Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  January 18, 2013

It was an odd amalgamation of fits and starts for the first three quarters last night with the Lakers managing to hang in there despite a cuss-ton of turnovers. Credit an overall defensive energy and at long last, a willingness from Coach D’Antoni to let the guys play to their half-court strengths. Halfway through the fourth quarter, Kobe found his range and the world went electric for a few minutes. And then, LeBron happened and there’s only so much you can do about that. Love him or hate him, he’s a player in the prime of his supernova and at least for now, the championship goes through him, not through champions from the past.

In other positives, Pau Gasol returned from his concussion layoff and contributed effectively. Subbing in for Dwight Howard and subsequently playing alongside him, Pau was fed the ball early enough to work in his comfort zone. Again, credit D’Antoni for adjustments and also Nash – there’s a noticeable court chemistry between these two players, especially evident in some nifty screen actions. As far as Gasol being comfortable in any future sixth man role, that’s another thing altogether.

Over at ProBasketballTalk, our own Darius looks at the team’s recent progress and asks if there’s still enough time in the schedule.

Ramona Shelburne at ESPNLA looks at the positives and lessons learned.

Dave McMenamin, also from ESPN, has the rapid reaction to last night’s nip and tuck affair.

Kevin Ding for the OC Register writes that the Lakers don’t yet know how to be winners.

Jeff Miller for the OC Register looks at the energy and effort that was shown against the Heat.

Drew Garrison at Silver Screen and Roll breaks down Earl Clark’s newfound role with the Lakers.

Ben Swanson for SBNation imagines Dwight Howard as a standup comic.

Jeff Caplan at Hangtime Blog says the key is to feed the bigs.

From James Park at Sheridan Hoops – Kobe and T-Mac don’t see their one-on-one the same way.

Rey Moralde has last night’s recap for Lakers Nation.


Old prize fighter analogies have been done to death but there’s a reason they are used. One of my favorite fight stories was written way back when by Jack London, chronicling a journeyman who uses every last trick and still can’t beat the vitality of youth. The Lakers aren’t a team who’ll be able to run their way into the playoffs. Their best hopes lie in marshaling their resources and waiting for the right opening. The problem, is that they’re way behind on points right now and will have to expend an enormous amount of energy just to get into the round of eight. If they make it that far however, there will be some nervous odds-makers – it’s not often that the Lakers get to play the spoiler role. Up next, the Raptors on the road, Sunday.

Dave Murphy


61 responses to Friday Forum

  1. rr: This guy neil appears to be a lightning rod for your two favorite issues. Kobe and MD.

    neil: It has been a frustrating year indeed. I find a little humor helps at times. So whenever I talk about people being thrown under the bus, I always spell it Buss.

  2. @neil – In all honesty, I don’t see Kobe’s comments from last night as throwing anybody under the bus, unless I just haven’t heard/read it all. In McMenamin’s article, linked below, Kobe just seems to be saying some obvious truths, as well as admitting his own responsibility. I also thought Nash’s responses were spot-on.

  3. Kobe and MD both deserve some criticism. Neither is in this thing alone, however.

  4. Dave’s link:

    “I take responsibility for that,” Bryant said. “I allowed myself to be too big of a decoy tonight. … I’ll take the brunt of it because I should have been way more aggressive and not allowed myself to be on the perimeter. To have to take 25-footers all night long, that’s just not going to happen again.


    “I think what hurt us was Dwyane,” Howard said. “LeBron is going to get his points, but to be able to control Dwyane and Chris Bosh (who had just seven points on 3-for-10 shooting), we have a better chance of winning. Tonight, D-Wade had it going on offense.”

  5. Howard is a child. Why is he talking about Wade. Dude, if u make ur freethrows, ur team wins.

  6. Too much whininh right now. Most of us just trying to prove our own point of views without seeing other teams play. Heat had been their for 3 years and they do know how to play championship type of defense. Their 2nd half interior defense was really good.

    People will always wanted to speak out their frustration after a loss but didn’t even try to think that there is also a team trying hard to defeat this lakers.. Heat is not a team of kids. For those who were saying that Nash’ backup pgs were not nba players now, well, are you?

    Firing D’Antoni at this point if the season?! Well, try your head bang against the wall. Or try to replace yourself on MDAs place and tell us what is the feeling of being in that position.

    I’m also frustrated with this losses and I really hate Magic Johnson right now. You know what? because he is a HOF player and he’s been their in this situation. He knows what kind of problems the Lakers are suffering right now. Instead od showing some signs of positive attitude, his degrading this team and pulling them down. Well, maybe for motivation?! I really dont know.

    I’m just hoping that they can turn things arouns and hopefully they can make the playoffs. My friends right here are just trying my patience for months right now. Well, bunch of bandwagons who were Laker fans before.

  7. For those who were saying that Nash’ backup pgs were not nba players now, well, are you?

    On the other thread, I said “Miami is Miami and James is James” and echoed Dave’s comment that the title goes through South Beach and James. I know who the Lakers were playing last night.

    OTOH, Miami was at the end of a six-game trip and on a B2B, so if the Lakers were going to beat them, last night would have been a pretty good time to do it.

    And, no, I don’t think Morris and Duhon are NBA-caliber players, and if they are going to be on a roster, they should be 3rd and 4th string. Since Blake is still out, they should be replaced immediately if at all possible.

  8. Vhanz

    Not sure what your point is. We don’t get paid several millions a year like Duhon for instance to be bad. We as fans have and will support the Lakers either at the gate or via Time Warner by spending OUR money. Therefore we have the right to express our feelings and opinions. Many on the site have 20 years plus following our team and if we just sit back and allow the team to play far below their potential
    don’t we just become Clipper fans who excepted bad ownership and teams for 20 years.

    Laker fan expect to win and people who except below average play
    often except below average results in their own life. If that bothers you then I suggest not not participating. Play to win in life or don’t play!

  9. Ken,
    Yes, fans have the right to complain. It doesn’t make those opinions valid or, even more so, valuable to the conversation. I’ve been a fan for well over 20 years too. Have shelled out plenty of cash and supported the team in good and bad times. I support the team because I like the Lakers, not because it comes with the right to disparage them. To me, telling a fan to stop supporting the team because they don’t like fan entitlement is totally backwards. Why not, as a fan who hates the moves they make the disparages them at every turn, don’t you stop supporting them with your time, energy, and dollars?

  10. As an aside, I should have just kept my mouth shut. Why? Because I tire of the comments devolving into opinions about each other. The spirit of this site is to discuss the team. There are many perspectives on this team that are worth debating. Most things, though, are shaded in gray. I do wish more people discussed the team in this way, but since they don’t I just sit back and ignore a lot of what some people say.

  11. Well in other news, Pau Gasol may come of the bench now moving forward.

  12. Darius

    Many fans have a deep passion for the team they support as I do. If we see things that bother us should we not point out how we feel? Just as we might with our government. I may not agree with everyone thoughts but I respect their right to express it. That is the value and beauty of this site. I seldom comment on others, except when they feel that others opinions are not worthy or feel that us long time fans
    are “fair weather” and should just shut up. Isn’t that contrary to what makes sports so fun. Believing we can fix or help our team by expressing our concerns and offering thoughts on how to fix it

    Being a fan would be kinda boring if we were all robotic like and just
    sat and watched, win or lose and kept quite.

    If I am wrong then I apologize for my post.

  13. Mr. Murphy–the London reference reminded me (again) of one of my favorite shorts by one of my favorite writers, and was exactly what I’ve been thinking at various moments this year–especially with regard to Kobe—we need more than a steak right now though…..

  14. Who is D.A?

  15. i support pau off the bench…nash should stop giving fancy pass.. he cant do anything with miami.. he needs to work hard rather than being slow and fancy

  16. Random plea to blog commenters: can we PLEASE retire the “X is not an NBA player” trope? It’s stupid. If X is in the NBA, then he is by definition an NBA player. Your comment is as meaningless as a monkey flinging his own poop at his interlocutors.

  17. Im not into moral victories, but yesterday was great progress to becoming a great team. Putting Kobe on Primary scorers and making Kobe adjust to a more team oriented player has made this Laker team increase there energy and productivity.


    Two weeks ago with a slacking and roaming Kobe Bryant on Defense, the Lakers would have lost this game by 15+.

    Kudos to Mike D for noticing Kobe Bryant horrible team D and just making him guard the ball to hide the weakness. I think Lakers make 8th seed and make serious damage in the playoffs.

  18. Haha, y’all better stop calling me Mr. Murphy. As far as the idea of D’Antoni adjusting or not, I’d say it’s a work in progress. He does seem to be getting a better feel for some of the guys’ strengths though and in particular, Pau. Now, the argument can certainly be made that Nash was a big part of that with ball distribution but it’s all part and parcel, no? I haven’t been MDA’s biggest fan and was pretty clear about where I stood on the hire. But, I do see some progress. Still not wild about some of the sub patterns and I think it would be a mistake to keep Pau in a bench role on a permanent basis. As far as guarding LeBron – the whole league’s in that boat.

  19. Blizz,

    Random plea: don’t make references to “flinging poop” and “stupid” if you want to have a discussion

    As to the comment itself, I don’t see what the big deal is. I have nothing against Duhon and Morris; indeed, Duhon is known as a nice guy, and Morris gives a good effort. I just don’t think that they would make many if any other 12-man rosters around the league, I don’t think they would be rotation players for any other team in the league, and I think that is hurting the Lakers. I also think that there almost certainly are guys in the DLeague who are better than they are. If you disagree, make the case with specifics, because I can make mine with specifics if I so choose.

    Like I have said, the Lakers FO deserves credit for getting the big things right. They got Paul, they tried to get Williams, they got Nash, and they got Howard. But they have had trouble with the bench, and it is hurting the team.

  20. I’ve never thought I would say this at the beginning of the season, but we a chance to sneak in to the playoffs. Rockets lost again today and are definitely reeling.

    I don’t think any of the top four west teams would want see us in the first round. Especially with Kobe on our side.

  21. rr

    Well said.

  22. Ken has a point. We obviously love the team and want them to win, but when things are not going right, it is not out of line for us competitive fans to not only express our frustration with the team, but to demand for change, even if it probably won’t or can’t happen. So I disagree that what we say and may complain about is not valuable to the conversation. I think it is very valuable because I think it is fans like us that may make the FO think twice about just keeping things the way they are. Now you might say, well your just a spoiled fan who can only be satisfied if they win a title. Wrong. I am a competitive fan who wants the Lakers organization and team to do everything they can to win a title. We want them to make all the sacrifices they can. And with as much money as these people make over a fame of basketball, I don’t feel that is asking for too much.

  23. Jayz

    2 weeks ago I put it out there that Portland, Minnesota, Rockets and Memphis were going to sink big time and be .500 the 2nd half. Utah and Denver are too good at home and have strong benches.. Lakers playing 60% rest of season should end up 7th with a shot a 6th if they make a trade for a PG.

  24. I was wondering, have the Lakers won a game vs the Heat since LBJ and Bosh rode into town?

    If not, I think they’ve lost five straight vs the Heat.

    Can anyone confirm this?

  25. Ko: Houston, Portland and Minnesota have lost a combined 15 straight games. There is a chance for us to sneak in.

    I’m secretly hoping we land the Clips in the first round. That hallway series would be epic and plus it would be more favorable match up on our end.

  26. We all want to support this team. If I live in US, I wouls love to help them. Suggest, put my time, effort and whatever it takes to help the team. Telling to those players that they are not NBA players was like a smack in their own faces. Every basketball playet wants to be in the NBA. Man, that is everyones dream. Its like your putting them down and theyve wasted their life in this league for nothing.

    I can accept if someone will tell that they are 3rd or 4th stringers that will play garbage time. I know, others are fans for many years but that is the case. We’ve been fans for many years and that years taught has many things. Win or Lose, experienced taught us to be patient, frustrated, disappointed etc. We should still be careful with the words we used. Be tactful I think. We fans also are the elders. Former basketball players here in this site should teach developing players such as Morris, Sacre, Ebanks right? Not degrading them and put their dreams down.

    To be honest with you guys, Im from a different country. Maybe, we have different ways on how to treat our team but we still gave the same purpose for this team. Its just that I really hate those who says such things. Like Darius said, we still have freedom to express we just need to use exact words to explain it.

  27. R,

    They beat the Heat last year.

    KOOO, Jayz–hope you guys are right, although I have my doubts.

  28. Ko, R:Houston, Portland and Minnesota have lost a combined 15 straight games. There is a chance for us to sneak in.

    I’m secretly hoping we land the Clips in the first round. That hallway series would be epic and plus it would be more favorable match up on our end.

  29. Not sure if anyone else has said this, but MDA should have put Clark in for Pau with 5 left. IMO we win with Clark instead of Pau who is slow to begin with, but after sitting out 5 games had no business being in crunch time with the defending champs. Allen and James getting off shots that would have been more difficult with Clark in there. Love Pau but should have substituted, regardless of Pau’s feelings.

  30. rr, ah, thanks for that reminder.

  31. what’s all this crying?
    there’s no crying in basketball!
    Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    i’m not the kind of fan to cry when things go bad when they’ve often been good! you gotta take it all and then say, “eh, they stink right now” and smile. this team doesn’t stink as bad today as they did last week, and that’s all i care about. they played hard for at least three games in a row and DANG a DING DONG if that ain’t a change.

    Now! who’s with me?!

  32. Kobe’s recent comments were the same as typical blog commentors, at least concerning cutting and setting picks vs isos,,,interesting…

  33. Lol at TMAC saying that he and Kobe did not go together in Germany but heres the link saying they we together with Marburry and Jermaine O Neil

  34. Perhaps someone should remind Kobe as to just what his FG% was inside of 10 feet (he was 1-5 from 2-8 feet)(he was 6-10 from 18 feet and beyond)(for one more, he was 2-8 from 14 feet and in, makes on 4 and 13 ft shots, and misses on 2, 3, 4, 8, 13 and 14 ft shots). After that, kindly tell him for me that he had more TO than combined rebounds and assists. Oh, and Kobe, the other team does not have a human worthy of being called a C. So rather than worrying about you, you should have figured out how to have your bigs pound them down low. And by the way, Kobe, early and often with Dwight should be the motto. Will help ameliorate his wretched FT%, since early and often will not only get some in foul trouble, will also have the primary salutary effect of getting the team in the bonus early, so you and the rest can help make up for Dwight’s wretched FT% when you all get fouled attacking the basket.

  35. rr,

    Your analysis of this team is pretty spot on, but I think you are a bit too hard on Nash. To be sure, there have been some less than fabulous games by him of late, but going back to prime time Nash, he has always been susceptible to world class D. Just look at the 05 and 07 series vs. the Spurs, were there were many moments when the Suns and Nash were just ground to a halt, by a stifling defence schooled to smother the PnR. So I don’t think we can yet be sure where Nash is. Likely he is not where he was in 05, 06, but how much of a drop off there is, is still TBD. For one, he is ever the facilitator, looking to maximize others (and here the focus is mostly on Pau and DH) so I think a lot of the focus is there for now. Secondly, the team has not learnt how to maximize helping him, still figuring out how he plays and where they need to be, and how to run the PnR most effectively. And finally, this is a huge adjustment in usage for him. So much of what he did was predicated on him being “the man” and dominating the ball, that I think it will take a bit of time to get used to not having it, nearly as much. Don’t get me wrong I think the adjustment is necessary as he needs to conserve energy for the defensive side, especially in light of his age, and in order to not completely freak out Kobe, Pau and DH. I just don’t think we can say definitively that this is all that Nash has and that he is definitely quite a few notches behind prime time Steve.

  36. @ Ko & Jayz, I guess it’s how you want to look at things. Yes, Portland has lost 4 straight, Minny 5, & Houston 6. Yet our Lakers have not gained even one game on any of those guys over the last 10 games ((Portland 5-5, Houston 4-6, Minny 3-7, Lakers 3-7). Pitiful showings for four teams fighting for the 8th spot and a chance to face the Clips, Thunder or Spurs on the road.

    And don’t look now but Dallas is only one game behind the Lakers. They’re 5-5 in their last 10 games.

    Playoffs? Playoffs? Let’s see if Gasol can accept his new bench role, let’s see if Kobe & D-12 can stop their bickering, and most importantly let’s see if the Lakers can beat a non-playoff Eastern conference team on the road (Toronto) in their next game and take a step closer to a modest .500 record.

  37. Maybe dwight and pau dont have tape of themselves playing. The answer is always dump it inside…as if these guys are elite post players.

    Pau is good in fiba play because the refs dont allow people to push you off the the NBA he gets pushed way off of his spot.

    Dwight cant hit foul he rushes to get shots up before he gets hit. he cant protect the ball spinning to his left…his only real move is a right hand bull rush to the middle for a dunk or hook.

    Instead of the media telling the truth…its always about kobes shot selection.

    Dwight and pau together dont equal one shaq..just because your better than most at your position when the position is obsolete doesnt make your great. but these guys believe their own hype

  38. @marques, thank you very much and God bless for that comment.

    Now here’s my ill MDA Rant: For all the credit we might want to give MDA early in that game, it was his poor coaching (Not Lebron) that doomed the Lakers late. 1st issue: Playing Nash (poor defender) and Pau (another poor defender) together late was a bad decision. Team defense can cover for one poor defender however not for 2 very horrible defenders (especially since Heat went small). 2ndly: How does a coach explain consecutive offensive possessions where the opponent puts a full court press on the PG, force him to initiate offense with only 8 secs left on clock and no adjustment made?? 3rdly, while Kobe wasn’t making his shots all day, his shot making late put us in striking position; why not run plays for him??? Miami’s late game offense went strictly through their 2 best players (Wade and Lebron) meanwhile the Lakers had Kobe waiting in a corner while the Heat were using Nash to recreate the defensive clinic put on Jeremy Lin last season. (What is most disheartening is that there is film of the Heat doing this and MDA couldn’t game plan for it.) That should bother and Laker fans. Hate him or love him, Kobe being Kobe late won the Lakers 5 championships. Nash/Howard/MDA have zero rings between them and I don’t feel comfortable with them dictating terms. While an argument can be made that Kobe isn’t the same player, well that argument should apply to Nash too (who is much much older). I see Kobe as the best player and who is the only one excelling despite making the most adjustment. This coach needs to wake up and coach and utilize players the right way. one last word: Howard isnt Shaq, I am fine with finding him but constantly force feeding him will lead to TOs.

  39. With posting to sites like this a good rule of thumb is the same set of guidelines for behavior and tolerance that Should occur at the Staples Center. Some people love to be vocal, and cheer, and stand most of the game. Where others like to sit, look for celebrities, and maybe provide a golf gallery type clap when something really exciting happens. So how can these people co-exist? Well if the loud cheering guy uses profanity, and spills beer on people, he is out of line. However if the more reserved fan complains to the usher (mod) because the other guy is cheering, then they are out of line. There needs to be a medium. So let’s apply that here. Let’s not call names, not say that each other’s points of view are completely invalid, and let’s not complain about each other, either openly or to the mods. And please do not use the nuclear insult insinuating that someone is not a Laker fan or that they are a fair weather fan (as Kooo pointed out). I think Darius summed this up well when he was discussing Twitter recently. Follow or don’t follow – it is each person’s decision. The same could be applied here. If you don’t like someone’s posts – don’t read them : ) If you do read them and wish to respond that is fine too, but don’t complain/degrade the poster, focus on the content. By the way: If you are at a Lakers game and a tall guy dressed in black is standing in front of you. If you buy him a beer and start talking Laker stuff – he will probably be more than happy to sit down (well for a while anyway). If on the other hand – you say something like “Down in front” and call the usher over – you will be in for a long game : )

    vhanz: Interesting perspective. I “think” that people in some other areas of the world are less apt to openly criticize their team. Manu Euro football fans being an example. They drink, they sing, they cheer; they would rarely say disparaging things about their own team. However many US fans are spoiled. Some of them actually change their favorite team from year to year. The good news is that most of the people posting here and the guy running this site (Darius) are fully loyal fans of the Lakers for life. However we will have differences as to what that means. For example, I very rarely bash a player, but I often bash the FO and the Coach. Like you I feel that the players should be encouraged and cheered. The “Suits” on the other hand – they get paid to take my abuse : ) However others get bothered by my comments towards the suits (yes – I know Jim does not wear one) and then they turn around and disparage the players. Go figure. I do not like it when people bash players (especially Kobe), but I do not lash out at these posters either. In other words – to each, their own. And vhanz: No matter in what part of the world you live, Kobe Rules !

  40. @ mud, it was not the Germans, but the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor. At that point, the Germans already accepted defeat. The attack on Pearl Harbor lead to the nuclear bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima by the US.

  41. Manuel,

    mud was making a reference to the 1978 John Belushi film “Animal House” there. I think mud, whoever he or she may be, knows who bombed Pearl Harbor. 😉


    Good post. I have actually been trying to defend Nash, in that I think some folks here are criticizing him too harshly. I think he is doing fine, but I do wish that he would look for his shot a little more.

  42. .Good points above. I like your thoughts Robert. I never considered how other countries view negative criticism of their players. Being Italian and having a Serbian wife I thought all people yell and scream when they Teams do bad. Growing up in New York I thought it was my duty to yell at the Yankees and later the Dodgers and Lakers.

    Thanks for the perspective Robert. Got to go now though as I have to spend the day correcting my son’s school books to reflect the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor. Big job!

  43. Kooo: Always enjoy your posts. Also it is nice to know there are people out there who are even more annoyed by this season, than I am : )

    rr/mud: Somewhere a guy named Blutarski is starting a food fight

  44. Look

    We just need Nash and Gasol to transform into super Sayians

  45. Ken, I thank you for being a part of this site. Despite what people may say, you are a true passionate fan who doesn’t hold back what he truly thinks. You speak your mind and do not accept failure. We need fans like you. For those of you that bash Ken, Magic Johnson is the same way. He loves the Lakers, but will not tolerate failure. He is not just going to sit back and hope for miracles, he wants to express the problems, even if it means criticizing people, because he knows that is what can lead to better results. We do not mean to disrespect people and to be jerks, we just want to achieve results, and sometimes to do that in life, you got to be a little harsh to do that.

  46. Of all the things that I can think of blaming the loss to the Heat on, Nash and Pau are not two of those things. Again, 8-25 with 6 TO. And torched by Wade.

    And for the soul who said something about why didn’t the team feature Kobe late, well, there’s a simple reason for that. Watch the tape, since someone mentioned tape. After stinking up the joint for the entire game up to that point, Kobe got hot for 2-3 minutes. Then LeBron decided to guard Kobe. So Kobe’s whining post-game remarks are his way of saying that he doesn’t have the first step and more generally, speed, to cruise past ole LeBron, and given the height differential, he cannot exactly shoot over him either, so he’s gonna need some help, as the Heat have a Kobe stopper in LeBron.

    And I hate to say this, but I’m warming to ole LeBron. Love this quote:

    “I don’t need to ask,” James said about the switch. “I just tell him I got him. Or I don’t even have to tell him. I just match up and guard him and we match up from there.”

    I just tell him. Or I don’t. Gotta love it.

    Almost forgot, but for the soul who asked, why did Lebron go in for the dunk when he could have ran out the clock:

    “Those close to James say he’s very familiar with his statistics at all times. He admitted he knew when he was a point away from reaching his 20,000-point milestone in the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. And as the Lakers game neared an end, he was two points shy of tying a season-high of 38 points against the Houston Rockets on Nov. 12. With the game well in hand, James could have just run the clock out en route to the victory. Instead, he shot to the basket from the wing like Usain Bolt, slammed it hard like he did early in the first quarter and drew the foul with 5.8 seconds left. Free throw made. Season-high in points reached.”

    That’s all courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

  47. rr: Thanks for clarification. I have actually watched Animal House, but a loong time ago. Sorry I missed the reference. I am German, so I was surprised to a degree and wanted to make sure nobody mixes up the facts.

  48. Manuel–

    No worries at all. I need to remember that not everybody here is my age, so some of the youngsters don’t remember either Belushi or “Animal House” (and both he and it were very funny).

  49. I watched the OKC @ Dallas game. I watched a young Durant go 2-11 in the 3rd quarter and then turn it around in the 4th and overtime. Kevin went 13-31, 9 rebounds and 1 assist. His team told him to keep shooting it and he did in route to 52 pts for the game. Not one player on his team complained about touches or that he’s a ball hog. Has Kobe ever had team mates like that? No! The media and everyone else say that Kobe shoots too much, as a shooting guard mind you, and that he doesn’t pass the ball enough to others. Well, Durant had one assist and took 31 shots. Where are the complaints about no. 35 being a ball hog?

    When Kobe passes the ball to the players on his team, they miss wide open shots. They dribble around pointlessly and then pass him the ball with 7 seconds or less on the clock. Any basketball player knows that you do not pass the pass with 5-7 seconds left on the clock because the chances are high for a turnover. I wish that someone would go back through game tape and count how many times Kobe gets the ball in that position and factor those shots into his field goal attempts. Then while they’re at it, count how many times Bryant passes the ball to players that muff layups and can’t hit the broad side of a barn on jumpers.

    Lebron did not guard Kobe the whole game because it would have detracted from his effectiveness running the team. Yet, the Lakers are requiring a 34 year old player with 17 years in the league to be the defensive stopper and offensive weapon for the team. Kobe’s 17 years in the league were logged with 15 years in the playoffs, with 5 championships and 15 all-star game appearances missing one year due to the lockout. Contrast that with say Jamison’s 15 years in the league with his team making the playoffs one year, and an all-star appearance twice. During his career Antwan has never been known to be a defensive stopper. All of that says that Kobe has had an incredible career and should not be required to play defense and score in order for the team to even have a chance to win.

    There are too many players in the NBA, D-league and overseas that could play defense for the Lakers and get the occasional put back. Battier, Tony Allen, Bowen, Batum, Dudley, etc. have been capable defenders and opportunistic scorers. When will the Lakers get a player with young legs to fill that role?

    No team wants to see the Lakers in the playoffs regardless if they have home court advantage or not. The Lakers have players that may just get unstoppable on offense and just enough defense to make it a long series.

  50. Gasol, who helped the Lakers win back-to-back championships alongside Kobe Bryant, stated why he should continue to remain with the first unit.

    “I’ve never come off the bench in my career,” Gasol said. “(Thursday) was my first game off the bench with the Lakers, maybe a couple other games due to injuries, but that’s it. I’ve been a starter my entire career. I’ve been a star starter my entire career, so I want to continue to be a star starter.”

  51. It looks like the Lakers are finally figuring out what they are as a team. The last three games have seen Kobe actually play defense for extended periods and other players get a chance to shoot the ball. They slowed the pace of the game down against the Heat and gave themselves a chance for the win. If they continue to make incremental improvements they should be able to put together modest win streaks and even find their way to the playoffs. Hopefully they keep trying to keep the game slow and not put up quick 3’s. Along these lines, it would be great if Pau never again takes a 3 in the first 15 seconds of the clock.

  52. Sloppy, how did LeBron stop Kobe? On the only 2 plays drawn up late for Kobe (with LeBron Guarding) he scored. Once again it would be nice people actually watch games with objective eyes. MDA played straight into Miami’s hands. If PJ was running that team, he would have had Kobe bring up the ball and run the offense through the high post (with Pau). All I know is Kobe tied the game at 90 and on the next possessions Miami forecourt pressed Nash and Lakers got into their offense with less than 8 seconds on the clock each time. That’s poor coaching and has nothing to do with Kobe.

  53. *fullcourt

  54. Thanks Joe. You said expertly how I feel. Lakers have been my longest relationship and I only want them to be the best they can be… Sometimes I get upset with my 8 year old son and criticize him when he does things wrong. It certainly dosen’t diminish my love for him. Dosen’t mean I am always right but does mean I want him or them to do the best he/they can possible be.

  55. The only way the Lakers will get to where they need to get is by improving the talent on this team. I think we have seen enough to know that Nash isn’t a savior. We need a good Back up PG. Steve Nash has been horrible. Let’s be real. He can’t defend and he has been a TO machine lately; worst of all Miami using Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen and some unknown 2nd year player to pressing him into submission. Strange that the media hasn’t caught on to that. How does a PG who can’t defend and refuses to be aggressive on offense get a pass from the press?

  56. Pau seems to be putting himself before the team with those comments. And is probably as frustrated that his body won’t do what his mind is telling him. I’m sure plenty his frustrations have to do with his declining play on top of his role in the offense, but hopefully he comes to grip with his current form, adjusts and starts playing better. If not Mitch has to stick to his word, right?

    LeBron fans have some bragging rights. He’s embarrased Kobe and co. past 4 years on national tv. As to Kobe’s role on offense and defense the workload he has shouldn’t be as heavy but d’antoni can’t scheme so kobe has to pay the price with more wear and tear.

  57. Chearn,

    Excellent. Bryant is so polarizing. He sometimes shoots when he should pass but he’s been more right than wrong considering his track record. I rather he concentrates on not giving the opponent momentum with some of his passing decisions. However, he’s one of the few on the team who seems to understand how to deliver the ball to the post.

  58. If Gasol was still a star, nobody would question whether he should be a starter.

  59. Gasol is a star. In Spain. We don’t play in Spain.

  60. Interesting read. Gasol – in very limited minutes – has a 27 PER at the center position. The discussion of lineups here is very interesting:

    Nothing ground-breaking – most of it is stuff we have all theorized, but now with firm numbers to try to measure the extent of the impact. The numbers would suggest that Pau and Howard are still both elite centers. Pau’s trade value, however, is based primarily off his atrocious play as a 4, and so his trade value is lower than it should be. If he is traded, a team trading for Pau at the 5 will likely end up with the better of the deal. But if you have to do what’s best for the Lakers, the numbers would suggest that a 4-out lineup (for 48 minutes) with any other player on our roster would result in a vast improvement. Addition by subtraction, as cruel as that sounds, as Pau simply gives up too much defensively at the 4 in today’s NBA.

    What the numbers show to me – and many Lakers fans will find this hard to swallow – is that it might be wise to wait until the offseason. It would mean giving up on this season. But if Howard leaves, the numbers show Pau can still likely be an effective 5 (although I will admit this is contrary to the “eye test” in my case, as I thought Pau’s low post game had diminished greatly). To keep both right now would lower the risk of ending up with a centerless team in the future. On the other hand, if Dallas makes an unwise decision and trades this season (as Cuban has promised recently) and eats away their own cap space, it’s reasonable to gamble that Howard will have no place to go but LA. In that case, a trade this season might present very little risk, as compared to the alternative.