Lakers/Warriors: A Turning Point (?)

Zephid —  December 22, 2012

My goodness.

In what is clearly the game of the season so far for the Lakers (and maybe the league), the guys in forum blue and gold managed to pull off a gutsy comeback over a hot Warriors team, earning a hard-fought 118-115 OT win.  While this certainly wasn’t the prettiest of games, the entire 4th quarter and OT was a slugfest, featuring amazing shot-making (and -missing) from both teams, with 7 lead changes in the last 4 minutes of the 4th.

This was a game where the Lakers could easily have crumbled.  With Dwight in foul trouble all game long and Kobe throwing up more shots than most guys put up in a couple of weeks, facing a good, young Warriors team on the road seemed like a recipe for disaster.  Indeed, it looked like the Lakers were headed to another blowout loss, going down 14 in the 3rd quarter and taking a 13 point deficit into the 4th.  The defense looked as lackluster as ever, and the offense wasn’t working to perfection with Steve Nash in only his first game back.  Still, the Laker reserves brought the game back within arm’s reach, and then the starters closed out the game in OT.

Clearly the story going in to the game was the return of Steve Nash.  How would he impact the game, and how much could he give?  Well, he played a very D’Antoni-esque 41 minutes in his first game back, and he didn’t look like he was laboring, so his conditioning seems adequate.  Nash also controlled the offense almost from the outset.  Basically every minute he was on the floor before the 4th quarter, Nash completely controlled the offense, using pick-and-rolls from the point.  Time after time, he would weave his way into the lane, some times to success, some times to failure.  Some were the fault of Lakers bigs not finishing easy baskets, while others were simply Nash getting trapped and having no outlet.  Nash finished with an impressive 12 points and nine assists, including a huge three in the 4th and his patented, one-legged, mid-range jump shot in the lane to seal the game in OT.  His impact was immediate, and the validity of all the “wait for Nash” arguments seem supported now.

The Lakers had many reasons to lose this game, and two of them happened to be the two stars of the team: Kobe and Dwight.  Dwight was in foul trouble from the get-go, picking up two fouls in the first five minutes, being forced to head to the bench.  In the 2nd quarter, Dwight picked up another quick foul, sending him away for the half.  In the 3rd, he picked up another quick foul, putting him to bed until the 4th.  And then he picked up another quick foul, his fifth.  At that point, Dwight had played a grand total of 12 minutes, so D’Antoni wisely decided to leave Dwight in and let him decide his own fate.  Dwight responded by playing solidly and not fouling out until the last moments of OT, helping spearhead the comeback.  Even though he only finished with 11 points and six rebounds, Dwight still made his presence felt on defense, and also was an excellent facilitator on offense when the Warriors doubled.

With Dwight out for such an extended period, Kobe seemed to take it upon himself to pick up the slack (and the shots).  Shooting a RIDICULOUS 41 shots, Kobe missed 25 of them, going 16-41 from the field to finish with 34 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.  Several of his misses were of the forced, KobeISO-variety, but some were mid-range shots that he normally makes with ease.  While I can live with the Kobe Assist shots, it is painful to watch Kobe pound the ball for 15 seconds, only to watch him chuck up a shot with no Lakers near the rim for offensive rebound opportunities.  However, Kobe made several crucial shots in the 4th Quarter and OT (and missed some crucial shots, too), and he showed himself well-adjusted to operating off the ball, being the recipient of many a Nash and Dwight pass.

However the biggest reason why the Lakers won the game was due to the bench, two guys in particular:

1. Metta. World. Peace:  I honestly can’t say enough about this guy, willing to come off the bench for the benefit of the team, and still bringing 100% effort on every possession.  MWP was everywhere, whether it was sinking 3-6 threes, two straight in the 1st quarter, or working on the block to finish shooting 7-13 for 20 points, including two amazing spin moves past Klay Thompson early in the 4th to start the Laker comeback.  Throw in a block, a steal, three assists and five boards, including two offensive, and the statbox clearly shows that Metta was EVERYWHERE.

2. Jordan Hill:  This dude needs playing time.  There’s no question about that.  Even if his minutes mostly came due to Dwight’s foul trouble, Hill showed D’Antoni and all of us that he deserves minutes, regardless of Dwight’s time on the floor.  His shooting stroke finally came together, hitting 6-9 shots from the field, including three 20 footers coming in rhythm.  Hill’s beastly rebounding was also on display, with eight rebounds in the game, including six(!) offensive.  His work on defense was also impressive, showing that he is a solid hedge and recover big man.

The bench led the comeback in the 4th, taking a 13 point deficit down to a 4 point deficit in under 6 minutes, clearing the way for the starters to return and seal the deal.

Let’s not discount the Warriors performance, with guys like David Lee going for 20 and 11, and Jarrett Jack, a perennial Laker-killer, regardless of his team, going insane for 29 points on 13-19 shooting and 11 assists.  Jack eviscerated Nash, taking him to school 1-1 repeatedly, then proceeded to kill any Laker who tried to guard him by smartly using picks and finding open guys.  If not for Klay Thompson and Steph Curry going for a Kobe-esque 14-39 combined, the Warriors would have almost certainly won this game.

Special mention is deserved for the Lakers end-game execution.  While at times it was GODDAWFUL (KobeISO to end the 4th, I’m looking at you), it was beautiful at times.  The Lakers repeatedly ran a set with Pau and Dwight at the elbows, with Pau receiving an entry pass from Nash.  Surveying the field, once Pau found Meeks for a cut and score, then Dwight for an alley-oop, then Meeks again for a three.  While this set seemed like a lot of Pau holding the ball, it was clear that the Lakers excellent off-ball movement was freeing up guys for decent shots, and who better to find them than the best passing big man in the league (Nash also set several crushing, Stockton-like back screens to free up guys for easy scores).  Pau for once looked comfortable in the offense, with kudos to D’Antoni for coming up with a scheme to highlight the immense skills of all of our players.

The Nash-Dwight PNR was also heavily featured, with Nash making only passes he can make to Dwight in traffic, with Dwight either controlling them for an easy score, or more often, kicking out to shooters.  And when it is Kobe Bryant who is wide open on the weak-side, the opposition feels so defenseless.

With this game, the Lakers showed that they can clamp down on defense (allowing only 21 points in the 4th) and execute their game in crunch time (34 points in the 4th) with efficiency.  They could have folded; they could have given up and just moved on the Christmas.  But they didn’t.  And for them, this could be the turning point in the season.  With the return of Nash, their offense will almost certainly only get better, and if they can play with the defensive effort they gave in the 4th and OT with any consistency, they can become the juggernaut we all expected they would be at the season’s outset.

-Zephid

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Zephid

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93 responses to Lakers/Warriors: A Turning Point (?)

  1. Finallyna quality win over a quality team! On the road no less. This is the kind of win the lakers needed and that it came after 3 straight wins and against a division rival makes it so much better. About time the team got a win that wasnt against a bunch of scrubs.

    Having said that with how aweful the east has been itnseems like to make it into the playoffs as a western conference team you will need around 50 wins. Lakers margin of error is small, but after today things are looking- for the first time all season- promising.

  2. Nobody likes to see Kobe go into chuck mode, but this post is not entirely fair to him. He was getting murdered in the paint and not getting any foul calls. Seriously, 41 shots and just a single technical? He seriously got hacked on 10-15 of those shots and got zero calls on the night. Makes me wonder if its some kinda record for fail refereeing.

  3. does anyone have a link to kobes shot chart for the game, As other than the few forced sots (its his 17th season he is going to take some forced shots every game live with it and move on) I felt a lot were pretty good shots and many should have put kobe at the line

  4. I gotta admit that I’m surprised that Zephid didn’t mention that at all in the recap. I’m hearing that the Refs gave Kobe zero love tonight.

  5. A “RIDICULOUS” amount of shots by Kobe, to be sure, but not a word about the highly suspect officiating? Unfortunately, the poor refereeing was a big part of the story of this game.

  6. lol @fail refeering. To be fair – yeah him and dwight should’ve both been at the line way more tonight which woulda ideally put this game out of reach earlier. big guys gotta get better with the ball though – Pau/howard turned ball over 8 times – and some of Pau’s were turrrrrible. only person who should have 3 or more a game is Nash given how much he will handle and distribute – and take risks passing the ball. Everyone else should be making the easy pass or shooting as soon as they get it. At least they forced GS to 19 tos.

    The alleyoop to kobe from Nashty – there was some hate on that dunk when he threw that down.

  7. I was at the game tonight…what a game! Didn’t realize Kobe was shooting 41 times but certainly not liking his efficiency for the night. Zero foul shots other than technical was crazy too given his work…Nash’s pnr is a beauty! So glad he played tonight! My first game to watch Lakers in person!!!

  8. Nash was better then I expected.

    Hill needs 20 minutes a game.

    Pau looked lost and seldom went to the post with Dwight out.

    Dwight left his effort in San Francisco….

    Metta on his best streak since being a Laker.

    Tonight the Lakers turned the corner. Rest of west better be scared!

  9. Looking at the box score, it’s a bit disappointing to see that the Lakers had 20 turnovers.They’ve got to clean that up. The return of Steve Nash can only help on that issue. Dwight and Pau each had five. The big guys need to be stronger with the ball and make the right reads when they are double teamed. Hopefully, that will come as the Lakers’ real team can finally get some on court time together.

    Surprising stat of the night….Chris Duhon had 7 assists in 12 minutes. Even though he didn’t score, that is a solid contribution to a crucial victory.

    And, I’d just like to tip my hat to David Lee. A very fine player who is so underrated. Guy plays out of position every night as a center and yet puts up outstanding numbers. One of my favorite players.

  10. Players have to adjust to officiating. Kobe rarely gets to the line when they play in places like Portland and Utah. It is not completely unheard off. Yes, the refs let some things go. Still the Lakers had 14 attempts to Golden State’s 15 attempts. It wasn’t like they gave the Warriors a parade to the free throw line. Forty one shots is ridiculous and there is really no way to argue it.

    I intentionally did not mention Kobe’s shot totals in my two posts on the last thread. It gets talked about way to much. However, as I read these comments trying to explain it away I feel the need to comment. With all that, they still got the win. That is what is most important.

  11. Refs show no love to kobe & dwight

  12. I agree he didnt adjust

  13. T. Rogers….

    Kobe did adjust. He kept on shooting despite the brutal officiating. A lot of players would have just given up. And he was chopped all night. I, for one, don’t have to defend his shot selection. It could have been a lot better and a lot less. But, the referees were just plain lousy in this game. The goal is not to even out the free throw numbers. It is to call violations of the rules. Games that are officiated as poorly as this one was turn a lot of people off to the NBA product.

  14. Kenny T,

    They were on the road against a hot team. You had to know the officiating was not going to be in their favor.

  15. I agree that Kobe emerged victorious in a game where the refs, for whatever reason, absolutely refused to give him any deserved calls… BUT my issue with Kobe in badly officiated games like these is that he inevitably thinks he has something to prove — predictably he will TRY to get foul calls just so he can prove that he’s creative enough to get to the line, almost like he is egging the refs on. Tonight, the refs didn’t bite at all. So in the 4th quarter, Kobe finally stopped trying to go to the rim to get foul calls on difficult shots and instead opted to play real, hard-nosed basketball. He ended the game at a CLUTCH 6-12 during his last 15 minutes. Perhaps if he had tried to stop getting to the line to shoot FTs earlier (because even he admitted post-game that he knew he wasn’t getting calls), this game would have had the same ending but with a much less stressful trajectory.

  16. It is not that the Lakers were not getting calls — it was that there was some real butchering going on in the game and nothing was being called – on either side. It looked more like an NBA game from the 60′s.

  17. T. Rogers….

    I’m not going to belabor the point. I respect your point of view even if I don’t agree with it. But, when you infer that the road teams should expect to be the victims of one sided officiating, it sort of reinforces my point about the NBA’s refs being more about entertainment than actual competition.

  18. From the getgo, D’Amtoni and his staff displayed a game vision that included Morris, Meeks, and Hill–and they all made differences. Dwight made two freethrows with the game on the line. For this game, MWP looked like MVP and Kobe often looked lost. Pau helped Steve distribute and occasionally shoot—and the Lakers looked like a real basketball team.

  19. “Nash also set several crushing, Stockton-like back screens to free up guys for easy scores”

    The box score doesnt show these screens but they really fueled our comeback in 4Q. Guys became a lot more confident after these easy baskets.

  20. Great start ! But it simply highlights the fact that this team is lost without Nash. Consequently, I think the clock is now ticking on the Pau trade for a backup PG who can keep offensive consistency when Nash is on the bench, and serve as injury insurance. Pau is great, and I’ll miss him, but there is no question that the greater priority is seeing this team with smart decision making at the helm, particularly with a hands on coach like D’Antoni. Furthermore, the evidence is complete on Pau as a stretch 4… it ain’t good on either offense or defense. Set him free to rip up the league as a 5, and grab a Calderon-Ed Davis or Ridnour-Derrick Williams-Pekovic return on the matter. There’s still 4 months to make this juggernaut happen… but it needs more speed, spacing and stretch 4 action.

  21. obviously I’m happy with the win but either way this was the first time I thought the Lakers looked like a contender. not having to see the likes of sacre in the rotation is a big difference

  22. Overall…an encouraging win

  23. fourth straight win for the LakeShow, the next five games is true test for the Lakers

  24. Kobe has been murdered by the refs for 6 years now…Easily a 45 point outing if not for the sterned refs.

  25. If the Lakers win on Christmas day, it will mean way more than this game. I am excited to see how they will perform against that Knicks team.

  26. This was not that encouraging of a win – Nash had a great post game interview where he displayed how he and hopefully the rest of
    The team understand that every game is a playoff game.

    I don’t think we have a chance to win with dantonis system – defense is non-existent, lots of 3s lead to too many transition points which is a gift to the young teams that we will go up against in the west, terrible in game and overall
    Coaching by dantoni as well – If he continues to bench hill after tonight’s game it will be just like browns handling of Meeks

    We want phil

  27. Good game Lake-show!!Never doubted for a minute things would be fine once Nash returned!!Kobe 41 shots more than the starting unit combined..Didn’t check but curios how many shot

  28. Kobe is a SHOOTING guard. He does take a bad shot here and there but he stays aggressive and that’s his job. Nash will sort out the other possessions and free Kobe up to terrorize the league. 10 of his attempts should have been free throws but the refs are completely influenced by large crowds. I have long said that they need to wear sound proof head gear to take away the crowd reaction from their decision making. Other Lakers ( like Pau) should learn from his aggressiveness and stop over passing. Pau has a wide open 5 footer and elects to throw a pass to Dwight’s man. On a side note after two weeks off Pau still can’t jump over a fish sandwhich. As great as Nash is I don’t know if he can’t help Pau. He has played harder with more passion but I think his health is declining. Soon they will not be able to trade him since the rest of the league should notice this as well. Best Win I have seen since Game 7 against Boston!

  29. As it stands Gasol is playing the 4 and so is Carmelo Anthony. It will be hard to not start Metta against Anthony. I think Gasol must come of the bench in this one. Meanwhile Dwight was out got more than half the game against GS but I didn’t see Pau post up. Still shooting jumpers.

  30. Great win. 41 shots hurts tho. Only took 46 When he scored 81. Lakers get the win and wingstop owes me wings lol.

  31. Pau looks totally lost out there IMO. Really hope with Nash back he can find some sort of groove. Not sure why it is so difficult for him to rotate on D when DH12 leaves his man to go for a block, but seems to happen way too frequently, and looks like DH12 is getting frustrated.

  32. So what are we, 4-0? I sure am waiting for that Xmas day match against New York. That would be lots of fun to watch.

    As far as the game was concerned, the Lakers showed something they never showed all season – and thats the resiliency of a winning team. A team, that despite is hobbled with injuries (and lots of missed and bad calls) would FIGHT over a young, hungry and inspired Warriors team. The box scores if you didn’t see the game, could have easily been a 30-pt blowout instead of a 3-pt win.

    When you are up against the #1 3pt shooting combo in the league, that notwithstanding Jarrett Jack’s career game, couple that with a bad night from Dwight, a turnover-laden outing, Kobe jacking up 41 shot attempts and missing 25, him just shooting ONE free throw attempt, you would think this was a massacre on tv.

    But yet…

    MWP at the 4. Can’t say enough about this. What he has done at the 4 is just impeccable. He has inspired us to be a team and the defense is inspired by making shots. Fluid motion, active hands, good reading and reacting, floor spacing… lets not get to the stereotype that we HAVE TO play 2 bigs to be successful. We hired a coach and we traded for his quarterback… lets play to our strengths and stop pretending we need to be the slowtime we were for the past 3 seasons.

    Playing to our strengths would result to the inevitable: Pau Gasol getting traded. What he has done for the Lakers cannot be denied, but we cannot wrest our hopes on our team succeeding with this sort of “accommodation” … MDA’s offense is predicated on flow, rhythm and spacing. Pau + Dwight on the floor together is just too slow and too contradictory to everything there needs to be done. For what its worth, winning will cure all. We will win more once we trade Pau for pieces that fit, despite the fact that it will be pieces that are of less skill and IQ put together, the remainder of the team added with the sum of the parts coming in will prove to be the winning formula.

    Shoutout to Jordan Hill – amazing game. That along with the silent contributions of Duhon, Meeks and Morris. We need more hustle guys for the team. Even if it means trading Pau for a combination of 3-4 guys that aren’t necessarily stars. We have enough of that with Kobe, Nash and Dwight.

  33. Great game. It’s good to see lakers have the ability to turn it on like the championship teams show. Pau really is laboring out there on defense but as much as he hurts the defense it’s the total opposite on offense. Lakers won on road vs a good team, despite the 16-41, 20 turnovers and a bad game from dwight. This game will only mean something if they carry the momentum to christmas day. And I think hill proved his worth and removed from trading block.

  34. I hope I don’t sound annoying to most. For the new-er members info, I, along with drrayeye were the proponents of the Gasol trade that happened, insisting on the idea despite the risk of Kurt’s wrath (lol)… and there are no 2 people on this board that adore him more. But considering everything thats happened, for all the right and wrong reasons they may be, Pau’s time in LA is done.

    Why I keep on insisting such an idea is not hate, but love for Pau. He deserves better. He deserves to keep being a star, Spain’s team captain that have fallen short only to the mighty USA, he needs to be the focal point of the offense somewhere.

    Love is what urges me to move on. Its just not fair how he is used. He was here when we hired MDA and traded for Nash, and for last season’s non-trade that broke his heart, he was never the same since. Be it tendonitis or merely a broken heart and spirit, Pau Gasol DESERVES to be happy.

    For such an intelligent, unselfish and extremely-skilled individual, his talents are being wasted deferring to 3 guys now. Its no surprise why a haircut can no longer revive what was seemingly JUST a psychological thing. For all the things that he is not, I love Pau Gasol. I appreciate what he has done for the team. I continue to appreciate the kind of heart he has, the career path he has chosen and the unbelievable act of altruism he has shown to the world.

    Ricky Rubio was right, its not fair to Pau. Pau is only here because we have not traded him yet. Pau is only here because management chooses to retain him. For all thats been said and done, fairly and unfairly, I want Pau Gasol to find eventual happiness in the arms of another team… a young team that would definitely embrace his leadership, listen to his voice, heed his work ethic and appreciate his character.

    For whatever it may be worth, a young Pau Gasol with a Grizzly haircut has been a sheep all his life. He has flourished and succeeded as a Laker. At this stage in his career, perhaps he needs to be a wolf for once.

  35. Joe

    I reread the summary and I felt it was fair and well done. Kobe’s shots were brought up, Dwights bad game, Metta and Hill’s good game etc, Perhaps Pau’s lack of energy on D and offense was missed but overall a fair summary.

    Where as there were some bad calls or missed calls on Kobe the
    Lakers still shot more FTs. Kobe has a issue with complaining over ever missed shot. Human nature is that will effect the results. I also feel complaints about refs is an excuse and you either learn to adjust or excuses become your destiny(ie:see Sacramento Kings laker/Kings playoff game).

    Hang in there Joe it’s about to get fun again!

  36. Great post WWL.

  37. I won’t believe we turned a corner until we exhibit steady strong defense as a team and not just Howard Hill Metta or Kobe chipping in when he feels like it.i would love to see a break through win like beating NewYork on Christmas by a convincing margin.However we won’t compete with the NBA elite until all players buy in on defense first.not offense first.the trophy had not been attracted to high scoring teams that play spotty defense or no defense

  38. We need the ability to consistently hold teams to 80 90 points and mid 40 shooting percentage as most Laker Championship teams have shown.Dantoni must buy in and preach and enforce this.

  39. there goes Warren back on that “trade Gasol for mystery pieces” bandwagon to kill the mood lol..

  40. I completely agree that you need to adapt your game plan to the refs (unfortunately). Calls are calls, and it’s not like Stern is going to review the game afterwards and overturn a Lakers loss on poor reffing. As fans we will complain, but the players themselves have to adapt.

    I think Kobe did do this last night though. IIRC, in the first half he was driving to the basket and getting hacked with no calls, but when he helped with the comeback 4th quarter and OT, he relied on jump shots more rather than trying to draw fouls at the basket.

    Speaking of the upcoming game, one way to beat the Knicks is for the Lakers to keep their cool if the refs do a bad job (again) on both sides. The Knicks (especially Melo) tend to melt down if they feel calls aren’t going their way.

  41. I’m having a hard time understanding the criticism of the refs as an excuse for Kobe’s horribly selfish game. He was repeatedly hacked? Fine.

    Would you have been happy if he went to the line 15 times? Even making all of them all would have meant less than 50 points on more than 40 shots. That’s indefensibly bad efficiency, and while I understand that FTs would have reduced the # of official shot attempts, you can’t trot out Howard, Gasol, Nash, Meeks, and a resurgent MWP and ever justify one guy taking that many shots. It destroys the offensive flow, puts you in bad position for transition D, and makes teammates passive on BOTH ends of the floor.

    For me the worst part of the game (aside from having to struggle to beat a young team that we have historically dominated in their building) was the final play of regulation. Letting Kobe iso for 15 seconds without passing the ball, while Nash, Howard and Gasol stand there watching him, shows me that D’Antoni has a bit of Mike Brown in him. In a game where Kobe forced shots all night, it’s a bad sign that MDA didn’t have the stones to take the ball out of his hands and give it to the best PG of his generation to run the final play….

  42. Kobe has never gotten calls. If he were bulldozing over people, he’d force the refs to call foul or charge. But Kobe is a finesse player who is skilled at contorting his body and avoiding contact when he hoes to the hoop. Kobe is looking to score, not juming into people and drawing a foul (unless they go for a pump fake). Refs tend to award the aggressor, so if you’re aggressively defending Kobe while he’s trying his best to get away from you for a clear shot, you will get the (non) call.

    The other thing is Kobe falls down a lot when taking jump shots because he does that Nowitzky thing, leaning, twisting, fading away. So when he falls down because he gets fouled, the refs ignore him.

    (last night there was a couple times when he just faced up against defender and went straight up and down for the jump shot, he scored easily. Wish he’d do that more.)

    And yeah, I think there’s a certain hostility against Kobe from the refs. He has never gotten superstar treatment.

  43. i’ve been purposefully avoiding posting for a while until i could see nash back. the results were encouraging, to say the least. the thing he brings to the table, other than his court vision is his leadership. Hopefully this is the first step in making this team better. As talented as kobe is, he plays and leads in one way, which is hard for most teammates to swallow. When he’s had success it’s not because he’s been the sole leader and every one else fell in line, but its because he’s had a good cop (phil/ fisher) to his bad cop routine. Nash is the exactly that type of leader, the consummate good cop, giving people confidence even when they’re doing poorly, and he’s able to have more credit with the team and with kobe now that he’s actually on the floor. (being a two time mvp still isn’t enough if you haven’t played more than two games with your team) so i think his positive influence is going to be getting other players to feel more involved even on nights like tonight when kobe shoots an entirely ridiculous 41 shots. (and allowing him to control more of the closing minutes will lead to better possessions than the kobe fall away against double coverage at the end of regulation)

    funky chicken:maybe i’m giving nash too much credit, but i think he purposefully dumped the ball off to kobe, thinking the worst that can happen is what actually happened, but in the OT, he controlled the ball more to try to let kobe know, that’s a better option at the end of a game. i doubt kobe will ever change, but if anyone can get him to, it’ll be nash. if this team takes on nash’s personality and not kobe’s, this team is a winner for sure.

    As another note, some of Dantoni’s moves are paying off.. mostly because the league has changed to a more small ball lineup… world peace at the four is a great move, and should continue, he gives up very little on defense at that position, but kills his man on offense. I wish he would use morris a little more instead of duhon, i think that stat about his assists is great, but what i watched was him getting torched (again) by the opposing pg, giving up more than he could possibly generate on the other end. I’d like to see Dantoni bring in morris as a defensive stopper to see if he can slow down the rhythm of any guard that is going off on the other team (which usually means anyone guarded by duhon) There’s a huge difference in how morris defended curry the last possession in OT vs duhon’s awfulness the rest of the game. maybe play him more with pau, so he can dump the ball off right after bringing it across half court, and let pau be the playmaker so you don’t lose too much on offense.

    One thing that I do like about this Dantoni team is that although we seem to live and die by outside shooting, it also means that if we continue to play hard, almost no lead is safe from a comeback. If we just tightened up our defensive efforts a little, this team could still be great without major personnel changes. Does anyone think that under mike brown, or even phil his last year with their fairly methodical offenses and heavy doses of kobe iso that a game like this could have been won? Three pointers going up willy nilly by just about anyone on the team, and the coach actually being ok with that? Just as we live and die by the kobe, now we live and die by the three pointer/ outside shooting, and it at least gives us the ability to claw back into games that we have no point winning, like tonight. Tightening the screws defensively will help a lot.. part of that will hopefully be duhon being replaced by morris, as his defense is really worlds better than any other guard we have out there.

  44. don’t quite know how this was lost, but the lakers held the 6th best offensive team and one of the top two 3 point shooting teams to 44.7 from the floor and 34.5 from the 3. So overall, this was an ok to good defensive effort, except perhaps for the second quarter where Jack was unconscious. a lot of the defensive prowess of the past is associated with “slowtime” which means 1) less possessions for the other team and 2) zero offensive energy expended as the team plays total ISO ball.
    115 in overtime equals around 104 for 48 mins, which is fine once you adjust for pace. the lakers have not been stellar defensively but they are still 15th in defensive efficiency, and that will improve just by having nash out there, keeping them happy and engaged. Repeat, Nash will not be a defensive liability as the overall improvement to team spirit, and the overall less energy expended on the offensive side as Nash carries more of that load, will result in a competent enough (top 10) defensive team. They don’t need to be elite defensively to compete, because top one or two offence plus top ten defence= contender.

  45. Losing franchises whine about refs, fabricate conspiracies, and make excuses for losing; winning franchises handle bad calls, put in the work, never make excuses, and still come out on top. Which one do you think we are?

  46. My point to a tee Zephid.

    Anyone who thinks the NBA doesn’t want the Lakers in the finals against OKC and then the Heat doesn’t understand the purpose of the league. Stop crying and play tbe game.

    TO MAKE MONEY.

  47. Kobe shot too much, but I think Funky overreacted very badly to the last play there. Also, Kobe is going to ISO sometimes no matter who else is on the team; that is just who he is. And GSW is a pretty good team this year that creates major matchup issues for the Lakers no matter how the Lakers have done in the building.

    For those into chemistry arguments, Nash may have felt that it was necessary to defer to Kobe on the last play since it was Nash’s first game back and the first time the Lakers have actually won with Nash in uniform.

    As to the refs, I agree with Zephid. Fans of the teams the Lakers have beaten in post-season over the years all have ref narratives–Sacto, Utah, Portland, Denver, Boston–it is an old, old story.

  48. With WWL on that one. I share exact sentiment. I love Pau, he’s a good guy, and yes I must say his happiness lies in shining in LA, but under MDA and the current situation, that’s very unlikely. If he is traded to any other team, he might be happy overall but I guess at this point of his career, nothing would suit him more than teaming up with Ricky Rubio. It would be his anti-depressant. A cherry on the cake for him.
    I still insist he wants to be the same old Pau again and do what he used to, for the Lakers. That’s what he loves the most. The optimism and modesty that he shows is immense. Another player would have publicly expressed the frustration. Pau builds on the slightest positive feeling he has. And just because I believe in ‘good things should happen to good people’, I want him to have his share of smiles.
    People will complain, but yeah for more than basketball reasons, I want Pau to be traded, in my opinion, to Wolves. Humble unselfish people often tend to trade their own happiness and prosperity for others’. Looks like I got too carried away! Maybe I share some traits with Pau in my own life lol.
    Yeah whatever, my opinion, but I am sure we can improve the team by moving him. He just adds up a few easy baskets to other guys. The type of work he is being asked to do, he is unable to..

  49. The Holcomb piece, in which he says “It would be one thing if he was launching 40 shots and making 15…” would have carried more weight had it not been linked 12 hours after Kobe did precisely that on a night where all his weapons were available.

  50. @Harvey – Completely agree with your assessment. Offense and defense go hand-in-hand.

    What’s been killing the Lakers going on three years now are these countless, ugly, flat-footed, low energy offensive possessions that lead to easy run-out baskets by the opposition game after game after game. Not only is it ineffective. It’s no fun to watch.

    It’s like Groundhog Day where we’ve been stuck in the Dallas Maverick Western Conference Semi-Finals back in 2010 and just keep repeating it over and over again.

    The defense will be just fine when the opposition has to take the ball out of the bottom of the basket more often instead of easy run-outs or points off of countless turnovers.

  51. Great article nimble. Spot on of course, but you’re never going to convince certain people of those facts.

  52. Rr, curious why you think it is an overreaction that in the first opportunity to close out a game with an actual play, executed by the most talented PG of his generation, both Kobe and MDA thought 2006 Kobe was the appropriate way to go.

    I can live with Kobe overshooting (though I will continue to criticize him when he hurts he team) because it is part of the “bad” you accept in order to benefit from the (more frequent) good. But going iso with 15 seconds on a night where he had objectively ball hogged all night, with the apparent blessing of the coach, seems outrageous even for Kobe.

  53. would have carried more weight had it not been linked 12 hours after Kobe did precisely that on a night where all his weapons were available.

    Perhaps. But Howard not being able to stay on the floor and the team having no answer for Jarrett Jack were bigger problems last night than Kobe. 41 shots, when Nash is taking 8, is excessive, but Kobe’s +/- last night was actually better than Nash’s. The best +- numbers were last night were actually Howard and bench guys.

    So, what I would say is “see what happens.” People tend to confuse “Kobe’s shooting a lot really bugs me” and “I don’t like Kobe” with “I am analyzing the effect his style of play has on the team.”

    Chris Ballard wrote a great profile of Nash in his book; based on that, I think Nash will look to manage the situation with shots, rather than doing what you seem to want, which is telling Kobe to pound sand and give Nash the ball, and I think that is probably wise. Also, as a guy at SSR pointed out yesterday, Nash needs to be instrumental in making Howard happier and more productive. I think Nash is the man for these jobs, if he can stay on the floor.

  54. C-Dave, yup…not a big history as a laker fan (I am a transplanted big Nash fan), but your description of the past few years lines up quite well with my perception of where the lakers are at, and how Nash can compliment that.

    rr, yes, but I would go farther..its about the Nash/Dantoni complex of ball movement, colliding with a lakers team which is really an icon of stand still ISO ball, and really one of the last most staunch devotees to that way of playing.

    And Its not just Kobe. MWP, Dwight and Pau are all very much disciples of an ISO based system though at least 2 of them (Kobe and Pau) and possibly all 4 of them show a lot of natural talent as passers of the ball. So for now Nash is deferring a bit, out of respect but also because you can’t expect (and I am mixing as many metaphors as I possibly can here) the old grey mare to swallow the whole enchilada in one bite.

    Overall, I envision a natural blend between ISO ball and the Nash/Dantoni manifesto, but for chapter 1 last night there was a bit too much of the former and not quite enough of the latter. But given the history, it was about what one would have expected, and it was great to see it result in a win. and I expect for both Nash and Kobe there was some relief for both of them, that the whole burden of closing the game did not fall on either of them completely.

  55. shoot Kobe!

    do your job and remain aggressive no matter what.

  56. any way you slice it, 41 shots by one player is a basketball abomination. It might be somewhat defensible if you are 2006 kobe playing with a bunch of scrubs. it can’t be defended with a straight face with the team they have on the floor now. There’s too much talent here for any one player to take that many shots. it disrupts the flow of the team, and disengages them. Again, even if you don’t focus on the total number of shots (but how could you not, since kobe has the most 40 plus attempt games in the shot clock era, i think) it’s how the shots are coming that are important. kobe iso with a contested jumper, or ill conceived slashes to the basket into double or even triple coverage looking for a foul is not a recipe for success. when kobe allowed more shots to come off catch and shoot or off back screens by nash, or in the context of the offense, those are high percentage plays, and if he took 41 of those types of shots, i’m all for it.

    the problem is, a high percentage of his shots involve him holding and probing and faking until there is still a highly contested jump shot that leaves his hands while his teammates watch him pounding the ball. yes, they should be moving and cutting, but let’s be honest here, more often than not, they’re not getting the ball. yes, a shooting guard should shoot the ball, but low percentage shots, now matter how transcendent your talent, are not a winning formula over time.

    and i’ve never seen steve nash call anyone out in public before, but this is about as close as it gets: ding tweets:Nash said he didn’t figure on Kobe shooting that many times every night.
    most people would agree that nash is a consummate team player, but even he recognizes that 41 shots is ridiculous.

    i know there are plenty of kobe homers out there, and again, i think he’s supremely talented, but no way will the team win if he tries to dominate all the offense. this season and the past season demonstrates that he can’t win by himself trying to carry a team alone.

  57. I think too much stock is being put in one game in regards to Kobe good or bad. I watched the game and was equally frustrated w what I saw at times just simply knowing that there was/could be better options. That being said -

    1. Nashes priorities will always be his teammates – fnas exhorting him to shoot more is useless as that’s never been his game, and wasn’t even in Phoenix w worse teammates. He can score and dropped back to back games of 45 and 30+ on dallas in playoffs but he’s way more effective setting teammates up for easy baskets and that’s his mo. Besides which, it makes the late game dagger 3′s easier when everyones is worried about where he might send the ball vs shooting himself.

    2. Yeah Kobe shot 41 – w/o Nash that woulda be ridiculous – but that was prob the easiest 41 shots kobe has ever taken in the game. Would it have been nice if he had hit more – sure – but in his defence he did get jobbed a lot down low, and while he took a lot – I never got the sense that he was ball stopping/forcing/or taking shots of abvoe ave difficulty for him. And I never sat there last night wishing he would pass more. Would love to know how much time he actually had the ball in his hands versus when he had to handle – and look at how much more the ball moved and the wealth was spread around. All that said – Kobe is a premier scorer – I have no probs w him shooting that much when that’s his job.

    Also – there was reason to shoot a bit more when Howard was stapled to bench w foul trouble – and Pau (sigh) this shoulda been his game w Howard hampered so much – to be an aggresive post presence especially given his recent comments. But repeatedly from the tip, Pau hardly ever made any effort to get down low and establish position – Nash found him everytime he was open – but he showed no aggresiveness last night and when he did go to the hoop – he couldn’t finish strong. That’s not including the airball 6ft from the hoop on his first post up. So – given the lack of post production – that allowed just by way of game flow for kobe to get more shots.

    3.The last second shot…. As much as I woulda liked seeing a diff play I understand the intention. Pau/howard already had 9 turnovers and pau had just flubbed easy passes that couldve lost/won the game already. Rule of thmb in that position is insure you take the last shot and don’t lose the game on something stupid. Given the above issues, Nashes first game back, and unfamiliarity as teammates in this situation – if I’m MDA I want to lose in OT rather than on some heart break play in an emotional game back for Nash. Therefore going w Kobe – who you know will keep it safe then get a shot – with a chance of hitting it- to the very last second isn’t the very worst decision – even if it isn’t asthetically appealing. If they run some action w the posts and Pau/howard flubs it – and it ends up going to a very fast, long range gunnning team like gs – they could easily win the game and that would be a soul killing loss.
    That being said – there will be many more games where Kobe is going to be decoy or 2nd/3rd option.

  58. Harvey…Funny you mention, I’m a Southern California native but a Phoenix transplant for the past 20 years. Laker fan forever, grew up with them in the late 50′s and 60′s.

    Like you, I’ve watched Nash for a long time and I can say that without question, he is the most instinctively ingenious player when it comes to making his teammates better since Earvin “Magic” Johnson wore the purple and gold.

    I’ve had season tickets to both franchises just so I could see these two in their prime.

  59. A couple other observations from last night:

    1. Nashes D – usually a player w bad condition or movement issues suffers here the most coming back off injury – but Nash looked more spry and moved better on d than prob the last 3-4 years. Not saying he was awesome, but his positioning was good and he was always on the hip of his defender. Curry and Jack hit some shots at times but Nash almost always had a hand up in their face and wasn’t constantly getting blitzed and didn’t need help. Nash is slow laterally and gets beat there – but positionally and within a team concept he is fundamentally sound – and played better transition d than half the team to start the game. He disrupted a lot of passes off the start, was always back – and even picked up two steals. He’ll never be first class and knows it – but that was passable for sure. 
    Still too much helping going on when not needed – Kobe floats still a bit – and GS dropped a couple 3′s. That needs to tighten up.

    2. Despite Kobes 41 shots – 6 lakers hit double figures (ron w 20) plus Nash had 9 assists – and Duhon dropped 7 dimes to 1 to in 12 mins. Lakers as a whole had 33 assists on the night – 13!! More than their average – and 8 more than league leading SA (25). Kobe even dropped 5 himself. That’s why volume shooting doesn’t necessarily kill this team – because the shots were in the context of the offense and the ball never stopped moving. If the Lakers/Kobe shot close to their normal averages and got the free throws – this is a 15+ pt blowout – but it was a better game to watch!

    3. Jordan Hill will determine if Pau goes. If Hill can continue to show consistency hitting the 10-15 ftrs enough to keep teams honest as he did last night – and play smart defense (he’s a diff player from when MDA had him in NY for sure) – he will get burn and make it easier to sacrifice Paus skills for wing upgrades.

    Lots of interesting stuff to be said about last night for sure

  60. One last thing about Nash – the nerve issue was completely seperate from the fibular break and not structural. Meaning, while it may have kept him out – on the plus side it didn’t delay his healing – and in fact prob kept him from pushing and coming back to soon when lakers were struggling. Nashes leg healed perfectly and won’t have any issues around that break going forward – its just a matter of handling the nerve sensitivity/pain.

  61. It’s funny to me how some people take one stat (Kobe’s FGA) and try to make it out to be the one reason why the Lakers are winning/losing games.

    I can do that too. Since many writers seems to be hung up on “efficiency”, let’s look at Kobe’s shooting percentages in losses and wins.

    In wins: 45% FG, 31% 3P, 85% FT
    In losses: 48% FG, 42% 3P, 87% FT

    So he is actually measurably less efficient in wins. I guess that means we should be rooting for him to miss more shots, since that will mean we have a better chance to win the game?

    Or look at last year. Kobe had a poor year shooting the ball. Yet the Lakers had a much better record. So is this more proof that inefficient Kobe = more wins?

    Obviously (hopefully obviously) I am being sarcastic here. But it just seems lazy to me to try to pin all the Lakers’ troubles on Kobe’s shots. I wish I knew why writers do it.

    nimble, thanks for linking that article.

  62. Now that Meeks has the green light he’s ben playing phenomenal no both sides of the ball. Filling the role of raja bell for a comparison. Metta has been consistently great all year having stretches in games where he takes over. Hill has changed a few games this year with his hustle and rebounding. 4 game win streak and some game changers are emerging. If meeks, ron and hill continue to be the secondary wave in games and Lakers somehow get pau going. That’s a nice 8 rotation players lakers will have. But consistency is key that’s been missing from this team. With Nash back hopefully roles are identified and the team starts putting it together.

  63. vegas,

    its not the number of shots, though last night it kind of was (and lets be very clear, he was successful at the end of the game so a fair bit is excused), its what that does to the team. I look on the pre-Nash lakers as a pretty me first kind of team (not awful in that regard, but in that general direction), so I feel that the team would benefit from a different attitude. I do acknowledge that Kobe is a great scorer and shooter and will probably take the most shots on the team till he retires. I just prefer it when he is getting his 30 on 20 shots, as I think the whole team gains from that, as more other players become involved, by having more touches.

  64. C- Dave, I am a Canadian living in Nash’s transplanted Canadian home town (when he is here) being Vancouver. So its just nuts for me to have a local Canadian (so few even play pro ball though that is changing) who has had such a dynamic impact on the NBA.

  65. lol – same here Harvey – I played highschool ball in BC at the same time 90-92 that Nash was provincial mvp etc… so i know the feelin. You’re a little warmer than the -30 here in edmonton though :P

  66. Wont beat a dead horse any more than has already been done, but to argue that having one player go Allen Iverson is anything other than a poor example of execution is stretching it–as is trying to explain it away due to Howard’s limited minutes. There were plenty of Lakers playing well last night who could have and should have been able to absorb the shots that Howard wasn’t taking. As for the last play, I think it is impossible that MDA does not trust Nash to execute an end of game sequence to produce a good shot without a turnover.

    Asking people to accept that Kobe did something wrong is often like talking to a wall around here.

  67. @Zephid….

    So, pointing out that a player had a below normal game is analysis but pointing out that the referees had a poor game is whining. Gotcha.

  68. To answer the question posed in the thread title – no, this was not a turning point. When the Lakers beat an elite team this year, that will qualify as a turning point. Hope they do it before it’s too late.

  69. Kenny,
    I’m more of the mind that the way the refs call the game is a variable the players can’t control. So, it’s up to the players to adjust to the way the game was being called. Do I think Kobe got fouled on some of his drives? I do. I also think he got frustrated by the lack of whistles and then tried to hunt fouls on some of his shots and when the whistle still didn’t come he complained and didn’t always hustle back on defense. Later in the game he did a better job by taking what was there, taking more jumpers, and that helped the team’s spacing. I think he could have done more of that sooner or just moved the ball better.

    In general, I don’t like complaining about the refs because the players must adjust to them and then play the game within the framework of how the game is being called. Every game there will be missed calls or bad fouls or plays where the whistle seems unfair. Just have to deal with it and find ways to be effective anyway.

  70. Jerke,

    to make matter worse (in terns of weather discrepancy) I am in Fort Lauderdale right now. Am a bit older than you and played high school ball in Winnipeg, but followed Nash all the way back to Santa Clara and was a huge Suns fan during the day…couldn’t believe that the Grizzlies failed to make any move for him, especially in the first draft, when they could have traded down just a few spots to take him.

  71. Asking people to accept that Kobe did something wrong is often like talking to a wall around here.


    This got old a long time ago; bagging on Kobe does not = being objective about him.

    Like I said, he shot too much, but there were other factors involved. The Lakers ORTG was a little off for the night, and I think you can make a case that Nash should have called his own number more. But one analytical mistake people make on this is assuming that high-efficiency low-usg guys would keep their percentage numbers with more shots. Doesn’t generally work that way.

  72. Will Kobe be happy scoring 18-20 ppg if the team is winning? That will be a major factor in how wwll they do this season.

  73. Exhelodrvr,

    Kobe getting 18-20 isn’t happening. Kobe will be Kobe, he will shoot. If you make him any less Kobe, you do not appreciate his being. In a sense, its a matter of love him or hate him but he will be Kobe, thats unless you don’t want him to be.

  74. love all this talk about what Kobe did “wrong”!
    hmmm, somehow this idiotic team keeps hiring him to be their point scoring guy.

    he has a permanent green light. if Kobe thinks he can hit that shot, the coach says it’s a-ok to shoot it. period.

    the man had 5 assists and passed the ball plenty. at the pace of last night’s game, it’s as though Kobe took 20 shots and had 15 free throws in a PJ period team.

    all of Kobe’s shots were in the scheme of the offense, i only saw one or two that might have been called busting the offense. face it. in this offense, he will have many nights where he takes this many shots. he’ll usually shoot free throws for being fouled on 10 of them though,

    it’s tiring hearing this AYSO concept of everyone should be equal in how many shots they get, or that shots should be measured out. the most aggressive guy will shoot most. if he stinks, he won’t keep a job regardless of how aggressive he is(see Smush Parker or Von Wafer). guys want more shots, get more aggressive. work harder. play some D to generate some extra opportunities.

    sports is not for the meek, writing is. criticizing is for the meek and the weak, the people most disturbed by aggression. yet, aggressivness is what makes the game great. naturally, it’s aggressiveness contained by the intellect. that’s why there are rules and refs. if Kobe is breaking the offense, then he needs to get it under control. if he’s doing his job as an unrelenting threat, then he shoots when he has a shot.

    stop whining. start encouraging your team to keep winning.

  75. “Will Kobe be happy scoring 18-20 ppg if the team is winning? That will be a major factor in how wwll they do this season.”

    i find it hard to believe that the only way that the Lakers can win is with Kobe averaging x number of points. in fact, i find that laighable.

    i do believe however, that Kobe is really only trying to win. if Kobe is averaging 18-20 point a game, then the other guys are seriously kicking butt and it’s my opinion that Kobe is having a great time KILLING other teams.

  76. We focus too much on individual stat over the collective effort of the group. When the offense is at full blast and Kobe DOESN’T NEED TO jack up 500 shots, that will be the day he will be fine getting 22ppg.

    You have to look at game situations and see that Kobe is only the “bad Kobe” aka the one that hoists up 500 shots per game only because he feels its necessary and not because he feels the need to do it.

    If and when the offense clicks, Kobe will be satisfied with 18-20 ATTEMPTS en route to 25ppg. Until then, you gotta prove you can convert the basket before Kobe trusts you to shoot “his” jumper.

  77. Kobe is going to shoot but now has to find a way to be efficient in this offense. He found a way to shoot 50% for a while off hand offs, cuts and little iso’s in the princeton. D’Antoni should give kobe tape of when joe johnson played in this offense. I think their roles and positions on the floor are similar.

  78. Can Kobe sometimes make better decisions with the ball? Sure. Should he change his game, which has won him 5 rings and has landed him in Chamberlain-Jordan territory, so that he can play more like Rip Hamilton? I’d say not so much.

  79. @ Warren Wee Lim, great comments, as usual. You and drrayeye have made me think tonight about the Lakers.

    I really hope that the team has turned the corner, and will be a force to be reckoned with.

  80. Darius….

    Believe me, I understand your point about adjusting to referees. And, in general, I try to leave referees out of the equation. But, unfortunately, sometimes poor officiating becomes part of the story and a big factor in how the game is played. I thought that the refs did a poor job last night and that their unwillingness to call obvious fouls affected the outcome of the game. Refs can and should make adjustments to the way each game is being played, as well.

  81. Awesome game with lots of possessions.Usually Kobe will hit more of those make-able shots. Nash effect,33 assists despite sleepwalking refs.

  82. @Mud….

    Agree with your comments about Kobe. I wonder if people think that Kobe shouldn’t have shot the ball in overtime because he had already taken too many shots? Kobe is far from perfect, but his errors are those of commission for the most part. I can live with that.

  83. On the plus side, we saw a lot of fight in our team last night. Good, clutch performances from a lot of Lakers. Dwight Howard overcame foul trouble to contribute a great deal down the stretch. He played most of the 4th quarter and OT with 5 fouls and still found ways to be effective. Metta & Meeks (sounds like a law firm) were clutch. And Steve Nash was extremely effective and was a welcome addition to the team effort. The best is yet to come!

  84. @Harvey – you suck – you should be toughing out this cold weather like a true Canuck lol. I agree w you on the Girzz though – Stu Jackson ruined that team – F’ing “Big country Reeves” as first pick in franchise history. So stupid – they had fan support but ownership killed that team in Van. Stern has said more than a couple times that has been his biggest failure as a commisioner for Vancouver not to work out – was never the cities fault.

    I got to see Nash play live twice in his hey day – once in orlando in 05 – and against the Lakers Xmas 07 which was an awesome game to be at – have the tickets framed. Never ever thought I’d ever see him in Forum Blue n Gold.

  85. I’m just throwing this back up as it may have gotten missed due to delays in moderation – but there were some numbers worth noting – I’m not a fan of anyway regularly going for 41 fga’s – but imho – taken contextually there were reason why it happened, reasons why it won’t happen every game, and reasons why it doesn’t necessarily hurt this team.

    ” 1. Yeah Kobe shot 41 – w/o Nash distributing if Kobe had created everyone of those 41 shots for himself that woulda be ridiculous – but that was prob the easiest 41 shots kobe has ever taken in his life in a game. Would it have been nice if he had hit more – sure – but in his defence he did get jobbed a lot down low, and while he took a lot – I never got the sense that he was ball stopping/forcing/or taking shots of abvoe ave difficulty for him. And I never sat there last night wishing he would pass more. Would love to know how much time he actually had the ball in his hands versus when he had to handle – and look at how much more the ball moved and the wealth was spread around. All that said – Kobe is a premier scorer – I have no probs w him shooting that when that’s his job.”

    “2. Despite Kobes 41 shots – 6 lakers hit double figures (ron w 20) plus Nash had 9 assists – and Duhon dropped 7 dimes to 1 turnover in 12 mins. Lakers as a whole had 33 assists on the night – 13!! More than their average – and 8 more than league leading SA (25). Kobe even dropped 5 himself. That’s why volume shooting doesn’t necessarily kill this team – because the shots were in the context of the offense and the ball never stopped moving. If the Lakers/Kobe shot close to their normal averages and got the free throws – this is a 15+ pt blowout.”

    Do I want to see Kobe or anyone for that matter shooting that much often? No, some nights it would be forced, and taking away from others – but everyonce in a while it’s not going to kill this team. Plus – in MDA’s system everyone has the green light to be aggressive and Kobe is literally the best shooting/scoring guard in the NBA – so thats what you want him to do. This was one game – he’s already extremely efficient this year so to complain about his usage /efficiency in one game (it’s nowhere near an established pattern) is a little offbase. W Nash there finally doing the handling his attempts may drop slightly but the quality of looks he gets will increase substantially – I don’t expect his average to drop much over the course of the year. It will be easy for him to get his pts w better looks. Plus I’m fine with Nash throwing backdoor transition oops to Kobe all the time.

  86. The a plan, b plan, and c plan for the Lakers has been to assemble a unique team capable of winning one or two NBA championships in the next two years. They’ve done it by placing all of their bargaining chips and bets on the team we have. They’ve kept nothing of significance in reserve. Neither Mike B nor Mike D were hired to bring back past successes. They were asked to mold 5 superstars and their backups into something new, different, and exciting.

    It’s probably Jerry’s last poker hand, played out by Jimmy, with Mitch shoving the chips back and forth. They’ve shown us all the cards. Will they win?

    Nobody knows, but Mike D was not given Steve Nash as a downpayment on a regurgitated Suns team. Those days are gone, with that team scattered like falling leaves across the NBA. Not only does Mike D have management’s mandate. He’s been given Mike B’s Princeton oriented coaches. He’s got what he’s got.

    And he’s trying–leaving no stone unturned. One of these nights, he might even start Gary Vitti.

    Let’s be clear. This could be the start of a surge leading all the way to a championship–or the rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titantic.

    It won’t be boring.

    Settle in.

    Let’s hope that Santa puts some coal in the NY Nick’s Christmas stockings on Tuesday morning–and leaves some reconstituted Love potion #9 for the Lakers..

  87. Thanks sT. There is a lot of work to be done still. I just thank Santa that the ingredients of this masterpiece dish are well in place. Things can only get better from here. Injury bug can find a new home after Christmas.

    The term “turning point” sounds about right. I still think the coaching staff is caught up in making Gasol happy, which I disagree on. As my post stated, it is my love for Pau that we find him a new home before the unhappiness grows. Gasol is too good-natured to ask out but I am sure that he is searching within himself if this team is still the right one. I say we give him the wish he never said. Or maybe he has, we just don’t know yet.

    As an organization, the Lakers have built dynasty after dynasty by making the right moves and moving forward. Gasol is the last piece that needs to be addressed and like I said, good things can come out of the multiple expiring and projects that we are set to receive. No single piece we are expected to receive is or ever will be as good as Pau, but its not about winning the deal anymore. We have won the grandslam already by acquiring Nash, Dwight and MDA. Pau’s inevitable end is onto another zip code, where he can be the focal point.

    Trading him is not as easy. His 19M salary + trade kicker needs to be matched with incoming salaries. For most teams, that involves 3-4 pieces just to accumulate atleast 17 million. For most teams, that means gutting out their entire team to shreds. There are, however, 3-4 teams that are intrigued with his availability (FO denies it) and we should just be open minded enough to welcome that possibility.

    Merry Christmas Lakers.

  88. @WWL – “No single piece we are expected to receive is or ever will be as good as Pau”

    Even if Mitch and Coach “D” are predisposed to moving Gasol at this point, it’s going to require patience. Mitch isn’t in the habit of just moving players to get out from under contracts. Especially not a player who has meant as much to the franchise as Pau has.

    I don’t believe for a second that Mitch would expect to receive anything less than comparable value in return for Pau, but for that to occur, timing is everything.

    What’s required is a trading partner on the edge of making the playoffs for the first time in a while in need of a championship caliber center to get them over the top and who also possesses the asset(s) the Lakers would expect in return.

    But it’s probably too soon for all that again, even if the FO has reached that conclusion about Pau which isn’t necessarily the case.

  89. Great comments Mud.

    I’ve always said that many Laker fans are bipolar. For instance, if Kobe is NOT the one to take that last second win or lose shot & some other player does & misses, Laker Nation goes nuts! Why didn’t they get the ball to Kobe? Kobe is known to make those, I’d rather take my chances with him jacking up a three or getting fouled. Blah blah & so on.

    But when Kobe does take that shot & missed, then Laker fans (whiners) complain they are sick of Kobe ISO & he hasn’t hit the last second shot in years!

    I no longer treat these folks to evidential discussion. They need meds. Kobe is a SHOOTER. Sure he’s human, he makes mistakes. He even sometimes gets out his body & takes unreasonably crazy out-of-scheme-of-the-offense shots. But he’s also the Mamba. It’s like being mad at your dad because he works a lot & can’t spend much time with you, yet he’s rich & you get to drive a Bently & basically get to go to nearly every hot party on town because you’re his son. Great life. Has its ups & downs, but still great life.

    Note. I’d rather see Kobe take 20 more shots than see Duhon go 2-6, Morris 3-7, Metta 10-25, Ebanks 1-4

  90. It’s bad when you accept one player taking 41 shots and missing 25 of them. I guess if we see a repeat of 4th qtr vs okc series we’ll chalk it up as other players not stepping up and pau having a bad series. Kobe’s been great but ron may not be there to catch that airball again or bigs off rebound the heck out of the ball 1st half vs boston. A player taking a lot of shots and making a low percentage seals our fate as another 2nd round exit.

  91. I noticed we can’t use profanity on our posts. But then today I also noticed that things like “no homo” are allowed. There’s no need to let us know you’re not gay, especially when it comes to sports, where grown men slap each other in the butt and fans always use the word “love” to express their fondness for their favorite athletes. Frankly, “no homo” sounds pretty homophobic, and I urge the moderators to include it in their commenting guidelines.

    Just a thought.