Preview and Chat: The Miami Heat

Darius Soriano —  January 17, 2013

Records: Lakers 17-21 (11th in the West), Heat 25-12 (1st in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 106.4 (6th in the NBA), Heat 108.9 (T 2nd in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.4 (17th in the NBA), Heat 101.6 (12th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Heat: Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh
Injuries: Lakers: Jordan Hill (out for the year), Steve Blake (out); Heat: none

The Lakers Coming in: First things first, Pau Gasol will make his return tonight after being reevaluated today. He will come off the bench as he eases his way back into game form, with the implication he’ll likely start on Sunday. This, of course, is fantastic news. Pau has not had his finest year to date, but his talent is very much needed on this team if  they’re to accomplish the larger goals they’ve set for themselves.

Continuing with the happy theme, the Lakers have won two games in a row and are finally starting to show some consistent defensive fortitude. The opponents haven’t been the best offensive teams, but the Lakers have still been making the extra efforts and started to clean up their communication in a way that translates to any opponent. This is a team wide effort, but it’d be silly to overlook the value gained from Kobe taking a more active approach on defense (by guarding opposing playmakers each night). It’d also be silly to ignore that Dwight Howard has looked much better upon his return from his shoulder issue, showing more spring in his step and a bounciness around the rim that really helps the interior defense.

When combined with Earl Clark playing well on D and Ron continuing to be disruptive on whoever he’s being asked to guard, the Lakers are making strides on that end. Being able to sustain this effort is key and we’ll see if they have it in them, but the last two games have been a good start.

The Heat Coming in: Tonight represents the final game of a 6 game roadie for the Heat, a trip that’s seen them go 2-3 so far. Their up and down play has been a bit concerning, with coach Erik Spoelstra and LeBron James commenting about the team’s effort after a bad loss to the Jazz.

However, talk that like is quickly forgotten after a game like last night’s demolition of the Warriors. The Heat cruised to a win — leading by 30 after 3 quarters — ramping up their defensive intensity, creating easy baskets in the open court, and picking apart a solid Dubs’ defense in the halfcourt with strong execution.

At this point, I’d go into a discussion of who is driving the Heat’s strong play this year but that’s not really necessary, is it? LeBron James is having another phenomenal year, Wade is playing well after a rough start to the season, and while Bosh has seen a dip in his numbers it can be attributed to playing less minutes moreso than any decline in his game. With the addition of Ray Allen and the continued growth of Mario Chalmers, the Heat remain one of the few true contenders for the title and the favorite to get through an improved Eastern Conference.

Heat Blogs: The Heat Index does a fantastic job of covering this team from every angle. Check them out.

Keys to game: Normally the fact that the Heat are playing on the second night of a back to back and are at the end of a long road trip would be a key variable to this game. However, with last night’s blowout of the Warriors and the fact that this is a marquee matchup, there shouldn’t be any issues with tired legs or a lack of focus. This game matters to both teams and will be played as such.

That brings us back to matchups and who/where the advantages exist.

Defensively, I’m interested to see who starts out guarding LeBron. This season James has moved his game to the foul line and down even more, creating post up chances that lead to quality shots for himself and his teammates. His superior size and strength make him a load to deal with down there and whoever guards him will need to battle him for position and try to contain him in single coverage in order to avoid the types of passing chances that open up from double teaming. LeBron eats those chances up and the Heat become much more dangerous when everyone is involved. This isn’t to say that LeBron won’t operate from the wing too, however. He’s still a major threat in the P&R and the Heat run a lot of sets with him holding the ball above the arc while surveying the floor as cutters and screens operate along the baseline.

My sense is that Earl Clark will get the first shot on LeBron (and allow Ron to guard Haslem), but I also think starting with Ron on LeBron, Clark on Bosh, and Dwight on Haslem allows the Lakers defenders to play closest to their comfort zones (especially Dwight). We’ll see when the game starts, but the latter would probably be my preference.

I’m also interested in seeing Kobe defend Wade. While there’s a great respect between the two players, I’d also venture to say there’s no love lost either. These two have been the premier shooting guards in the league for a decade and whenever they go head to head the physicality ramps up and the competitiveness is brought out of both of them. Furthermore, Kobe’s been a terror defensively for the past couple of games but has done most of his work as an on the ball worker against primary initiators. Over the past two seasons, Wade has evolved into more of an off the ball threat, cutting and curling off picks first and operating as a P&R ball handler and in isolation second. Kobe mustn’t get lost off the ball, watching LeBron or Bosh work in isoation as Wade will find openings in the defense behind him by cutting into space and finishing.

Of course, while Kobe and Clark and Ron are important, the most important Laker on defense is Dwight Howard. Especially against a Heat team that loves to pressure the paint and then kick out to open shooters when the defense collapses. If Dwight can roam around the rim and protect the basket against LeBron and Wade, the Lakers wings can stay home more and not allow shooters to get the types of open looks they thrive on. The wings will need to limit dribble penetration and now allow straight line drives to the rim, but if they’re able to shade their man and funnel them to Dwight, the Lakers’ D will be poised to perform well.

Offensively this game comes down to a few factors.

First, the Lakers must protect the ball against Miami’s ball pressure. LeBron and Wade love to attack passing lanes and turn lazy ball movement into the types of live ball turnovers that become highlight reel baskets. Nash must also be aware of defenses trying to blitz him when he comes off the P&R, trapping him and knocking him off balance to force turnovers. In recent games, teams have gotten more aggressive with Nash (especially as the game goes on) and in any P&R that involves LeBron hedging, the risk of a trap increases.

Second, the Lakers must make the extra pass and then look inside for quick duck ins to Dwight. Against the Bucks, the Lakers started the game making these types of entries to Dwight and he was able to convert at the rim easily, fueling his energy for the rest of the game. Following this strategy again tonight will go a long way to taking advantage of Dwight’s size and strength advantage inside. I’m not advocating force feeding Howard, but keeping an attentive eye on hims and being aware of when he opens up for an easy entry is important.

Third, the Lakers must hit the outside shots that are made available to them. Miami is middle of the pack in terms of 3 point field goal percentage allowed, and can be overly reliant on their athleticism to recover to shooters around the arc after digging down to the paint to help. With Howard working inside (and Gasol, hopefully doing so as well when he comes off the bench), the Heat will likely help down low and then try to get back out to the wing to contest shots. The Lakers will do well to make them pay for helping down low by hitting the outside shots made available to them. Jamison and Ron, especially, will need to have their best efforts from behind the arc tonight.

The Lakers are really trying to build momentum and a win against the Heat would be a huge step in that direction. The Heat, despite some issues on the road this year, are still the champs and knocking them off would not only provide a boost of confidence but would serve as reinforcement that the team’s recent approach has them moving in the right direction.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TNT. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM

Darius Soriano

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227 responses to Preview and Chat: The Miami Heat

  1. I have a feeling that this team is constructed to beat the heat matchup wise.

  2. love ur work Darius. cant wait here…go Lakers

  3. @Formal. agree wif u pal…n e knicks too. Heat wil not be repeatin dis year #gut check#. i still believ in a laker miracle dis year…n i noe Darius does too

  4. I will be surprised if the Lakers win this game. They have NO answer for Lebron….AT ALL. Then again, most teams don’t. But what I will be looking for is for the Lakers to play competitive throughout the whole game and to have a chance to win late in the 4th quarter. If they can do that, then those last two games mean something. If they can’t and just get beat badly, then we know there is still some issues with this team.

  5. Tonight is Kobe’s 1200 NBA career game, here’s hoping the Lakers make it a good one with a win over the champs.

  6. I want to believe. Maybe I need to believe. But I’m tired of being let down. The Lakers are less healthy today than they were a month ago, and yet they tease us with potential.

    Against the Heat, there’s no reason to think that Dwight can’t dominate the middle, Clark can’t more than hold his own against Haslem, or Battier, or even Ray Allen if need be. Wade can be controlled. Nash’s weakness on defense is less problematic against an offensively challenged Chalmers. As for LBJ, I’d rather trot out MWP to defend him than any other player in the league, so that’s about as good as it gets. There’s reason to believe they can get it done.

    And then there’s the past two and a half months. There are 60 point halves by opponents, losses to Cleveland, and narrow wins against Charlotte. So there are plenty of reasons NOT to believe, too.

    How is it that I can believe that the Lakers can beat the Eastern Conference’s best team, even in a 7 game series, at the same time I believe there’s an excellent chance they won’t make the playoffs? What in the hell is going on this year?

  7. That link of Kobe’s interview with Chris Palmer is freaking hilarious. Its a must read. I almost crapped in my pants laughing at Kobes remarks.

  8. The Lakers absolutely need to win this game, for themselves, for their confidence, the Heat won last night but i feel they are ripe for the picking, the Lakers match great with the Heat and our front line is vastly superior. I feel good about this game. This could be a huge statement game for the Lakers going fwd. We will see…

  9. Joe M, Lebron is Lebron but MWP can make life harder for him, the rest of the team we match up really good

  10. The marquee matchups are nice, but I just want to see the Lakers win. They can’t reach .500 until at least their 42nd game. The Show has to crawl before it walks. What I want to see is focus and a game plan to beat the defending champs. The Lakers have had 2 days to prepare, while the Heat played last night. I’m curious to see what wrinkles, if any, MD’A has come up with. The Heat blitzed a good Warrior team last night, leading by 30 at times. They rested their main guys in the 4th and still had an easy victory.

    I’ll be watching Dwight and Pau with particular interest. The Heat are not that big but, as we all know, can really defend. Hope Pau is aggressive and that Dwight is focused and doesn’t get in foul trouble. Lakers can’t afford to turn the ball over. Miami loves to turn the other team’s miscues into fast break points. This is a game that I would love to see the Lakers refrain from the quick three…unless of course they make them all…:-)

    GO LAKERS!!l I’ve got a feeling that this one is going to be hotly contested.

  11. Could we delete this and start over.

    Is it too late…this one is for Warren! 2-0 thus far this year when the first post goes to Warren.

    Anyway, Lakers play defense and role players step up to contribute.

    EARL CLARK!!!! Defense, hustle, help the helper, block shots and do not get in foul trouble.

    Let’s go Lakers!!!!

  12. DWade had birthday party last night after game( today is Bday) hoping they tired themselves out.

  13. Funky
    Offensive challenged Chalmers? I think last week he hit 7 three pointers in one game.

  14. One other thing…I hate TNT games. Especially the ones where the Lakers are on the second half of a doubleheader. Invariably, the first game runs into the 2nd due to an overtime or just because of TNT’s excessive commercials. I once timed the vaunted, Emmy award winnimg halftime show, and found it was something like 5 minutes studio time and 15 minutes of commercials. I find the TNT halftime crew to be insufferable, so I simply don’t watch the pre-game or halftime shows anymore.

    I still get just a bit angry when I think of the excessive foul that Wade put on Kobe in last year’s ASG. That was a really bush league play. Wouldn’t mind seeing one of the Lakers putting Wade on his backside if he drives the lane…in a good clean way of course! :-)

  15. Finally: once Clips beat Minnesota tonight lakers go into 11th(with a win) and 2 and a half out of 7th. Houston and Portland are sinking as are Griz. I think Lakers can finish 6th with a reasonable run.

  16. But you see, this is the problem. Pretty much everyone is saying, we can beat the Heat because they MIGHT not be at their best tonight. Cannot rely on that because you know the Heat are ready to play the Lakers tonight, whether they played last night or not. Every team gets up to play the Lakers and it is not very hard for visiting teams to play in Staples. I still think we are underdogs tonight, but like anyone, I am very hopeful for a win.

  17. Kobe Alert: Thanks to Ken and PurpleBlood for appreciating my sense of humor on previous Kobe Alerts. Today, KB was voted as an NBA All Star starter for a 15th consecutive time. The total of 15 times being named as a starter, and the fact that they are consecutive, are both NBA records. His 15th overall selection ties him with Shaq for 2nd place all time, trailing only Kareem who was selected 19 times. He is currently tied for the all time lead, for the most actual starts with 13 (he missed one game). This game was made for him and he owns it, as he also the all time leader in points, field goals, and game MVP’s (tied with Pettit with 4). He was the leading vote getter overall this year, and that is the third time he has accomplished that – only MJ, Dr J, and V Carter have more. He is the leading vote getter of all time with 26,228,039 votes (Shaq 2nd). Tonight at tip off, he moves into 26th all time for games with his 1,200th. He needs just 41 minutes to catch Oscar for 14th in that category. He is an even 800 points behind Wilt.

  18. Hi Chearn, I cracked up seeing that comment. And for the record, we are 6-0. I dunno why I keep track but I guess the hope that springs eternal in me does take it very seriously.

    Gasol is expected to come off bench. MDA offered him the starting post back but he supposedly asked to come off the bench. THIS is the sacrifice we need to win. THIS is the Pau Gasol I like. THIS is the start of something very good.

  19. Robert, thanks for those stats. Keep us updated. Glad to have one in the house.

  20. Robert…thanks for the updated Kobe All-Star alert. Interesting, isn’t it, that the man has led in All Star voting the last 2 years when supposedly he is being passed by the younger stars in the league? All those votes can’t be from Los Angeles. Nice to know that so many fans appreciate #24.

  21. Win please?

    In Jesus name we pray, GO LAKERS!!

  22. Koooo: The telephone number you gave a few threads back was priceless. And your in-game witty comments is hilarious.

    Don’t hold back and keep those comments coming.

  23. KOOO, at 7.9 points per game, and limited playmaking ability, I’d say Chalmers is by far the best matchup Nash will have against any quality team in the league.

  24. Lakers win by 1 as James misses free-throw to tie the game.

  25. I believe Chalmers made 10 threes against the Sacramento Queens which was a Heat franchise record.

  26. Warren: 2-0 in the new season we’re thrown the wins in 2012 out with the stale champagne. LOL

  27. Dont blame fish January 17, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    This is it. The mostrar important game of the season IMHO. A W años we can start thinking big again. Lets go lakers!!!!!!!

  28. Just believe, have some faith. I really dont know what to expect in this game.

    Defense, hardwork, ball movement, rebound all in one for 48mins…

    Lets GO!

  29. Lakers need to attack the paint in this game, Heat have no inside presence at all.

  30. Reggie’s having trouble … might need to go clean up his pants after that Lebron dunk.

  31. This looks like a NBA team playing a high school team.

  32. R U Kidding Me?

    If the Lakers don’t wake up, Kobe is going into Mamba mode. And, he won’t play defense he’ll just score.

  33. Geez. Really, guys?

  34. That was an ugly 1:30…

  35. Not the start the Lakers needed.

  36. I am sorry but Nash just dosen’t have it. He really has slipped to a below average player. 3 TO, air ball. This guy is not an avarge PG anymore.

    Hate to say it but it is what it us,

  37. Started flat already smfh

  38. Ok—we get it, MIA has had trouble in the paint—but LAL is trying to force-feed the post WAY to much in the early going, which MIA is anticipating and thwarting—just play ball damn it.

  39. Well it was close for the first two minutes, then the Heat just put on the after burners.

  40. Heat are looking really sharp and hungry, just as expected. The Lakers can’t run their sets as freely as they can against most other teams. Heat are so aggressive on defense.

  41. Team is in chaos pj really brought the calm to the team. Lakers have been so out of whack in primetime games sincve pj left.

  42. Is it really this difficult just to score a bucket? Seriously?

  43. Lakers are lucky right now, Heat are missing wide open shots.

  44. Kobe is lucky Wade didn’t try and give him a concussion on that play.

  45. Joey Crawford … the NBA always pulls out the best refs for these marquee matchups, eh? (rolls eyes)

  46. Joey Crawford as a ref tonight? Oh boy

  47. Yes, be aggressive, Nashty! Tough being a pg with 4 players that need the ball and then get yours, too. Steve is not in game shape yet. Not elite anymore but the best pg we’ve had in years.

  48. MIA has only four points in the half-court so far—-just stop turning it over guys….

  49. I think the only time the Heat have scored is when we’ve turned it over. So here’s a thought. Stop it!!

  50. Hope we can cut down on those TOs

  51. Lakers taking bad quick 3′s and turning the ball over = only reason Heat have scored.

  52. Pau is looking re-energized! Just need to fix these turnovers…on pace for like 40.

  53. The D is looking pretty good but waaaayyy to many turnovers.

  54. First quarter Lakers with 8 turnovers leading to 14 points and Heat score 22 points in the paint, Lakers down by 4 but it could have been worse.

  55. Could have been worse, boy the Lakers have the worst point guard defense in the NBA off bench and starter, What was FO thinking to start season with these guys.

    They most make a trade to find anyone to play D in a league full of great PGs.

    Must.

  56. 10 freaking tos on 13 minutes is that a record?

  57. Pau for 3….wait…why???

  58. Please get Darius Morris outta there.

  59. If it wasnt for all those turnovers the Lakers would be winning by at least 10, Miami’s offense is shot down

  60. I like Dwight, Pau and Clark out there together

  61. Spoelstra always seems to have at least Wade or Lebron out there at all times. Maybe MDA should take notes.

  62. Now what

  63. How does Pau not dunk that off the great pass…

  64. We can beat these puds. No more TOs

  65. Pound the “&$@@&&@)@” ball inside!!!!!!

  66. Kobe is playing bad.

  67. They havent go thru Dwight once since he came back

  68. Shoot the stupid ball Kobe. Enough passing.

  69. This game shows that size doesn’t mean crap in this league anymore. It’s all about youth, athleticism, and speed.

  70. @Kevin_ Mamba´ll bounce back

  71. Lakers haven’t faced a team that is this aggressive in rotations…on top of that they are fearful because of all the turnovers they have already made…they are really unable to dump it inside. need to run a bit more PNR with Nash, to create mismatches, though they have been good in shutting that down as well.

  72. So the good news is the Lakers D looks so much better (for the 3rd game) that one is left with the only conclusion: that they just were not really trying that hard before.

    The bad news is they find a way every game to give the other team 20+ more possessions. Last game it was the boards, now its handling the rock like it is a greased pig.

    Still, you get the feeling that if they can keep the fixed things fixed, and then fix the things that are still ailing them than they are a contender. Question is can they fix all this stuff…

  73. The all time record for turnovers is 45, in 1971 by San Francisco. I think that one is safe.

  74. Stop passing Kobe. Crud ever pass is a turn over. Shoot the BALL

  75. Kobe is having a very off night. He’s not being overly agressive, but his shot is just not on right now. He also has 4 of the 14 turnovers although I wonder if Dwight should have one or two of those?

  76. purpleblood: i know just a bit to indecisive right now.

  77. It would be nice if they called some of Miami’s moving picks.

  78. @Kevin_ i agree

  79. How is it that Joey is still a referee in the NBA? Challenging a player (Tim Duncan no less) to a fight, and then tossing him when he just chuckles at you (from the bench) would seem to be just cause.

    Here he calls a phantom foul on Kobe (who is playing terrible on offence but setting the tone on D so I don’t care) and then he walks over to the scorer table BUT takes the time to look back at Kobe to see if there was a T he could also be calling…he is actually LOOKING to compound his error with another error. What a jerk.

  80. Seriously? Don’t call the 8-second count, with the entire building screaming it out? … up yours refs.

  81. Lakers playing well atogether. Great to see that carry over from last 2 games.

  82. It’s like an NJB team out there with the turnovers. Unbelievable.

  83. joey crawford is one of the worst refs in nba history.

  84. 4th TO in first half by Nash. Just stupid passed. Guy just kills the team with his bad passes, This just can’t continue. Guy plays like a 40 year old ex-player,

    Oh I meant 39.

  85. After this horrible horrible crapfest of a turnover filled half…. The Lakers could go into the half up! Some pretty good defense being played when they aren’t turning it over.

  86. Thing you have to notice

    1) they look better defensively and are showing signs on the offensive side as well.

    2) these guys just need time…whether its great players playing together for so few games, or new guys thrust into either bigger roles (Clark, Morris, Duhon) or new roles (Jamison) and trying to incorporate different styles even within the game and with different units….having so many injuries in addition to costing them losses has also cost them crucial opportunities to just play together. But you have to be at least a bit encouraged..

    3) Gasol has looked good…and the twin towers looked promising… wild game…

  87. The obvious: Too many turnovers. Nash in particular. Also, we’re trying to force feed the post too much. Kobe in particular. With that being said, we’re still up @ the half. Excellent half court defense and rebounding on our end has allowed us to stay afloat.

  88. Despite 16 turnovers and Kobe 2-9 with 4 points, Lakers lead at the half by 1.

  89. Which is going to happen first?

    (A) LAL figures out how to stop giving away the ball;

    OR

    (B) MIA figures out how to make a shot that isn’t a dunk….

    Liked the DH12/Pau/Clark frontcourt….

    First one to figure it out probably wins…..

  90. If it wasnt for turnoverpalloza 2013, the Lakers would be leading by 10 to 15 points. Miami is just flat and our D was pretty good.

  91. @harvey M – well put dude

  92. Joey Crawford: universally loathed by fans, beloved of Stern. In other words, the quintessential “company man” (read: Donaghy).

  93. Anyone watching the halftime schpiel? Why does Shaq insist on making himself sound like a petty fool any time someone talks about Dwight Howard?

  94. Mind

    Embarrassment to the game those 4 guys. And they get paid millions to look like fools.

  95. The reason the Lakers have been successful. Playing defense more aggressively and Kobe is been part of an offense. Kobe has to defer if the team is going to work at all.

    Miami looks disinterested, except Lebron.

  96. It’s amazing how terrible the defense gets when Jamison is on the floor. So many mix ups on switches, it happened at least 2-4 times in the first half.

    Nash two many turnovers because he’s telegraphing passes. He has to pass sooner to prevent getting trapped on the sidelines. Stop trying to make the perfect pass and just make a good pass.

    Coach please don’t start Pau in the 2nd half. Mike has a propensity towards changing the 2nd half lineup based upon the first half. Stick with Clark he and Howard are developing a nice synergy.

    Kobe is wearing down from playing defense. Expect offensive mistakes and no legs on shots.

    Something happened to Kobe’s finger, he’s trying not to show it.

  97. @ purpleblood..

    thanks… the only difference in this game, is that Miami has their identity and are playing their game (if somewhat poorly) to the max..defend, disrupt create TO’s…so that even though they are kind of being dominated they are in a game they should be down 12.

    Lakers conversely are just working out their identity as they learn to play together and adjust to even the most basic things.. how to get it down low now that their bigs who have struggled all year are starting to really dominate. very interesting game, tonight.

  98. In regards to Shaq, I’m in total agreement with you Mindcrime.

  99. Coach DA doesn’t know how to call a timeou! End of first quarter 5 seconds and end of half 3 plus seconds call timeout and get ball at half court to set up decent shot instead no prayer shots from half court.

  100. 14th GT of season leads the league Dwight,

  101. A little more energy and Lakers could blow this game open. But I’m not sure they believe enough in their offense to play instinctually. The team is very mechanical on offense against this good defense. The game is their for the taking but Lakers are reacting to Miami not dictating their terms.

  102. KOOO that wasn’t a goal tend. Was a horrible call.

  103. Why do the Lakers always look confused on d just stay between your man and the basket it’s simple damn come on guys!!

  104. Kobe and Nash outside shooting killing team,

  105. I truly despise joey crawford

  106. Some comically bad pro-Miami calls here. Par for the course, eh Joey Crawford?

  107. The refs are calling it one sided right now.

  108. Crawford’s crew has taken over this game in the third, and not in a good way—it all started with the bogus goaltend call on Howard and kept going from there—-

    By the way—that was no “great” defensive play by James on the “block” on Clark on the break—he planted his big right hand right in between Clark’s shoulder-blades and almost took his head off—-it’s comical–no make that inexcusable– how pro-Miami the calls are right now…

  109. Neil

    You are 100% correct. Worst game this year for Kobe. Yet it’s close. Lakers must be really good?

  110. That block by Lebron on Clark was a foul. He put his hand on the upper shoulder of Clark and pushed, then got the block. Of course EC would never get that call on LBJ. Nice effort by Jamison!

  111. Calls always go to the aggressor. Lakers aren’t playing aggressive their taking what Miami wants them to take. More energy helps and a adjustment from D’Antoni wouldn’t hurt either.

  112. Wade is a very underrated defender. He has completely shut down Kobe this whole game so far.

  113. Well it worked out for the best but LBJ had all ball up top on Clark, but he just threw his body into Clark and clearly and obviously pushed him in the back with his other hand.

    It is amazing to me that the refs think that LBJ running at full speed and flinging himself at the offensive player results in nothing more than incidental contact. Its a foul whether he got ball up top or not.

  114. Chearn is on point about Kobe. He is clearly tired from chasing around Irving and Jennings the last couple of games. He trying. It’s just not working for him tonight.

  115. I really don’t care if Wade is outplaying Kobe right now. As long as we WIN, that will be a smack in the face on Wade…

  116. BTW I don’t think Wade is doing any special on Kobe, I think:

    1. Kobe is missing shots he often makes; and
    2. This is due in part to the fact that he is expending a lot of energy on the defensive end.

  117. Its 5 on 8 today. The three blind mice in full effect right now. Calls are just so one sided right now.

  118. That is not even close to a foul. What a terrible call.

  119. So they call that bs foul on Nash, but let Ray Allen whack Kobe on the previous play. This is getting ridiculous.

  120. Kobe losing game for Lakers tonight,

  121. What the heck is wrong with Joey Crawford today?!

  122. Where was the foul!? Pau didn’t touch him!

  123. Lebron just does whatever he wants. It’s like child’s play for him. We have no answer.

    And ANYBODY on the Heat can guard Kobe. We really have no advantage at any position. Not even at C since we can’t get the ball in to Dwight and when we do, they just foul him.

  124. @Simonoid What do you mean today.

  125. Contrast the Lebron shoving Clark in the back and elbowing him in the head, with Gasol grazing Lebron’s left pinkie — one guess as to which one Joey called a foul.

    This is reminding me of what I hate about the NBA. Playing one of Stern’s marketing guys’ favored teams, with a good Company Man as the lead ref, is like playing with a stacked deck. And Reggie Miller, Stern’s little b*tch, cheering it all on from the announcers’ booth.

  126. What is Nash doing dribbling into double teams? James is so much better now then Kobe. Time to take Kobe out he is embarrassing himself tonight on national TV.

    Sad

  127. @ Kevin—calls always go to the aggressor—ummm…..the calls that are getting complained about here aren’t “aggression” calls—they are ticky-tack you’ve got to be kidding me calls—We aren’t complaining that LA isn’t getting fouls called on MIA—we’re complaining about the fabricated calls that are getting made every time MIA misses a shot right now….

    Fourth quarter–go back to Dwight/Pau/Clark-MWP and play big–see what happens…

  128. Wow – Kobe needs ot stop taking Iso shots against the heat – this has happened multiple times when we play them its like he wants to try to out-star lebron and wade.

    3-16 ugh

  129. Like I said before the game, Lakers have NO answer for James. NO answer. Heat are just the better team, they can turn it up on defense and get consistent stops when they want, the Lakers can’t do that.

  130. Kobe has been awful tonight. That’s really the difference. We need to keep it close and hope that it comes down to the final shot.

  131. This could very well be Kobe’s worst offensive game as a Laker since his rookie year. 3 of 16, 6 turnovers, 1 board, 1 assist. Even when Kobe’s shot has been off on nights he usually finds other ways to contribute: by rebounding, setting people up, etc.

  132. Joe. Ha – he’s a pretty sharp official. I just think he’s a little much of a rhythm-breaker in terms of blowing his whistle a lot. And problem for us tonight is his typical penchant for favouring the road team. He prides himself on not being afraid of making the unpopular call in front of the home crowd, and in my opinion, sometimes far too much so.

  133. Somebody needs to put LeBron on his ass. Nothing dirty just a hard foul. Stop the damn layup lines. At least a hard foul will justify joey’s whistle

  134. Sadly Wade always shuts out Kobe… Nash stops his dribble too much, pick and roll isn’t going to work tonight.

  135. For a team that didn’t run a pick and roll for 10 years, it now seems that they know no other way to initiate the offense besides a high PnR.

  136. mindcrime: Miami is getting those ticky tack calls because they are the aggressors. If Lakers went to the rack hard they’d get calls too.

    Lakers guards hounded off PnR while LeBron has free reign to off the pick to embarass our bigs. Players need some help tonight.

  137. Kobe just missed a layup…

  138. Kobe just can’t make any shots today.

  139. Kobe can’t even make a layup tonight. SMH.

    Finally! B2B buckets.

  140. I’m so confused right now. They are setting screens for Wade against Kobe and just straight holding him. Where the hell are the fouls?

  141. @Simonoid, as to what Joey “prides himself” on: no one is more in favor with Stern than Joey Crawford. What does that tell you?

  142. I say don’t get the ball to Howard, he is not a very good post player and misses to many easy shots.

  143. They woke the snake! Mamba out!!! Trust me on this one ;)

  144. Kobe may be heating up a bit, but even on that made 3 his lift was pretty weak, not that it shouldn’t be expected as we have him running around guarding the most active guys on the floor for the last 3 games because no one else on the team can. Dude is trying hard, in fact, if he worked this hard on D all year there is no way we wouldn’t be 4-8 games over 500.

  145. KenOak,

    Anthony has been hugging players all night. Still the Lakers are in this and can win. They just need some better offensive execution.

  146. Blizzard – I tend not to keep track of too many of those conspiracy theories, but they did a study a while ago comparing NBA official whistles for and against home/road teams and Joey is one of those who favour the road teams the most.

  147. Battier is doing his Fisher at the rim impersonation.

  148. Throw it down, Gasol

  149. LBJ…damn.

  150. But Kobe…damn.

  151. Kobe motherf@*cking Bryant!

  152. You guys saying wade is shutting down Kobe is ridiculous kobe has missed alot of shots he usually makes wade hasnt shut down mamba at all what game are you watching and unlike wade kobe is ding WADE 1ON 1when kobe get that ball multiple defenders are sent at HIM

  153. These officials are making some really frustrating calls.

  154. These refs are killing me, everyone knew it was off Bosh except the three of them.

    Incidentally, Jack is not leaving this game early.

  155. And the hits keep coming for this crew tonight…smh….when was the last 50-50 call that either went LA’s way or at least was a no call?

    And to think–there are dozens of trolls on live game feeds that are claiming LA is getting handed this game….

  156. … meanwhile, the avalanche of shake-your-head-and-laugh (because what else can you do?) pro-Miami calls continues apace.

  157. This Ref with the black hair is totally calling this game for Miami – its just like the green bay seattle game earlier in the year where one ref signaled touchdown and one signaled a touchback at the same time – its getting completely ridiculous

  158. Wade has had very little to do with Kobe’s performance tonight. Kobe is getting the shots. They just weren’t falling early. But they are starting to fall now.

  159. Lakers will lose this game if Kobe tries to do Hero Ball the rest of the game. More people need to step up.

  160. Win or lose, I would just like to see the Lakers execute good offensive possessions for the last 5 mins.

  161. 2 straight possessions, 2 awful possessions by the Lakers (Kobe’s shot was not his fault, got the ball with no time to work).

  162. Can you roll on the ground and then get up!!!? Then the blocking foul on Pau….

  163. Joey crawford should be fired

  164. Even in my sixth-grader’s girls’ league you can’t stand up with the ball without getting called for traveling—huge blown call—then Pau gets called for a block when it’s a clear charge….unbelieveable…

  165. Crawford phantom foul call DAGGER.

  166. Like to see Lakers record all time with Crawford as the ref.

  167. Allen travelled, not surprisingly, no one with a whistle cared.

  168. Shouldn’t a guy who has no plan for getting the ball down low with Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol against the smallest and worst rebounding team in the league lose his title as “offensive genius”?

  169. Joey Crawford making me pissed off. Nuff said…

    DAMN!!!

  170. Crawford’s only saving grace is that his crewmate, Zach Zarba, may in fact be, the absolute worst referee in any sport of all time.

  171. Crawford is a joke. But what is really killing the Lakers is their scattered offense. They are setting 15 screens up top trying create a driving lane or passing lane. Mike needs to draw something up out of this timeout.

  172. Joey Crawford doing Joey Crawford things.

  173. Mama there goes that Mamba!

  174. That’s A franchise player. Dwight or Nash?

    James makes those chokers look silly.

  175. Ron can’t guard anybody anymore.

    If the ball not in Kobe’s hands late Lakers don’t know what to do.

    By the way, D’Antoni might as well not have been on the sidelines tonight.

    Nobody was there to be Howard’s wingman all
    game.

    No way a Phil Jackson coached team would continue to fall apart late in games so much last 2 years.

    Spoelstra put ball pressure on Nash and completely took him out of the game.

  176. Lakers came into this game with no game plan to defend Lebron, you can’t defend him with single coverage, get the ball out of his hands.

    We will lose another game we could have won with better coaching and execution (see 20 turnovers).

  177. Howard missing fts ended the game fo the lakers.

  178. Gameover. Prediction came true. A competitive game, which the Heat would win. Good effort by the Lakers. They play like this the rest of the season they will make the playoffs.

  179. Steve Nash looks old out there. Howard couldn’t convert those free throws. In close games he is not really an option. They played with good effort. They just don’t have enough to get it done.

  180. Lebron would dominate us with one hand tied behind his back.

    Unfortunately, moral victories mean crap when you’re 17-22. A close loss would be ok if we were like 28-11 or something.

  181. I dont know why no one in the league has not pulled on oakley on lebron and just clocked him on one of his layups or dunks

    Miss the knicks of the 90s

  182. Heat’s entire offence is James and to a much lesser extent, Wade. How hard is it to game plan for that? Basically make anyone else on the Heat beat you. Terrible coaching, and the turnovers are inexcusable.

  183. @Zirk in your hypothetical scenario, are the refs calling a fixed game for Lebron, or no? Just curious.

  184. The Heat have been coasting lately but they turned up their swarming, championship-level D tonight like they did vs the Thunder, which is why I still think they’re the championship favorites.

    This version of the Lakers played as well as they could, but just aren’t at the same level this season.

  185. Nash is becoming more and more disappointing. What’s the point of setting a pick for him if he won’t or can’t drive?

  186. You can’t spot the defending champions 14 possessions. Terrible execution and a little help from the officials makes for a disappointing loss.

  187. Bad night for Dwight to shoot even more poorly than normal at the FT line: 5 of 13. If he makes 8-9 of 13 this is possibly still a win for us.

  188. Giving the current champs 14+ extra chances ain´t gonna benefit you in any way..
    Just one of those nights for Kobe -
    Take it easy y´all :-(

  189. Feel good story Clark is feel good no more. the guy can’t take 2 dribbles withuot fumbling the ball.

    Pau is done. But we already knew that.

    PJ gave this team so much confidence it’s incredible. He’s sorely missed.

  190. @Blizzard,
    With Joey Crawford’s crew, you never know!

  191. Great championship defense by the heat down the stretch.

  192. Lakers had their chances just could not get the stops when it mattered. 20 turnovers (leading to 23 Heat points) and Lakers give up a season high 68 points in the paint. LeBron was great.

  193. The Heat are winning the title again, ain’t no team beating them. James cannot be stopped, he is just incredible and is now a good clutch player.

  194. How did dallas get mike james and we have duhon and morris

    Dwight has no clue what post position is

    Nash has no legs

    Antoni has no clue

  195. I think it is hilarious how people say just knock Lebron on his butt. Lebron is like Walter Payton he hits you harder than you hit him, even when your tackling him. James is unstoppable.

  196. I truly believe if Phil was coach Lakers would’ve found a way to win. D’Anotni did NOTHING. Absolutely NOTHING to counter Spoelstra’s schemes. Mike Brown made LeBron work for it last year in LA. Difference was coaching tonight.

    Open Allen 3, open Wade mid range, LeBron open off screens while Lakers struggles for everything on their end.

  197. We have been ”Joey”ed yet again,though great game by James.They do not need ref help.Howard FT issue is large,Kobe looked gassed.

  198. Good effort tonight but the lack of scoring besides Kobe and poor defense as usual D’anton need to be fired

  199. Reminiscent of the loss to the Thunder, Miami just too much too deal with for the Lakers. With Ray Allen spotting up for the kick out, it’s almost impossible to defend James & Wade. This is the kind of firepower the Lakers sadly lack and it was all on display in the last few minutes. The last possessions featured a turnover by Gasol, a wild shot by Nash, and the real backbreaker was the horrible free throws missed by Howard when the game was 92-90. This is a true reality check, Lakers are a middle of the pack team, not so sure management should continue paying 100 million dollars for this. I think they over valued size and experience over speed and shooting.

  200. Lakers 20 TOs
    Heat 6
    Lakers 4 steals
    Heat 14

    Kobe and Nash 10 TOs no steals

    End of game Dwight bricks 2 and Nash his 1nd air ball of the night. Choke.

    The FO Shoukd ge held accountable for finding one NBA player to play defense as rhe PG is shameful.

  201. Coaching had nothing to with that…sorry…you are not going to beat a championship team playing at the top of their game (can Lebron and Wade play any better than that??) with a few bad calls thrown in for good measure….against a bunch of really good players who have played together what 15 complete games now (for the whole group). there were some bone head plays on the offence, too much one on one ball, by MWP and Kobe…but other than that, you can’t really complain…This team has never played a team that worked so hard to deny the low post block. they now know what they will face against Miami. I really don’t think anyone will be able to deny the post like them but the clippers, and thunder may be able to run some version of it.

    Other thing…Nash is Nash. not his best game, but he has is also adjusting to having the ball in his hands WAY LESS, and posting up others way more often, Other thing is Miami did an unbelievable job shutting down the PNR (truly phenomenal(….So I think its less about age for him and more about him adjusting to a way different way to play (that frankly uses his assets way less) and trying to deal with probably the worst match up for him, where you have a team that is probably the best in the league at shutting down the PNR.

  202. Wow, the officiating, the coaching, the offensive game plan all were terrible, yet the Lakers only lost by 9. It was a closer game than that. Although the Heat didn’t shoot as well as they usually do. That phantom foul on Gasol with Lebron going to the rim was totally ridiculous. Wow. Against the Heat, starting both Gasol and Howard would have worked. They just needed better spacing. On the post plays, ah… whats the point, that clown D’Antoni will never figure it out.

  203. I read rudy gay is being shopped we need to trade pau for gay and get more athletic the West is too strong to the lakers to be so unathletic

  204. Lebron has the ball…you let him go one on one

    That is enough to be fired right there

  205. Miami showed that Championship Level D tonight. It’s easy for everyone to say ‘get the ball inside to the bigs’, but the Heat effectively took away that option by trapping the entry passer, fronting the post, rotating quickly and then fouling when necessary. Pretty difficult to get the bigs off when this occurs. Speed and Execution was more prevalent than Size tonight .. Lebron simply proved why he’s hands down the best player in the A. Nothing more needs to be said.

  206. Kobe has the ball…instant double team by miami

    Is this rocket science

  207. I have to agree with Tra 100%

  208. Tra: Miami trapped off the PnR all night forced Nash to make a cross court pass to the corner (Ron) which is okay because LeBron or Wade are quick enough to get back and contest. Started in the 1st quarter and continued to end game. Lakers never did anything about it. Championship level adjustments could solve that.

    Kobe struggling all game. D’Anotni decides to run him off a screen for a 3. While Spoelstra is getting Wade baseline cuts and screens for mid range shots late in the game. LeBron taking bigs to the rack started in 1st continued all game.

    The more the game went on the farther away from the hoop Lakers shots were getting. Coincidence? No. Spoelstra coached circles around D’Antoni. Lakers were actually winning at half playing from inside and then Spoelstra did something D’Antoni didn’t do all game. Pick up the clipboard.

  209. size doesn’t work anymore. The F.O should realize the league has changed since the last time lakers won championship. We need to make a trade for younger and faster players who can actually keep up with guys like Lebron and Durant.

  210. the FO needs to Fire D’antoni and Mitch needs to realize that size is not as important In the NBA as speed and quickness are because the game has changed and trade for some athletes and shooters to surround D12 if he is gonna be your franchise player

  211. We don’t have the athleticism to double Lebron. if we do, someone is open. The reason they can double team Kobe and Nash is that they are the fastest defensive team in the league by a mile, perhaps the clippers have a chance to be that, but they are not there yet and I don’t think OKC has that kind of athleticism in the back court (not combined though Westbrook surely has the potential to match lebron and wade). No one else in the league will be able to do that to the lakers longer term.

    To me, and I dom’t want to be this over confident guy, I think the lakers are now on the way to being the 4th best team in the league. if they keep playing like this they will eventually pass Denver, Memphis, the Spurs, Houston and any of the other eastern teams. Getting by OKC, the Clips and Miami well that is out of reach for now. Don’t know if they can ever get there, without some trades, but we need to see how things develop as the time when they need to be able to compete with those big 3 is still some time away.

  212. If you don’t have any shooters to spread the floor with your 7fters, then they are easy to defend. Add to the fact that the two best 3pt shooters Kobe and Nash are old, Miami’s young legs sagged in and recovered back to their man preventing them from getting open shots.

    KOBE IS GASSED!!!!!!

    Nobody to step up offensively, so guess what Kobe is not going to play defense anymore.

    Nash and Howard look like they are not ready for prime time. Good players step up, they don’t step back.

    What happened to Jodie Meeks?

    Man, more people go in and out of the doghouse on this team than any team in Lakers history.

    Two steps forward three steps back…Lakers season.

  213. “Lebron simply proved why he’s hands down the best player in the A. Nothing more needs to be said.” Uh, when he’s barreling through players and getting all the calls, it’s pretty easy to be a ‘great’ player. Overall, in terms of defense and passing, he may be great. But let’s see how well he plays if every time he breathes on someone he gets called for a foul. As bad as some calls are in baseball and football, it’s nothing compared to the NBA. The refs are too influenced by who the player is instead of just making the calls. Because Gasol is officially labeled a ‘soft’ player, even if he gets raked in the face or arms on a shot, no calls. In the 4th, when Kobe made the long 2, Wade him his arm on the follow through, but no call. When Lebron ‘blocked’ Earl Clark on that drive, he pushed him with one hand in the back, but no call. Thankfully it turned out well as Jamieson converted a 3 point play. The officiating in the NBA has always been a total joke, and this game is no exception. It’s not the only reason why the Lakers lost, but despite how badly Lakers played, they still could have won if not for the horrible officiating. The coaching played a role, but that’s not going to change. We’re stuck with D’Antoni.

  214. Good post by Tra there. I do agree that more effort should have been made to get the ball out of James’ hands, but he is astride the league right now. It is what it is.

    Kobe forced a few shots in the the third, but as noted, he also missed a few that he normally hits.

    The next game is Sunday at 1 PM EST in Toronto. That is exactly the kind of game that will determine whether the Lakers sneak in or stay home. Toronto is not very good, obviously but they are young, they have some athletes, they have Kyle Lowry, and they will be fired up.

    And, unlike previous years, the Lakers NEED to win games like this.

  215. Calls to fire D’Antoni are silly. The Lakers played well enough to win but lost. That happens when you play one of the best teams in the league. I’m not into moral victories at this point — the team needs wins too badly for that — but this team is trending up, even after this loss. A push to get to .500 or better by the ASG is the goal. From there, they need to make a run in the 2nd half. Efforts similar to tonight against most other opponents will lead to a slew of victories. That’s hard to take on a night like this, but pushing for a firing that’s not going to happen is equivalent to banging your head against a wall.

  216. harveyM: Lakers can do something at the point of attack. They kept letting LeBron get a head start on screens on Pau and Clark. Nothing ever changed no different looks or anything. LeBron gets credit for his greatness, but he also took advantage of poor coaching.

  217. As to the “size” thing: while it is true that the rules prohibiting hand checks and allowing zones do favor speed and wings/points to an extent, the NBA is still and will always be a “who has the best guy” league. The two best players in the NBA at the moment happen to be two hybrid 3s, James and Durant. So, people are saying centers and bigs are passe, etc. I also heard that in the 1980s, when Bird and Magic owned the league. I heard it again in the 90s, when Jordan owned the league. But of course after Jordan left, who won? Olaujuwon, Shaq, and Duncan.

    The Lakers’ lack of quickness is an issue, but that is more age and lack of athleticism/skill on the bench than it is some massive trend the Lakers missed out on. If Pau were 27, Howard were 100% and Beno Udrih were the Lakers’ backup 1 instead of Chris Duhon, we would hear a lot less about that issue.

  218. I love you Darius but you are dead wrong D’antoni needs to be fired POINT BLANK I don’t care what you say ,anything can happen look at what happened to Mike Brown. This team had been trending downward since that sweep by the Mavericks and the onus is on the FO to get the right coach to lead this team and D’antoni is just not the guy not hiring phil was a big mistake and not being cognizant of where the league is headed as far as athleticism is unacceptable to people like me a laker fan since 1984 so i respectfully disagree with you and Stern nixing the paul trade really hurt us look what he has done for the clips

  219. I disagree that size isn’t important. We’ll see when the playoffs roll around and the games become a slugfest. Defense and rebounding win championships. You need size for both defense AND rebounding. Pau didn’t play too badly. He was beaten by Lebron, but some of those calls were totally bogus.

    You also don’t win by trying to out do what your opponent does best. In football, to beat a team with a great offense, you keep the ball out of the offense by playing ball control offense yourself, not trying to outgun them. The same applies in the NBA. It’s more effective to disrupt what your opponent is doing as much as possible. As good as their offense is, it’s not why they won last year. The Heat are a GREAT defensive team but their half court game is their weakness. Although they are a good three point shooting team, and have several players who can create their own shots, they have a very poor post game. Although Lebron and Wade can play in the post, their only true post player is Bosh. They’re also not a great mid range shooting team either. They also don’t have size. The Celtics exploited this and pushed the Heat to 7 games last year. The old and slow Celtics.

    It seems the Lakers were completely unprepared for the Heat’s defense, and made no adjustments prior to the game. Didn’t they see how the Heat were able to dominate Jeremy Lin last year when they played the Knicks? Doesn’t D’Antoi watch game tape? They should have always brought the ball up as a team, found out a way to break the backcourt trap by passing the ball up, which would have given them multiple 4-3 opportunities on offense.

    In the 4th, they should have taken the ball out of Lebron’s hands. He was the de-facto point guard for the Heat in the 4th. Force someone else to beat you. Also, another reason is that because he gets ALL the calls(blocking even if he rams his shoulders into you while driving, phantom fouls like the call on Pau, every touch foul, etc.), the Lakers defenders, especially Pau, were tentative in attacking him when he drove. So he was able to score at will. The only chance they had was taking the ball out of his hands.

  220. The fire Dantoni rhetoric will never go away…every loss will be his fault forever, no wonder the guy says he doesn’t take personal calls anymore..

    This had little to do with coaching. Dantoni was brought into maximize Nash, to bring some offensive dynamism to this lineup and to improve the ball movement. The need for Dantoni should actually be pretty clear after a game like tonight 1) this is a league that is moving away from bigs, toward speed and athleticism. and 2) while Gasol and DH are really great bigs, it is not clear that given 1) they will be able to just carry a team all the way anymore and they may not be skilled enough (DH) or young and strong enough (Pau) to do this on their own. And Kobe can’t do this on his own either.

    So the lakers only chance is to really mix it up. Run some post ups, try to use your size advantage when you can, and count on your offensive skill to bail you out and save team energy from time to time. You need a really flexible offensive mind to work that out and Dantoni is the very type of guy to do that, and one of the best offensive minds out there. This last week has shown the he has learned to be flexible enough in his thinking to try to make an offence that plays to the whole teams strengths, and that he has the skill to get a decent defensive efficiency out of a team as old and as athletically compromised as the lakers.

  221. ” pushing for a firing that’s not going to happen is equivalent to banging your head against a wall.”

    I totally agree. D’Antoni isn’t going anywhere. We’re stuck with him, so hopefully the players learn on their own to manage themselves. At this point, he is who he is. It’ll be a lot for the players to try to with by overcoming his bad coaching, but he’s going nowhere.

  222. what a nightmare this is, can we have a mulligan on the season?

    I hope FO doesn’t just sit on their hands and actually do something soon

  223. The Lakers are beginning to show some heart, and a semblance of an identity. Plus, they are beginning to be entertaining to watch.

    Championship or even going far in the playoffs feels might unlikely, but what’s the point of crying over spilled milk? This season is about figuring out what they’ve got, and whether any re-factoring can squeeze one more deep run in the Kobe era.

    There, the toughest elements are that: 1) Howard doesn’t feel like a guy who will ever be a dominant leader, yet his ego won’t let him be a #2 either; 2) Nash is skilled and a great leader, but is definitely showing his age. His ability to probe and attack is nominally diminished at a point when the West is loaded with GREAT, quick point guards; and 3) D’Antoni does not feel like a guy that will ever adjust his schemes to his talent or the competition. He is like the fast ball hitter, who really doesn’t care who’s pitching. I’m overstating that a bit, but not by much.

  224. Here’s the thing…Mike’s system hasn’t worked with any team but Phoenix, and with a pg that was at the apex of his career. At this point I’m sure that D’Antoni recognizes the difference between Nash then and Nash now. Over the all-star break, Mike has to devise a scheme that optimizes the 2013 Nash, the 2013 Howard, the 2013 Kobe, the 2013 Metta, the 2013 Pau, the 2013 Jamison and the 2013 Lakers bench. A coach that’s all about winning, does so by any means necessary. A coach with an inexperienced bench in games can use his timeouts for strategy and also for rest breaks for his players. Give a player a minute before the timeout to rest, the timeout and a minute or two after the timeout to get rejuvenated. The coach can also utilize the 2-3 zone on occasions to rest his players and also throw a wrinkle in the opposing team’s offensive rhythm. Just Win!

    Older, young and inexperienced or injured players have a tendency to be inconsistent, they play well 1-6 games. Unfortunately, the Lakers rely heavily upon a combination of all four categories of players. One game we get 14 points from Jamison or 20 from Metta, the next 12 points from Morris/Clark and the next game the Lakers get 16 from Pau or Howard. Then inexplicably they’ll all disappear at the same time and it generally occurs during high profiled games.

    This team’s basketball IQ is supposed to be above average, yet they are only making incremental improvements playing with each other.

  225. i still believe in miracles. This team is going to defy every odd this very season. Believe.