginning, hiring Mike Brown is the mistake, if you want to take advantage of Kobe, Bynum , Gasol ( even with Chris Paul) you got to hire offensive coach. Mike Brown should do well against P&R, because in the East Orlando, Boston ran the same offense. Jim Buss did not watch enough basketball games, he believes in his stats too much, he thinks MB is a good coach, and he gave Kobe plus 14 in his stats.

  43. The game was not fixed.

    Thunder are the better team but they’re beatable by a good tactician in coaching.

    Lakers were dead tired in the 4th due to the 8 man rotation employed by the Coach, he’s applying the collegiate style of coaching.

    MBrown is a good Salesman who was able to present the rosy picture to Jim Buss on defense, pnr, twin towers and Kobe. Lastly, he quoted a very attractive price for all the booties and freebies. What he lacked was the power of the Salesman to close the deal. He has no experienced in that area, doesn’t have the knack to imitate his former boss, Pops but Mbrown was an accommodating basketball authority jack of all trade and master of none.

    Having said all of those observations, our season was ruined by bad coaching. Proof: Game 2 & 3 were winnable games if Coaching knew how to manage the lead and defend where offense is coming from. Another proof: Nuggets have no decent Centers, but they were able to extend the series to 7 games because Karl was a better tactician than Mbrown. Ultimate proof: the short 66 game season, those who have been posting in this site knew, what kind of team are Lakers. They are good in first half and suck on the second half; the rotation are confusing where Ebanks was given a starter role then sits down 2/3 of the season and back again to starter role when Kobe went to bench; McRob, Goudelock and Murphy were main cast during the season then suddenly benched for good in the playoffs; Hill and Eyenga were traded to the Lakers in March and got frozen for whole month. That’s poor management in coaching, he’s not sure what he wants but a hit & miss method while tiring Kobe, Gasol and Bynum throughout the season with too many minutes. Why? He cannot win without the Big 3.

    It resonates to the wisdom summation from our legendary broadcaster, Chickie Baby: “Folks, it’s all over except the shouting. They couldn’t beat the Sister of Mercy, this team is getting beaten badly.”

  44. Is it me or have we take ZERO charges this season? I personally don’t like it when players take charges or flop, but there was definitely a few times last night where Blake or Kobe could’ve held their ground and forced a charging foul against Durant or Westbrook. We have completely abandoned the concept. Very disappointing night. Pissed that I spent $ on tickets. Uggg

  45. Erratum from my recent post, I meant Game 2 & 4 of this series.

  46. I agree with Kevin and Ray. Since Mike Brown gets raked over the coals for everything, give him some credit when his plays work. Game 2 (for the most part) was an exhibition in how to defend the Thunder.

    I think, when this series ends, that the Twin Tower experiment will have ended. Aside from a hobbled Bynum in 2010, most of our best work came with a true 4 (one with tremendous defensive versatility) next to Pau, as already mentioned above. It’s not worth the money from a business standpoint, and it’s not worth it from a basketball standpoint anymore.

    I don’t want to slam Kobe’s post-game comments here, because I’ve been very impressed by his leadership all season long, but this part of McMenamin’s piece is on point:

    “Gasol turned the ball over with 33.9 seconds left Saturday in a tied game, trying to pass it to Metta World Peace out on the perimeter, only to have the ball snatched up by Kevin Durant’s long reach. That led to Durant’s game-winning 3-pointer on the other end.

    “It’s just a bad read on Pau’s part,” Bryant said.

    In a similar situation late in Game 2 with the Lakers trying to nurse a lead in the final minutes, Bryant was the one throwing it away and into the “Go-Go-Gadget” arms of Durant.

    “That’s a great play by Durant,” Bryant said at the time. “It’s unconventional. He just jumped the passing lane and got a good steal.”

    The blame game is a tricky one, isn’t it?

    There’s plenty of ways to frame Gasol’s turnover in the aftermath and none of them changes the result of what happened, but each one is revealing.

    Bryant chose to blame Gasol, not only for the turnover, but for his overall play in Game 4, which he finished with just 10 points and five rebounds.”

  47. 46,

    Snoopy 2006, you said: “give him some credit when his plays work. Game 2 (for the most part) was an exhibition in how to defend the Thunder.”

    ~~IMO, what’s the good of new-found defense when you could not seal with a victory. It’s like having to do all the works but couldn’t reach the climax.

  48. Kobe might have been out of line with his comments, but is the message at least warranted?

    http://www.ocregister.com/sports/gasol-355059-bryant-game.html

    http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/

    Even in the McMenamin piece, the last line Snoopy quoted is “his overall play in Game 4… he finished with just 10 points and five rebounds.”

    Recall Pau’s Game 6 in the Denver series? Yeah, deja vu: 3 pts, 1-10, 3 boards, 1 asst. And after that game, Kobe “spoke” to both the bigs as well, both privately and in the post-game. Although his comments definitely weren’t as poisonous as yesterday’s.

    In the heat of the loss, we might play the blame game, and the national media might write their stories (as per usual about Kobe). But as Lakers8884 wrote, Pau has been rendered pretty much ineffective in the high post. The “twin towers” might be great on defense, but on offense, we’ve seen the limitations, especially without enough perimeter threats (athleticism, shooting, slashing) to create space.

  49. Decent season considering the roster and condensed schedule not to mention mediocre coach. The Lakers aren’t using amnesty on kobe . Pau is likely gone for young players and or picks . Lakers will try to build around Bynum. We are really spoiled as Lakers fans. We expect being in contention every year but its just not happening. I’m looking forward to a younger very different looking team next season.

  50. Unlike some here, I won’t be content with a moral victory this season.

    – Yes, the Lakers have surprised many people with their ability to hang with the young and talented Thunder team. However, the same old habits of giving up late leads and going into the predictable (and ineffective) Kobe-centric offense toward the end of 4th quarters doomed two very winnable games. No matter how you slice it, this series should be 3-1 in favor of the Lakers. I disagree with the naysayers of that sentiment because it wasn’t as if the Lakers trailed closely both games and -could have- had a chance to take the lead and win. The Lakers were up 7 with two minutes remaining in Game 2 and were leading by an average of ~10 points through 44 minutes of Game 4. Good execution down the stretch was not found.

    – Yes, despite my early skepticism of Mike Brown, his defensive schemes this series have impressed me. On the other hand, the lack of substitution or game plan adjustments are inexcusable when you are the coach of a team. Though professionals, it’s understandable that players can lose discipline during the heat of the moment in a very competitive playoff game on the second night of a back-to-back. It’s the coach’s job to identify, instruct and so on. Even Steve Kerr pointed it out on the TNT broadcast: everytime the Thunder cut the lead down to 7, the Lakers’ very next offensive play is feeding to Bynum in the post to extend back to 9, then 10+. When the Thunder decided to front Bynum with their smaller frontcourt players, it was Mike Brown’s job to realize that Bynum is likely fatigued and to make adjustments accordingly. He did not.

    – Yes, Kobe is one of the greatest player ever. I am thankful to have been able to watch his rise from a lanky rookie to best-player-in-the-world status. His game is beautiful and fluid – an art form. Despite that, I can never fully respect Kobe as a player nor a man. According to Kobe, the turnover he gave up late in Game 2 was a “great play” by Durant, while Pau’s errant pass to Durant last night was a “bad read.” No, they were both bad reads and good defensive plays. After so many years, it is still frustrating to see Kobe argue with a referee instead of hustling back to defend a fast break his turnover created, to see him curse, yell and demand the ball even when it was the smarter basketball play to not pass to him, to see Kobe’s negative and demoralizing body language even when the right play was made (a la Game 2, from MWP to Blake). We have seen Kobe mature into a man in front of our very eyes, but he is still very immature in many ways.

  51. Edwin – I get what you’re saying – I’m not saying MB is above reproach, clearly (I thought last night’s in-game adjustments were very poor, for e.g) … I’m just saying that when he does something wrong, everyone and their mother jumps on Brown. And when he does something right, there’s relative silence. I’m not saying MB’s playcalls were perfect down the stretch of Game 2 (I didn’t agree with that flair screen for Kobe), but there were player mistakes that weren’t MB’s fault. If Blake hits that 3 and we win, does MB go from pauper to prince? The game is very fickle. In Game 2, I thought MB’s defensive plan (and our players’ execution of it) gave us a great chance against a superior team.

    pmadulid – Pau definitely played subpar last night, there’s no question about that. Kobe was on point with that, if you’re talking about Pau’s game as a whole. The point McMenamin highlights is that when Durant steals a Kobe pass, it’s a great reaction from Durant. And when Durant steals a Pau pass, it’s a bad read from Pau. Subtle, but different ways to frame similar plays. Not saying Kobe is wrong. Just that he chooses his words carefully.

  52. Jimbo: Brown was riding guys hard but he was trying to win games. Bynum did play 43, 40, 40 minutes in succession. It’s the playoffs and he never stopped playing hard learning experience for Bynum.

    My only grip on subs was Sessions was having a heck of a game. Very effective. He was on the bench in crunch time. Lakers gave up a 1st for him to play. What a waste.

  53. Personally, I believe that MB has to institute offensive schematics that were not utilized when Fisher was on the team. Fisher is the spy that came in from the cold. He’s revealing tendencies about the players that one would only know if they were in the locker room or has been in close proximity to a player on a personal level.

    He’s told the team how to play Pau. How Pau doesn’t like any physicality and will become a shrinking violet over time in a series if you bump and lean on him.

    He’s told the coach to put Durant on Kobe because as anyone has ever known since the whole Piston’s playoff meltdown, Kobe has difficulty playing against defenders with long arms whether they’re good or not.

    Thus, the switch of Durant on Kobe late in the 4th quarter nets OKC wins as Kobe does not have the ball handling skills he once had nor does he have anyone to pass the ball to that’s capable of creating their own shot. Strike that there was one player on the floor capable of creating their own shot. Kobe drew the double team and passed the ball to Pau whom had the option of attacking the rim or throwing the lob to Bynum. Pau chose neither! He opted to throw the ball from the low block with four long armed defenders in the way to MWP at the 3pt line.

    The Thunder are not defending Blake because they know (through Fisher) that Blake is reticent to take a shot.

    Fisher has revealed that Bynum will disappear and become a non-factor if he isn’t offensively engaged. So they bated Bynum and allowed him to score in the first half and then used a different defensive scheme on him in the 2nd that had a two-fold effect; he was shut down on offense and on defense.

    The defense is keyed in on one player and one player only: Kobe! OKC fears no one else as the rest are passive.

    The Lakeshow is down 3-1 and can win game 5 and make the series 3-2. The longer the series goes the more it favors Pau, MWP, Bynum and Kobe.

    Lakers can and will defy the odds and play in a game 7 where it’ll be anyone’s game. There I said it!

  54. Edwin

    Great posts. I have been screaming to the moon all season how clueless Brown is. You managed to articulate it in a clear and organized way.

    Brown sold Jimmy a pile of hey and Jimmy with his computer bought understanding of the game bought that hey Luke he used as a horse trainer.

    The team won 3 games this series. Brown lost 2 of them with his inability to adjust and or fear of
    the recurring nightmare called Labron James failures.

    I only hope Jerry steps in to save his franchise and fire Muke Brown. Shaw is turning Pacers into a finalist with less talent and B. Scott would jump
    in a minute. Brown will always be clueless.

  55. Here is the thing, without Kobe we dont even have the lead so people pointing to Kobe’s shooting need to shut up. Pau is the single reason why we lost the game. His lack of aggressiveness is what made it easy for the Thunder to front and harass Bynum. Pau Killed us last year against Dallas and he is doing the same this year. So please you guys need to forget your analysis. Go watch the Spurs, Indiana or other team in the playoffs and tell me if you will find a player who plays with less heart than Pau. He just has to go. His time in LA is up.

  56. There was one adjustment that the Lakers didn’t make but should have. I understand that Sessions was terrible the first two games but he has played well since. I really think he should have been on the floor down the stretch. Penetrations cures a lot of offensive ills. He had proven in the first half that Westbrook could not stick to him. Penetration could have forced Perkins to help, freeing Andrew. Penetration and kick outs could have meant open shots for others.

    We have played with the Thunder for the last three games so I am not buying the whole they are soooo much better opinion of many here. The Thunder didn’t even win game two, we lost it. And in this game even though the Thunder’s play was more responsible for their comeback then in game two, we still made too many mental errors down the stretch.

    Our backs are against the wall but we know how to play these guys. It will be a hard fought game five. I am not predicting a win or a loss here, they have been to evenly matched to call. But if we do win, it’s back to L.A and if we survive that, there are several days off to rest before game 7.

  57. @Jimbo, I read your statement about Kobe’s bad body language after Blakes Missed shot and you consider that immature? LMAO. Look man, Kobe isn’t about right or wrong basketball play, he is about winning play and doesn’t care if that play is considered the winning play. That drive and attitude has won 5 championships. I wonder, you want him to accept failure??? Please guy lets be rational in our comments and not say things that make no sense. Kobe is more knowledgeable about basketball than everyone on this board. Also, ask yourself, what success did the players on this team have before comeliness to LA? Do you guys forget Pau being 0-12 in the playoffs before coming to LA?

  58. Everyone deserves blame for these losses. But Brown isn’t the main reason a coupe subs weren’t great. The difference is the players.

    Bynum and Westbrook have cancelled each other out. No matter how flashy Harden has looked he and Pau have been non factors this series.

    The difference is the superstar of each team. Durant has made the plays Kobe used to make. These teams are evenly matched coaching and down. The deciding factor has been Durant has finally surpassed Kobe as a player.

  59. Lastly, OKCs Roster is way superior to the Lakers Roster. The only player they will take off the Lakers is Kobe. They are a superior shooting team. The Lakers want to play inside out but have no pure outside shooters. The Lakers want to play inside out but their PF is heartless and their Center is 24 going on 40. So please people calling out Mike Brown need to chill. Yes he isn’t the best coach but for crying out loud he doesn’t have the parts and he hasn’t had the time to make this team his own. He has been over reliant on Bynum and Pau because he has not had a camp. Next year I fully expect Bigs not playing well on defense to get benched. For all the People talking about Coaching, please note that the OKC’s and Spurs are teams that have been together for several seasons, and have a system that the superstars buy into and support their head coach. Mike Brown needs time. Oh by the way, Andrew Bynum the anchor of our offense and defense hasn’t been the most cooperative of players this season. I will end with this: our Bigs never fully committed this season and we r paying for that lack of commitment this playoffs. We turned a series that should have been a sweep into a 7 game series and with their tired legs we are down 3-1 in a series we could easily be up 3-1.

  60. Sometimes it amazes me how all-encompassing Lakers fans’ hatred can be. Once they have a whipping boy, they refuse to see any positives from that player or coach – only the negatives. The world is not so black-and-white.

    Michael H – agreed. Ironically, Sessions punished the Thunder small lineup (not Pau) because as soon as Perkins and Ibaka sat, there was no shot-blocking on the floor. In the first half, that was a poor choice by Brooks and Sessions took advantage.

    It was funny/sad because as soon as the Thunder went small in the 2nd half and I noted Sessions’ advantage, MB took Sessions out. Sometimes you can only shake your head. I can understand going to Blake at the end of the 4th, when more shooting is needed. But that, to me, was the wrong time to sub Sessions out – he could have taken apart that Thunder lineup.

  61. Lakers just ran out of gas late. They just don’t have enough depth. The team played great for most of the game. But, when our thirtysomethings (Pau, Metta and Kobe) and Drew, who doesn’t have the greatest stamina, play around 40 minutes it isn’t hard to understand why the team fizzled at the end. The Lakers didn’t have the requisite energy to close. The Thunder’s young legs won out last night.

  62. I had no problem with what Kobe said. People should read all the quotes if they haven’t.

  63. Miami is taking Indiana’s will.

  64. Kevin, you are very funny. Westbrook couldn’t be stopped on the other hand Bynum couldnt get position on Perkins but in your eyes they cancelled each other out??? This is why I have said from day 1 Laker fans dont derserve Kobe. Durant has a better supporting cast and if you cant see that your are blind. Kobe controlled the game, he drove in to the lane when the score was 96-92 and the refs didn’t call a foul, Durant went the other way and on less contact got a a call. That is where this game was lost. That was a 4 point swing. Game tied you know what Pau failed to do and you are tell me Kevin Durant is better than Kobe??? Kevin Durant is taller than Kobe and anyone guarding him, that dadoes make him better than Kobe yet. And if the Bigs let MWP know that a screen wasn’t coming the closeout would have stopped the Hero shot that won the game. The same Hero shot Kobe gets killed
    for taking. Please people placing an ounce of blame on Kobe need to stop being sacrilegious.

  65. Brown’s insecurity as a first year coach in the media feeding frenzy that is the L.A. market manifested itself in his lack of developing the young players on his bench. Guys like G-Lock and Ebanks could have served a useful purpose by providing rest for the starters throughout the season, IMO. Matt’s lack of production, which was probably caused by injury for a 2nd year in a row, was also a killer. He was playing very well before his ankle injury. That being said, the last time I checked, it takes 4 victories to win a series. Lakers aren’t done yet!

  66. joeatlanta: westbrook couldn’t be stopped 2nd half Bynum was unstoppable 1st half. I’m fair when it comes to dishing out criticism no one player is above blame. Kobe sure seems to think he is he basically said Durant’s steal game 2 was luck and he needed the ball closer to the basket so he wouldn’t get the ball with so little time.

    In game 4 he was hot through 3 quarters. Went cold in the 4th those are facts. He admitted to taking tough shots and he missed 8 in the 4th. Sessions should’ve been in the game, Pau should be more aggressive. Kobe should shoot better than 20% in the 4th to give his team a chance.

    Kobe and Durant are both one on one players. One is efficient one is not doesn’t change one’s greatness. That’s just the facts at this point.

  67. Kevin, the reason why Kobe shot poorly in the 4th is because we failed possession after possession to get to the initial read, “get the ball to Bynum”. Go look at the spacing in the 3rd vs the 4th. In the 3rd the plays were for Kobe in the 4th the initial plays were for Bynum. Kobe’s shooting is more a product of Bynums ineffectiveness. Bynums ineffectiveness is a byproduct of his tiredness and Pau’s lack of expressiveness. Since you are an expert on all things Kevin Durant please answer this question, how effective would Durant have been if Westbrook was not Killing Blake in the 4th??? Kobe was the only person willing to be aggressive in the 4th. If Bynum could get himself in position to get a simple entry pass, if Pau was able to be a threat on offense, Kobe would have gotten better shots. Please please please watch the games objectively. Dont just play the result. Lastly, you dont know basketball if you think because Kevin Durant hit a 3 and Kobe missed that makes Durant better. LOL. Just Kobe’s footwork alone is something that Durant cant fathom. Kobe is the still the better player, the difference is that Kobe plays with teammates that have no fire. Perkins plays with fire anyday, Westbrook plays with fire, Harden plays with fire, Ibaka the same thing. Apart from MWP who on the Lakers plays with that level of intensity night in night out??

  68. All have their opinions.

    It’s very, very simple.

    OKC is the current and the future.

    Lakers are tbe past.

    Look how Spurs, OKC even the Clips improved their benches this year.

    We got Kapono, Murphy, MCRoberts to go along with Blake. These 4 don’t even make 60% of NBA teams. At same time Lakers throw away LO, Brown and Fisher, the backbone of the team and managed to dump 2 first round drafts also.

    Lakers did the best they could with a garbage bench, bad guards and weak coach. Tough years are a coming.

  69. Funky Chicken May 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I’m surprised by the relative silence over the Lakers’ inability to counter the Thunder strategy to front Bynum in the post. So far, the “analysis” seems to consist of criticisms of Bynum for not working harder, or of perimeter players for not passing it to him.

    Where is the criticism for the coach for not using a timeout to remind the team what they surely must have been told throughout the season? The Lakers almost never started Bynum out on the weak side and used back screens to free him as he cuts to the strong side. They almost never reversed the ball around the perimeter (with a purpose) so that Bynum could pin his defender to what would then be his back side?

    There is no defensive scheme that takes everything away. By fronting Bynum, the Thunder were making themselves vulnerable to good ball movement and Bynum rolls to the basket. Ibaka was camped out near the free throw line (where he routinely muscled Pau), so ball rotation and a lob to Andrew was there.

    Mike Brown made a good defensive adjustment after game 1, although most of that adjustment appears to be that he got Bynum and Gasol to play more aggressively in PnR defense. Aside from that, there’s been a tremendous scarcity of adjustments, and last night was just another example.

    Bottom line: when you are the deeper, better team (as OKC is), you have larger margin for error. The thinner, weaker team doesn’t have the same benefit. It is hard to imagine the Lakers being outplayed for 86 of 96 minutes in games 2 and 4 and still managing to win, but that’s what the Thunder did–and they did so, in part, because our coach was unable to adjust when the wheels started to fall off….

  70. joeatlanta: I said in the previous post DURING the game the bigs weren’t fighting for position and Pau was getting pushed around. Go Check. Everyone shares blame but shooting 2-10 is unacceptable no matter how you try and shade the attempts.

    I’ve watched the game. I saw Lakers standing wide open as Kobe is shooting the ball in the 4th. Everyone is at fault for some of this but it’s the ball handlers job to find the open man espicially when your struggling. That’s when Abbott has a point about the open man. Kobe makes miraculous shots but takes tough shots when someone is open. Pau turnover could be reason to say Kobe should keep shooting if that is going to happen. But I just saw LeBron pass to a open haslem twice when lebron was on fire. That’s the gift and the curse with Kobe you get the first 3 quarters then the 4th quarter sometimes. It happens it’s happened.

    Durant being better than Kobe doesn’t take away from Kobe’s place in the game. Only a complete homer isn’t willing to say Durant isn’t better.

  71. Good Post.

    Lakers need to significantly improve the way things are run next year if they want to get back to the finals.

    OFFENSE NEEDS MAJOR WORK. It’s the kiss of death to STAND AROUND and rely on 25-foot contested jumpshots from a 33-year old fatigued player. TEAM NEEDS A TRUE 2ND OPTION down the stretch, Gasol has proven to not want to be the guy. Bynum CANNOT become that player, he is too SLOW, immobile and turnover prone when pressured. Blake cannot and should not be in the game at crunch time, Sessions needs to be developed more next year and be able to contribute down the stretch of games.

    Down the stretch it was a COLLECTIVE CHOKE and the whole team faltered!

    I counted:
    7 bricks from KOBE
    2 bricks, 1 turnover from WORLD PEACE
    1 brick from BYNUM
    1 brick from BLAKE
    1 Missed layup from HILL
    1 bad pass from GASOL

  72. @67

    thank you for doing the “footwork” for an “effective”, “expressive” post, written with a lot of “passion” and “fire”. ;-)

  73. Funky Chicken May 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Looking back to the beginning of “training camp” and the trade that wasn’t to be, a ball-handling PG who controls tempo is exactly what the Lakers needed. I don’t know that Pau will fetch the Lakers a quality starting-level PG at this point, but right now the Lakers are a team that is pretty easily defended by the quality teams in the league.

    There is nobody on the perimeter who needs to be so much as paid attention to, either as a shooter or as a threat to take the ball into the lane and create. That, in turn, allows defenses to sag off the outside, surround our immobile big guy, and play their best perimeter defender on Kobe. It’s a relatively simple defensive philosophy, and one we’ll see a heck of a lot more next year if we don’t upgrade at the lead guard spot.

  74. #56 — great post. I have no idea why Sessions was not in. Lakers have missed outside shooting and dribble penetration for years. Finally have a player that can do the latter and he is out during critical stretches. Bizarre.

  75. I’m still very depressed.

    Kind of fitting way to lose, though: Durant “clutch.” Bryant “plutch.”

    From the beginning of the season, I felt that our Laker season would depend on 1. “chemistry” and 2. use of Pau Gasol. I should have added “coaching.”

    More than anything else, that elusive team “chemistry” hinged on the ability of Kobe to predictably adapt his role to his mortality–and he sometimes did–but not predictably enough.

    In terms of team development, management got much younger–but Brown failed to develop these younger players during the regular season, playing a few veteran players too many minutes.

    Key competitors were going 10 and 11 deep, constrantly refining. Against either OKC or San Antonio, the adding of at least McRoberts and Ebanks to the rotation would be a great move to protect 4th quarter energy: if it had been properly prepared.

    Just think what would have happened if the Laker veterans had been less healthy during the regular season with Brown’s mindset.

    Gasol is at his best when he plays fewer minutes in a “go to” role–like he does with Spain. Teaming with Bynum from the top of the key needs to be used sparingly for maximum effect.

    I don’t know if anyone could have persuaded Kobe to adapt to his emerging mortality, but Brown didn’t even try. The team rarely was in balance, and Brown was rarely in charge.

    Obviously, I’m not optimistic about game 5.

  76. After reading this and other laker blogs/forums i have a kind of a general question/comment. Did people think that this kobe-led dynasty/era of lakers basketball was just gonna go on forever? All sports dynasties eventually end right? Players get old, injured, coaches retire, etc. And i think most fans realize this. Why then when the decline eventually happens there’s so much shock, anger, bewilderment from fans/media?

    What ‘s interesting is it didn’t use to be this way or at least i don’t remember it being this way. In 1991 when the lakers lost to the bulls in the finals there of course was dissappointment, but there was a general acceptance that that showtime era was on its last legs and the bulls were always gonna win. Talking to people there just wasn’t that much anger about that team losing. In fact i remember reading articles that celebrated that team’s achievements instead of mourning it’s death. Just interesting how the way media and fans look at sports has changed over the years.

  77. It is all the more depressing because, like mentioned earlier, we could have been up 3-1.

    Well, at the very least, this isn’t like last year where I felt really bad about the team. This year, we are going down with a fight.

    If there is one thing I would wish is NOT to make Bynum’s statement come true ‘closeout games are kinda easy’.

    It would bug me to no end if we can’t push this at least one more game.

  78. this series is pain the heart to watch… the 3 previous game should have been ours. we could have been up 3-1. but its the opposite. the lakers might need to put up a Mission Impossible act to win this one. and the way the series is being played out, its chance is 1%.

    i am really furious about the illegal moving screens of OKC, i cannot remember them being called for one, when all their PnR plays on top are obvious moving picks. the push by Perk and Ibaka down low cannot be seen too. kobe being push when backing down, handchecks and body contact all over but no calls. man, i am beginning to think that we cannot get calls during 4th qtr.

    and the worst part is we cant execute during the last minute stretch. this series is really a heartbreaker.

    Lakers – do the impossible please. :-I

  79. If Dr. Jerry Buss is reading this site or her lovely daughter, Jeanie, you could tell that there is something terribly wrong.

    Passionate fans who have no experience in professional basketball coaching a ton of ideas in second guessing the new coach, it means that there 1001 ways of winning the game but didn’t really care the losing routes not only with this last game, two games in this series, two series but throughout the season.
    That’s what is lacking in this coaching, “no passion, no lineage of purple and gold blood”, they’re all hired guns recycled from other teams.

    I would rather lose the season with coaches who have Lakers experience as a player, staff or in triumph. They know the Lakes pride, our Spring tradition and what is really at stake in this series.

  80. Should have been 3-1 in favor the Lakers…many golden opportunity in game 2 & 4, , indeed, luck is not on Lakeshow, props to OKC for showing some guts
    …as a true Laker fan since three peat era,,just take it one game at a time,,

  81. Why then when the decline eventually happens there’s so much shock, anger, bewilderment from fans/media?

    I think it just seems that way in part because of the internet. Also, three other reasons:

    1. The Lakers have been ahead very late in two of these games.
    2. This series draws a line under the veto.
    3. Lakers fans really want another title before Kobe retires.

  82. Mike in Qingdao May 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Jimbo touched upon it, but I think everyone else is missing something.

    On this team, is there anyone besides MWP that actually likes playing with Kobe? And that’s only because MWP is crazy. Bynum laughs when Kobe fails at the end of games.

    If you miss the shot Kobe throws you under the bus, but if you don’t take the shot he throws you under the bus.

    If they take

  83. Please stop repeating we should be up 3 to 1. That us a lie. More like series should be over 0 to 4. KD best Lakers 2 times with clutch plays. Kobe and tben Pau chicked with passes and Kibe us shooting 20% in the last 5 minutes and missed every clutch shot.

    We should have won all four games last year aganist Dallas if only we would have made all our shots and they would have missed!

    Just silly! They have better clutch players. We have none. They won because they can, we lost because we no longer can.

    Enough people, you all are starting to sound like the Muke Brown excuse machine!

  84. Mike (#81) whats your point?? How many people liked playing with Jordan?? Is basketball about being friendly with one another?? Are they playing for free?? You basically just said the laziest workers dont like working with the hardest worker? Does that make any sense??? Do you realize that Bynum is 24 years old and playing he is 40? Why should anyone care if Bynum likes playing with Kobe? Kobe didnt throw anyone who missed a shot under the bus. He called out a player in Pau who for the 2nd straight playoffs has gone soft and weak on the team. Some fans just make you wonder if they are watching the same games you watch.

  85. I think some folks are worried too much about team dynamics. The Lakers just need more talent. Getting it will be tough, however.

    And, as I and others have noted, this series is not officially over, and each of the last three games could have gone either way.

  86. Geez my typing sucks worse then Matt Barnes shooting. Sorry. Can’t edit on iPad.

  87. rr — I agree, we as fans, through the media, spend an awful lot of time worrying about how these guys feel about each other when in fact the talent just isn’t there. Laker management rolled the dice and tried to keep the core together for a third championship. It fell apart, for whatever reasons. They then tried to adjust, given the constraints of the new CBA, and were shot down. We will never know what the Kobe/CP3/Bynum Lakers would have done (perhaps Howard instead of Bynum?), but we do know the Front office saw some of the same issues and tried to address.

  88. I’m really surprised how hardly anyone has mentioned how the back to back factored into this loss. In a game decided by 3 points, I think 4th quarter fatigue totally undermined the Lakers. Fatigue was a bigger factor than shot selection, aggressiveness or strategy, IMO.

  89. Funky, spot on. This team is “destined” lose when we don’t see so much as a single lob pass into a Bynum being fronted. But that’s not only on coach, but also everyone else on the floor. And that applies without Bynum doing anything but stand there, so never mind reversing over, back screens, etc. Perkins is rather shorter and can’t jump to save his life. Bynum did what he could, leaned on him with his forearm into his back. For the lob that never came.

    Joe Atlanta, get a grip there lad. Kobe was 12-28 after going 9-25 in both games 2 and 3, with his epic meltdown in game 2 the sole and entire cause of that loss. This season is his 3rd worst FG% after his first two seasons, and this season’s TS% and eFG% are his worst ever. He is, this season, as the one soul so aptly wrote about a week or so ago, an inefficient volume scorer. Game 4 was simply more of the same, when as has been the recurrent and defining theme of this team this season, Kobe decided to abandon the post game that had worked so well in the first half. His hot shooting there in the 3rd prevented a sooner destruction, but when he came back in in the 4th, ice cold, he shot them out of the game.

    Which brings me to the one other soul, #30. Spot on re your first paragraph. That’s why, by the way, Lamar closed games under Phil. Wasn’t simply for defensive purposes as more than a few have claimed. Was for offense as well, to keep two complimentary and not two of the same on the court, with one thus having to play outside his comfort zone. Re your middle paragraph there, the team would have a consistent no. 2 if Kobe would come to understand that he doesn’t have the same lift (as you wrote), doesn’t have the same handles, and believe it or not, like it or not, he’s also lost a half step. The sooner he realizes that, the sooner he will cease to be the tragic hero in this Greek tragedy.

    Oh, and Atlanta Joe, and some others, who keep offering the same lame excuse re Kobe getting the ball, note the first vid here, with about 8 minutes left in the 4th, with the report that the play was a Kobe ISO all the way:

    http://www.hardwoodparoxysm.com/2012/05/20/kobe-bryant-and-faith-as-small-as-a-mustard-seed/

    Note the rest as well, particularly the drive into the teeth of the defense with everyone except Bynum wide open. But, yeah, it’s everyone else’s fault and not Kobe’s. In case you missed Greek literature in your studies, Greek tragedy is defined by hubris, that excessive self-confidence or ambition that leads to tragedy. As I said, that’s games 2 and 4 of this series. And Pau was indeed wide open when Kobe clanked that 3 there. And that’s why Bynum spoke to “trust issues”.

  90. This has always been about a lack of enough talent. When you are the “6th” best team in the league, you get eliminated in the 2nd round. I agree with rr – there is still basketball to be played, but we came into the playoffs as a long shot, + those odds have certainly not improved. As everyone knows – I pin the lack of talent (and bench) on the FO, + I have often been criticized for that. However, what you will not see from me, is any excessive criticism of the Big 3 or MB in this series, because in my opinion, we are performing up to expectations. MB has this team going at least 1 game farther than last year’s team, with less talent. KB + AB both had better year’s this year. And Pau is what he is. I said all along his value would go down, and sure enough it dropped faster than Facebook’s stock at the opening bell. We can evaluate the season when it is done, but for now there is no need to criticize coaches and players who have performed as well as we could have expected (that is of course unless we got the type of breaks that the Celtics have received).

  91. Slappy:

    Since you like literature:

    Just because they have Achilles on their team, is no reason to lambast Hector.

    Troy may not have had good destiny in this war : )

  92. As a coach, as a player and as a fan one wants to know what they are going to get on a game to game basis. The worst type of players to play with are the kind whom pick and choose what games they want to show up for and whom pick what possession they want to show up for.

    Derek Fisher got the pass from Kobe because Kobe knew that Derek wanted to win and was going to give his all on the floor on both ends. No matter how limited his basketball ability he was going to give it his all. Also, Derek was not afraid to shoot the ball in crunch situations.

    It doesn’t matter how much talent you have if you: a) Only play hard every 4th or 5th game. b) You’re afraid to shoot the ball. c) You don’t play defense to offset your lack of offensive abilities.

    Every time you think Blake is going to turn the corner and give the Lakers and offensive game like he played when he was with the Clippers against the Lakers. Somehow he always goes back to a non-threatening player.

    In one game he’s willing to take the shot and the next 3-4 games he’s only a person that brings the ball across half-court.

    Kobe doesn’t know when the players on his team are ready to play. They are too inconsistent! Kobe is always ready to play, be it good or bad he gives it his all.

    The two 7-footers are unpredictable. The Lakers nor Kobe know if they are going to be rebounders, shot-blockers or scorers on a game to game basis. How is that conducive to building confidence?

  93. Interesting stuff, will not reiterate what others have already said, but will say this…

    The series is not over and if anyone in the league can comeback from a 3-1 hole against the thunder, its the Lakers because they still have the size advantage and Kobe. I HAVE to believe it means something that we controlled the hell out of the majority of these games, but unfortunately couldn’t close them out. How likely is it? Probably not very…but as always, gotta keep the faith. Aint over till its over, and you can only win one at a time. Here’s hoping Kobe doesn’t go quietly into the night and makes some noise if he’s going to get knocked out…

  94. Rallytime: “I HAVE to believe it means something that we controlled the hell out of the majority of these games, but unfortunately couldn’t close them out.”

    ———————————–

    It does mean something: The Lakers have been collapsing late, in this playoff round and during the regular season as well (if memory serves). This speaks to too much age and not enough bench.

  95. Blake may turn into a different player because he doesn’t know when he’s going to get the ball. Guys like Chalmers, Neal, Green, Foye play with confidence because they know they’re getting the ball when open. Players have been known to stand around spectating at times because they know the shot is going up.

    Just look at the Spurs they are overacheivers in my eyes because they play right and hit the open man. Philly does the same, Boston does, Miami, Indiana too. All those teams players are always fully engaged because they know at any time on the court they could get the ball. When your involved in the game your engaged when your not you drift.

  96. First: before the series started, a lot of people did not give the Lakers much of a chance to win this series. Even before we got past Denver, many on this site, and other sites, weren’t giving the Lakers any chance at all to get any games against OKC. After game 1, many people I know texted me and said: THIS IS GOING TO BE A SWEEP. But the Lakers have played really well (save that Game 1 blow out). They played exceptionally well Game 2 and were 1:30 seconds away from stealing one away from the Thunder. Game 3, the Lakers won and did it well. With good team work and great defensive schemes all the way around. Game 4, the lakers WERE dominating the game really well until the collapse.

    I do not believe in Moral victories, but THE LAKERS ARE PLAYING WELL. We just aren’t following thru and aren’t closing out. Is that fatigue, a lack of trust with the teammates, hero ball, new coaching schemes? I don’t know. I have opinions about what it is, but no one can say that the Lakers are being blown out. Many of us know that OKC are favored, and they are winning, but the Lakers are not out of it.

    Second: It seems that Mike Brown has a pretty good defensive scheme in the last three games. The “Westbrook-Durant zone” is a great game plan to counter their athleticism. Granted, they went on a run in the end, but that was more a fault of the Lakers offensive sets than our lack of defense.

    Third: It is easy to scapegoat someone. Pau is the easiest because he was the one who turned it over late. Though that wasn’t the reason for the lost 13 point lead. It is sad to think that he will be the one person who takes the blame. Of all the people on our team, Pau is the one who has sacrificed most of his game for the good of the team. If it weren’t for his sacrifice, Bynum doesn’t become an all star. So to blame him for trying to be the playmaker of our team, when that is all he has done all season, is a cop out.

    It was a collective lost last night. If Kobe gets the accolades for the victories, then he too shares blame in losses. This is not just on Pau. This is on the entire team and coaching staff. One person does not lose a 13 point lead.

    Fourth: If the Lakers head are still right, and if they can focus on their strengths and ability to keep OKC within reach, then there is a chance. And I believe they can. They truly were in control for 42 minutes. They just need to make it 48.

  97. @96 – Radius1238,

    I’m with you on this one. Nuff said…

  98. After the post-season, now it’s right time to trade Gasol for another PF.
    Need someone like Kevin Love (my man) to spread the floor in order for Bynum to operate in the low post.

  99. Chris Paul blew that game for the Clippers by not passing the ball. That’s what they’d say about Kobe.

  100. No way we could have beat Spurs anyway. That’s a team and a Ciach!

  101. Just watched the Spurs finish off the Clips. There is a lesson there for those who think this Laker team is over and needs to be blown up. Two years ago most people had buried the Spurs. What they did was add some good young players around their big three. And the guys they added were not stars, most of them were cast offs.

    The Lakers can do the same. They already have some young guys they can develop. Ebanks, Sessions, Hill all should be kept and developed. Now they need to find two shooters. One for the first unit and one for the second. You can not establish a consistent inside game with players that can spread the floor. The Bynum/Gasol combo would be very hard to stop with shooters that defenses have to respect.

  102. Slappy,

    Hardwood Paroxysm has always trashed Kobe, going back to the days when Matt Moore was involved in it. Kobe bears some responsibility for the team’s being down 3-1, but people who focus on him to that extent usually are venting and have an agenda. The HP guys are in that group.

    Your points about Odom and Kobe’s handle are correct.

  103. his epic meltdown in game 2 the sole and entire cause of that loss.

    One thing you need to learn, there lad–even when defeat is narrow, it has many causes. The fact that you said that shows you are not about analysis.

  104. It’s really very simple. The Lakers down have any consistent scoring off the bench, so that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on Pau, Andrew, and Ramon to be consistent.
    And they aren’t.

    Ramon would be a great change of pace sixth man to lead a 2nd unit and be unleashed to push the pace.
    He would bring an easy 13-16 ppg off the bench if he was used this way.

  105. (Uprooted) Adam in Boston May 21, 2012 at 4:55 am

    If history is any indication, Game 5 is going to be an OKC blowout. Hate to say it, but often the Lakers don’t show up for elimination games — Boston ’08, Dallas ’11.

    It’s been close, but OKC is going to shove it down our throats.

    Buss is wise to deal Pau this off-season and retool.

  106. I just want to say that I believe in the Lakers. Until we are eliminated, and for that we have to lose 4 games, I will support the team.
    Then if that happen, I will say congratulations and well done to the other team, accept the loss (which is part of sports) and will move on.
    For those who will start crying and complaining about your team’s players, you are soft.

  107. jcibal: Laker fans are soft. I have been posting about this. Other teams have seas of identical tee-shirts, + we have a crowd “waiting to be entertained”. Posting on a blog doesn’t hurt the team. Going to the game and being silent does. When I go to games – I scream and yell + try to get others to do the same. Muddywood: I understand your post, however plugging the hole in the 2nd team just opens one up on the first team. MB should not have to make that trade off, but you are correct that he does.

  108. Warren Wee Lim May 21, 2012 at 9:05 am

    The Lakers see the writing on the wall. This is what down (but not just yet out) means and feels. We will assess our options come summer, possibly even entertain something around draft time.

    But in the meantime, this is a chance to make history. Game 5 is yet to be played.

  109. Kevin Ding as usual gets it mostly right. But he should have focused more on this sentence of his… “At a time in his career when Bryant needs more help and not less…” as opposed to this one that was the thread running through his entire article… “So Bryant wasn’t nearly as gentle with his prodding this time, repeated answering postgame questions by explaining what a drain Gasol was as Serge Ibaka, supposedly assigned to shadow Gasol and well-known in NBA circles as a sensational help defender who is undependable on his own man, was drifting to support Kendrick Perkins’ fronting defense against Andrew Bynum.” The bottom line is Gasol isn’t the great player he once was… But more importantly… Either is Kobe Bryant. Ding mentioned that in passing… But shouldn’t that be the lead? Kobe isn’t the same player. He needs more help. The big story should be on a team now with Kobe, Pau, and Andrew Bynum… It’s the young Center who attracts the double teams and teeth of the defense. Again… You’re what the defense says you’re.  

    http://www.ocregister.com/sports/gasol-355059-bryant-game.html

  110. I know I am biased… Since he is by far my favorite player…but to me Ron Artest is the most underrated player in the league. He is a big time playoff player. On both ends of the floor. I’ve never seen a guy change a game defensivley the way RonRon does every postseason game. I’m going to be honest… Forget about the last two postseasons… Because of course Artest played better as Gasol has choked a bit… But I think Artest is just as valuable as Gasol. In the regular season it’s not close, but in the playoffs they are comparable. Including defense… One could say Artest is better. When the offseason comes… I hope the Lakers keep on Artest and his average contract and trade Gasol for a perimeter player (Iggy) since that’s the only way Pau brings back a talent of any kind. I mean trading big for small should have some benefit.

  111. Good recap, but this was, for sure, Kobe Bryant’s fault. It wasn’t that Kobe took the majority of the shots down the stretch, it was that he took almost all of the shots down the stretch. And he did most of it in an iso situation, taking tough shots that were contested. Yes, Bynum and Gasol were being fronted, but the Lakers could have done something to get them the ball. Instead, Kobe made the rational decision to take ten seconds off the clock and then shoot the ball pretty much every time down the floor. People stopped moving because, at this point, they know the drill. It doesn’t matter what is working, Kobe is going to shoot the ball down the stretch. There is no use moving because Kobe doesn’t trust anyone but himself to make the big shots. You know OKC is going to make a big offensive run at some point, they are just too good. The problem is that happened precisely when Kobe was masturbating all over the floor.

  112. Kobe has given me 5 championships. His heart and desire will never be questioned. Pau, Bynum not the same. If Pau had any heart the Lakers would have won 3 in a roll. If Pau had any heart we wouldn’t have been swept last year. My point being, everyone in the playoffs is talented, it comes down to heart and want. The heartless ones wilt in big moments. I would take a loss easier if the main guys on the team play well. I will keep asking this question, how many plays are called for Javale McGee and Kennett Farrid??? Our Big men are spoiled, lazy and slow. They only show up when they feel like it and when they show up they feel entitled and demand touches. Regardless of where the shot is coming from if you have 2 7-footers you expect offensive rebounds. You expect to control the Board on defense. So blind people can keep blaming Kobe and shot selection but realize we scored 100 points and a team that is supposed to be a defensive team couldn’t win. Our Bigs killed us.
    For crying out loud it takes 10 secs for Bynum to get into position and then he cant even establish position Perkins is pushing him out. Bynum is 24 and he runs like he is 40 and people are telling me Kobe is to blame??? smh

  113. Joe Atlanta: With KB – you have three types of people.
    1) Total Fans No Matter What (like you and I)
    2) Haters
    3) Those that go hot and cold based on his last shot/game.
    KB has not had a great shooting year, especially in the playoffs. However – you and I know that we would be nowhere without him. The haters will bash, and the hot/cold people always have some version of “he should be more like Magic”. We have accepted him for what he is a long time ago, and that is the greatest Laker of all time, and “close” to the greatest NBA player of all time.

  114. Kevin Ding as usual gets it mostly right. But he should have focused more on this sentence of his… “At a time in his career when Bryant needs more help and not less…” as opposed to this one that was the thread running through his entire article… “So Bryant wasn’t nearly as gentle with his prodding this time, repeated answering postgame questions by explaining what a drain Gasol was as Serge Ibaka, supposedly assigned to shadow Gasol and well-known in NBA circles as a sensational help defender who is undependable on his own man, was drifting to support Kendrick Perkins’ fronting defense against Andrew Bynum.” The bottom line is Gasol isn’t the great player he once was… But more importantly… Either is Kobe Bryant. Ding mentioned that in passing… But shouldn’t that be the lead? Kobe isn’t the same player. He needs more help. The big story should be on a team now with Kobe, Pau, and Andrew Bynum… It’s the young Center who attracts the double teams and teeth of the defense. Again… You’re what the defense says you’re.  

    http://www.ocregister.com/sports/gasol-355059-bryant-game.html

  115. @ Andrew, people like you make me sick. Dude, there is a 24 secs shot clock. You have 8 secs to get the ball past the timeline. It takes Bynum around 10-16 sec to get from post to post, then he spends another 3-5 secs fighting for position because his opponent is already in position. Bynum post up is the original play, but by the time Bynum is ready it usually 10 secs or less left on the clock and the ball is already in Kobe’s hands or finds it way there. So based on what you have seen from this inconsistent group what do you expect Kobe to do? (Pau is lost in space mind you while all of this is happening). What I just described is what happens to the Lakers late in games. Our Lazy bigs have no legs late. Go look at the 1st half, Bynum ran the floor and the guards (including Kobe) rewarded him with lobs that led to dunks. Kobe improvises and goes ISO only because the original play no longer has enough time to materialize. Bynum complained about not getting the ball and wondered why he didn’t get it. He should ask himself that question. If he ran to get deep position he would get the ball. It is Bynum’s lack of fitness that is the problem. You cant build an offense and defense around a guy who has no stamina. Please people open your eyes and mind and see whats really happening in games.

  116. 1/2decaf: I hear you on that. Keep rooting until someone has beat us 4 times, and then like you said we will evaluate. I will say this as a point of humor towards the action you want: Does anyone have a trade exception that large? : )

  117. I don’t think I can watch the game tonight. My wife’s family is from OK and I can say loud enough how small, selfish, cold-heart, biased, etc those people are. They will LOVE every single minute of the carnage with total disrespect for the game of basketball and for the city of Los Angeles. They hate us. My brother-in-law came to Vegas but refused to visit us here because he’s SMALL!!! That idiot will call me later on today from Tulsa’s country club (“its’s better to be the best of the worst” is his moto…pathetic).

    I hate today…sorry to vent.

    Lakers forever!

  118. At #115-Joe ATL….

    I have to wonder how much of Bynum’s inability to sprint is due to his chronic knee condition and how much is due to not being in peak condition. I never see him sprinting to get back on defense. The one play in game 4 where he outran OKC’s bigs and got an easy transition basket was stunning because it was such an aberration from his usual pace.

    I’ve been following this thread and must agree with your spirited defense of Kobe Bryant. For those of us who appreciate Kobe, no defense is necessary. For those that don’t, no defense is possible.

  119. For those of us that have been highly skeptical about the Laker’s chances all year – did the team just spend two first round picks on players that won’t be here next year?

    Sessions does not look like the solution at PG and he can be an unrestricted FA this summer. Hill, while looking like a nice addition to our front court, will also be unrestricted.

    The picks certainly would have come in handy as the FO begins its real task of rebuilding. They could have been used to sweeten a trade with Pau (and the $40 million left on his contract). Or they could have been used to draft young talent/legs.

    Hindsight is always 20/20 but the mid season moves appear to have done little to salvage this season or make it easier to retool the team for the future.

  120. Robert,

    I respectfully disagree with your views on Laker fans at Staples. I will not exchange the type of fans here in the Southland to any NBA city. Call them fair weather fans, you won’t see them screaming or wearing colors just to show their fanaticism to the team. There is a mixture of fashion in the most passionate way if you’re in LA, it goes with the melting pot landscape. Don’t expect one wearing colored t-shirts even if it is given free as if they’re in an entertainment place of a communist country, where people are forced to wear uniforms to show their true colors and nice for TV viewers of one column of white or one column of blue.

    Here in LA, you can’t even moved a homeless out of his comfort sidewalk or forced someone to speak only one language. However, there is homogeneity in diversity and everybody maintain their privacy in freedom.

    On the contrary, if the Lakers show efforts, show spirit of willingness to fight back, there will be team support all the way to our No. 1 fan, Jack Nicholson who does not mind his fame and fortune being blemished by exposing himself to the public. In other words, Laker fans have common sense based on their inherent basketball knowledge fully educated by the golden voice the late Chick Hearn. It is a common sense approach that if the player is lazy and the coach is inept, they show no inhibition to say it in the open because that is the best way to correct the problem than believing blindly on something that is flawed. If something is right, they’re are there even if the game is shown in other parts of the world.

  121. I wonder why they don’t go back to Denver Nugget game 7 playstyle, as in, force Bynum to think of defense while putting Pau into a first option while Kobe as second/decoy/slasher, it seem to work a lot better than posting up with Bynum since he doesn’t have the capacity to pass like Pau, which at time lead to stagnant post up in which he get pressure into a passing out and then repost.

  122. 121) The Luke and Fish salary dumps did save close to $10 MM off next year’s payroll. Just sayin!

  123. Robert,

    Maybe there is one more group regarding KB: People who try to call it like it is. Sometimes Kobe really does shoot too much. Sometimes he really does monopolize the ball. It happens from time to time. Just like Gasol wilts from time to time. And Bynum loafs from time to time. What gets annoying is how other players will be taking to task for their shortcomings, but we Laker fans want to give Kobe every pass in the book.

    Just because there are media types that want to paint Kobe with a broad brush doesn’t mean we Laker fans should turn into complete homers as a response. No one with any basketball sense will ever deny Kobe is a great player. We can aknowledge that while still being honest about how his game has changed.

  124. @ Joe Atlanta–rewatch the fourth quarter. Bynum and Gasol were having trouble finding position, yes. But Mike Brown didn’t run any type of off-ball screen to get them open. Moreover, the bigger issue was that every play down the stretch was designed to be a Kobe iso. It wasn’t that the bigs were not working hard enough, it was that every play down the stretch was designed to get Kobe a shot.