Preview & Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

Darius Soriano —  November 24, 2012 — 114 Comments

Records: Lakers 6-7 (10th in the West), Mavericks 7-6 (5th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.6 (4th in the NBA), Mavericks 103.8 (10th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 100.9 (14th in the NBA), Mavericks 103.6 (24th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Darius Morris, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard
Mavericks: Darren Collison, OJ Mayo, Shawn Marion, Troy Murphy, Chris Kaman
Injuries: Lakers: The Steves (out); Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki (out)

The Lakers Coming in: The Lakers have a myriad of issues on both sides the ball right now. They have, essentially, traded one work in progress under Mike Brown for another work in progress under Mike D’Antoni.

Offensively, the Lakers have shown an inability to get their bigs involved close enough to the paint where they can be the difference makers they’re supposed to be. The Lakers have become a P&R heavy team and while that’s opened up opportunities on the perimeter for their wing players (Ron is thriving right now), that action has not opened up the floor for the types of deep post touches that Howard needs very often. Running the P&R has also relegated Pau to a spot up shooter/playmaker from the high post on nearly every possession he’s on the floor with Howard. When Pau is making his jumper the offense looks very good as it opens up passing angles that he’s more than able to to take advantage of. But when he’s not, Pau looks very ineffective and out of sorts.

Also, putting the ball in Kobe’s hands to be the primary facilitator on every play has put a burden on him to mix his scoring with this playmaking. Some games he balances those responsibilities very well but on other nights — especially ones where the team falls behind — his scoring instincts kick in and the offense becomes stagnant. At this point the Lakers’ P&R heavy attack has exacerbated the fact that Nash is out as they simply don’t have the playmakers besides Kobe to really execute their offense at a peak level.

Defensively, the Lakers just aren’t doing many things well right now. On the wing, players are getting beat off the dribble much too easily. Kobe seems to be conserving energy for offense by not clamping down on defense and it’s hurting the integrity of the defense. Furthermore, dribble penetration is forcing the defense to collapse and when the ball is kicked out, closeouts by all players have been slow and/or rushed. This fact has led to either open jumpers or ball handlers racing by an out-of-control Laker rushing to try and contest the shot.

The Lakers’ bigs are also not defending at the level they need to be — especially Gasol. Pau is sitting too high in his defensive stance and is getting beat off the dribble too easily. Standing too tall has also made him susceptible to shot fakes which has only made beating him off the dribble easier. Howard has been better in straight man to man situations but is still not fully himself in patrolling the back line. He’s very good, but it seems there’s still confusion between him and his front court partner on who should be helping and who should be covering the secondary rotation. This confusion has led to easy baskets and too many offensive rebounding chances for the opposition.

All in all, the Lakers simply don’t look like a cohesive unit right now. Missing Nash hurts on offense and continuity with rotations and player combinations looks to be playing a part defensively. That said, this team simply needs to play harder and smarter for longer stretches. In the past two losses they’ve been terribly out of sorts and that needs to be remedied. And soon.

The Mavericks Coming in: For perspective in the Mavs, I had the chance to talk with Jonathan Tjarks of SB Nation Dallas. He offered good insight on the Mavs without Dirk, the Collison/Mayo back court, their ailing defense, and more. Thanks to Jonathan for taking the time during the holiday. You can follow Jonathan on twitter @JonathanTjarks and be sure to check out his work at SB Nation. Here’s the Q&A:

Dirk remains sidelined with his knee injury. How much longer is supposed to be out and how has the team compensated for his absence?

Dirk had a press conference earlier in the week where he said that he was targeting a return date of mid-December. At this point, I’ll believe he’ll be back on the court when I see him, but for now, all Mavs fans can do is be optimistic. Seeing your 34-year old franchise player struggling with a knee injury is hardly an encouraging sign though.

I wouldn’t say that the team has compensated for his absence, because Marion is the only rotation player left from 2011. This current incarnation of the Mavs is really their own team, and when Dirk comes back, they’ll have to figure out their identity all over again.

The most consistent offensive player has been OJ Mayo, but he’s most effective running off screens and hunting for his own shot, so the key to the Dallas offense has been the play of Darren Collison. When he’s running the team, getting into the lane and creating open shots for others, the Mavs are very dangerous. When he’s struggling, this is a team that can lose to the Bobcats. When he’s on, they can beat the Knicks.

Currently, the Mavs are 19th in defensive efficiency (per Basketball Reference). Is that mostly related to Marion being out for those games or is there a bigger issue on D for them?

A combination of both. Marion, even at the age of 34, is still an very effective defensive player. Dahntay Jones is the only other perimeter stopper and it’s hard to give him too many minutes because of his offensive limitations. Marion still gives guys like Carmelo a lot of trouble, and he’s still versatile enough that Dallas can slide him over to play power forward against most teams.

However, the root of the Mavs defensive problems is the lack of an athletic big man to protect the rim. Rick Carlisle has gone with the trio of Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Troy Murphy upfront, and those guys can’t move their feet or play above the rim. What makes it even more frustrating is Dallas has two long and athletic big men — Brandan Wright and Bernard James — rotting away on the bench. If Lakers fans want a good laugh, check out the stats of Wright and Murphy this season. Carlisle has a lot of strengths as a coach, but he’s also a guy who will go out of his way to play a veteran over a younger player. It’s maddening.

The Collison/Mayo backcourt has been a pleasant surprise for how well they’ve played so far this year. Have they exceeded your expectations? And what are they doing that’s made them successful?

Mayo and Collison work very well in tandem. When they’re rolling, Mayo is a shooter who spreads the floor for Collison to drive into the paint while Collison is the creator who gets Mayo open shots from deep.

Mayo has been unbelievably efficient this season: he’s scoring 22 points a game on 50% shooting from the floor and 57% from three. However, he’s better as a pure scorer rather than creating for his teammates, which is why teams have been keying their defenses on stopping Collison.

That’s where Dirk’s absence really comes into play: Collison just hasn’t been able to handle being the brunt of defensive attention. He’s had good games, but he’s had some real stinkers: his low point probably came against Golden State last week, when Steph Curry absolutely undressed him on both sides of the ball. Curry had 31/6/9 while Collison had 7 points on 2-11 shooting and 5 assists on 5 turnovers.

Jae Crowder has really impressed me in the games I’ve seen. Do you think he’ll earn an even bigger role as the season progresses?

Crowder is an interesting player. He’s the definition of a defensive tweener at 6’6 235 — too small to defend bigs, not fast enough to defend on the perimeter — he can’t create his own shot against longer defenders and he really hasn’t been able to make a difference on the boards. However, even though he didn’t come out of college with a reputation as a shooter, that’s exactly what he’s been in his first few weeks in the NBA.

He’s shooting 40% from the 3, and as long as he can maintain those percentages, he can be a very effective weapon off the bench. If he can keep shooting like a young Steve Novak, he’ll have a nice rookie season, but if his shooting slips, he doesn’t really provide much else on the court, which is why he only has a PER of 13 and has picked up a few DNP-CD’s in recent weeks.

What do the Mavs need to do to beat the Lakers tonight?

As I’ve mentioned several times already, the main thing will be getting Collison going. I’d like to see the Mavs running a lot of pick-and-rolls with OJ Mayo spotting up on the opposite side of the floor. That means that if Carlisle is going to insist on playing Murphy, he has to knock down some 3’s on pick-and-pops. Otherwise, this is a game where Wright could be very effective, as Lakers fans saw on Opening Night.

With Marion and Jones to at least bother Kobe, Dallas actually matches up with LA fairly well, especially since their biggest struggles have come against teams with slashers who can attack their big men at the rim. But without Dirk, they’ll still need a lot of things to bounce in their favor: Chris Kaman needs to be able to hold his own against Dwight Howard and they’ll need Mayo, Crowder and Carter to connect from 3.

Mavericks Blogs: The Two Man Game and Mavs Moneyball are two very good Mavericks sites. Check them both out. You can also check out the Q&A I did with Jonathan for SB Nation Dallas here.

Keys to game: I really don’t have much to say about what it’s going to take to win this game. There are individual match ups that matter (Kobe will likely be guarded by Marion and/or Mayo most of the night, Dwight vs. Kaman has a chance to intrigue, Darius Morris will have his hands full with Collison, etc), but this really comes down to the Lakers finding a way to sort out some of their issues on both sides of the ball.

Can they get their bigs touches in the paint? Will we start to see more variety on O besides the P&R? Can the defense close down driving lanes? Will rotations be sharper? Will the bigs be able to help on drives and still recover to rebound the ball? The answers to these questions will determine how well the Lakers play which will go a long way towards determining a winner tonight.

Of course, the Lakers aren’t playing some faceless opponent tonight. The Mavs are a well coached team that really took advantage of the Lakers in the season opener with creative play calling and personnel groupings that took advantage of the Lakers. Their full court ball pressure defensively and quick strike, attack style offense got the Lakers on their heels and had them playing from behind all night. Tonight, on the road, you can expect the Mavs to have even more wrinkles to their game plan that the Lakers will need to adjust to. How well they can balance playing their style while countering what the Mavs do will matter a great deal.

Where you can watch: 5:30pm start time on TWC Sports Net. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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114 responses to Preview & Chat: The Dallas Mavericks

  1. The comments about Pau are truly unbelievable. Is he playing well? No. Is Howard? No. Name one player besides Kobe or Ron that’s playing well.

    Much like with Meeks, I’d love to see Pau put in a better position to succeed before casting final judgement. But it seems many other fans feel him not thriving as a jump shooter 17 feet from the basket makes him a bad player. This is pretty much what’s wrong with Lakers fans right now. Not that they have some sort of dislike for how Pau is playing, because when a player plays poorly it’s fair to say he’s playing poorly. What I’m much more interested in is figuring what factors contribute to a player doing poorly and trying to sort out if that can be changed.

    I’d be much more inclined to say Pau should be benched or is unsalvageable as a player if he were put in a position to succeed more often and then he still performed poorly. We’ve yet to see much of that this season. Or, for that matter, last season.

  2. vs Phx: 102 pts. 48% fg. 35% 3pt. 38 reb. 27 ast. 64 paint points. 21 fbp

    vs Hou: 108 pts. 48% fg. 39% 3pt. 42 reb. 30 ast. 56 paint points. 21 fbp

    vs Bkn: 90 pts. 41% fg. 30% 3pt. 46 reb. 24 ast 26 paint points. 26 fbp

    vs Sac: 117 pts. 54% fg. 46% 3pt. 41 reb. 23 ast. 50 paint points. 13 fbp

    vs Mem: 106 pts. 50% fg. 54% 3pt. 39 reb. 23 ast. 40 paint points. 10 fbp

    These numbers tell us Lakers are giving teams anything they want showing zero resistance. High assists numbers show guards inability to shut off passing lanes and stay in front of their man and paint points are a combination of transition points off turnovers and the bigs getting bullied down low. These are the 5 games since D’Antoni’s first practice and it isn’t a coincidence. To start of fixing the problems will be playing team defense and holding everyone accountable.

  3. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have Pau come off the bench with Jordan Hill so he’s not clogging the paint with Howard? Jamison could start at the 4 because he can stretch the floor so Dwight can have more room in the post.

  4. Pau at center, don’t matter if he comes off bench. Give it a shot Mike. Pretty sure he’d produce more than what he’s doing at PF, o yeah that’s right ‘power’ forward.

  5. Excellent comment Darius. Pau at 32 is not close to being washed up or ineffective as an NBA player. After seeing what he did for Spain just this past summer in the Olympics, I’m surprised anyone still needs to be reminded of that.

    What was different there was his role. He thrived as the low post focal point of the offense, as he mostly was during the two championship years here.

    After seeing Pau having to cede that role to Andrew Bynum the previous two years (which not coincidentally, resulted in early 2nd round playoff exits), you’d think Laker management would have figured that out before bringing Dwight Howard in.

    Long term, I don’t think this is going to work. So do you cast your fate with Howard’s balky back and hope he’ll re-sign after the season? And is it even possible to get commensurate value in return for Pau, given his age and huge salary?

    Good luck.

  6. This is the point that I’m trying to make. Let’s give Pau some better opportunities and put him in a position to play against players with his back to the basket. Then, on the other side of the ball, he should be defending slower guys closer to the hoop instead of your Demarcus Cousins, Blake Griffins of the world. Pau was very very good for this team when he was the first post option with Odom playing the stretch 4. Let’s try and get back to that before we cast him off. Two birds with one stone.
    1. Open up the lane for both Dwight and Pau when they are playing.
    2. Eliminate a liability, so far this year, on defense with two slow 7-footers on the floor at the same time.

    I would also like to see the rotations tweaked so that Meeks gets as much time with Dwight as possible. Play Kobe with Pau as much as possible until Nash comes back to utilize the PnR and pick and pop at times. They had quite the chemistry together when Pau was the only 7-footer in the line-up.

  7. The one option that hasn’t been used is switching pau ad howard on the forum – pau down low and howard high – putting both in natural scoring positions that they are accustomed to. Not because howard is a mid range shooter – but he excels at high pnrs and this set up would get pau closer touches to the hoop. Ssol was never predicated on having a stretch 4 so howard doesn’t have to shoot from outside – he just has to be mobile and active. Prob is that the lakers donthave a point capable of running that action right now – or distributing the ball fairly which is also an issue.

    I’ve never advocated a trade for pau and believe a lot of potential is there for a great team – but Simmons / have been playing with the trade machine all day. Only trade that sorta addresses issues/perceived issues is pau for barniagni/Calderón – prob is raps already have a decent young center – and the $is so far off that a third team is needed and right now lakers don’t have anything else to bundle in. PLUS lakers are loathe to give up Paus expiring deal next year. So they will encourage mike d to make this work as much as possible.

  8. Also unless at least one of pau or howard is scoring there’s not much sense in playing jordan hill a tonne more mins because he’s not a creative offensive threat. Great energy and offside rebounder but he’s not going to hit stuff outside the paint. Lakers were playing at a fast enough pace where they could get enough shots so didn’t need to grab every board – but the needed some post/inside scoring from somewhere – and since neither pau or howard showed up – jamison stepped up and played well and certainly helped pull lakers back into the game. Even played good defense until getting hosed on a couple of calls. For all that went bad, the lakers still just about beat the best team in the league last night. And if theyhad 4-5 less stupid turnovers (and there were a lot of unforced/bad ones) this game would be in the w column.

  9. Robert from above: Please put an initial after your name or something so we are not confused. You sound pretty rational, so you probably do not want to be confused with me anyway : )

    All: We are not going to be able to make substantial trades, nor should we. We accumulated this roster at great expense and we need to make it work. We still do not have Nash so that will be a boost when he gets back. Why everyone is playing below expectations (except for KB and maybe MWP) is beyond me. However when players under perform it does not reflect well on coaching and systems. We certainly know that was true during the first 5 games and we know we have gone through a lot of change. These are my best excuses at this point. However, the way we are playing defense, the overall poor team speed, and the lack of passion for extended periods of time is concerning. Also, dropping this many games is going to be hard to recover from. While I remain cautiously optimistic, you will not catch me using any “don’t panic” type catch phrases, because I think fans of the Lakers have a right to be concerned (like me) or in full panic mode/resignation like others on this site. Let’s not forget that we are all Lakers !

  10. Oh yeah – pau has a 15 percent trade kicker as well – so moving him will effectively cost the lakers almost 22,000,000 – 3 million of that given away with nothing in return.

  11. @Jereke

    Los Angeles Times Friday, March 16, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 2 inches; 88 words Type of Material: Correction
    Gasol trade rumors: In the March 14 Sports section, an article about the Chicago Bulls’ interest in trading for Pau Gasol said the Lakers star had a 15% trade kicker in his contract, so that if Gasol was traded he would make $21.9 million next season instead of a scheduled salary of $19 million. In fact, trade kickers apply only if a player is below the applicable NBA maximum salary. Gasol is already a so-called maximum-salary player, so he can’t receive additional money through a trade kicker clause.

  12. Post game, Zach Randolph said that his team’s strategy was to double team hard on Howard and to limit the Lakers’ bigs on both backboards.They were looking for strips the minute D12 put the ball on the floor or brought it below his shoulders. They were able to implement this strategy quite effectively because Kobe was either off or Tony Allen did a good job on him.

    The best the Lakers looked on Friday was when they went small and allowed Howard to kick out to three point shooters. It’s pretty simple to me. Teams are going to make the Lakers beat them from the perimeter. Until the Lakers are consistent from the outside on OPEN shots, teams are not going to change their game plan.

  13. Perhaps someone could start writing “Pau Alerts”
    The content contained in such alerts would probably settle the matter : )

  14. I think we are well past the point where it can be called “premature” to write off Pau Gasol as an effective member of the Lakers. His talent (and he has huge talent) is best utilized in a role that he will never play for the Lakers: low post scorer. Pau and Andrew never consistently played well together (certainly not as well as two guys combining for nearly $35 million in annual salary), and Pau’s contributions to title winning teams were essentially as the starting center.

    Dwight Howard is the future of the Lakers. His offensive game is limited, for sure, but it’s not helped by the fact that he is easily double-teamed by defenses that are spread out when Pau is on the floor. $19 million a year is simply WAY too much to pay for what Pau can deliver. On Atlanta, Pau would be a starting center and would likely put up 20 & 10 virtually every night. He’s that good. But as a power forward he is weak, and that is his role on this team unless (as others have suggested) he is relegated to backup center. To think that the Lakers will maximize their chances by spending nearly $20 million on a backup center, rather than moving that $20 million and taking back a combination of players that immediately spread the floor and improve the bench, is just crazy.

    Will floor spacing be better with Nash? Of course. Will that solve this team’s problems? Not likely. Pau can’t defend or, it seems, rebound against opposing power forwards. He can’t run the floor, and his natural instinct in this offense is to facilitate rather than score. D’Antoni’s system requires guys to take shots, and Pau’s propensity to look to pass before even considering a shot is not helpful.

    Trading Pau is the right thing for both parties. Pau will redeem himself elsewhere, and the Lakers will be a better team, because the sample size for this team’s failure isn’t just a couple of games–it goes back a couple of years.

  15. I think this all needs to start with the D. As Darius wrote, the perimeter players are not doing their job limiting their man. When the bigs shift to protect the rim (I say “when” because there have been quite a few instances of the bigs failing to help) there are too many instances of failure to help the helper. I can’t tell if it’s communication problems, but I do see Pau being way to slow to act. His unwillingness to bend his knees is a problem.

    I have no idea how Pau and Dwight can together fail to reach double figures in rebounding for two straight games. The Mayans must be involved.

    Regarding getting Pau more touches in the post, dude needs to be that high post “facilitator” when Dwight is on the court. Part of facilitating for Dwight is in giving him rebounding opportunities. Pau needs to be ready to shoot from that 17-foot range without conscience. Let Dwight gather the misses, and Pau should follow his own misses too. Shoot the jumper, let it fly. If Pau is away from the basket, his man will have a problem rebounding too, and that gives Dwight a bigger advantage. I saw too many times where Pau got ball the outside, spent time looking for a pass to Dwight, saw nothing and handed the ball off to Kobe. Shoot the damn ball. That is what Pau is there for. When Dwight is out, take over the low post.

    How is it that Dwight does not know to keep the ball high? How many times are guys going to strip the ball from him, when he is holding the ball below the belt, before he figures out that he is pretty tall, very long, and very strong? There is no reason for a ball to ever be that low in the first place. Not for a big, anyway. You don’t pass well from belt high and having to bring your arms up for a shot both gives your body more time to lose alignment and for the defender to alter the shot. Keep the ball high.

  16. @pami wow nice memory lol. Good to know. The other issue standing in the way of trades is lack of roster spots – would till have to be a two for one or three for one deal – so even if the trade kicker isn’t the issue lakers will still have to pay to buyout someone’s guaranteed deal – which would still count against the cap and for luxury tax regardless. Expensive to move pau no matter what.

  17. So LAL FO wants Pietrus is what i’m hearing. This is good becuase we can use a back up SF.

  18. Pau playing hard for his country, USA is not his country, it’s unfair but it’s true. I saw same problem with Clippers (against OKC), yes, they have good role players but Clippers don’t have finisher, CP3 or Griffin can’t win game , CP3 can’t get pay 20 mil a year. The problem with Lakers, this team don’t have a scorer who can finish the game beside Kobe, this team was wrong built ( plus no PG right now), all we can hope is healthy for this team. If Lakers reduce playing time of Pau then, no team wants to trade for the bench guy with big salary, and if Pau keeps playing as a starter , this team can’t win. The question is when Lakers FO wake up and change the way to build team ?

  19. I posted before the season started that we could get off to a slow start. And that was before Nash went down in the 2nd game. I asked that we remember that the Heat went 9 and 8 two years ago and that turned out pretty well. I am withholding judgement until Nash is back before I look to blow things up.

    To make this work, Mike D will have to bend a little. He has two quality post players and he will need to learn to use them. He also has been an 8 man rotation guy. With the age of this group I think he needs to go 9 maybe even 10 deep. I have have my rotation ideas. I will hold off on the PG rotation until Nash is back and we see what he brings but the rest is pretty simple.

    Bring Jamison and Meeks in early for Pau and Metta. With maybe a couple of minutes left bring Hill in for Dwight. Let Jamison and Hill play together for just a couple of minutes. Then bring Metta in for Kobe and Pau for Jamison.

    Metta is playing at a high level and could be that go to guy on the 2nd unit. And Pau gets to play more at center. It really is a no brainer. I think Meeks has been looking like himself again the last couple of games and Jamison looked like the guy we thought we would be getting in the last game. If they both gain confidence and play up to their potential, this rotation could be quite good.

  20. When the Lakers play Dallas tonight watch how when Dwight gets the ball down low he faces up like a guard. It happens every time. He faces up and tries to go around them not through them. It’s nothing wrong with this because of athleticism but we’re not seeing this athleticism of old. So instead he should back his man down and go over or through them like Drew did. And not try to take his man off the dribble like he’s Kobe. Also he gets stripped alot because he doesn’t keep the ball high when carrolling himself to go up to shoot or the ball is too far away from his body when making a move to the basket. Lots of things he can clean up.

    Tonight watch Kobe’s weakside defense. How he cheats so much to the ball side that when a cross court pass is thrown to his man. He’s sometimes late to the ball therefore gives up a open shot. Or the angle he takes back to his man is bad giving up a free driving lane. That happened a few times with Tony Allen and how Salmons got going early in the Kings game.

    Dwight and Pau only use arms when trying to box their man out. Therefore players with lower base use their leverage to get better position to get rebounds over 14 ft of length the Lakers have. Pau rarely jumps for blocks or rebounds that’s happened for years. But he’s not the only one getting pushed around down low. Take a look the bigs tonight.

    Ron is the only perimeter player who’s on ball defense is good. He tries to deny his man or stays on his hip forcing him into tough shots. We should look to see if the other guards do the same tonight.

    Robert: I’d post them but Pau’s not that high on the all time lists.

  21. Darius excellent write up on game. As for your post on Pau I feel you missed the point. Taking offense out of the equation Pau has been the worst defender and at blocking out on defense. He is getting punished nightly. There is NO EXCUSE for that!

  22. I agree that we shouldn’t criticize Pau too much, making him a scapegoat. He looks tentative with his outside-the-paint shot and, I think, playing him at center more, and, maybe, reducing his minutes, can do wonders for him. But if Pau plays canter, he takes Howard minutes, it’s not good either.

    Maybe the solution is too make offense quicker, and to do so we can shorter playing periods and increase the number of them for Pau.

    For example, frontcourt first-half line-ups can be like this:
    Howard, Gasol (5 min)
    Howard, Hill (5 min)
    Gasol, Hill (2 min)
    Gasol, Jamison (3 min)
    Howard, Jamison (4 min)
    Gasol, Jamison (1 min)
    Howard, Gasol (4 min)

    Projecting it for the whole game, it gives us: Howard – 36 min, Gasol – 30 min, Jamison – 16 min, Hill – 14 min. Of course there could be some changes from game to game, but there is a nice minutes distribution.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post, I’m sure D’Antoni will figure it out. Rotations, I mean 🙂

  23. I am with the move Pau to center club. The defense needs to be fixed first and Pau is useless trying to defend away from the basket. He needs to be near the basket when he is the help defender and not running around the free throw line. Next, the defense needs a “quarterback” to call the sets (think KG). Pick Howard or Pau and make them responsible for calling out assignments. Maybe that will help eliminate the confusion they have on the defensive end.

  24. @formault – peitrus had offers from other teams but turned them down because he wants more than the pro rated vet minimum and that’s all LA can offer – unless he feels he will get serious burn here – would be a good fit and plays defense. Same situation as pau though – someone has to be cut to make room (can’t even be sacre whose deal is cheapest because you need that 4th big just in case with this roster)

  25. Jerkl
    Great point on putting DH high and Pau low. Just got texd from a NBA ex I respect. Says Mitch shopping Pau. Can’t afford to fail on Mike D hire and realize offense needs a PF that fits MD’s offense.

  26. Can anyone explain why the same team has been performing differently under D’Antoni than under Bickerstaff??? It’s not just that Bickerstaff is 4-1 and D’Antoni is 1-2, it’s that with D’Antoni on the bench the Lakers have not played the up-tempo style that they played with Bickerstaff.
    Can this be because with Bickerstaff they played teams that didn’t play defense? Can it be because they were playing at home? Are the players tired? What happened????? What are the coaches doing differently?

    I’m not saying Bickerstaff is the better coach. I’m not saying “Fire D’Antoni!” I just want to understand. Can anyone enlighten me?

  27. @ko – It’s not a new idea for Mike d – that’s how he always used Amare up high or out – then had diaw or kurt Thomas low. But not having nash to facilitate it makes it un workable right now. Personally I would use dwight at the 4 anyways – which given how mobile he is would work well – and if Nash were back – would solve our offensive probs. Half the issue is distribution – Kobe can handle for periods or look for one guy consistently but Nashes real value is keeping everyone on the court involved and getting the ball to them in a position they can score from. If Nash gets back Tues as they seem to be hoping then I think Pau will be around for a lot longer. If not, then the lakers need to replace not only pau possibly but also come up with a real starting pg – as all the others are strictly backups.

  28. Ken,
    Not sure how I “miss the point” when talking about Gasol’s defense when I essentially said he’s playing poorly.

    To everyone else, critique without context offers little value. So, bitch about Pau all you want but if your comments don’t discuss his performance within the context of his role, I’m not sure what you’re adding. It’s more like venting.

    I mean, people are willing give Kobe a pass on shooting too much b/c, “he’s the only one that can create a shot” from the perimeter. Okay. So, if I understand correctly, Kobe can force shots from the perimeter because no one else can create offense from there but Pau’s supposed to be a world beater playing out of position? This, simply, seems like selective critique based off the player who’s liked more.

    As an aside, I’m all for acknowledging that Kobe is in a tough spot. It’s why I wrote what I did. He’s being asked to be the lone offensive initiator on offense and the team’s best perimeter scorer. Some nights he’ll play that role brilliantly. Others, not as much. As for Pau, I can only repeat that let him look terrible getting many more possessions working from the post and it will be time to wonder if he can really be a full time difference maker for this team. As it stands now, his inconsistency in hitting his jumper is worrisome and if that’s the only type of shot he’s going to get most of the game the Lakers are failing him as much as he’s failing the Lakers.

  29. Rubenowski: That is an excellent question with regard to the coaches. Coaching is not just about x’s and o’s. And not just about tempo. It is a little early to judge Mike D (as you state), but this is hardly what I would call a good start : )

  30. If Pau isnt an upgrade on the defensive end, then playing Jamison makes sense considering he is bettered suited for that role beside D12 on the offensive end. Coach D is willing to play small ball if that unit shows promise like it did against Memphis. The offense is stagnant with Kobe as the main ball handler, a scorer by nature, he doesnt show enough patient when the ball is not in his hands that he will get it back. Looks more like the triangle with the pg just posted up behind the three point line and Bean running the show. I have faith that coach is not afraid to step on some toes as long as the results are positive.

  31. Jerke I hear Steve is as much as 2 weeks away.

    Darius I feel you were spot on in your right up but then scolded the posters to read the rules and stop complaining about his performance.

    Bit confusing to a simpleton like me. Career lows in percentage, points, rebounds and minus/plus are certainly worthy of fan questions.

    In my opinion.

  32. When Dwight goes to the bench early in the first quarter, Pau is playing the center position. But if Pau allows Hill, Kobe or Metta to go down there then that’s on him. Pau is who he is and will have unproductive games from time to time, he’s done that since joining the Lakers. Remember when Kobe pegged him the White Swan and the Black Swan?

    More than anything the bench players are concerned with scoring when they should concentrate on defense. The Lakers need more defense than Howard, Metta and rare lock defense by Kobe. Role players are what the Lakers need more than anything. Players that know why they are on the court or with the Lakers.

    D’antoni does not have confidence in Hill predicated upon their last time together. Let’s hope that Hill doesn’t lose confidence on the court.

  33. Kobe Alert: KB went by Fish in all time games; next up is Pippen in 32nd at 1178. Kobe also moved by Nick VE to move into 15th for 3 pointers. Next up is Tim Hardaway in 14th at 1542. Kobes needs only 2 FTA’s to get to 7500 in his career. He is chasing Oscar for 4th on this list. He is now 159 points away from 30k. How close he is to his 6th ring depends on your point of view. I still have hopes.

  34. Darius, I really don’t think the criticism of Pau is personal. Most of us readily acknowledge his past contributions and his current (still likely high) talent level. The problem, however, is that where you call for him to get more low post touches, some of us ask “at what cost?” It’s hard to get low post touches for TWO seven footers at the same time. Putting Pau in the post likely means moving Dwight out of the post, and that hardly seems like a plan.

    I’m not sure that more data is needed to determine that Pau is not well-suited to the power forward role. His worst two years as a Laker were the only two years that Bynum was healthy–making those the only two years Pas was a full-time power forward. This season looks to be more of what we’ve seen the last 2 years (or worse).

    Jerry West predicted years ago that Pau and Andrew would not likely play well together. Many of us hoped (and even thought) that West was wrong, but objectively analyzing this today, it looks to me like Jerry was right.

    I, for one, would not be advocating a trade of Pau if the Lakers had other viable trade assets; but they don’t. So, unless one can look at this roster and say “this, as presently constituted, looks like a championship team”, it seems more than fair to talk about trading the team’s best trade asset. If there are ideas for getting Pau low post touches without putting Howard out of position, I’d love to hear (and see…) them, but we’re now working on our 4th coach over three years who hasn’t been able to integrate Pau effectively as a power forward.

  35. Ken,
    You need to read more carefully. I said repetitive comments will be deleted. As you know, a point can be made one time and that’s your point. No need to say variations of the same thing 5 times in the same thread. We’re seeking a conversation, not a bully pulpit. I also said that baiting comments and insulting comments would be deleted. That latter refers to comments towards other commenters, just as the commenting guidelines explain.

    And I never said stop complaining about Pau. I said that critiques without context come off as venting and do not add much to the conversation. I stand by that. So, yes, bring up the career lows in whatever categories it applies to. I’m still looking for what circumstances contribute to that.

  36. Pretty funny to read so many comments pretending Pau isn’t already playing minutes at Center. When Howard isn’t in the game Pau is at Center. Just like the last 5 years when Bynum wasn’t in the game. We have seen have post touches and he simply is having major problems simply gettin off shots let alone making them. The real issue with Gasol is his defense. This truly illustrates his decline as an athlete.

  37. Sorry Darius the only thing worse then my typing is my reading full comments. I tend to scan. I agree about attacking other posters. I was reading another site last night and it was ugly and unprofessional the way people attacked others. That’s what makes this site above the others.


  38. Link to page showing Howard and Gasol’s numbers when they are on the court together and not:|2730,2200;year=201213;season=r

  39. Pau and Howard are + 3.2/36 in 347 minutes together.

    Pau is +16/36 without Howard in 128 minutes.

    Howard is -10.6/36 in 132 min without Pau.

    Pau has attempted 90 shots from mid-range or outside the restricted area with Howard on the floor with him; he has made 34. He is 28/69 from mid-range in those 347 minutes.

  40. Fair enough Ko – last stuff I saw was Canadian reports with Nash that said they’d evaluate on Mon for possibly playing Tuesday – though that may just be misconstrued comment’s from d’antoni’s wishful thinking. Possible your local guys have an up to date prognosis. From what it sounds like, its not structural or degenerative or bowling related (thank God lol) – just nerve damage that is causing intense pain when pressure is applied – so it’s just a waiting game while the nerves regenerate – isn’t mechanically / physically disabling. As soon as pain goes away he’ll be cleared to play. At least he won’t have to play catchup – just his conditioning will have to come in practice and games.

  41. rr,
    Also of note is that Dwight is shooting nearly 20% higher when he shares the floor with Pau than when Pau sits (65% vs 46%). A lot of that is likely due to Dwight not meshing well with Hill and Jamison not playing very often as the PF next to Dwight this year. However, that’s a significant difference. Pau performs about the same regardless of who he’s paired with (though he does shoot a bit better and, as you pointed out, he has a better plus/minus when he’s on the floor without Dwight).

  42. Thanks rr!
    Look at Pau’s numbers when Kobe is on/off the court! Crazy.|2200,977;year=201213;season=r

    Seems like Pau plays slightly better when Howard is on the bench, but that Howard plays worse with Pau on the bench. This is most likely due to the fact that Howard plays more with all the reserves on the floor while Pau gets more time with Kobe. Funny that both Pau/Dwight’s FG percentage plummets when not playing with Kobe along with their respective plus/minus.

  43. I think it’s fair to say Pau is a top 3 center in the post but is about 12 to 15th in NBA as a outside shooting PW.

    doesn’t add up.

  44. It looks like I’m gonna have a migraine reading all this comments about Pau. Darius statement said it all but I do agree Paus performance make me sick right now.

  45. Ok, offensively maybe Pau has not been put in a good position to succeed. I would say it is a combination of that and Pau just aging a bit and just not playing as well. Defensively there is no excuse for his terrible play.

  46. WRT Nash: two games ago, Ireland said on the radio that Nash was out for “at least five more games.”

  47. 2 lapses on defense by Dwight and 2 empty trips on offense by him. Followed by a nice alley oop.

  48. Ron is on fire right now.

  49. Go Ron. Morris is making the game harder than it needs to be. Good to see Gasol on the flr for that one

  50. Dwight faces up on a post up guarded by a smaller guy. Jumpshot. Dwight has to play like a center and back him down for a closer shot and score.

  51. Metta penalized for scoring 10 points by benching?

  52. Excellent start. Question is can we sustain this energy throughout the game on the 2nd end of a back 2 back?

  53. Ron Artest with another 3

  54. Nice adjustment by Mike D’Antoni with quicker substitutions. Keep ’em fresh!

  55. Dwight looks as out of place in this offense as Tyson Chadler looked in D’Antoni’s Olympic offense. Hope that changes.

  56. Yeesh – horrible offensive moves by dwight – he keeps thinking he s a back to basket guy who should be turning and going past his guys quick instead of trying running hooks fading away.


  57. Ron is freaking insane this season. 16pts in this 1st Q WTF!

  58. has to be Metta´s best quarter of the season, would anyone agree? smokin´ !

  59. Looks as if the Sacrificial Lamb within Coach D’s system will be none other than Jordan Hill.

  60. Fundamentals are not Dwight’s thing.

  61. This is the Lakers bench and they’re doing some work. I agree regarding Dwight being lost in the offense. Kobe posting up and still Dwight in his way LOL.

  62. I think they watched Mike D post game comments. Like two different teams. I’ll take this one!

  63. Good game to get everyone some run – calm the panic and get the bench guys some rythm. D’antoni has already gone 9 deep with all of them getting more than a couple mins.

    @tra – I think ebanks is the one that’s chained to the bench. Once our bigs become more consistent on offense, then hill can be paired w one of them, would be easier for him to get mins if he was a consistent threat but he’ll get his time. Given the way the lead is building – I wonder if it gets so big that D’antoni really has no choice but to empty his bench. If lakers win by 20+ and ebanks doesn’t touch court means there is def some issues

  64. Watching Dallas feed – even they’re saying howard is nowhere near himself

  65. Starting to wonder if DWIGHT is wrong for Mike D offense

  66. why does mike d’antoni never rest his starters…?
    For a team that’s leading by 27 in the first Half, you have Kobe playing 21 minutes.

  67. Anyone complaining about Kobe facilitating the offense. Please hush up. Kobe’s at + 28 tonight.

  68. Usual suspects: Kobe, MWP and Jamison.

  69. Kobe with a 3 to close out the first half. Lakers with arguably their best half of the season. Jamison with a double double (11 points and 11 rebounds). Like what I am seeing with the Lakers energy tonight.

  70. Great play from the team in 1st half. Jamison is finally taking it upon himself to be assertive and he’s making plays. Lakers are overwhelming Dallas with the pace and talent. Hope Lakers put it away in the 3rd so Kobe doesn’t see 40+ mins tonight.

  71. As well as they are playing there are questions. Dwight 4 and again 2 rebounds? How did he regress so fast from one week ago?

    Something not right with him. He is hardly out playing Andrew.

    Who is not playing.

  72. Dwight will play the amare roll and be destroying the rim on feeds from nash in true pnrs but he’s clearly not himself yet. His defensive chops are tops but his offensive awareness is lower than I thought. He hasn’t developed a refinedgame/skill set and obviously has gotten by more on his innate talent and physical gifts than I realized. Hopefully he’ll start to absorb some from the 3 other allstars

  73. @Ko. Some nights, some players will be big, some not. Stop hating.

  74. Loving the rotations tonight by D’Antoni, offense is flowing rather than the being stagnant. Love the energy so far.. We’ve got to keep this going, play the full 48mins.

  75. Jerke correct

    Ludwig not so much.

    This is 3 games he has not looked good yet looked great under Birney’s world. Not hating. Facts look up the numbers please.

  76. @ Jerke

    Ebanks was put on Timeout b4 Coach D’s inauguration.

    While the Offense will get the glory, it’s the Defense that should receive the Headlines.

  77. Wow. The Sixers have now said that Bynum will be out indefinitely. Poor guy.

  78. I hope we can sustain this lead so Kobe doesn’t need to play in the 4th. Dude is playing way too many minutes this season. We need him fresh for the playoffs.

  79. Difference between Dwight and all of D’Antoni’s past centers except Chandler is they could make a jumpshot Dwight can’t. He has to find another way to get him involved if all teams are gonna do is sit in the paint when he’s the screener.

  80. @tra – that’s what I’m wondering if management has a dictum re ebanks play until his issues are sorted? If the final 10 mins of this game is white flag time for mavs then it would be nice to see ebanks a little if only to see a little game time play. Even in phoenix D’antoni had some crappy benches but everybody got run in blowouts because it was good for the team – plus he usually gave everyone at least a little gametime then so as to have a chance to prove/disprove his talent evaluation of them. If ebanks doesn’t touch the flr something is going on beyond normal rotation issues

  81. Just no way Dwight is healthy right now. Dwight’s offence is one thing, but his defensive rebounding has basically disappeared, and he is moving like he is old Shaq or young Bynum.

    Hopefully nothing serious.

    One observation is that they need to play p&r with Dwight more, getting baskets or foul shots in almost every run, but they run it very infrequently.

  82. LOL @ Stu. He said that Lakers players and fans don’t have anything to complain about tonight…he obviously doesn’t read the Blue and Gold. 😉

  83. @Ko Love how you ignore some of Dwight’s defensive interventions tonight. With this much roster talent (esp. with Meeks and Jamison now), not everyone is going to get max, touches every night, and that just might be OK.

  84. Meanwhile, Washington really wants its first win. 2OT-really.

  85. BTW I am fine with DH playing the Chandler role. If he is.

  86. @kevin_ he’ll be the main pnr partner w steve then get a lot of off the ball/offside screens like marion used to get in phoenix along w lobs/entry passes from Pau. Dwight doesn’t need a jumpshot, he just has to be active – catch the ball on the move, and be decisive or get rid of the ball. Everytime he holds it, we see him get stripped or he tries awkward backdowns or fade aways that he has neither finesse nor awareness to handle. This is where Mike D will have to do some work – but he’s already put in off sets for howard on the olympic qualifying/world championship teams so he has some stuff to go already. Plus a pg that can get proper entry passes to howard before the defense sets will do wonders. Howard cheats too much and slips screens though – would like to see him hold longer and punish the other teams guards before rolling

  87. Is it too early for the human victory cigar: Earl Clark?

  88. @Joe
    hahaha – why have you graced him with that monicker?

  89. @PurpleBlood: because he only gets floor time when the win is in the bag.

    Putting him in the game is the equivalent to lighting up the victory cigar.

  90. Many said the Kobe and Dwight fell out because Kobe wanted him to play the Chandler role. He seems content with that the last 3 games.

  91. Bah -kobe should be done rest of night. He can be a good facilitator but he forces some bad passes/turnovers at times

  92. TO’s is the bane of this team, will not improve until Nash gets back.

    Only blemish on a so far brilliant show.

  93. Not worried about end result – but good to see D’antoni rip into the guys on the flr after that last three.

  94. Just scanning the scores from tonight and see the Clippers dropped their 3rd in a row. The wheels have fallen off a bit there.

    Lamar had another ridiculously terrible line. Man, getting traded from the Lakers is like the kiss of death. Lakers trade Lamar, he never has a good game again. Lakers trade Fisher, he is out of the league. Lakers trade Bynum, who knows when, if ever, he plays again.

  95. That time out call is, bar none, the worst call I have ever seen in the NBA – and that is saying something as this is a league of terrible calls.

  96. Thanks Joe, got it –
    Hope Kobe can take the 4th Q off tonight –
    Glad to see Jameson getting a solid DD

  97. Is anyone else wondering why Hill can’t get some run in a blowout? Did Hill make that bad of an impression when he played for MDA before?

  98. This is hilarious, Jamison outrebounding Dwight and Pau combined.

  99. Much too much being made of all of this.

    These are exhibition games on steroids. The NBA season is a joke anyway. It’ll be entertaining to watch after Xmas when Nash returns.

    I’m just happy that Howard is playing. I was thinking he wouldn’t be back on the court until January.

  100. What a nice block by Dwight Howard.

  101. D12 has been a monster tonight on the defensive end, most of what he does doesn’t even show up on the stat sheet.

  102. Mind

    Hill and MD has a yelling match in New York. Had to do with his work ethic and his after game activities.

  103. Well D’Antoni has fixed Jamison anyway.

    Seriously, if he plays like this and the rest of the team jells, and we get and stay healthy, I like our chances.

  104. Welcome back to the NBA, Antawn. LOL

    Seems he was still on a vacation when MB coached him when this team went 1-4.

  105. …and we have lit up Clark.

    Lakers by blow out.

  106. Don’t know how Dallas won the 1st game they don’t have the talent or frontcourt presence to hurt the Lakers. Solid way to pull through on the 4th game in 5 nights. Still need to see consistency from the team.

  107. This Sacre-Clark-Hill frontline is Mike Brown-esque.

  108. @Kevin Dallas won the first game because we missed something like 15-20 FT’s. Also at that time, no one on our bench could hit a shot to save their life.

    Oh and this guy Mike Brown had us focusing on running around the perimeter to create the illusion of offence.

    Yeah, but mostly the FT’s.

  109. NHey guys I didn’t notice but did Pau start or did he come off the bench?

    I like how D’Antoni kept Howard and Gasol off the floor together as much as possible.

    Did Hill get into the doghouse?

    Either way Jamison is a HUGE force off the bench now.

  110. @Formalhault

    Regarding Hill, Jamison is just ballin right now. I love his activity.

  111. Jamison has decided to show up finally, about time. Where was this earlier in the season? He must have been in a deep sleep and has finally decided to wake up.

  112. Hello everyone. The posts and comments on this site are topnotch as usual.
    Just wanted to point out that D-12 is not fully healed yet.
    Back surgery man. 20 years ago back surgery is probably the end of your career.

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