Preview and Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

Dave Murphy —  January 23, 2013

Epic stories are the road more traveled. They are by definition, big. They have great peaks and valleys either real or symbolic. Great expectations in of themselves can represent the higher ground. And the losses in all their many shapes and forms, from injuries to games played to the painful realization of failure, act as fuel from which to feed the many travelers who chronicle things of an epic nature.

The season seemed flatten out just a couple weeks ago. Those who narrate a team as a matter of practice or purpose are always there of course. But for creatures who travel further, the story had not yet reached critical mass. The notion of an under-performing team clawing its way back to even marginal contention is interesting. It’s at least a programmer. But it’s not the same as the bottom falling out. There are not the same visceral possibilities. Things have changed since then. The contractors are assembling their tools and arranging them on anonymous motel bedspreads.

Lakers management went all in this season, more than once. Signing Steve Nash in the twilight of his career was a smart money move. It plugged a big hole and cost very little. The courtship of Dwight Howard was bigger and riskier. The Buss family and Mitch Kupchak knew well that they were dealing with a problematic personality, knew well that they were gambling on a surgical procedure. Still, the image that came out of the fixer looked bright and glossy and filled with wonderfully saturated hues. This was a tentpole deal, a potential boxcar bonanza.

Five games into a snake-bitten season came the firing of Mike Brown. And then, the surface courting of a legend who had delivered much in the past, and the late night reversal that led to the announcing of Mike D’Antoni as the new Lakers head coach. The conversations with Phil Jackson were nothing more than a sham. They knew what they wanted and they were picking up the remaining stacks of chips and placing them down. They were all in. They were betting the bank for one season – that a run and gun offense and an aging, injured team could adapt. It hasn’t. It has been an unmitigated disaster.

There is still a chance of course. It is the same improbable chance that keeps us watching games deep into the fourth quarter, when the odds look impossibly high. We know that fortunes can change, we have seem the unlikely runs in sports, we have watched high rainbow shots as time runs out, catching nothing but net and the win. Those are the games and the moments in time that are tantalizing, surreal, epic. And these are the moments that are heartbreaking.

The Lakers are not in the fourth quarter. They are at the beginning of the middle of the season and it could well be the beginning of the end. This is the hard part of the road, where gulfs can start to widen, where fingers are pointed, where decisions again begin to shape the future. This is where the creatures that circle overhead can see the staggering wildebeest.

Tonight is another game on the road, against the Memphis Grizzlies. Kobe Bryant searches for answers, caught between trying to involve teammates, following D’Antoni’s vacillating instructions and delivering 29.2 points per game. The Lakers are trying to avoid their seventh straight road loss. There are details and schemes that begin to lose importance, shape-shifting as the window closes. All that matters now are the numbers, and one more crumbling chance to hold off the creatures and contractors. Just one more night.

Dave Murphy

Posts

145 responses to Preview and Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

  1. “I have to do more for this team. There are a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders. I have to step up and take it. It has to be me. It has to start with me. I’m a guy that has to dominate for us to win. We’re not going to win unless I dominate.” — Dwight Howard, Jan. 23rd, 2013

    This is our latest hope fellow Laker fans, Dwight says he’s ready now. The truth is he’s correct, the Lakers are not going to win unless he dominates. Makes tonight’s game just that more interesting. At least he made this proclamation before a game with the Grizz as opposed to the Wizard.

  2. Via the LA Times

    Bryant also spoke up, acknowledging he could be “hard to play with” and asking Howard if that bothered him.

    Howard’s answer was unclear, though he did not engage Bryant in nearly as vocal a manner as Bryant engaged him.

    “He didn’t go back at Kobe,” said the person who witnessed the meeting.

    Call me cynical, but doesn’t that sound like someone who’s thinking “I’m not going to be here next year, so why would I care”

    The more and more we delve into the mess that is D12 & the Lakers, the more I get frustrated with him. Sounds like a spoilt brat to be honest, a 27 year old immature one at that. To think we had gotten rid of one, we have another one on our hands.

  3. Work will prevent the Lakers from screwing with my emotions live tonight. Someone mentioned the Chucky Brown-era and I have to agree that this season has been even far harder to watch. Couple that with DH declaring that he has to bring it every game and my head is swimming a bit. Dude, you get at least several million reasons a year to bring it. Here’s hoping that everyone earns their checks and shows their love of competition tonight in Memphis.

  4. howard is not going to get 20shots so he better walk the talk and stop those childish antics like going round with a stat sheet crying wolf. Van gundy was spot on with his criticism on D12. Just concentrate on helping the team getting the wins and every other thing will fall into place and that begins@the defensive end.

  5. A coach’s strategy should be adapted to the personnel on the team. Whether the players are starters, role players or defensively challenged. DAntonio must find a way to win by any manner or scheme that exists in the annals of sports hisTory. Yes it is that dire.
    Winning cures many woes. Mmaybe the Lakers should look to bring Fish in as an assistant to bridge a gap between the coach and players
    It couldn’t hurt.

  6. Neil

    20 passes to Dwight will result in 5 Turnovers by strips, 2 offensive fouls, 2 bad passes and 8 missed free throws.

    Are you sure you want that?

  7. If Howard gets 20 shots…5 will be slapped out of his hands and on at least 5 more, he will be fouled. So he really needs at least 30 shots…I keed, but not really. :-(

  8. “If” by R. Kipling (FB&G Mix)

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    Maybe you just don’t understand the situation.

  9. So who wants to give Dwight 20 shots? Air ball and another goal tending. Great player he is.

  10. Boy Nash shooting has gone down hill. Wide open shots.

  11. So who wants to give Dwight 20 shots?

    The guy who said that is just one of those reflexive anti-Kobe guys. Kobe deserves as much flack as Howard for the last three games. But both of them have issues.

    Howard’s comment about needing to “dominate” is correct and is reflection of the roster issues, but I suspect that his back and shoulder make him unable to “dominate” most teams. Portland and Milwaukee are both weak on the interior–always look at opponent.

  12. Nash 3 TO first 7 minutes.

  13. Memphis bigs (both centers with 2 fouls) in early foul trouble, can the Lakers take advantage of this?

  14. So the Griz basically try to hand us the game in that 1st qtr and yet we can’t take advantage and are down. The clips or OKC would be up 15 by now. Yup, that’s why we suck.

  15. Offensive rebounding the difference in the first quarter, Memphis with 5 and Lakers with zero.

  16. That’s the PAU, I know!!!

    Yes!!!! Way to protect the rim.

  17. Falling apart…

  18. Nash can no longer compete with young PG. Its sad to watch. 4 TO

  19. Good thing they had that team mtg today. Geez. Just pathetic.

  20. Dwight giving us nothing again – could honestly have almost any center in the league out there and get his production/defence these days.

    He appears more interested in his wrestling match with Marc Gasol.

  21. and Dwight just hurt his shoulder sticking his arm in the air to contest a shot…its probably not used to that motion, rarely happens.

  22. Dwight aggravated that shoulder.

  23. Game was tied at 28 at 9:11 of second quarter, Memphis scored on 12 straight possessions to put the Lakers in a hole they have to climb out of.

  24. Yeah- I’m not sure giving Dwight 20 shots a game is a good idea…

  25. And Nash’s defense is really quite terrible.

  26. Dwight 2 points. I was ready.

    Nash 5 TO in first half throwing ball no where with Conley scoring 15 points.

    Has there ever been two more overrated players acquired in one season.

    Nice moves.

  27. @Ken what defence…it would help if he just stopped turning the ball over

  28. @Joe
    I know man…if he’s contribution to the team on offense is this bad and he’s a sieve on defense, then I’m not sure exactly what he’s bringing to the table. By the way- where is that guy that Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash brought with him to FB&G? I don’t think that I’ve seen him post in a while…what was his name?

  29. Conley 15 pts
    Kobe..wild layup for no reason

    We cant even lose in a respectful fashion

  30. Conley, Wroten, and Bayless are 13/21. I assume Kupchak still thinks the team doesn’t need a better bench defender to help out Kobe, Nash and MP.

  31. Memphis had 50 possessions in that half to our 33.

    First off when Memphis gets 50 possession it tells you that you are allowing way to many quick easy baskets as they are not a fast offence.

    Second, we will beat a total of ZERO teams giving them 25-40% more possessions than we get.

    This team is a disaster and will rightfully be considered the greatest failed collection of talent in any sports, ever.

  32. Once again a terrible team.

    Dwight another Kwame performance.

    Nash a TO machine with child like defense.

    Who scouted these guys?

    This is the reason this team is so much worse then last year.

    Two terrible moves in off season. All the young PG out there and Buss gets a far over the hill PG and a prima donna center.

    Now that us the front office fault!!!!

  33. Not surprisingly Kobe is not chasing around a fast point guard tonight and his shot is back – dude just does not have it left in the tank to do both, not for 40+ mins a night which is what the insane coach/ownership is asking of him.

    Kobe does not exactly attract great sympathy from anyone…but I feel bad that this is how he will end his career, he deserved to make one last run.

    Let’s not forget where the slide started, it started when Jimmy refused to trade Bynum despite having arguably the best low post center in the league already (Gasol). Instead he forced the coach to bump Gasol to PF where he has gotten worse and worse. Then they tried to trade Gasol (although it was for CP3 so not angry about that). When that didn’t work instead of translating Bynum into a good PF and someone to spot Kobe properly they traded for ANOTHER CENTER – one that was coming off major surgery and was a drama queen.

    Then they paid a 38 year old point guard nearly 10 million a year, hired the wrong coach.

    If Kobe left and signed elsewhere, would anyone blame him, these moves are positively Dolan and Sterling like. Heck there are whiffs of Khan there.

  34. Nash having a very rough night. And Dwight has not shown any reason he should be getting post ups. Amazing stat of the night, must be a typo…Earl Clark is +7 in 20 minutes of PT. that means lakers are -18 in the 4 mins he was off the floor?

  35. From Mike Trudell @LakersReporter
    Dwight Howard re-aggravated his right shoulder injury and will not return tonight. He’ll be re-evaluated in Los Angeles tomorrow

  36. Okay Pau. Second half. It’s your’s. You against your bro. Give us a game.

  37. Earl Clark showing energy in the 2nd half so far

  38. Kobe has to save energy for the 4th memphis knows he’s hot. Kobe could take advantage passing if they play him close.

  39. Has Pau forgotten where the post is? Dwight is out, he needs to get down there.

  40. Kobe again with spotty defense

  41. Hate to say it but I hope Dwight is out for a while. Team has way more flow without Dwight on the floor. Show FO we don’t need him by winning!

  42. Kobe must´ve been inspired after watching his 81 yesterday!!

  43. I hear there are some great doctors in New York Dwight.

  44. Kobe has decided there will be no passing tonight…

  45. We are in desperate need of a *starting* pg.

  46. Dwight’s injuries outlines the exact problem for the lakers..or maybe its the acid test. I am sure many are happy to see him out given the attitude and the offence is much smoother with him out and Pau in, but, you have to worry about defensive and rebounding issues with out him. So its like they are boxed in with players, who are not complete enough to be helping them win, but are a loss when they are out.

  47. this team will be way better without KOBE. He is destroying both offensive and defensive chemistry.

  48. Nash was wide open for 3…needs to shoot that every single time…sad.

  49. Jodie Meeks lives.

  50. Blah, blah, blah ‘it’s Kobe’s fault’ – blah, blah, blah…

    That never gets old. Some how, as terrible as he is, Kobe has managed to win 5 rings with two teams that were constructed completely differently.

  51. Is Steve Nash at this point better then fisher his last 3 years here? Defense is worse and shooting not better. And the FO had zero plan B.

    “just wait till Steve comes back, it will all be fine”

    Mike D. Quote of the year.

  52. Rooting for kobe to lead an epic comeback tonight. Lakers need something positive to happen.

  53. Kobe is starting to make me sick

  54. Arthur’s dunk pretty much sums up the Lakers D – no effort, no pride no heart. Meeks and Jamison need to pay their salaries back – its theft at this point.

  55. Kobe may not throw another pass the rest of the season.

  56. Right now, Kobe is the only reason we are not down 20.

  57. Honorable mention to MWP who brought it tonight with great D on a guy who is much bigger than he is and a great low post player and for scoring efficiently notwithstanding burning all that energy on D.

  58. what Joe said, both times!

  59. @KOOO `“just wait till Steve comes back, it will all be fine”

    Mike D. Quote of the year.´ lol!!

  60. I truly believe Howard or gasol isn’t our problem. As of right now Kobe is the only player who can break down defenses. Look at the teams in front of us, they all have a pg who breaks down the defense. Westbrook, Paul, Parker, Conely, Curry, Lawson, Utah?, Lin, Lillard, Rubio (overrated IMO) and Collison.

  61. What Joe said, all three times.

    Kobe is 11-19 in 31 minutes and the only player capable of doing anything besides standing still and missing jumpers.

    Duke of Earl!!!!

  62. Super lineup from MDA, this is much better than having Pau out there to guard Marc.

    If they don’t fire MDA after this game I don’t know what will trigger it, I could pick any random fan to coach this team at least as well as his, and likely better.

  63. What do we expect?! Another tally in the loss column, I guess.

  64. Purple

    MD will explain that tonight.

    “Come on guys I always meant Steve BLAKE”.

  65. Kobe is the best.Kobe again with another efficient offensive game. Kobe can win this game by himself. I guess that makes everyone happy here. Kobe on the quest for the six ring. Wait..I dont think so.
    No matter how many of you defend Kobe, his game is flawed. Skipping college basketball is the culprit.

  66. I am very surprised that the comments here are still without the “adjusted expectations”.

    You keep on complaining like you didn’t know. You act as if the team you are playing is not a vastly superior one. These comments are the only thing more annoying than the actual Lakers right now.

  67. Well I got a new quote of the year,

    Just wait until Steve (Blake) comes back, it will all be even more fine.

  68. HOLY @#$@$!!! What a brutal non-call – no ball, all body!

  69. Tonite’s strategy is Kobe takes on the Grizzlies by himself and the Lakers play awful defense.

  70. D’Antoni needs to really step up for Kobe here, he is getting pummelled and the refs are purposely now looking the other way.

  71. The refs love to swallow their whistles on kobe.

  72. Warren, you would be proud. I have made it to the “acceptance” stage that the Lakers suck. It doesn’t bother me no more. It is just something I now expect. Hopefully some more fans will start to follow, its just not worth getting upset over this team anymore.

  73. This is now officially the worst Laker team since they were in Minneapolis.

    Congrats to Jim Buss for his record beating management!

  74. Really, that is the foul they call, Marc pushes Pau a little bit and that’s the foul??? What about throwing your body into someone at full speed while they are in the air…no? Okay.

  75. Lakers guards are some of the worst in the league on D.

  76. Ok..we know we suck

    That still doesnt excuse the lack of an identifiable strategy on either end of the court

  77. How bout we pull the starters with 4 minutes left down 17?

  78. man its gonna suck with no dog in the playoff fight

  79. Why are the starters still on the floor?

    Never mind, I guess it doesn’t matter if they tire because they aren’t going anywhere.

  80. @KOOO – hahahaha

  81. Lakers guards -30.

    Kobe -13
    Nash -12
    Duhon -9
    Meeks -6

  82. The dam has burst and the floodgates have opened. So much blood. Welp.

  83. No recap tonight folks. I have the flu and am going to bed. Will try to get some thoughts up tomorrow.

  84. Dwight failed to finish 2 of last 3 games.

    2 pts 2 reb, 8 pts 9 reb, 5 pts 2 reb. Checked out.

  85. Well. Epic happened. I’m glad tomorrow isn’t a links post day. It’s gonna be brutal.

  86. Rock bottom doesn’t begin to describe what’s happening to this team.

  87. Lakers got crushed on the boards tonight and that was chiefly the reason we lost. One could point to Howard’s absence, but we were losing the battle when he was on.

    96 possessions for the Grizzlies – 96!!! We had 73. 23 more possessions = game over.

    What can you say, Gasol has checked out, Dwight has checked out, Nash has been terrible – the bench has been terrible. Basically Kobe and MWP are the only two guys that have looked like NBA players night to night…add to that a coach who is too stubborn or too stupid to admit his system doesn’t work for this team and there is no reason to believe this is getting any better.

    Ride it out until management decides to make changes and hope they make the right ones this time, Lakers need youth, athleticism and a coach who knows how to utilize the individual talent of players as opposed to trying to cram them into a ‘system’.

  88. Get well, Darius. And I think it’s safe to say that this team makes us all sick! Don’t waste your valuable time with a write-up tomorrow.

  89. @Joe – your post is all too true, though it´s just hard to swallow
    @Dave Murphy – wanted to thank you for that Jack London link, poignant and right on the money

  90. This season is bringing out the masochist in me. It’s similar to anesthesia-free dentistry. Just gonna keep bearing it, it’ll be better in a couple years.

  91. How did the Lakers win games while Bickerstaff was coaching? Did they like each other then and not so much now?

    Maybe the Lakers need to go back to that offensive scheme during Bickerstaff’s tenure (whatever it was) and let the Lakers win a game or two.

  92. Joe you had the best comment of the night It sums up the past 3 years since we last won the ring excellent post.

  93. I hope the lakers aren’t headed the way of the Yankees and the Raiders

  94. Wow. Rock bottom getting re-defined every couple of days. However – anyone out there who has a job managing people can learn from this. If your group or division underperforms – you can tell your superiors that your team has used a lot of sick days (injuries), or that your employees just can’t seem to get along together, or that you are still recovering from your predecessor’s poor performance, or that your employees are just not qualified. If this does not convince your boss that you should not be fired, then remind him that he was the one who hired you, so it would not reflect well on him if you failed. Finally if this fails – you can remind your boss that you have a 3 year deal and that he must pay you if you work or not. For those of you speaking poorly of our coach’s intellect – you are wrong – this is sheer genius.

  95. Can you amnesty an entire team and the coach?

  96. Kooo: Well you could but then it we just be us fans and Jim, So is that what you want?

  97. Time to destroy this team and rebuild it. The sooner the better.

  98. Good point. I don’t even get mad anymore. Now I know what it’s like to be Cub fan.

  99. Motives and emotions aside this is what I think should happen. Dwight needs to get real with himself and be open instead of this robot trying not to make a mistake and get everyone to like him. LeBron was going through a similar stage and after his 2011 finals was so embarrased decided to change it up and dominate and be the player he is now. Dwight is going through a similar situation where he and his team are being humiliated. He has the chance to re-write all his wrongs by coming back with a more refined all around game and desire to be the absolute best for the Lakers. I think he should have a heart to heart with Kobe and accept responsibility and show Kobe that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help Kobe and the Lakers. Dwight has to hit the hardwood everyday in the summer and become a low post player not an athletic freak. Spend time with Kobe or whatever so those two can get on the same page and be a true 1-2 combo. Dwight has to swallow his pride and realize he is nowhere near as great as Kareem, Shaq, Mikan or Wilt were at 27. Dude has to humble himself and look at this situation as one he can make a right. Even though his game has been frustrating this year I still think Lakers should keep him because he is still young and lebron isn’t coming in 2014 and Dwight should have a desire coming into next year that no other player will have. SHOULD. All he has to do is look at lebron’s situation and realize what he has to do.

  100. Stop it with the stupid coach running the wrong system, already. Nash is not running the Dantoni system. Nash is not running period. His age has caught up with him. He is not breaking down defenses. Nash is not, I repeat, not getting anyone better shots.

  101. Kevin

    Better chance of you winning the lottery or me winning the “most interesting man in the world award”. No way in this world Dwight resigning with Kobe and Mike DDDD. Guy can’t finish a game anymore. Acts like he is still in Orlando last year.

    Money can’t buy happiness or basketball intelligence. Another 0 for 4 performance from Supermouse.

  102. In the Laker team meeting today Nash won with a full boat beating Pau’s ace high flush. Mike D played with no cards and Dwight couldn’t play because he cut his finger on the joker card.

    Kobe took away the cards and burned them.

    This is for Robert!

  103. Kooo: he’s been through a lot but has the chance to write his own legacy after this. All depends on him. Kobe can help him seeing he was driven to prove doubter’s wrong after Shaq was traded. A motivated dwight is our best chance at a ring in the next few years.

  104. T Rogers: you are talking like Magic Johnson : ) Many around here do not like that : )

  105. Lakers btw are close to last in the West. If they end up in last place at some point, I am going bald.

  106. Dwight Howard says he wanted to win a ring. Well, wheres the commitment or attitude that is required? I don’t want to trade Dwight but hes playing worse than Gasol right now and he can’t even finish games whether it be a injury or fouling out.

  107. Robert, here’s how I see it.

    Steve Nash is done. Gasol can still be effective offensively. However, his defense nullifies whatever he does on offense. And if we are honest, the same is true of Kobe. He’s played better defense the last few games. But by the time Kobe decided to start digging in on D the team was already in hole too big to get out of. Howard most likely wants out. He probably will never again be the player we remember from Orlando. And D’Antoni is clearly in over his head.

    It’s one thing to renovate. But when the entire house is falling apart its time to raze it and build a new one in its place.

  108. http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/8875019/los-angeles-lakers-hold-team-meeting-air-grievances

    MEMPHIS — In order to move forward and turn around their disappointing season, the Los Angeles Lakers attempted to let go of their past frustrations with a team meeting Wednesday.

    Prior to the team’s shootaround in preparation for the Lakers’ game against the Memphis Grizzlies, coach Mike D’Antoni invited members of the team to air their grievances, according to a team source.

    Several players spoke up, including Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, the 17-year veterans who make up the Lakers’ backcourt. Bryant asked Dwight Howard if he was bothered by playing alongside him, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the meeting.

    “I hope it is (a positive thing),” D’Antoni told reporters before the game. “That’s the purpose of just trying to move forward, and hopefully it is. We’ll see. We’re in a rut right now, so the time to stand up, draw a line in the sand would be now.”

    Bryant acknowledged he could be “hard to play with,” according to the Times, and challenged Howard to speak up if he had a problem with it.

    Howard was “despondent” and did not offer much of a reply to Bryant, according to a team source.

  109. This team reminds me of the Fab Four Lakers. Old Karl Malone = Diminished Pau Gasol. Old Gary Payton = Old Steve Nash. Our dominant big man is out with nagging injuries. Kobe is still trying to take over the world.

    Except this time I think we’re totally destined to fail.

  110. idk why people keep bagging on the Laker squad with Malone, GP, Shaq, Kobe…they made it to the NBA finals and I strongly believe if not for a Malone injury we would’ve beat Detroit…we had to end up giving those minutes to Slava Medvadenko, Sheed and Antonio McDyness totally exploited that

  111. I haven’t been on the comments section for a while because of a new job I haven’t enjoyed where the comments section has been going the last couple of seasons. This season this comment section has been completely warranted regarding the most disappointing Lakers team in my life time, as well as the most disappointing team in the NBA this year.

    I was wrong on the D’Antoni hire. I thought he would be able to maximize his offense by using pick and rolls to the advantage of DH12 and Pau while actually integrating a low post game. Sadly, he appears incapable of adjusting his offense to his personnel. I’m sure most people here have read the article that was on Grantland earlier today, and it is a good email exchange between Simmons and Lowe regarding D’Antoni as a coach. After this season, it is easy to see that Melo was right last year in New York.

    I am of the mindset that if Lakers hired Phil, the Lakers would be in the middle of the western conference playoff picture rather than bottom feeders of the conference. I am of the impression that he would have found a way to maximize his talent with the triangle, maximizing the ability to put two 7 footers into the low post, mixing in kobe in the low and high post, and using steve nash in the pick and roll sets that are available in the Triangle. But that’s just wishful thinking now.

    What is evident is the system is not working. High pick and rolls have led to turnovers that in turn lead to fast break opportunities for the opponent which in turn leads to poor transition defense (best illustrated in todays game in the fourth quarter where there was a turn over and only steve nash was back against 4 Grizzlies.)

    I understand that Jim Buss had great memories of show time, but I, as well as other Lakers fans love memories of winning more than the style of play. The worst decision was not hiring Phil Jackson.

  112. Tony is correct. The 2004 team was not what we hoped for, and they weren’t much fun, but they were a very good basketball team, so there is no comparison, obviously.

  113. For anyone going to the game Friday: start a “We Want Phil” chant every chance you get – early and often. Let’s let Jimbo & Co know how dissatisfied we all are, not just with D’Antoni but with him too.

  114. @Chearn – good question about Bernie. I think in all honesty, that the team was kind of reeling from what had just happened with Brown, along with the Jackson/MDA mess. Bernie let the guys play basketball. He kept it simple and fun and the team actually found some refuge on the court. It was loose and without the same burden of expectations that came before, and came after.

    As far as the future goes – this team is in a bind. The problems are a sum of its parts and its changes. When a championship-level team plummets this quickly and this completely, there are real and tangible reasons. There are problems at the top, and with the coaching staff and with player personnel. After the 2011 season, Jim Buss gutted the organization. It still hasn’t recovered. The simple act of replacing parts with those that you personally favor, does not guarantee success.

  115. You guys need to get off Jimmy. I have it on good authority that his Fantasy Basketball team is winning his league. Clearly the guy knows what he is doing. He doesn’t need experienced scouts or coaches with a championship pedigree. The guy is a fantasy genius!

    Of course one man’s fantasy it appears is a entire city’s nightmare.

  116. Everybody, including the players now, it seems, is focused on the Goetterdammerung aspects of the narrative–but the main tangible, specific issue is still the perimeter defense. Memphis is #2 in the NBA in DRTG; Chicago is #4, so the fact that the Lakers couldn’t score that much against them is not that surprising, but these are teams that you can actually beat scoring 80-90. Both of them are below average in ORTG (19th and 20th) and have struggled mightily to score. Memphis lost 82-81 to Indiana at home on Monday; Chicago barely beat Detroit 85-82 tonight at home.

    But against the Lakers, Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli, Nate Robinson, Mike Conley, Jerryd Bayless, and Troy Wroten all had very good games. Belinelli and Robinson are good bench scorers, Bayless is OK, and Conley is a pretty good PG. But IMO none of them is as good as the Lakers made each of them look, and both Chicago and Memphis sailed past their usual ORTGs playing the Lakers.

    This draws a line under three things:

    1. As noted ad nauseum, D’Antoni’s poor coaching, both in terms of the D and arguably WRT usage of Meeks.
    2. Kupchak’s inability to provide the Lakers with decent backup perimeter players. Whether Meeks is more of a D’Antoni or Kupchak problem is debatable, but Meeks has not been as helpful as I had hoped he would be.
    3. That as cool as it sounded in preseason, having what I and others noted in preseason is “the oldest starting backcourt in NBA history” comes with a real downside, particularly when your starting 3 is 33, and and your best bigs are a slow 32-year-old and a guy with a bad shoulder and a bad back.

  117. The game sucked but y’all are awesome. I’m going to bed. And will try not to think about the epic fail until tomorrow.

  118. It

    Nash is good for 8 assists and 10 points. Problem is the guy he is suppose to be guarding is scoring and assisting for 30.. Throw in Steve’s passes to no where( 5 TO tonight) and every minute on the court is costing points. Now the scary part! He has the longest contract! Dwight they can let go but who will want a 40 year old $9 million dollar PG who should play in a social security league.

    Howard, Nash, Meeks, Jamison, Duhon will go down on history as the the worst off season signings in Laker history.

  119. OERBs and TOs are obviously big issues as well, but IMO it starts with perimeter D.

  120. D’Antoni’s offense is a “scrub” offense. It’s an offense for scrubs. Run P&R and let the point guard run around and look for spot up shooting scrubs. It worked in PHX when he had 2 hyper athletic forwards in Matrix and Amare.
    Now he has not one BUT TWO seven footers and has NO IDEA how to use them.

    Pathetic.

  121. Refs are pathetically atrocious.All Kobe haters like Abbott.

  122. IT,

    Thanks for at least bringing this back to Bball.

    I get that everybody wants to kill Dantoni, and now I guess Nash too. Just want to make one thing crystal clear. When four years ago Terry Porter tried to change offences and instill more post ups for Shaq, in the Suns offence, and almost exclusively conventional sets, Nash was also awful. And that was 4 years ago, when he was younger and much more sprightly. If you are going to run a conventional offence, Nash WILL suck, as there his passing and ball movement is useless, and there you would prefer a defence first PG, with a tom of athleticism, clearly not Nash’s strong suit. Thats why Derek Fischer who on the whole is not in the same class as Nash, could look as if not more effective as a PG for this team.

    And the attempt to run something like a Dantoni offence, which by the way is nothing like what we are currently seeing, is about, among other things, trying to get something out of Nash.

    Why the PNR is not working from what I can see, is more about DH being entirely un interested in setting a High pick, and/or being incapable of running it as he seems to really fumble the ball when he does. Gasol is somewhat more keen but clearly that is not his strong suit or preference, and he hasn’t actually had that much PT with Nash yet to develop that chemistry. So if there is really almost no PNR run, as is currently the case, Dantoni and Nash just need to go, as they are a full out detriment, on a team that is not interested in running PNR as the basic set.

    But, as repeatedly noted this is more about defence than offence. There, a good defence first two like a Tony Allen would clearly help as would keeping DH on the floor.

    And the non call on kobe, was very very bad, though I thought overall, the refs did not favor the Griz.

  123. The purpose of a coach is get the most of what he has to work with. It is painfully obvious that neither Mike D nor Mike B could manage this. The only coach with a winning record besides Phil was Bernie B. Do what Brooklyn did and let the interim tell the kids to go play and they will figure it out. Mike D is no different than Larry Brown, he can not coach without his type of guys on the court. Phil could coach this team and Bernie has done so. Unless the Lakers FO is tanking on purpose (come on everyone has thought it), we need to do something now!!! If the Lakers lose Howard and find a way to get rid of Pau, would that save them enough money to get under the luxury tax?! Isn’t that what they tried to do with the Chris Paul trade? I’m just asking.

  124. What happened to the idea of playing Morris as a starter to save Nash’s legs on defense? While Howard is injured, I hope we will play Nash, Morris, Kobe, Clark/MWP, Gasol from the start. And when Howard gets back, and if management think he wants to play here, it should be Nash, Morris, Kobe, Gasol, Howard with both Clark and MWP coming off the bench. Insert Meeks into a rotation and drop Jamison and Duhon.
    Meeks, Morris and Clark are young, they can improve and are showing it: play them or trade them. Playing option is better, we do need 2-3 athletic guys on the floor every time.

  125. Can you imagine the Lakers beating teams like the Grizzlies? Not really. And they should be doing so to get into the playoffs.
    STAGE: ACCEPTANCE.

  126. Like Kenny Jet Smith said: A system is for players who can’t play.

  127. Season’s over folks. Very sad.

  128. I think it would be safe to say this team and Jim Buss have been a failure. The only way Jerry will step in is we stop going to games. That’s not going to happen. Nor are people going to cancel their TWC. Only thing left is for real fans to call Laker offices and leave message after message. Dwight must go. Nash is a 20 minute guy at this point. Remove the name Mike from all stationary and try to get back some draft choices to give your fans some hope in the future.

    This team is a failure and in the business world, you remove the failure or it infects everything it touches. New GM, new coach and gut the roster. And no more cry baby, fumbling, half effort Dwight. Funny how last night he was going to go all out. 20 minutes later when Z and Gasol were pounding and outplaying him his shoulder hurts again.

    Seems like we have seen this before. Quitter Howard is his name.

  129. All I am waiting for is news that the Lakers have been bought by Ken and his companies. That way we can truly start a winning franchise that shall never once lose.

  130. We are in desperate need of a starting PG. Steve Blake is our backup!!! Nash should be our backup. We need players that were born in the 90’s, not the 70’s. Forget the playoffs, we need moves to save face now.

  131. From yahoo Sports:

    The Lakers are a flat-lined, free-falling folly, an embarrassment of excess, a mangle of mismatched and non-connective parts. Whatever confrontational message Kobe Bryant delivered to Howard in a team meeting reported by the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday morning, make no mistake: The Bryant-Howard dynamic is the most minimal of the Lakers’ issues.

    Free-falling folly may be Jim’s new nickname from me! Ohhh the agony of it all.

  132. Warren I made them an offer of pallets of wine, beer and vodka as a trade,

    The Buss family is considering it now.

    Let you know Warren.

  133. KOOO — They’re “considering it” in Laker FO-ese means they’ll wake you up at 3 am with a phone call telling you they’ve ordered from another warehouse.

  134. To funny Braziman. You guy’s have to read that Adrian W story about the FO on today’s Yahoo Sports. It it brutally honest. Best story of the year in my opinion. I think Adrian has been reading this site and stealing his material.

    I called Laker office today and told them to read it or have someone read it to Jim!

  135. There is an interesting article by Wojnarowski, definetly worth a read. Not my favorite writer but he does make you think. If Dantoni and Nash couldn’t do it in Phoenix with the right pieces and Nash playing like an MVP (sorry Shaq) why would any one think they could in LA with Dwight and Paul??

  136. Some of you guys might have already read this piece on the current Lakers turmoil. If not, please read it. It is an absolute must read for any Laker fan:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8872264/lakers

    As many of you already suggested, one of the biggest issues with the Lakers is Jimmy “I haven’t accomplished anything worth s**t in my life but I totally know how to run an iconic NBA franchise” Buss.

    Jeanie Buss on the other hand has had so much success in so many areas of her life, including (and especially), in business and management (just Google her..very impressive). And she’s been around and part of the Lakers management pretty much all her life, unlike her brother Jim who was hanging out in horse ranches trying to breed horses (and I doubt how successful he was even at that).

    Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a horse rancher but asking Jim Buss to run an NBA franchise instead of Jeanie Buss would be kinda like asking my car mechanic (who’s very good BTW) to perform open heart surgery on my grandma.

    As they say, them’s different apples. (Or something like that. I never quite got the hang of colloquial phrases).

    It would really behoove Dr. Jerry Buss, one of the best ever owners in professional sports to pick the right Buss member to carry his legacy.

  137. You can’t amsnesty guys you traded for after the CBA. The guys that they can amnesty are Pau,. Kobe, Blake, and Metta.

    gomez,

    It depends on what you mean by “do it.” No, MDA didn’t win the trophy in PHX, but those early teams were very good.

  138. RG,

    Simmons has made fun of Jim Buss before, but it is important to attach a caveat there: Simmons was as wrong about this team as almost everyone else was. On the day that OKC traded Harden, Simmons Tweeted that OKC was “handing the West to the Lakers.” I wasn’t hearing much from Simmons–or anybody else– about how dumb Jum Buss is when this team was put together.

  139. This team is an abomination.

    Buss/Kupchak have become the basketball version of the Dodgers / Yankees. No heart and all smoke and mirrors dog and pony show.

  140. How is everyone all over Jim Buss? He made every move you guys wanted and 95 percent of NBA FO’s would have done the same. People are comfortable with the past. People love big names. Unfortunatkey games are won by talent today and not yesterday. It should have been easy to see Dwight would not be the same player. It should have been easy to see Nash’s consistency plummeted last year and was turning 39 years old. It should have been easy to see Antwan Jamison was washed up his last year in Siberia (Cle). I was upset when the FO made these moves in the offseason. I wanted the Lakets FO to be elite. Be in the top five percent. At least last offseason they were not.

    Again… Now we need to focus on the future. Get as much as you can for Gasol and Howard (won’t be much). Get under the cap to sign top 3 NBA talent after drafting all star players with a couple lottery pics.

  141. It should have been easy to see Dwight would not be the same player.

    ____

    Yeah, but he has played in 38 more games than Bynum has. While you weren’t as excited as most people were by the Howard deal, you basically backed it. We will see what happens with Howard going forward, here or elsewhere. But 100% of FOs, not 95, would have made that deal. If Bynum were durable and mature, you could make a case against it. Since he is neither, you can’t.

    As to Nash, he is still pretty good, but he needs to play less and, again, the Lakers needed to try to surround the core with younger role players who could D up and have some athletic ability. They didn’t, and D’Antoni has made that problem worse.

    All that noted, I agree that going nuclear on Jim Buss now is kind of silly although in times like these, people do need to vent.

  142. Everyone is all over Jim Buss because it’s pretty easy to see how many mistakes he’s made. Give him credit (if you think he’s smart enough, which is he not) for pulling the trigger to spend on Nash and DH. What else has he done? Hired good coaches? Knew when to fire them? Knows how to deal with coaches (see Phil Jackson)? And when he talks about the team, does he really sound like he knows what he is talking about?

    When you need a FO person to talk to the press, it’s him or Kupchak. And let’s not waste time about what they say and reading the tea leaves for the real message.

    When Junior talks, I get no real sense of a deep understanding of basketball. Anyone who says he can “look in Kobe’s eyes and know what he is thinking” – that’s just stupid talk.

    Junior is the kobe whisperer? Please.

    Junior is not the only problem, but you start with him. Please get Jeanie in here asap.

  143. Rr…

    A very sensible analysis of the team by you. I’ve maintained all along that the Lakers’ bench would make or break the team. Kobe and Nash need help in the form of the reduced minutes that decent backups could afford to let them play. Combined with diminished results from Dwight and Pau and we have our current disaster.

  144. rr,
    I didn’t back the deal. I was 100 percent against it. You might be remembering me saying I was slightly in favor of a Howard deal before he had back surgery. Because I was on record saying that before Howars went down with the back.

  145. . I was 100 percent against it

    That is not what I recall, but fair enough. But since Bynum

    a) Has yet to suit up
    b) Is slower than Howard and has had his athleticism drained by injuries.
    c) Is also in his walk year
    d) Also has maturity issues

    Either second-guessing the Howard deal or claiming to have been against it is pretty much a non-starter.

    Kenny T,

    Indeed. I would add that Kupchak should have concentrated on D and athleticism is choosing backups. I saw this problem, slightly, in preseason. But I believed the Core Four would be enough to overcome it, at least until the conference semis or conference finals. I was wrong.