Lakers/Thunder (Game 5): The End

Rey Moralde —  May 21, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 90, Thunder 106
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 94.7, Thunder 111.6
True Shooting %: Lakers 55.7%, Thunder 55.5%

Ya know… I don’t even know how to start this as I have the unenviable task of writing this Game 5 recap. I’m going to be all over the place (I’m probably not even going to make sense) and I’ll try my best to be my usual upbeat mood. But it’s tough when your favorite team gets eliminated from the postseason.

And that’s what happened today to the 2012 version of the Los Angeles Lakers. After quite the rollercoaster of a season, the Lakers’ campaign is done after losing Game 5 to OK City, 106-90. Yes, there were times when the Lakers outplayed the Thunder… and we even had fleeting hope that they could pull off the upset series win over Oklahoma City. But the difference between a good team and an elite team is that they make the big plays under pressure. And that’s what the Thunder did when they snatched away Games 2 and 4 against the Lakers.

In this game? At times, it seemed only Kobe Bryant (42 points… and he was killing himself in this game carrying the team on his back) wanted to go to a Game 6. Andrew Bynum’s selective focus this game basically summed up his year: all-world center at times… and goofy space cadet at other times. It’s frustrating but we all put up with it because he was so friggin’ good. Pau Gasol had an otherwise good game (14 points, 16 rebounds, 3 blocks) but they seemed to have little impact on the overall game itself. Metta World Peace tried hard on both sides, too (11 points) but it was amazing he only had five shots. The flagrant foul was a bad call but, ultimately, that’s not what lost the Lakers the game as bad calls happen throughout each game.

Ramon Sessions, aside from having a couple of moments in the playoffs (big three-pointer in Game 4 against Denver), never looked comfortable out in the bright lights, including tonight. This is where we appreciate guys like Derek Fisher (who is doing decent in the postseason) because they’re not afraid of those moments. Steve Blake was invisible today after having an up-and-down postseason. Jordan Hill, at least, showed some hustle and life that you wished you saw out of the other bigs.

Mike Brown did all he could. Yes, we all wished he could’ve made better in-game adjustments but no coach is perfect. He did what he could with the talent and as far as I’m concerned, he did a good job taking the Lakers to the second round of the playoffs. If it’s any consolation, this group won one more game in the playoffs than the group from last year.

Oklahoma City Thunder showed why they’re a great team. Kevin Durant (25 points, 10 rebounds) is cold-blooded. The scoring champion seems to get 30 at will and is the most dangerous player with the ball in his hands in the waning seconds of a game. Russell Westbrook (28 points) is the guy that keeps the Thunder afloat or within striking distance. He was so phenomenal in this series, hitting big shot after big shot. And James Harden did all the little things off the bench. Kendrick Perkins (11 rebounds) did a great job battling Andrew Bynum and Serge Ibaka (3 blocks) was awesome with his help defense and protecting the rim. They’re going to have one hell of a battle against the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

As for where the Lakers go from here? We’ll have weeks and weeks to dissect that. But we should keep this in mind.

Kobe Bryant is 33 years old. He just finished his 16th season. I know some of you are irritated by some of his on-court decisions but we are watching one of the greatest ever to play this game. Let’s appreciate him while he’s still here because one day, that day will come and we’re all going to miss him. Kobe Bryant is truly the ultimate warrior. With him on your team, you always seemed to have a chance to win the game.

As far as the Lakers go? We should be happy that the Lakers are always in the hunt for the championship. Yes, the Lakers have 16 NBA titles but each and every one of them are earned. We have to realize how hard it is for teams to go after an NBA championship. Only one team wins it every year… and there are still some franchises and players that haven’t won one. Teams like Phoenix and Utah have been around forever; those teams haven’t won championships. Great players like John Stockton, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Elgin Baylor, and Charles Barkley haven’t won a ring. Let’s not take this team for granted, guys (though you kinda wish that certain players didn’t take it for granted, either).

Thanks to all of you that have gone to this site for some Laker talk and, on a personal note, thanks to all of you that read my goofy and unfunny recaps. I enjoyed doing them and, hopefully, Darius thinks I’m good enough to do some more writing on this wonderful site next season.

In the meantime, be safe out there. After all is said and done, remember that this is still… just a game. Let’s not do anything drastic just because our favorite sports team lost.

Have a good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

Rey Moralde

Posts

74 responses to Lakers/Thunder (Game 5): The End

  1. Pau Gasol: “[The Offseason] out of my control unfortunately. I will try to find out somehow. Obviously I’d like to continue to work and fight for this franchise and help it as much as I can. But I don’t know if that’s mutual or not.”

  2. Kenny Smith put it best when he said that the Lakers have to figure out what kind of team they want to be.

    They have no system anymore that defines the style of play they want to play, and this is as much of a decision for the offseason as who stays, who goes.

    It’s disappointing to be sure, but I love the Lakers, we’ve been blessed and they’ll be back.

    That stated, I’ll bookend my picture of Bynum with his four rebounds on one side and his crap comment about not caring where he plays next year on the other.

    Great season on this site everyone. :-)

  3. I was intrigued by the exciting play of the small lineup in the 2nd quarter, all of a sudden w/out the Twin Towers there were all sorts of open driving lanes and Ramon, error-prone and all, pushed a good pace.

    Pau has been a great Laker but he needs to be traded for some pieces that can spread the floor and shoot and drive and kick, a variation of a San Antonio/Orlando offense with Andrew in the middle and floor-spreaders and drivers around him.

  4. Such a great season for the Lakers. We can all be proud nobody on the opposing team was laid out on the floor from the infamous elbow. But seriously we can all be proud of this Lakers team. Through all the drama it started a day before training camp, through all the adversity and everything Lakers were a game better than last year.

    Hard fought effort tonight. Was very dissapointed in Bynum he was in foul trouble. But he was giving up layups and dunks all game. Mitch was in the stands he saw what we saw and I’m sure he’ll do everything possible to get us back on top.

    Can finally admit defeat. Great team in OKC they are legit. Good luck to them.

  5. Kobe played a monster game and it was wasted. Pau AND Andrew had to play big in order for the Lakers to have a chance.
    Andrew didn’t and Pau barely did.
    Sessions is scared and barely showed up this series.
    Plus we didn’t get anything off the bench.

    (edited for trade speculation)

  6. does ‘anything drastic’ extend to alcohol consumption in the safety of one’s purple and gold adorned home?

    see everyone in the Fall.

    The Lakers are dead. Long live the Lakers.

  7. Personally I think you’re being much too kind to Mike Brown. With the talent he was given, he should have gotten at least to the WC Finals. Phil or Brian Shaw would have gotten more out of such a good assemblage of players.

  8. R.R. Magellan May 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I was so out of wack that I accidentally typed “Nuggets” instead of Thunder. That’s fixed now.

    #6: Just don’t get alcohol poisoning. And don’t do anything dumb when intoxicated!

  9. Second that, Mark.

    Thus begins my temporary vacation
    from sports radio where sharp tongues
    and short-term memories will predominate
    for the time being until hockey heroics
    take center stage ( no jinx )

    Love to the Lakers.
    Looking forward to the team and coaches
    having the benefit of a full training period
    to “figure it out” and develop into a team
    equipped for the full season and beyond.

    Whoever wins the championship this year,
    ask Dallas how easy it is to keep hold of it.

    Lakers will contend yet again.

    Salute to the Mamba.
    Stay killa.

    – Sempre FB&G 5 -

  10. Missed the game due to work, glad I did, I guess. We will have to see what type of personnel changes are done in the off-season, I believe financial considerations will drive some moves. The great FB&G blog will continue on, and I will look forward to every future post, by Darius and company.

    Go Lakers!

  11. Dodol Surodol May 21, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    To the FB&G team: good job this season, as always. I really appreciate the level-headedness of the posts and analyses, even after tough losses.

    As for the series, well, kinda hard to compete when you have one reliable scoring threat vs a team with 3 good scorers and 2/3 good defenders.

    That was one more postseason where I could enjoy our Black Mamba in action, killer instinct and all. For that, I am thankful.

    Can’t wait for the Olympics now.

  12. Bynum:
    Bynum quit on his team. He played kinda hard actually. Like he was pretending to look like he was trying hard… If that makes sense. But we all know what Bynum trying hard looks like. We don’t see it often. But when he plays 1/20th the way Ron Artest plays… With that kind of focus. With that hunger/thirst okay. More on Artest later. Andrew Bynum makes professional athletes look like grade school punks. That’s what happens when Bynum plays with passion and focus. Actually tonight’s game reminded me a little of the infamous Kobe “Game 7″ nobody Ilkes to bring up anymore. That time he also pretended to play hard but was obviously not very interested in the result of the final game of the series. That wasn’t a good game. Andrew quit on his team tonight just the same. Nobody will talk about it enough and for long enough. Time washes things away. But this was the lowest point in Andrew Bynum’s career.

    Ron Artest:
    Okay. Whenever I talk about MWP I always start with the fact he has been my favorite player since joining the Lakers. He is everything I like in a basketball player. He plays dominant defense all over the court at three different positions for entire playoff series. Every possession. His basketball IQ is so superior to players of even Kobe Bryant’s caliber it’s not really that close to me. Now do I think he knows what’s going on as much as a Kobe? Of course not. I don’t know what’s in that guys head no more than he does but that MAN makes the right play it seems like for games at a time on every end of the floor. He might be an idiot sevant to be honest. I’m not sure. But he is a basketball genius. He is Lakers best PnR decision/playmaker. He is the Lakers best perimter and post defender. The best individual and help defemder. He is the Lakers best passer out of the post. He has probably been the Lakers most clutch shooter since he arrived. He pays hard on every possession with all his heart. It moves me to be honest, in a way I haven’t been moved defensivley since Dennis Rodman. Ron Artest is a basketball sevant. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have all those muscles.

    Kobe Bryant:
    He went out the way he came in… On his own. THe way he likes it. The lone wolf. He had no interest in winning his game. Well.. He had an interest. But his first was to make sure people forgot those historically horrendous fourth quarters in games two and four of this series resulting in giant Lakers last minute leads being lost and never found. He made them forget. Not me. But them. Man I hate them. Kobe dominated tonight. In every way. I have never seen a playoff Kobe proformance like that though… especially not in a championship winning year. Not since the Shaq era has Kobe come out gunning in a playoff game. He has long incorporated others early and often before dominating the basketball and the shots in the second half. But for the first time Kobe came out guns a blazing. I almost thought the other four Lakers starters forgot what the ball felt like by halftime. Kobe came out for Kobe tonight. And he finally got what he wanted.

    Pau Gasol:
    He is good. He is not very good. He is not average. Pau is good. Let Pau be good. Unfortunately now Pau is vastly overpaid. So unless the Lakers can find team who wants to unload a bigger and longer contract for a good NBA starting PF who is not capable of being a top two offensive option on a championship team and is an average defensive player. I don’t know what kind of player Pau Gasol will bring back at his age and ability. If you go big for small though you can always bet a big man starved GM will over pay. That’s what the Lakers are betting on after turning down some less than spectacular offers this season. Who might that small be? Iggy? Ellis? Rondo? Championships are won in the offseason. So as far as I’m concerned the real season is about to begin. Its clear the only way the Lakers are going to get younger and better is if they trade Pau Gasol.

    Ramon Sessions:
    Ramon Sessions is a PG. He can only effectively play one spot on the floor and that is running the point for an offense. That’s his only strength as a player. He needs the ball in his hands. Remember when Ramon arrived all the analysts were saying “it might not work… Ramon needs the ball to be effective. How often is he going to have the ball with Kobe in the backcourt?” Well… As soon as Sessions arrived everybody forgot about that problem. Why? Because Ramon had the ball. He was donating the ball for Los Angeles on almost every offensive possession. The Lakers were putting up giant offensive showings for weeks after his insertion into the starting lineup. The PG centric offensive Mike Brown was hired to install (for CP3) was all of the sudden a well oiled machine. But then something happened. It was reported at that time there was a meeting between Mike Brown, Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant involving the pace of the game for the two seven footers. As soon as that was reported the offense completley changed. It wasnt the pace that changed of course. It was the entire offense. The Lakers started running more two guard front sets. More triangle sets. More Kobe as the PG sets. The pecking order won out. It wasn’t that Kobe and Pau weren’t getting their numbers. They were. They were scoring a ton and shooting a great percentage. The problem was most likley they felt disempowered. They were a,ways the playmakers. And now this poorly paid young kid comes in and is dominating the basketball. That obviously didn’t go over well with some people on the team. The result was the pre all star break offense. The offense that struggled to score. Ramon can’t play the role of spot up shooter. The scouting reports on him all read “needs the ball to be effective”. The Lakers knew that. Mitch brought him in to dominate the ball. Mike Brown put him into the starting lineup and had him dominating the ball. They all wanted him to dominate the ball because… You know… He is the PG. the Lakers need to decide if they actually want a PG centric offense. Because if they do… Either as a starter or hopefully a back up… Ramon is worth some money. He is a great talent and he has room to improve a great deal.

    It was a really entertaining year. The Lakers are not too far off from another championship. And they have a lot of opportunities to makes additions this offseason. For a team over the cap of course. Because rememeber, this is a team without many holes. One nice move can be the difference.

  13. From a regular lurker: I’d just like to thank the contributors to this blog – following the ups and downs of this team through the views of intelligent fans has been a pleasure, so thankyou!

  14. Anyone looking forward to a full 82 game season with Mike Brown at the helm?

  15. Well, it is a sad unexpected ending though we’ been down this drain before. I pray we learn from the cracks & find a way up next season. We have both experiences, both for smiling/ winning & sulkin/luzing. We can overcome the sadness.

    Good job boys, still need to see y’all play together next season. ALL OF you.

  16. It was a disappointing season but i wasn’t surprised The Lakers lost. the Thunder are the better team. I just find it funny that Laker fans are so quick to trade guys especially guys that are so valuable. i get that the luxury tax hurts the laker’s ability to make small moves though. I feel that the laker’s biggest problem is and has been their lack of depth and outside shooting/perimeter defense. They don’t even have a back-up shooting guard. Add the bad supporting cast to the fact that Mike Brown ran Pau, Kobe, and bynum into the ground this year. Pau and Bynum looked gas and kobe faltered down the stretch. More support and less minutes and this team can contend in my opinion. The problem is the luxury tax, and I can understand why the lakers would want to make a big trade. They don’t have many other options. Still I look at the Spurs who a now competing with a big 3 that people wrote off years ago and I think the lakers could do the same.

    I wrote a long blog post about this game here:

    http://4hoopsheads.com/2012/05/21/lakersthunder-game-5-lakers-gone-fishin/

  17. Anyone looking forward to a full 82 game season with Mike Brown at the helm?

    Depends on who is on the SS Laker’s bridge with him.

  18. I wrote on this blog before, i don’t see this Lakers team is good offensive team or great defensive team. Orlando let the coach go, i think D-Howard will stay, i blame this on Kobe, because after talking to KObe, Howard didn’t want to join Lakers because he would be third option on this team.
    I know Lakers fan didn’t like Davis Stern because CP3 deal, but how can CP3 super star player can score 10 pts in the playoffs ? and every year he gets injured in the playoffs. Let’s hope Lakers FO will make right decision again.
    Good night everyone !

  19. The better team won. And it pains me to say that as much as it pains me to say I hope Tony Parker and the Spurs just destroy the Thunder in the next round.

    The Thunder carry on like they’ve won more than they have. Westbrook’s antics, Perkins’ scowl (and moving screens), and the stupid beard on Harden’s face, they all just irk me. I would love to see them get their comeuppance. And the way the Spurs are playing, I will get my wish.

  20. Things I’ve learned this playoffs:

    1. You can’t build around Bynum. Boy has no heart, no sense of responsibility, and doesn’t know his time when it is being bombarded into him every single second. This post season was to be his coming out party. His earning the torch from Kobe. Him powering through the mediocre counterparts like Shaq did. Capped with showing Tim Duncan how old he is and sending LeBron and Wade sprawling. I was beginning to have some faith in him, miniscule compared to Aaron’s, sure, but enough to believe. No longer.

    2. Pau has turned into Lamar. I am not sure if it’s a Kobe thing. Lamar was a great player before coming to LA but since then turned into sort of this jack of all trades who can’t seem to play up to his potential, only showing glimpses of his greatness but in general being very unreliable. Pau probably lost some of his comfort level when Lamar left, as the two were kindred souls in some way. Nice guys, team first guys, willing to sacrifice but ultimately too used to making sacrifices and not having enough darkness in them.

    3. Kobe is and will be Kobe unless you show him better. First year coach with a history of deferring to the franchise player wasn’t about to do that. Nobody on the team who doesn’t play as hard can do that. Fisher had that clout, but he was just too bad of a player to truly reel him in. Kobe’s frustration and anxiety regarding his closing window is getting the better of him. Still, I am willing to make excuses for him because he cares. Just wish that he was a bit more mature, more sensible… but that would not be Kobe.

    4. MWP. It means something when Kobe calls him the one he can depend on. That’s where I would leave it too. He matches Kobe’s intensity and then some. And does so on the other side of the floor. Perfect compliment to Kobe – and things would’ve been different if it weren’t for his elbow… a shortened Denver series could’ve given us that extra juice to at least close one of the two games.

    5. Sessions & Blake. Our chances never rested on them playing above their heads, but they gave us that. Hope they can build upon that.

    All in all, I’m not so frustrated that we lost, not angry about how we lost, but mostly about how certain players carried themselves while wearing the Purple and Gold.

    That’s what gets me most. I hope that won’t be the case next year one way or another.

  21. When is TRADE THREAD going up?

    Enough with the crying already!!!!

  22. Let the Speculation BEGIN.

    It’s healing.

  23. R.R. Magellan May 21, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    7) Maybe? Probably? But it’s clear that the Spurs and Thunder are better squads than the Lakers. And they had opportunities to win games against OKC. Western Conference semifinals is about right.

  24. Muddywood,
    You’re more than welcome to go to another site and post all the trade speculation you want. I’m not going to put up a pure speculation thread for some time. It’s not what we do here.

  25. As soon as Brown saw that Brooks was going for the kill with his big 3 to start the fourth quarter, he should have put Kobe in and played him the entire fourth quarter if need be.

    That was the moment Mike Brown got out-coached.
    Right there.
    And now, everyone knows it.

  26. Muddywood: That had to be the most disappointing heart wrenching part of the game. When I saw Kobe on the bench to start the 4th and Durant in you just knew okc would make a run. Rookie mistake by Brown. One that won’t be easily forgiven from this Lakers fan.

  27. Mike Brown is supposed to be this Popovich disciple.
    I don’t see any of it.

  28. anti Dwyer Abbott May 22, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Refs had an agenda.BS flagrant and then BS technicals to change the momentum.We have been Sterned yet again.
    Kobe haters can now be at peace.

  29. Wow. Very sad news out of OKC. Firstly hope everyone is alright and pulls through, and secondly hope the shootings had nothing to do with basketball.

  30. Andrew Bynum was correct…close out game is easy!

  31. Also of note that some people (a week or two ago) were saying Pau Gasol shouldn’t play for Spain this summer. If you’re on that bus, to avoid being hypocritical, you should also call for Kobe to forgo the Olympics. He’s far more likely to be in the purple and gold next season, and his legs have far more miles. I’m not sure where I stand – it’s the frickin Olympics – but if Kobe goes all summer, Mitch and Buss need to give MB a minutes restriction plan (in the form of a backup 2).

    Grim outlook looking forward. Brian K summed it up well. In terms of basketball assets, we’re relative paupers, with one good asset (Pau) and a potential great one in Bynum if they decide to go that route (unlikely). Not going to get into trade speculation. But with the onus to lose payroll and the relative paucity of assets, it’s looking very likely that Kobe retires with 5 rings.

  32. I want to thank everyone involved with this site — it is simply fantastic. I truly appreciate the hard work, the dedication, and the knowledge.

    I’m not surprised by the outcome, disappointed of course, and wondering about the future. Should be an interesting ride.

  33. Since becoming a Laker fan, Kobe has never let me down. He leaves everything on the court and that was the case again yesterday. I have always said that it is amazing that Kobe won championships with these cast of Characters. Make no mistake, the way Lamar Odom fizzled when he joined Dallas is the same way Pau will disappear into oblivion when he is eventually traded. Mike Brown didn’t make a mistake taking out Kobe in the 4th, instead he created a perfect opportunity for the stupid Laker fans who think Kobe is detriment to see what kind of team this is without Kobe. The Twin Towers were in the game in their full glory and what did they do??? Andrew Bynum better get his mind right or the Lakers would be making a huge mistake handing him the keys to the kingdom. Javele McGee out played Drew for 3 games in a 7 game series. Javele Freaking McGee who has no plays called for him. SMH. As for Pau, he needs to be traded before training camp. I have never seen a more weak minded team captain. Never.

  34. Frustrating as it has ended, I am still proud of the Lakers. The so called “gurus” have predicted a first round exit for the lakers and a lower seed come playoff time but still they finished third in a talented Western Conference despite a short season, a new system, no Lamar, fisher & walton. Guys who are such a character inside the locker room. Just hope that guys like Ron Artest, Jordan Hill will still be in Laker Uniforms next season. Guys who gives their all out every game just like Kobe. Time will come that Kobe will hang his jersey and those Laker fans who bash Kobe would realize how blessed they were to root for a team with a leader like Kobe. The feeling that in every season your team has a chance to win it all. Hope that the FO will find pieces that would help Kobe get his 6th ring before he retires. And we need a great offensive coach that can maximize the potential of each and every Laker player on the court.

  35. We need players who have the guts, will power and confident who will show up for the playoffs, not in the regular season…it separate the man fromthe boys..KOBE BRYANT needs a “REAL” number 2 option, that is indeed very evident in the series against OKC..
    IMHO, bring back the old Phil, but idubt if he will come back…
    Thank You Lakers for this entertaining season…

  36. Thanks for this site. It is the first – and often only, based on time – place I come to find out about my Lakers.

  37. This!!!! Sooooo true!

    “Let’s not take this team for granted, guys (though you kinda wish that certain players didn’t take it for granted, either).”

    I’ve noticed more and more this one player who just can seem to run back on defense. And it’s a consistent theme that bugs the hell out of me. I don’t expect Andrew Bynum to be the first player back on Defense every time, but I DO expect it sometimes. You play for the Los Angeles Lakers, you better play damn hard and bring it night in and night out! When I see him do stuff like that, it makes me not even care about his flashes of brilliance. Why? Because we NEVER know when he’s going to bring the brilliance, or the bumbling and fumbling that has earned him the nickname of “Dr. Fumbles” amongst my circle of basketball friends. I would rather trade him for a Center who you know what to expect from and that has heart.

  38. Aaron said most of it if not all. Bynum needs to be gone. He does have a tremendous up side but you can not ignore the obvious downside. He pouts, he feels entitled, (dont forget the parking in the handicapped spots i means seriously), his lack of consistent effort, his obvious fatigue (not in shape), he can get you major pieces. Look the league is changing. There are no dominant scoring centers. Drew can get you pieces and draft picks. Pau can as well. I dont know if anyone wants to consider it but Rondo can be had. Also something is going to have to give with Kobe. He is going to have to recognize his diminished skill set. He is no longer an elite defender. He is a streak shooter at best, And the Lakers arent going to win championships with him jacking 30 shots a night. Kobe is my favorite player of all time but im a realist, did you see the difference in westbrook and durant’s lift on their jumpshots? They have young legs, Kobe doesnt. Someone in the organization needs to have “the talk” with Kobe. If we are going to win you need to change. If he doesnt nothing the Lakers do is going to matter we wont win again for 3-4 years. Blame Drew some, Pau some, we still dont have a starting PG, but in truth the problem is Kobe.

  39. I don’t understand how people still think this team should have made it to the Finals or even the WCF. Our limit was exactly when we faced the Thunder or the Spurs. If either had happened in the first round, that would be our last playoff series in 2012. Simple as that. A few comments on the season:
    1. Bynum. I still believe in him, but it will probably take him a looooooooong time do get his head straight. Until then, borderline Finals contender.
    2. Gasol. Gas in his name, not in his body. Brown overplayed him (see Duncan, Tim). Also the lack of identity on this team hurt him a lot, as he is THE team-first player. Still the second best we’ve got.
    3. Kobe. Tried hard, as always. Bean is tough as nails, both as a player and from a coaching POV. As we know, Brown couldn’t handle it, and ran away from what was working for this team, which was Sessions as the main cog for the offense.
    4. Mike Brown. Not the guy for the job, even though he did everything he could. I respect him and like him as a coach, I just don’t think he fits well with this particular group. Hope he learned from this season and adjusts accordingly, aka less riding hard of aging stars, speed up tempo, hitting Bynum in the face when he spaces out, more Sessions PnR actions, less Kobe Isos in crunch time.
    5. Sessions. Grow up, seriously. Just because the style of play doesn’t suit your style, doesn’t give you an excuse to have close to zero impact.
    6. Bench. Played hard when called upon, even if they sucked most of the time. Can’t ask for much more from these players.

    About trades, I’m puzzled. Here’s to hoping we can swap benchwarmers for solid minutes.

    Spurs vs Thunder should be a great series. Both play uptempo styles and their Big 3’s will have a tough time with each other. Harden vs Ginobili is the matchup im looking forward to, and the one that may eventually decide the series.

  40. Chris Herbers May 22, 2012 at 7:41 am

    This was one of the tougher seasons that we’ve had to deal with in a long long time. I could see this coming, but as a Lakers fan did not want to entirely see it coming. This Franchise is starting to scare me a little because of all of the changes. I think the downfall started with (I know you will think I’m crazy, but) the hiring of Phil Jackson. I understood the hiring and realized they needed a legitimate coach to get Shaq and Kobe on the same page, but look at what has happened since. Jerry West felt run out of L.A. Mitch Kupchak took over and has done a pretty good job. Salary caps and young talent were neglected for the lets win now attitude of the day. I’ll admit I cheered just as hard for each and every one of those championships. Phil comes back for two more. Again nobody was watching the salary cap and nobody was looking for young talent. This front office let Trevor Ariza go for Ron Artest. I will admit Ron Metta is an upgrade on defense, but Trevor was younger and had fresher legs. The point guard position has been toiling for the past 5 years, and someone on that ship had to know that D-Fish was eventually going to have to take to the bench. He did it in Utah just fine and is doing a pretty good job in OKC. Again the front office was too afraid to have the tough talk with one of their perennial leaders and say here is what we want to do. In the end you get Sessions trade Blake and keep D-Fish and starting or not Fisher would have been finishing games and that is all that really matters in today’s NBA. Now the Lakers seem to have given the keys to the Kingdom to Jimmy Buss. Look at the Lakers during the Buss ownership. Jerry Buss bought this team because he wanted to be the talk of the town. He wanted to be a star. He wanted to be a big shot in a big shot town. He wasn’t worried as much about the bottom line as he did the line of sexy bottoms hanging around his owner’s suite. Magic Johnson once the most vocal cheerleader, and a small minority owner, decides to sell off his ownership in the company. This should have set off alarm bells to all fans and the front office of the Lakers that this may not have simply been a business decision. This team no longer has a scouting staff. They have streamlined their operation and are stuck in luxury tax hell for the next two years. Jimmy Buss was not a dentist and did not make his own fortune he grew up into his fortune. Letting him take control and not giving the keys to Jeannie is baffling. Jimmy is looking at what is the best way to line the Buss family pockets, and that is fine, but he’s also going to have to deal with the backlash that comes with that attitude. The only way I see this team come out of this is for Jerry Buss, Jimmy Buss, Mitch Kupchak and Kobe to sit in a room and decide how bad do they want to win. In the end 3 people are going to say winning is all that matters and 1 is going to say the bottom line matters. Jerry Buss has to then look at Kobe and say here is what we do. I pay major tax dollars for the next two years. Kobe you agree to extend your contract for 4 years at 10million per. I’ll pay the big dollars now if you sacrifice later. Then go out clean house and get some younger talent. This is the only way I see things getting better.

  41. Before trading Bynum folks better consider the problem that creates at center. Lakers roster was championship capable. Miami Heat roster is deficient even with Chris Bosh. San Antonio is suspect inside. OKC 3 players and thats it. Bulls? Too D. Rose dependent.

    My take is Lakers would have performed better with a coach who makes good in game adjustments. George Karl?

  42. What frustrates me most, this year and last, is the utter lack of development of young players on the roster. The Lakers’ management has systematically deemphasized the draft, bringing in no youth to complement the aging players. I realize that the Lakers have had nothing but late first and second round selections for the past 8 years, but there are valuable players in those positions who can contribute for 8-10 minutes a game.

  43. Any coach would have been better but thus us not a championship roster trey. Two years in a row proves it. West teams are getting better, younger faster. Lakers just older and slower.

    Lakers have become the Hawks, teasing the fans but failing in the end. Only tradable pieces are AB and PG. AB wants out, away from Brown and away from Kobe.

    Let him go to Houston or Minnesota or New Jersey and take his bad attitude and bad parking with him. Get back young athletic players.

  44. Only so much a coach can do when his players don’t show up to play. I give credit to Kobe/Pau – they left it on the floor last night. For those that say Kobe was the problem last night are just wrong. Kobe sits at the beginning of the fourth – the Lakers down six, then bang, bang, bang, Lakers down 14. Thats with Bynum coming back in and fresh – because he had been playing sparse minutes by giving bogus cop out fouls.

    Out of the 12 playoff games the Lakers were in this year, Andrew Bynum was a factor in 3 of them.

    Thats not good enough.

    Not if he’s going to be your second best player.

    People have got to stop sticking up for this injury prone big man. This was the first season ever he was healthy, and he mailed in playoff games. And not 1 playoff game. Many playoff games.

    Worst good Laker in 20+ years.

  45. There are no easy answers only difficult questions. Can the Lakers truly reload and create a contending team with Kobe’s salary being as high as it is? Can this Mike Brown thing really work? Can they get anything of real value for Pau Gasol? Should they even trade Gasol? Bynum has all but asked to be traded. What kind of package can they get for him? What kind of team are trying to become? What will be their team’s identity going forward?

    That last question is a big one. The best teams have an identity. The Heat like to force turnovers and get out in transistion. The Spurs like to move the ball around the half court set and hit threes. Philly is another team that pushes the tempo and gets out in transition. Are the Lakers a Kobe dominated team like Philly was with Iverson? Or are they a twin towers team where the ball is primarily in the post and all sets originate from the post out? At different times of the year they have been both of these teams. But they were never able to truly solidify their identity. I think that hurt the role players most because they were often left wondering how they should fit in and when. For example the Lakers have played games where they go the “twin towers” route for three quarters only to switch to “Kobe-ball” in the fourth. Imagine how the new guy Ramon Sessions feels trying to figure that out. Someone noted on a previous thread how the Spurs run the same sets all game long. There is no special change up in the fourth. Surely that makes it easy for their many quality subs to keep up. That could be one of the reasons they look so much like quality subs. That, and the fact they actually got significant playing time throughout the season.

    The way forward will be an interesting ride no matter what. It may get rocky before it gets smooth again.

  46. From a devoted lurker: Another big THANKS! to Darius & the FBG team for this site – keeps me sane during the downs & ups of our Lakers. And, when I cant catch the game, I get a much better flavor of what’s happened from these comments than I would from some halftime score or boxscore.

    From an infrequent poster: Very disappointed in Bynum this year, as I have been a fan and excited about his growth, since day 1 that he arrived – I thought he was the real thing. Maybe he’s still got “it” and mentally quit because of (MBrown? Kobe?) – either way, not so good, because likely neither is leaving.
    I have enjoyed watching Pau’s marvelous basketball skills these years, and am sad that he may have to go. Something is “off” obviously – and I get that he’s too expensive for the production he provides.
    I am a mild “kobe-hater” (i.e., question his decisions OFTEN), but can’t deny the heart, will and production that he consistently powers out for this team.
    Let’s see what ol’ Jimmy can shake out of his vodka bottle for our Laker team….

  47. Lakers aren’t that far from contention. Keep the young players to develop. Follow Boston formula get a PG to extend Kobe and Pau careers. Shakeup like summer of 04 coming.

  48. Seeing Lakers need a PG Kobe said he talked to cp3 after the trade and was ready to pick him up from the airport. Time for Kobe to swallow pride and recruit another PG. He failed with Dwight *allegedly* he can’t with Deron. Kobe has to get someone who’s better than him or on his level on the Lakers. Wade accepted LeBron Kobe has to play that same role if he wants to win another title.

  49. Aaron,

    Everything you’ve gone on to predict this season has been wrong, from Tony Parker being an average PG, to Kevin Love being overrated, to Bynum being the best center in the NBA.

    Kobe didn’t play for himself last night, he played to win he just didn’t have a team out there to help him. Your “knowledge” or whatever you think you have, needs some retooling this offseason.

  50. 4 players Kobe, Pau, Bynum and MWP have the Lakers over the soft cap. Combined they make over 71m. That serverely limits what Jim B can do. Kobe has a no trade clause and would have to approve any trade and he isnt going anywhere that isnt going to assure him one or two championships. Pau and Bynum are in the 34M range combined. Thats 3 stars. Not superstars but really really good young players and legs which the Lakers need desparately. There are only 2 quality point guards out there, Rondo and D-Will. Rondo is a head case and D-Will doesnt really want the LA Market. Rondo is a pass first pure PG but cant shoot a lick. D-Will is the truth but will Kobe defer no lol he never has and never will. Pau will not get you quality and depth. Maybe one or the other but not both. Bynum would get you both. trading both would get you a HAUL. Kendrick P played Bynum to a stand still. Ibaka played pau to a stand still so why is it so hard to conceive of moving with the league trend and not relying on slow bigs. Trade them both free cap space and retool with a younger more athletic group. MWP brings it for 7m you keep him. Kobe is untradeable, do the math.

  51. hey Stepup 0 assists supports what Aaron is saying. Kobe didnt involve his teammates he tried to do it all himself, there was no way he beats the Thunder that way. Brown rested him because in the previous games when he didnt Kobe couldnt hit a shot in the 4th Q.

  52. Aaron also said that this was a “championship roster” and talked about playing the Heat in the Finals several times.

  53. Buzz Lightyear May 22, 2012 at 10:33 am

    One anonymous Laker official reportedly said that the NBA crushing the Chris Paul trade “set the franchise back 5 years”

    That’s probably true.

    It’s very likely that the Mike Brown hire was made in anticipation of bringing in CP3 and other new pieces to remake the Lakers into a more athletic uptempo team.

    Once the trade was quashed, the Lakers were stuck with their old Triangle-centric roster while implementing a new offensive/defensive system under very trying circumstances (thanks to the lockout).

    They looked like second-round playoff meat most of the season (while overplaying their “Big 3″ in an effort to keep a high playoff seed).

    It will be interesting to see how the Lakers try to revamp their roster. What they have now doesn’t work with how Brown coaches. The “Twin Towers” doesn’t seem to work because neither Pau nor AB17 can play power forward, so one of them is likely to go.

    And maybe someday the Lakers will have a genuine starter-quality NBA point guard again.

    Have a good offseason everyone.

  54. Funky Chicken May 22, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Throughout this season I thought the obvious move this summer would be trading Pau. Today, I’m not so sure.

    Would you give Andrew Bynum $100 million?

    The top centers remaining in the playoffs are Roy Hibbert (likely to be out of the playoffs soon) and Kendrick Perkins.

    The league has changed. It is a guard-oriented league, and a dominant (or even “good”) center is no longer a requirement to win a title.

    Andrew’s postgame comments spoke volumes. When asked if he thought he would be in LA for the long term he said “it doesn’t matter to me.” Not “I hope so, because this is where I want to end my career” but the equivalent of “I don’t care.”

    What would motivate a guy to say that? Could any player who valued winning make such a comment, or one like “there are banks in every city”?

    After this season, it is pretty clear to me that Andrew Bynum is not a winner, and cannot be relied upon to give his best effort. He wants his numbers (stats and money), and the rest is just gravy. Well, if winning is gravy, you won’t commit yourself to achieve it at all costs–and that’s what winning requires.

    At 24 with enormous upside, Andrew Bynum is the one piece that can bring the Lakers the most in return. Pau is overpaid, for sure, but surrounding Pau with a physical PF and a great PG might very well be possible if we give up Andrew Bynum. After this season, and this post-season, I’d be much more inclined to do that than to give him an extension, and without an extension I cannot imagine him being any more committed next year than he was this year….

  55. Bynum: I don’t think he quit on the team. He’s not as good as some people think. He’s limited and teams can take him out of games. And he lacks stamina. In foul trouble, he really disappears. Certainly did not remind me of Kobe’s game 7 vs the Suns. If I remember, Kobe carried the team in the 1st half, then passively played facilitator when his scoring was obviously not helping the Lakers avoid getting clobbered. Totally different kind of game.

    Artest: I hope he’s back next season. Despite the mental health issues, he’s a warrior. His contract is an excellent bargain for a great defensive player.

    Kobe:
    As usual, he came to play. Like Durant, Westbrook, and Harden, he’s not afraid to play big on a big stage. It’s a lot easier to get assists when you’ve got multiple scorers like that. Kobe has to do too much. I’m not sure how much that contributed to his poor play down the stretch in a few games. It’s not easy being the star on an inferior team.

    Pau:
    Pau, unlike Bynum, really wants to be a Laker. He gave up his game for Bynum to prosper, and all it did was give us two mediocre 7-footers. I’m not sure Pau is still capable of giving us what he did in the title years, but Brown did not put him in the best position to succeed. Pau looked weak and indecisive. With Bynum not able to be a productive enough #2 scorer, Gasol needed to step up. Didn’t happen.

    Sessions:
    Not ready for prime time. Except for some novelty excitement that energized the team for awhile, the Lakers did not become a good team with Sessions. Lakers scored more, but the defense was nothing even close to acceptable. They had to rein in their game so they could get set on both ends of the floor. Ramon has some nice skills, but couldn’t adjust to what the team needed. He had chances to play PG in the playoffs, and was pretty awful.

    Then there’s the bench:
    It looked like Barnes’ injury made him useless. Hill was a nice surprise with his effort under the basket, and Blake gave a nice effort with what he’s capable of giving. Lack of depth killed the Lakers this year, not only in pathetic production, but in wearing out the main guys.

  56. 55., ….and that they were ‘hiding’ Goudelock during the run up to the trade deadline and that he would see huge minutes once it passed….

  57. I’m always sad to see an early end to the season, but I can’t really feel bad about this playoff series. With very rare exceptions, the better team always wins, and the Thunder were clearly better all season long. (I do think they’re going to have trouble beating the Spurs, though).

    It’s been said before, but this season was really jacked before the first ball was even thrown up. I personally remain unconvinced that Chris Paul is the savior many claim him to be – as I’ve always said, someone please show me any team he’s ever led deep into the playoffs – but that trade was unquestionably a bold one, and would have been an impetus for the Laker franchise moving forward. Instead, we got a fractured fallout that soured the vibe of the whole team all season long, although I commend the troops for trying.

    Throw in a new coach, new system, no training camp, a brutal schedule, major midseason roster moves, and it would have been a stone miracle if the Lakers had won a title this year. Everything would have had to have broken exactly right – I suspect if you ran a computer simulation of this season over and over, the Lakers would win the chip maybe one time in 25.

    So that said, I feel strangely OK with how it all played out. I’m glad our guys showed some pride to the finish line and (mostly) played hard this season, which I think is the best thing you can say for Mike Brown’s leadership.

    Say what you want about Kobe, but he plays harder than anybody, and I still believe he can be the linchpin of a championship team. Just a couple years ago, it was a foregone conclusion that Tim Duncan’s Spurs were done – now look at them. Of course, the Spurs have a proven championship coaching staff and system – sadly, that’s something the Lakers can’t say any more.

    It’ll be an interesting offseason. I think the front office did the best they could in a ridiculously scrambled season – getting Hill and Sessions for Walton, Kapono, and Fisher was good work. This offseason Mitch & co. will have to do better.

    Finally, I don’t want to get into roster speculation now, but I just have to add that I have major, major reservations about Andrew Bynum as the centerpiece of a championship team, or even the 1A option. I can live with poor offensive showings now and then, but I am not on board with 4 rebounds and who-cares defense in an elimination game. That wasn’t an isolated incident either. If you believe in the “sell high” maxim of trading, he would be the guy I would like to see on the move.

    Keep the faith, Laker faithful. Onward and upward!

  58. … I personally prefer the predictions that we were ‘hiding’ Goudelock during the run up to the trade deadline and that we’d see lots of him once it passed.

  59. DaveofBacolod May 22, 2012 at 11:20 am

    @51

    great analysis you got there, Kobe passed his share of the ball and none of his passes resulted in a score for that team mate, that is how you get 0 assists

  60. 53,

    True, the NBA league halted the CP3 trade because they’re the caretaker of NO, what is supposed to be the next step of the FO? Lose LO, get the the money and run. What is the alternative plan? If we’re a Company launching new products, the initial product didn’t pan out? Will the CEO just stop there and watch your Company deal with the consequences?

    Another trite fallacy here by the media and the F/O lovers that MBrown was hired because of his defense, where is the defense in the 2nd half of every game from Day 1 all the way to the playoffs?

    (Not addressed to you Buzz L.)
    Sometimes as fans with some business relationship with the Lakers or as ESPN writers and bloggers who make a living out of the Lakers, we are afraid to defy authority. We don’t want to question what is blatantly wrong but accept what is being handed to us, it’s business as usual. If the Lakers refuse to compete for the next season, we go back to the 90’s of 7 years of (WCF or Finals) famine wherein reaching 2nd round is the ultimate objective. We waste the remaining Kobe years tho’ business will just go on as-is condition – exploit fans by charging more on season tickets, on club boxes, on Time Warner cable subscriptions because of a misnomer that “we are the Lakers”. Did we really have a quality team this season?

  61. CDog,
    I hate to break the news to you… Bynum wasn’t the second best player this year… He was by far the best player on the Lakers. I know it sucks when facts get in the way… But that’s the factual truth by every advanced statistic on both sides of the ball.

  62. DaveofBacolod May 22, 2012 at 11:31 am

    @54
    I am a long time lurker here and I also know that Aaron is a big Bynum homer, look at his comment he called Bynum for his mistake but over all blamed the loss on Kobe, like duh if Bynum and Pau played their asses of against Denver during the 1st round the entire team should have rested after game 5 instead of slacking off and extending the series into seven games.

    And for a supposed to be “2nd option” and “future franchise player” I didn’t see an iota of effort from him after games 1 and 2 of the 1st round series.

    Pau should also shoulder a lot of the blame, he was passive this second straight eyar in the play-offs, he should have just grabbed the opportunity to supplement Bynum when the Lakers was lacking 2nd options on the offense. I really also hated those weak-assed screens set by our bigs, please screen hard like Perkins or Ibaka for christ’s sake!!

    And lastly I don’t understand the Kobe hate, like if Kobe was not scoring 30+ ppg who the hell will score for them? Bynum is easily guarded by Perkins and the Denver bigs during the 1st round, and Gasol was way too passive. I really don.t understand this “anaylysis”. I am in no way defending Kobe all around, he made stupid decisions during game 2 but blaming Kobe for the Laker’s exit in these playoffs is indeed stupid.

  63. DaveofBacolod May 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

    @61

    Statistics (advanced or otherwise) taken outside context and without watching the game is imho pretty useless.

    How do you rate hustle, defense, hockey assists and setting screens? Do you have any “stat” that measures intangibles accurately? I don’t think so.

  64. Mojo,
    Please don’t lie. That’s all I ask. I said the Spurs would lose in the first round if they were the second seed and had to play the Mavs. They have played the Jazz (the worst team in the playoffs) and a banged up average Clippers team. They will lose to the Thunder. And would have lost to anyone not named the Jazz or Clippers (the two worst teams in the west playoffs). As fas as the 2001 playoff run… I said that would happen if Ramon and Mike Brown ran his PG centric offense and Kobe played team basketball. I thoughts all of those things would happen. They didn’t. Rasa noted above… Mike Brown under pressure from Kobe and Pau switched the offense back to the triangle or with Kobe at PG. That doesn’t work.

  65. StepUP,
    Have you seen Tony Parker? He shot under thirty percent against the Clippers for an entire playoff series. Expect more of the same against OKC. Small PGs like Phil Jackson said… Struggle in the playoffs. As fas as being average.. That wasn’t a prediction. That was listing facts. He was ranked by PER right smack in the middle basically for the last few years. I said Parker was a fantastic player but there are so many great players at the PG position it was why he was ranked rift in the middle.

  66. Everyone,
    If you want to blame failure on statistically by far your best player over the course of the year (Andrew Bynum) go ahead. But if we want to live in reality we probably should be blaming the players who played poorly. Just a thought. Kobe Bryant had his worst season since his rookie year. And I’m sorry if I go by advanced metrics. I’m a stats guy. The advanced metrics are now very accurate and the tools by which every NBA team judges players. Kobe Bryant had his worst season since his rookie year. Pau Gasol is no longer an elite player based off his advanced statistics. Andrew Bynum is one of the top offensive players and defensive players in the league based off those same statistics which also say LeBron James is by far the best player in the world. So I am assuming those who think the Lakers should trade Bynum are the same people who think LeBron James is overrated. It’s easy to hate on the young great players of the NBA. I’m sure you are the same people who hated on Kobe when he was young and disliked. But it’s important to live in reality. When teams want to get better it’s smart to keep your best player and replace your worst player with a better player. Thats how teams get better. Please tell me teams that have improved by replacing their best player who is a seven foot big man? It’s not rocket science.

  67. Aaron, Yes i have seen him play and he had an MVP worthy season, maybe if you weren’t so blinded by your own “knowledge” you’d see that you are consistently wrong.

    Actually Tony Parker dropped 42 points on OKC this season, he will have a much better series. BUT even then he OUTPLAYED Chris Paul who everyone says is a top 3 PG in this league. Once again you are a statistician who doesn’t recognize stats require context, numbers mean nothing when looking at the whole story. A guy who has won MULTIPLE rings is not and should never be considered average. He is also an NBA Finals MVP.

    Seriously please retool this offseason, do your homework and come back refreshed. Clearly others here agree that you’re sensational posts contribute very little to conversation other than entertainment value (a la skip bayless)

  68. Thank you #49 and #66, been waiting for someone to say that…

  69. @ Aaron

    Unlike many here, I happen to think that, for all of the incendiary remarks you make, you are, at the end of the day, pretty knowledgable about the game, and try to make statements that can be supported.

    However, for you today,

    after another tepid effort at both ends by the “best center in the NBA–

    after it was so organically proven so many times during this playoffs that Bynum is not the best player on his team–

    to STILL be harping on “Bynum is clearly the best player on his team”–sorry man, you’ve lost all credibility where I’m concerned. I’m not a blind Kobe lover–I have scorched him on this site for shot selection and his occasionally myopic competitiveness–but this year proved why advanced stats like PER are complete crap. Bynum might have had the better PER this year, by a comfortable margin, but he isn’t even in the same universe as Bryant yet. Period.

    And keep in mind, I’m the guy who, at the beginning of the year, said Kobe had to start trusting someone else to be “1A” this year, and that Bynum was likely the guy, if for no other reason than that Gasol, like Kobe, is on the backside of his career arc. Not any more. I would only exercise his option because I think someone will overpay to take him off my hands. Kobe has declined, but he always plays tough, and always plays with effort. Pau has declined, and sometimes plays soft, but he always plays with effort. Bynum still has tremendous upside and, this post season, has essentially all but proven he will never realize his potential, and will never care more about the Purple and Gold than he cares about himself. I have loved Drew forever, but after this year, and his comments last night–dunski.

    Out.

  70. >>Have you seen Tony Parker? He shot under thirty percent against the Clippers for an entire playoff series

    he is 36.1% FG, avg 17 pts, 7.8 asst

    cp3: 36.8%FG, avg 12.8pts, 9.5 asst (he was injured though)

  71. Aaron, Google Joe Barry Carroll.

    A talented offensive center with no motor for defense or rebounding.

    THAT is Andrew.
    He’s not going to change or grow or evolve.
    That is who Andrew is.

  72. Be thankful, Laker fans, that Bynum was our best player this year, statistically. Years from now we’ll be able to break out the champagne, remember and celebrate his 2011-12 PER.

    Seriously, Bynum was big for us this year in the regular season and helped get us to the playoffs, despite some maturity issues along the way. The playoffs took his regular season statistics, chewed them up and spat them out with the Lakers’ chances. His defense and rebounding, what we really needed, were insufficient. I’ve always supported him, wanted to keep him on the roster, and was still patient to see the development he still must make to become a dominant center in the game. After these playoffs, however, the questions are now critical as to the risk factor in making a huge commitment to him. His commitment to the Lakers, to professionalism, heart and toughness is a mystery. He’s worth the contract if he’s a fighter like Kobe. Otherwise, we’ll never win a title having to rely on him.

  73. Mindcrime,
    You’re what the defense says you’re. Kobe was singled covered the entire playoffs. Andrew Bynum was fronted and doubled off the ball to keep the ball out of his hands amd if the zlakers could getnit to him he was forced to give it up right away. There is a reason defenses wanted Kobe shooting and Bynum not shooting. It’s not rocket science.