Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  January 4, 2013

The Lakers’ last game was Tuesday night’s loss to the 76ers. They’ve had some time to reflect and regroup. Yesterday, the team held a five-on-five practice, trying to get sharp while mindful not to overly tax their geriatric legs. There will be a Staples Center battle tonight. The Clippers are coming off a two-game skid and are just .16 behind OKC for the best record in the league. If the playoffs were to start tomorrow, the Lakers would be watching on television – they are currently in 11th place in the west.

At this point in the season, the standings are still fluid. OKC, the Clippers and the Spurs are in a virtual dead heat. Other teams are not that far behind. The young Golden State Warriors are playing inspired ball and in fact, romped over the Clippers on Wednesday. Memphis is playing well, and Houston, Denver and Portland are all on 7-3 runs. It’s not so much the actual places in the standings that become an issue, but momentum. The season’s still up for grabs and while the Lakers have won six of their last eight, they’re trying to catch other teams that are similarly trending up.


In the latest chapter of his Beast or Burden series, Ben Rosales at Silver Screen and Roll examines uncertain times.

Dave McMenamin for ESPN’S Lakers Index considers five keys for the Lakers/Clippers match.

Marc Spears at Yahoo Sports looks at the Clippers determination to forge their own identity in the L.A. turf wars.

D.J. Foster for ProBasketballTalk brings us Kobe Bryant’s assertion that the Clippers are championship caliber.

Mark Medina for Inside the Lakers says the team is trying to find the right pace.

Ben Bolch at the L.A.Times looks at the lopside history of Lakers/Clippers battles.

Kobe Bryant leads all players in All-Star voting. Ramneet Singh at Lakers Nation reports that he’s surprised.

And finally, Phil gave Jeanie a ring on Christmas – Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie spreads the joy.


Make no mistake, tonight’s game against the Clippers is significant. Each team has something to prove – on a local supremacy level and as a simple matter of numbers. For the eternally snakebitten Los Angeles Clippers, this is their season. They’re not rebuilding, they’re not looking to next year. They want it and they want it now. For the Los Angeles Lakers, there is the weary sense of pride that you sometimes get with old champions. They’ve been to the dance time and again and don’t like watching from the sidelines. It has been an up and down 31 games for this team and they’re slowly righting the ship. Time however, is not their friend. Time is the avenger.

Dave Murphy


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  1. I think we need that 1st post magic now.

    The emotions in this game may force us a win, but we still won’t be a better team until we’re athletic enough and we have better guards behind Nash and Meeks and Bryant.


  2. Thanks Warren, it has been a long time between first posts for you.

    From Dave McMenamin to a number of fans, the comment lingers that Kobe shoots too much. If you are going to quote statistics then at least go deep enough to develop meaning. When the team is humming, Kobe shoots less – not when Kobe shoots less the team hums. Kobe’s natural inclination is to shoot when things are looking grave, when the people around him are simply not getting it done. The fact that he is more effective this year should be a statistic that bears out this observation. Look at the games. He either trys to get things off on the right foot or he trys to bail out a confused offense.

    Now there are times when Kobe becomes a ball hog all on his own, but they are not that frequent.


  3. FO: With regard to the players, I also think it is unfair to blame the FO. I blasted them last year, because they simply did not act enough to make a difference (Sessions + Hill was not much of a bounty). However this summer they acted plenty. They not only were willing to spend huge, but they also executed trades and signings which exceeded all of our expectations (yes – all of us – even Aaron who I complimented on the DH back risk, was still in favor of the deal). So, things have not worked out. Just like in poker, where sometimes you play the hand right and you still lose. The FO does not play the games, they do not control the injuries, etc.. Now – I am on record that I really did not like the FO decision made after the MB firing (see how diplomatically I worded that). However, if you feel that MD was/is the right guy, then I think you must give the FO a decent score overall.


  4. The Lakers need every bit of luck that is availed to them so please the 1st post on the Clippers and Lakers preview must be for Warren! The Lakers won 6 out of 8 games when we went to our lucky charm statement.

    Me thinks that Kobe will try to win the game by himself if the Lakers come out flat in the first quarter. He will not wait until the Lakers are down 10 points before he goes into Mamba mode.

    If the Lakers on this roster do not understand the importance of this game against the championship caliber Clippers then they do not belong on this roster. If I see one person smiling, laughing and gabbing between themselves on the bench during the game, my vote is to cut them immediately. Or send them to the D-league. During the 76ers game too many players on the bench were laughing when the Lakers were on the verge of losing the first game in 2013. The problem is not enough players appear to care about what it means to play for the Lakers.

    Lakers I exhort you to play this game like it’s the first game in a seven game playoff series. Bring the fire and passion and let the chips fall where they may.


  5. Kobe to shoot or not to shoot. He is not the biggest problem with the Lakers but it can’t be ignored even though he’s shooting 48% fg this year. When one player is shooting around 25 times a game it messes up team rhythm. Only when he’s hot and stays hot is when it isn’t a detremine to the team. Kobe is shooting 22 times a game. Say he drops that down to 16 there are 6 shots left. Say Meeks get 2 more 3 point attempts, Nash gets 2 more PnR opportunities with Pau or Dwight. And Pau gets a post up or is involved in high low action with Dwight. This is hypothetically speaking but at least 3 of those would be converted. 3 of 6 is 50% a few ticks higher than Kobe’s shooting percentage and it gets others involved more. Probably upping their activity level on defense in the process. Kobe could be a decoy on those plays saving some juice in his legs. Maybe leaving just enough energy to not let Holiday blow past him or that little bit of quickness to get around that screen to contest the Danny Green shot better.Could also have Pau make the 15 footer more often with a feel for the ball. I think Kobe can affect the game plenty of ways and the energy he uses on scoring takes away from his defense and rebounding. And sometimes the excuse about teammates energy level is just that an excuse. I saw LeBron vs dallas pass to battier for a 3 when Battier had no rhythm or points and LeBron was playing out of his mind. Sometimes all tammates need is the star players trsut and they’ll deliver. It’s no coincedence Fisher and Ariza in 09 was making all the shots from Kobe passes. It was because he was feeding them all year for those shots even in crucial situations.

    A game like tonight could be a stepping stone for a nice record in the next 5 games.


  6. @Chearn

    great points. waiting to see especially the face masks that Dwight and Gasol will have on


  7. Gasol has to be particular focused as the Clippers made highlight reels dunking on him. And, lets not forget that Chris does not like Pau for the head palming.

    This game could be the deciding factor for Pau remaining with the Lakers past 15JAN.


  8. Robert,

    Like I have often said, Kupchak gets the big things right. No one is questioning getting Howard and Nash. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But you and others tend to post things that imply that who is on the roster 5-10 is irrelevant; it’s not, and that would be true even if the Core 4 were rolling. And Kupchak’s track record there is very spotty, with Ebanks, Morris, Blake and Jamison being the latest examples. You keep banging on Sessions, but he is a better player than Blake, Morris, or Duhon. The Lakers probably have the worst backup PGs in basketball.

    When big names are available and there is a match, the Lakers have gotten them, including Chris Paul. But the failure to get a competent backup wing and an upgrade at the backup 1, and the fact that Kupchak got several backups with D issues (Jamison, Meeks, Hill)–is a real problem.

    I thought Jamison could help if played sparingly and spotted correctly, and I thought Ebanks could be sort of Trevor Ariza Lite. Kupchak probably thought so, too, but it appears that D’Antoni disagrees.


  9. Kevin….

    Fisher and Ariza have big hearts and played big in big moments. Tke Lakers need more of that from Kobe’s present teammates.