Lakers/Spurs: Toying with my Heart

Zephid —  January 9, 2013

My goodness.  It’s as if the Lakers take some sort of sadistic joy from building up our hopes, then proceeding to crush them viciously.  I thought I was ready; I thought I was prepared.  I tweeted before and during the game things like,


I thought that maybe the Lakers might, at best, keep it close for about 6-10 minutes, then get blown out in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and get a nice 20+ point thrashing on national television.  Since the team’s perimeter defense had been terrible for weeks, and the interior defense would be non-existent without Dwight, Pau, and Jordan Hill, I figured the Lakers would give up somewhere around 125 points and score nowhere near enough to keep up.

Instead, the Lakers gave us a genuinely good performance in a 105-108 loss, and almost as good as you could expect from a team so short-handed.  They still loss, and a loss is a loss at this point in the season, but this Laker season has gone so horribly awry that I feel like we have to take the moral victories where we can.  The Lakers had plenty of chances to win this game, but just could not close the deal late in the game, even considering it was a game that never should have been that close.

Tonight was a night where Live by Kobe; Die by Kobe was very much on display.  Early on, Kobe could not hit anything from mid-range, beginning the game shooting 2-9 and missing a lot of jumpers that he normally makes.  Plus, his defense was AWFUL, giving up three backdoor cuts for dunks/layups before the half.  Then half way through the fourth, Kobe started bombing threes 3-4 feet behind the line, or as I like to call it, Chris Duhon Territory.  Between his shot-making and several assists, Kobe helped bring us back into the game, but just couldn’t close the deal on a heavily contested three point shot to tie.

Metta World Peace had a tremendous game, going off for 23 points, 8 boards, and 7(!!!) steals.  Several of his steals were in the backcourt as well, fighting for extra possessions and earning easy buckets that the Lakers so desperately needed.  Highlight of the game was probably as Darius described it…

Nash was his regular self, racking up 9 assists and 3 turnovers, making several risky passes.  However he shot only 6-12, and several of his misses were head-scratching, like a reverse layup that he has made probably hundreds of times, and a jumper in the lane that barely grazed the rim.

The star of this game for the Lakers, however, was Earl Clark.  Clark, who had been getting only spot minutes for the entire season, came out and played with an energy and level of activity that had become uncommon in this Laker season.  Most of his games in Summer League and pre-season were of the “activity without achievement” variety, but he took the opportunity afforded to him by the injuries and played the game of his career, finishing with 22 points on 9-12 shooting, 13 rebounds, and some excellent defense.

The Lakers as a whole decided to turn on the D in the 4th quarter, holding the Spurs to 23 points while scoring 30, including holding the Spurs scoreless for six straight possessions in the 4th.  They were undermined several times by some questionable calls by the officials, but showed some fight and emotion that they hadn’t showed for the previous three quarters and basically the entire season.  But give credit to the Spurs, who as usual ran a fairly potent offense, led by Tony Parker with 24 points and 6 assists.  The Spurs unselfishness with the ball also murdered the poor Laker perimeter defense, shooting 12-25 from three, including four from Stephen Jackson (before he got tossed by picking up two technicals in about 1 minute).

Kobe said before the game that each game represents an opportunity to grow and to learn, and despite the loss, the Lakers hopefully have found some things that they can focus on and get better:

  • Earl Clark!  My goodness, maybe it’s lightning in a bottle, but anyone who can give you 9-12 shooting and 13 rebounds in 28 minutes needs minutes.  I know ESPN has him listed as a small forward, but his defense and rebounding at power forward and center helped keep the game within arm’s reach when Kobe wasn’t hitting.  If he actually can play small forward, he may be the wing defender that the Lakers could use to back up MWP.  His outside shooting seems to come and go, but his activity and defense are sorely needed.
  • Jodie Meeks got BURIED this game.  His recent shooting slump is probably to blame, but he’s bringing little positive to court on defense as well, and D’Antoni only saw fit to play him six minutes.  Even if his shooting is not on, he needs to bring the energy on defense every night, same as Darius Morris.
  • Antawn Jamison had a decent night if you ignore the fact that he missed all five three pointers he took and played god awful defense 50% of the time he was on the floor.  Jamison missed every single three and made every single two point attempt, while adding 8 rebounds, a block, and a steal.  I’ve said it time and time again: Jamison is not a spot up three point shooter.  He never has been; he never will be.  Using him as such is a travesty and giving away possessions to the other team.  If D’Antoni can find a way to get Jamison the ball on the move, cutting toward the basket, he is the best at making those unorthodox scoop shots.
  • The Lakers need to look themselves in the mirror and ask why they can’t play the type of D they played late in the fourth quarter every minute of every game.  Is it effort?  Is it intensity?  Is it focus?  Clearly, this is a problem with both players and coaching staff, because we see time and time again guys blowing their assignments, or sometimes being confused as to who to cover on a PNR.  Good defensive teams react almost automatically as a group, whereas it appears the Lakers have to think about every single defensive decision they make.  Who is to blame?  I cannot say, but the Lakers are not going to do anything this season if they don’t clean up their defense.


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to Lakers/Spurs: Toying with my Heart

  1. Metta played great, but that botched fast break late in the game and the blocked layup on him on the next possession were killers. Plenty of blame to go around. Biggest issue remains the defense. The Spurs had too many easy, open shots. But the Spurs do this to everybody. They move the ball extremely well. The open 3’s that the Lakers allowed were the difference in the game.


  2. A tough, but exciting loss. I took my 2 year old son and my 10 year old. First Laker game for the little one, umpteenth for the older one. All both of them could talk about was Kobe’s 3s and the double clutch spinning shot as he was falling away. Thank you, thank you, Mamba. You have 3 lifelong Lakers fans in us.


  3. Tra posted 5 mos ago

    Under the radar, but I like the acquisition of PF Earl Clark. He might be viewed as just a ‘throw in’ within the D-Howard Trade, but he’s athletic, young (24 yrs old), has excellent size (6’10) and a decent mid-range game/jumper. If utilized properly (especially considering the rumors that Howard will be out for some time @ the start of the season), he could be the ‘sleeper’ of this deal.

    As one can see from my post 5 months ago, I’m far from a ‘Creature of the Moment’ .. E. Clark has been relegated to ‘Bum Status’ without even being given a fair opportunity to produce. Glad to see that he’s taking advantage of the mins that are now available due to the injuries of Dwight, Pau and Hill. Hopefully, upon the return of the aforementioned three, he’ll be able to have his number called if any of them are not producing on the level that’s required (looking at you, Pau).


  4. A commitment to defense starts from the top and trickles down. I’m talking Kobe Bean Bryant. Dwight cannot be the only person who preaches defense. Plus, our biggest problems exist in the backcourt, especially on transition buckets. Kobe needs to step up his dedication to defense. I know he is a shooter and that is what he excels at, but he needs to allocate more of his energy to the defensive end of the court, and allow Steve to control a bit more of the offense. It’s the only way we’ll survive.


  5. Earl Clark, you have a future here in LAL..

    I hope you’ll be that backup SF.


  6. Formal

    I hope they found a starting PF. When was the last time Pau went 22 and 13? 2008 In Memphis.


  7. By the way isn’t that weird that the new Memphis owner is trying to trade Rudy Gay ($13 mil) and Tony Allen ($3 mil) for expiring contracts.

    On another completely different subject, very different, not connected.

    Does anybody think Dwight will sign a new contract when his expires?


  8. Personally I think he should be that backup SF.. I see where you’re going though Ko.


  9. Since I’m tired of Ken’s hyperbole/trolling of Pau Gasol…

    Since Pau joined the Lakers, he’s had 32 games where he’s had at least 22 points and 13 rebounds. The last time he did it was the opening game of the season against the Mavs where he had 23 and 17. A game he also had 6 assists and 3 blocks, by the way.

    As an FYI, Bynum did it 16 times in the same period as I referenced for Pau. This season, Dwight’s already done it 6 times. But he’s a bum too, so I’m sure everyone has forgotten those games.


  10. Darius you might not have understood the 2nd part if my post. I prefer to move Dwight out and put Pau back at center. Hence the expiring contract mention. I am a Pau fan and not a Dwight fan. Clark at PF with Hill fits the team more and Pau at center means ball movement etc. My point is since Dwight got here Pau’s numbers have gone way down as he is not a stretch forward.


  11. all i want at this point is the establishment of a culture that demands everyone to play HARD. the rest will take care of itself. i’m happy that they competed to the end.


  12. Great recap Jeff King (aka Zephid). Agree 100% on the observation on D. I personally think this particular observation below (from Zephid’s recap) pretty much sums up one of the biggest thing holding the Lakers back….

    “Good defensive teams react almost automatically as a group, whereas it appears the Lakers have to think about every single defensive decision they make. Who is to blame? I cannot say, but the Lakers are not going to do anything this season if they don’t clean up their defense.”

    Couldn’t be said any better. You won’t get consistent defensive success without a consistent defensive scheme (that the whole team is on the page with). I feel like when it comes to defense, Mike D’Antoni probably focuses on urging his players to “bring effort & energy”, a very broad & general direction, as opposed to very specific defensive strategies for various opposing players & game situations. I might be wrong (I hope I am, just for the Lakers’ sake) but I just don’t ever remember hearing MDA talk about defensive strategies & execution at the end of games. This once again shows MDA’s mindset as a basketball coach (I know you don’t have to be Eisenstein to figure that out). And this offense first and defense an after thought mentality will simply not take this team very far.

    Oh the Lakers are old.


    Then what about the Knicks.

    They’re also old, if not OLDER than this Lakers team. But somehow Mike Woodson has gotten the entire team to buy into his defensive mindset, including guys like Melo, J.R. Smith & Ray Felton…players who were never confused as All-NBA-Defensive guys. And then there’s the Jurassic Park era guys like Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd & Kurt Thomas, who all seem to be THRIVING defensively under Woodson.

    And the Lakers already have (or had until recently) guys like former DPOY Howard and Metta. Yes Howard is not 100% but I think 80% of Howard is still better defensively than most the NBA bigs any day. Metta is old but he still has great instincts & toughness. Kobe is a member of multiple All-NBA Defensive teams. Jordan Hill I think is a tremendous hustle player and above average athlete on defense. Darius Morris & Jodie Meeks has the youth and potential to at least hustle on defense. And after today’s game we know the defensive hustle & capabilities of Earl Clark. And yes, Pau is hurt, tired, etc. but he’s still a legit 7-footer…at least another big who’s still better than a big chunk of the NBA bigs out there.

    So I don’t know. Would someone like Mike Woodson be able to get more out of this Lakers lineup defensively than MDA? He sure did that in New York. Who knows. Looks like even MDA doesn’t seem to have an answer.

    FYI, in this season of perpetual uncertainty, I’ve been enjoying the really great posts & comments in here more than the actual games. Great stuff everyone.


  13. We really need some courageous slasher that can slash right infront of Kobe when he hold the ball for more than 2 seconds……seriously watching him standing there for 5 seconds just waiting is depressing because it usually end with a contested jumper or a drive to the basket looking for a foul.


  14. I understand that we are all looking for any sign of hope, and that we need young bench players with some athletic ability who can contribute–but some people need to chill about Earl Clark. There is not much in the guy’s track record to indicate that he can shoot well enough to hold a rotation spot. Maybe he will blossom and tonight was a turning point, but it also might have been a fluke.


  15. When the bigs are back, I hope D’Antoni benches Gasol. And hey, I’ve been a fan of his since I first saw him play in Memphis. This is a decision that will maximize our roster’s potencial.

    It seems preposterous to start Jamison over Gasol, but its one of the ways to get a combo of Jamison+Howard and Clark/Hill+Pau that should make for excelent frontcourt tandems throughout the game. At least D’Antoni could start all the big shots and then just split ’em up about 3~4 minutes in and then try and see what unit would be best to finish the game.

    I don’t actually expect Clarke to deliver on a nightly basis, but he does need some more minutes. Activity on defense and offense with screening, cutting and hustle.

    Oh and perimeter defense. This team has no excuse for being so awful on defense. And I agree 100% that it starts with leadership. D’Antoni and his staff, Kobe, Howard and Nash. All these guys need to step up.


  16. @ rr

    I cautioned as much in the previous thread, praising Clark, but acknowleding it was one game.

    However, I hope that after the three bigs return, MDA still finds a way to get Clark some minutes so we can find out, rather than wonder, what the answer to your either-or proposition is.


  17. Clarksanity is in full effect:

    Who knows, maybe this guy just needed a chance to play… if he can provide 10 mins of athletic play at the three a game this team might have found a important little upgrade.


  18. guys who can finish a fastbreak on this team:

    Kobe and Earl clark.


  19. KOOO, in case you missed it (ICYMI) we live in 2013. That Pau you are hoping for lives in 20010 and thus you my friend are in the wrong timeline.

    Pau Gasol, he is never the beast you want from your big man. His game is 90% finesse and 10% power. Yet for all his shortcomings on that department he has more than made up for in the finesse. There are times of the year when you need that finesse more, there are times that you just have to assert your height, weight and advantage.

    Please move on. I was preparing a rave post about our newfound gem Earl Clark, albeit its just 1 game, but I feel I need to stress this a bit more so I am putting you ahead.

    Your passion for the Lakers is unmatched and we need every bit of inspiration we could use right now. Be the poster that ignites debate but not discourages everyone, including lurkers from posting. Post something productive along with those criticisms. They just seem to me like all sleights and trolling rather than the intelligent person you are.

    The value of Dwight Howard, like him or not, is the face of the Lakers franchise. He was the guy we placed all our proverbial eggs into, and the next team will surely, and certainly be molded for his fit. I too don’t like Dwight’s inability to hit free throws, how he clowns and goofs, but such things are part of the package that is called Dwight Howard. Wasn’t too long ago I called him drama queen too. Check my tweets.

    But for the Lakers to be productive, including all of its members and affiliates, our goal has to be clear. I dare not say Kobe is an impediment to this goal because we all know a game lost by 30pts would have been a game lost by 60pts without Kobe. I neither hope to change or contain Kobe, I just embrace him for what he is.

    So should we on Dwight. We’ve placed so much faith in him to carry us.

    Again, in no way, shape or form was I trying to change you or stop you from being you either. I just believe there is a more productive way to praise Earl Clark than to sleight Pau Gasol, or to misdirect the conversation into Dwight’s shortcomings.



  20. The Dane, I know last night’s performance might very well be just an aberration of sorts, but I see some promise in Mr. Clark. And for that promise to materialize into anything, he needs more than the 10mpg you allow him to play every night.


  21. And if its not too much, my Clark praises reads below:

    Earl Clark played a complete game. 22pts, 9-12 shooting, 3-4 ft, 13 rebounds, 1 turnover and 4 fouls. His position is yet to be determined but I give him a full Trevor Ariza endorsement (without the 3ball range) with what I see. Listed at 6’10 and 225lbs, he moves pretty quick to be considered a typical big man but he has the rebounding knack that which is needed to be effective. Overall, I look at him as a tweener.

    For all that he’s not., he doesn’t seem to be a reliable shooter. He hasn’t attempted a 3-pointer, or he wasn’t allowed or he wasn’t on the floor enough for this to happen. But I like his guts jacking up 3 tonight and making one that was nearly the game-saver.

    For a few moments there, we hoped… we saw someone with passion and desire and activity… the defense was evident in his activity even though the stats (no steals no blocks) didn’t say. For all the wonders he did for us tonight, he was that glimmer of hope from the end of the tunnel that we can actually find something good from this stretch.

    Is he suddenly the team’s savior? Nope. But he is definitely someone that can insulate us of a deal sending out Pau Gasol. (Here goes WWL again). Him and Jordan Hill, might not be big time starters, but on a system like MDA’s those are 2 kids that can run and pace and play D.

    You gotta wonder if we have finally find our next Trevor Ariza and Shannon Brown. Gotta thank George Karl for it.


  22. Who knows what Clark’s ceiling is, but it is worth noting that Jordan Hill was considered a “bum” and no more than a salary dump until the very end of the last regular season when he was given an opportunity…..


  23. @Warren…

    He will need more minutes to develop, but when the chips are down (if the Lakers get to join the table this year) I don’t think he will play much more.

    Best case scenario would be lots of minutes now the other bigs are out, then slowly scaling back in two weeks, and… he keeps performing in a smaller role of the bench for maybe 8-16 minutes a game.


  24. The Dane,

    Thats where our views differ. The Lakers are in what I call as “no-lose” stage of the season. What’s the worse than can happen to us, lose twice in 1 night? Thus I say this is the time to give Earl Clark the chance to show his stuff.

    The 2 starting centers are out. The one thats most capable to replace them (Hill) is out as well. This might even be the only reason why we play Earl Clark. Buried to the bench next to Darius Johnson-Odom whom we’ve just waived, EC should’ve never seen action outside being on the wrong end of a blowout.

    I advocate seeing more of him. This was his coming out party, and it was very impressive. The need was dire, and he came to our rescue. Despite the loss, we won alot tonight solely because of the revelation that is Earl Clark. He deserves a mini monicker now btw.

    Clark’s performance, for me, insulates us from any Pau Gasol deal. We have seen the writing on the wall and I have come to accept that Pau needs to be traded whether we like it or not. That said, we now have someone that can give us meaningful 18-22 minutes backing up at SF and PF. And if we follow the trend of good teams league-wide, we can also start him to give us that early energy before a starter chooses to come off the bench and lead it. Actually, we started that trend with Odom. We just lost our ability to have a bench when we let Odom and Brown go.

    I bid for EC to get more minutes. A resounding endorsement for him to start next game. Performances like that just deserve a 2nd look.


  25. I am grasping at straws in the desert with no water Warren. I just feel the Lakers used to be competitive before Dwight was signed. Now not so much.

    As for Clark. Every Laker interviewed claims Clark has been doing this everyday in practice. Metta said Clark is usually the high scorer when the subs play the starters.

    Wonder how MD missed that part?

    I agree to start him Friday. Morris is simply a out of control train
    wreck out there and Clark at.least might make Durrant run around chasing him.

    Besides I think Clark is the only player left on the roster who hasn’t started a game yet in the MD era!


  26. Most of us agree that it is the defense that we need to work on most – i.e. we need better defensive rotations and we need to work together more so that players are not trying to figure out what they should do in crunch time.

    That said, it is hard to demand that of a team missing its entire front line rotation, with a coach who started after the season started and is known for his offense. With all that I hear posters and ‘talking heads’ claim the coach is the problem. There is no one thing that is the problem with the Lakers and there is no one thing that will fix the problem. It will come together this year, or it will not. The pot has been so thoroughly stirred by this time that we should look for improvement over time, not miracles next game.

    Maybe we are just not that good a team this year. Yeah, we have the horses, but when they are all in the same harness they don’t know how to use their individual strengths to compensate for their weaknesses.

    This doesn’t mean we give up, but stop with ‘the sky is falling’ kind of stuff.


  27. I’m all for defending Pau Gasol but you can’t defend 2013 Pau. He can’t run or jump. The guys body fell apart. He shot under 40 percent for Mike Brown and hasn’t done much better for MDA.


  28. Best Clark play last night for me was when he went for a layup, but then pulls up at the last second to avoid the charge call. To me that showed that he’s under control. Had that been Gasol, Gasol prolly ends up on the ground because the defender put his hands up. Less Gasol and more Hill (when he’s not limping or grimacing for something) and Clark and our D gets that much better, on hustle alone.


  29. Was very glad to see Earl Clark play well last night. When he was with Orlando, I thought that he moved well on the court and had the potential to be a good NBA player. It’s pretty simple, really. Clark’s play will determine his future with the Lakers. The need is there…if he can step up and play consistent ball, then he can force his way into the rotation. The Lakers need an unexpected infusion of hustle and talent in the worst way. Clark should be given a chance.


  30. WWL: As you are pointing out to Kooo, let’s try to be positive. However you must acknowledge that means different things to each person. You are saying we are in a “no-lose” stage * (which we might be). This implies that the season is over, so some on the site have not given up all hope (though the #’s are dwindling). Further, most of us are calling for a head or two. You are trying to banish Pau, everyone knows I never wanted D’Antoni. Kooo has his favorites. There is no difference – we all want change and new results : ) The good news is that you, Kooo, and others are still active and posting. As the losses mount up – you can notice some active posters are not : ) As I always say – we are all Lakers !


  31. The problem starts at the top and trickles down. There were clear expectations but no clear path to get there. I still don’t know who decided to fire Brown (the dad from a hospital bed? the son after talking about his great rapport with Kobe? Or Kupchak?) and I still don’t really know why or how they came to make that decision at that time.The hiring of D’Antoni was a mess. Considering how screwed up the whole PJ interview went, who really knows if D’Antoni had clear expectations of what could happen and who knows if anyone mentioned the word defense. And frankly, the Lakers defense has been a disappointment going back to PJ’s last year, so how much of it is coaches and not on the players like…Kobe? Kobe is certainly GOAT but he cheats on defense , so why should anyone work as hard on it if he doesn’t? Kobe is not a guy players rally around, so who’s going to convince guys to buy in? DH? Nash? Certainly not Pau. There are lots of excuses for why it’s been a rough year, but excuses are (or should I say were) for Clippers fans.

    Kobe’s got to sit down with the coaches and come up with a real defensive scheme and stick to it. It is still his team.

    DH still has some growing up to do, and there doesn’t appear to any real mentoring going on now.

    The offense will work itself out, because Nash will make sure it does, or guys will sit back and let Kobe throw up 40 shots per game.

    But if you cared about defense, would you have hired D’Anotni? (And please do not roll out some stats about D’Antoni’s defense. Numbers lie. All the time. Does anyone ever remember a coach complimenting a D’Antoni team for their defense?)


  32. Aaron it’s not a matter of defending Pau. He is like a 56 Chevy you have in your garage that the engine keeps falling apart. You have tons of money invested in it, you can’t sell it because it’s broken and you can’t drive it because it moves so slow and falls apart.

    Who really wants a $19 million dollar PF/Center who keeps falling apart and runs very slow? Might have to keephimm another year until he is a contract advantage to another team. So then what is your only other marketable commodity? The expiring contract of a guy who might not co-exist with Kobe and Mike and may never get back to being a super force at center.

    Unless of course you think Steve Blake is the missing link(it was Nash) and Lakers will go on a 40 and 9 run to finish 7th in the West.

    But then let’s all stop working and count on winning the lottery also.


  33. f Lakers hire MDA in the summer, we still have Mart Barnes, Goudlock, we don’t talk about making the playoff now. Clark should play more as SF because he can shoot 3, Jordan Hill should play PF, Gasol plays center until Howard back. Lakers with Kobe, Nash, Howard, Hill, Clark as starters are good enough to beat average NBA teams to make playoff. Lakers should learn from the game they beat NY in LA, don’t give the ball to Kobe at the end, Nash P@R with Howard, last night if Nash P@R with Clark , Lakers had a chance. Lakers had bad attitude to play defense under last year of Phil, they rely to Bynum and now Howard, so don’t keep blaming the current coach, i think Lakers need to play good defense in the 4th quarter (because they can’t play defense the whole game), teams will be tired, this is the time for Lakers to come back and win.


  34. Trianglefan: Good post. You do nt appear to be happy with the MD selection or his performance – especially on defense. You do not like the way it was handled and you put that on the FO. And finally you are not letting KB and DH skate on this thing either. They have to lead by example, and they are not. I have to say – IMO – you nailed it.


  35. I think Jim Buss is running this franchise into the ground. First, he didn’t bring back the only coach who could make this team work in Phil Jackson. Next, Buss brought in Mike “I Do not Believe in Defense” D’Antoni to run the show. Someone needs to ask Buss what’s next, trading Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol for tricks and a few treats? Lakers fans deserve much better than this…


  36. First of all, some of us don’t post as much because we have the same problems for a while now. How many times do we need to say that our defense is as bad as it gets? It has nothing to do with losing, it’s only about repetition.

    Now, what I’ve learned in my young coaching career is that teams don’t lose for one reason alone (unless you’re a Celtics fan and then you only have one reason for a loss every single time: the refs). Sometimes it’s defense, sometimes it’s rebounding or bad shooting, but it often involves a combination of all. And sometimes we have to give credit to an opponent who just had a great game.

    The problem I have with the current Lakers is that I simply fail to see what are they addressing from game to game. Are they working on offensive schemes? Three point shooting? Positioning? Are they working on defensive rebounding and outlet passes to generate more fastbreaks? Are they working on perimeter defense or inserting some sort of zone defense? I simply fail to see what has improved from game to game. Usually you either work the most glaring team need and then move on to the next thing when the results there are satisfactory. And working on those areas sometimes means that you have to tinker your lineups just a bit…

    Maybe we should have some sort of strong side zone. Maybe we should alternate Gasol and Howard at center. Maybe we should work really hard on pick’n roll defense.

    Yes, we’re lacking a wing defender but we’re also lacking on defensive hustle from our bigs (and Kobe). Maybe a four man rotation of Gasol, Howard, Clark and Hill will do the trick. Maybe we shouldn’t have trade for Howard. Maybe we should’ve traded Gasol when we could (and we did). Maybe we should’ve gone young and athletic two years ago. So much we could do… What I do know is that I fail to see improvement from game to game and I don’t know what’ they’re trying to improve.