Lakers/Hornets: Lakers Survive 4th Quarter Letdown

Darius Soriano —  January 29, 2013

The Lakers held on down the stretch, fending off a full of fight Hornets team 111-106. That’s the Lakers’ 3rd straight win and it really does seem like they’re finding their stride some and figuring out how to play together. Which, of course, is quite promising. That said, if all you saw was that final score, or even the last few minutes of game action that led to that score you’d have a much different perception of what this game was like.

With five and a half minutes left in this game the Lakers led the Hornets 98-80. The Lakers got the lead to 18 points after making a strong push to start the 4th quarter behind the reserve backcourt of Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks to go with Earl Clark, Antawn Jamison, and Dwight Howard in the front court. This group played a balanced style with the ball moving (which was the trend all night, really) and hit shots from all over the floor. Back to time-score combination, however, as this is important. With 5:30 left, the Lakers had the game in hand. It looked like Kobe and Nash wouldn’t come back in, Dwight would sub out for Sacre at some point, and the bench would close out the game trading baskets.

That’s not what happened however. No, because over the next two and a half minutes, the Hornets outscored 16-2, making the score 100-96. This made the last two minutes of the game much more adventurous that it needed to be and, frankly, than it should have been. The Lakers started to struggle on offense. The ball was still moving but the energy wasn’t completely there. A turnover was followed by a missed jumper. And then another missed jumper. And then another. Meanwhile the Hornets were taking those misses the other way and turning them into points. A short jumper by Vasquez. Then one by Lopez. Then one by Anderson. Some FT’s by Rivers. Another finish by Vasquez, this time with a foul. Another jumper by Anderson, but this time it’s a three pointer. Suddenly the game that was put away is now decidedly there for the taking.

The Lakers were able to string together some needed stops and get a couple of buckets down the stretch and ultimately won the game but that 4th quarter was a poorly played one and there’s no getting around the fact that everyone on the floor at that time deserves some blame. As does Mike D’Antoni for making no adjustments while the lead kept getting cut down. Particularly frustrating was watching Jamison remain in the game (fair or not when the Lakers went on their offensive drought it was Jamison that was missing the open jumpers) as he struggled to defend in transition, but also had a couple of rough half court ones too being asked to guard Ryan Anderson who started to find his range. D’Antoni had the chance to pull Jamison with two minutes left but instead gambled by sticking with his veteran while Pau and Ron sat on the bench watching.

The gamble did pay off, however, and that’s ultimately what this game is about. Jamison made up for some of his miscues the best he could by making a nice play in the final minute to get a lay up in the half court by attacking the basket when a defender was forced to close out on him in the corner. That basket was, ultimately, the one that clinched the game and was much more indicative of the rest of the contest which is what the focus of this game really should be.

Because even though the Lakers let their foot off the gas late and the Hornets — well coached as they are — took advantage, this game really wasn’t that close in the middle portion. After taking a one point lead into the 2nd quarter, the Lakers led by 12 at the half. In the third quarter the Hornets made a push, but another late close by the Lakers kept the lead at 10 heading into that final frame. Then, of course, the Lakers played well enough to start the period to push the lead all the way to 18 before the aforementioned letdown.

Most of this game was another very good display by the Lakers who really do seem to be figuring out how they can attack defenses with Kobe working below the foul line while cutters and shooters work on the weak side. Furthermore, against the Hornets the Lakers rediscovered their high P&R game with Nash and Kobe operating as facilitators with Dwight working the paint with a variety of strong finishes. Meanwhile, defensively, the Lakers are looking sharper as well by better getting out on shooters and by rotating behind Howard as he steps up to block shots. There were still some breakdowns (Eric Gordon shook free too often) and there were some issues containing dribble penetration in isolation (especially by Nash who struggled with Vasquez most of the night), but the overall effort on D is improved.

And really, that’s why the Lakers are winning. There’s a formula on both ends of the floor, they’re following it, and it’s working. They’ll now have to take their recipe on the road and see if the results can taste as good, but at least they’ve tried it in the test kitchen to smiling faces who left happy and full stomachs. That success can give them the confidence to know that what they’re trying to do does, in fact, work. And that confidence, so lacking just a week ago, can be all the difference for this team.

Darius Soriano

Posts

59 responses to Lakers/Hornets: Lakers Survive 4th Quarter Letdown

  1. Mike D’Antoni killed whatever good will Pau had about coming off the bench by benching him. Only he could find a way to help ruin chemistry even off of wins.

  2. This was a great game from start to, well, almost finish. I have to admit I almost crapped my pants at the end of the game when the Lakers transition D disintegrated and the Hornets’ guards pulled it within 4. Kobe and Nash should not have had to come back in to bail D’Antoni out for refusing to make the correct adjustment. Yes, a win is a win, but this one was a lot more difficult than it needed to be. I don’t know who has the bigger ego at this point, Jimmy Buss or Mike D’Antoni, but at least we know the squad is coming together despite the seemingly poor crunch time coaching. I’m really looking forward to seeing how LAL handles the challenge of the upcoming Grammy roadtrip. Not to sound cliche, but this really will be telling of whether the Lakers can sustain a run at the playoffs,

  3. Its time to officially say, The Lakers are back baby! The League better take notice.

    Oh and that Kobe guy, he’s preetty damn good. “Count on Kobe” indeed.

  4. If dantoni wasn’t the coach and Pj had this one, the lakers would have won by 95 and would be 41-4 by now..(well if they had hired PJ when they were 1-4). this is what I honestly believe. I also believe that if they hired a 4 year hemophiliac with a limp who had never seen a basketball court, they would be 39-6 by now…..Honestly, this is my honest belief. Every mistake made tonight was attributable to Mike Antoni, and all the good things that happened were attributable only to the players who did those plays, as Antoni had told them to do the opposite….seriously.

  5. @harvey M, the Lakers might not be 41-4 with PJ, but they’d probably be somewhere around 27-18.

    Although D’Antoni has made MANY mistakes this season, I thought he coached a pretty good game today for once. When the NO made a run when they were down by 18, the reason why D’Antoni should have called a time out was because the Lakers were for some reason trying to push the pace, and that lead to transition baskets for NO. Also, in transition, players were losing players like Anderson who was left wide open for 3s.

    Jamieson did a reasonable job on defense. On offense, he and Meeks took a few too many early 3s. Same for MWP. MWPs other mistake was trying to 1-1 too often, rather than trying to get his shots in the flow of the offense. It’s obvious from the last few games that the Lakers are essentially unstoppable in a strictly half court game. Although Meeks made a few quick 3s earlier in the game, I knew that would come back to turn them later in the game, because it would take them out of the flow of their half court game. Also, Lakers seem to have figured out their half court defense, in fact, even before this run of wins, their half court defense had been steadily improving.

    Although D’Antoni should certainly call time outs to help his team stop a run, he needs to also call a time out if the team is playing at a pace that is not favorable to them, or if they are the same mistake over and over again on defense. As much as PJ would let his players play through runs, he would ALWAYS call a time out if the team had defensive(or sometimes even offensive) lapses, even early in the season.

    D’Antoni should have either called a time out, or during the foul shots, talked to one of the guys on the floor to slow the pace down, no quick shots, set up the offense.

  6. It scares me a little how dependant the Lakers are on Bryant at this point. He is the punch, the oil, the backup AND the bail out plan… the dog, the yard, the stick AND the carot.

    The way they are playing now he has to be in tripple double territory for the team to win. He can do this, but it is a bit like going all in. You know that the smallest slight from gods, and you falle tumbling down and out into the abyss of the no-lottery pick lottery teams.

  7. WOW, the emergence of Earl Clark has been incredible. When the trade was made, I expected a raw athlete who could possibly provide a little defense and rebounding…….but his poise, outside shooting and decision making has been absolutely shocking….almost too good to be true. This is a player who has never gotten consistent minutes, yet he is playing like a seasoned vet on a star studded team in a pressure packed environment. I can’t wait to see how he plays once he really gets comfortable.

  8. The adoration of Phil on this blog sort of gags me a bit. He is clearly a hall-of-fame coach and perhaps best-of-all-time, but he wasn’t that coach the last year he was here, and I have no confidence he would have been much better with this cast of characters. He was just as adamant about his rotations as is Mike D. and he was even less flexible about his system than Mike D. Those two characteristics would, quite possibly (which is the best any of us can postulate), not have fit this team. At least Mike D. is making some adjustments. I don’t want to toss Phil into the dumpster, but there are good reasons the Buss family might not want Phil back – and they don’t all revolve around ego and cash.

    As for tonight, I am very, very happy Pau and MWP didn’t come back into the game. We are probably going to have to lean on them heavily when we play the Suns tomorrow night. That is why I think the 13 mins Steve Blake got was extremely valuable.

    On the road, typically, the bench play goes down. However, we have Pau and a veteran Jamison who should boost our bench play.

    Overall, I am optimistic about our chances over the next seven games. I do think Mike D. has managed to develop a bench for this team and, at the beginning of the year, we were all bemoaning our very thin club.

    Go Lakers and let’s stop with the “world is falling” comments about the coach or any of our players. We are all better than that – except for the haters and trolls out there.

  9. The complainers on this forum are hilarious and the non constructive negativity has begun to move towards out of control compared to when I first stated reading here.

    There was SO much complaining about Phil when he was the coach and things weren’t going well for the lakers. He was inflexible, he was mailing it in, he wouldn’t control Kobe and on and on and on. It’s a joke when people mindlessly bash D’Antoni who has been on the job such a short time and seems much more flexible than I remember Phil being and act like Phil would be some type of savior after complaining about him in same way. Sheesh.

  10. I can’t resist a comment on the play of Earl Clark. He may very well be a ‘diamond-in-the-rough’, but his development is certainly helped by the fact that he plays with the starting unit and is clearly low man on the totem pole. He has less pressure and better examples of what to do than he would have playing on the 2nd unit. He can better concentrate on his athleticism – which the starting unit sorely needs – and just play basketball. This plays to all his strengths and suddenly we have someone who ‘gets it,’ as opposed to the player who ‘doesn’t get it’ on the Suns or Magic. We have to remember he was a lottery pick because he supposedly had some talent. His breakout should remind us that it is often the situation a player is drafted into, as much as his talent, that determines how long he will play in the NBA.

  11. Pau is obviously at odds with d’antoni and makes it known every chance he gets. At this point he isn’t a 36 minute a night player. He has been far more effective this year in the 29-32 min range, last okc game as the exception. Had he finished the game he might not have made those comments but he came off as selfish post game tonight. Earl clark is hustling and knocking down shots the same exact thing marion did. If he can prove to be a solid defender and get out on the break we could see marion 2.0. No wonder talented raw guys grow here (brown, sasha, ariza, lamar) they see kobe’s work ethic, apply it and it shows almost immediately. Kobe playing pg has been a breathe of fresh air. His play is trickling down to the rest of the team. Have a feeling lakers are getting ready to go on a serious run.

  12. People seem to forget that in Phil’s final season, Kobe was basically playing on one leg with his messed up knee and rarely practiced with the team. Kobe was a shell of his former self that year…. and nothing like the healthy Kobe we have seen the last two seasons. Trying to win a ring with a one legged Kobe was a near impossible task.

    If Phil were coaching this team, he would have immediately recognized the obvious, as Magic and most fans already knew – that this is a slow team that should play at a slow pace to limit transition buckets. The recent adjustments to run the offense through Kobe and to slow the pace down would have been made immediately, not in late January.

  13. So here is the thing with Dantoni…he actually has quite a few ideas that are not conventional, so it you have been soaking up everything the robot announcers spew out on TV, you will, along with probably the majority of lakers fan, assume that he is a moron.

    So here are a couple of tendencies…1) he doesn’t tend to call as many time outs to stop a bad flow, or a bad sequence of play as is common parlance among most NBA coaches. He feels this disrupts the flow of the game, and gives the other team who are not as prepared to deal with the pace a better chance to catch their breath…there may be many other reasons for this approach, but those are some of the main ones.

    2) he likes to run a shorter rotation…that is pretty well documented, it tends to help the group of players that are in the first 8 or 9, as they have enough time on the floor every night to get a flow and to have a chance to succeed, and obviously disadvantages the bottom of the bench. He also likes to give players a bit of room to play easy and free and to not be a crazy intense disciplinarian.
    But one of the things that I don’t think anyone is noticing, and giving him credit for, and that is a big by product of both of those ideas, is that overall, the bench has developed quite well, and right now you have quite a number of guys off the bench who are contributing on both sides of the ball (clark of course, but also now Jamison and Meeks, and Blake was very effective today in his first game) And really that has been achieved without, a lot of time with the team and no pre season. And when you look at the upcoming road trip can we not see how many different weapon are at he team disposal and how mmay different wayts tghere are for this team to beat youany different ways this team can beat you. So the important thing with Dantoni is not to focus too much on the micro and instead to see how the big picture decisions are helping the team. I doubt too many would have developed the rotation and the fringe players as quickly and as effectively as Dantoni has.

    3) he is crazy for ball movement and finding the natural shot in the flow of the offence. I think we can all now see how that has worked…and really while I don’t want to disparage too much what the lakers have been the last few years, have the last 3 games, not been some of the most enjoyable to watch of any games in the last 3 years, and is not just a bit possible that this is a result of Dantoni’s principals finally being adopted?

    4) re pau tonight, this is the first game of a back to back. With clark and Jamison on a bit of a run, do we not see the value of resting Pau, even though he was effective tonight, so that you can get 30 mins out of him tomorrow?

  14. Maybe I missed it but seems MD almost blew this game.

    Nash was getting buried by the PGs, Jamison by Anderson yet a better defender in Metta and a better defender in Blake were watching. I can understand Clark over Pau but Jamison over Metta, and allowing 14 to 2 runs with no TOs is just poor coaching.

    Lakers clearly get it together on the court in spite of MD, now if Mike
    just stays home they might make a real run.

  15. Even on wins, or should I say almost-losses, MDA couldn’t catch a break. Last I checked he never defended anyone, its the players’ task to run and defend. He could have screamed to the top of his lungs RUUUUUUNNNNN but if they didn’t do it, meh.

    I hope you guys get sense into your heads that not every wrong detail that happens is the coach’s fault. You have so much placed Phil on God status as if he didn’t have any flaws during his time. I would rather not engage in a Phil vs MDA debate coz #1 its not a choice and #2 its not happening regardless. So live with it.

    I like a seasoned debate all day everyday but the quality of posts lately I see here are just too much to take.

  16. It is my fervent desire that we hold players accountable to what happens on the floor instead of the coach who can’t affect any stat in the game except timeouts.

  17. I dont know why people are whinning about the benching of Pau and MWP, they were 2-12 combined and outside of Pau’s fine passing both played like absolute crap, Clark and Jamison made key buckets down the stretch. The team relaxed amd let go of the gas pedal and almost paid for it. A week ago this team would had folded in the OKC game and this one when this teams made their run, the diference is that they made all the key stops and baskets both games, something they were incapable of doing until very recently, things are looking up.

  18. I am disgusted that Pau was not in the game playing alongside Dwight at the end of the game.

    I am disgusted that Kobe was not the point guard for much of the game.

    These are the reasons why New Orleans kept going on runs to catch of with the Lakers.

    These are the reasons why the Lakers “SURVIVED” New Orleans instead of blowing them out.

    These are the reasons why the Lakers lost energy.

    Pau was disgusted sitting on the bench when the Lakers were falling apart and letting New Orleans go on a run.

    I am most disgusted with D’Antoni for being the one most responsible for the Lakers nearly losing to one of the worse teams in the NBA. for playing so poorly at the end.

    Disgusted with D’Antoni.

  19. The Straw Men vs The False Dichotomies: Post’em ’til you’re satisfied.

    Can anyone tell me if Mark Jackson is really a good coach, is he so loaded with talent that he can’t help but do well and/or some other variable? I want him to do well enough to stay off of the TV microphone. Either way, they are fun as hell to watch.

    5:47 left in the 4th, Monty Williams calls a time out. Lakers are up by 18. The future Pelicans go back to penetration: Vasquez miss leads to Lopez’s rebound. Master of Panic 3.0 ensues. Nash and Jamison are the victims of 8 points surrendered in a row with the Lakers only taking perimeter shots in that span. Clark is trailing Ryan Anderson by 1000 paces as the 3 is hit then the timeout is called. 3 minutes remain. Kobe hits his 1st free throws of the night. Jamison’s stellar defense leads to another Anderson 3. Vasquez pops. Clark stays in the lane until the cherry blossoms bloom and scores. Howard scares the hell out of Vasquez, Nash kills the 3 then harasses Anderson. Gordon must stink because no one wants to guard him for the open 3. Jamison seals the deal with his nasty push lay up.

    Lakers won. I’m good with that. More wins should lead to more poise.

  20. Might I add that I am also disgusted by the sheer lack of understanding that revolves on here. Even on wins. Negative energy.

    Thanks KenO/KOOO for making this happen. Thanks others for following suit.

  21. Can the Lakers win on the road?? Remains to be seen. 5-15 on the year…..

  22. The only reason the team almost blew the lead was because they relaxed too much once it looked like a blow out. Once they got the focus back they ended the game in a solid 9-3. run, that lopez garbage bucket at the end dont really count on my book. Those that are whinning about Pau i bet are the same ones that wanted him traded for a washing machine a week ago. I always stayed the course that i didnt want him traded, but last night besides his passing he was absolutely horrible same as Metta, what part of 2-12 combined these people dont understand? Clark and Jamison came through with 38 points between them, why on the hell would MDA would put Pau and MWP down the stretch? I like his aproach of ” Your not producing you sitting down i dont care who ypu are” Everybody is a coach on this damn site.

  23. I am as critical as anyone, but I don’t get the MDA hate. I watched the game and never thought that MDA was doing anything horribly wrong. in fact, I thought that there were several plays out of time outs and sets that were really good.

    the collapse toward the end was kind of a snowball effect and super hot shooting by NO. but the key is that instead of hero ball, KB24 found open guys (Clark) and the team finished strong with Nash and Jamison hitting clutch shots. no way could Pau have been on the floor because NO went small.

    my overall takeaway from this game was that KB24 is really sacrificing for the good of the team, and I am in complete awe of his unselfishness and leadership.

  24. If the Lakers can string 4 wins out of this roadtrip, chances are we’re making the playoffs.

  25. I too would have liked to see MWP guarding Anderson at the end instead of Jamison, but the fact is that the Lakers won against an improving Hornets/Pelicans team who made a huge push at the end of the game.

    The venting going on today about D’Antoni is a little bit overblown imo. Remember, the Lakers of a week ago would have lost the last 3 games rather than winning them.

  26. Two weeks ago the Lakers were the team getting outplayed for three quarters and then making a game but ultimately futile fourth quarter run. Now they are the team building the big team and withstanding that run.

    I’ll take it. No questions asked.

    This road trip will be a great chance to build on these good habits, come together as a team, beat some mostly weaker comps and then test it all at the end against Miami. There is still a lot to work on, but if they are all prepared to adjust their roles and to hold each other accountable, and to learn from what works and what doesn’t, this team still has the talent to make a deeeeep playoff run.

  27. Im positive the Lakers can win at least 5 of the grammy trip game the way they playing, i believe we have a better team than the Nets and we almost beat the Heat playing like crap. I dont know i have a feeling this might turn out reeeaaaly good

  28. Rusty Shackleford January 30, 2013 at 7:01 am

    The look on Monty Williams’ face says, “I miss Chris Paul.”

    I too feel that the load Kobe is being asked to carry is unsustainable but I hope he prooves me wrong. However, if he does end up carrying this team the way has for the remainder of the season, it will be a chapter to his legacy that MJ never did.

    The defense has looked a lot better. It’s just the letting Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson get wide open looks that killed them. Steve Nash is really as bad as advertised on defense. They need 16ppg from him to make it worth their while having him on the floor since he isn’t even the primary playmaker at this point.

  29. The Phil adoration without any possible critici and Mike D hatred without any reasonable argument is getting old quick. Some of you will never change your minds. These are probably the same guys that were arguing for a trade-back of Javaris an are now looking to get back Farmar or Machine. SMH. I wish we could collectively vote on banning posters.

  30. Manny, since it might not be ban-worthy per freedom of expression, I would prefer having an “ignore” button to these posters that bring nothing but negativity and just repetitive ranting.

  31. The constant negativity and griping about *every little thing* in the comments section is certainly understandable (ESPECIALLY in the context of this season) but it’s making it really hard to enjoy this blog

  32. Also, from what little I’ve seen thus far, Pau being the anchor for our second unit has worked better than I thought it ever would. I liken it to how Phil moved Odom to the bench in 2009 and we all saw how that worked out – Odom may have been the 6th guy in our rotation but anyone who watched that team knows he was the 3rd most important guy on the team. Hopefully Pau can see it in that context.

  33. Tom Daniels,

    Great post, good to see you on this board. I am guessing you are the same Tom Daniels from the old LA Times board run by the K Bros?

  34. Pau needs to accept he is not the same player he was, im tired of his whinnin, during the last 2 playoffs, he is been one of the main reasons the Lakers lost, this season we all know how he been playing so far, as much as i like him, apreciate what he is done and what he can still contribute to the team, he need to shut his mouth and focus on improving his terrible play this season, he didnt deserved to be at the end of the game last night, period, he was at the end of the Utah and OKC games, why? Because his play made him deserving of it, outside of some great passing he didnt bring anything to the table last night, Jamison and especially Clark did.

  35. I’m still not convinced. Win against good teams on the road and I’ll believe. Until then, I’m not sure we’ll be able to win 6 of the next 7 to reach .500 (and that may not be enough).

  36. @Tom Daniels – “Now they are the team building the big team(sic) and withstanding that run.
    I’ll take it. No questions asked.´´ – nicely put

  37. Warren

    Stopping teams runs with time outs or player changes is one of a coach’s major jobs. Allowing 18 to 2 runs with no TO was my issue with Mike.

    He tends to do that often. Change momentum don’t just watch it like a fan?

  38. Every team has weaknesses to exploit. Some weaknesses are easier to to exploit then others. The Achilles Heel for this team is fast break defense. When the game goes wide open, the Lakers need to make their shots or they will get broken out on and results will be leads lost quickly. When the shots are going down it is not a problem. The other way the Lakers can contain this problem is by sticking Kobe in at the post and make the game more methodical. This balances the floor so a slow footed team can get back on defense. This may be the thinking behind D’Antoni bringing Kobe in when he did in the 4th. The offense was stagnant, leading to fast breaks and a quick loss of the lead. At this point, bring in Kobe and slow it down. The last few plays of the game, the Nash 3, Jamison’s layin, these all came from Kobe getting into the post and the ensuing ball movement.

    Like others on this site, I am a bit concerned that MDA decided to go with Jamison over Ron. I enjoy scoop-shots and a funky release as much as anyone but defense wins championships. I’d be curious as to MDA’s thinking on that decision. His “If you play defense but miss shots” answer doesn’t really tell me much.

    All you guys that seem to think this team should be an unbeatable monster, that Phil would make them unbeatable… or that you would (I’m assuming that’s who is being described when talking about blood-clotting issues), this team is very beatable. These are not the 70-odd win Bulls or the mid-80’s Lakers or Celtics (and both those teams were beatable as well). You need to stop looking at the names on the back of people’s jerseys and actually pay attention to player abilities. Gasol’s feet are still pretty slow and his lift is iffy. Nash is still in his late 30’s and was never good with his lateral movement. Dwight still has a bad back. MWP is a fair approximation, but not quite the specimen that Artest was in Indy. Jamison is not the same dude who played for Washington. I’d like to say something about Kobe but that man defies all measures of space and time. He is Kobe, so we have that. All that said, this team has a chance to grow into a juggernaut of sorts come April, May and if we are really, really, really lucky they will get through some season long juggernauts to get to June. Point being, the team may have turned a corner but you don’t come out of a corner at full speed. Let them build momentum, and frankly the Grammy trip is a great opportunity to do so. It’s been a key road trip on many championship seasons. Hopefully the team has accepted who each of them are and are learning to play as that, rather then as the players whose name they read on the back of the jersey.

  39. @KOOO – agree with you about MD´A; though we have to give him his due for allowing the `new´ system to take shape. I believe you´d agree, (all the same, he should be licking (not just kissing) the ground Mamba walks on!)

  40. Kobe has rightly thrown D’Antoni’s playbook and system into a dumpster fire. I thought I even saw some elements of the Princeton offense last night.

    Anything was better then seeing Nash get trapped into oblivion on the P & R while everyone stood around and watched.

  41. Ko, remember Phil? IIRC, taking timeouts during a regular season game to stem the tide definitely wasn’t one of his strong suits either. And he’s the greatest of them all.

  42. I still think Phil Jackson would have been the best choice for this team. We’re seeing how a slower more disciplined system fits this roster. And Phil was as big as his players, could better manage multiple egos. People point to that last season and, apparently, ignore his 11 titles and other Finals appearances. That last season was after back-to-back championships, with a tired roster, an injured Kobe, and it seemed even Jackson lacked energy. However, if D’Antoni can adjust and figure out how this Laker team needs to play for 48 mins a game, and get his players to buy into his leadership, then we might have something.

  43. Jim buss fan – not! January 30, 2013 at 9:31 am

    So thankful we have guys here to tell us to stop drinking the haterade and start working on those statues for junior and mda.

    This was not a bad team and is not a bad team. Maybe it is not finals worthy. But this team should be at least a 7th seed.

    But at least be honest enough to admit the coaching flaws of mda and the other 8 coaches who have some responsibility for the teams record.

    No question in my mind that many other coaches wod have found a way to avoid digging this big a whole.

    This is a blog, not a cheerleading squad.

  44. I was on the same boat thinking, why are Pau and Peace not playing yet in the 4th? But then I checked the schedule and saw that we have a game against Phoenix today. So maybe D’Antoni was saving them for the back to back. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I just hope that Pau’s sullen demeanor on the bench will not follow him into tonights contest. He did not look particularly excited in the 4th quarter.

  45. @ Jim Buss Fan

    Since when is saying “D’Antoni sucks !” ad nasueum thoughtful analysis that raises the level of discourse of the site? Warren, et al brings up a valid point—save for a handful of commenters, the level of thoughtful analysis has plummeted in the comments.

  46. Right? Because Phil always called timeouts when things were going poorly? Not. Phil was famous for letting the players play and figuring out those situation for themselves on the court. D’Antoni does it and he is terrible. Phil does it and he is a genius.

  47. The state of the comments are what they are. Which is to say, not what they once were, to make a general statement. Case in point: I became a contributor to this site through my contributions in the comments. Over time I began to write posts and then when Kurt left I took over running the entire site.

    But it is what it is. I tire of complaining about the comments because complaining gets old. That is, unless you’re a habitual complainer. They never tire of complaining. Which we seem to have plenty of at this site now for whatever reason.

  48. Why is it so important to be right that we tend to ignore changes as they occur? Sometimes a team turns a corner and sometimes they only accelerate into a cu-de-sac. If you don’t know the future it is often ignorant to assume you can predict it.

    The one constant about Kobe, over the last 17 years, is he values winning above all else. He is also extremely, extremely stubborn. I don’t know whether he has changed his mind about how this team needs to win or whether he simply has gotten to know the quirks of the people he is playing with and now trusts them more, but this mania in the media about how he will immediately start jacking up 30 low-percentage shots would seem to go against his demand that his team win.

    A study years ago (http://www.littlewhitestatistics.com/?cat=7) showed, pretty conclusively, that Kobe’s shooting goes up when his team is both in trouble and not shooting well. Most ‘talking heads’ don’t have the patience or persistence to sift through that many nuances, therefore, they can’t seem to make the connection. It would be nice if Laker fans weren’t that shallow about the team they claim to love. The last highlight doesn’t always tell the truth, both on the up and the down side.

  49. >>>Allowing 18 to 2 runs with no TO was my issue with Mike.

    Phil Jackson used to do a lot of those. Remember? let the players figure out themselves, especially in the regular season.

    One thing i am concerned about is, without a solid system, or good coaching, this team could win some regular season games, or even a couple rounds of playoff with their talents, but against an elite/well coached team, it is probably not enough.

  50. It is all about pace. The run to start the 4th quarter was fool’s gold. It got the Lakers thinking that they could run and score at will. Reality set in in the final 5 min when they found out that all those quick shots were giving NO more chances to shoot and find their rhythm. If the Lakers focus more on the offense that emphasizes ball movement and a slower pace they will be fine.

  51. Jim buss fan – not! January 30, 2013 at 10:38 am

    @ former reader

    Thank you making my point.

    There is plenty of valid criticism here, but its all dantoni sucks to you.

    Made we should pledge allegiance to the lakers

  52. Jim buss fan – not!
    It would seem your moniker says it all. Nobody gets to play on an NBA team – or coach an NBA team – without a fair level of talent and more sophistication than most of us commentators possess. That being said, it would behoove us not to simply make snap judgements and spend the rest of our commenting time defending our snap judgement. I have been guilty of this as well; it’s just that I have had more years to get embarrassed by my mistakes, so I try to slow down making decisions about my sports teams.

  53. I don’t think Ken said anything out of line. He brought up a good point about Mike D even if it was negative. Most of the complete player coach bashing, for example, “Mike D sucks”, happens during a game where the Lakers are losing big, that is emotion talking during a frustrating game and it is understandable. Lets get real people. Like Jim Buss Fan-Not says, this is not a cheerleading squad. Not every comment is or should be positive. Lakers are still 5 games under 500 and despite the 3 game win streak they have not shown us if they can win on the road. I am not trying to be negative, I think they can do it, I just am not going to get my hopes up and say, we are back to normal like other people have said.

  54. Darius,
    I’ve followed the site since nearly the beginning and I rarely comment here. The posts are still all very well written. I have learned a lot and been able to see a lot more of what is going on when I watch the games from these I have read here. I miss many of the regular contributors (Dr Ray Eye, The Dude Abides, Harold, et al) who seem to have cut back this year.

    I used to enjoy reading the thoughtful analysis on display in the comments. This season, that has changed. I don’t read the comments as much because they have detriorated. I’m sure this is partly due to what a mess of a season this has been. I also believe it is partly due to the increased exposure that the site has had over the last two seasons from being part of the ESPN Truehoop network. As you say, “It is what it is.” I still believe this is the best fan site of the best basketball franchise in the world and will continue to read it daily. I simply skip past the comments of those whom I know will only bring complaints and comments which lack substance.

    Thank you for running a great site. I feel lucky to be able to participate in such a small way.

  55. You guys have to admit, D’Antoni is an easy target. He wanted to turn an old and slow team full of elite post players, whose Achilles heel was transition defense, into a fast paced three point happy, perimeter oriented team. Just think about how illogical that is. It would be similar to the Miami Heat coach trying to turn the Heat into a slow paced, half court oriented post up team. It just makes no basketball sense.

    The adjustment to slow down the pace and play more through the post has finally been made, but by all accounts, it was the players who came up with these adjustments.

    It’s hard to blame Laker fans for having such little faith in D’Antoni at this point. He still has a lot to prove.

    GO LAKERS!

  56. I actually think there is a good balance in the comments here — we cheer the players-only meeting that brought the fire back to the players, Kobe’s change of style by playing like a point guard when nothing else worked, team efforts that delivered three wins in a row, etc; and we lament the transition defense, coach’s rotation decisions, some players unnecessary gambling on defense that led to easy penetration, etc. If a balanced discussion such as this is labelled negative commenting, then be it.

  57. We Laker fans live in an imperfect world, and these have not been the best of times. Our FO may already be facing a dynastic struggle of at least soap opera proportions. Even under Coach D, our current Slowtime fits Jerry’s geriatric fantasies better than the Showtime of times past. The implicit contract seems still in place: the Lakers have about 11/2 years to win championships with the present roster (and coach). If that implicit contract doesn’t hold, none of us are likely to get the changes we hope for.

    The chemistry that Kobe has created is fragile, but has been good enough for three wins and renewed hope. Let’s watch how the team further evolves, starting with a needed road win in the Arizona desert tonite. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  58. Jim buss fan – not! January 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Craig w

    What’s your point?

    I’m not a fan of jim buss . Believe it or not, I’m not alone with that opinion. What’s wrong with that?

    As for snap judgements, you spend a lot of time questioning the judgement of those who don’t agree with yours.

    That’s your right. It’s a blog not a fan club.

  59. Jim buss fan,

    Many negative commentators repeat their whimpers multiple times each post. There are also those who are fans of the sport and enjoy good play with the bad, especially the few die hard Charlotte fans. For those of us who enjoy ball as art–comedy, tragedy, suspense, villainy, redemption, and all–the obsessive whining about winning is a tad obnoxious.

    Although this site focuses largely on the X’s and O’s of Lakers basketball, I believe the strategum is meant to reflect the skill of the artists at play rather than calculate championships.