Preview and Chat: The Cleveland Cavaliers

Darius Soriano —  December 11, 2012

Records: Lakers 9-12 (12th in the West), Cavs 4-17 (13th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 106.4 (6th in the NBA), Cavs 97.3 (27th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 101.5 (15th in the NBA), Cavs 106.5 (28th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Chris Duhon, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison, Dwight Howard
Cavs: Kyrie Irving, Jeremy Pargo C.J. Miles, Alonzo Gee, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao
Injuries: Lakers: Steve Nash (out), Pau Gasol (out), Steve Blake (out); Cavs: Dion Waiters (doubtful)

While the start times can be difficult for those of us on the west coast, I like it when the Lakers go on the road. The road removes the comforts of home and replaces them with hotels, per diems, and your teammates. The road is where camaraderie can be nurtured and the distractions that come with playing in your own arena can be swept away. The road is where teams can find themselves because that is the only thing they have to rely on. The crowd is not cheering them and the only way you can win is to be more together. So, this trip, while relatively short, is a welcomed one for me in relation to this team even though they’ve not been very good away from Staples.

The Lakers begin this 4 game roadie in Cleveland. Back for the Cavs is 2nd year phenom point guard Kyrie Irving and his devastating offensive repertoire. I say back because Irving has been sitting out with broken finger on his left hand. Now that it’s healed, he’s back in the fray, just in time to play a struggling Lakers’ team. Isn’t that just fitting.

Irving is the Lakers’ chief problem tonight because he’s the engine that makes the Cavs go. This team is 4-17 and that’s indicative of their talent level. But they also hold such a poor record because Irving has missed their last 11 games. I know, I know. That means even with him this team was 2-8, but if you look at their point differential without him, it would be tough to argue that they’d not have won a few more games with him in uniform. And with him playing tonight, the Lakers’ guards are going to have a difficult match up on their hands.

Irving loves to operate in the pick and roll and can be dangerous out of that action regardless of the path he takes. He’s tremendous at finding avenues to the rim once he clears the screen and can hit the jumper when his man cheats underneath the pick to take away the drive. His decision making is tremendous (especially for such a young player) so whoever guards him will have their hands full. I say “whoever” because it’s not yet clear to me that Chris Duhon will be that player. That’s the natural match up, of course, but with Dion Waiters not likely to play, Kobe may get his chance on Irving as well. In fact, this is something I hope to see. Yes, Kobe’s had some issues on D this year but his on the ball work has been much better than his attentiveness off it. Putting him on the PG is the best way to keep him engaged, even though he’ll have to navigate countless ball screens (which is not a strength of his). In any event, we’ll have to see how D’Antoni deploys his defense to contain Irving as he’s the guy  that must be stopped.

He’s not the only one, however. Anderson Varejao is having his finest year as a pro, racking up double-doubles with ease and showing off a polished, if limited, offensive game. Andy V. has shown an ability to hit his mid-range jumper and has been excellent at finding the creases in the defense to slip close to the rim and finish shots in the paint. Considering the Lakers have had issues tracking big men who play this style (especially when Dwight is helping on dribble penetration), Varejao and his specific skill set will be a challenge. The team defense will need to be sharp in marking him when Dwight leaves to help, not only to deny him shots, but to also keep him off the boards where he’s been a demon.

Offensively, the Lakers would be wise to attack with ball movement rather than off the dribble. Varejao is great at helping off the bounce and he’s easily in the top 5 of blowing up P&R’s with his lateral quickness and instincts on how and when to move into passing lanes. Rather than looking directly for the roll man, the Lakers should be looking to swing the ball from side to side and then duck the ball into the post as Howard establishes the block after his dive to the cup. Crisp passing and quick post entries can hurt the Cavs severely, but discipline must be shown in this area.

Furthermore, the Lakers mustn’t just fire up three pointers at their whim. Open threes are good shots, but they also let the defense off the hook, especially if they’re early in the shot clock. The Cavs are ranked 28th in defense for a reason. By making them play defense for longer, especially against a moving ball they will surrender good shots. But if the Lakers let them off the hook or let them gear up against countless isolations off the dribble, they’ll have more success. Knowing these things coming in, and executing them in the game are two different things, but the latter needs to happen for the Lakers to win.

And make no mistake, this is a game the Lakers need. The first game of a roadie can set the tone for the entire trip. Winning tonight gets them off on the right foot and sets the table for future games. The Lakers need to bring a defensive mindset and high energy tonight and then carry that over into later contests. Let’s not even discuss the alternatives.

Where you can watch: 4:00pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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127 responses to Preview and Chat: The Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. In the Magic Johnson interview excerpt Joe M posted on the last thread, I think that’s the first time – ever – I agree with the majority of what Magic has to say. It’s the first time in a long time I can remember him making a salient point. Maybe there’s hope for the ESPN/ABC crew after all. Speaking of the crew, Bill Simmons is fairly bad in the (admittedly few) segments I’ve seen of him. He doesn’t have a camera presence. He’s a writer, not a TV personality, and every time I watch I wonder how the skinny awestruck fan wandered onto the set without getting caught.

    Uncle Drew is a monster. Hoping he’s still rusty tonight since it’s his first game back, but I haven’t been this excited about a young player’s game since the original unibrow made his debut in New Orleans back in 2005.

  2. darius: it’s got to be exhausting watching the lakers continue to lose seven out of the last ten games? it takes more out of me when the lakers lose as oppossed to when they win. winning is fun, losing is not. predictions are interesting when the product is both predictable and in this case, unpredictable. we’re talking the current laker state of affairs where we have one of our most cherished past superstars in magic johnson clearly and openly criticizing mitch kupchak in that he does what he’s told to do (a follower) as opposed to what one of our other most cherished past superstar player/general manager jerry west did when it came time to make decisions (a leader).

    my take is that if we continue to spiral downward after the re-arrivals of our walking wounded; ie; crosby, stills, nash and not so young, i mean blake, nash and pau gasol, give or take a ten game span; our attention should turn to twc: the weather channel or whatever it takes to calm and soothe our collective souls. concidence or not, we haven’t been doing so well since time warner monopolized laker games. bad karma? hope not.

    gotta go to home depot to buy some replacment on/off switches for home. metaphorically speaking, hoping one new light switch in the on position will trigger the lakers likewise, starting with tonite’s win vs the cavaliers.

    Go Lakers

  3. This is the worse team in the NBA. If Lakers don’t blow this team out by 20 then the problems are much worse then Nash and Pau. A lise here and it time for Gerry to step in and make serious changes in personel including a coach that understands the concept of defense.

    Bench mark game tonight or this may be the worst season in many years.

  4. Eh, never underestimate our capacity to play down to the competition. I was actually thinking of going to this game (I live in Ohio), but I’m still scarred from the Cavs game in the 2011.

    Yes, THAT ONE>

  5. Here is a testament to how bad things are right now. The Cavs have only won 4 games. FOUR games. And we still can’t be sure the Lakers are going to win tonight. That’s crazy!

    With that said, every game is a chance to start a new win streak. Here’s to hoping tonight is the beginning of a multiple game win streak. Eventually some kind of corner has to be turned. In the immortal words of Anthony Kiedis there’s, “never been a better time than right now!”

  6. I hope kobe doesn’t try and keep his word by going mano-emano with kyrie that’s not what this team needs. They need a dominant performance from dwight he wasn’t brought here to be another guy. Dude has to impose his will and take over this team. He’s getting plenty post touches. He has to drop these night to night domianat performances like lebron does. He disappears entirely too much. Too many picket fences in his column more crooked numbers.

  7. So Hill went from the Dog house to starter tonight. I like it but it kind of shows a lack of consistent understand of his team for Mike 2.

    Perhaps Lakers should let us on here pick his rotations,

  8. I updated the starting lineup for the Cavs because CJ Miles will start instead of Jeremy Pargo. Alonzo Gee will guard Kobe to start the game.

    Miles is the former Jazz guard/forward who has a decent all around game. He can hit the three and is okay at getting the rim off the bounce. Starting more size also means it’s doubtful Duhon can move off Irving, though I’d still like to see Kobe get some minutes on him.

  9. Magic’s interview should leave no doubt that not hiring Phil was Jim Buss’ decision. Jim let his personal issues with Phil get in the way of doing what was best for the team, for the best chance at a ring, and for increasing the likelihood of Dwight staying with the team.

    Like Magic stated, this team can be successful, but DAntoni needs to do something he has never done in his coaching career……adjust his system to better fit this roster and start prioritizing defense, or at least come up with some better defensive schemes. Moving Jordan Hill to the starting lineup is a decent first step, but DAntoni has a long way to go.

  10. Metta can’t guard anyone anymore. Really gone down hill.

  11. Nice effort on D. Still a couple of lazy possessions (back to back threes, especially the first one by MWP’s man), but one step at a time.

    No problems with O.

  12. @Ko – Mike D can’t win – everyone bags on him for playing AJ saying that AJ can’t play defence etc.. so he switches it up and trys J.Hill this evening to try and find a good combo and now you say he’s being inconsistent? Given the teams performance of late – I’d say he’s entitled to throw out whatever combo he can if its means finding a winning line at this point. At least this way there is some scoring coming off the bench and JHill doesn’t require the ball on the offense if he starts. If Jamison is matching up against the Cav’s subs at least it should help boost Lakers hopefully.

  13. Why is Metta so dumb to dribble the ball. He is terrible

  14. I agree on Hill. Better then Jamison

  15. Transition three by Irving is on Kobe – lazy coming back and without any attention to his man.

  16. I agree with Ko. If the Lakers don’t win this game by at least 10, then there are truly issues beyond Nash and Gasol. Wasn’t this the team we beat by like 70 points last year, holding them to under 60 points, then lost to them a few weeks after that? I am pretty sure that had to be under Mike Brown.

  17. This team can’t dribble and chew gum. Dwight, Metta and Kobe keep dribbling into the defense. No wonder they lead league in TO.

  18. Wow, Meeks does play hard! Two quick closeouts on missed threes by Cavs.

  19. All those pnrs w kyrie and Varajoe are what Lakers should be running w dwight – they just don’t have the pg to do so

  20. Morris is not an NBA player. Terrible on D and no value on offense. Please get rid of him when Nash comes back.

  21. 7 turnovers in the 1st quarter? Not bad, only on pace for 28 for the game.

  22. This team is ridiculously lazy on D. No one runs back, no one rotates, only a couple perimeter close outs. Twice I saw Dwight literally stroll toward Varejo as he was shooting wide open jumpers.

    This team will be hard pressed to make the playoffs.

  23. The one year lakers may get a lottery pick they don’t have one because they traded it for a guy who could wind up missing half the season.

  24. No wonder we keep losing, 8 TO’s already leading to 15 free points for the Cavs.

  25. 2 3’s in and out for jamison – finally gets one to go

  26. Joe Atlanta,
    I said the same thing last game. Beyond talent, it’s the complete lack of anything between the ears of the players on this team that’s killing them. How do you constantly make the same mistakes over and over and over before you figure it out?

  27. This is team is very weak in SF, PG and free throws. Do Lakers still have a scouting department. Dwight leads NBA in TO for a center. Can’t remember are worse fundamental Laker team then this.

    Honestly a terrible team to watch. I make me 8 year old leave the room so he won’t learn bad habbits.

    Really worse coach for this roster.

  28. Laker’s problems are 50% effort, 30% injuries, 10% chemistry, 9% coaching and 1% talent.

    Lakers have plenty of talent, that is the problem, they expect people to give them victories.

  29. This is one amazingly stupid basketball team Morris, Metta and Howard are like 10 year olds out there.

  30. Team has no confidence coach doesnt exsude confidence. Fragile bunch we have this year. Kobe can’t make up for 15 guys mental toughness.

    Probably the one thing that’s been missing since PJ left was a confident general. Brown was too hype and D’Anotni just sulks on the bench all the time. Team needs to build confidence.

  31. Nice job FO. You now gave the worst team in the NBA with a coach who makes Brown look smart.

  32. Howard is completely useless out there tonight – halfway hedges and leaves his man but doesn’t bother to actually make any defensive play hel[ing – but then gives dirty looks when Varajoe hits an open shot. Lakers would be better off just playing straight up man, not allowing any help – and exposing those players who are lazy. Duhon might get beat but at least he puts in effort – Dwight is just playing dumb and dogging it right now

  33. Okay, Morris has proven that he cannot start or come off the bench for significant minutes against NBA teams.

    Duhon makes me upset that he stands so far behind the 3pt line making the shot more difficult. No one is within 10 feet of him he can take two hard dribbles then pull up. Quite frankly he could take three dribbles and make it an 18-20 foot shot instead of a 27 ft shot.

    Isn’t it time to give DJO at least five games to see what he can do?

  34. You know something – that Irving kid is pretty good…

  35. I don’t think we’re gonna beat that 72 win record…

  36. Wow, it’s a foul free zone under the Cavs basket, they are hacking guys with impunity.

  37. KO,

    Its ok, you can stop watching.

    It doesn’t make for much discourse if you just repeat the same things over and over, trying to validate yourself.

  38. Meeks and Morris defend Kyrie better then Duhon.

  39. KO

    The lakers fired half their scouting department 2 years ago.

    The lakers are really as bad as they seem.

  40. Embarrassing. Just embarrassing. Looks as if Coach D. has ALREADY lost this team.

  41. 72 wins ha. This team may not get to 27.

  42. Embarrassing, the mighty Cavs whooping us at the half.

  43. MWP made no effort to run back on his last miss, got beat down the floor by 2 Cavs and a Laker who were in the key at the time he shot.

    This is why the Lakers lose, no one plays hard at both ends consistently. Until that happens the Lakers will mount one embarrassing loss on top of another. Another one is coming tonight unless they get that.

  44. If Kobe didn’t shoot so much, the Lakers would be up by 20!!

  45. Jerk you ate right. I am very down on Howard. Rather see Pau at center and find a team that will take this clown. No way he signs here next year. Metta is worthless also. This team clearly won’t play for MD just like in New York. This team is the laughing stock of the NBA.

    This is the Jim Buss years. Embarrassment! I actually hope they don’t make the playoffs so the world will see how incompetent this FO has become.

  46. To say that we are in a slump is an absolute understatement. Everyone not named Kobe shooting a combined, pathetic 28%. No offense, no defense tonight.. though I do agree that our bigs are getting mauled whistle-free. Oh, am I sad.

  47. Oh come on guys. Once we have our 39 year old going on 40 pg Nash back along with our fearless alpha dog Pau Gasol, we will just start crushing teams!

  48. Cdog just letting off steam. Been fan for 40 years and expect more from them. Sorry if it’s over the top. Will try to control my anger.

  49. Dwight play with no chip on his shoulder he just wants to dunk. Gets the ball in the post and kicks it to jamison or ron instead of imposing his will. Dwight has no mean streak something this team needs from someone other than Kobe. Dwight is soft.

  50. All these turnovers it either overconfidence or simple carelessness:
    – why pass to a teammate, who is already double- or tripple-teamed (passes to Howard in the paint)?
    – why dribble in the crowd or into the crowd if you’re not Chris Paul or Steve Nash (Kobe, MWP, Morris, Duhon)?
    – just simply take care of the ball, grab it hard to avoid strips (Howard, Hill).

  51. Remember the game that the Lakers won in a blow out and they were laughing, smiling and looked like they enjoyed the game? I think Antwan had 30+ points and Howard had a double double. In the post game interview Kobe said that he was going to have to bring guys back down to earth. Well, ever since that game the Lakers quit smiling and have struggled.

    There is something woefully wrong with this team. Initially everyone wanted to blame Mike Brown, then it was Pau Gasol. Now everyone is saying, oh wait until Nash returns. Maybe the Lakers should allow the team to play lose just like they did under Bickerstaff until all of the players return.

    D’Antoni’s system only works with Steve Nash. So just roll the ball out and let them play!

    Free the Lakers, free the Lakers, FREE THE LAKERS!

  52. Duhon actually defends…

  53. I’m really at a loss to explain this team’s play.

  54. A little late to the party. I just turned the TV on and you have to be kidding me, the Lakers are down by 17 points to the lowly Cavs.

    Edit: I guess the starters are going to log heavy minutes again tonight, huh?

  55. Get Metta out of there. He has become worthless. Put in Meeks or ask to use Luke Walton.

  56. Good to see Kobe finally engaged on defense – for at least one play anyways

  57. A re run of many Lakers games this year. Falling behind and expending so much energy to ctach up they fall short. At least they’re playing hard now.

  58. Asked, who’s team is this? KObe says, it’s a ridiculous question. It’s my team. Now is the best time to prove it…

    Complaining to the refs everytime he drives to the basket surely does not help, as the other team rushes towards the other end for an easy transition. Too much complaining, less defense. The refs will not get intimated anymore. They are all well use to the auto complaining and shrieking mode. Play as a team please, rather than hero mode.

  59. I want to ask you all a question. The main change from last year to this is Dwight. He leads the NBA in two things. Missed free throws and TOs for a center. Is he the problem this year and if so is he the future of this team?

    Thoughts.

  60. The Cavs run 2 plays on offense and shoot poorly and they are still winning.

  61. Howard should man up.

    But I really like Meeks, though. He is a keeper.

  62. Ko: I think Dwight needs to play like a franchise player and not content on being a part of the team. He needs to have more impact on the team. Haven’t seen it so far.

  63. and Kobe is a black hole on offense. How many times has he dribbled up and, not passed, and just taken the shot?

    Remember the old Phil Jackson adage? Every player has to feel involved to play better. That makes it difficult with Kobe.

  64. what the hell is howard doing – he’s horribly out of position – loses zeller repeatedly then out almost to 3 pt line to help where he’s useless

  65. Dwight is not the only change between this year and last year. New pg, two new coaches, second year players getting heavy minutes even though they didn’t play in their rookie year, new bench players, a new offense and supposedly a new defense.

    There are many new variables on the Los Angeles Lakers, not just Dwight.

    The Lakers just do not play with heart.

  66. yeesh – Duhon plays good d then howard blows it on a horrible close out

  67. In my opionion Dwight does as many or more thing bad then good. I just can’t think of 5 years with this guy. Every scub center out plays him every night. Never win with him and this coach. Cut your loses.

  68. Again, we can’t get a stop so who cares what Kobe or anyone else does on offense.

    How do you let CJ Miles score 25? Really?

  69. Can Howard defend in set position without fouling? And it really seems like he doesn’t really care.

  70. Howard seems disinterested in offense right now…

  71. It will come as zero surprise if lakers lose and Howard announces that his back is still hurting. He’s been terrible out there tonight on d, no lift and his roattions are the worst out of every body. All he has to do is stay at home and he’s flying past Zeller etc.. on closeouts 17-18 ft from the hoop.

  72. Dwight is the cancer on this team, blaming others now for his stupid defense.

  73. Pathetic Defense

  74. World peace killing our momentum with the turnover….

  75. I can’t watch Metta he is just worthless.

  76. Why are we so incapable of defending the PnR?

    This is not a new problem either, this goes way back to PJ’s days as a coach. CP3 used to field on our PnR defense and today’s the day of Kyrie Irving.

    Competent PG’s feast on our lot regularly.

  77. And Kobe hero ball just kills me right now.

  78. Season is a complete disaster. I hate this team. Lakers are going to nosedive and miss the playoffs.

  79. Well, Aaron (capital ‘A’) says that Dwight is the 2nd best player in the league, and can single handedly take a team through the Playoffs. So, it must be that his back is not quite right currently. D12 was originally slated to play in January, if I remember correctly.

  80. Every game the Lakers wait until the last 3 mins of a game to play with a sense of urgency.

    Kobe Bean Bryant!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  81. Forty minutes for Howard and 40 for Kobe in a loss to the Cavs.

    Can this get any worse? I really hope not.

  82. Where is Meeks? What Jamison is doing in there?

  83. Not sure if anyone can blame KB tonite for over 30 pts when shooting 15/26 vs rest of team

  84. This season will be prime example in history how you don’t throw superstars together and amass a unfathomable payroll and expect a ring.

  85. Another tease. Well I didn’t even get excited since I knew they were going to lose anyway.

  86. I am not blaming Kobe, but he is taking too many 3s late in close games. D’Antoni needs to do something about it.

    But that is a small issue relative to the big picture.

  87. Miles had 26 and most on Ron his days of being called a great defender are over.

    That had to be the most ineffective 20 rebound game I’ve ever seen. Howard is not who we thought he was. If Dwight is content with taking 9 shots and playing lackidasical defense he needs to be traded. Lakers want winners he is not that. He’s should never be mentionmed with LeBron and KD. Not that kind of impact.

    DAnotni wrong guy for the job I’ll finally admit that (maybe not if he gets revamped roster). Cat calls to fire Brown look pretty silly now. Team played better under him.

  88. Howard may actually be a liability and it could be a relief if he leaves, a healthy Pau stays with Kobe/Nash. He can’t hit FTs and turns the ball over like crazy.

  89. Lucky if they go 1 and 3 on this trip. Sad sad days for Lakers fans.

  90. I can’t understand why people think that much of Howard with so many technique flaws: he can’t shoot FTs, and always brings the ball down almost to his knees before putting it up. Even Shaq in his last year would dunk faster than him.

  91. Too bad Kobe wasn’t hugging our coach just now at the end. Wouldn’t matter anyway. The players obviously don’t give a damn.

  92. on the other hand, i feel for Kobe in this game.. he has no choice but to try to carry the team.. nobody even cares to set a peak for him.. double the hard work he has to do.. D12 is no better than Bynum for sure at this point. He’s Kwame reincarnated.

  93. This team better be special once Gasol & Nash are back, so far in this short season they’ve been the biggest flops in world sports.

    Utterly embarrassing what the fans have seen from the Lakers so far.

  94. 39 year old Steve Nash is not going to cure this team. This is a very overrated, poorly coached, talentless bench, no defense, no heart team.

  95. Just a hypothetical math question. Mike Brown lost 4 out of 5 to get fired. How many games Lakers should loose in order for Buss family to realize they did a HUGE mistake by hiring D’Antoni? Or how many games they should loose in order to for Dwight Howard to sign with another team by the end of the season? Just some mathematical thoughts..

  96. just glad that championships aren’t won in december.

  97. Something needs to be done to salvage this team looks like complete crap. Pathetic. So glad I watch on links and Dish didn’t work out a deal with time warner or I’d have wasted money on this. Disgraceful that this is now Lakers basketball. Team should really be ashamed. Ko what’s the team pr number I need to vent.

  98. Well you can be certain dwight will resign w Lakers – keeps up this level of play and disinterest no other teams are gonna pay him max salary nevermind 25 million more. Pau and Nash’s absences are even more noticeable now – no one on that roster can create for anyone else. Kobe could but not night after night after night. Dwight is useless offensively unless he’s being spoon fed or working the boards. Still think they will turn it around but guys are being exposed right now. You have to think that a players only meeting has to be forth coming after tonight – I’m not hanging any of this on D’antoni – too many stupid plays and decison making tonight. Won’t be surprised if he decides to bring in an outside coach to head up some sort of defense because its gotten steadily worse all year and the staff that was there was supposed to be competent in that manner.

  99. Howard 0 blocks….heres the best center in the league.
    On the plus side, it looks like he got better at shooting free throws.

  100. Nobody likes playing with a ball hog!!I think Nash could fix alot by taking away half the 30shots Kobe jacks up every night..Nothing wrong with Dwight or Pau they just don’t like playing with Kobe!!This coming from a long time Kobe fan, but I’ve grown tired of his finger-pointing and selfish play the past 3 seasons!!

  101. I wish Chicks were still here so he could give the Lakers the tongue lashing they deserve.

    Too bad there is no great prospect to be had. We can’t even Suck for Luck.

    I think the team has mentally quit. Just like I’ve emotionally detached myself from the team. Thanks to FB&G for keeping the lights on.

  102. Who cares about the losses, we’re built for the playoffs. Howard ain’t franchise, baby.
    And I agree with magicman.

  103. Remember at the beginning of the season when we were comparing this team to the 2004 squad? Apparently Karl Malone and Gary Payton are now suing everyone who made that comparison for defamation of character.

  104. @scott lol.

  105. This is no longer about X’s and O’s. It is not about talent. It is not about the “system” or any other things like that. Losses like this are indicative of bigger mental and trust issues. The team is sick psychologically. A coach trying push his system doesn’t address the non-basketball issues.

    Howard looks like he either is injured again, or he has mentally checked out. How long before guys just throw in the towel? How many games under .500 will they go? It’s times like this the team really misses guys like Fish, Odom and Luke. They were glue guys. They kept the morale up in the locker room. They fostered the union. And Fish could get through to Kobe.

    Right now this group is broken.

  106. Kevin: “Season is a complete disaster. I hate this team. Lakers are going to nosedive and miss the playoffs.”

    Well, then at least they’ll get a lottery pick …

  107. R – their pick goes to the Suns as part of the Nash sign and trade.

    @Rogers – agreed, though Fish being on this team wouldn’t help in the win column – duhon is giving the same numbers. Nash was supposed to be the glue guy to balance out Kobe – good cop/bad cop but both equally committed – hard to do that being the new guy and stuck on the sidelines

  108. If the Lakers don’t make the playoffs, they actually wouldn’t get a lottery pick either. Phoenix has LA’s first round pick this year.

  109. Ahem … so, as ridiculous as this question would have been at the time of the Nash trade … are the picks we sent them lottery protected?

    Edit: According to Eric Pincus, our 2013 pick to the Suns is not. I was getting excited about a run at Shabazz Muhammad.

  110. T Rogers,

    I understand feeling that way, and there is some truth to it. But, again, Duhon is a 12th man and Morris is a DLeaguer. MWP is below average; Jamison is 36 and can’t D up–never could. Hill is OK but limited. Ebanks and Clark are 12th men. Sacre is a DLeaguer. The Lakers 5-10 are simply worse than most teams, and the star power right now is at 1.75 when it needs to be at 4 for this team to work.

    There are other issues, including the ones you talk about, but the problems start from talent.

  111. This is turning into a truly brutal season.

  112. In a weird twist – Cavs could possibly end up with Lakers pick due to having the option to swap picks with phoenix/miami due to walton/kapono/sessions trade

  113. RR,

    You are definitely on point. But teams with less talent can win more games than they lose if they are working together and truly believe in one anther. Those Houston teams of the last few years are perfect example. They were short on talent, but long on effort and pride. They weren’t championship material. But teams knew they had a dogfight on their hands anytime those guys were on the schedule. Kobe and Dwight are two top 10 players. With a concerted effort from their role players there is no reason this team shouldn’t be above .500.

    Talent is surely an issue. But watching this team makes me think other things are at play.

  114. Never would I have imagined that, after acquiring Nash and Howard, resigning Hill, maintaining Pau and signing Meeks, my team would be the Laughingstock of the NBA. Mitch, who was highly praised by fans and media alike after our off-season haul, deserves better.

  115. The last two games Dwight Howard has taken a step backwards in his rehabilitation. He looks even slower and has no lift. Not a good sign. I hope he didn’t have a step back. There is a strong possibility he just has dead legs right now as he is rounding into shape.

  116. Talent is surely an issue. But watching this team makes me think other things are at play.

    I agree with that. As I said yesterday, even from our distant vantage point, it seems clear that there are psychological/chemistry issues with this team.

    But I tend to think that losing leads to those kinds of problems as much as the other way around.
    It is easy to focus on Howard’s and Kobe’s faults, and you see a lot of people, be they real fans or concern trolls, doing that here. But I think if you look at the other three guys the Lakers are starting right now, and who they are bringing off the bench, it is pretty easy to see why the team is losing.

    That is not to say that MDA, Kobe, and Dwight should not be held accountable–they should. But the Lakers have a bunch of guys who are 15-20 MPG guys (that includes Metta, Hill ,and Jamison) or garbage time guys (that includes Duhon) getting heavy burn, and a lot of them have the same weaknesses.

  117. And Aaron may well be right about Howard’s back.

  118. ugh … right … no first round pick due to the Nash deal.

    Oh well, dealing for Nash seemed like a good idea at the time …

  119. rr

    Well it was either Howard’s back or Bynum’s knees, so it was a gamble either way with both players. I cant blame the FO for rolling the dice on two high risk players.

    Team just isnt playing good ball, point blank. No excuses other than the players need to look themselves in the mirror and figure it out amongst each other. There is no right or wrong answer just as the the world cant be viewed as either left or right. It is essentially on the players to show some pride while on the court and do what they need to do to get the job done. Talk is cheap and the team has become one big used car lot selling lemons. I hate that it has come to this but I still hold out hope that they can turn this thing around. Maybe not a championship, but at least show that they seem to care and have a stake in the outcome.

  120. So if Aaron was right about Dwight’s back, we won’t win anything. The Lakers need Dwight to be the DPOY he was in Orlando. Who else can provide that defensive presence? Metta or Kobe?

  121. Big issues with the game tonight and I would say especially coaching – we should maybe put a moratorium on having any guy named mike as a coach.

    Offense

    Almost every single offensive play was an iso to kobe on the wing or block or a dump in iso to Howard. If we were going to have this kind of offense why didn’t we go with Phil? at least the Triangle has some off-ball movement instead of a bunch of guys standing around hoping to stretch the floor.

    We saw Zero PnR offense from the whole team which when that is supposed to be your calling card as an offensive coach is concerning when while we do not have the best PnR PG playing right now we still have the best PnR big man and he is not being used in the PnR at all – why dont we see any Kobe Dwight PnR actions or even with Duhon as duhon has experience playing with Dwight.

    Defense

    Was is Jamison being used as a double at halfcourt when he is not fast enough to catch up to his man when a pass is made over the top of the double team – useless defensive plan that hurt us that last few mins of the game.

    Some shots just went down tonight but the PnR defense was concerning because just like bynum we were not seeing any of our bigs come up to the screen to give the defender enough time to react to the pick.

    Kobe

    Kobe was the only reason we were in the game but at the same time we do need to move the ball – other guys needs to have the confidence to go after their man on the dribble and we have lost out on not adding any other penetrating guard to the roster in the offseason which is hurting us now.

    the last thread on Kobe’s energy exertion on offense is completely right – it looked like he played the whole game and obviously had to exert a ton of effort on offense to keep us in the game.

    Dwight

    Dwight cant Iso – as simple as that. His post ups are forced leading to a ton of TOs, hes too short to keep the ball high enought to shoot over his man like bynum could which means he needs to take his man off the dribble which causes more TOs – he needs to be involved in PnRs to give him Amaresque lanes to the basket for dunks or we need to penetrate and shoot versus isos so the defense breaks down and he has the space to rebound offensively for a putback or lob

    I agree with magic that we need to be using Gasol as the post option as he can take his man there on the post up as well as face up to shoot or pass if he gets doubled where howard cant – During gasols post up if he goes to the basket he can dump off to howard or lob it as we have seen at the start of the season

    Not sure if anyone saw Kobes post-game interview but he was talking about how he used to have a coach that calmed him down and taught him to look at the game through Xs and Os and to not blow up at his team-mates but then stated that it is getting hard because a lot of guys on the team were fracking up – this road trip seems like it has the opportunity to bring us together or possibly kill our season

    I agree with the others that we are definitely missing glue/character guys that would bring the team together – Howard seems very distanced from the team and the team in general is having what seems to be a complete lack of chemistry

    Chemistry is a coaching problem

  122. “Howard looks like he either is injured again, or he has mentally checked out.”

    Funny, no history whatsoever of Howard checking out on a team, ruining all he touched. Too bad that wasn’t known before the Lakers traded for him. Oh, wait…. nevermind.

    This is worse than 2004-2005. At least after that season there was a younger Kobe in the fold, and some youth around which to build for the future. Next year L.A. will have even older legs, no draft picks and a 40-year-old point guard who couldn’t play defense when he was young.

  123. So, Dwight Howard is playing like a semi star and he gets blamed for all of the lakers troubles?

    Kobe has had a good season thus far but his excess shooting is killing Dwight’s energy level

    (this is what humans trend to go thru, when things don’t go there way, sometimes they mentally check out… I.e. Kobe game seven vs the suns)

    Imo … If Kobe really cares about winning and about the lakers future, he needs to cater to Dwight for 3 and a half quarters.

  124. Spoke to a former player and friend tonight. He said the big difference in the last few years us Dwight. As a player when your center is leading the league in missed FT and has the most TOs for a center in the NBA you get angry, lose focus and lose the will to work hard and win.

    Throw in Metta fumbling with the ball, Kobe going 1 on 5 and his TOs and you go from a winning team to the laughing stock if the NBA.

    They must go 41 and 18 to get 50 wins and a 6th seed. Not going to happen. Worst performing $100 million team in NBA history,

    Clipper fans are laughing at us like we used to laugh at them.

    It’s a darl time to ve a Laker fan and if you were smiling Jack Howard why would you come back here. When does the Dodger season start?