Preview and Chat: The Toronto Raptors

Darius Soriano —  January 19, 2013

Records: Lakers 17-22 (11th in the West), Raptors 14-26 (12th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 106.1 (6th in the NBA), Raptors 103.2 (12th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.4 (T 17th in the NBA), Raptors 104.8 (25th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard
Raptors: Jose Calderon, Landry Fields, DeMar DeRozan, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson
Injuries: Lakers: Steve Blake (out), Jordan Hill (out for the season); Raptors: Andrea Bargnani (out), Linas Kleiza (out), Jonas Valanciunas (out)

The Lakers Coming in: Though the Lakers lost a tough game to the Heat in their last contest, they’ve been playing better of late. Their intensity on defense has led to better all around play on that side of the ball, with fewer breakdowns resulting in more consistent performances on that end. Dwight Howard’s had three rather impactful games in a row, Kobe (despite struggling to contain Dywane Wade) has spearheaded the uptick in perimeter pressure, and the team has successfully been able to hide Steve Nash on non-threats who haven’t been able to hurt the Lakers. Whether this strategy can show long term success remains to be seen, but it’s certainly their best formula to produce good short term results.

Offensively, they remain a high functioning work in progress. The team is running many more high P&R’s with Nash and Howard starting to build the chemistry they’ll need for long term success. Kobe is working well off the ball, getting catch and shoot chances that he’s capitalizing on. The role players seem to be finding their niche more and more. That said, there are still things to be concerned about that need to be worked on.

Pau Gasol has to find a consistent role sooner or later. In this offense he seems to do his best work as a distributor from the elbows and as an isolation worker from the low block. Neither of these options are part of D’Antoni’s primary actions and must be integrated into the flow of the offense more consistently to get the most out of Pau. In the last two games, Steve Nash has gotten trapped more coming out of the P&R and that’s led to disruptions to the timing in the sets and made creating good looks harder. If the Lakers are to be at their best on O, they must sort out how to deal with increasing ball pressure on Nash and find ways to use Pau’s full skill set. If these things don’t happen, we’re only going to hear more rumblings of people (mainly Pau) questioning their role and late game struggles like they saw against the Heat.

The Raptors Coming in: The Raps have lost 4 in a row and 6 of their last 8 against a pretty good slate of teams. Like the Lakers, they’ve been hit with the injury bug this season, with prized rookie Jonas Valanciunas breaking a bone in his hand, Linas Kleiza missing time with a sore knee, and Andrea Bargnani out with a sore elbow. The Valanciunas injury probably hurts the most solely because he needs all the court time he can get in order to grow as a player by learning the NBA game.

Even accounting for the injuries, however, this team has underperformed this year. Before the season started there were hopes this team could make a push for the playoffs, with a solid roster mix of veterans and young prospects. This, though, hasn’t been close to happening. While there are individual players stepping up (Calderon, Davis, Amir Johnson) and others taking incremental steps forward (DeRozan, rookie Terrence Ross), this team simply hasn’t found that elusive chemistry they looked to be building last season. They look more like a team that has two of everything at each position and haven’t quite yet figured out how to play together to maximize the roster.

Whether they sort it out this year remains to be seen. When Bargnani first got injured they looked to take a positive step forward (with calls to trade the former #1 overall pick coming soon after), but have since had that recent skid. They do look like a better team without Bargnani (who has plateaued as a player) and maybe a move is what’s best for them. In the end, we’ll see if they decide to try and deal some of their assets to better position themselves for the future (they’ve already traded next season’s 1st round pick for Kyle Lowry) or if they’ll try to make a push before the end of the year. Either way, this team looks to be one in transition that needs to figure out who they’ll be in the coming seasons. Getting healthy will help, but so will some direction from ownership and the front office.

Raptors Blogs: Check out Raptors Republic for all your news and analysis on this team.

Keys to game: The early start throws a monkey wrench into any sort of analysis about this game. Because while there are X’s and O’s to discuss, there may not be a more important factor to this game than how the Lakers respond to playing a game at the time they’d normally be having a shootaround.

In year’s past, the Lakers have done alright adjusting to these early starts, but there’s only so much history can guide you here. The Lakers have turned over their roster by so much that there are only a few Lakers who have actually played this early contest before (Kobe, Pau, and Ron being the main ones). Coming out with the right amount of energy and sustaining it through the entire contest will mean just as much (if not more) as any sort of tactical variables that are part of the game plan.

That said, execution will matter. The Lakers must find a way to get the ball inside early and often to take advantage of Davis and Johnson in the paint. Both are having good seasons and both are capable defenders, but neither have the sheer size or length to battle Howard and Pau down low for the entire game. The Raps will sub in Aaron Gray, but his lack of quickness can be exposed in the P&R and in transition, so Dwayne Casey will need to be careful in how he deploys his burly back up center.

On the wing, the Lakers would be wise to take some of Kobe’s advice by moving him around more and working him into spots on the floor where he can be a threat without having to do a lot of work to create his own shot. Quick post ups, back cuts, pin downs, and ball reversals where he can catch and shoot are all preferred over isolations where he has to beat his man and then deal with help in order to score. Even though he will have to isolate some, the team will be much better off getting him the ball where a quick move leads to a shot rather than having him handling the ball looking to create his own above the three point line.

Defensively, I fully expect the Lakers to continue to cross match. We’ll likely see Kobe on Calderon, Ron on DeRozan, and Nash guarding Landry Fields. And while I think these are matchups that can work in the Lakers’ favor, one thing to watch is how Kobe deals with the patient attack that Calderon directs. Kobe will have to navigate countless ball screens while on the Spaniard and will have to find ways to harass him through those picks in order to not let Calderon get to his spots where he can both hit shots and create looks for his teammates. Calderon is an excellent — though selective — shooter and one of the better set up men in the league. If Kobe can’t corral him, the Lakers’ D will be in for a long day.

Lastly, the battle of the benches will be big in this one. While injuries have hurt some of the Raptors’ depth, they still bring some talent off the pine. Kyle Lowry is a bulldog on both ends of the floor and has the ability to change the tempo of the game with his attacking style. Rookie Terrence Ross has a nice jumper and can be an explosive finisher in the open court. Alan Anderson also brings some scoring punch to their second unit and must be marked when he’s on the floor. If the Lakers’ reserves don’t bring the same energy they’ve had in recent games, they may be the drag on the team that is the difference between a win and a loss.

This is the first game of a 3 game roadie for the Lakers and the exact type of game they need to win in the best interests of their long term playoff prospects. The Raptors are a good team at home and when you account for the early start time, they must not be taken lightly. The Lakers must use this game to springboard them into the last two games of their trip where they face two really good teams (Bulls, Grizzlies). Getting a win is, simply put, imperative.

Where you can watch: 10:00am start time on the West Coast so grab some coffee and tune into TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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132 responses to Preview and Chat: The Toronto Raptors

  1. This one is for Warren. We need all of the good karma, that we can get this season.

    Go Lakers!

  2. Darius is right; this game is important. Obviously, every game matters at this point, but this is the kind of opponent that the Lakers need to beat if they are actually going to have a real shot at the playoffs.

  3. Just watched the game against the Heat after downloading it. Dwight really is a different player atm. That iso against Lebron in the 1st was sad to see. Dwight doesn’t even move. In the same quarter there is a Nash-Dwight high PNR, Nash swings the ball to Metta in the strong side corner for a better entry angle to a diving Dwight… but Dwight is so slow he looks like Robin Lopez, and Haslem has no problem to recover in time to disrupt the pass.

    These are plays that used to be Dwights bread and butter. Sure iso against Lebron spells trouble for any big man (…erhmm… NBA player), but Dwight used to be the best big to still make something of it, atm that is not the case.

    And still the Lakers really didn’t look bad. If Pau can settle into a backup for Pau, then we still might be a fringe contender this year. You can see the energy and communication is there on defense, but some rotations are still a little late because of hesitation. This stuff will only get better if this energy-level and focus stays.

    It looks to me like everybody is buying in and giving it their all. I love to see Nash hustle on defense, it is not that he isn’t trying… and that is important for the rest of the team.

  4. This great article from Silverscreenandroll perfectly explains the square peg in a round hole paradox that is the Lakers’ continued experiment with twin-tower lineups:

    The article convincingly argue that Pau is still an elite NBA-player, and that the Lakers offense is best in the league with him at center in one-in-four-out lineups.

    So to salvage the season, either Pau should be traded for a star PF/SF or buy into a much smaller bench role. Could be awsome if he would accept that role and just fight even harder, run harder etc. in smaller spurts.

  5. Pau can still take on a big role as our leader off the bench. That said its not about being “relegated” but instead taking one for the team. He can use that “alone” time to be effective on the court because it goes without saying him and Dwight together for long stretches is a terrible combination. Injuries and all.

    Go Lakers!

  6. On an interesting note, 7 years ago, on January 22nd, some guy named Kobe scored 81 points on the Raptors.

  7. The funny thing about that article on SSR (and it was a great article!) is that everyone already knew that the twin towers line-up has been a bust! It has never worked here with the Lakers. Odom was plugged into the PF position and Gasol or Bynum manned the C for significant stretches during the championship run.

    If Pau will come off the bench, then this thing might work….if not, then it is time to see what we can get for the guy.

  8. Pau needs to man up. That is all.

  9. Theories, hopes, dreams, and wishes for a Laker post-season comes down to this. Starting today vs the Raptors the Lakers need to win 5 out of every 7 games the rest of the way to go 48-34 and a decent chance for the 7th or 8th spot.

    The Lakers know what they have to do. Let’s see if they are willing…or capable of getting the job done. No excuses.

  10. I agree Pau needs to man up for the team but:

    1-He was traded once last year and didn’t like it.
    2-He has been rumored to be traded from day one this year.
    3-Relegating him to a bench player substantially lowers his value and in 2 years when he talks contract it could cost him millions.
    4-Most important he is a hero in Spain and one of their all time best players. I import Spanish Wine and every conversation with Spain
    turns into a Pau discussion. The guy is a living legend and I feel his pride will not except being a bench player. Especially after last summers games.
    Benching Pau would be like benching Babe Ruth or Jim Brown or Kobe. An entire Country would rebel aganist the Lakers.

  11. BigCity-
    I don’t think that the Lakers need to be 48-34 to get the 8 seed. They need to be 43-39 tops. So, if this team goes 26-17 the rest of the way in, then they should be able to squeak into the playoffs where anything can happen. That’s doable, in my opinion, but it means that they will have to beat the teams like Toronto.

  12. In agreement with Rr regarding the fact that the Raptors are the type of team that we can’t slip up against if we are to have any playoff aspirations. Also, the players should be professional enough to adjust to the start time. It’s not as if this game just suddenly popped up on their schedule overnight. Like BigCity said, ‘no excuses.’

  13. Spent a lot if time in Toronto. The nightlife plus Metta and Dwight and Saturday night makes me concerned. With Bulls, Griz next up the Lakers NUST win today,

    If not I might be ready to call it over.

    Looks like the Pau bench question didn’t last long. Guess it was MD who needed to man up.

  14. If we don’t trade Pau, then the next best thing is to START him since he’s whining. Put him on the block, move Howard further out instead (perhaps some P&R, lobs, creativity etc for 5 mins then bring Clark in & put Howard on the block.

    Trade: Blake, Duhon, Morris, Jamison & get a nice 4 who can SHOOT & a nice back up 1.

    Tell Metta to cut down on his shooting & drive more. Howard needs to set picks for Kobe more.

    Coach needs to hire a defense advisor to secretly help him.

    & if you don’t contribute, hustle or play hard defense you GO TO THE END OF BENCH!

    Stop doing the same things expecting different results LAKERS.

    Lakers/Clips first round:
    LAKERS/GS next
    Lakers/Spurs conference finals

    Lakers finally win with 2 big men playing on the final minutes of the fourth, in game 7 on Pau Gasol assist to Dwight Howard, drawn up by MD with 9 seconds on clock.

    Love being a Laker. Kobe I believe!

  15. No one is going for an offensive rebound from our guys. Meanwhile, Toronto already has two…

  16. Call TO you genius. Pau is just worthless out there. Instead of aGuy with energy like Clark they have a stiff playing. Missed rebounds, bad pas, missed shot. He has to go. Now.

    Nice Move MD.

  17. Pau looked better as a backup 5 against MIA than a starting 4 against TOR. He is giving LA absolutely nothing on the defensive end today.

    Rumor has it Pau was opposed to coming off the bench…he did nothing to convince me he deserves to start over Clark in his first run today…..

    The announcers are complaining the ball isn’t going in to Dwight, but he is showing zero energy on either end of the floor right now. Just a pathetic effort all around.

  18. Get Pau out of there now Mike. Are you blind!

  19. 2 bigs starting, yet we’re giving away rebounds defensively and offensively.

    Woeful start to this game.

  20. least it´s early in the game

  21. When’s the last time Pau got good post position? And how many times do guards have to have success off PnR before D’Antoni switches it up? Jeezluweez.

  22. Lakers are ice cold – but continue to take awful jump shots instead of trying to get something inside.

    The D is terrible, no effort at all, no one has tried to fight over screens yet.

    The Raptors, who are bad, are running them out of the gym.

    This team is just capital T terrible.

  23. If pau watches the tape it will be very hard for the coaching staff not to play him off the bench if only for team defense purposes.

    this is pitiful so far

  24. Where was Gray’s play on the ball there?

  25. Jamison is such an epic defensive liability…but we have no options at this point.

  26. Clark is 50 times what Pau has become. Pau must go.

  27. Trade Pau. Or make him come off the bench. We spot every team a big early lead because he is too old and slow to play Power Forward.

  28. 2 bigs just doesn’t work in the NBA today, especially one as flat footed as Pau. Clark comes in and shows hustle and energy.

    Pau doesn’t deserve to start, I don’t care how much earns.

  29. Here is where Pau should thrive – in the post, no Dwight on the floor, against a team that does not have great post D.

  30. Well so far Pau is drawing fouls like he is prime Wade

  31. They don’t run a single PNR the first 8 mins of the game, just post ups and ISO’s the whole way. and ugly bricks from the outside. If this is the way they want to play just trade Nash. In this kind of offence, Nash is a big liability.

  32. Nice recovery from Pau after that horrid start. Team still needs better pnr defense and win the hustle plays.

  33. Is the last 5 quarters as ice cold as Kobe has ever been? All that chasing point guards around appears to be impacting him…badly.

  34. Kobe just stinks last 2 games, how about going to the basket when your jumper has gone fishing?

  35. @ Kevin–Pau looked better in “act II” because he was playing in the spot he should be playing–backup 5, without D12 on the floor.

    I agree with rr that people make too much of how much Kobe shoots—but I would have less of an issue with his 1 for 8 start if he wasn’t taking 7 long jumpers for every drive to the basket so far…..

  36. This proves it. The twin tower lineups with Pau and Howard will no work. Gasol must come off te bench or he shuld be traded.

  37. What a pathetic flop by Lowry.

  38. Is there a worse defensive lineup in the NBA then Duhon, Pau and Jamison. WNBA?

  39. Convinced we’re better of bringing Pau of the bench, he’s just slow vs PF’s in the NBA today.

    Man of the game for the Lakers so far has been Clark.

  40. kobe didn’t shoot the ball that well against cleveland or the bucks either…he is in a fairly decent sized slump.

  41. Dwight has been sitting forever while Toronto’s bigs are in foul trouble…D’Antoni is no master at strategy that is for sure.

  42. Why is my previous comment hovering in moderation? Anyway I can’t see the game but appears that Kobe is out to prove a point to Dwight. (Tsk)…

    Dwight is aggravating as a player. How could he be the FUTURE??

    I’ll take 4 more years of Kobe before I deal with 10 years of Dwight mediocracy.

  43. Maybe we should try Meeks…

  44. Someone needs to let their ego go, or its curtains for this team. Manu Ginobli comes off the bench as one of the leading players in the world and plays like 26-29 mins in that role. Everybody understands he is a central player on the team. The Lakers bench sucks and they need a guy to anchor it, and they need to avoid too many mins with 2 bigs on the floor. and why doesn’t an older guy with injury issues want a bit fewer minutes. Really it makes no sense other than Pau’s ego.

  45. After watching Dwight for the last 60 seconds I say send him back to the bench, his energy is awful and he is killing us on both ends right now.

  46. My apologies to D’Antoni, I guess there was a reason you were keeping him there.

  47. Steve Nash is just horrible defensively.

  48. If Clark is leading the Lakers in rebounds and points, something is wrong…

  49. Like I said Metta(no points). Dwight 2 points, in Toronto Saturday night is a problem. Just confirmed it with friends,

  50. Dwight has not got a hand up on anyone shooting right in front of him yet today, his body language is terrible, and he is getting stripped repeatedly on offence as usual.

  51. Joe

    Your answer to Dwight and energy is my last post.

  52. Clark showing MDA why Pau shouldn’t be starting.

  53. Clark should start and finish games, as SF or PF, but he should be on the floor.

  54. With this we may lose 100 points to Chicago tmr

  55. mindcrime,

    Kobe himself said, after the Miami game, that he needed to avoid taking so many long jumpers
    –I quoted it here.

    So, criticism of his taking too many long shots and being 1-9 is certainly warranted.

    That conceded, the issue again is D. Toronto has 46 points with 4 minutes left in the half and is shooting 54% from the floor.

    I agree with KOOO here: I am going to keep watching, hoping and rooting, but if they go on to lose this game, I think it is time to stop talking about the playoffs.

  56. Honestly the 2biggest dissapointments on this team by far have been Dwight and Nash.

    Also the two main differences to a team that was 10 above .500 and below 5 or 8 ( after RT) is those two guys.

    Kobe is terrible today.

  57. You will get a free wide open jumper if Dwight is guarding you today.

  58. Howard is not a smart individual.

  59. Terrible call that, what did D12 do wrong?

    Time for Pau to step up.

  60. WOW. Howard gets tossed with the double technical, his second T of the game. A terrible call.
    Gasol time to step your game up.

  61. Why is Howard ejected? Any watching?

  62. Horrendous officiating

  63. Well losing Dwight in this game is no big loss, he has been killing us on both ends today.

    That being said, that was a lame T call, but what do you expect from the league with the worst referees in the world. when your job has zero accountability why would you bother being any good at it or getting any better?

  64. Now we should win this game! Show what you’ve got, Pau!

  65. Okay Pau, after that bullsh*t double tech call by the ref, you now have your chance to show and prove.

    E-Clark and Metta have been the best players thus far.

  66. Dwight is just not smart. He has the lowest IQ on the team. This guy will never deserve to be a long time Laker. Try being in your room before 3 the night before Dwight. I am not a Dwight fan.

  67. Nash is making terrible passes/plays today – not surprisingly he has a pathetic 1 assist today.

  68. If this team refuses to set a high pick for Nash at least 30-40% of the times down the floor, then Nash becomes a tiny improvement over Ramon Sessions at best, who is older and less likely to make a key steal or lead the team with youthful energy.

  69. That 2nd tech goes to show how much refs respect Dwight. That either is called a double foul on any other superstar (kobe, lebron, paul, durant), especially after the ref huddle, or they don’t call it at all. Refs don’t view Dwight as a superstar otherwise that call isn’t made.

  70. Terrible officating there. D12 has to understand he already has a tech, and not do anything that could get him rung up for number two—but the officials have to understand the same thing and make sure tech number two is really warranted—that was a clear “play on” situation that was, if anything, initiated by the TOR player.

    All that said—that may be the play that finally wakes this lineup from its slumber. Frankly, Howard wasn’t adding much activity on either end.

  71. Its sad that the young star can’t be relied on to carry this team. Kobe is playing crappy but at least he is trying, Howard was simply occupying space before he got ejected. Horry and Shaq are right about this dude, he simply doesn’t get it.

  72. Harvey, it is Dwight’s job to set the high and roll hard to the basket and create weakside action for others if the defense goes with him. He has refused to do this. That is a big reason why I am disappointed in this MDA hire. Dwight doesn’t respect him.

  73. Kobe’s shooting percentage will continue to plummet as the season progresses, he cannot chase young players around the court on defense, regardless of what he says.

    Off camera, I bet you that every ex-NBA player states this emphatically. Kobe is human even though we in Lakers Nation believe that he is from another planet.

    The Duke of Earl!!!!!!!!! Too bad Hill is not here to play with him the Lakers would have some decent youth on the floor.

  74. Dwight

    1 for 3
    3 rebounds
    5 points

    I would charge him for the flight to Canada.

    Enough of this guy, not a WINNER!

  75. Lakers look like they are back in this game after sleepwalking through the first half, showing very little urgency.

  76. maert,

    I hear you, but while it is mostly DH, no one is totally complicit in letting Nash run the offence. Metta and even Kobe are not that co-operative there. Lets see what happens with a whole half of Pau in the post…I expect the offence to be, at least a bit more integrated, but worried about the defensive side. and yes, I would agree that the issue is about respect for Dantoni and to a lesser extent Nash.

    To me its not that complicated from the outside, because DH is not that great of a post player, so he should want to co-operate with an offence that center’s around his high pick. Amare by the way also wanted more touches and more post ups in Phoenix so this is nothing new.

  77. Is there any team in the league that is not more active, athletic and harder working than the Lakers?

  78. Free Jode Meeks!!!!

  79. Again, we are talking about the offense. The Lakers should play defense and decide to win the game 12-10.

    Wow, can’t believe I’m looking forward to the 2014-2015 season when these players will be gone.

    And yes, what in the tortilla has happened to Jodie Meeks!

    Pau should not even attempt to step out of the paint on defense. For goodness sake stay away from the pick n roll, he has ZERO laterall on side-to-side mobility.

    Just as Howard, and Bynum stated previously…no one is helping the helper.

  80. I feel this team would be better served with young PG. And no Dwight. Nash is just 3 steps slower then every other guy in the league.

    Kobe is completely out of it. looks worse then I ever saw him.

  81. Kobe is now taking long jumpers even wtih clear driving lanes in front of him—-starting to feel like one of his “stiff neck” stubbornness games ….

  82. Well right now Gasol is pretty much proving that he still a very serviceable 5 guy, Lakers should be playing through him right now because as of now Kobe is stinking up the joint, this is like the anti-81 game.

  83. Kobe has so far STUNK in this game, might be an idea to actually let him post-up instead of him taking jump shots which aren’t falling today.

  84. Raptors feasting on Lakers slowness and lack of hustle.

  85. Just like last game Lakers dig a hole early come back with okay defense and are in the game despite Kobe’s cold hand. Have to find a way to win this one.

  86. What a terrible game for me to reintroduce my son to Lakers’ basketball. His rage at their play today is approaching Ken-like ferocity.

  87. Joe,

    I said a few weeks ago that the Lakers are the least athletic team in the NBA, and I think it is clear that is the case. Clark helps a little, but Howard’s athleticism is obviously not what it was and the other younger guys on the team are not great athletes.

    And, yes, I don’t agree with burying Meeks. Even with his limitations, he should be getting 10-15 MPG on this roster.

  88. I can fix this game easy:

    1. Get Nash off Calderon, it is embarassing already

    2. Play through the post, Pau is starting to feel it, is passing better than anyone else in this game and the Raptor’s post D sucks.

    D’Antoni will do neither.

  89. Caldron is 3 times the player as Nash at this point in career. Lakers could have had him this summer.

  90. I’m sorry, but has anyone watched teams that play hard and together as a team? The Bulls?
    Their talent level is average at best. But they give it their all every game.

    Lakers have all the talent in the world and have the highest payroll. They are lazy and selfish as a team. Plus, they terrible habits that reinforce these same ideas.

  91. Calderon feasting on the Lakers, without D12 we have ZERO hoop protection on the floor.


    Too many ego’s on this team, not enough sacrifice made for the better of the team.

  92. What an atrocious showing in a desperation game … I’m baffled. They literally cannot get a stop.

  93. Okay I am done, I can’t watch this ‘team’ anymore. I could pick 5 guys at random from the rosters of current NBA teams and have a team that wins at LEAST as much as this one. Awful coaching, little teamwork – just too hard to watch.

    If there was any doubt at all, this game has established the obvious: season over.

    The Worthy rage-o-meter after this game will be apocalyptic.

  94. This team is as good as Toronto. Very little difference other then they are by far better coached.

    This my friends, is our season going up in smoke.

  95. We r losing this game for one reason only, Steve Nash. Calderon is picking us apart. The only way to shutdown Calderon is fullcourt press, which Nash is incapable of doing. What a disaster of a season.

  96. Love’s jumper has been off all day, so maybe, as Ken mentioned earlier, he should start attacking the hole. 2 free throws up to this point shows his lack of aggression. Hopefully, if he continues to fire away from the perimeter, his shot will start clicking late as it did against the Heat.

    On another note, Pay is stepping up.

  97. Most overpaid team ever. I think im done watching Lakers basketball for the time being.. If they arent going to show up to play, there is no reason for me to waste the time. Thanks a lot Lakers, youve officially ruined this season for me.

  98. I think we all need to take a few games off and see how we feel. Since that’s what the Lakers do, it’s only right.

  99. I’ve been a glass-half-full anti chicken-little guy all season—-but for some reason I have a feeling that when this season is over, if LAL misses the playoffs, this pathetic effort in TOR will be where the final meltdown started……

  100. How does Toronto have 2 PG Caldron and Lowery much, much better then all Lakers PGs put together.

    When Kobe is bricking this team is one of the bottom 10 in the NBA. Kobe is just terrible. Guess guards fast guards was not good.

    How can the Buss family sit and watch this? . have they lost their pride? Or is it now all about the money? 12 place team with no picks because they wanted a 38/39 year old PG.

  101. I laugh at people who say the Lakers have talent. Nash is done. Pau is serviceable but not what he thinks he is. Howard is coming of injuries, Kobe is still elite. MWP isn’t elite by any stretch of the imagination. After those name the rest of the players have never pretended to be great talents. The premise of this being a great time was based on Nash and Howard coming here and being great, and neither has. Also, the FO chose Eubanks over Matt Barnes, a decision which has affected the Lakers greatly.

  102. Heh, remember when we could’ve had Lowry + Scola + a pick for Pau. That would’ve been fun… (This shouldn’t get moderated since it isn’t a rumor or a future trade talk, just hindsight)

  103. Sit down kobe nash and gasol. Game is over.

  104. I´m with Kevin_ on this but ugh…

  105. Kobe doesn’t play team ball whatsoever, but yet he is the first one to point and blame others on this team for not doing something. He doesn’t play defense, doesn’t pass the ball on offense, this season is just really frustrating.

    Dwight has no moves down low, he is a major downgrade offensively from Andrew Bynum, but his defense is much better.

    And Pau can’t guard anyone in the NBA. PERIOD.

  106. The 2012 2013 season for the once proud LA Lakers is now over.

    Nobody with any understanding of the game will except that.

    Sad to see them back to the Smush, Kwame days with a clearly declining Kobe, Pau and Nash.

    I put this 100% on the front office.


  107. Well, if this game has shown anything about this team.. It’s that Pau SHOULD be coming of the bench when D12 sits. Far more effective vs slower C’s as opposed to quick and agile PF’s.

    We do lose rim protection though as a result.

    Looks like we’ll be losing another game, just when we actually needed to start a winning streak with the likes of Houston & Portland losing.

    Even if we manage to get into the play-offs I have zero confidence in going to places like OKC and getting wins. We’ve been terrible away from home.

  108. A team’s offense is always atrocious when predicated upon the ability of one player to average 27 points. This is as bad as any previous Lakers team with anemic scoring. When Kobe has a bad night, not one player on the team has the ability to punch the scoring card to get the Lakers easy buckets.

    Finally, good ball movement that actually made the defense work.

    I think someone is passing the cheat code to beat the Lakers around the league. And, the code is they don’t play defense and they are old and slow, you can take horrible shots against them and still beat them with hustle, rebounds and 3pt shots.

  109. Koo, the bigger joke is that Nash has the longest contract on this team.

  110. If Dwight will not go for 25 and 15 tomorrow, he is not worthy to be a franchise player. Yes, he is talented and can produce in the right system, but so is Tyreke Evans or Cousins. Remember Tyreke’s historical rookie season? It was LeBron-esque.

    I’ll take Kevin Love over Dwight.

  111. It’s the duke, duke, duke, Duke of Earl!!!!!!

    I found my player to cheer for this season. Last year it was Jordan Hill.

  112. I don’t want to stoop to the kind of rage most are showing in the posts, but I will make the following observation. this team doesn’t have the speed and athelticism to just play and win…Not in this league and not the way this league is going. And you can complain all you want about DH and Nash but they were the best guys available…

    So the only way for them to win is to play with exceptional cohesion, teamwork and being on EXACTLY the same page. Someone needs to come in here and organize these guys…And their are big egos and diametrically opposed philosophies. To say PJ would have just done that, I an not so sure, and really no one can, as Nash has played and flourished his whole career in an offence that was almost the exact opposite. So its a conundrum and not something that is easily sorted with comments like XXXX should just be happening.

  113. Nash, Pau, Metta all should play in old timers games. League get younger? FO goes older?

    Where is Jerry West when you need him.


  114. BS officiating but good Lord Pau is weak. His weakness stalled this comeback.

  115. Not getting any easier, Bulls & Memphis next.

  116. I know others have said it before, but lakers = slump busters. wow. such a sad disappointing season.

  117. Kooo: Magic said it after the dallas series should’ve been done then in hindsight. We held on too long.

    What kind of leader is Nash if he can’t tell Kobe to stop shooting? He has the ball and chooses to give it to Kobe far too much. He should run the offense and make plays that’s what he was brought here for. But I think Nash checked out weeks ago when he said “we might be playing for next year soon”.

  118. The Bulls, with their teamwork and hustle will beat the Lakers tomorrow night. Even without Deng and Rose. They bring it every night. 110%. You can say whatever you want about the Lakers lack of talent and other excuses, but nobody can say that the Lakers bring it every night. That is the real cancer of this team. A team of islands who are lazy and think their talent will make them winners.

  119. at least we got nice games from Clark & Pau
    means zilch of course –

  120. Kevin, has ANYONE succeeded at telling Kobe not to shoot?

  121. The Lakers need to get well soon. Get well get well soon.

  122. It is clear to me now, whenever I watch the Lakers this season, I will be sad at the end of the game, I have lost all hope for them. But, they are my team, and I will continue to watch them.

  123. harvey M: fisher was able to ignore Kobe’s whn he calls for the ball go to the opposite side of the floor and run the offense through other guys with relative ease. And especially in big spots or if Kobe missed a defensive assignment and next play was calling for the ball. Fisher was never as good as Nash but his leadership is far superior.

  124. The game = 22 Kobe misses plus 6 TO’s= 28 possessions with no scores approximately (not counting times when there is an offensive rebound and a score, which were few and far between). So that is approximately 7 possessions per quarter with no score, due to Kobe. Don’t get me wrong he is a great player, no questions asked. but that kind of inefficiency, does not mesh at all with a Nash/dantoni led team.

  125. A house divided can never win. Once we get these egos in check we can move forward to playing real LAKER PRIDE basketball.

    I feel like a 7 year old whose parents keep fighting and talking about divorcing ;( while my big brother only 16 is busy wasting his future away on drugs and my 14 year old sister is crying for attention. Church leader came over to get things straight but since that talk things have gotten worse.

    My what am I to do? This is affecting my work.

  126. Lakers organization should find someone to teach Howard being a franchise leader, not an easy going clown he is now most of the time.

    Clark is a keeper, so is Hill. MDA should integrate more players like that into a rotation, these players can bring energy into or quality but old starters.

    Darius Morris has a nice first step to drive to the basket, he should do that more. Even if he doesn’t score, one of our bigs can get an offensive rebound.

  127. Its up to the coach or nash to tell Kobe to stop shooting. Kobe is a shooting guard and hes gonna have days that where he takes 30 shots and shoots a low percentage. This is where Phil would have helped.

  128. Phil could have made this work. This is not a team. It is an uncooperative collection of individuals.

  129. Kevin, Fair enuf, but….Fischer was here for how many years, before he began to do that? and the rhetoric around Nash and Dantoni is and always has been at a fever pitch, especially as former close competitors (i.e. its all very cute and fun the way those suns play, BUT YOU WILL NEVER EVER EVEN DREAM OF WINNING BIG TIME WITH THAT STYLE OF PLAY, Dantoni= no D, etc., etc., etc…., Mike B said almost those exact words, as did many of the legends around here). So I think you can understand why there is a bit of deference at this point.

    Really, what needs to happen, in my humble opinion is….not much but just more time and a lot more effort, and a few tweaks to the roster and less ego (they would have won that game with DH in there, imho), but involves someone else stepping up, probably Kobe, to understand that coach D has a bit of a philosophy and that a pure ISO/post up needs to be the exception and not the rule, (and that 1 on 3 is just not in the best interests of the team anymore), especially before the 4th quarter and especially for Kobe, where there are already ISO/post up issues around getting the ball to the bigs. Because overall the defence will solve itself, longer term, when DH is on the floor, to go with Kobe, MWP and the rest.

  130. Other observation…Pau played very well on offence with post ups for him and no DH to compete with…However, the loss on the defensive side (especially from the middle of the third to the middle of the 4th) shows the exact conundrum of the team. Pau is no longer a defensive anchor and DH is essential for the lakers to have a chance to win, because of his defensive and rebounding presence throughout and especially later in a game to a team that has shown and inability to close out games. But Pau with DH off the floor is a very valuable piece. And Nash running the PNR late in the game with Pau was very effective and allowed scores to happen without Kobe needing to expend energy on the offensive side.

    Bottom line, the sum needs to be greater than the parts. There are very easily definable roles for everybody here if they will just embrace them.

  131. harvey M from prior thread: “Bottom line, the sum needs to be greater than the parts.”
    Exactly what I have been saying all along. We are less than the sum of our parts. We pay a guy to specifically maximize the sum of or parts. No it is not all his fault, but this is his primary responsibility. We have the leading scorer and leading rebounder in the league – this is unprecedented. And rr: If you want to respond with regard to the middle of the roster – well there is a guy responsible for that as well.

  132. Whatever…

    This team is not going anywhere period!!! Keep hope alive if you want to but the other teams smell blood in the water and they are abusing the Lakers. Here are the problems in a nutshell.

    1) Bad Coach – This guy Dantoni … cannot coach period. This is the best collection of talent he has ever had and he clearly has no clue of how to make it work. Definitely lost when it comes to dealing with Post-up players and lets not even mention defense. His offense reeks of Euro-Ball…good luck winning an NBA title with that.

    2) Failure to develop or acquire a young PG. Lakers are trying to make it with a 38 yr old PG while he is great offensively, Nash leaves some big holes defensively. He cannot guard the young PG of the league whatsoever. Couple that with the D-League backups….Utt Ohh Tongo!

    3) No Bench – limited and lacking the proven 6th man … can anyone say LO?

    4) The desire to trade Pau – Why? And for what? Some less skilled hustle type player. Huh?
    Really? That would be more bizarre than shipping LO off last year….still don’t get that one but OK.

    5) No Phil Jackson!!!! – Follow me Lakerdom…Phil equal championships, Championships give you rings, which allow you to hang banners! Rinse…repeat! Seriously, this team, this organization needed Phil back. Whatever, the price was and the demands were….who cares! Phil is the type of coach that demands respect and can make everyone (even KB24) buy into the system.

    6) Kobe – Sigh… I have said this often about great fighters. That which makes them great becomes the instrument of their downfall. Meaning the heart the warriors mentality they possess wont let them admit the fact that time beats us all. While Kobe is still a great player his ego is preventing him from deferring to DH. Simply put there is no need for Kobe to take 32 shots on a team that has DH and Pau Gasol. Phil Jackson would have Kobe in check and working within the offense. Dantoni is turning him loose which is good for KB24 personal numbers but is bad for the Laker team. In order for this team to get to the promise-land he will have to learn to limit his shots and be more of a facilitator. Good Luck Lakers cause without the Zen Master I don’t see it coming.