Preview & Chat: The Houston Rockets

Darius Soriano —  January 8, 2013 — 142 Comments

Records: Lakers 15-18 (11th in the West), Rockets 20-14 (6th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 106.4 (6th in the NBA), Rockets 105.6 (7th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.2 (18th in the NBA), Rockets 103.1 (17th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Darius Morris, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Robert Sacre
Rockets: Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson, Omer Asik
Injuries: Lakers: Dwight Howard (out), Pau Gasol (out), Jordan Hill (out), Steve Blake (out); Rockets: Chandler Parsons (questionable)

The Lakers Coming in: As we told you yesterday, the injury bug has latched on to the Lakers’ big men and not let go. Since that report, Jordan Hill’s status has been clarified somewhat as he is also out indefinitely, to be evaluated in one week, with a partially torn labrum in his hip. So, if you’re counting out home: Pau’s concussion is sandwiched by torn labrums for Dwight (shoulder) and Hill (hip).

In non-injury news from yesterday, the Lakers waived Darius Johnson-Odom. DJO’s contract was set to become guaranteed on January 10th so waiving him now gives the team the chance to ensure that he clears waivers and have it all be official by the deadline date. Waiving DJO does open up a roster spot which gives the Lakers flexibility moving forward with the ability to sign a street free agent outright or get more creative with a trade should they need to take back an extra contract. My best bet is that the Lakers simply hold onto the open spot and reevaluate things when they get most of their roster back healthy. That said, depending on how long Dwight and Hill are out, the team may need to sign a big man to a 10-day contract to help with depth.

The Rockets Coming in: Houston has won 4 in a row and 9 of their last 11. This surge has them 6th in the conference and looking like a firm playoff team even in a crowded west. Principle to their recent success has been that Jeremy Lin and James Harden seem to be figuring out how to play with each other as the season advances.

In the last 10 games Lin is averaging 14.2 points and 7.1 assists while shooting 49.5% and Harden is averaging 29.5 points, 5.4 assists while shooting 48.9%. Getting that type of production — especially the shooting efficiency and the playmaking — creates the backbone for a dynamic offense where, even with two high usage players, the rest of the team is involved and engaged. The results have been the Rockets posting an offensive efficiency of 111.4 over this stretch, simply blowing teams out of the water with a fast paced approach that is difficult to keep up with.

Rockets Blogs: Check out Red 94 for good insight on this team.

Keys to game: With the Lakers missing the top three big men in their rotation they face an uphill climb tonight. As mentioned above the Rockets are terrorizing teams with their offense and the Lakers are lacking their best rim protectors. Furthermore, while it’s Lin and Harden that get the major headlines, the Rockets possess multiple quality big men who can impact the game on both ends of the floor that won’t have as much resistance facing a depleted Laker front court. Patterson, Asik, Morris, and Greg Smith all have advantages tonight that they wouldn’t normally have on nights with Pau, Diwght, and Hill healthy. There’s a good chance that this game gets out of hand early as the Rockets control the back boards on both ends and then use their guards to create good shots at the rim in transition and by beating their man in the half court.

The Lakers, then, must do everything they can to turn the game ton their favor. If it’s a battle of the backcourt, I still like the Lakers duo to be able to do serious damage against Lin and Harden. Nash and Kobe will need to carry an amazing burden this evening, but it’s what they’ve done their entire careers. Nash and Kobe will both need to be in attack mode, putting the defense on its heels and then either taking advantage by taking the shots they create or hitting the open man when the defense over commits. This will be especially important for Kobe as it will be easy for him to over compensate by looking to score more. But he should also realize that he’ll have shots available to him all night and if there are moments he can create an easy look for Sacre, Jamison, Clark, or Ebanks he should do it as those guys won’t be able to create offense for themselves too often in their individual match ups.

When Nash and Kobe attack, they need to also ensure that they’re not forcing the action so much that they commit turnovers. The Rockets love to change ends quickly and will take advantage of the miscues by turning them into easy points. If the Lakers can take care of the ball and make the Rockets score against a packed in defense, it will greatly aid in getting a win tonight.

Another defensive key will be every Laker hitting backboards hard to finish off possessions with a rebound. Clark, Jamison, Ebanks, Ron, and Kobe will all need to play big by hitting the glass and making sure that they secure the ball before they think about going the other way. The Rockets aren’t a good offensive rebounding team, but today they’ll have a size advantage that make them more of a threat. If the Lakers can control their own backboards, they may just be able to take advantage of an over-attacking Rocket team and counter them with transition buckets of their own.

In the end, I’m hoping the Lakers just come out tonight and play free. The expectations on this team were understandably high coming into the season but on a night like tonight all that goes out the window. No one expects the Lakers to win this game and if they simply come out, play hard, and let go of some of the burdens of the standings/a playoff chase/their season at large, they can turn that into some confidence and just play. Win or lose, it will be good to see them compete tonight and show us what they’re made of.

Where you can watch: 5:00pm start on TCW Sportsnet locally and NBA TV nationally. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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142 responses to Preview & Chat: The Houston Rockets

  1. For Warren.

    In Kobe we trust.

  2. Also, sorry to be off topic, but regarding the latest Garnett saga, did everyone know that KG once told Duncan “Happy Mother’s Day” knowing Tim’s mom died of cancer?

    Talk about crossing the line in despicable trash talking.

  3. Kobe Alert: Thanks for recent shout outs from Chearn, Vegas, Jayz and others. KB moved by Alex English on the all time games list with 1,194, for 29th place. He is now 2 games behind Dikembe Mutombo for 28th. He is closing in on Shaq as well. Kobes is only 24 FG’s behind English for 8th in that category. For Slappy: KB is bearing down on Paul Pierce for 5th place in all time 3 pt attempts. Normally it takes a while to catch an active player in front of you, so I thought this was a next year thing, but now KB is only 55 attempts behind Pierce. Further – he is only 65 attempts behind Wilt for 6th in all time FG attempts. Kobe is leading the league in All Star votes after three ballots with 1,177,456 votes. Added to his previous votes, this gives him 25,814,058 votes for his career. This puts him in – you guessed it – first place all time in this category, ahead of Shaquille O’Neal in 2nd. He needs 929 points to catch Wilt.

  4. Lakers by 7 tonight.

  5. Don’t forget Nash – 5 assists away from 10,000. Let’s hope the 10,000th assist is to Kobe.

    No expectation tonight; maybe that will help. Will be a unique challenge for Mamba and Gatsby – possibly the least talent at the bigs that either of have had in their careers. (And yes, I do remember Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm. Would really like to have either one of them right now.)

  6. Vegas – not to worry, with this lineup, I think the odds of Nash’s 10,000th assist to Kobe are unimaginably high.

  7. Robert,

    The Kobe Alerts are a nice plus for the site.

  8. Good energy so far.

  9. Clyde Drexler just said that Kobe’s defense is still ‘Outstanding.’ What Lakers games has he been watching.

  10. Told you! Lakers by 7?

  11. Metta put the ball in Nash’s hand on the break and YOU run the floor.

  12. This looks awfully familiar—only it’s usually the Lakers that come out flat when the other team is missing key starters….

  13. Why did he take Metta out. 2 3 pointers?

  14. The Rockets don’t have to play much defense if you come down and shoot the ball early in the shot clock. Especially, if you do not move the ball from side to side.

    Come on Lakers!

  15. Dwight and Pau are making absolutely no impact tonight.

  16. This is some kind of a joke, really.

  17. LA 5 for 9 from three in the first stanza is simply not sustainable over 48 minutes–but under the circumstances, on the road, sans the top three bigs….I will take it for sure….

  18. The defense looks bad. 10 point+ lead can turn into 2pt lead in a blink on an eye.

    They’re not playing solid DEFENSE, enough said.

  19. If only we could call winning the first as winning the game.

    Fun random game thus far.

  20. Now its vastly important that we have the same energy to come out of the 2nd quarter otherwise Houston’s running us over with momentum esp that we can’t stop the ball.

  21. Looks like Mike D was right about one thing.

    Jamison is as bad as he thinks he is.

  22. So Jamison is kind of answering his own question: Why doesn’t coach play me?

    His completely ineffective offence is only overshadowed by his completely incompetent “defence”.

  23. Have 1 one nash, kobe, artest on the court – why are we playing with this line up? #MD Coaching

  24. Vhanz,

    Lakers haven’t played solid D for the past 3 seasons. What made you think they would play lock down D tonight when their 3 bigs are out?

  25. A lineup that has neither Kobe nor Nash tells me everything I needed to know about D’Antoni. Incompetent. Useless. Loser.

  26. Quite possibly the worst possible lineup: Duhon, Meeks, Morris, Jamison, Sacre.


  27. and yeah Duhon and Jamison are terrible

  28. Its Metta that I wonder about. Injury? Oh it can’t get any better.

  29. I can’t believe I actually defended the D’Antoni hire (though acknowledging PJ was the best choice). This gut is so much worse than I could have imagined.

  30. Already said repeatedly—but have to say it myself–shouldn’t, no make that CANNOT have a lineup that doesn’t have at least one of Nash/Kobe/MWP out there like this…..

  31. But all I know is that MDA is just “buying” rest for Nash, Kobe and MWP. MWP, cmon not an injury…

  32. Jamison (-6) has played twice as many minutes as Metta (+9)

  33. Joe

    Hard to blame MD for the terrible bench brought in by the FO.

  34. Joe, can it ever go right with you?

  35. Just when you thought you saw it all, Kobe goes on facilitator mode to start the game. What a crazy season it is.

  36. I will be unbelievably amused if Nash’s 10,000th assist is to Robert Sacre.

  37. Now that we’re down by 1, after Harden bullies him with a forearm, watch Kobe be Kobe.

    58 points and counting.

  38. ReallyMD why isn’t metta on Harding?

    Who is not guarding Defino?

  39. Warren – this isn’t rocket science, so far I see a coach who doesn’t know how to use the talent around him. The lineups don’t make sense to anyone.

    I am also seeing a team that is getting more shots for Sacre and Clark then anyone else.

    Is there something I am missing.

  40. Is Ebanks dead?

    He can defend and hit jumpers, why not give him some burn with Jamison being completely ineffective.

  41. Joe they are doubling on Kobe and leaving Sacre and Clark. So far Sacre has been better on offense then Pau or Dwight!

  42. Hey, we’ve got the lead on a solid Rockets team on their home court, and without our two bigs. We’re doing something right. Love Nash’s aggressiveness and guys are playing with energy. Also haven’t turned the ball over as much as usual.

  43. Nash to Kobe from the Slam dunk.

  44. Congrats to Steve Nash 10,000 assists.

  45. Kobe can’t guard harden! Come on mike use your head or your mustach!

  46. Just like that. Rockets got the lead.

  47. I sometimes wonder if there is ever anything that would make anyone here happy.

    Halftime score: 62-59. Thats weird coz that it should be is 62-39 Rockets.

  48. Wow this is D’Antoni’s offense at its finest, especially considering the lineup. Credit the coach and Kobe for buying into this and not imploding the offense.

  49. There is no way the Lakers are going to keep hanging with the Rockets, they have no defense at all, none. Btw, the Rockets shot almost 70 percent that quarter, that is UGLY.

  50. Congrats to Steve Nash on 10,000 assists, 5th time ever.

    Oh and he is playing like Steve Nash tonight, I would like to see this type of aggressiveness when all starters are back.

  51. Is it really possible that a team without howard, gasol or hill has the lead at halftime? In a season where nothing has gone right, nothing surprises me anymore.

  52. KOOO, do not be ignorant. Kobe isn’t 26 and no one in the entire league can guard that move by Harden outside of Dwight collapsing on him. Even that is the best line of defense.

  53. Agreed Warren, as disappointing as the season has been I don’t see the point in turning this forum into a whine fest. Where’s the fun in that? It’s especially out of place when the Lakers are seriously undermanned and playing as well as they are today.

  54. Interesting

    With no Dwight or Pau out there only 6 turnovers!


  55. Don’t look now, but there’s a Lakers pride sighting.

    A little better defense, please.

  56. Warren don’t you feel Metta can do better? I am not and have never been ignorant!

  57. Before this game, at the end of 12 consecutive quarters, we have not had a lead.

    We just went two consecutive quarters with a lead. Without our 3 best bigs and 2 out of our 3 best PER players.

    Bizarro world.

  58. That is good D by Morris, if Harden makes jumpers, so be it.

  59. That is 2 possession in a row where Nash has thrown it from the backcourt up and then not been involved after, not good.

  60. Anyone notice that Nash just used a towel to wipe off his arm and armpits then passed the towel to MWP who proceeded to use the towel to wipe his face. Nice assist!

  61. they need to put sacre in the game – too small of a line up

  62. Everytime Nash runs the offence we either score of get a high percentage shot.

  63. Jamison cant shuffle his feet – is you looked at that replay he kept stumbling towards Lin

  64. Still waiting for the Mamba to be unleashed.

  65. If it comes down to it, we need to Hack-a-Asik

  66. That is not a foul, Harden just barrelled into 3 guys, you are allowed to sort of be on the Court as the same time as him.

  67. I think they need to change the rules regarding offensive players simply running into the defense – Harden, Wade, and Lebron all do this and what is the defensive player suppose to do – he does a forward rip through where he creates contact with the defensive player with his arms and because the ball is there its always called a foul even through the defensive player is either backing down or standing their ground

  68. Win or lose I Luke this team better then the other. Playing all out.

  69. This is shabby officiating from this crew over the last three minutes or so.

  70. @ Shaun – it is the very definition of incidental contact. The NBA has a rule about it, it states:

    “The mere fact that contact occurs does not mean a foul has been committed. Players are allowed to contact other players when reaching for a loose ball, or when performing normal offensive and defensive movements. The hand is considered “ part of the ball” when it is in contact with the ball and contact with a players hand when it is in contact with the ball is not a foul.”

  71. Houston will either outscore you or lose. Houston is on pace to score 115-125 points. Think the Lakers can get up there?

  72. Meeks and Jamison are just terrible signings by Mitch.

  73. Nash to the locker room. Any other bad news?!

  74. Houston’s just scoring every time down the floor now, running away with the game.

    What happened to Nash??

  75. Meeks has been awful in this game, and although trying hard, he has had few good games this year.

  76. Why is meeks – Im 4 inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter- than harden – guarding harden #MD Coaching

  77. Antoine Jamison is -21 in 18 minutes….that is freaking unbelievable.

    Honestly, why won’t MDA play Ebanks? Can someone give me one good reason, he appears active for tonight. Pride? Ignorance?

  78. Jamison doesn’t even look like he is trying.

  79. I’d kill to have a young Gary Payton out on the perimeter. This Rockets run has been entirely predicated on their guards getting to the hoop over and over.

  80. Again – why is sacre not on the floor – only 3 fouls – only played 20 mins

    same with metta and nash both are under 30 mins for the game so far

    meanwhile delfino is shooting gangbusters on us

  81. KOOO, I like this team better also. Any team that plays hard.

    Ebanks must be dogging it in practice in addition to having a bad attitude.

    Just think the Lakers could have had Delfino.

    Congratulations, Nashty on 10,000 assists.

  82. Delfino is terrible, shooting 28% on 3’s for the year, just hot this game (in part because he has been wide open, but also just lucky).

    Why did MWP insist on making Lin (a terrible defender) look like Lebron James there?

  83. So I get it. When Lin or Harden slip it’s a shooting foul on the Lakers, but if Nash gets hammered on his noggin that’s a no call? The inconsistency of the officiating beginning in late 3rd quarter is seriously starting to annoy me.

  84. The last 3 plays the refs have made 3 horrendous errors:

    1. They allowed the shot clock to be reset when the Laker knocked the ball out of bounds and never had possession;
    2. They called a ridiculous touch foul on Meeks to cover for it
    3. They ignored Nash getting tripped as part of their random foul call approach to the game.

  85. KOOO, I’m amazed at how you see the game in general. If you’re going to have MWP guard a 2, who are going to have guard 4s? Sigh.

  86. Meeks has been awful on D (surprise, surprise, I’m more surprised at those that are surprised) but he’s been rather ok on Offense. Who do you want there, Darius Morris? Sheesh, you guys don’t know how to lose.

  87. 9 point game feels like a 30 point deficit.

  88. Kobe, who has basically played the entire game again, is dead tired. He has played 40+ mins for > 5 games now. He has nothing left right now.

    How many 17 year veterans are being asked to carry this type of load, ridiculous.

  89. Lin driving the ball in and sacre fouls..times like these you miss Howard.

  90. The officiating over the last twelve minutes or so of this game is why this league has a credibility problem with the so-called “casual fan.”

    If we weren’t all die-hards that are used to this nonsense, but instead were some mildly-interested channel surfers, we would have changed the channel by now.

  91. Sweet, they finally called Harden for palming, which he does on every play.

    Nice that they called it when it doesn’t matter anymore, great ref crew.

  92. Sacre has been the only one who can actually set picks on the whole team including Howard and Gasol – shame on the stars and the coach for not focusing on fundamentals and manning up to his stars to do their job.

    This game is a micro-cosm of this entire season – at first things looked great – then we had some dumb-headed coaching decisions – throw a dash of kobe ball in – and absolutely zero defense (another 40pt quarter allowed,almost) and once again dashed hopes

  93. Why is Kobe still out there? Dude has no gas left.

  94. I’m just gonna make a bold prediction of whats to come: Kobe didn’t shoot the ball enough. LOL

  95. At risk of a premature post-mortem—-I would rather watch this current lineup play sub-.500 ball but play it this way for the rest of the year than watch what was going on before…..

  96. Looks like this undermanned Cinderella Carriage has turned into a rotting, smelly pumpkin. What a shame but….expected. Well, onto the next game.

  97. Oh you mean the guy who guarded Harden in the playoffs last year? Remind me how many points has the PF scored tonight? Much better to have Meeks and Morris guard him though. Clearly you never played organized basketball.

    I think you posts are great but when you are getting killed by the 4th best scorer you put your best defender on him.

    Thanks for the ignorant comment though. Wonder if my employees from the 3 companies I own agree with you.

  98. @mindcrime,

    Yeah, look at them the way playing on this game. They played hard even Ron are battling for those rebounds. Sacre, Clark, Duhon and Morris doing their limited thing. Meeks not hitting those shots but still what can you ask for. You live with the 3, you die with the 3. Jamison not good on defense, we know this when FO signed him in the offseason, right?

    The fact that these days are doomsday for us fans and these Lakers. We’ve been through this before.

  99. The way Ron has played this year he has value to a team but 2nd rounders won’t cut it this time around. Jamison and maybe Nash if the right deal comes along. Everyone should be available but Kobe and Howard.

  100. A MDA defender will have to explain playing Meeks 2x as much as Morris in this game. Meeks was a defensive sieve, and below average on offence. Meeks was good on D and average on O. Can both play the shooting guard position.

  101. this supernova has exceeded its mass and collapsed…. infinitely?

  102. Defense will always bea problem with this team. Lakers let rockets shoot 55% even though they made 47% themselves.

  103. Our defence is not being helped playing guys like Meeks over Ebanks or even Morris – D’Antoni still thinks it is about offence – we need D. Meeks is awful at it, we have better, but MDA doesn’t play them.

  104. Though ultimately what is killing the Lakers is pace, 91 possession are way too many for this team. They need to slow the game down or they will lose many, many games. Unfortunately, MDA will not slow the game down, so we will just have to keep this going until Jimmy admits this was a mistake and fires him.

  105. 2012-2013 – The Lost Season.


  106. This season Is a wrap I hope next year we can rebuild and get more quicker an athletic and keep Dwight. the way the league Is now we just can’t compete Athletically with the young guns I hate to admit it but Charles Barkley was right!! All the teams that the Lakers used to school have now surpassed them and even San Antonio has gone to a quicker younger more athletic team. Mitch need to do something before Kobe announces his retirement at the end of the season

  107. @vhanz

    LA outplayed HOU for three fourhs of this game—unfortunately, that twelve minute stretch from the middle of the third through the first half of the fourh was so lopsided in HOU’s favor, LA couldn’t survive it. Yes, I would rather watch the effort, hustle, passion, and at times chemistry than the dysfunctional strange underachieving nonsense that was playing out before.

    Don’t get me wrong, there is no substitute for talent, and Hill, Pau, and Howard are all much better than the guys who played in their stead this evening.

  108. Predictable loss, with 3 of our bigs missing.

    Played well for 3 quarters, then a case of offense going missing for 3-5 minute stretches and not stopping the ball going into your basket at the other end.

    Not getting any easier either, Spurs next..

  109. And another thing why can’t we stay between our man and the basket? why are we always caught collapsing on penetration and leaving wide open shooters? I don’t understand that D’Antoni must go

  110. The Lakers defense could not hold up in the second half. Houston scored on 11 straight possession in the third quarter when they went on their run. Second straight game the Lakers gave up 60 points in the paint. Spurs tomorrow, maybe just maybe the Lakers pull off the shocker.

  111. Cdog: Let’s hope it is that and not an every other decade thing.
    rr: Thanks. The day the Lakers ____________
    All: Perhaps this will amuse some of you. Are we better than 35% for our new objective?

  112. Lakers played well for half the first quarter tonight, then gave up 20 points in the last 4-5 mins of the 1st Q, 38 points in quarter 2, 28 in Q3 and 28 in the 4th.

    That being said, this is going to happen as long as we run the ball up and down the Court like we are showtime, we are not. Phil Jackson won by getting the Lakers to play a controlled half court game – this run and gun is just giving the other team extra possessions as we turn the ball over (a lot) and take bad, quick shots.

  113. Some family stuff has popped up, so there will be no recap tonight folks. Sorry.

  114. Missing the days of Nicky Van and Eddie Jones.

  115. Not Elden though, never Elden.

  116. KOOO, we get it. You’re a friggin big shot and u own half of LA. But to comment like that makes me wonder if You know that the Lakers have Literally no big men tonight.

    I wish you well.

  117. Simonoid, good lookin’ out on the first post but unfortunately I cannot play center for you guys.

  118. Adversity causes doubt and divide. Winning cures all and is interpreted as chemistry. For the longest time LA has had the superior team and tonight we had a frontrow seat to what many many teams have been agonizing for years.

    Complain all you want and be a part of the problem. I would much rather just be part pf the solution, though there isn’t much right now. Walk it off, sleep it off. Tomorrow is another day.

  119. All: Perhaps this will amuse some of you. Are we better than 35% for our new objective?

    I would say about 25%. Zach Lowe laid it out today. It appears that the following 7 will make it:


    That means the Lakers are fighting with MIN, UTA, and POR for the 8th spot. Seems unlikely to me that they pull that off.

  120. Bryant shoots TOO MANY THREE POINTERS for my liking, 2 for 8 in this game.
    Nash DOESN’T SHOOT ENOUGH, needed to shoot more in the 4th.
    Bryant & MWP both with 5 turnovers each, a sign they are forcing it too much.
    LAKERS SO SLOW & UNATHLETIC, at this point, having so many big guys is a redundancy.
    Lakers need to trade Gasol for 2 wing players…

  121. Its a lost season. We need to see chemistry build out there and effort shall give us occasional wins.

  122. Frustrating times. Good effort in the first half but wheels came off during a brutal 3rd quarter. Some fatigue from players who don’t get many minutes but leaky defense played a much bigger role. Post game interviews show the frustration that is hovering like a cloud over this team. Metta was subdued. Steve Nash sounded glum. San Antonio tomorrow night probably not an elixir for what ails this team either but if the Lakers can just put up a fight until this latest injury bug departs I would feel better.

    I would feel better too if MDA can learn to control his emotions better. His constant “bit into a lemon” facial expressions are not only tiresome but are a negative influence on the team. He needs to at least project confidence if not the stoicism that Phil displayed. And Time Warner Sportsnet needs to cool it with all the “Focus as a team” spots until the message more clearly aligns with what we actually see on the court.

  123. Warren. No just a old guy that has watched 40 years of Lakers. Kobe can’t guard Harden and score with 3 guys out. Just feel Metta could body up Harden and get in his head. Not that it mattered as they just don’t have the people or coach to stop decent teams. Just a lost season. Hope FO at least trys to improve that bad bench

  124. Warren: yeah, I guess this isn’t 2006 anymore.

  125. Warren….

    This too shall pass. Lakers have been good and in the hunt for a long, long time. If we can be spoiled by their success, we can accept that things can’t always go their way. It may take a while, but the Lakers will be back on top.

  126. again we’re doomed…..tsk tsk tsk

  127. Warren Wee Lim January 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Kenny T January 8, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    predictable loss. there was a good effort, i’m happy. build for the future, but the season’s not quite done, yet.

    Darius, i hope everything is ok.

  128. With or without their full lineup, this team simply doesn’t have a defensive identity. It really seems like the players are often confused about defensive schemes & rotations. An NBA team is more often than not a reflection of the philosophy of its coach, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that a Mike D’Antoni coached team (like this current team) doesn’t have a keen defensive know how.

    Defense often comes down to having a certain mind set, a certain attitude. MDA doesn’t have it (he never did in his coaching career) and as a result this team doesn’t either. MDA’s philosophy, if stripped it down to its core, is basically to outscore the other team, regardless of the kind of defense that’s being played by his team – that’s his basketball philosophy, that’s his basketball identity. And need I mention that no team in the history of the NBA won a title with just that black & white of an approach.

    I also think that MDA is a tad over rated as an “offensive genius”. What has he done without a world class pick n roll PG and some good 3-pt shooters? As the saying goes (which I actually believe to be a reality), ‘you live by the three, you die by the three’. And that’s what happens to MDA’s teams. Not a recipe for long term success in this league. You have to play inside out, especially if you have the personnel for it (like the Lakers).

    This Lakers team, with veteran players & two All-Star caliber big men, would have thrived on a system that slowed the game down, played methodical and intelligent basketball that focused on pounding the ball into the post as its first option instead of depending on high volume 3-pt shots from primarily pick n rolls. That would’ve also helped the defensive balance on the other end of the court since there wouldn’t be as many long missed shots leading to opponent’s fast break (which is hard to defend for an aging team like this).

    And it also has a calming effect on a team if they know where they can expect their shots to come from on offense instead of being in a constant helter skelter mode (like MDA’s system) where you just never know when your next shot is coming from. Also, when the offense dries up or when things get tough its always good to have a system to fall back on that focuses on ALL THE PLAYERS have an opportunity to make a play instead of just depending on your PG to create something on the fly.

    Very frustrating time for the Lakers. Hopefully the powers may be in the Lakers FO are looking at the trends that are becoming obvious every game. It’d be a shame to let Kobe finish off his last few years like this.

  129. The 38-year-old Nash also admitted he has seriously considered the possibility that the Lakers, despite all their preseason hype and championship aspirations, might not even make the playoffs this season.

    “That motivates me every day,” Nash said. “There’s no guarantee (that the Lakers make the playoffs). I think three or four weeks ago, people would have said, ‘Ah, it will get better.’ Now I definitely don’t think there’s a guarantee it will, so the only remedy is continue to work hard and give yourself a chance for it to get better.

    “(Nash) is a little more reasonable than I am,” Bryant said. “That’s how we kind of bounce off of each other. I’m as stubborn as a mule. I’m going to keep driving this thing forward and so is he, but he tends to have more perspective than I do.”

    Bryant, who last month became just the fifth player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points, took time to reflect on Nash’s accomplishment despite the Lakers’ predicament.
    “That’s incredible,” Bryant said. “You should kind of step back and look at the big picture of what he’s done. What, five players have done that? That’s amazing to come where he’s come from and to be able to accomplish that. You can’t lose sight of what that number means.”
    Bryant later tweeted, “I have to step outside of this frustration and say congrats to @SteveNash 10,000. Amazing accomplishment Wish we could have gotten u the W.”

  130. Kübler-Ross’ hypothesis was that when a person (and/or their survivors) is faced with the reality of their impending death, he/she will experience a series of emotional “stages”:

    I liken our Lakers with this one. Instead of death, its death to the championship hope. Its our proverbial death.

    Stage 1: DENIAL – It can’t be right? How can 4 future HOFers be this bad?
    Stage 2: ANGER – most of us have been past this stage and some are just starting.
    Stage 3: BARGAINING – We could’ve hired Phil! We could’ve hired Phil! (say it 50 more times)
    Stage 4: DEPRESSION – I see twitter and I realize this is the best place to look for depressed fans. Phil would’ve quit Zen himself.
    Stage 5: ACCEPTANCE – this is where quite a few of us (like me) are now. We have accepted our fate and we have moved on.

    Where are you? 😉

  131. Long time lurker, first time poster.

    Another tough loss to swallow, but it’s becoming expected really…

    But mainly just posting to send Darius my best wishes, hope everything is okay within the family, mate.

  132. hope Mitch is on the phone. for those who missed it check out the parody of save Pau on youtube. pretty funny.

  133. darius: hope everything is ok for you and your family.

    just when you thought we hit rock bottom, lakers have found a new bottom. at this rate we’ll be playing the chinese national team. good luck to that, right?

    probable went out the window with last night’s loss to the rockets.

    not likely will be the operative word in tonight’s game versus san antonio.

    definitely not will be the operative word versus the thunder friday.

    where exactly in china will the lakers be surfacing by saturday am??

    hope everything is ok for the buss family as well because there is a lot of healing and fixing to be done on the horizon.

    Go Lakers will be our mantra until there is no more lakers.

    Go Lakers !!!!!

  134. tviper, contrary to you I find that video insulting and ignorant of Pau Gasol – as a person and as a player. I trade him for his happiness and contentment, not out of desperation.

  135. GAME OVER


  136. Lakers kind of remind me of some of the old timers games. Bunch of hall of famers talking about their spot on the all time lists(points, assists etc) and then go out and getting run off the court by 5 20 year old from a AAU team in Iowa.

    Just go’s to show picking your team by reading their past stats over a cocktail will never replace knowledge of the game.

    Hope all is well Darius.

  137. Noone on the bench who can play defense. Some of the oldtimers who are starters may actually do a decent job on D if there were given enough rest during the course of a game. But since the bench cn’t play D and tends to lose leads if we have one, we can’t really rest our starters can we?

  138. Just so you guys don’t forget. Last night Dantoni at one point had Kobe, Nash and Artest on the bench at the same time.

  139. Pat’s post is correct in many respects. The problem with the Lakers is that they have too many guys in the lineup and on the bench who can’t play defense. They are sort of like a team of salespeople who mostly dress well and are very smart, but can’t close any deals because they all have really bad breath.

  140. @Warren – nice reference there to Kübler-Ross; but with all due respect to her, for this Lakers die-hard IT AIN´T OVER TILL IT´S OVER!! haha – I don´t see this as denial, just a view that there are games left to play and ANYTHING can happen; been this way since Magic and Chick taught me about basketball-
    As for tonight´s match-up…i´ll have the incense burning & will be doing those rain dances out back! ; )
    Go Lakers!!

  141. Where are you?

    I am between Stages 3 and 4. I am still hoping for a personnel/philosophical change or two that improves the defense (Bargaining) and I am very down about the team (Depression). I don’t like watching them, and unlike 2005-7 and last year, when my expectations were not high, the Lakers’ problems are also making it more difficult for me to follow the league in general and enjoy the competition in games in which I have no rooting interest–which usually comes very easily.

  142. Out of all the players that were available this summer, how did the Lakers manage to pick the one player that has fallen off the cliff. Jamison is worse than Michael Redd last year with Phoenix. He is worse than Grant Hill (whom has not played a game for the Clippers). He is worse than an out of shape Lamar Odom.

    The Lakers fortunes changed last season when they got rid of Fisher and Odom. It seems as though bad karma came with those two moves, of which the Lakers have yet to recover.

    Warren, I’m in the stage: It ain’t over till it’s over! Not until the fat lady sings.

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