Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  November 28, 2012

All professional sports teams play the expectations game to one degree or another and with varying degrees of success. There are the perennial bottom feeders, the rank and file, the contenders and at the top of the pyramid, the elite franchises. In basketball, it has been often pointed out that two teams have won the most championships, the Boston Celtics at 17 and the Los Angeles Lakers at 16. The next closest teams are the Chicago Bulls with 6 and the San Antonio Spurs with 4. It’s significant that all of those Spurs titles have been under Coach Gregg Popvich. As for other coaches of course, Phil Jackson was at the the top of his own pyramid with 11 rings until his retirement. Given recent events, we most likely will never know if that number might have changed.

The expectations game is changing and it has been for a long time. The massive number of titles won by Boston came from a different era – they have only won one in the last 25 years. The Chicago Bulls haven’t been close since Phil Jackson left. If we are to be honest about the current Lakers and their future, we have to acknowledge that most of their superstars are aging and they are playing in a new system with a new head coach who entered the fray after the last one was fired. And then there’s the oft-mentioned fact that Mike D’Antoni, as superb a coach as he is, has never won a ring. For all of the summertime hype, the playing field has been leveled – with last night’s loss, the team is now back under the .500 mark. And then there’s the Spurs of course – that doggedly unassuming team with its recalcitrant 4-ring coach is a half-game in back of Memphis with 12 wins and 3 losses. Just plugging along.

Dave McMenamin at ESPN Los Angeles writes that Kobe Bryant’s mental energy needs to be matched by others on his team.

Brian Kamenetzky at ESPN’s Lakers Index has the rapid reaction to last night’s loss to the Pacers. Sidebar: none of the recent title offerings pasted into the mothership’s banner box has come close to the sublime Land O’Lakers.

Janis Carr at the OC Register brings news of Mike D’Antoni’s fence-mending efforts with Pau Gasol. Similarly, she reports that Mike is putting Pau’s trade rumors to rest.

Mark Whicker at the OC Register writes about a team that is very much a work in progress after last night’s loss.

If there was a defining narrative from last nights Lakers/Pacers game apart from horrible play, it was the one and only Joey Crawford. C.A. Clark at Silver Screen and Roll writes about the debacle.

Mike Bresnahan at the L.A. Times reports that Steve Nash won’t be returning to the Lakers for at least another week.

Brent Pollakoff at ProBasketballTalk reports on the Lakers’ free-throw woes, and Kobe’s dismissal of same.

Dan Devine for Ball Don’t Lie has video and text about George Hill’s romp to the basket in the final seconds last night.

Suki Thind at Lakers Nation writes about MWP’s much improved play this season.

As for the Spurs, mentioned in the lead-in, they won’t be meeting the Lakers until January. They’re currently chugging through an east coast road trip. Andrew McNeill at 48MOH writes about their blowout win against the Wizards.

***

The Lakers have a couple days off before facing Denver at Staples on Friday, in a nationally televised game. It will be a chance to regroup, to rest a little and for the team to get some more tutelage in Mike D’Antoni’s system. Although we’re nearing December, it’s still a new team in many ways. There have been some obvious growing pains and the team is still without the floor general that will be such an integral part of D’Antoni’s master plan – Steve Nash. Regardless of excuses and reasoning, numbers and records exist and their importance cannot be denied. The Lakers are have won 2 and lost 3 since their new head coach make his game debut. How this plays into the expectations game is a matter of perspective – from management to fans.

And for Phil Jackson – he of the 11 rings and probably the last NBA coach who will ever truly sit on top of the mountain, he reportedly considers future coaching prospects to be ‘slim and none’. He will continue with his writing and personal appearances and also finds time for worthy causes, such as the opportunity to share his Zen Master ways with whoever wins a contest sponsored by the non-profit group Omaze, with proceeds going to benefit the American Indian College Fund. And so the wheel turns as he is fond of saying, with reality shown in all its many forms.

 

Dave Murphy

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43 responses to Wednesday Storylines

  1. Lakers supposed spark off the bench Jamison has 2 or less FGM in 12 of 15 games. And is 9 for 36 from three for a whopping 25%.

    Dwight has 4 straight single digit rebound games. And 8 of last 13 games. Can’t fault his energy level but not the old 14 rebounds a game Dwight.

    In games Dwight has taken 10+ FT’s he’s 50-111. 45%. Pathetic.

    Kobe has 6 or more turnovers in 6 games this year. Averaging 4 on the year. For the primary ball handler that’s far too much.

    Pau’s game has been poor all year. Shooting just 43% and shot under 50% in 9 of 15 games. His 9 rebounds and 1 blk a game don’t show up during the game. But his passing has helped leviate the pressure off Kobe.

    Lots of team wide problems.

  2. Kobe counter: 100 points from 30K. Bad news is that it looks like it will happen on the road as games #3-4-5 are all away.

  3. Kobe should have just stayed in bed. Maybe the only way the team will step up is when their security blanket (Kobe) isn’t around.

    Have to say I’m a bit surprised that Darius’ recap didn’t mention the officiating. I realize that criticizing the refs is a no-win proposition, but Joey Crawford was simply horrible last night. Yes, I realize that the Lakers shot themselves in the foot with their poor marksmanship, but Lord knows Crawford was brutal.

    If a pro team has that many open shots and can’t make them and can’t shoot free throws then it’s not surprising that they will lose. I give a lot of credence to Funky Chicken’s comment on the last thread where he noted that no one on the Lakers stepped up on a night where Kobe was ailing.

  4. I agree with Kenny T especially after the fact that Kobe should have sat out this game. I love that he was able to get to the 40 point mark and add to that list but we still lost the game. Kobe should have sat out so Dwight and Pau could get more on track on the offensive end and get their confidence up. From what I’ve read Pau has been talking about more than just practice time but moreso with a confidence within the system. His confidence seems to be at an all time low and for someone so fragile mentally it seems that this is greatly affecting his play.

    I love Pau as a player, ambassador and professional. I love that he was able to be a HUGE part in allowing us to win 2 championships. But its difficult to see his play improving much this year within this system and with the players on this roster.

    Pau is a great player when used in his sweet spots, or at this point is still very effective. But he has been reduced to a glorified role player on this team and for someone that needs his confidence to be high to succed isn’t getting the same looks he has in the past. He is a setup man (high post) and a backup center. And that just isn’t enough for someone that makes as much money as he does. Even when Gatsby returns I do not see his play improving that drastically as he will remain on the perimeter for spacing down low for Dwight.

    It’s a difficult situation and there aren’t many answers out there. Of course everyones consistent overall play will make alot of the issues go away. But for Pau to be successful something needs to change.

  5. Disappointed by the refs. Attitude: I’m not giving the Lakers anything-they’ll have to earn every call. And then the hysterics–so proud to be making the big call against the Lake Show–and wrongly on block call near the end on a clear charge. You are so brave, Joey.

    At the line, DH palms the ball and flicks it at the basket–come on Rifleman—get the ball off his palm and get some fingertip touch going, some back spin, some arc.

    Team lacked energy, desire, commitment. If the ball isn’t dopping, that’s reason to redouble effort on D. These guys got into Kobe watchin mode on O and still play poor help D. KB needs to rally the troops, not lead by ‘OK–I’ll take over since others are so inept.’

  6. Kevin

    Lakers are like our old folks suffering from dementia. There are good days and bad days, they need to take their medications regularly.

    Oh another thing, speaking of Chicky-baby’s birth anniversary, his late grandmother could beat Dwight in free throw shooting. lmao!

  7. Move remake:

    The Bad News Lakers.

    Next a hot shooting, 10 deep athletic Denver team.

    Gonna be a long season.

  8. People have been taking Joey Crawford to the mat over his overall influence on last nights contest. The Pacers took the Heat to 7 games in the playoffs, they have struggled out of the gate, like us, but showed more toughness last night.

    What I find shocking is that we only scored 70 points…after 2 days with no games…one of those days had a full practice…and we looked worse then ever this season…all while Kobe scored 40 points.

    D’Antoni needs to imprint in-game lessons more effectively, make better in-game adjustments, and call a time-out when it’s not working. Waiting for Nash to come back in the NBA is about as smart as shaving with a straight edge while treading water in shark infested water. Make it happen now.

  9. dave m: to lose is one of those four letter words that begs forgiveness whenever that happens to the lakers. this being hump day, another four letter word that begs forgiveness when one considers the alternative; wednesday storylines lend itself to two more days of relentless and countless hashing and re-hashing the results of the previous laker game until our next game this friday. which begs the question: why rehash the hash when the lakers win? because it’s much more enjoyable when that happens?

    one day when we get a life, another four letter word, we will be able to look back at this season in amazement because the roller coaster ride we’ve been on these past few weeks will have revealed itself to us and we will have realized that this was just one year, likely monumental in the life of laker nation. how the season unfolds is like reading an amazing book, you and i, all of us riveted by the seat of our pants.

    can hardly wait for friday.

    Go Lakers

  10. Sacre to the D-League: http://www.latimes.com/sports/lakersnow/la-sp-ln-lakers-sacre-dfenders-20121128,0,6981334.story

    I totally smell a move coming. Nash or no Nash, they’re still massively underachieving and desperately need some speed/athleticism to stop getting killed in the fast-break game. I’d watch for odd features of players–like Duhon or Blake (when he gets back) playing inordinate amounts of minutes to showcase for prospective partners.

    (Darius, I’m not talking specifics other than mentioning players that could maybe possibly if-it-happens could be involved, please don’t edit me. Mitch has a history of moves in December, after all.)

  11. KO,

    Lakers will win against Denver, an inconsistent team will also do unpredictable victories.

  12. Count me among the Crawford haters. Last night was most definitely not about the referees, but that was just an embarassing showing by the officials.

    The block call against Duhon was just the icing on the cake. Watching that play develop in real time I shouted “EASY CALL” at the tv before the whistle even blew, and then pumped my fist when I heard the whistle. I didn’t even bother to look at Crawford and instead I was watching Duhon writhing on the floor after suffering what I thought was an injury. Only when I turned my focus back to the announcers did I realize that they didn’t call a charge and Duhon’s agony was mental, not physical.

    Just sickening how that reptile can continue to earn a paycheck as a referee.

  13. Anyone see the insane drama unfolding in Boston tonight?? Humphries, Rondo, and Wallace all ejected right before halftime. If anyone knows the details, I’d greatly appreciate if you could share.

  14. @Rt – I’m not watching the game but Rondo and Humphries got into a fight and it supposedly carried into the stands. I think Wallace got ejected for his 2nd T.

  15. Joey Crawford gif. Is it me or is he just looking for any opportunity to call a tech here as well? He looks back after his antics like he wants to catch a reaction. This is pretty egregious.
    http://cdn2.sbnation.com/imported_assets/1321811/JOEY-CRAWFORD.gif

  16. Thanks, Dave!

  17. Aldridge
    Bosh
    Duncan
    Randolf
    Griffen
    Love
    Hordford
    Noah
    Boozer
    Varejao
    Garnett
    Jefferson
    Lee
    Bargain
    Ibaka
    Just for the heck of it:

    List of current PF who have better points per game, percentage and rebounds combinations then our PF Pau Gasol.

  18. Griffin*
    Randolph*
    Horford*
    Bargnani*

    had to do it KO.

  19. Nash still relegated to only strength and conditioning excercises for his leg. Can’t even jog, let alone run, without feeling any pain within said leg. More than likely scheduled for an upcoming MRI, which to my understanding, he was suppose to have had this past Monday, but which was suddenly cancelled.

    Blake, after undergoing a recent MRI, scheduled to miss an additional 2 wks due to that Abdominal Strain.

    The way it’s looking and sounding, we should feel fortunate if we can get these kats back by Christmas. Until then, due to the fact that we’re trying to get acclimated to Coach D’s new system and Kobe being forced to play out of position, expect more turmoil, turnovers and mass confusion on the offensive end of the court.

  20. Blake sure has earned his $4 million a year the past 3 years.

    Lakers must find a real point guard as who knows when Nash is up and in shape. They could be buried by Xmas with junk Morris and not much better Duhon. Funny as I watch other teams I see 2 better guards per team then 3 of our 4.

    Who scouts these guys?

  21. Won’t comment on the officiating since I didn’t see the game, but watching Crawford make that call makes me incredulous. He’s dancing across the court and clearly looking for a reaction afterwards. He very much turned it into a “LOOK-AT-ME!” moment. Overlooking the fact that the call looked wrong (and the ref with the better angle was ready to signal a charge), that sort of behavior is an embarrassment.

    Anyone surprised Garnett needs Rondo to fight his fights for him?

  22. Tra: google Nash’s injury it says 90 days before any exercises and they usually wore a cast during that span. Nash didn’t for some reason. But for a 38 yr old to sustain that injury it’s a strong likelihood he’ll never be the Nash Lakers need. Which is a guy to constantly run around screens and make plays for others.

    He got the injury through minimal contact. I’d imagine the scouting report would be to smother him and attack him on defense. Which teams will have no problem doing.

  23. Haha did anybody see that jig or dance Joey Crawford did while making that blocking foul against duhon? You could clearly see that it was a charge on the replay. Then there was, i think, a play where a lakers or pacers player hit the ball out of bounds near the hoop. The ref who was standing right there had the best viewing spot yet he deferred to Crawford. Only problem was Joey was standing near the half court line and he couldn’t possibly see who touched the ball last since there were so many bodies. I mean if the ref who was standing there couldn’t tell, how could Joey? Just strange officiating all night.

  24. The last game was nothing short of pitiful. We shoot 32% from the field, 21% from three, 53% from the line, and commit 19 turnovers while losing to a sub 500 team at home. MWP, Pau, Morris, and Jamison were a combined 4-30. Morris and Jamison also joined Howard in the free throw bricking contest. So now all our hopes are pinned on the Nash return, the date of which is elusive. My concern is starting to turn into depression and the look on our coaches face is not filling me or the players with confidence.

  25. Without regard to how you feel about Phil or the decision, these quotes by Shaw just say everything with regard to how it was handled, and how the Laker family is dysfunctional with our legends, HOF players, and former coaches.

    “Under the circumstances, Phil Jackson, who’s been there and done that and put a lot of money in everybody’s pockets around here, the way it was done . . . it’s mind-boggling,” Shaw said Monday in an interview with The Times. “I was joking with him, at least you got a phone call, even though it was midnight.

    “In 11 years he was coach here, he took the team to the Finals seven times and won five. I don’t know if any of the other 29 teams would have done him the way he was done [by the Lakers] after he had done so much for the organization and the city.”

  26. Robert
    Would things be better if Phil was here?
    Would Dwight shoot FT like a professional?
    Would Pau not get pushed around and be shooting the worst of his life?
    Would Nash be playing?
    Would Morris and Duhon not be D leaguers

    Answer is no to all. This team was vastly overrated by media people who know less then my 8 year old son. With a healthy Nash (by Feb I guess) this is a 5th seed. Without it’s a .500 team.

    Phil can’t make the ball go in and old guys young.

  27. Fisher is joining Dallas.

  28. Ko: First off – you could be correct – but I am not yet ready to totally give up on the roster. However with regard to Phil, I believe you and others said Phil’s best talent was taking jobs where the team had the best roster. Would this have been the first time in his career where he badly misjudged the talent and took over a bad team? You are also correct that many are underperforming. This falls directly on systems and coaching. 5-6 guys having career worst years simultaneously is more than coincidence.

  29. Ko: I agree we have to start calling this team what it is and has been. A consecutive 2nd round ouster until they prove otherwise.

    Most concerning question is the FT’s. Already have games where they missed 10-11-12-14-18-19-20 ft’s in a game. That’s a season’s worth in only 15 games.

  30. “Even when Gatsby returns I do not see his play improving that drastically as he will remain on the perimeter for spacing down low for Dwight.”

    Perhaps the team might try running some sets out of a double low post. It worked wonders for the Bird, McHale and Parish Celtics. Also worked well with Hakeem and Sampson on the Rockets. There’s not otherwise some vast distance differential between the near and opposite low blocks, on the one hand, and the low block and the high post/elbow on the other (i.e., it is a complete and utter absurdity to claim that Pau needs to be orbiting Pluto in order for Howard to have space, at least if Howard has anything resembling a prototypical low post game).

  31. The crawford Gif is hilarious and the league really should look at fining or suspending him – in the whole league we have never seen a ref act like that in a game – in credible

    As for the team – yeah just a terrible game and hopefully guys can begin to live up to their contract

    Blake was probably the worst signing in the past 10 years of the lakers

  32. For me, our goal is to make the playoffs.

    Once there, it may actually be more advantageous to meet the powerhouses early as a low seed since I don’t think our group will become ‘stronger’ or ‘fresher’ as the rounds go on. A first round series against OKC followed by a second round against SA wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    So unlike others, I’m not too worried about our performance this early in the season. Sure, odds are against us if we enter the PO as a lower seed, but if we’re good enough to win it all, we’ll win it all regardless of our seed.

  33. Anyone else see highlights of the mini brawl between Celtics/Brklyn? Am i the only one that didn’t think Humphries foul on Garnett was that bad? Rondo is going to get hammered for instigating everything else and pushing the fight into the stands.

  34. @Harold – Ditto

  35. Jerke–

    I agree about the foul

  36. Thanks rr – i was wondeirng if i was missing something lol. Garnett annoys me – all talk/no bite – like Jay Z says “louder than a motorbike, wouldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight”.
    Hollinger or Synergy or someone like that did an interesting piece a while back about quality of assists – in terms of how much a player actually created a high quality assist that led directly to a scoring opportunity vs someone just making the pass to someone else that created and scored. No surprise that the tops guys were Chris Paul/Nash/ Kidd etc… They drew attention then hit open players with passes and in position to make open shots or delivered the ball to guuys in a position where they had no choice but to score. In other words – they “created” the offensive opportunity and put made the decision to deliver to a player at the best possible point in time. However, Rondo was much farther down the list – especially when Ray Allen was on the team. The results they got back is that Rondo’s assists are a function of the play set in Boston vs him actually creating for others. Rondo stands at the top of the key wide open (because no one has to respect his ability to shoot) then passes to ray allen or paul pierce coming of screens (or garnett down low off rolls) who then make the actual plays or shots. Rondo gets the assist by virtue of being the last guy to touch the ball but he didn’t actually do anywhere as much as the other pgs to create a quality opportunity as the other top pgs do.

    Plus he pads his stats by passing up opportunities to shoot/layups and did so to such an extent to maintain his double diigit assist streak (which ended tonight) over this past stretch that even guys like Bill Simmons who loves the Celtics – mentioned it was a bit unseemly and others have compared it to what Ricky Davis was doing for his triple double. Rondo isn’t the best pg in league or near – he’s like the anti-Nash , only he’s had the luxury of playing with 3 allstars for the past 4 years. And speaking of Nash – his former teammates in Dudley, Gortat, and others are struggling not being on the end of his passes this year.

  37. Some heavy fines and suspensions are sure to follow the brawl in Boston. The fight spilled into the crowd. Shades of the Malice at the Palace. The Celtics are a bunch of sore losers and bullies. They were getting served in their building and their frustration got the best of them.

    It’s early, but Brooklyn is emerging as a force in the east. Shaq’s comment that Lopez is better than Dwight doesn’t seem as outrageous as when he first said it. In fact, to date Brook Lopez is playing just as well as Dwight and more importantly, his team is doing much better than Howard’s.

  38. @Jerke…

    I agree that Humphries’ foul wasn’t that bad. Maybe a flagrant. Maybe. The Celtics tried to push the Nets around and it backfired on them. If there is any justice in the Land of Stern, Rondo will face a suspension.

  39. Might be a real heavy suspension – fans got knocked over – they have zero tolerance when it goes into the stands.

  40. Saw the replay many times and it was a flagrant on Hump but nothing more. Instead Rondo sacrifices his streak for that. Dumb.

  41. Rondo turned a Minor (The Foul) into a Major (Ejections and more than likely, Suspensions).

  42. Rondo and KG are a bunch of hot headed jerks who act like hoodlums on court. They intimidate, play rough and expect no retaliation because they are the Lord of the Jungle. Well, they picked Humphries, a bulky 7 footer so why would he run away from these Celtic bums who are intentionally intimidating him just to get the advantage in the game? You can see from the play that KG and Humphries were entangled in the post, well Humphries has to protect himself too. At most, it is flagrant 1 or can be interpreted as flopping on the part of KG too which escalated into a brawl.