Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

Darius Soriano —  December 9, 2012

Records: Lakers 9-11 (11th in the West), Jazz 11-10 (6th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.6 (6th in the NBA), Jazz 104.8 (7th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 100.1 (9th in the NBA), Jazz 103.0 (17th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Chris Duhon, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison, Dwight Howard
Jazz: Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson
Injuries: Lakers: Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, and Steve Blake are all out. Jazz: Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson are both questionable.

The Lakers remain as up and down as ever, going 1-2 in their last three games. Their lone win was against a Hornets team that was missing their two best players, but also a team that would be a lottery team even with those players in the lineup. Their last game was a moral victory, not for the final score but for how they fought down the stretch and didn’t quit on the game even when they certainly could have. The final margin reflected that, more than how close the game actually was.

The Lakers are in an interesting spot after 20 games. They’ve lost more than any analyst would have predicted, but those defeats have come against the backdrop of injuries and major changes to the coaching staff. At this point, as frustrating as it is, this team can’t be judged without time. Time to heal their injuries; time to adjust to playing under a new coach; time to gel as the two latter things occur.

Time, however, is a double edged sword. The lakers have 62 regular season games left to find their stride and hit their peak. That seems like a lot of time. However, the Lakers only have until the middle of February to determine if this is the roster they want, or if trades are in order. That is not that much time. Furthermore, as the Lakers find their stride, teams like the Spurs, Thunder and Grizzlies are already running at full speed. Catching up to them over the course of the season will be difficult and there may not be enough time to do so.

So, as much as the Lakers are in a battle against circumstances, they are also battling time. Over the next 5 months, they have enough of it to become the best team they can be. In that same period, however, there are smaller pockets of it to work within for them to actually accomplish that goal. Meanwhile, outsiders stew over it all and ride the roller coaster, literally. They have no control and simply have to go where the machine takes them.

Tonight’s opponent isn’t as conceptual as time. The Jazz come into the game winners of two in a row, but losers of three of their last four road games. They also come into the game banged up. Al Jefferson (back spasms) and Derrick Favors (plantar fasciitis) are both listed as questionable. I think they’ll play, but if they don’t it obviously renders most any game preview moot. Jefferson’s low post game can give Howard fits and Favors’ combination of size and athleticism would be a tough challenge for Jordan Hill and the reserve bigs. If they don’t play, the Jazz’s biggest strength — front court depth — is dramatically altered and even more would be needed from the supporting cast.

This group includes Marvin Williams, Enes Kanter, and Gordan Haywood. All three are good players but all are also a bit up and down. Williams is just returning from a concussion, but his defense on both Kobe and Ron will be important. As is his ability to hit the corner three pointer. Kanter is a bull in the paint and uses his strength to carve out position to post up and grab offensive rebounds. His lack of elite athleticism is more than compensated for by his smarts and know how around the rim. As for Hayward, he’s moved to the bench but has kept his production up even as a reserve. His scoring has remained consistent and his ball handling and all-around wing skills help their bench.

The other players to watch are Mo Williams, Millsap, and Foye. When the Lakers lost to the Jazz in Utah, Williams and Foye took turns in the two halves hitting key shots that earned them the win. Both can get hot from the outside and their ability to space the floor makes life easier for the Jazz big men. Millsap is a player that will continue to work hard regardless of how well he’s playing, and his match up with Jamison will be a major one to watch as the game goes on. If Jamison isn’t up to the task, I wouldn’t mind seeing Ron switch over to guard Millsap with ‘Tawn moving over to guard Marvin Williams.

Beyond the individual match ups, the biggest factor to this game will be which team can hit enough shots to let their big men go to work against single coverage. If the Lakers can be that team, Dwight Howard should see a lot of one on one time with bigs who aren’t fully equipped to deal with his combination of quickness and power. If the Jazz are hitting their shots, their bigs (all of them) will attack the rim relentlessly and then try to swoop in for offensive rebounds as well.

Lastly, the Lakers must do a better job of keeping ball handlers in front of them. The Jazz don’t have that classic “elite” wing that loves to attack off the dribble, but Mo Williams, Hayward, Foye, and even Millsap are more than capable of getting into the lane against their man. Ensuring it’s not a recurring theme is a must tonight, or Dwight and Hill will end up having to help too often and then the game will depend on the second and third rotations to be sharp. So far this year, when that’s been the case, the Lakers haven’t been up to the task. They’d be best served if they didn’t let it come to that tonight.

Jazz Blogs: Salt City Hoops is a very good site. Give them a read.

Where you can watch: 6:30pm start on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts

135 responses to Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. From last thread.
    @mindcrime

    The “Heatles” featured 3 NBA players in the top 10-15 in the league at the very peak of their athletic abilities. They could simply overpower teams with quickness and athletic ability. This Lakers team is no where near that. Kobe is still probably in the top ten, as is DH12, but Pau is not and Nash isn’t either. Then, you look at how much older and slower our players are minus Howard. I hope that the FO and D’Antoni give this some time to see exactly what this team has when fully healthy, but how much time? My claim is that Pau needs to either come off the bench or be moved for lesser pieces that fit a little better. We will see.

    Here’s hoping that the Lakers give the Jazz a heavy dose of DH12. I’d love to see Meeks get a little extra burn tonight alongside Kobe. (with Kobe playing either the point or small forward.)

  2. Thanks for the excellent preview Darius – spot on describing the current Lakers situation. I’m interested to see if Meeks can continue his improving play and if D12 can dominate the paint against a Jazz team with quality depth in the frontcourt. I count on Kobe to have an efficient night tonight as the Jazz lack an elite perimeter defender and as good as their frontcourt depth is they also lack an elite shotblocker – especially if Favors is out or not at full strenght.

  3. Kobe Alert: KB sailed past both Tim Hardaway and Vince Carter to move into 14th on the 3 pointer list. He needs 2 more to catch Eddie Jones. Also within sight are Glenn Rice, and if things don’t change soon – Steve Nash. He also moved into 39th on the dimes list, eclipsing Mike Bibby. KB needs 106 more to catch A Iverson and 115 more to catch MJ. Kobes need just 37 FG’s to go by John H for 9th on that list. Kobe has played for 9 coaches and no matter whether the coach is effective or not – KB remains effective. When PJ wrote in his book – that KB was un-coachable – he meant it as a compliment : )

  4. Lakers have been trying to figure it out for 3 years now. We know they’re old and slow and Pau will never get the touches he once got. We’re waiting to evalaute if Nash and D’Antoni still have that magic because without bias or denial we know Pau at PF hasn’t been a success, the team is older and the bench is inconsistent. Only thing left to figure out is does Nash still have it.

  5. So in summary overall – that is – at worst the same. Keeping in mind that as you well know – 2012 was a dreadful year, with a dreadful coach, and now with similar talent we have regressed. Never thought I would say it – but I long for the days when we had the “6th” best team in the league. So – no – it is not “all” MD’s fault, but most of it is : )

    1. You overrated the roster. Phil, Kobe, and now D’Antoni have all talked about the team being too slow and not getting enough easy baskets over the last three years. Phil said it at his exit presser; Kobe said it several times last year. You may not respect D’Antoni, but I assume you respect the other two.
    2. Like I said, the team’s statistical indicators are basically the same as last year–they have lost three two-point games, in large part due to the fact that Howard misses 6-9 FTs every time out. Their point diff last year was that of a 36-30 team. And finally:

    DRTG LAST YEAR 104.4, 13TH IN NBA
    DRTG THIS YEAR 103.7, 12TH IN NBA

    Adding Howard helps, but the other guys are older, and Jamison and Meeks are minus defensive players–as is Kobe much of the time.

  6. FYI- Projected starting line up has Pau and Nash included…

  7. A win tonight means nothing, to me.

  8. I can not wait to see Gasol and Nash together, just to view the possibilities of the chemistry with those two. I just moved them from my Fantasy Basketball team bench to starters (I have them both), lets see what happens.

    Go Lakers!

  9. ST-

    Uhh you better go move them back to the bench. Neither of them are playing tonight.

  10. Thanks dave, but to late, ugh… Just my luck this year with this Lakers team, huh.

    I will still try to enjoy the game though.

  11. My bad on Nash/Gasol. They’re both still out indefinitely.

  12. Nashes condition has improved – shooting/more drills. D’antoni said possibly back during road trip then said that was unlikely – 5-10 days still away from sounds of it

  13. Asleep to start the game again. Shocking.

  14. This team is consistent. Consistently old and slow. May soon become a embarrassment to the uniform. Worst defensive Laker team I can remember. Sad

  15. Jerke Nash is not close. He has yet to run 10feet. At least 2 weeks out.

  16. I did not know that, the Lakers are last in Turnovers and last in FT’s in the league. Today’s Laker game is starting off somewhat unpleasant, kind of like when I get my braces tightened by the Orthodontist.

  17. Between Metta and Howard are there two worse front court players handling the ball?

  18. Morris needs to learn how to finish a layup or that floater in the paint that many PG’s utilize, he gets into position only to mess it up when it comes to finishing the play.

  19. Teams have just gotten better these past few years. And the vet min and 2nd round signings are all moot if the superstars aren’t dominating games.

  20. Man this team is ridiculously bad in transition. Every team seems to have read the same playbook which is: Run, run, run, against this Laker team.

  21. To say this team can’t be judged at all until Nash comes back is a bit extreme. Nash is a 39 year old going on 40 point guard. He is no Westbrook or Chris Paul at this point in his career. Will he make the team better? Yes. A championship team? Hard to believe. Certainly won’t make the defense any better.

    46 to 30 second quarter? I am going to bed.

  22. No sooner do I type and the league leading center for TO does it again. Fundamentals lacking. Very poor coached team.

  23. I’ll never understand why the Lakers hired Jimbo McDonnell or whatever his name is for the commentary. The guy is just unspeakably awful, orders of magnitude worse than Joel Myers, who wasn’t that good to begin with.

  24. I know we’re missing guys and what we see now isn’t necessarily a barometer for how we’ll be in March but…. watching us play right now is the basketball equivalent of nails on a chalkboard while getting your braces tightened by Captain Hook.

  25. Ive held my tongue all year, hoping for the best, but this Laker team is just bad. Playing like this at home to the Jazz? I get the same feeling i did at the end of the 2011 season, and we all know how that ended. Sheesh, Lakers, get it together already. The truth is, the coach doesn’t matter that much. It is starting to look like the Lakers are just too old and don’t care. I don’t see Dwight sticking around if the Lakers keep this up, then again, who knows? Either way, i hope they figure it out. Im tired of watching the games at this point.

  26. Howard is a turnover machine and our transition D is amateurish. Really tough game to watch.

  27. and agreed on the new announcer, he is terrible. Why cant the Lakers hire someone who doesn’t suck? Stu Lantz isn’t all that great either.

  28. Not sure what’s worse, the Lakers play or hearing the Jazz announcers on League Pass.

  29. Down 9 at halftime. Nas “Halftime”

  30. TO’s killing us again, bad offense leading to terrible defense. Shooting ourselves in the foot on that showing.

  31. This team is running us out of our own gym in the 1st half and whenever Hill is our leading scorer @ the half, something can’t be right.

  32. Every team comes into Staples and plays well. The Lakers have no home court advantage. Too many jaded fans.

  33. Turnovers 9 leading to 15 Jazz points and transition defense hurting the Lakers. Jazz have 14 fast break points and 32 points in the paint. Hopefully the Lakers will come out with some fire in the second half and win this game.

  34. Jazz made about 5 extremely serendipitous shots. The Lakers have to clean up their defensive act and stay the course.

  35. The talent at announcer and color man is slim. Am watching the Utah feed via some channel in India (at least I think the folks in the one Sprite commercial are from India). Anyway, in the very beginning of the broadcast our color man cited the Lakers’ PPG and said that it was defense and not offense that is the problem. Then, later on, sometime during the 2nd, he says something about how 7 Lakers TO led to 13 Jazz points. Then he harps on TO some more as the 2nd continues. I’m hoping that before the game ends, he’ll grasp the tie-in between TO and poor PPG allowed.

  36. Nice touch pass by Duhon to Howard for the basket.

  37. Watching Dwight lack of fundamentals, free throws and lack of hustle on defense I would be happy to see him go away next year. Give me 2 guys who have basketball IQ and care not just a smiler.

    Nice defense out there Dwight in Jefferson,

  38. Can someone tell me the score? NBA.com had the Lakers down like 16 or so at the end of the half. Now they are saying Lakers were only down 9 at the half?

  39. Third quarter signs of life. Jordan Hill starts the 2nd half after an excellent 1st half.

  40. Dwight being completely outplayed by Jordan Hill so far this game.

  41. From ESPN Stats Info: Lakers allowed Jazz to shoot 55% in 1st half, highest any team has shot vs Lakers in 1st half this season.

  42. Duhon & Hill running the show thus far! Who would of thought of that coming into tonight.

  43. Another solid night from Duhon. For a back up pg, his running the MD offense to a T.

    Im going nuts if I hear anyone complain about his play again.

  44. It´s good to have our `role players´ picking up the slack

  45. Kobe is starting to lose my respect with his desire to continually jack up jumpers when DWIGHT HOWARD is rolling to the hoop. This game is almost unwatchable.

  46. Darius Morris has been unplayably awful for about 6 games now. The Lakers seriously need ot just bench him, even if it means going with no point guard for stretches.

  47. Morris is just terrible. Should not be on the team.

  48. Morris should never play another minute in this league. And people said he was improving? Really?

  49. Love him or hate him, KB24 gets his numbers every night. He fulfills his role.

  50. Zirk I wonder if the Lakers actually have scouts anymore. Every team has 3 good PG and the Lakers kept Morris and Blake. He couldn’t guard me and I am old. Terrible.

  51. @Joe M
    it´s Jazz 88 – Lakers 85 at the end of the third period

  52. I don’t want to keep harping on about him, since he shouldn’t even be playing on this team. But the drop off from Duhon to Morris is massive.

    He’s a woeful finisher around the rim, lost count on the missed layups.

  53. Jayz….

    Agreed Duhon is playing very well and exceeding expectations.

  54. Good question, Ko. Maybe they should hire some of your ex-NBA contacts.

  55. 1:13 left in the third quarter.mo Williams going 8 for 10 twenty points 8 assists? Is every point guard morphed into Derrick Rose when they play us? He’s a descent guard but really? This is one of a few reasons we are below .500.

  56. Yeah give the ball to Dwight, he will save us.

    Have to say we are getting completely jobbed by the refs tonight. Lakers shoot more FTs then any other team in the league, and Utah has doubled us up in FTs attempted so far tonight. Refs are not calling it both ways tonight.

  57. Just was on phone with one. Most are Clipper fans these days. Most thought this team was way overrated. Can’t believe how overrated Dwight is. He is almost Kwame Brown like out there. Another stupid foul by him.

  58. This team is getting destroyed in the paint. The Lakers are getting done to them what they once did to other teams.

    Relying on 70% 3 pt shooting to make up for a soft center is not a recipe for winning games.

  59. Man, Kobe just bricking those shots.

  60. This is the kind of defense we can come to expect from this team for the rest of the season. Welcome to LA Mike D.

  61. I’m confused by the foul calls in this game.

  62. Wow, The Lakers are a really terrible basketball team.

    They are getting punked, at home, by a 11-10 Jazz team, and letting them shoot 57% for the game.

    Laker’s don’t even look like a playoff team at this moment – let alone a contender.

    Ugh.

  63. Lakers spend so much time trying to stay in games. Never building on leads or playing on par with the other team.

  64. Wow! Another Sunday night embarrassment. So much for that ‘Moral Victory’ against OKC.

  65. The difference between the 2 teams tonight has been evident to see.

    Jazz getting easy shots, Lakers not in flow, terrible D and TO’s leading to easy points.

  66. Can someone explain to me how this team is 9 in defensive efficiency? It really makes no sense at all. This team has played terrible defense the whole season.

  67. Anyone think there is a connection between the fact that we have given up 57% shooting for the game and the most points yet this year and one of our best, if not best, defensive players this year, MWP has been inexplicably sitting for most of the game.

    Oh, and he was actually having a good offensive game at 5 for 7 as well.

    D’Antoni is just clueless. Thanks Jimmy, couldn’t swallow your pride and hire PJ.

  68. I give up, it’s worthless to get into discussions about this team. They are awfully underachieving now.
    I think of Steve Nash, and take the boxscore with a grain of salt. I won’t read the forums and blogs until lakers show some life, it’s unbearably awful at the moment. You can discuss all the Pau’s, Steve’s, Mike’s, but this fan is tired of getting disappointed every game.

  69. Nice game tonight J. Hill!

  70. Could we start Jodie Meeks at the 2 and Kobe at the 3? I love what Meeks is doing out there. Pure hustle!

  71. 2nd game in a row that Kobe has played the entire 2nd half. Not good.

  72. Well, it’s a two possession game now.

  73. Again, stupidity with that foul by Meeks.

  74. This Stu guy is aggravating!

  75. That look on Jack’s face says it all. He can’t believe that he’s paying 10k a ticket, or whatever it costs him, to watch this crap.

  76. Well, another “moral victory” I guess…

    Really not a matter of coaching, desire, or execution – the Jazz simply have more good players up and down their lineup and the Lakers are overmatched. End of story.

  77. Duhon, Meeks, and Hill seem like the only bright spots for the team tonight. Kobe was inefficient and Dwight can’t seem to keep his hands on the ball when he makes his move. Turnovers and transition defense.

  78. Stu’s final words from this game: when you’re going through a stretch like this, it may force players to return from injury sooner than they’re ready. Lakers will be facing a serious dilemma.

    This guy’s prophetic.

  79. Nothin´ else to do but keep pluggin´ away –
    We´ll turn this thing around eventually

  80. Not a matter of desire? Last three minutes Lakers had more desire than entire 4th quarter it seemed. Need to play the whole game this way and it will be alright.

  81. Sooo… I’ve decided I’m bringing my expectations down to the level of last year’s Bobcats fans until we have a team not missing 2 starters. Least I won’t be upset when we lose, and I’ll be pleasantly surprised when we win.

    Otherwise, bench going strong. Hope it will remain that way once Nash and Pau get back.

  82. Lakers dig a hole they cannot get out of.

    Jack Nicholson GIF says it all. http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1855619/jack-nicholson.gif

    Lakers are 1-9 when Kobe scores 30+ points.

  83. Lakers suck, trade everybody. Goodnight.

  84. I’m officially concerned now for sure.

    They look anything but a playoff team, let alone a championship contender!

    Sorry state of affairs with this team, uninspired play.

  85. On the plus side, the Lakers can shoot 3s.

    On the minus side, well, everything. This is just painful.

    I don’t know how they fix this. If the Lakers were a regular business, they would be merged with the Clippers and most of the workers would be laid off,

    I have to give props to Jack for still showing up and watching the team. Dude ain’t no bandwagonet.

  86. Not even Ken predicted 9-12 to start the season. I can’t say I did either, what a sad sad team…

  87. I wonder why MWP did not get more burn, he had a good game for the minutes he played. I have him on my Fantasy Basketball team also, I thought it would be fun to keep an eye on Laker players on my FB team. I guess I just did myself in for FB this season, with all of these Laker players, who would have thought.

  88. Whew thank god that I only watched the end of this game. It seems like most of you guys were ready to rip your hair out. Since Steve Nash and Gasol isn’t playing, maybe we should just agree not to watch lakers games until they do.

  89. This team finds new ways to lose every night. Meeks and Hill giving solid effort is encouraging. But until the entire team makes defense the priority, I’m afraid we’ll suffer through a lot more nights like this. 7-6 at home. Unbelievable.

  90. Devastated isn’t the word. This team looks so far from contender status. It doesn’t help me to think about the incredible pressure on Nash when he returns. He is being universally expected to singlehandedly turn around the Laker season…and establish peace between Israel and Palestine, cure cancer, end the NHL lockout, win Dancing With the Stars, etc.

  91. @Glove….

    I’m not that savvy. What does GIFMean?

  92. @ Kenny T, it is a format for image files.

  93. No recap tonight folks. I’ll have some thoughts up in the morning.

  94. Well it looks like some of you have gotten to the place that Robert dwells! I’ve been in
    Robertville ™ for about a week or so now…. I have to say that it’s quite a terrible place! I have zero faith in this team at the moment. We fans seem to be putting all of our hopes on a 38 year old Steve Nash and a zombie Pau Gasol. Scary proposition to say the least. The good news is that we are *only 21 games into the season. The bad news is that this team is not only the second best team in LA, but also the 3rd best record in the division and currently sitting at 11th in the conference.

  95. I’m wondering why everybody thinking when Nash gets back some magic going to happened? How about D for a change? Nash will have minimum efect on defense and everybody knows it. It’s D’Antoni mentality “Who care about D if we can outscore them?”

  96. Thanks, Glove!

  97. Remember how Shaq used to say, ‘You need to feed the big dog’.

  98. Well, I am a lifelong Lakers fan and as such I’ll continue to support my team. Lord knows it hasn’t been easy these first 21 games. I’ll continue to hope that they’ll find themselves and begin to play well. Utah is a good team and losing to them is only sullied by the fact that the Lakers put up such a poor defensive effort. Even when Pau comes back, the Lakers need some more beef and toughness in their frontcourt.

  99. Mike D, “Score guys, need to outscore those guys. Just think about how we want to score. Oh, and throw a little defense in there while you can.” Only problem, they got no defense at all tonight. Not one ounce.

  100. Lakers have crapped their pants. What a pathetic group this is. The 05-07 years were better than this because we got a show every night. This team is old and lost. No identity and were frankly playing better under mike brown. It’s going to take some major mental toughness and cajones to turn this around. And if lakers continue to lose trading pau AND dwight should be an option?

  101. And to think we were a 3 seed in the playoffs just last spring . . . how I long for the good ol’ days!

  102. So Mike you are playing zero defense out there. Here is a idea! Have Metta play zero minutes in the 4th quarter. Smart.

    This team lakes heart and Jimmy and Mitch filled it this year with guys and coaches who never won a thing in their life’s. Lots of former champs on the Clippers though. All ex-Lakers.

    No problem Nash will get back in transition and fix the defensive problem.

    I must niw revise my pre-season prediction of 4 or 5 seed. Welcome to the 8th seed $120,000,000 Los Angles Lakers!

  103. Time Warner Cable needs to re-shoot that commercial they play 78 times per game, the one where Kupchack welcomes Howard into his office and then daydreams about wanting to see Howard’s jersey on the wall in 10 years, displayed among the retired numbers of all of the great Lakers.

    The new ad should feature Mitch sitting Howard down, telling him he’s the most overrated piece of garbage to ever suit up in the purple and gold, and that he can’t wait until next summer when Howard’s contract expires and the Lakers no longer have to worry about his stench of loserness ever tainting their organization again.

    All vitriol aside, we’ve heard talk ever since the trade about how the Lakers would do all they could to woo Howard and make sure he’d sign a long-term deal. Well after what he’s shown as a Laker, the front office should in all honesty be thanking their lucky stars this albatross is only going to be a one-year burden.

    This squad is lost – no Nash magic dust is going to fix the fact that they play no defense and can’t run with anyone, as the Clippers and Jazz and Thunder have already proven. Hence, the long rebuilding process should get under way sooner than later. Howard’s clearly proven he’s no franchise cornerstone, so cut him loose and let him ruin a third organization in as many years.

  104. hmmmm…..do i smell mike d’antoni out and phil jackson in….just sayin’ =)

  105. Chrisj: he hasn’t had the impact or intensity I expected either. Injury or not he is FAR from the offensive player expected. Great laker centers are known for back to the basket prowess. Dwight 8 years in is light years behind them in that area.

  106. Thank you Chris.

    He is leading the NBA. In center turnovers.

    Most times getting punked on defense by guys who I can’t remember their name.

    Most times having the ball stripped, taken, thrown away or kicked
    since Kwame left.

    But he does smile a lot, tell jokes and show up on TMZ. Really the biggest difference between this year and last year is one big smiling Dwight. Superman? More like Fumbleman.

  107. When shaq hates on dwight I see why now coming from his lakers great perspective. He’s great but not lakers great. Maybe it can be instilled in him.

  108. Well, I am also a lifelong Lakers fan, and I am still hoping the season is not totally lost, and that I can come to enjoy my team playing this season, and kicking some, you know what. Maybe Aaron was right about D12 though. You know, about back surgeries and NBA players returning to form after them. But, not all of the blame is on one player here, the whole team seems to have issues.

  109. @ Kevin — The sickest thing to me is I saw this coming. I’m no delusional “I know more than the GM” kind of fan, but Howard’s flaws have been evident for so long that I can’t help but wonder what so many people saw in him that fueled their belief he would be the Lakers’ savior.

    He’s got a limited post game and scored mainly off of athleticism more than skill; he’s one of the worst free throw shooters in the game; he single-handedly wrecked the past two seasons for Orlando, directly or indirectly costing his former head coach and GM their jobs; and by the time he arrived in L.A., he was coming off of major surgery. The fact that he was a bench player on the 2008 Olympic team spoke volumes, too. He’s simply not a guy you can build around — lacks the internal wherewithal to be great.

    Why, again, were so many people elated to see him come to L.A. Simply because they didn’t like Bynum? I can’t wrap my head around it…

  110. Chrisj: part of it was bynum, lobs, stats and just having to have the best proclaimed center because that’s what lakers do is always get their hands on the best big man in the league. Season’s still fresh but you’d expect him to dominate a game to get the team rolling take it upon himself to turn things around like kobe does shaq did.and bynym tried to do. He’s no alpha but he can still develop a mean streak.

  111. Why, again, were so many people elated to see him come to L.A

    Because he has been one of the five best players in the NBA for several years running, he is extraordinarily athletic and he is 27 years old. Howard has his faults, and he is not Shaq or Kareem, but the Lakers are starting Jamison, Duhon and Metta right now.

  112. Trying to figure out how Kobe played 43 minutes and didn’t get a rebound.

    Anyway, defense is clearly the problem. One of my fears with D’Antoni’s system is the extra possessions and quick pace can fuel the other team as well. A team that is better equipped at getting up and down the floor is delighted when LA picks up the pace. You have to have an extremely disciplined team to play quick and still take care of the ball while making timely stops. The Lakers don’t have that kind of discipline yet. With a fast pace and no discipline the end result is scoring 110 points and still losing.

    I can’t remember the last time the Lakers were three games below .500 with at least 20 games played.

  113. Well worldbeaters , I have supreme faith that this team can turn it around.

  114. rr wrote:
    “Because he has been one of the five best players in the NBA for several years running, he is extraordinarily athletic and he is 27 years old. Howard has his faults, and he is not Shaq or Kareem, but the Lakers are starting Jamison, Duhon and Metta right now.”

    Exactly! Howard hasn’t been that bad guys. Remember that he is still working his way back from injury…

  115. just like Nash is trying to come back from a broken fibula and Gasol tendenitious.

    Wait until you see them at full strength, I’m positive they can land at least a 5th seed.

  116. Let’s go up the list–Dont blame: Morris, Ebanks, Duhon, Blake, Antawn, or the rest of the bench: they’re the pawns in the chess match. Don’t blame Metta: not this year. Don’t blame Pau: before the tendinitis, he proved himself again only a few months ago. Don’t blame Nash: we begged him to come–injuries happen. Don’t blame Dwight: even after the injury he’s still what we should have expected. Don’t blame Kobe: he can be managed. Don’t blame Mike Brown: he saw the contradiction between Showtime and Lakertime, and was moving in the right direction. Don’t blame Mike D’Atoni. he’s doing his best to undo a disaster. Don’t blame Mitch: there’s nothing wrong with his trades.

    Jimmy and Jerry? I think we’re getting warm.

  117. Last year, it was widely reported that Dwight and Kobe had a phone call where the Mamba asked Dwight to come to LA and to be the defensive anchor of the Lakers. Supposedly this alleged call turned Dwight off to the possibility of joining the Lakers.

    I think Dwight may have an inflated opinion of his offensive skills. He needs to work on his post game. He also has to accept that he’s got to do some of the dirty work and patrol the Lakers’ paint with authority. I know that he needs help. The Lakers need an enforcer down low. I’ll give D12 a bit of a pass as he is recovering from major surgery and right now he is like a hockey goalie with poor defensemen on his team .The entire team has got to play better defense.

  118. Kobe needs to expend more energy on defense. Even if his offense takes a back seat. He has to lead by example. I know it’s a tall order, especially in light of the minutes he’s playing. He played the entire 2nd half for the 2nd game in a row. At this rate, he won’t have much left in the tank later in the season.

  119. Ok, D12 has its issues, but don’t pretend like you didn’t know them and still realize he is a great player and it isn’t like Bynum was going to bring much more anyway.
    I’m not sure if this is refusal mode, but I belive Phil would of been able to use D12 more properly. It’s just s-o-urprising that the management seems to be doing so much freelancing with the coaches when they have, at least potentially, a contender. And it sucks to realize the best candidate was at hand and now is completly unavalible.

  120. The Lakers again lost the game, but i think the adjustment of the ending lineup..Duhon/Meeks/KB/Hill/Dwight, Kobe slide to 3, which i guess for a more faster pace of game in place of Metta. you have a clear shooter in Meeks.. If Nash and Pau will came back will they put Kobe in the small forward spot?maybe its interesting,,

  121. If Nash comesback will he solve the Defensive Problems of the Lakers? Right now what defensive scheme are they trying to run? I remember during the Bickerstaff “era”, Kobe said that “right now we have no defensive scheme and we are just playing on instinct”. Where is that defensive instinct now? If you cant put the ball in the hoop at least make the other team struggle in scoring. The biggest problem right now is that the Lakers are playing without any defense at all. If we have two former Defensive Player of the year in Dwight and Ron plus an all NBA defensive team player in Kobe then why on earth teams score 30 plus points against us in a quarter?
    I cant phatom that a team composed of Dwight, Hedo, Richardson & Nelson would defensively rank better than a team composed of Dwight, Pau, Ron & Kobe. I dont know if there are problems inside that Lakerlocker room but right now this team is not playing like a “team” at all.

  122. A couple of things –
    1. Mike D knows its the defense, acknowledged it in the presser after. Can’t put all the blame on him though – he’s has a well respected defensive coach in Steve Clifford who designed the system in Orlando that fit around Dwight – with even worse defensive players than here and that’s the system they’re trying to implement. That being said, rotations look way worse here than they ever did on any of his Phoenix teams – and that includes Kobe and Dwight and Artest.

    2. The offense isn’t fixed – the points scored is misleading as Lakers are picking up easy pts in garbage time/playing from behind. They’re not getting buckets when they should nor getting easy buckets at other times during the game. Saw this time and time again where they would get to within 2-3 pts but could not convert. D’antonis offense isn’t run n gun like GS was – it was scoring in bursts/runs and right now the Lakers at best trade baskets or only go on a run from behind. And again as evidenced by the fgas they need someone in this offence to control and distribute the flow of shots. Kobe is taking too many, Dwight not enough, and the others are disorganized

    3. Dwight is really limited without a pnr pt guard. Jameer Nelson isn’t an allstar but he knows how/when to feed dwight on pnr and that was a good portion of their success in orlando – but here in LA Dwight has been exposed offensively to having a relatively limited offensive repetoire unless he has a pt guard who can deliver the ball perfectly. Seeing few pnrs w dwight and when they do come, they’re in the middle of the flr and poorly executed and at bad angles. And I don’t think he’s 100 per cent yet either.

    4. Jamison is effective against certain teams, not so much against slow down/bruisers like utah etc.. He can get bullied on offense and needs to score on the move or off quick hits. Remember – he was brought in to bolster bench scoring which he’s done – he’s not a defensive player and everyone knew that – at this point in his career he’s more suited to be a 6th man than a starter.

    5. To compete this team needs Pau back as they don’t have any other legit post offense….. Bleah why bother lol. There is about 10-15 issues that couldve been addressed if everyone is healthy and had a full training camp but that’s not the case. Hate to say it, but this team is going to prob muddle around .500 until they get everyone back – and if they don’t see immediate massive improvement then change wiLl have to be made – I’m just not sold that there is any trade out there that helps though mid season. This team when healthy has incredibly complementary parts and is definetly “sum is greater” – so hopefully we’ll get a couple games before xmas to see if that’s true.

    On the plus side – if Lakers have crappy year, Dwight is assured to resign for a couple reasons-
    1. He has some pride and can’t just run off w/o looking like an ass – bolting out of a situation because it got too tough. He needs to put in a real effort here for his image.
    2. Lakers are the only situation where he can be the man and they’ll rebuild around him
    3. 25 million more than anyplace else – and sign and trades are limited due to cap restrictions so he won’t be shipped off.

  123. Right now its death by a thousand cuts – and being exposed having two all star level starters out. Bench is playing admirably – duhon in particular, but as time wears on they become less effective. This team was constructed a certain way and with all the pieces in play they will be incredibly dangerous come playoff time when teams only go 6-7 players deep anyways. But there’s gonna be some ugly frsutrating ball in between at times

  124. I generally stay away from team dynamics/chemistry arguments, but:

    1. D’Antoni needs to look in the mirror. The Knicks are 33-11 since he left and the Lakers are 4-7 since he came.
    2. Kobe needs to look in the mirror WRT his D.
    3. It does not appear to me that Howard wants to be here. I think that needs to be addressed.
    4. Kupchak needs to think about how he is putting the bench together and needs to look at getting some cheap athleticism on the roster, and/or another back-up PG.

    To be clear here, I am not saying that some male bonding or some soul-searching on the plane to Cleveland will fix everything or even anything. But I think it needs to happen.

  125. I don’t see how the Lakers are magically going to become “an incredible dangerous playoff team”?

    The dangerous ones are the teams that are incredible efficient within their system. They play better than the sum of their parts. They hustle like mad. They show consistency. They are truly “a team”.

    The Lakers are not any of these things, nor do their personalities indicate that this will happen.

    I get the sense that Bryant and Howard are on different planets.

  126. If Nash and Pau will came back will they put Kobe in the small forward spot?maybe its interesting,,

    I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago and others have as well. It is something to look at.

  127. Mitch definitely needs to sit Dwight down and ask him, “What are your problems? Are the players not passing you the ball enough? Are you frustrated nobody helps out on your man when you help out? Do you actually want to be here?” As of right now, Dwight is playing disinterested and looks like bynum out there.

  128. The negative comments on Dwight are just silly. Howard as I’ve stated before in my opinion has been the second best player in the NBA behind LeBron. His post game was great (simply due to his speed/power/strength) and he was a one man defense. Don’t judge Dwight on what you’re seeing now. This is not who he has been the last six years. This is Dwight after back surgery. Although the odds are he will never be the Dwight of old again… There is still a chance. And if he ever fully recovers it doesnt matter about Nash or anyone else. He is a LeBron. He can take a team to the Finals without any help.

  129. At this point, there is nothing to analyze against a losing team. If Lakers can’t win at home against teams like Jazz and Pacers, there is no way you can be regarded as a contender.

    Coach D’Antoni has no alternative but to suit Gasol to uniform and lived with his tendinitis problems. Our players are overstretched out there and can’t handle playing b2b games in a run and gun offense, there has to be a reliable 2nd wave of support who would not add woes to the team. Jamison and Duhon are good but not so great in a long stretched playing time, their repertoire is no match with their counterparts. Morris and Ebanks are utterly useless, Clark, JDO and Sacre are cheerleaders on the sidelines who can’t be relied upon at a time like this, while opponents can play their rookies, Lakers could not even use them for few minutes. MWP and Dwight are off-and-on stars and could not dominate their positions. Kobe, Meeks and Hill are the only reliable players out there but they just can’t put together the attack and defense on a consistent basis so they’re just short of energy. It would really take sometime to assemble this team as a finished product. It is a work in progress, hopefully they can put back “Humpy Dumpy” on the saddle again by February 2013.

  130. @jim I’m saying they have the potential to be dangerous come playoffs. Yes championships can be lost early in the season, but they aren’t won in December either. I agree w previous posters – it seems there has to be a little soul searching/determination on the players on whether they’re on the same page. If this season keeps up there will be a kobe howard homicide.

    Also, regarding D’Antonis record in NY – he was in the process of building a decent team there when Dolan went against his gm and coach and forced the trade for Melo – completely remaking the roster because he wanted his own super friends team. To say the knicks are a better team today because D’Antoni’s gone (despite having a completely different roster) is idiotic

  131. @aaron I don’t disagree necessarily but he needs someone to help set the table for him a bit. He still doesn’t seem as aggressive and as quick in making his offensive moves – meaning he doesn’t draw defenders as quickly which in turn doesn’t open up those kickouts he had in orlando. Longer he holds ball the more to’s and stripes – he needs to play quicker and think less in post. Having a pg to initiate action towards the hoop ala nash would draw doubles and make life easier for all. That’s the real shame – best two at it in the league and they haven’t been able to use that weapon at all.

  132. Dominant teams of years past who’ve fallen back to the pack. Lakers, celtics, steelers, ravens all aren’t who we’ve known them to be. And have a common denominator they’re old. It’s a young man’s game now. There’s only one belicheck and popovich. Lakers have to get younger and faster.

  133. Jerke:

    To say the knicks are a better team today because D’Antoni’s gone (despite having a completely different roster) is idiotic
    ___

    Didn’t say that. Did say that he needs to look in the mirror, which I think he does. The criticisms of D’Antoni have been that he

    a) Is inflexible
    b) Is nothing without Nash

    There is some extant evidence to support both critiques, as of now.

    Also, “idiotic” is generally a good word to avoid when posting. even if you are right and the other guy is wrong.

  134. Howard for all his so called dominance never averaged over 13 pts Pg in Orlando.

    What? Howard’s career PPG is 18.4 and was over 20 in ORL four times.

    Many years ago, Bill James, the baseball writer, said that frustrated/bad organizations tend to blame their faliures on their best players. Kobe and Howard deserve some criticism, but they are not the main issue.

  135. My apologies rr – that was harsher than i meant it to be. My point was that if you do not take the entire situation in New york into context – then to say that everything was D’Antonis fault there simply because they have a new coach – and made significant changes to roster – is an extremely flawed arguement.

    My point was this – D”antoni signed onto New York as rebuilding project knowing that his coaching record would take a hit for the first two years as Donnie Walsh (GM) undid all the garbage contracts that Isaih Thomas brought in. First two years, Mike D did what he could with a flawed roster. Year 3, they brought in amare and started to rebuild while also having Gallo, Felton, etc… They were starting to do alright when Dolan forced the trade for Melo against the wishes of Mike D and Donnie Walsh who had been contructing a team that they liked. They had a player in Amare that they were trying to build around who Melo doesn’t mesh with at all – and basically destroyed their team concept. the following year, they had a rash in injuries, Melo didn’t adjust his game and was hurt, and their pg’s were gone – meaning that Linsanity happened by default. Melo was also hurt so who else were you going to have run the team/score etc… D’Antoni was screwed no matter what then having Melo coming back, no amare and having a team ravaged by injuries – never mind that it was a roster he nor his gm didn’t want w ball stopper Melo on it.

    If you want to say Mike D is inflexible because he has a system that he’s had success with – then fine I can accept that. This roster – when healthy – is capable of running that and being successful. And yes, he needs Steve Nash to do so – and unfortunately he doesn’t have him.
    The injuries to Nash, Pau, Blake and Howards recovery aren’t excuses – they are reality. And until everyone is healthy – ignoring that context and trying to find some whipping boy on this team and calling for wholesale changes is ridiculous. I get it – it sucks for those of you that think this team should win every single year – but any other team in the league in the same situation would have the same record if not worse. It’s frustrating to watch I agree – and there may be fundamental problems with this roster that cannot be overcome – would like to see more consistent effort – but until they have a chance to play as a whole – you can’t grade this team other than incomplete.

    This team was loaded top heavy which should make it a bear come playoffs – that was the chance management took. They tried to put the Lakers in position to win it all this year – hopefully everybody comes back healthy in time to make a real run. If they get their crap together Lakers could very easily finish 50+ wins on the season.