Lakers v. Thunder Preview and Chat: 3-on-3

Phillip Barnett —  January 27, 2013

1. Kevin Durant had one of the most effortless 40-point games we’ve ever seen in his last trip to the Staples Center. What can the Lakers change to slow him down today?

Dave MurphyEffortless is right. He’s got the slinkiest game in the NBA. My initial and most ridiculous thought is to live with the easy outside shots but he’ll just rise up and rain down 3’s. The only prayer is to try and deny him the ball and that’s nothing new. Metta’s had some luck in the past – body him, crowd him, show him your hands. You obviously need help off his post-ups and spin-moves. Duhon’s actually pretty good at rotating over when a teammate gets beat off the dribble and smaller guards can sometimes get up under him. Also, Dwight was out of action the last time around so that should help at the basket.

Emile AvanessianCeltic Pride West? Seriously, no clue.

I love the use of “effortless” in the question, because no term better describes that which makes KD so devastating. However it happens, getting slapped with 40 is disheartening. Feeling like the dude that torched you barely broke a sweat doing it? That’s backbreaking.

My inclination here is to suggest that the Lakers look to one end or the other of the strategic spectrum. Either hyper-aggressive overplaying – I’m talking doubles, triples, traps, tasers, whatever – in the hope that Durant’s resulting loss of rhythm (and, hopefully, production) takes the rest of the team out of its comfort zone. This is something of a tightrope walk, as, unfortunately, Russell Westbrook remains in the Thunder’s employ, but, hey, it’s worth a shot. Right?

On the other hand, the Lakers might look to make an all-out, almost comedic commitment to neutralizing the rest of the OKC attack and casting Durant as ’06 Kobe.  Problems arise here as, for any difference in wiring between Kobe and KD, give either 50, and he’s a good bet to take 65. And, again, Russ is liable to serve up 25 of his own.

If pressed, I’d pick the former option and hope it lures out the Lakers’ greatest ally in their quest to slow down Durant – Bad Russ.

Phillip Barnett: I, unfortunately, got to witness Durant’s 40 points live. Effortless may be an understatement as it only felt like he had 20-something by the time I got a text asking what it was like watching Durant score 40 through three quarters. Ron did pretty much everything within his power to keep Durant at bay, but it simply wasn’t enough. Forcing him to work harder off the ball could help. Have guys bump him off of screens and having Ron over play passes on the perimeter and deny passes everywhere else should help. Also, there was no Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard or Jordan Hill in the previous match up. While there will still be no Hill today, forcing Durant to shoot over our length should help in keeping his numbers ungodly.

2. Both Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook had season highs in assist in their last game (14 each), which team would be better off with their man playing the facilitator role?

Dave: Off the Utah game I’d say Kobe. It wasn’t simply a matter of the number of assists, although that was outrageous. But, team chemistry has been a problem and we all know it. Kobe completely invigorated the guys at a time when they needed it most and it’s still the case a couple days later. The win was nice but this is a team that has a ton of uncertainties hanging over them and that kind of commitment would be huge. It also causes some coaching confusion for Brooks – you’ve got to deny Bryant the assists?
Emile: The Lakers. I will never not expect 25+ a night from Kobe, but the dire situation in which the Lakers find themselves is largely a function of subpar effort. By ensuring that his teammates are appropriately engaged offensively, Kobe increases the odds of getting their best on the defensive end. Plus, in addition to savant-like floor generalship, Steve Nash brings to the Lakers’ table perimeter prowess on par with anyone that’s ever played the game. Any opportunity to alleviate the considerable pressure Nash faces in trying to orchestrate this offense, while affording him the opportunity to play to another Hall-worthy strength is decidedly a good thing.Plus, at the end of it all, it just means less constrictive defenses against which “scorer Kobe” gets to work.

Phillip: It’s hard to expect Kobe to record a near triple double every night, especially not that many assists. In a perfect world, Kobe would have somewhere between five and eight assists on any given night with Nash taking the brunt of the load facilitating the ball — but Kobe being able to make plays against Utah really opened things up for Nash to get his points. For the Lakers, a happy medium of Kobe facilitating and Kobe shooting would be the best. For Oklahoma City, at least against the Lakers, they may be better served with Westbrook looking for his shoot. With Durant scoring 40 through three quarters the last time they met at Staples, the Lakers defense is likely going to be keying in on KD (not like they weren’t before) and could mean some easier scoring opportunities for Russ — and you don’t want a guy turning away easy looks just to be able to get the ball to his teammates.

3. If the Lakers are going to win, who is going to have to be the x-factor, and in what way?

Dave: I never thought I’d refer to Pau Gasol as an X-factor but if he’s coming off the bench than it is what it is. Like Dwight, he was out of action last time against the Thunder and he’s going to be needed. Pau had a strong game offensively on Friday – seven out of eight in 25 minutes. I’m not sure when or if D’Antoni is actually going to embrace the strengths of this team, rather than simply tolerating them in short-minute situations. Gasol has faced OKC as much as anyone in the league – sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But he’s got the experience and if that somehow makes him an X-factor against this team, so be it.

Emile: Nash. A lot is made (rightfully) of his inability to defending opposing lead guards. Russell Westbrook has that effect on pretty much every defender, everywhere, so suffice it to say the situation here is somewhat exacerbated.

Let’s not kid ourselves, the idea that Steve Nash’s defense will effectively slow Russ – Good or Bad – is more hallucinogenic than it is quaint. There is, however, a way in which the Lakers’ #PointGod can slow his opposite number. Literally.

For all the talk of whether or not Westbrook is a “true” point guard and the constant, ongoing judgment of his floor generalship, Russ never seems to have an issue controlling the tempo of a game. If the Lakers are going to stay competitive and have a legitimate chance of stealing this game, Nash must dictate the tempo at which it’s played.

Phillip: For me, I think the X-Factor has to be Earl Clark. The Last time these two teams met, Clark was one of the bright spots, recording his second double-double of the season (10 points, 10 assists) during that stretch with the Lakers top three bigs all out with injuries. If Clark can come off the bench with similar production with both Howard and Gasol in the lineup tonight, that can go a long way in terms of the Lakers keeping this close and ultimately winning. At this point, a Lakers win is a long shot, but if Clark can come off the bench and be an energy guy who cleans up the glass with the second unit, the Lakers could find themselves in a position to win this game late in the fourth.

Phillip Barnett


161 responses to Lakers v. Thunder Preview and Chat: 3-on-3

  1. Kobe Alert: KB filled up the stat sheet and moved up on a couple of lists. His 9 defensive rebounds moved him by Alonzo Mourning into 69th place, and also moved him to within 3 of Magic Johnson for 68th. His 14 dimes moved him by Alan Iverson into 37th all time. He is only 3 more away from Michael Jordan for 36th. Not bad company for a guy that is known for scoring ! 693 to go to catch Wilt !

  2. Happy birthday to Dr. Jerry Buss.

  3. only way to stall durant is to push him off his spots at the top of the three and just inside the arc. Do everything possible to keep him from catching the ball. have Ebanks invoke Bowen and sweep his knee! Poke him in the eyes, use those nails boys!

    Maybe Thunder will come down with influenza…

  4. Watching kevin durant play reminded me of how devastating prime Kobe used to be. Both are threats to score from anywhere on the court. All Lakers can hope for is Durant has an off night and jacks up 30 shots.

  5. Another star athlete never to be the same. Always just so depressing.

    @KamBrothers: Awful. AK RT @celtics: Rajon Rondo has a torn ACL. Surgery date TBD.

  6. This is just crap. Network double overtime and no Laker game. Stupid.

  7. Lakers-Thunder currently on ESPN NEWS

  8. Ken,
    The game is currently airing on ESPNews.

  9. Can’t find it

  10. Lakers lead after one quarter but ORBs remain a concern, 7 for the Thunder.

  11. too bad it didn’t go to quadruple overtime, could of wiped out the whole first half!!! that would have been good.

  12. Poor shooting from OKC, but giving up offensive boards is hurting LA. Westbrook chucking, but filling the box score elsewhere.

  13. Solid 1st quarter in regards to defense and tempo. Not so much with defensive rebounds. Kobe & Nash played the entire quarter and that’s something to watch.

  14. Metta has no chance on KD. Way to slow. Need Mike Cooper

  15. If they Lakers are going to foul Durant I would like to see them FOUL him, nothing dirty, just something hard enough to dissuade him from running at the basket with no care in the world.

    On the last play Pau had the perfect opportunity to give a hard foul across the arms and picked up a minor touch foul instead.

  16. What kind of a FO allows it’s team play with Duhon as your backup? 30 guys have been available! Not smart.

  17. JVG rant on DH is exactly on point!

  18. And just like that, the 9 pt. lead is gone and we’re losing. Shocking.

  19. Dwight needs to start making at least one or two FTs or we have no chance in this game.

  20. Dwight may miss 30 FTs today. Guy is a stiff.

  21. Kobe with the block leads to transition 3 by Nash.

  22. They would be up by 12 if Dwight was a NBA shooter. 1 for 8. Choke every time on National TV. Every Time.. My least favorite Laker player since K. Brown.

  23. Duhon got here from Orlando with Howard, they clearly didn’t want him. Clark, on another hand, was a surprise throw-in.

  24. still think you need Nash on the ball a bit more, but clearly having Kobe share and run the offence has had some galvanizing effect on the team overall.

  25. If one more player misses two more freakin free throws, I’m gonna break something!

  26. Pau taking FT lessons from Dwight! Shoot the darn ball Pau stop passing every time.

  27. They can’t shoot freebies, SMH!

  28. Lakers, especially Howard needs to make their free throws. They should be up by a couple of points.

  29. Nash makes lots of rookie passes. Not near what we expected.

  30. We’re shooting 51%, that gunslinging punk, Westbrook, is 1 of 9 from the field, OKC is not really playing well, and we’re STILL losing at half? That scares me.

    As much as I like Kobe getting others involved, I still think he has to be more aggressive on offense. And stop missing throws!!!!

  31. Kobe on triple double watch 6/7/6. Lakers down by 1 at the half.

  32. Durant just gets too many easy shots. Just doesn’t miss if you give him a good look. Need to put more resistance against him. On another note, Howard needs to make more than 1-8 from the line. It just demoralizes a team when you can’t convert from the FT line.

  33. At least this looks like a coherent upper level team. Still need to focus on offensive rebs and defence (would like to see a bit more PT for Earl Clark which helps there I think), and DH needs to hit some FT’s, but at least for another half we are seeing something which approximates more of what we expected to see. I also think that getting the ball to DH, will both get him engaged, and hopefully graphically show him what his weaknesses are and why he hasn’t seen more ball till now.

    Very much agree with JVG about Pau, as he pretty much took the words out of my mouth. For how many years has Manu been a dominant player on a championship team coming of the bench playing 30 ish mins?

  34. This doesn’t look good; Lakers are shooting 52% from the floor and 45% from the arc and are still down one. And, as noted, a big piece of that has to fall on Howard–1/8 on FTs is simply unacceptable.

    I can’t stand Rondo, but it is always a drag when a good player gets hurt like that.

  35. Man, I look at the box score and said that is beauty. Everyone is scoring due to movement of the ball. Distributing to every player that plays hard on the court.

    They just need to keep it up, I still have faith in this team. We desperately need this WIN.

  36. Boston needs a point guard. Send them Duhon for a bowl of clam chowder.

  37. As I mentioned earlier in the season and as frustrating as it is, Dwight’s free throw percentage is something that we’ll have to deal with. It’s not as if he was hitting them at an 85% clip before we acquired him and all of a sudden he’s bricking them as a member of the FB&G. Plain and simple, he’s a bad Free Throw Shooter and this is what we/the organization signed on for once we attained him. Some games he’ll be above average (for him), some games he’ll be at his average (around 50%) and then, like today thus far, he’ll be atrocious.

  38. This is one of those games that can turn a season around. This team today is fighting and helping each other out – as a fan you can’t ask for more after the kind of season they’ve had up until now. Dwight will eventually make a couple of freebies, but if Kobe and pau can keep this style of play up we will get the win tonight. Ron rules by the way.

  39. Tra,

    I would be OK with it if he were 4/8. But every point matters in a game like this.

  40. As long as Perkins is allowed to play like an NFL lineman with those illegal screens, it’s going to be hard to beat the Thunder. Good D from the Lakers in the first half. C’mon Dwight! Hit those throws!

  41. Good lord, FOUL Perkins already he is a terrible FT shooter, we are giving him lay-ups.

  42. Other then dunk Howard has zero offensive talent. Zero! Perkins out playing him.

  43. Someone lay that b*tch Westbrook out!!!!

    If some serious “accident” happened to him, it wouldn’t be the worst thing.

  44. Real bogus tech on Kobe with Westbrook.

  45. Officials are warning and t’ing up everyone BUT Westbrook who deserves it the most.

    Typical awful NBA referees.

  46. How did Kobe get a tech there!? Another oddly refereed game.

  47. Dumbest player I ever saw. Dwight has to go. Just a bad over all player. Bad bad bad bad.

  48. geez, i´m happy so far but it´d be great to corral our defensive boards and stop turning over th rock

  49. Phantom foul on Howard, his 4th, Pau in the game for Dwight.

  50. Apparently you can’t play defense against Durant without fouling him.

  51. Sefolosha is being allowed to put both of his hands in Kobe’s back in the post regularly.

  52. Absolutely terrible stretch of officiating right now….

  53. Dwight’s 4th foul was nonsense.

  54. The refereeing in this game has become atrocious…largely going against us, but to be fair, Durant did get absolutely mugged on that last no call.

  55. The ref’s are going to have to get this game under control. Tempers are getting riled up on both squads.

  56. BS 4th foul call on Dwight.

    So sick of these clowns like Durant, Lebron, and Wade getting every freakin call. You can’t even breathe on them without getting called for a foul. All they have to do is fall down and the whistle blows. Unbelievable.

  57. Kobe is playing brilliantly. I love this version of Kobe just as mush as 81 point Kobe. He is simply a great all- around player.

  58. Absolutely infuriating to see MWP time and time and time again fail to move the ball on fast breaks and just generally….his conversion of these types of plays is abysmal on a play that should be a big advantage, and more than anybody on this team, the ball seems to needlessly get stuck in his hands.

  59. KenO-
    Could you go back to being called KOOO so that we don’t get confused as each other? I’m still bewildered by that tech against Kobe.

  60. Ok ken that guy used my other one 6 times the other day so I switched.

  61. Horrible cal on Gasol—zero contact. All ball. Pathetic.

  62. On refs. The aggressive team usually get the better calls. Lakers seldom go to the bucket.

  63. @Zirk and meanwhile, Lebron has yet to be called for a foul this year. I think Stern must fine the refs each time they whistle him.

  64. @KOOO

    I’ve heard that (Tired) explanation often re: NBA officiating. The calls being complained of here are of the “zero contact” variety—as in completely phantom.

  65. Mind-Probably right. I heard it often.

    Keep ball out of Duhon’s hands Kobe. Good job.

    What is mental thing with Pau. Weak. S/b up by 10. How do you as professional players miss 12 free throws?

  66. Kobe is controlling the flow of the offense the pinch post late in the 3rd. Pau is catching D12-itis at the line missing 2 for the 2nd time in the game.

  67. Blizzard,
    Seriously, right? I’m surprised every foul call against guys like Lebron and Durant aren’t flagrants.

    Our free throw shooting in this game is atrocious! What has happened to Pau at the line??

  68. Guys, stop complaining, this is a great game. Even better for our team if the refs make it hard – ball don’t lie. Oh and btw: Kobe is just amazing.

  69. 1 of Pau’s FT misses and one of DH’s FT misses don’t count as they got the offensive reb, and in the case of Pau’s miss it turned into a bucket, fwiw.

  70. When this team plays like this it just makes me shake my head to wonder why they haven’t done it all year.

  71. We need this WIN, we desperately need a WIN and we will WIN this game.

    Just trying to pump myself, boost of morale. FTW!

    Lets GO!!!

  72. Gasol adds so much more than Howard to the team that I m gonna be furious when MDA bench him in the decisive minutes.Wait and see…

  73. @KOOO This may come as a surprise to you, but the definition of a “foul” doesn’t change, regardless of whether the parties involved are “aggressive”, or “marketable”, or whatever intangible, unprovable attributes you want to assign in the course of your NBA apologia.

    Is it too much to ask, that the refs call the game by the rules, and eschewing all types of favoritism?

  74. Keep it coming Lakers!! Keep it coming!
    & thank you Mamba

  75. Pau won’t be benched tonight, that’s for sure. Wait for it, we’ll get this one.

  76. Just like I said a couple of times now, the key is the twin tower configuration, with Kobe and Nash siting, and we are starting to see some good results. its early and their is a degree of luck, (i.e. suddenly Jodie Meeks hits 2, and Pau sinks a running left handed hook) but if they can get 10-12-15 good mins out of that configuration, Lakers will become a VERY tough out.

  77. Duhon is worst PG in NBA

  78. Collison holding Dwight there.

  79. Again Dwight Howard is the lowest BB IQ I have ever seen. So sick of this guy. 8 points

  80. That’s right. T that punk*ss up! Bout time!

    Where are you gunslinging monkey antics now??

  81. Hugh Duhon got fouled on that steal.

    Speaking of awful ref’ing that last Dwight call was an epic flop by Collison.

  82. @Joe

    We all know that Collison’s habit is to flop LoL. BTW, that steal by WB was actually a foul

  83. Westbrook is becoming real easy to dislike. Collison held Dwight’s arm on that 5th foul. Kobe is off the chain. Hang in there, team!!

  84. Westbrook starting to lose it, how nice to see 🙂

  85. shoulda been a flagrant on pau, instead its a ft for nash

  86. Leave Dwight the brick on the bench!

  87. Never never never never dribble the ball Ron!

  88. Win or lose, great game and great effort from the Lakers.

  89. everybody still think nash has lost a step and isn’t what he used to be?

  90. So we have figured it out? Just leave Dwight on the bench? Seems to me like whenever he has gone to the bench this half the Lakers have played so much better.

  91. And there’s Metta with the one on one turnover. Geez.

  92. This game would not even been in question if the Lakers just shot 75% from the FT line collectively.

  93. Joe

    Dwight minus 3

    Pau plus 9

  94. harvey M-
    Yes I do still think he has. So much so that Kobe has to be the facilitator instead of him.

  95. Wow, Kobe NEVER gets those calls anymore…

  96. What a play by Kobe!

  97. Nice, Kobe to Gasol for the layup.

  98. Durant hrows himself into Artest–but Artest is too smart sees it coming and throws himself back just as Durant tries it—-no contact–and Durant STILL gets the call–it’s those kinds of calls that generate the “WWE” comments from people.

  99. Another great play by Kobe with his 14th assist on the night! Great job by Pau to avoid the block and make that tough shot.

  100. So, are we all agreed that Howard in his current condition is basically the Middle Class Man’s Kwame Brown?

    Also, Kobe is sick. 19/14/9 on 7-of-11 from the field? I like this version of the guy.

  101. YEEEAH!!! This one is ours!

  102. Second game in a row nobody has 20 points and we’re playing well. Love it!

  103. Durant has shot 14 FT’s on 25 FGA’s that is crazy, who does he think he is LeWade?

  104. Kobe with the dagger.

  105. This could be tacos…stay tuned.

  106. Mamba!! Suck it, OKC!

  107. Holly ____, victory! Kobe, have not been a big follower or supporter all these years, but you have won my total respect this season and particularly through these last 2 games. Brilliant performance…now you need to stay with this formula!!!!

  108. Kobe is a beast!

  109. The only question now is will Kobe get his 10th rebound.

  110. Remember that game when Westbrook hit every shot he took including shooting 3’s WAY above his career average…yeah think that but the opposite.

  111. Kobe with the great drive and dish to Gasol. This is the best I have seen the Lakers play this year. If Dwight can find his game on defense, this team will have to be dealt with.

  112. MWP stole that rebound from Kobe. I’m really completely okay with near-triple-doubles, though.

  113. Best win of the season for the Lakers.

  114. Forget about Mike D. Kobe is PG, shooter, coach, rebounder, ass’t coach and Laker Cheerleader.

    That is how it done.

    In spite of FT and Dwight!

  115. For all of those people who say Kobe should be launching shots all the time. For years and years and years. THIS is how he could decide to play, if he wanted to. Shaking Head.

    That is how you share and create for your teammates. Kobe will only play the right way if he is absolutely pushed to the bottom with the threat of not making the playoffs. Kind of ridiculous that it takes this kind of situation to get him to play the right way.

    I don’t think it will last. He will revert back as soon as he can. It’s who he is.

  116. Team effort, Triumph, and Tacos—can’t beat that.


    :expectations rising, against better judgment:

  118. Big win but a long way before the team is out of the hole. One game at a time.

  119. That was a beautiful win.

  120. Jim, you act like the lakers would have won 8 championships and averaged 73 wins per season with Kobe … changing… his game.

    I wouldn’t bet on that

  121. Best win of the season for the Lakers, but also in my opinion the best played game of the season in terms of both offense and defense combined, despite the poor ft shooting. Like JVG said, pass, pass, pass, and don’t hold the ball and this team will be more efficient at both ends of the floor.

  122. please dont screw up against the hornets/pelicans

  123. No doubt. Was real intense and really this should be the turning point of the season. Big statement win.

  124. Nash is less than what he was 6-7 years ago (the MVP years), but is where he has been over the last 4 years or so…that is my clarification to be very accurate. He is 39, and no one, not Stockton not Kidd, nobody has kept this much of his talent at this age. That is all I am saying.

    The reason its working with Kobe running and Nash in a secondary position is that at this age, Nash needs a team totally oriented to his style of play to succeed, and even then maybe Kobe with his fresh legs and so many offensive skills at this disposal is a better option. But make no mistake, if Kobe can keep this up or close to it, you will see much more opened up for Nash, and we will start to see, some real great stuff from him too.

  125. Dang this feels good!
    Kobe´s channeling Magic is mesmerizing!
    Peace being interviewed on radio: `best team´s gonna win, best team´s gonna win, go L.A.!´ lol, i love it

  126. Hugeeeee win!!!!!!!! I believe the corner is oficially turned, i know its just a 2 game sample but well executed solid back2back wins against great opossition shows that the Lakers finally figure out how to play. This could be the rampage we all been waiting for. We all know what the adjustment its been.

  127. @ Jim Kobe won 2 rings and 2 playoff MVPs playing his “normal way”.

    Also at the beginning of the season Kobe was trying to facilitate more, especially after Nash went down, but he was turning the ball over a ton (he had 10 one game) and NO ONE was making shots or driving to the basket so he stopped.

    I think what we are seeing in part is the team starting to come together (hopefully) and just playing harder – way more cutting, more careful with the ball.

    We also play Kobe 40 mins a game in his 17th season which is ridiculous, even Lebron doesn’t play that much.

    I will be the first to blame Kobe when he goes into all out unjustifiable chuck mode (which he has maybe 3-4 times this season) but to blame him for not playing like this all year – not even close.

  128. Jim I don’t agree. It’s how Kobe used to be. He figured out they can’t win that way. Scoring title no! Playoffs Yes!

    Like a completely different team now.

    Coach Kobe?

  129. And we’ll get Blake back on Tuesday! He can’t be worse than Duhon.

  130. For all of those people who say Kobe should be launching shots all the time. For years and years and years. THIS is how he could decide to play, if he wanted to. Shaking Head.

    That is how you share and create for your teammates. Kobe will only play the right way if he is absolutely pushed to the bottom with the threat of not making the playoffs. Kind of ridiculous that it takes this kind of situation to get him to play the right way.

    This was eminently predictable, and we will see a lot of it over the next few days from people who don’t know any better and are hyperemotional about the Mamba. I expect our friend HA is getting his post up right now.

  131. It’s not about Kobe playing the right way, it’s about Kobe essentially playing point guard, because that’s what the team needs.

  132. If the switch from Kobe to point and Nash as shooting guard continues to be this successful, it will really prove to be a brilliant offensive move.

  133. and just one more thing….where is the Dantoni hate? Surely he had nothing to do with this. I think he actually was not even at these 2 games…or perhaps it was like George Costanza. he called a play and they ran the opposite?

  134. Was really impressed with general cohesiveness on both ends, seems like this team is showing more comfort with each other moreso than energy.

  135. Cautious about this adjustment of Kobe being more the PG really turning the season around but results look promising so far.

  136. Kobe draws defenders because of his reputation as an offensive monster and his assertiveness to take the shots himself. Had he been passing the ball more throughout his career, he won’t be getting the same treatment by the defense that he gets. This opens up new tunnels every time.
    Wow wow wow! Watched the game, filled with even more respect for Mamba. And loved the confidence of the team.
    Reminds me of DragonBall Z, after episodes of ash whooping, they finally transform to super saiyans and save the day lol.
    Ka me ha me haaaaa 😀
    My concern is we gotta give Kobe some rest, he’s carrying a heavy load.
    Pelicans bring it on, we are ready with our knives and forks 🙂

  137. Scott,

    Indeed. Teams will adjust and pur more ball pressure on him, which, with the hand issues, may lead to TOs. He only had 3 TOs. today, a huge stat.

  138. Excellent TEAM victory. Up until this game, the come from behind road win against The Dubs was the highlight of the season for me.

    Hopefully we can build off of this and continue to get contributions from everyone. Small sample size, but I can get use to this Kobe ‘Johnson’ kat.

  139. Great win The Mamba dominated he controlled this game from the outset. He is every bit as talented as Lebron but because he is first and foremost a scorer Kobe’s overall game fails to get mentioned!! This was a beautiful game to watch!!

  140. Well, i dont believe Kobe will be making 14 assists every game but, i always believed he didnt had to go into black mamba mode for the team to be suscesfull, maybe at the beggining but right now for the first time this season im starting to ser signs of the team finally getting in sync, and Kobe is leading the charge. Dwight was in foul trouble and his disgusting horrendous ft shooting made this game closer than it should had been. The Lakers dictated this game almost from the get go. It was evident it was theirs to win or lose. The shift in the backourt have transformed this team. I think this is it!!!!! Go Lakers!!!!!

  141. Scott and IT,

    But the key is there is a buy in to a ball movement oriented offence. Nash can carry more of a load sometimes. that will be the key…can they look this good, with nash running the offence 25% more than currently. To me, with the fragility of the team, the alpha dog needed to step up to show how they can win with a ball movement offence. Now we can check that off the score card. And eventually, we can get some of this trust building so that the original idea, Kobe handling the ball a bit less, still works.

    Other thought, with this slower pace, Nash can definitely play 35 mins, and so can Kobe…other thought…with this type of chemistry starting to build, and Pau starting to really dominate again, maybe we will continue to see better results from the “twin towers with Kobe and Nash on the bench” 5 (especially with Blake coming back) like we saw today, which would be huge.

  142. Congratulations to the Lakers for earning this hard fought victory today! Kobe Bryant is amazing me with this sudden new found way to dominate a game!

    Also worth mentioning is how they had to overcome the odds of playing 8 against 5. It seems as though the NBA has decided that Durant and Westbrook deserve to be coddled and given the infamous “superstar” treatment (countless free throws) in order to push forth their agenda. Annoying to watch them constantly whining and pouting!! These guys are sore losers.

  143. Back when he was with inept teammates such as Rick Fox and Luke Walton, Kobe was forced to shoot more to give the team a chance. Time has changed, he realizes now that Jamison, Gasol, and Clark are capable players unlike Fox and Walton, and that he can pass more with confidence. Don’t expect Kobe to continue threading the needle successfully like this game, but he will pass more from now on like Jordan did in later stage of his career. This win is the turning point of this team.

  144. By the way, we saw some of Nash’s role and usefullness today. at least twice, Kobe had the ball for 15 seconds or so, and made no progress and he dumped it to nash parked on the wing, who then created two great looks and buckets both times. Remember, with Nash using so much less energy on the offensive end, he will be there to shoulder more of the load if needed.

  145. Good win today.

    The ball movement was pretty good for the most part (though there was a lot of kobe iso in the 3rd/4th that led to drawn out possessions) and the defense seemed more balance because they weren’t trying to run so much.

    But today’s game made evident to me that they absolutely can’t trade Pau. Dwight cant stay on the floor for significant minutes. In a way he’s like Bynum, just that Bynum missed minutes/games because of injury. But Dwight essentially misses huge chunks of games because he is such a careless fouler (I know, some of the fouls he gets are bogus, but he also had a reach in Foul on Kendrick Perkins @ the 3 point line).

    Lets hope this team keeps moving forward and continues to play together.

  146. Yes, let’s not get overexcited, but still I think we might have found something at last. And I think we should all thank the management for being patient with the team development and figuring thing out. My only concern now is Dwight being comfortable with not being featured much on offense.

  147. Paul,

    True, defenses have to pay a lot of attention to what Kobe is going to do. He’s the only one on this team that can break down his man, making defense collapse. As long as there’s cutters and shooters that can hit the open shot, Kobe will get them the rock.
    This team is in desperate need of a starting PG. Nash can’t crash the lane and be guarded one on one.

  148. harvey M-
    Look man, I hear ya that Nash played well tonight. It’s a great dimension to have a player waiting for a kick-out with Nash’s skills! At least twice he was able to avoid the closer and get into the lane for a couple of ridiculously good shots, but….,and this is a big but, this is not what Nash was brought in to do! He is getting punished by opposing PGs. He has a tough time penetrating against anyone quicker than him. (which is almost every other guard in the league.) Even when using the PnR he is having issues. Thus we are seeing Kobe be the facilitator instead of the shooting guard. It’s okay though because this seems to be working.

    I want to echo rr when I say that I suspected that we would see a bunch of people raving about how this is the way Kobe should have been playing for the last X number of years even though PG is not his position. Even though Phil never wanted him to play like this in the triangle. I also fully expect to see HA with another hack article. Yay.

  149. @harvey M

    Very much agreed. Nash has been solid thus far to be fair but age has really caught up to him this year. Even though he was an all-star last year, he has been more turnover-prone and unable to penetrate well like he used to. The general belief is for Nash carry the burden of controlling the offense and tempo of the game with Kobe doing the off-ball work but clearly it hasn’t work consistently well because this team is old esp Nash himself who really doesn’t have the legs any more to compete at a high level for 30+ minutes,let alone doing the ball-handling work 75% of the time and having to defend against younger and quicker guard every single possession.

    Now the role switched and it is looking more reliable. Kobe controls the ball more BUT less iso and more passing. He can hold his dribble even when the D tightens up(something which Nash can hardly do when he is worn out) and most importantly can post up,draw double and kick out to the open man who can shoot/swing it,making the offense more fluid when the ball is moving well. This eased up a lot of work for Nash and at the same time,can also look for his shots being an excellent shooter himself. Now the problem is how many minutes does they have to play when their back-ups are kinda terrible. So heres to hoping the bench with Pau,Antawn and Meeks can hold their stand while Kobe and Nash get their much needed rest. AND Kobe can continue playing at this level(kind of impossible near triple double every night) and the team play good defense helping out one another.

    Big big statement win really. Gives a lot to hope for.

  150. Jim….

    Enough. What is the right way? A style that is pleasing to you? Kobe Is such a complete player that he can adapt his game to his team’s needs. Winning is the right way!

  151. @Eric…..

    The Hornets have been playing really well since Eric Gordon returned from injury. They are no day at the beach. You are right. The Lakers can’t fall asleep against them.

  152. Watching the Lakers next opponent, the Hornets, now on League Pass. They are going toe to toe with Memphis in the 4th. The Western conference is a minefield. Our Lakers can’t afford any more slippage.

  153. Did Warren really skip watching this game too? Maybe he’s right about his ability to reverse the curse…

  154. @Harvey M….

    Today’s game featured Kobe in the pinch post where he could create for himself and others. A definite homage to the Triangle. He was able to hit Nash several times with nice passes that Steve converted either into scores or an assist of his own. This is what I was alluding to when I opined that Nash would do well in the Triangle. And you are right in the sense that Coach D’Antoni has left his comfort zone and has made some adjustments from his SSOL days in an effort to get more out of the players he has now. Mike deserves some credit for that.

  155. I hope this win makes Darius feel better, know he mentioned he had a flu a few days ago.
    in some ways, I have to say this blog is turning into a 6 person commentary about games and the lakers in general, I really miss the ol drrayeye and dude abides… some of the old timers

  156. This is the best win of the season. The Lakers played an under control, measured game. That is what this group needs. Its great to see Kobe setting guys up. If the team is going to defend the way it is supposed to then the offensive load has to be shared. LA’s starting wings already have to expend a ton of energy on defense as it is. A slower, more methodical approach on offense is what their legs need.

    And for the record, those who are quick to defend against any and every perceived slight on Kobe are just as annoying as the guys who sit with a clicker and count his shots every game. Kobe is first ballot HOF. He is one of the 10 greatest players ever. His legacy and impact doesn’t need that kind of defense. As soon as I read Jim’s comment I knew there would be four or five comments in response. Come on, guys. Its not that serious.

  157. drrayeye

    He has an extremely lengthy “chemistry” post up in the previous thread

  158. Powerful stuff from kObe – yes, spelling it with a Big O on purpose.

    He’s not doing this like a pass-first pg, but like a relentless meticulous floor general picking apart the d in the most efficacious way. Like Oscar. Pretty damn impressive (from a fan often skeptical of kObe).

  159. And for the record, those who are quick to defend against any and every perceived slight on Kobe

    I have actually criticized his D quite a bit, supported Darius’ post about his D, and have criticized his O on occasion. And, it is not about his “legacy.” Kobe’s legacy is what it is, and this board has zero effect on it. The issue is whether the criticism is intelligent, balanced, and warranted or not.

  160. Rr…good comment.

    I,too, responded to Jim not because he was knocking Kobe, but because of his claim that Kobe doesn’t play “the right way”. As Kobe said,postgame, he is trying to evolve and provide what his team needs on any given night.

  161. The way that Kobe has played these last 2 games is dramatically different than his normal mode.

    He committed to sharing and creating for the majority of the game. In the past, when he defers to his teammates at the beginning of the game, he seems to treat it as a necessary evil so he can feel justified to return to his dominating-the-ball mode.

    A difference today was that he was enthusiastic about it, and consistent. His teammates started to make hard cuts to the basket because they knew he might pass them the ball. He created energy for his teammates by making the right plays in given situations. Usually he will take the difficult shot because that is his intention. His intention today was to give his teammates easier shots by drawing players away from them. He even said after the game he is “trying to evolve”.

    It threw the Thunder. They were unprepared for his degree of sharing. He played a different role today for the Lakers. Opposing teams’ defensive schemes against the Lakers are built on playing against a Kobe Bryant who will dominate the ball most of the time.

    He was filling in the gaps of what they needed today, including rebounding. His game was more cerebral. Can it last? We will see. We will also see how other teams adjust to it.