Lakers/Magic: Lakers Fall Apart Down the Stretch…Again

Darius Soriano —  December 2, 2012

At this point, the only thing predictable about the Lakers is their unpredictability.

After what could easily be described as their best win of the season on Friday in a blowout of the Nuggets, the Lakers lost to a 5-10 Magic team by the double digit count of 113-103. To say this team is inconsistent would be kind.

There are many reasons for this loss. But if narrowing it down to only two, the Lakers simply didn’t defend well and their FT’s were a major issue again.

Tackling the second issue first, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn went to the Hack-a-Dwight strategy late in the 3rd quarter and again with a shade under 5 minutes left in the game. The strategy worked wonderfully as Dwight clearly started to think too much about his misses and it snowballed on him. In the second half, Dwight shot 19 free throws but only hit 8 of them. Several times he went to line and missed both, which equated to empty possessions that the Lakers sorely needed to try and cut into a deficit.

Furthermore, the strategy to intentionally foul Dwight meant the Lakers were out of rhythm on offense at a time where they really needed to find a good flow. The Magic had found their offense and were scoring on nearly every trip down the court by the time the game got to crunch time. Meanwhile, the Lakers couldn’t get anything going besides Kobe attacking out of the P&R and even that was an every other (or every third) possession action based off the fact the Magic started to foul Dwight.

But, even though the offense started to sputter, where the Lakers lost this game was on the defensive side of the ball. Time after time Jameer Nelson ran a simple P&R at Dwight, and when he’d hedge the Magic would simply make a couple of passes behind him and no other Laker decided to provide any effective help. The key to a good defense is that the 2nd and 3rd rotations need to be as sharp as the first one. The Lakers simply didn’t have that tonight. Didn’t have it at all.

Time after time the man who was supposed to either help on the dive man or go to the corner got exposed. This led to open dunks by Nikola Vucevic or open three pointers on the wing. Crisp passing was the foundation of Orlando’s offense and the Lakers simply had no ability to do anything about it.

And no Laker was immune here. Ron was the person that got sucked in too far when helping in the paint which resulted in a JJ Redick three pointer that pushed Orlando’s lead to 6 (which they never turned back from). The only reason Ron was even on Redick was because Kobe wasn’t much better when guarding the former Dukie. That left Kobe on Afflalo and time after time Kobe got picked off on simple pin downs when guarding Afflalo that allowed him to get open on curls, allowing easy jumpers or even easier kick out passes. The bigs weren’t much better (especially Jamison, who closed the game instead of Gasol) as they didn’t help on off ball screens to deny passing angles and then didn’t protect the rim when guys shook free on dives to the paint.

Ultimately, the Lakers played exactly the way they needed to avoid. They got sloppy on defense, became one dimensional on offense, and as things started to go against them they looked to give up on the idea they could actually win the game. Well, they ended up being right. The Magic came into L.A. and won the game their fans wanted the most out of any game this season (at least until the Lakers visit Orlando). I’d say I’m surprised that the Lakers lost this game but, to be honest, the up and down nature of this team is almost becoming too common to really raise an eyebrow over. Bad habits are forming with this group and if they don’t start to change them, this is who they will become.

Some additional notes:

*Jordan Hill was a DNP-CD in this game. On a night where the Lakers needed better paint defense and lacked energy, his sitting the entire game was somewhat of a question mark for me.

*For those that want Jamison playing big minutes, understand that nights like these are possible too. He was efficient enough by shooting 4-7 from the field for 10 points. But his defense in the paint left a lot to be desired, especially down the stretch.

*I don’t think Kobe deserves blame for how he plays on offense. He’s been very good at being a playmaker and tonight his 5 assists (along with Ron) led the team. However, I still believe that asking him to run P&R’s so often and balance playmaking with his instinct to score is too much to ask. His shot/pass decision making can still be too tilted towards scoring (which, I can’t blame him too much for) and it’s leading to too many possessions where he’s the only player that touches the ball. This team needs a top flight Kobe to be its best. But it also needs everyone else involved. On nights like this there were too many possessions where the latter didn’t happen. The result was Kobe getting 34 points, but on 27 shots when no one else took more than 13.

*Yes, I’m still thinking about Dwight’s missed free throws.

*D’Antoni is still obviously learning his team as evidenced by his rotations. Meeks only played 9 minutes tonight while Devin Ebanks played 11. Combine this with Hill’s zero, and it’s clear D’Antoni is trying to sort out who should play and how much. I’m fine with the experimentation simply because he didn’t have a camp and is still figuring out these players. That said, I wish the Lakers could get on a roll and win more games while going through this learning curve.

*I miss the Darius Morris that looked like he was figuring things out. Right now, he looks like as lost as he did when he first started to see minutes, especially on offense. The thing is, the Lakers need his defense but if he can’t initiate the sets and makes poor decisions on when he should attack or pull back, he’s hurting the team when he’s in the game.

Darius Soriano

Posts

51 responses to Lakers/Magic: Lakers Fall Apart Down the Stretch…Again

  1. Agree with most of this, but would add that I think, as the last post on the other thread said, that the D issues are not all about effort–the team has a lot of old guys with slow feet. D’Antoni said after the game that the Lakers are “struggling athletically.” The effort thing plays a role–Orlando was obviously jacked up tonight. But the Lakers are just slow.

    And yes, D’Antoni either needs to table his distaste for Hill and use him 10-15 MPG or the Lakers need to move him for a guy D’Antoni will use (no idea who). And I think the FO needs to look into bringing in another PG.

    Meeks should be playing 20-25 minutes and Kobe should see some time at the 3 if MDA is going to play KB 35-40 minutes a night.

  2. James Worthy said it best. This team is a embarrassment and lacks the heart of a champion. Maybe that’s what happens when you fill tbe team with a bunch of new guys and new coaches that have NEVER been champions.

    Something has to change.

  3. I really don’t care if it is “Granny Ball”, Dwight needs to learn the underhand method of shooting freethrows, because what he is doing now is obviously severely in his head. When someone gets worse as his career goes on, he should change something.

    It takes more of a man to change than to continuing to do something that isn’t working, all because someone thinks it looks a bit “sissy”.

    We have a number of problems, but we really can’t afford a player who can’t make freethrows, won’t change, and must be removed from close games – especially when he is a defensive anchor for our team.

  4. rr,

    If that is the case, D’Antoni has to adjust his uptempo into a tactical tempo by using the strength of his players. You can’t beat Reddic, Nelson and Affalo into a running game, every ball possession has to be managed and remove the gambling side of blind passes.

    Howard is the heart of the problem, Lakers has to find a way to cure his FT miscues by going granny shots. That’s the only way to increase his FT %, forget the macho mentality but be more practical because his future contract with any team will depend on his progress on the line.

  5. Didn’t watch the game, checked the box scores. Dayumnn!! how do you give up 40 freaking points in a quarter! It must have been going like an all star game. Anyways I expect Kobe to come back strong, making up for what he was short of in this game.
    Nash would make a big difference, I am more convinced than ever.
    I have nothing to say for Pau, I would be happy if he can contribute by the playoffs time.
    Dwight and free throw woes will continue.
    MWP and the team are so inconsistent. I will be happy to see a winning streak.
    They might even beat Miami if they play them the next game, and they might even lose to Wizards if they play them next to next game.

  6. Ko,

    The situation is in distress, but it can be remedied when they play as a team with lots p &r, screen and pop and switching defense. It takes time to change attitudes and develop good habits.

  7. Have to admit I was for the hire. Not sure now. Going away from what worked last game makes no sense. Meeks and Hill need minutes. Morris and Eubanks need none.

    If you don’t have the guts to remove a guy who kills your flow by bricking at the line then you should not be coaching in the pros.

    I dream of the days if weekend at Birney’s.

  8. Great graph on kobe’s role on offense. Even though I think he can and should distribute even more. His current role isn’t what’s made him successful.

    I’ve come to grips that Lakers will be a poor ft shooting team. Dwight just has to make them when they count. Or have a game like he did vs portland more often like shaq used too.

    The elite teams Sa, Mia, Okc, Mem, Nyk (this year) are successful night to night because they consistently play they same way. Don’t deviate from their game plan. Lakers play 2 ways. One is when they have excellent ball movement early which then fuels their defense and they ride that wave all game long. The other is one we’ve seen for awhile where Kobe tries to establish himself from the outset. There’s nothing wrong with this if he’s hot. But on many occasions he stalls out consecutive possessions by missing tjen trying to make up for it a make next time down. If he doesn’t make the third or feels he was fouled he’ll lower his head and force another one. And that’s 3 straight trips where no offensive rhythm was established just kobe proving a point. More of the first team needs to show up where the fg’s are evenly distributed that’s when the team will build cohesion and consistency even in losses.

  9. I agree, lots of problems but the biggest is Defense. Giving up 40 pts in the 4th quarter (to one of the worst offensive teams in the league no less) is inexcusable. Until the Lakers learn how to win a game through defense when their shots aren’t magically going in like against Denver, they’re in trouble.

    The interesting thing is that if I recall correctly, the Lakers built up a lead both in the 2nd and 4th quarters with the second unit led by Pau (who was getting abused by the 4th), then promptly lost it both times when Kobe and Dwight came back in.

  10. I wonder Scott what would have happened when they started hacking Dwight, Coach D should have subbed for Pau, replace Metta with Hill and change Duhon with Meeks. Maybe it would be a close game and the hacking will diminish. Last two minutes, put back Dwight in the line up for defense purposes.

  11. Edwin,

    Howard is going to get a max deal, here or elsewhere, no matter what he does, short of a career-threatening injury.

    As to tempo, that is not the problem, IMO, except maybe for Pau.

  12. Jerry and Jimmy’s latest version of Showtime rests on the shoulders of a new Mike. Unfortunately, this Mike is facing a monumental task lighting the fire of desire in All Stars used to a different style of play. In the absence of Steve Nash, Mike D has predictably placed his D’Antoni elixir in the hands of Kobe, much like Mike B did last year. Left to his own devices, Kobe alternates between facilitator and scorer, or the familiar “Good Kobe” and “Bad Kobe.” Good Kobe lights the fire; bad Kobe is not good for team morale. It’s an old, old story. . . .

    Tonight, the Staples crowd saw a bit of Jimmy and Jerry’s Showtime, but it came from Orlando in the last five minutes of the game. As uncomfortable as it might be for Mike, he might consider ignoring Jerry and Jimmy’s Showtime fantasy, and convince this team that the D in his name means something. My focus is always on chemistry–and chemistry starts with a bond between the coach and the team, acting out a game plan that makes sense. Right now, Mike’s ability to inspire these Lakers is a lot like his previous ability to inspire Melo’s Knicks–for similar reasons.

  13. Kobe’s calling out pau saying he needs to adjust. Calling out teammates in practice for being soft. But yet isn’t giving them a chance to prove themselves. Kobe’s the leader of this team it’s his job to turn this ship around. They’ll follow his lead he’s has to lead them.

  14. “The interesting thing is that if I recall correctly, the Lakers built up a lead both in the 2nd and 4th quarters with the second unit led by Pau (who was getting abused by the 4th)”

    Yes and no. Yes, the bench built up the lead in the 2nd and 4th. Lineup was Pau, Jamison, Ebanks/Ron, Meeks and Duhon. No, Pau was not abused in the 4th. The described bench unit played almost the first five minutes of the 4th. They took a 4 point lead up to 6. They gave up 5 points in that nearly five minutes. Pau was on the floor for 10 of the 40 in the 4th, the noted 5 in the nearly five minutes with the 2nd unit and then 5 more in under one (1) minute following the return of Kobe and Dwight. The other 30 were scored when Pau was on the bench.

    Next, on a more general note, the man crush and man hate thing is otherwise tiresome. Not only do we have what happened in the 2nd and 4th quarters, we also have:

    Dwight -17
    Kobe -17
    Pau -3
    Meeks +7

    And, Ko, get a grip, for heaven’s sake. And it’s Ebanks, and not, Eubanks. He played 11 minutes tonight:

    2-5, 0-1, 0-0, with 3 boards and 2 assists, and ended up at +5.

    You might actually start ripping on the right people at the right time.

    Lastly, with any luck, we’ll see more of the Pau, Jamison, Ebanks, Meeks and Duhon 2nd unit. We won’t be seeing Hill because he’s the living definition of one dimensional. Ron can sub in for Ebanks about half way through their time, just as tonight in both the 2nd and 4th quarters. Then if we’re lucky, the return of Kobe and Dwight won’t lead to the team being torched for 30 points in just over 7 minutes of play there in the 4th. So you and the rest get the insanity of the game:

    12:00 – 7:02 Magic score a whopping 5 points
    7:-02 – 0:00 Magic score a whopping 35 points

    Almost forgot, but for Darius, I get what you are saying re the D, but there is another problem as well, the opposite side of the coin. Kobe is actually “helping” by pretending he’s patrolling CF ala Matt Kemp. Problem is, they don’t need that so much, at least if Dwight is what everyone proclaims him to be on the D end. Dwight himself also sometimes helps when he doesn’t need to. I would simply submit that if rotational breakdown is a concern, and it is, that maybe some ought not be helping and thus forcing the rotation when it isn’t necessary.

    Oh, and glad that you mentioned the Jameer Nelson PnR. He’s taken some unfair criticism on this board, as if Nash is going to magically transform Dwight on his return. As we saw tonight, it isn’t like Jameer wasn’t able to run the PnR with Dwight in Orlando. And on a related note, also isn’t as if Hedo wasn’t a point forward as well when Dwight was there. So Dwight’s had mates who could get him the ball in an advantageous position. His problems are that he relies almost entirely on his athleticism as his post-game is simply rudimentary and he cannot shoot the FT to save his life. The only reason to have ever preferred him over Bynum was owing to injury risk, which as we can see from this year, was a not insignificant risk. Pity that it turned out that way. Oh, and this game, call it poetic justice. Here, simply recall that one of the reasons why Dwight left Orlando was owing to him not being featured so much in the 4th, and on occasion, even sat down. Tonight showed us all why that was so. The poetic justice part is that it was the Magic who made the case for their prior 4th quarter strategy in Dwight’s regard by adopting the Hack-A-Dwight approach. Hopefully, if all goes well, Dwight will use this humiliation at the hands of his old team to rather improve his performance from the line.

  15. Maybe Kobe should come off the bench?

  16. I still think we need to get Dwight and Pau into a room, let them know that this is nothing personal, but tell them it’s time Pau plays off the bench and Dwight sits at the end of quarters until Dwight gets his FTs somewhere respectable and Pau gets his game conditioning up.

  17. . But yet isn’t giving them a chance to prove themselves.

    _____

    Jamison, Duhon, Pau, and MWP are all over 30. Howard is in his 8th year and has been a very bad FT shooter his entire career. They are in many respects proven commodities. You are simply grasping here. Pau either needs to take some time off to rest his knees or he needs to start playing better, and D’Antoni needs to help with that. Does Kobe play a role there? Sure. But it starts with Pau, the medical staff, and the coach.

    And Kobe isn’t the coach. Hill got 0 minutes tonight; Meeks got 9. Ebanks got 11, a highwater mark for him under MDA, and as Darius said above, his namesake Mr. Morris, who has been starting, looked “lost.” If you want to blame someone for not giving the younger guys a chance to “prove themselves”, look at D’Antoni–and Morris is in fact getting a chance. One more time: if you have some need to criticize Kobe, look at his D. Darius talks about that above, as well.

    Kobe calling out Pau, particularly with the soundbite line he used, “Put on your big boy pants”, was probably unwise and certainly seems pointlessly nasty. Kobe would do better if he would start busting ass on off-the-ball D, rather than poking Pau in the media. But Kobe’s shot selection is not even close to being the biggest issue with this team right now.

  18. Harold,

    I generally stay far away from team dynamics issues, since we are so far removed from them. But I do feel like MDA needs some real face time with Pau and Howard, together and 1-on-1. Things aren’t working, and Chris Duhon isn’t going to save the team if it is to be saved.

  19. Dwight’s psyche really took a beating tonight. This kid is proving to be mentally weak. His coping mechanism is to make a joke out of everything. Well, his ex-teammates wiped that silly grin off of his face tonight.

    This entire group of Lakers is being crushed under the weight of the gaudy expectations many have for them. This season is taking on an eerie similarity to the 2004 season. An injury to the team’s glue guy (Nash/Malone) is really hurting the team’s chances.

  20. nice game analysis Daruis, keep it up.. Maybe when you clearly see the whole scenario..it is close game until that horrible 4th quarter collapse on Defense and Hack a Dwight…If they want to win a championship, they must play with the heart of a champion,,,every single game..

  21. I have lost some of the spark that I have for this Lakers team. I am very upbeat when they play good basketball, and very down when they play like tonight. I am finding these Lakers roller coaster rides draining on me. So, why are D12’s free throws all of a sudden a big deal, why didn’t they bother Orlando in the past. I mean, are his free throws worse now than when he was in Orlando? How did they deal with them? What a night this has been, and it is pouring rain and dreary here in Los Angeles, just like the game was.

  22. Wow.have we won two games in a row without bickerstaff this year? This is getting on my nerves.if some one told you they put a team together with Dwight kobe and Gasol Would you say nope.won’t work.they need nash to win?

  23. Still can’t comprehend the fact that, coming off of his best game of the season, Meeks only gets around 10 mins of burn. I agree with Rr in the notion that not only does Meeks needs more time on the floor, but it’ll be beneficial if that time was with Kobe; which would require Kobe spending some time at the 3. Especially if we’re up against a team that doesn’t have a big time scoring threat at that position.

  24. Fan since 1969, and this is a mess. Hodge podge of players, bad team, bad coach. Does anyone really know their role? So many holes, where does one start?

    Lakers have more or less the same record as Charlotte. Really.

    I have to hand it to Kobe for actually holding himself together and not taking 40 shots a game.

    Love Pau, but it may be time to go. Or, keep him to put in the middle next year, because they have to be considering letting Dwight walk. He’s a paper tiger. What happens to him when he can’t jump as well-he’s a 6’8″ center who can’t make a foul shot. Hasn’t proved to anyone he has the star power to take over a game.

    Can’t find 10 minutes for Jordan Hill, maybe get some hustle points?

    Buckle up sports fans, this may get a lot worse.

  25. Kobe is playing PG, Morris hardly sees the ball. So, hell, start Meeks and spread the floor.

    But then, Kobe at PG is a lot to ask of him- run the offense, score, guard a scorer. He gets drawn into being the whole offense too much. No one else touches the ball. A no flow, and the rest of the team never gets into the rhythm of the game.

    That translates to the defensive end. For better or worse, most NBA players play more active D when they are involved in the offense. Look at Denver vs Orlando, in terms of team effort. Plus Kobe being the whole offense left him looking like had nothing on the defensive end.

    Team D was horrible. No help, no concept of what they were doing.

    Pau has no legs. Give him a week off, Jameson and Hill can fill in. Pau is crucial to this team, but his tendinitis seems to be hampering every party of his game. Get him healthy.

    Dwight’s free throws make the game unwatchable.

  26. Has anyone considered bringing Pau off the bench? Like Lamar did. Pau is not young, he can still hover around 30 minutes a game and you can run through him in the post. You can play jamison at the four as a stretch who is proving he can rebound if not play Defense and atleast stretch the floor with dwight and between kobe and ron and dwight we will have enough muscle to rebound and it’s a small ball league anyway. The problem is the rotation and players are not comfortable. I blame a lot of this on D’antoni. He comes in and benches the center that took us to 3 straight finals winning 2 more then the new coach or dwight howard has, who he waxed in the finals in the post. On top of that the coach says pau just has to adjust but pau is right as he always is as a class act. He is a low post player. He is maximized in the post. But for the past almost two years now we want him to be boris diaw or whatever. It’s ridiculous the man can dominate inside and we have blatantly asked him not to do it. SO, why not get him in that sixth man role and then close games with him. ALSO for D’antoni to bench pau but to leave howard in, after it was completely his fault that we lost because he came in with like 7 mins left and we were actually up by 8 when pau left the game. and btw I hope everyone is noticing pau’s assist numbers in the system the only problem is that they are asking him to beat DWIGHT HOWARD down the floor to “get his” it’s never going to happen and this is all disrespectful to Pau. If I were him I wouldn’t want to leave but I’d be pretty annoyed at the organization and even kobe has the audacity to come out and say well I’m “running more screen rolls then ever I’ve had to adjust, but you know kobe loves having the ball in his hands and kobe taking 27 shots even though he probably should have had 3 more assists as players missed gimmes, it’s not that much of an adjustment for him if he can still take 27 shots 14 more shots then the next closest player. This loss was on D’antoni and I think his bias towards pau because he isn’t PERFECT for his “system” is crap. I also think this when nash gets back it’ll fix EVERYTHING is crap as well. Start Duhon if you are worried about morris, don’t bench pau, if Dwight can’t make free throws. We were not playing defense anyway. ZERO blocks for dwight howard tonight. Don’t let meeks AFTER coming off his best game as a laker play only 9 minutes……seriously? To me this was a loss chalked up to coaching and dwight howard’s free throws. Nothing else. Not pau or kobe or the bench. Rotations and free throws and if we are not going to play Jordan Hill atleast have the decency to not make the poor guy suit up. ridiculous. after the way he played for us in the playoffs. He could easily play hill and pau with the second unit of meeks and morris with a starter like kobe or jamison and have a nice second unit but it’s just lazy stubborn coaching.

  27. Hollinger Tweet:

    Correction: The Lakers got one stop on Orlando’s final 12 trips. Two in the final 18.

  28. Random thoughts:

    If Jordan Hill cut his hair and grew a mustache would he play?

    Did Steve Nash make Mike D and without him is he just a bad coach with excuses?

    Do the Orlando players dislike Dwight and are glad his dog and pony
    show is over?

    Does Dwight’s amateur free throwing make this team easy to coach aganist and he does more harm then good on the floor?

    Is Jim Buss snack bitten as moves like Mike 1, Mike 2, Howard and Nash suggesting?

    Have the Lakers become the Yankees, over hyped, overpaid, under performers and a franchise with limited future living in the past?

    Bad questions and scary answers.

  29. It is time for a reality check. This team will not be a serious contender for the title this season. I will gladly eat my words if they become one, but I don’t see it. I am officially lowering my personal expectations for this Laker team. Let’s face it, this is a mess. And I don’t see Steve Nash as the cure all.

    Kobe has been very, very good for this team, But anyone who can look at this team objectively can see that this year and next, the Lakers will be paying for Kobe’s incredible career. Lakers have the highest payroll in the league, in large part because Kobe is the highest paid player in the NBA by far. I’m not questioning if he deserves it (he does) just the fact that it hampers personnel moves the Lakers can make.

    Yes, Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 34 points in their loss to Orlando. But the Lakers are now 2-8 when Bryant scores more than 25 points (6-1 when he scores 25 or fewer). This isn’t working. And it doesn’t help the Lakers chances of re-signing Dwight Howard at season’s end. Kobe’s “I eat first” motto can’t be the norm any more. Yes, he leads the league in scoring, yes he only needs 52 points to become only the 5th player to score 30,000 points in the NBA, yes he will pass Wilt for 4th place at his current pace in about 50 games, and yes he puts butts in the seats, at home & on the road.

    But that’s not why I’m a Laker fan. I was a Laker fan before Kobe was born, and will be after he’s retired. I’m not going to stop watching, however I’ve lowered my expectation so as not to be as disappointed as others.

    I don’t believe the Lakers will be serious contenders again until the Lakers can build a team without the restrictions of Kobe’s game, attitude or salary. The Lakers are a model company, a destination franchise with a knowledgeable front office. I appreciate their efforts this season, but it’s not working. Not this year…and most likely not next year.

    Lakers 2nd issue: Dwight will be a free agent at the end of the season. The Nets will attempt to sign him in a sign & trade for Brooks Lopez. Nets are looking good, picture them with D-12.

    But I do expect Kobe to past Jordan for 3rd place on the NBA career scoring list next season. So for those who wear “Kobe colored glasses”, all will not be lost.

  30. Obvious News Alert: Kobe is not going to stop taking too many shots.

    Kinda reminds me of the Jordan philosophy in the Wizard years. Phil was gone and Jordan’s body was older.
    He defaulted to gunslinger mode, and didn’t trust hit teammates when they weren’t winning by alot. In these years, he would say he wasn’t going to go out with any bullets left.

    He reverted to how he was before Phil.

  31. Sid,

    Like I have said many times, people who think the entire team revolves around Kobe are the ones who wear the “Kobe-Colored Glasses.” Your fixation on him prevents you from seeing the big picture–like the team’s inability to get stops, the fact that the team is old and slow, and the fact that they are using waiver fodder 48 minutes a game at the 1.

    As to Nash, Kobe himself said that Nash will help since it will mean that Kobe can work more off the ball and do what he does best: score.

    If you want to criticize Kobe, look at Afflalo’s line.

    IOW, you are about 95% wrong.

  32. Here is another Idea I could think of on those free throw woes.

    What if they practice at El Segundo that Dwight will surely miss free throws. Put two tall players who would be ready to tap the ball outside or grab the ball everytime Dwight is on the line. I can think of this lineup 5 Howard 4 Gasol 3 Hill 2 Meeks or MWP 1 Kobe. Try to rehearse a miss free throw scenario, while Gasol and Hill also get used to grabbing or tapping the ball outside to Meeks or Kobe and if falls on opponents hands, be ready for transition defense.

    When I was growing up in Asia, I watched College basketball games wherein they always capitalized the 3 point production on the foul line. When a player makes the first one, he intentionally miss the other one while their tall players are always ready for follow ups. The same is true if he misses the first free throw, they have the mentality to go for two by assuming that he will miss the next shot. In other words, their handicap in shooting is compensated by their ability to dominate the rebounds. I think this is an area where Lakers could excel.

  33. It’s funny to me so many people think shooting granny styles free throws is easier. People think the skyhook and underhand freethrows are as easy as getting out of bed in the morning.

  34. 1/2decaf1/2regular December 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Frustrating loss. Plenty of blame to go around including to our mamba’s defense but he was once again asked to carry the offensive load when outside shots werent falling. Lakers just need to do a better job of maintaing their defensive composure when their shots arent falling.

    Can’t believe i’m going to attempt to be the voice of reason here for a second but people need to be patient. It’s going to take time and eventually lakers will start winning games consistently.. this may not even start until nash or blake return.

    Think about it.. its only been about 6 games since D’antoni took over cleaning up after mike brown’s mess… coach still working on the fly implementing a brand new system still trying to break old habits from that god forsaken princenton like offense.. but most importantly he has been missing his starting and backup PG.. (so lets not forget to mention hes got two incompentent PGs running his PG centric offense.. one young PG not nba ready dealing with confidence issues and one extremely washed up lead footed PG who moves slower than molasses … both who combined for 5 pts 2-7 FG in 47 minutes of play yesterday )

    Its also obvious d’antoni is still tinkering with his lineups as was the case last night when he was experimenting with ebanks so building his bench is still a work in progress… He also acknowledged in his press conference that he needs to find a way to get hill on the court even if it comes at the expense of pau or dwight.

    That being said very questionable call on coach to not sit Dwight and stop the bleeding but in his presser he also stated he cannot sit dwight and give teams more reason to continue to use this tactic.. If dwight makes his FTs lakers win and no one is complaining… .. Also probably not a good way to start d’antonis relationship with dwight by benching him or for his future with the lakers for that matter.. btw dwight is also a career 58% FT and is shooting 46% this season so eventually with more attempts it has to revert back towards the mean

    cooler heads must prevail! GO LAKERS!

  35. here we go again…for years we had one playmaker now we have two…and ones hurt. a center who cant hit free throws…a power forward whos hurt and out of shape..a small forward who is hot and cold..mostly cold..darius morris..lol

    and kobe shooting to much is the problem for the 17th year in a row.

    we should have traded pau for sideshow bob in cleveland two years ago…now we cant give him away

  36. rr, I can’t argue the point that the Lakers are old (that’s just a chronological fact) but I think an argument can be made that the Lakers’ weakness on defense is not a product of that age. In Kobe and MWP, the Lakers have two old guys, but two guys who are among the best one on one defenders at their positions and who are no slower than most of the guys they play against. Whatever else he is, Morris is not old, and Dwight is in his prime.

    Even with a slow-footed and soft Pau or the defenisely challenged Jamison, it’s unconscionable that a Laker team with the 4 aforementioned guys can get simply destroyed down the stretch by an Orlando team with Nelson, Reddick, Afflalo, Big Baby, and Vucevic (a team that just screams “LOTTERY”). I don’t think that was about age; I think that was about effort, smarts and scheme.

    Something is clearly amiss, and it’s highly unlikely that the return of Steve Nash is going to be the difference. I like the idea of moving Kobe to the 3 for stretches of the game and brining in Meeks. I don’t really understand how they expect Jodie to get open looks when he cannot create his own shot unless he’s playing with playmakers or low post threats like Howard–and he’s surely not going to get any looks from the bench. Not counting B’staff, this is this 2nd consecutive coach who hasn’t been able to find a consistent rotation, and that’s troubling….

  37. Howards freethrows are always long. Like Nick Van exel use to, Howard should take them a few steps back from the line.

  38. Aaron,
    Actually, underhanded freethrows are easier. The mechanics are different. Not only is there an easier, more repeatable motion, but it doesn’t require the same wrist action and reversing the rotation on the ball is almost natural – so it hits the rim in a softer manner.

  39. Rr: the fo brought in players to help kobe not for him to bypass them so he can score more. There is a distinct difference when lakers play team ball and when kobe holds the ball trying to do everything. That’s why help was signed so he wouldn’t feel the need to takeover. He needs to take a few possessions off sometimes and not cut off plays and look for his shot. Instead of criticizing his teammates in the media make them better on the court.

  40. last night was probably top 3 biggest games in Orlando Magics history. Nelson ,Affollo ,big baby were playing out of there minds. Jacque Vaughn called a time out in the 1st minute of the game lol. This is the first game in a long time a player has scored 25 or more. Orlando they wont have a game like that for the rest of the season there emotions were sky high playing against Dwight.

    but the freethrow problem did not help.

  41. Kobe played the same way vs indiana but was praised for showing grit through sickness even though he was taking ill advised shots and heat checks. The next the ball was moving and lakers rolled scoring 122 points. Last night pau was going off early and it was dwight’s 1st game vs his old team. And lakers were playing against a weak frontcourt defensively along with a player who has a history of giving kobe all he can hamdle on both ends. Instead of going to the hot hand (pau) and favorable matchup kobe played reckless forcing offense and played lackadasical defense. Afterwards saying “me and dwight have to make up for other mistakes”. When he had plenty mistakes himself. This season can get ugly quick playing 3 straight road games. It.s up to kobe to lead the team where he’s been. After all that’s why nash, meeks, hill, jamison took less to come to lakers to win a ring and go to a place where kobe been 5 times. Kobe’s up enough talking.

  42. Defense is a lot more than effort and energy. You need a strategy that actually works and players can buy into. Clearly Mike Brown didn’t have the buy in. D’Antoni is learning on the fly, but that 4q collapse is pathetic. Lakers were up by 4 at the start of the 4th. No Jordan Hill makes no sense.

  43. Funky,

    Solid post; thanks. My view is that D is a combination of effort, execution, court awareness and physical ability, so I agree with you in part. My take, though, is that the Lakers have too many guys with the same wekaness–old with slow feet–combined with young guys who lack court awareness, and Howard less than 100%. D was actually the best argument for bringing in Phil rather than MDA. One underrated aspect of Phil’s legacy was his ability to get superstars/old guys to play D.

    As to Nash, IF he can actually play (and I will not be surprised at all at this point if about two weeks from now they announce that he needs surgery and is done for the year) he will make a gigantic difference on O. Kobe has openly talked about playing off the ball to accommodate Nash, and Nash will instantly be the team’s best passer, best outside shooter, and best FT shooter.

    For those concerned about “chemistry”, Nash is known for his ability to make guys feel good, work together, etc. The Lakers need some of that right now. Finally, while most Lakers fans would have preferred Phil, one guy watching this train wreck is definitely in MDA’s corner: Steve Nash. That may help as well.

    All that said, as you suggest, Nash is another old guy who will have trouble checking his man. The Lakers will need to outscore teams. We have to hope Nash will be able to come back and help them do it.

  44. Orlando scored 31 points in last 6 minutes of game. PATHETIC!!

  45. Good teams don’t lose games like that. The Lakers need to take small steps. The team talks about competing for the trophy when it can’t even win two games in a row. This group needs to
    concentrate on putting together a complete 48 mins. each game and stop looking down the road.

  46. D flows from offense under D”antoni – and unfortunately between the ball stopping and hack-a-dwight there isn’t a way to build the tempo and pace that they want – unless they have a pg cpable of doing so – and the only one is Nash and he’s hurt. Shame of it is – they have a 4th q remedy in Pau – he could easily play the middle 8-2:00 min stretch and be the featured low post (gving howard a rest and removing the hack a dwight issue) but he just isn’t in it. Pau can play in this system, but last night-knees or not- he repeatedly seemed to settle for long jumpers instead of taking the ball inside even though there was open lanes. This isn’t about his knees anymore – we’ve all seen flashes that show he can be very effective in this system – and his skill is still there. This is more about mental/attitude – almost like he’s in perma pout mode after the trade from last year still.

    Hard for Nash to lead from behind the bench but his presence on the court would make a huge difference. Him and Kobe need to get Pau and Dwight in a room and tell them to get serious and get on the same page. This team has flashes of brilliance and can play high level ball. But its just a mess right now. Shame Mike D didn’t have a training camp to work through all of this before hand and now has to figure it out on the fly.

  47. the other Stephen December 3, 2012 at 11:21 am

    yup, another coach and roster shake up is *just* the thing this team needs. never mind the fact that the team was just starting to get back to focusing on playing basketball. i get that the lakers will remain at a heightened level of scrutiny all year–that’s a threshold we cannot go back upon–but comments like these are exactly what don’t help.

    i think this team has already gone through too much this year to be able to attain any truly lasting degree of consistency going forward. between the new roster, coach, and system; chemistry and rotations that are a work in progress; drama, which fans willingly continue to supply; and the age of the main rotation players, this team will naturally exhibit increased production volatility, where the peaks are higher and the valleys are lower. this thinking is also echoed by aaron mcguire, whom i don’t always agree with, but think wrote a very prescient piece regarding this year’s lakers (http://gothicginobili.com/?p=4341). instead of going up in arms every time they lose a game to barely decent competition, i instead find myself wondering whether they (and who) can peak at the right time (e.g. james posey, trevor ariza, shane battier in the playoffs), how long they need to establish their chemistry (e.g. 2008-10 lakers, 2010-11 heat), and how much of a calming effect nash and blake will be able to exert over the team’s production.

    check out the aaron mcguire player capsule i included on nash. it may cause laker fans to raise their guards, but it’s at least thought-provoking: “the only really distinctive, all-encompassing fact is that players who stay in the league at nash’s age tend to see an increased volatility in their contributions. one night they’ll be classic — or even better. a shining example of everything they always were. one night later they’ll have no lift, no instincts, no shot…variance inflates, and merely assessing the ‘average’ game becomes more and more misleading.”

  48. The notion that Nash is going to transform the team from being inconsistent to title contenders is so misleading. He helps on the offensive end, how in the world does he help on the defensive end? We’re a horrific defensive team when we play like we did last night, giving up 40 points in the 4th Q to the Magic..

    On Kobe..I don’t want to blame him for the loss last night, given he’s the only non-injured play-maker we have and he’s caught between creating for others and shooting himself, but he shot the ball 27 times last night, Kobe Bryant should not be shooting the ball 27 times a game, at most that number should be in the 15-20 range.

    This team sure makes it hard on fans, I don’t know which team is going to show up on a game by game basis. We’re blowing out Dallas one game, terrible the next.. Blowing out Denver the next game and losing to the Magic the next.

    All of that with having one of the easiest schedules in the NBA up till now, 7 of the next 8 games are away and we’ve looked anything but a good team on the road.

  49. The Lakers have a variety of issues. They are implementing a new system as we speak. Nearly 30 games into the season (counting preseason) the Lakers are tying to implement a system that is diametrically opposed to the one they started training camp with. That means new role players get featured (Meeks) and others fall out of favor (Hill). Roles are being thrown up in the air again. And it can be argued that this new system doesn’t really fit the personnel. There is reason that teams with coaching changes during the regular season rarely win titles the same year. It’s just too much to absorb in so little time.

    Part of me agrees with BigCitySid. But I’ll address that later.

  50. Steve Blake will undergo surgery on his injury, out for 6-8 weeks.

    The bad news keeps coming, more of Duhon & Morris.

  51. I’m not questioning if he deserves it (he does) just the fact that it hampers personnel moves the Lakers can make.

    +++++++++++++

    Yeah. After all, they only added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Also, if you want to focus on questionable contracts, Blake’s, Gasol’s and Metta’s deals should be under scrutiny as well.

    The Nets will attempt to sign him in a sign & trade for Brooks Lopez.

    ___________

    Teams over the cap cannot do S and Ts anymore, so the Brooklyn door is pretty much closed for Howard AFAIK.

    Sid, just admit it: you don’t like Kobe. That’s OK–you are not alone, certainly. But trying to fliter “analysis” through that lens is a mistake.