Lakers/Mavericks: A Look At Individuals

Phillip Barnett —  October 30, 2012

The Lakers didn’t exactly open their season as spectacular as their off-season was as they fell to the Dallas Mavericks 99-91. It was a night where they couldn’t consistently get stops, shot 3-for-13 from three and an abysmal 12-for-31 from the free throw line. Like much of the pre-season, this team just didn’t seem in sync at any time during the game on either end of the floor and the final score was a direct product of their inability to become a cohesive unit.

Instead of breaking down the big-picture aspect of tonight’s loss, the FB&G staff decided to collaborate on tonight’s recap and take looks at individual players. Each of us decided to play closer to one or two guys throughout the course of the game and write down some thoughts on the guys.

Darius on Point Guards: Nash definitely didn’t look as comfortable tonight in sorting out his niche in the Lakers’ offense. Early in the game he did a very good job of getting the Lakers into their sets and that was reflective in how the ball was moving and how efficiently the Lakers were scoring the ball. As the game went on, however, the sets started to break down and Nash became more of an off the ball worker than I think anyone would really want him to be. In the final minutes of the game he attacked more frequently by starting possessions with the pick and roll, but he needed to try and find a better balance by running that action a bit more throughout the contest.

Two other notes on Nash: 1). He looked to be bothered by the ball pressure the Mavs were using against him throughout the game. Dallas used both Darren Collison and Roddy Beaubois to pick up Nash at three-quarter court and that really slowed down Nash and led to the Lakers getting into their sets much slower. 2). Nash working off the ball did have some benefits. He occupied his man well and help rarely came off him, allowing the Lakers bigs more room to operate in the post. That said (and as I mentioned earlier) there was a bit too much off the ball work for Nash tonight.

Blake had a nice game and showed that he’s got a good handle on initiating the Lakers’ sets. He was assertive in trying to turn the corner when he ran the pick and roll and used his dribble judiciously to try and get into the creases of the D. That said, Blake still is not as aggressive as he needs to be in seeking out his own shot. He turned down at least two open jumpers in favor of taking a dribble that allowed the defense to recover to him. Blake did have at least one bad turnover where he kept the ball on the right side of the floor only to throw a late skip pass that got intercepted but overall I thought he did well in running the team when he was on the floor.

Where neither PG was that great was on defense. Nash found himself on his heels a lot against Collison and Beaubois both in the half court and in transition. Both Mavs PG’s tried to attack Nash in space and it ultimately allowed them to find their rhythm on offense which led to them hitting shots at a pretty high rate. Blake wasn’t much better than Nash in this respect. In the end, the Lakers’ PG’s played good position defense for the most part but also had too much trouble marking their man when on an island. Whether or not this becomes a trend remains to be seen but today’s results will only encourage more teams to attack them, and the Lakers, in this way.

J.M. on Shooting Guards: Please forgive me for providing you with obvious information, but the Los Angeles Lakers are a very good team with Kobe Bryant on the floor. Indeed, in the first six minutes of the game, the Black Mamba had four touches and managed four field goal attempts, with three of them coming right at the rim. Kobe was able to explode off screens away from the ball to catch and go right down the lane for baskets.

Also, he was able to catch the ball on the move with his big men spread out in the high post or out on the perimeter and drive to the rim for uncontested shots. The rest of the first half played itself in that same fashion as Bryant converted a shot off an easy post up on Dahntay Jones and also had another finish at the rim. One of the most interesting subplots of the offense is that Bryant had a few possessions in which he was completely uninvolved in the offense, which consequently means that he got to manage his energy levels.

In the second half, Bryant offered more variety as he posted up, ran through screens for perimeter jumpers and cut hard to basket and was fed the ball for semi-easy finishes

Defensively, Kobe was aggressive from the outset in defending Mayo off the ball, following him around and running through screens to make life difficult for him. Mayo was active in the screen-and-roll game to get himself free and routinely worked Bryant to get himself open for jumpers off the dribble.

Also, Kobe seemed hesitant when he was helping on defense and an opponent came down the lane trying to convert at the basket. He got himself out of the way to avoid fouling but provided no roadblock whatsoever.

As the game wore on and Bryant kept running through screens, he became slower defensively and needed a little more help from his big man to cover Mayo as he recovered defensively, but the Mavs then moved the ball to the next player for an open jumper.

Jodie Meeks spelled Kobe for six minutes in the first half and found the open spots on the floor, which in turn meant that defenders had to account for him and it opened up driving lanes as well as easy post ups for Pau Gasol.

Defensively, Meeks did a good job of rotating defensively, mind you his rotations resulted in him get caught on a big at times, which gave essentially gave the Mavericks a rebounding advantage. With that said, for most of his defensive possessions, he was assigned to Dahntay Jones who just stood out at the corner 3-point line. Carlisle flashed his brilliance as a coach when Bryant came back into the game to guard Jones by running him off multiple screens despite not even being part of the play, with the sole intent to tire out the Lakers superstar and keep him involved in every possession to wear him down during the game.

In the fourth quarter, Kobe’s defense went up a notch as he forced Mayo to catch the ball further out than he wanted and thus forced him to take tough shots.

The Lakers superstar had one of his most efficient scoring nights, pouring in 22 points on 11-for-14 shooting from the floor — no free throw attempts though — but often had his hands up to signal he wanted the ball to come his way in the fourth but didn’t get it. With that said, Bryant seemed fine with the way the offense was conducted by Nash for the most part, but it’s just something to keep an eye out on, especially with Mike Brown insisting on playing Kobe and Nash together.

Phillip on Small Forwards: It’s not a secret; Metta World Peace had a horrible game and looked worse than he did at any point during the preseason. He was one for eight from the field with three points, eight rebounds, four assists and three turnovers. However, it wasn’t his line that I was concerned with, it was his level of engagement throughout the course of the game and his role (or lack thereof) on the offensive end of the floor.

Early in the game I noticed that Ron wasn’t as active or engaged or enthusiastic about his actions as he usually is. He seemed lethargic and uninterested early in the game and was going through the motions for the most part. I also noticed that Mike Brown didn’t have him as an active participant in any of the sets in the first half of the game. Ron was consistently on the weak side of the floor away from all of the offensive action. They ran the double-option hand off sets, high P&Rs, ISOs and backside cuts — all of which did not involve Ron at all. I’m not sure if his noninvolvement in the offense led to his lack of interest in all things basketball or if it was the other way around, but this was a glaring issue for me.

However, when Ron did get the ball his efforts were futile for the most part. He did some nice things in transition by pushing the ball and hitting his man on the wing at the right time for a couple of assists and hit a cutting Kobe during a high post up in the 1st quarter. Outside of that, things were tough to watch as Ron tried to barrel his way through the lane only to see his shots ricochet off the rim or not hit the rim at all.  This play at the end of the first half sort of summed up his night.

Defensively, he didn’t do a horrible job. He forced Shawn Marrion and Vince Carter into so tough shots and got his hands on a few loose balls to create some turnovers. I find it difficult to gauge the effectiveness of an individual defender when the team defense failed to consistently get stops the whole night, but Ron, at the very least, wasn’t horrible on that end tonight. He got caught looking as plays developed on the strong side and let Shawn Marrion slip past him a couple times, but his on-the-ball work was solid.

Zephid on Power Forwards:  Gasol was one of the few bright spots in a crappy first game.  Throughout the course of the game, we got to see the many facets of Pau’s unique skill set.  With the starters in, Pau spent most of his time on offense at the top of the key.  From here, he made what I would call the main read, deciding whether to throw it to the weak side, the strong side, or dump down into the post.  Showing his passing skills, Gasol was able send quick passes to a cutting Howard for easy dunks and fouls.  Showing his handles, Pau drove past his man into the middle of the lane, creating some opportunities for himself, as well as some dump offs to Howard for dunks.  Showing his shooting skills, Pau let his mid-range jumper fly a couple of times, hitting one and missing one, though he was wide open on both occasions.

When Howard went out, Pau transitioned to the center position, taking up the deep post position that Howard occupied when he was on the floor.  Showing off his post game, Pau hit a couple of jumpers in isolation, as well as taking Eddy Curry off the dribble (not hard) for a lay-up.  He also orchestrated the offense from the post, hitting a cutting Jamison at least once for a foul, while dumping off to Jordan Hill on a couple of occasions.

On defense, Pau was primarily a hard hedger in PNR’s against Nash.  Pau showed well on most of the PNR actions, but several times was unable to recover quickly enough to get back to his man or to rotate to another offensive player.  The Mavs got several easy baskets due to poor rotations by the Laker D, with Pau’s lack of foot speed contributing to several of them.

All-in-all, Pau finished the game with a decent line of 8-19 shooting for 23 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks.  While he was effective, a number of his makes came when the game was decided, so his shooting numbers were worse than they appeared at the end.  Pau needs to be more efficient when he’s close to the basket, or he needs to hit those wide open shots with regularity to get his shooting percentage at a good enough level for a big man.

Although we didn’t get to see the glorious amount of 20 footers that we saw in the first pre-season game, Hill did manage to launch a couple, to hilarious results.  The first shot was from 15 feet straight on, going off glass and bouncing out.  The second shot was from the wing, hitting the far back side of the rim and falling into the hands of the Mavs.  But, Hill did the things that he was supposed to do, which was attack the glass on both ends, getting two difficult offensive rebounds and putbacks, showing strength and aggression that we all wish Pau had (Pau got stuffed on a couple put back attempts, hence his relatively bad shooting percentage).  Hill also played decent defense, a couple of times jumping out on PNR’s to cover smaller players, once blocking an OJ Mayo shot attempt.  Hill was also one of the bench players who ran the offense very well in the second quarter (along with Jamison), smoothly setting screens and cutting to the rim for a couple easy dunks.

Dave on Centers: It’s obvious that Dwight’s still shaking off the rust. Also obvious that he’s pretty spry for a guy coming off back surgery. He mistimed a number of jumps but at least he’s still got some hops. D12 grabbed the first board of the game, showed his sweet baby hook, had a nice hand-off to Kobe and was the beneficiary of a beautiful pass fromPau, all in the first quarter.

Dwight looked a little winded in the second quarter but still chipped in a couple of points and altered some shots by being active around the rim which is what he does. As has been his pattern throughout his career, he went to the stripe a lot and missed a lot. He wound up making only 3 out of 14 free throws for the night.

Howard remained physically aggressive in the second half, if not always being smart about it – the flagrant-1 on Elton Brand was basically a cheap frustration foul. He got back on track offensively in the third quarter as Brown called his number more with direct feeds.
In a lot of ways, this was a logical continuation from the preseason. It’s a team in progress and that includes Dwight. Still, his back looks sound and that’s huge – there was a real question this summer about if and when he’d be ready to go. The same goes for Jordan Hill as well by the way, he was super aggressive going to the basket. And, like Howard – he was abysmal at the line – 1 for 6.
Dwight had a nice put-back off a Pau miss midway through the final quarter but I was a bit disappointed by his overall effort on the boards. He seems to be sorting things out with Pau and I don’t want to see a guy who’s averaged 13 rpg for his career deferring to anybody, not even a teammate. He fouled out with a couple minutes left in the game which was by that point, a forgone conclusion. Overall, Dwight had 19 points on 8 for 12 shooting, 10 boards, 2 assists and a block, in 38 minutes. Not a bad effort at all and it will certainly get better.

Phillip Barnett


to Lakers/Mavericks: A Look At Individuals

  1. Not the auspicious start I was hoping for. Something happened when we lost to Dallas in the playoffs and we have not recovered since. Trying to guess what it is, but ever since then it seems as if we lost our mojo.


  2. it looked pretty good to me!

    i saw a lot of progress from the preseason. this team looks like it can be super good, if everyone keeps to the course.

    i wouldn’t say this, if this is the best effort they can give in a couple of months, but they look as they should early on. watching all those layups early in the game, i see how the Princeton is really going to help. we’ll be seeing plenty of pick and roll as soon as these guys get the set offense down. the two will feed each other.

    really, the Lakers looked like they were playing basketball “the right way” for the first time in a long time. now that they’ve found that, they’ll relearn how to win, it’s inevitable, barring catastrophic injuries.


  3. good start,positive sign FGA a total of 77.It should hover around 82-90 though.Kobe should increase his shot attempts to at least around 19-20,it is weird/fishy he did not go to the line.


  4. Everyone looks healthy, no need to panick.

    Two things are clear to me, the defensive rotations are off. Too often someone is left wide open under the basket. I believe Dwight and Mike Brown can fix this.

    Secondly, Nash needs to get his legs back under him and develop a better feel for his new teammates.

    Its a veteran team though, we will be fine, don’t have to be no 1 in the regular season.


  5. Yes it was only the 1st game, but D-12’s free throw shooting was scary, and can’t be minimized. No I don’t think Howard will shoot 22% for the season, but in the final 5 minutes in close games, “Hack a Howard” will be alive & well.

    Howard has only shot better than 60% from the free throw line once in his career (.671 his rookie season). And last season was his worst (.491). His free throw shooting coach has his work cut out for him. Chuckie P, you can be the coaching MVP for the Lakers if you can get this up to 66%


  6. I agree with the assessment that using Nash in mostly Princeton sets is a poor use of his assets. The PO should be what the coaches have said it should be, something to fall back on, especially when Nash is not on the court. Defensive rotations were suspect and needs work but nothing that can’t be fixed over the long haul. No reason for more than two of our star quartet to sit at any one time. Hill and Jamison should be eating into more of Pau’s minutes at PF.


  7. Quite an ugly game.

    This team may have high aspirations, but its defense is always going to be suspect.

    I understand some struggles on the offensive and defensive end, but after the 1st half, the Mavs were getting absolutely any shot they wanted.


  8. The NY Laker is a bit worried.

    Obviously, it is just one game. But make no mistake and call it what you will, but going 0-8 in the pre season is certainly a concern, no matter how many players, coaches or fans downplay it.

    As great as Dwight is, it is going to be a huge, huge issue, especially in close games down the stretch, that he cannot make foul shots.

    No panic button….way too early…but I think we all can agree that this group needs to get going and pick up a win. So far…0-9.


  9. I know it is just the first game, but last night was an embarrassment–Lakers with all the talent they have losing against a much weaker Dallas mavericks team–w/o Dirk Nowitzki or Chris Kaman.


  10. Only one game, and I will agree it is not time to panic just yet, but certainly a time to have some concern. 0-8 in preseason and this horrible opening game loss can’t be overlooked. Lakers are a talented bunch, no doubt. But they seem to be very old and slow, and not very athletic. The Mavs were too quick for them last night and got ANYTHING they wanted. This was a Mavs team missing arguably their two best players. The offense I believe will find its way, players on the court are just too good. But defensively I am concerned about this team in being able to get stops consistently and often, which a team that wants to win a championship needs to do. Howard also needs to at least be able to hit 50 percent of his free throws, what he did tonight was unacceptable even for him.


  11. Nice summations.

    This post would be improved, however, with a section on the coaching. What did Brown do well as an in-game coach? What things did he not do well? Which things had a clear goal and which ones were confusing?

    Right now, most of the Laker-land is stating that Mike Brown is the big problem with everything. It’s not possible to judge the Princeton Offense yet, but maybe an evaluation of some of his moves during the game would be helpful.


  12. The TNT guys certainly aren’t sold that this team should be running a Princeton offense.

    I wonder if the players in the locker room feel the same way


  13. Rather than continue chastising an inept Coach, I would like to offer a positive spin for the sake of our love of the team.

    1. Shelve the Princeton Offense and practice it to perfection in El Segundo not during a regular game. Until the players attuned reached a comfort zone with perfect coordination, don’t even bother to use it.

    2. Mix up the strength of the Lakers by spreading the power players. OK, for the sake of the opening show, the traditional starters will start the game. However, by the time the bench comes in, I would like to mix it up the line up with veterans and youth.
    5- Gasol
    4- Peace
    3 Blake
    2 Meeks
    1 JDO

    At the middle of 2nd quarter, mix it up with another combination of:
    5 Howard
    4 Hill
    3 Ebanks
    2 Kobe
    1 Nash
    Ebanks and Hill provide youth infusion on the power veterans. Ebanks with younger legs should be ready for transition defense while Hill should complement with Howard in the post, thereby avoiding Howard commit unnecessary fouls.

    The odd man will be Jamison, however he can always be available to interchange places with Ebanks, Blake and Hill.

    Lakers need to empower the 2nd unit defense while increase productivity in perimeter shooting. It is time to use Blake’s and Meeks’ specialties which are snipers shots on the outside. Got to utilize a nimble PG who would bring the ball and distribute it accordingly to power players on the inside as well as on the outside as planned. Post plays in the 2nd unit are beefed up with the presence of Peace strengths in hustle and rebounds while addressing Gasol’s length for follow-ups, short hook shots.

    By 4th quarter, mix it up again based on what the opposing team dictates. Recognize the players who are strong enough to close the game with a WIN based on performance not on their name resume. Everyone will get their chances as the season progresses.


  14. Nash needs to have the ball in his hands the majority of time, while the Princeton offense needs to be ran when he is on the bench.

    I’m just going to go out and say it, Metta is awful and has brought this team down for 3 years now because of his offense deficiency. The guy kills LA, especially when he inconsistently brings his defense. It makes no sense to me why Brown didn’t give a shot to Ebanks when Metta looked so out of sync.

    Patience will be the key for us fans this season as this will be a work in progress for the early part of the season. It is going to take plenty of time for the Lakers to integrate some type of effective offense and get the players familiar with playing together. I just want to remind everyone that Miami started really slowly two seasons ago with a poor record to start the year and people were questioning if Lebron and Wade could ever play together and look how that turned out.


  15. Pace is too slow – if Nash is on the floor they should be pushing as much as possible and pnr to take advantage of mis matches etc…. save the princeton for when he’s not on the court.


  16. Dating back to last season we are on what is now a 0-13 or 1-13 streak, besides Kobe and Gasol – no one played well tonight and the ”sets” suck – they sucked all preseason and they sucked tonight.

    Brown has been out-coached in pretty much every game we have watched and lets say we lose tonight and friday that will make us on a 0-16 streak – looking at the schedule it could be realistic that we could end up 4-9 if we lose against the better teams and Sacramento, whose quick guards will do exactly the same thing that Dallas did to us tonight.

    Does MB get fired then?

    When do we start playing our athletic/better defensive players like ebanks, DJO or even Duhon off the bench.

    I mean we could pretty much see that Jamison is too slow to play the 3 and works best as a stretch 4 and with other teams moving away from big men lineups it makes it even easier to play him as a 4 – Play ebanks

    As someone else mentioned in the last post – Nash is being used ineffectively just like we saw sessions being used – Brown has now had 1) Sessions, a lightening quick guard a la colison who can break a defense down and now 2) Nash, one of the best point guards ever and both of their games got destroyed under him when all he did was cry to the FO saying I need a guard to run my sets – now he has them and he doesnt use them.


  17. This is a clue for MBrown, Rudy T, quit the game at the middle of ’05 season, not because he is too sick or a bad coach, but couldn’t handle the pressure of lack of victories. If Lakers is not your mojo, time to admit it and QUIT. Don’t prolong the agony and drag it on to the point of getting fired. Every week that passes without a victory in Lakerland would be a test of will that could turn Jim Buss, Mitch becoming nuts if they continue sticking on the weakest link of their team. “Nuts” in the sense that they invested so much for $130M in this venture that may turn into waste of time for everyone. There are so many things at stake, Howard is on a lease, Kobe has two years to go, Gasol’s last year, Nash is getting older by every game and on and on.


  18. In my opinion the offense and defense were adequate last night. The issue that concerned me was Mike Brown’s inability to properly manage the game. He was out Managed last night plain and simple. While Carlisle got most out of his players by making the right adjustments and proper personnel substitutions, MB just seemed clueless to knowing the pulse of his team. Also, not playing Devin Eubanks even for a sec last night was most mind boggling. I am not concerned about the free-throw percentage because if MB managed the game well, free-throws percentage wouldn’t have mattered. We got them in foul trouble early each quarter (good thing) and did nothing about it..that’s coaching. Not even playing fast younger guys with Nash (especially Eubanks) was a travesty of a decision too. I am not gonna panic but someone needs to inform MB that he needs to manage the game better. As for the TNT guys, they need to shut up. 2 years ago when the Heat Big-3 lost their 1st ever regular season to Boston all the talking heads blamed it on the Heat not having an offense and trying to go one-on-one too much. Now the Lakers have an offense and they have an issue with it too?? No need to pay mind to people who simply play the result without staying true to analyzing the actual process. lost


  19. I know the Princeton offense is the big talking point these days, but I thought the Laker offense was beautiful in the first half. 56% shooting, with Kobe going 4-4 in the 1st quarter? Gasol was hitting Howard repeatedly, and when the starters went out, the reserves came in and scored. Jamison had a number of drives to the lane that either were passes for dunks (to Jordan Hill), or one of his gross runners.

    It was defense where the Lakers looked terrible. They couldn’t stop the Mavs from getting to their spots, and defensive rotations were off the entire night. Howard wasn’t nearly the force we needed him to be, and our perimeter guys couldn’t stick to their men. It didn’t help that the Mavs were throwing up shit and it was going in, but there were maybe, 1, 2 possessions where the Lakers actually looked good defensively. No where near the defensive juggernaut that completely shut down Boston in the 4th Q of Game 7 in 2010.


  20. Until Dwight starts moving like Dwight the Lakers won’t have much of a defense. He is the defense. He is a one man defensive team and has been for the last six years.


  21. It’s only one game, so it is unfair to throw Brown under the Buss (pun!) until we have a better statistical sample. I think the criticisms are well placed, but we should really take a look at whats going on 10 games or 20 games into the season. Having said that, if this team does not have a winning record 20 games into the season, then I agree there has to be some major coaching changes, either in philosophy, style or personnel makeup.

    One bit of constructive criticism for the site: You often write up about what the “team” did right and wrong, and what players did right or wrong, but very seldom do I see an ounce of criticism directed specifically the coaching staff. I realize that when you talk about the “team” you are by inference referring to Mike Brown, but I would prefer some good, honest and hard critique on the in-game coaching decisions when such critique is due – such as after last night.


  22. My 0.02$:

    – For all its warts, the (P)O, as Zephid pointed out was actually quite effective.
    – Too much is being made of Nash not being Nash, but as Brown – and Nash himself – pointed out, Nash controls the O, and not the other way around. Yesterday, he chose not to run the P-n-R because he wanted to run the sets.
    – At the risk of belaboring my point, we shot close to 50% as a team, which is good.
    – We missed NINETEEN free throws. If we made half of those, there would be a different perspective on this game.
    – D needs work. I’d rather we focus on the D first and let the O simmer for a while, but I’m not the coach 🙂


  23. I’ll come out of the woodwork and add to the chorus against Mike Brown.

    It just doesn’t feel right. We should be working this hard for such lackluster results, dating back to last season as well. Things aren’t right, they just aren’t.

    Westhead lasted 11 games. Where is our Riley?


  24. Things are so much easier for Kobe I bet he shoots 50% this year. I can only think of one shot where he had to work and that’s the long jumper over Carter. It was a very efficient night for Kobe.

    Pau was phenomenal last night and didn’t realize he took 19 shots. He’ll make things so much easier for everyone. Ron was anemic and him being in great shape had no impact on his game yesterday. I wish he’d stop trying to dribble and do too much and spot up for shots while playing good defense.

    Dwight and Bynum size is very evident now. Dwight, not 100% yet, was getting boxed out and we’re accustomed to seeing Drew climb over top with his long arms. It’ll take time for Dwight’s timing and his full game to get back.

    Mike Brown has shown us nothing over his first 89 games. No consistency and zero ability to adjust in game. I was thinking of a game, sequence or play that stands out in his tenure and can’t. Brown hasn’t instilled anything in this team. Two things have been consistent his tenure the Pau lobs to bigs and his indecisiveness when it comes to rotations. His indecisiveness as a coach has trickled down to the players on the court. Ebanks has shown so much progress from last year and I hope Brown doesn’t stunt his growth by only feeling he’s a SG and now playing Meeks over him. And what is it with his “minute limit” thing? Kobe coming off a bad foot he plays 35 mins. Brown’s inability to read and react to what’s going on around him is hurting this team.

    Mods: What is the difference in roles that Nash is being asked to play and the one Arenas played in the Princeton?


  25. Zephid,
    I agree – the Lakers were getting a lot of easy shots. I think that the offense looks very promising. Defense was not very good; that was more affected by Howard’s rustiness/conditioning than the offense, so it’s harder to tell how good it will be.


  26. Why Ebanks, even with Metta playing horrible bball, didn’t play at all last night?


  27. It was hard to watch Shaq brick his free-throws and it’s hard watching Howard brick his.

    Will I miss anything else about Bynum? Too early to say, and I appreciate one overwhelming fact, that Howard is already in the lineup. But it was enjoyable knowing that the Lakers might score a point or two whenever Bynum was at the line.


  28. I’m not saying Brown deserves no credit (blame) for the loss-but MB didn’t miss 19 of 31 free throws. (I can’t remember EVER watching a game where a Laker team was 12 for 31 bad, not even back in the Shaq days)

    If the Lakers had made even 65 % of their freebies (which would be terrible by the way) the game would have been close.


  29. I agree that this site needs more threads discussing the coaching. The offense is developing and I am willing to be patient. The defense depends more on conditioning and working together and I am willing to be patient.

    However, the somewhat rigid substitutions and lack of in-game adjustments has me really frustrated – this goes back to last year and includes a continuing overuse of the starters, without integrating them with the 2nd unit. The coach seems to have all the information, but has a problem with using it during games. Sort of like a brilliant defensive coach in the NFL being a failure as a head coach. Also, I don’t see development of players like Phil Jackson did – also includes last year – so what, exactly, is Mike Brown bringing to the table.

    I think I am beginning to become part of the rabble.


  30. Here’s Grantland’s take on the game yesterday:


  31. Phillip, I noticed you omitted Jamisons time at SF last night in your recap; if you did this purposefully to show disdain for playing Jamison at SF, I applaud you.

    Look, the offense AND the defense will take some time. It’s frustrating to watch a team with this much talent lose, but they obviously still look confused on both ends and are a work in progress. That I can live with. What I can’t live with? Jamison playing exclusively at the 3. First off, if he couldn’t guard opposing 3’s when he was in his athletic prime, he certainly cannot guard them now. Second, he took all of Ebanks minutes when Ebanks was one of the lone bright spots off the bench in the preseason and has steadily shown improvement in his game on both ends since the Lakers drafted him. Lastly, the NBA as a whole is moving towards playing smaller – Miami’s most effective line-up is with Bron at the 4 and Bosh at the 5, Boston’s is Pierce at the 4 and Garnett at the 5, New York’s is Melo at the 4 and Chandler at the 5, etc. Last night we were getting torched playing Jamison, Gasol, Howard or Jamison, Hill, Gasol together. The backup power forward minutes should be split up between Jamison and Hill, with Hill getting some minutes at backup C as well, depending on match ups.


  32. While not being a fan of the PO, I’m willing to give it some time. Being that it’s a read and react offense, repetition is the key. The reality of the situation is that the starting 5 has played a combined 2 games (1 pre-season) together. So if the coaches are dedicated to the system (as Mike Brown claims to be), I’ll re-evaluate it once we’re around 20 games in.

    With that being said, I do not believe that our personnel is being used correctly by running the PO. It still amazes me that, a team which features Nash, D12 & Pau, 3 individuals who are perfectly suited for a pick n roll/pop structured offense, are being relegated to run an offense that doesn’t accentuate their strengths. Not saying that they can not run it efficiently over time, but why over-complicate the situation. It’s like trying to force a circle into a triangle. Nash, specifically, is not being placed in a position to succeed.

    Like Phil always said, “It’s a journey.” So patience will definitely have to be a virtue.


  33. Fyi, comments like “person X sucks!” will be deleted moving forward. This board was established to have a basketball discussion, not a place to drop your one liners about someone sucking.

    I’m all for critiquing someone/something but do so with some sort of point about what you’re seeing. It makes this a better place. Thanks.


  34. Coaching: It’s not just the loss to Dallas. Or the 0-8 preseason. Or the adjustment to the new offense. In some ways, it’s really not about any of that at all.

    It’s about other intangibles, which date from last season all the way through last night, consistent as can be during Brown’s coaching term thus far: (1) the team body language, (2) the quicksand-like struggle the team seems to play with (nothing is easy), (3) the excessive minutes for older stars, (4) the inexplicable minutes generally (Ebanks last night? Last year, too, for that matter), (5) the seeming lack of growth or improvement (both last year and, so far, this year), (6) probably something else I’m forgetting (other bloodthirsty posters can probably easily supplement the list 🙂

    I don’t care about Brown, have no ax to grind, and watched last season patiently (err, mostly). And gave him the benefit of the doubt for preseason, except that these same tendencies were all there during preseason, which was concerning. Now, sure it’s only game 1, but Dallas? Without Dirk? At home? And the very same tendencies, without much seeming difference – sure, the offense seemed nice at times, but my ##1-5 above were right there, too.

    I wonder if these players like playing for this guy. I certainly don’t have any idea, but it sure doesn’t seem like it.

    When do you pull off the band aid? Time (i.e., hourglass time on the careers of Kobe, Gasol and Nash, and contract-renewal-time for Dwight) is ticking very, very loudly.


  35. Lakers are 3 – 18 last 21 games

    Lakers have won 4 of last 21 third quarters (4 – 16 – 1)

    We’re used to seeing high powered offense. They’ve had Six 30 pt quarters last 21 games. Two coming in preseason. 6 for 84 seems almost impossible with Lakers talent.


  36. Sometimes one game isn’t “just one game.”

    This offense might get more efficient, but that won’t make it the right approach. The Lakers have 4 incredible offensive players, and a system that is predicated on half-court slow tempo is one that reduces the number of shot attempts. The first half was case in point. The team shot a fantastic percentage from the floor, but had relatively few shots. This is a recipe for keeping lesser teams (like Dallas) in the game.

    This group needs a faster tempo, and the Princeton offense is not going to produce that. As previously mentioned, this offense was designed to allow a far less talented college team to compete against massively superior opponents. This is accomplished by shortening the game through long possessions that prevent the opponent from running up and down the floor.

    Recent reports suggest that Coach Brown wanted to install this a year ago, and brought it up to Kobe in the locker room after the playoff loss to OKC. That’s understandable, but it was a reflection of the talent that the team had AT THAT TIME. If your best PG is Derek Fisher or Ramon Sessions, and your center is an immobile guy who cannot run the floor, the Princeton offense makes sense. However, when you now have Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, slowing the tempo and working on back cuts completely removes the talent advantage that you have.

    Moreover, not only would a steady PnR diet be a more effective use of talent, but it would be a “system” that the team could implement a lot sooner, because they have perhaps the league’s best PnR guard & center. Instead, by forcing new talent into an “old” system, the coach is making everybody start from scratch and it is clear in watching this team that they are not nearly on the same page.

    Bottom line: if you’re going to sign Steve Nash, let him be Steve Nash and not Derek Fisher.


  37. *5-16 last 21 games should have read.


  38. This team is about done as a contender, maybe send Gasol and World Peace in a big trade for a shooting foward we need badly and some bench strength. When you look at how Miami improved their bench with the likes of Ray Allen and others, it makes you wonder about the job Mitch K is doing.


  39. A lot of people have pointed out the “tempo” that the Lakers played at but haven’t acknowledged one of the main reasons: the Lakers’ D was pretty bad and the Mavs scored well. This left the Lakers taking the ball out of the bottom of the net rather than pushing the ball after rebounds. It also allowed the Mavs to set their D which included picking Nash up at three-quarter court to slow down the initiation of the sets.

    I’m not here to defend the Princeton offense. There’s loads of work to do there (even with some very good portions of the game). But it also can’t be blamed for everything. After all, I thought that’s what Mike Brown was for. #sarcasm


  40. @Paulo, did you really just say that Mitch K is not doing a good job? Seriously? He was GM of the off season BY FAR.


  41. Darius, I believe the Mavs shot 47% from the floor. Surely that can’t be the reason for poor offensive tempo by the Lakers, can it?


  42. I’m going to repeat my point from earlier:

    It is too soon to judge the Princeton Offense in execution. It is not, however, too soon to have discussions on whether the offense is correct IN THEORY. As in, at it’s hypothetical best, assuming all the team learns to run it to its fullest potential, is it the best offense for this team?

    I’m dubious at this point, like a lot of folks out there, but one of the things that makes me hesitate against completely throwing it under the bus and calling for it’s removal is the thought of the two teams who are the most likely candidates of preventing the Lakers from winning a title:

    Miami Heat
    Oklahoma City Thunder

    Heck, you might even want to throw the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs in there.

    A lot of people are making the points that when you have superior players, you don’t WANT to limit the number of possessions in a game. You want an up tempo game with lots of possessions that will, over time, lead to superior talent winning out.

    It’s like the house in Vegas. If the odds of the house winning any particular blackjack hand are 55%, the house wants thousands and thousands of hands dealt because over time the 55% will make money every time.

    But I have to wonder if a faster paced, high possession affair is really the right course of action against the teams MOST LIKELY to be legitimate contenders towards overthrowing us. Do we really want to get into a high tempo, up and down the court game against the Heat? Against a team like the Nuggets? I don’t know about the rest of you, but the idea of limiting the number of times Lebron gets out on the fast break sounds just dandy to me.

    I DO want more rigorous analysis of Mike Brown’s ingame coaching decisions and substitution patterns. Playing Jamison at the three instead of at the four and taking Ebanks out of the rotation entirely instead of playing him at the three is questionable at best and has been a longterm concern of mine dating back to last year where I’ve felt that Mike Brown does a generally poor job of finding the RIGHT rotation patterns.

    Certainly, the same caveat remains of the number of injuries during training camp, but there’s still room for discussion here based on the evidence of last year.

    I’m willing to give Coach Brown a longer leash to implement what is likely to be a complicated offense. (Even the NAME of the offense implies you need to be damned smart to learn and run it. Think of how long it takes to implement the triangle.) Hell, there is even evidence that our problems weren’t on offense last night.

    But I would love to see some more posts here on FB&G focused on the rotation decisions, timeout calling, etc. Hell, we debated Phil’s timeout calling to death and he is the best coach in league history.


  43. This game was the preseason pattern, the team starts good even looks brilliant at times, the opossing coach adjust and it goes downhill from there, Mike Brown overthinks too much and this offense havent won anything anywhere, is its so good why Eddie Jordan could never get the Wizards out of the 1st round or have a head coach job? With the this level of talent run the pick and roll,isolations and sprinkle some triangle plays on it. There is no reason this team shoulndt score 110ppg, this team is built to be a scoring machine, stop overthinking and let them play to their strength and stop running the offense so structured and unnesesarily complicated, the fr woes should fix themselves but i would have Howard and Hill shot 1000 fts today


  44. Funky Chicken,
    It’s one of the reasons, yes. Also, the Mavs shot that % over the course of the game but when they made their two runs that basically won the game for them they shot much better than that and their defensive pressure increased. In the 3rd quarter they shot 63% for the entire quarter. In the first 4 minutes of the 4th quarter the Mavs shot 80% from the field, made all 6 of their FT’s and outscored the Lakers 14-7 and the ball pressure continued as the Lakers repeatedly inbounded from the baseline to start possessions. So, again, yes it’s one of the reasons.


  45. Ok about the rotations why play jamison in the 3 is mindbogling he will be taken off the dribble every single time because you know, he cant guard!!!!!! At the 4 most of the time his assigment will be closer to the basket and that should minimize his defensive woes somewhat, Ebanks showed improvement in the preseason, how he gets rewarded? By being buried at the end of the bench, he is better defensively at the 3 than jamison ( not that is that hard) and he can run the floor, and i would give a shot to Duhon to see if he could help, he is a vereran give him a shot, what if he performs better than blake? Mike Brown is terrible at rotations period.


  46. Darius, that’s a good point, but I think that some of us (or, at least I) think that faster tempo doesn’t mean just running a fast break. It also means, and for the sake of this team and its personnel should mean, utilizing the pick and roll early in the offense. Using the PnR should never be determined by whether or not you are taking the ball out of the basket.

    What I think, and what I heard the TNT analysts suggest, is that the Lakers would be better served if they let one of the best PGs in NBA history do what he does best, which is create shots, usually early in the offense, for the most talented array of teammates that he’s ever had.

    Interestingly, what I’m suggesting is very much in line with what Coach Brown has said Nash can do: read the defense and do his thing whenver he wants and, if the PnR isn’t there or the defense is set to defend it, go into the set offense. For this reason, I think a lot of the blame last night actually lies with Nash himself, although I think he was just trying to be a good teammate and not impose his style on the team. Going forward, I think that imposition is necessary (and likely).


  47. Funky Chicken (and everyone really),
    You should watch this video clip of Nash’s post game scrum. Near the end he spoke of searching for balance on O and how he could be more aggressive:


  48. Thanks for the link, Darius. I’m glad but not surprised that Nash sees an opportunity to be more aggressive in an attempt to generate a better flow as they work out the kinks in the base offense.

    That said, I think that Jim C’s point about the Princeton O is a good one. As a Laker fan I don’t really follow other teams too closely, so I don’t know how common it is to use “learning a new offense” as an excuse, but with the Lakers it has been part of the lexicon since Phil arrived. Any time a new player is added we heard about how hard it was to learn the triangle.

    Now, with Brown, we’re installing another different offense, and again it is one that Nash describes as probably uncommon to most NBA players. This doesn’t make it the wrong offense, per se, but it does at least raise questions about why we are settling on an offense that is apparently not common and not easy to learn (again). Last time, the frequent and appropriate response to that question was “the Bulls won 6 titles in 8 years with this offense.” Not so sure what the compelling argument is this time….


  49. Funky there is no really an argument for an offense that havent won anything on any level. Like i asked before if this offense so good how come Eddie Jordan couldnt take his Wizards out of the 1st round and he never got another head coaching job? Btw Jamison played for him so he should know this offense, but he looks as lost as anybody else, that being said when it worked looked beautiful but Brown looks like he thinks games are scripted or something amd when the other team adjust and deviates from his gameplan he dont know how to react


  50. Based on what I saw last season, this pre-season, & this season’s 1st regular season game, I don’t think I’m jumping to conclusions to say Mike Brown’s on the hot seat. Unless the Lakers make a major turnaround…Brown’s out. The big question obviously is who takes over.


  51. Funky Chicken,
    I thought the anecdote Nash dropped about halfway through that clip speaks to what you’re asking. Nash explained that the sets the Lakers run aren’t “natural” for a lot of players and he’s right. Most teams variations of the same plays. They run P&R’s, post up plays, and pin downs or other screen actions to free their wings for jumpers or isolations. Every team does the same thing…it’s why come playoff time coaches always remark “everyone knows what everyone else runs”….it’s because it’s all just basketball.

    The Lakers, though, aren’t doing that. They’re running a system that is all reads. They’re not calling plays. So, it’s not just about learning a playbook, it’s about learning how to play with each other and how to read your teammate’s actions and what to do next within in the context of that playbook.

    I hate to beat a dead horse here but this is why I’ve said it will take time and why all the players have asked for patience. They’re in practice working their tails off and the progress will (should?) come. There are arguments to be made for tilting things in one direction over the other. There are arguments about whether this is the right offense at all. But, there’s only one Steve Nash on this team. Saying “just run a P&R system” doesn’t work when Blake is in the game or Duhon or Morris. There needs to be something more substantial as the backbone for the team.

    Ultimately, I think Nash knows this and is one of the reasons why he’s skewing towards the structured sets now. The team needs to move forward together, not be dragged forward by a single play that only Nash can direct at a level for contention.


  52. Darius, I like the read & react based offense concept in theory, and I know that if the Lakers hoist the O’Brien at the end of the year, any early season ugliness (to say nothing of preseason…) will long be forgotten.

    I do think that the Phil Jackson Lakers were great in large part because they were good in tight games down the stretch. Players didn’t have to worry about calling or executing specific “plays” but just ran their system and let it produce for them. If that’s how this story ends, then I’m good with it, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s too early to draw any major conclusions.

    However, I don’t think it’s too early to have a conversation about whether this kind of system is necessary. It worked wonders for teams like the Bulls and Lakers in the triangle form, but one can persuasively argue that those 11 titles were the product of superior talent that would have won with or without as much structure. Lesser teams have tried systems like these, without favorable results; and quality teams have won titles without as much structure.

    I guess looking at a very old Laker team with a limited window, the question is whether a system that takes a while to learn is really the best approach. If that system takes more than one season to learn, then I’m of the view that it is a mistake to pursue it, but if they can get it down in time to win a title this year, bring it on. We won’t know either way until the end of the year, but I suspect that this just means we’re going to have a lot to talk about in the meantime….


  53. Darius Soriano: The P&R is the most effective play of NBA for a reason. Two players can play P&R consecutively with slight variations and the defense just can’t stop them. How many times we have seen this happened in NBA games throughout the years? And it is a myth to say that it requires a superior PG to run this simple technique. Once a screen is set the PG is always one step ahead of the defenders. The NBA does not use Princeton offense also for a reason. It is mostly designed for a offense quicker than the defense, and to compensate height disadvantage. It is not true in both regards for the Lakers.


  54. Brown seems to be extremely poor at matching his personnel to whatever random system he’s decided to use in a season. The Lakers had triangle personnel when he first got the job, but he changed up his offense. Then, when he got Sessions and the bench unit started destroying other teams instead of being a liability (with Sessions and Barnes running the floor and Sessions utilitizing the P&R once the defense became set), Brown soon decided that Sessions would work best with the starters. So Ramon became a “throw the ball into the post and run to the corner” type of point guard, the same type that Brown wants Nash to be in the Princeton offense, and thus a non-triangle offense with triangle personnel in the first half of 2011-12 became a double-post, high-low offense with a P&R-type point guard in the second half of the 2011-12 season.

    Now we have perhaps the most devastating P&R combo ever in Nash and Howard, and Brown wants to slow everything down and let Metta World Peace make just as many decisions with the ball in the Princeton offense as our brilliant point guard makes. Yeah, that’ll work.


  55. I agree with Darius – for everyone criticizing the O, keep in mind that we scored 92 points, inspite of missing 19 free throws!!
    Yes, the players looked discombulated, but this was only the SECOND game together (for the starters)! We have had 8 pre-season games, but not with a full roster.
    The P’n’R will always be there for us, but we need to get the team to get used to the PO. This may not be very relevant for the regular season, but becomes very important for the playoffs. This was the first game of the season – not the last.


  56. Dude, well said. If there is a rationale for the plan, Brown hasn’t done a great job of articulating it. I get that his job is to coach and not to explain to the random fan his motivation, but it has seemed that for the last year it isn’t just fans but also his players that are confused by the O and what is expected of them….