Preview and Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

Darius Soriano —  January 29, 2013

Records: Lakers 19-25 (10th in the West), Hornets 15-29 (14th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.7 (6th in the NBA), Hornets 102.0 (14th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.6 (20th in the NBA), Hornets 106.0 (27th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Hornets: Greivis Vasquez, Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Anthony Davis, Robin Lopez
Injuries: Lakers: Jordan Hill (out for the season); Hornets: none

The Lakers Coming in: First things first, welcome back Steve Blake. Out since the 8th game of the season with an abdominal tear, Blake has been cleared to play even though he’s not yet 100%. Blake has said he’ll tough through it, however, and get on the floor to help the team. What that means in terms of minutes and role remains to be seen, but it will be nice to have another option in the back court for Mike D’Antoni to turn to. I say backcourt, because there’s still a chance Blake sees some minutes at SG in certain lineups (though, I’d hope that isn’t the case).

After the OKC win, Kobe said something that I found very interesting in his post game interview. In talking about his role as a set up man, he said something along the lines of originally wanting to be a finisher and for Nash to be the play maker. That that’s how he envisioned their roles. (As an aside, this goes hand in hand with quotes he made earlier this year about Nash and Pau being “distributors” and he and Dwight being “finishers.) But, Kobe said, he found that they’d gone too far in that direction and that he had to relieve Nash of some of that pressure of always being the man setting up the action. In that single quote, I feel like  the reasons for the Lakers’ struggles was explained and it’s why I’m more and more hopeful a turnaround is actually possible.

The idea of the Lakers was that they had these complementary pieces who’s skills would mesh to form this great team. Nash’s passing would prop up the offense. Dwight’s defensive ability would do the same on the other end of the floor. With Kobe and Pau already having championship know-how, the team would play to their strengths things would go great. But that’s not worked. And, when you think about it, why would it?

The best part of having talented players is that they do multiple things well. Nash isn’t just a great playmaker, he’s a great shooter. Kobe isn’t just a fantastic scorer, he’s also a fantastic facilitator. Gasol isn’t just a set up man, he can also finish at a very high level. Kobe and Gasol are also capable defenders (with some real limitations) and it shouldn’t be solely on Howard to carry the load on that end of the floor. The point being, why tell super talented guys to only do one thing that they’re talented at? Why not push them to do more and, thus, compromise the defense even more? By opening up what each player is asked to do, you engage them and get more out of them. And when you’re talking about some of the best players in the world, what you’re going to get is world class production.

There will be more tweaks and adjustments down the road to be sure. But, if only one thing comes out of “facilitator Kobe”, I hope it’s getting back to the idea that great player can, and should, do it all, It’s what makes them great.

The Hornets Coming in: Or, maybe I should say “the Pelicans” coming in. The team finally revealed their new logo that they’ll use as a part of their name change/rebranding heading into next season. Nothing too ground shattering there, but a good logo nonetheless.

On the court, the Hornets (I’ll use Pelicans next season) have lost 3 of 5, but did score an impressive victory over the Grizzlies on Sunday. That victory, while somewhat flukey (the Hornets bench outscored the starters by 11 points) is also indicative of the fact that the Hornets have a nice assortment of talent now that they’re fully healthy. With Eric Gordon back in the lineup, this team has a more well rounded offensive attack as he, Vasquez, Anthony Davis, and Ryan Anderson are all capable of getting baskets in diverse ways that complement each other.

Defensively is where the Hornets continue to struggle, but that should only improve over time as well. Davis will learn how he can impact the game on that end as he gains more experience and when that happens he can anchor the backline of a top flight defense for years. Ultimately, if you’re a Hornets fan, I’d think you have to feel good about the direction of your team. It’s been a bumpy season to be sure (and there are serious questions about Austin Rivers’ development and ceiling) but they’re going to grow together, likely get another solid draft pick this upcoming draft and continue to build. If they can stay healthy, they’ll climb up from the depths of the standings in the coming seasons to be a solid playoff team, I’d imagine.

Hornets Blogs: Hornets 24/7 does a great job of covering this team. As does At the Hive. Give both a click.

Keys to game: Both the Lakers and the Hornets are coming off one of their better wins of the year on Sunday. For the Hornets tonight is the 2nd game of a 5 game road trip and starting out with two wins would be huge for their confidence considering the opponents. For the Lakers, tonight is their last home game for some time as the Grammys are about to take over the Staples Center for a couple of weeks. So, with momentum and the hope to influence long road trips on the line, expect tonight to be a highly contested game.

For the Lakers, playing the way they have been in recent games will be interesting against this particular Hornets team. Kobe and Eric Gordon have a long history of battles from Gordon’s days as a Clipper. Back in those matchups, Gordon usually played good, hardnosed defense against Kobe by battling him for every inch of space all over the floor. And since those matchups took place when the Lakers ran the Triangle, Gordon is quite used to seeing Kobe operate from the mid-post and having to defend him when he’s both a scoring and passing threat.

Of course, Gordon’s familiarity isn’t the only variable. Will Monty William’s double? If so, will it be a hard double or a mix of feints and strong side zone looks that force Kobe into passing but without the benefit of clear passing angles? If he doesn’t double, will Kobe be able to score at a rate high enough that forces adjustments? How the Lakers’ offense flows over the course of the evening will certainly depend on the answers to these questions.

Also important to the Lakers offense is if Steve Nash can find the requisite daylight to operate well in the pick and roll. Greivis Vasquez does not have the fleetest feet and instead uses good size and length to defend. But when you add his slowish feet to those of Robin Lopez, the Lakers may have a defensive duo in the P&R that they can pick on to create openings. If Nash can successfully turn the corner or create separation at the top of the action, passing angles will open up and there will be chances to get baskets at the rim. The important defender to watch will be Anthony Davis as he will likely be the secondary help man charged with covering the paint and then recovering back to Earl Clark roaming around the break in the three point line. If Davis gambles wrong or can’t get in front of Dwight, dunks will ensue. But if the Lakers take too many chances, Davis’ once in a generation instincts and incredible athleticism can turn any pass into a turnover that will go the other way quickly for an easy basket.

Defensively, there are several individual matchups that intrigue me. First of all, with Gordon back in the fold, Kobe will have his hands full on that end of the floor. Gordon came back from his knee issues looking very much like the same do-it-all offensive player he was before he got hurt. Kobe will have to respect Gordon’s jumper and his ability to use the threat of that shot to get into the lane. Gordon averages almost 6 FTA’s a game so not allowing him to slip into the paint and draw fouls on Howard (or Pau) will be crucial.

Also crucial will be slowing the Hornets’ P&R attack with Vasquez. One of the most improved players over the past couple of seasons, Vasquez does good work in the P&R using his deceptive change of pace and excellent feel to create shots for himself and his teammates. His sense of timing is very good and that allows him to read plays a split second ahead of when they develop and that compensates for some of his physical limitations. The P&R is also a key action because of how it can open up shots for Ryan Anderson. Much like his role in Orlando, Anderson thrives as an off the ball worker who can work as a pick and pop player or as the first pass option when teams take away the dive man in the P&R (think of how Pau/Clark often get the ball when Dwight rolls). Anderson has already made 134 three pointers (no Laker has even made 100) and he will kill you if left open for even a half second. The Lakers’ rotations must be better than sharp whenever Anderson is in the game as he’s the option they want to go to in order to exploit defenses.

Where the Lakers can neutralize some of these options in the P&R is with Dwight’s ability to roam when he’s matched up with Lopez. Dwight can freely step away from Robin to hedge on off-ball screen actions (for Gordon) and can angle himself to limit Lopez’s rolls and Vasquez’s drives to the lane so that the perimeter players can stay closer to home when guarding their men. If Dwight can effectively control the entirety of the paint and not just the restricted area, the rest of the Lakers’ defense can lock in on the perimeter threats and on Davis’ activity working around the edges of the paint.

I’ve said it before, but it’s too early to get too excited about whatever supposed transformation the Lakers are going through now. It’s intriguing to think of the possibilities, but until we see more of the same, consistently, it could just be another false start. Tonight gives them a chance to take another positive step forward, however. Here’s hoping they take it.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start on TWC Sportsnet and NBA TV. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts

109 responses to Preview and Chat: The New Orleans Hornets

  1. Lakers in 7 ….wait..what time of the year is it?

  2. In the last two games, Nash guarded Tinsley and Sefoloshia, two players who don’t attack the basket. Nash is going to have his hands full tonight against Vasquez, who plays in constant attack mode. Continuing to slow down the pace against a young and athletic team like the Hornets, while playing solid team defense will be key tonight.

  3. they’ve won 8 of their last 12.. this team is playing some really good ball and this won’t be a cakewalk. Need to really bear down and not look past this one.

  4. They can’t get ahead of themselves, one game at a time. How many times this year did they seem to be turning the corner only to waste the momentum by losing to a bottom tier team?

  5. With Steve Blake back, we can play Steve Nash less. Defense is going to make the difference tonight, less Steve Nash equals better defense.

  6. Still have very low trust in this team. I still think lack of speed and defense are issues. Here’s to hoping that I am wrong!

  7. Just Man
    Steve Blake isn’t automatically a better defensive player than Steve Nash. Nash is unfairly penalized defensively when he is better than advertised in team defense. The same can be said of Mike D and his other teams.

    I am not trying to toot the horns of these people, but we do tend to grab onto a single statistic or POV and then not let it go – regardless. I would say this is the result of the ESPN mentality or the ‘talking heads,’ but there was a lot of this prejudging of players back before the time of Magic and Bird. It is not a new phenomenon. I guess it is just the human condition – sigh!!

  8. Craig, Nash is a horrible defender. Blake is a much better defender. I don’t need stats to tell me, it is clear as day. Mike D’Antoni is a horrible defensive coach.It’s the reason he had to leave Phoenix and why he had to hire Woodson in NY. Phoenix never got to the finals because they didn’t have it defensively and that’s coaching.

  9. I don’t recall Steve Blake being that good on defense. Nash historically has not been great as a solo defender, but he will help out.

    Nash is pretty clutch on the offensive side. He rarely makes mistakes.

    One of D’Antoni’s biggest mistakes is not having any kind of defensive identity or scheme. I can’t remember any writer, coach or analyst (who knows what they are talking about) praising MDA for defense.

    The only pro coach who has ever cared less about defense is probably Don Nelson. Maybe Paul Westhead. But I think he’s the only guy who won a title in the NBA and WNBA, so hey, at least he can say he won 2 titles, which is 2 more than MDA.

    Nelson was just more honest about it than MDA.

  10. More Blake means less Duhon. Nevertheless, it’s still a nightmare of guard choices on this team.

  11. The Flukey win by the Hornets over Memphis gives me worry for tonight’s contest. The Lakers are one of the worst bench teams in the league. The Hornets bench depth may rattle a Lakers bench that is reintroducing Steve Blake to the equation. Don’t be too surprised if the Hornets bench outshines the Lakers. The first game of back to backs also can be trouble for an older team. The Lakers better have their heads in the game tonight. Phoenix tomorrow means the Lakers might be thinking ahead.

  12. With Blake back hopefully we’ll up our bench average by 5pts or so. Not too bad.

  13. Not Charlie Rosen January 29, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Normally not a stats guy, but worth noting:

    Defensive Efficiency of the Suns under D’Antoni – ranged from 13th to 17th, right at the league average
    Defensive Efficiency of the Knicks (pre-Chandler) – 22nd, bad
    Defensive Efficiency of the Knicks (with Chandler) – 10th

    In other words, when you’re trying to defend with Amare, Quentin, Diaw and the like, I don’t care if you’re Red Auerbach, you’re not going to get great results, and yet those teams were better than half the league. And I’ll forgive him for the early Knicks run, because that team was a trainwreck top to bottom. But in the one stretch where D’Antoni had a defensively-minded center, his team’s defense was top 10 in the league. Yeah, he had Woodson to help explain help-the-helper and weak-side zone principals to his players, but let’s look at this:

    Lakers 05/06 Defensive Efficiency (w/ Kwame) – 15th
    Lakers 06/07 Defensive Efficiency (w/ Kwame) – 24th
    Lakers 07/08 Defensive Efficiency (w/ Pau & Bynum) – 9th
    Lakers 08/09 Defensive Efficiency (w/ Pau & Bynum) – 5th

    Those are Phil Jackson years, btw, including the 15th and 24th rankings. He also relied heavily on his assistants as defensive coordinators, and when he didn’t have a solid defensively minded center, the team’s defense was the same as or worse than Phoenix’s under D’Antoni. He gets Pau and Bynum in the middle, both committed to giving maximum effort defensively, and suddenly the team’s defense is really good. But we never talk disparagingly about him as a “horrible defensive coach.”

    Truth is, as has been the case for nearly every good defensive team over the last decade (aside from the swarming Heat), good defense doesn’t come from coaches, it comes from having one mobile big man who brings maximum effort on the defensive end every night, and teammates who recognize that and are willing to expend the effort to help the helper.

    D’Antoni’s not a brilliant defensive mind, but he’s never been the key to this team’s defensive success: it’s Dwight bringing it every night, and Kobe and Pau expending the effort to help when Dwight does his thing.

  14. Jim buss fan – not! January 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Maert ,

    Thank you for stating the obvious.

  15. Hey, Pau is our new 6th man right now.

  16. Not Charlie Rosen,

    The Phoenix teams had Marion in his prime, who was a defensive beast. He was able to guard four different positions. They also had Raja Bell, who was a premiere defender at the time. Couple that with their explosive offense that shot the ball at a very high percentage, and it’s understandable that their defensive stats would be adequate. Good offense has an impact on defensive team stats.

    Nash himself stated that during pressure situations in the playoffs, the team did not have a reliable system defensively to fall back on. That’s on the coach.

    Regarding the Lakers poor defensive stats, c’mon, that team featured Smush, Luke and Brian Cook, the three matadors of the NBA.

    Players obviously have the largest impact on defensive stats, but I think you are underestimating the impact a good defensive coach can have.

    The defense has looked better the last couple games, and part of that has been the players deciding to slow the pace down, and play more out of the post, which reduces defensive possessions and transition buckets.

    When looking at the season thus far, I don’t think anybody can say that DAntoni has done an adequate job with the defense. Nobody seems to know what the system is. Is this a trapping team, do they direct traffic baseline, what’s the strategy against p&r’s, etc. I’m not sure what the defensive philosophy is, but hopefully DAntoni and the players will figure it out.

  17. Can we finally say “the lakers are back baby”?

  18. This is toughest of next four games. Win tonight and you have a 7 game win steak. Have to watch 3 pointers aganist there guys to best them. Dwight need to show up aganist Lopez tonight.

  19. maert and Jim buss fan – not!
    Try reading Not Charlie Rosen

    No one here is saying anything about anyone being a defensive genius, but to call them bums is only following the “talking head” crowd, the people who are positively known to be focused only on their own notoriety – and not on accuracy.

    You may know a song from the first three notes, but that is rarely true with people, because they are organic and grow and change – a song does not. Stop treating people like songs.

  20. Honestly don’t think this will be competitive. Big games for all. Pau value going up by the minute.

  21. Will tonight be the game that the real Steve Nash starts to show up and take over as the Lakers main playmaker. My impression is that his ability to get in the lane and draw multiple defenders has not really shown itself this year. Can’t believe it just disappeared, he was still doing it last year, maybe the injury is still slowing him.

    Kobe has done a brilliant job being a playmaker over the last couple games but we can’t continue to lean on him this hard, and he is still the teams best scorer.

    This team can’t continue with Kobe running a better p&r than Nash, the onus is on Nash now.

  22. Lakers need to win the next four games to have a shot at the playoffs in my opinion.

  23. Get away game, Lakers need to get a win before starting their Grammy road trip.

  24. One assist down, 13 more to go for Kobe.

  25. Nash getting killed out there. Just terrible defense. Get him out of there please,

  26. Man, Earl Clark really is the one we badly need on this team. Slash, shoot, score, hustle, defense, athleticism and youth.

  27. Competitive game so far but Lakers are getting anything they want on offense and besides a few open looks for Gordon have been good on defense.

  28. Welcome back Steve Blake.

  29. Two observations:

    Blake looks remarkably spry and aggressive;

    Pau is playing really hard on both ends

    Ok I lied make it three

    Can’t believe LAL’s bench is up 12-0 right now

  30. Not Charlie Rosen January 29, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    LT, sounds like we’re basically in agreement, just looking at it from different sides. D’Antoni isn’t a great defensive mind–or, at least, hasn’t put nearly as much of his overall basketball IQ towards that end of things–but with athletic players willing to give full effort and commitment to defense, his teams had at or above average defense, and with a beast of a defensive center there, it was top 10. PJ–supposedly regarded as an above-average defensive coach–had some embarrassing scrubs on his team, and the defense was at or below average.

    Definitely, it’s taken some time for D’Antoni to sort things out and figure out what works, and that’s been very true on both sides of the ball, and it’s nowhere near a finished, polished state yet. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, what with no training camp, taking over a team very much in flux with no identity and several injuries preventing them from forming that basic level of cohesion and chemistry that you need regardless of system…and especially given the great respect people with far higher basketball IQ’s than mine give him, like Kobe and Nash. Though that benefit only lasts for so long, missing the playoffs and/or an early exit from them will make me–and likely at least Kobe if not also Nash–rethink my opinion.

    But when it comes to defense, hell, you could put Thibodeau in charge of this team, and if Dwight is still reaching and fouling rather than moving his feet, and Kobe’s still roaming and leaving his man wide open for 3′s, and if Pau’s not rotating on help defense and ends up in a dozen replays per game staring at an opponent making another wide open layup, we’re still going to get our butts blown out by the freaking Kings, doesn’t matter if we’re pushing baseline or doubling with an aggressive strong-side zone.

  31. holy crap, the Lakers are watchable!

  32. All if a sudden with Pau and Blake the bench looks good.

    Duhon, how do you say D league,

  33. Third game in a row that the offense is flowing so smooth, before this mini streak if the Lakers fell behind 24-18 like they did, they would had to play catch up the rest of the game, instead they went on a 17-0 barrage. I wish they open a huge lead so we can rest our guys for the grammy trip.

  34. Lakers settling for home run shots instead of running the offense. Should be a bigger lead. Huge difference on offense when pau went out.

  35. Stop throwing it to the turn over machine. Dwight Should dunk and nothing else. Ever!

  36. They need to slow down.

  37. Agreed, Kevin. NO missed 15 shots in a row and yet we’re only up 7? Really?

    And is D’antoni gonna rest Kobe the entire 2nd qtr??

  38. Meeks and fish are the only 2 players in the NBA who I’d rather shoot a 3 than a layup.

  39. Good ball movement leads to a Ron Artest short corner 3.

  40. Amazing how much smarter Mike D has become last 3 games?

    Buying That?

    Who cares.

  41. Focus back on Lead swelled up to 13. Great flow at both ends of the floor.

  42. Kobe’s “sharing is caring” is rubbing off—16 dimes on 18 made baskets so far for LAL

    Pau looks like he’s having fun for the first time in years—literally—six of those dimes are his

  43. Why people are complaining about D’anthony not bringing Kobe back? He needs all the rest he cant get, if he plays 40 minutes people complain, if he have a nice second quarter rest they complain too. SMH

  44. Besides that dry spell by the bench and a sketchy end to the 2nd, solid half by the team.

    Now let’s come out strong in the 3rd and put this game away.

  45. Running the offense through Pau at the elbow has led to good things in the first half. The energy has been impressive… Watchable Lakers? Who knew?

  46. 17 assists on 20FGs, Lakers passing really well. Kobe has 5 dimes and Gasol 6. Gasol also a +20. Good first half by the Lakers. Howard also making FTs.

  47. 12 pointt halftime lead. Should be more like a 22 point halftime lead. Didn’t finish the quarter well at all. Dwight having one of his better games from the charity stripe, but needs to assert himself on the boards. R. Anderson has been off, but we can’t continue to give him them looks. Gordon, ever since his Clipper days, just continues to impress. Kobe on pace for another ‘just missed a triple-double’ night.

  48. I know I am repeating here, but not Charlie Rosen is exactly right. Dantoni’s suns were ok defensively but through most of it they had Amare in the middle who was completely uncoachable, and had almost zero defensive IQ (could this be measured in negatives nums?), And its true there was also Raja and Matrix, so that helped but in the year that Amare was out the whole year and to those 2 you added, Kurt Thomas in the middle and Boris Diaw at the 4, they were 4th in defensive efficiency through 60% of the season, till KT got injured and the numbers fell substantially.

    Even the notion that they never won was a bit bogus. in 2007 they played a tough 6 game series, against the spurs who then went on to win the next two series in something like a combined 10 games. They lost game 3, when Tim Doneghy reffed one of the worst and most biased games I have ever seen, (it was so bad, the Bill Simmons and a few other’s did articles about that game, even before Doneghy was exposed to be “on the take”). and of course there were the ejections in game 5 that eviscerated their middle of Amare and Diaw, and there was the Nash bloody nose game in game 1. That one was one of the most brutal ever.

    The previous two years they were just ravaged by injuries, where on an already short roster, they played the end of the WCF without Kurt Thomas, Amare and Raja.

  49. Hornets have scored on like 8 straight possessions.

  50. Those are Phil Jackson years, btw, including the 15th and 24th rankings

    The Lakers were also 19th in 2003, when Shaq

    a) Missed a lot of games
    b) Weighed as much as a woolly mammoth

    The next year, with Payton and Malone on the team, they moves up to 8th.

  51. Lakers playing too cool for school. Time for some way better defensive intensity.

  52. Nash’s defense trying to stop denaturation will haunt this team all year. It is very though to play 4 on 5 for 30 plus minutes a game.

    What was plan?

  53. Zirk: Dwight hasn’t guarded the rim well at all the last few games.

  54. You’re right, Kevin. Too many easy buckets inside.

    And enough with the missed free throws from Pau! Geez!

  55. This game is all missed free throws and turnovers for the Lakers right now.

  56. I thought Pau was suppose to be a bright player. How has he now become clueless on FT. This team is so sad from FT line. Why throw the ball in to Dwight when he can’t make FT either. Not smart.

    Lakers are cruising on Defense and no time outs.

  57. Lakers defence has been awful the last 5 minutes – that is the reason NO is back in this game.

  58. Call a darn time out Mr. Non-coach. so stupid.

  59. Okay, D’Antoni doesn’t recognize when his players get tired. They make bad passes when they’re fatigued.

    Dwight started playing tired five minutes ago. He played Clark 18-20 minutes straight!!!!

    Clock management and player management is a problem for coach!

  60. Austin Rivers is getting us our lead back.

  61. What the creed is going on with no TOs.

  62. Lakers defence has been awful the last 5 minutes – that is the reason NO is back in this game.

    Correct–and Kobe has only taken 8 shots. This is the point I was making in the last post of the previous thread.

  63. My halftime comment is stuck in moderation mode, but Kobe is once again on track for a triple double. Hopefully, tonight he can get it. Dwight with 1 rebound? Not a good look. E-Clark gaining morer and more confidence out there. Starting to play as if he belongs in the starting five.

  64. If there was a lay up contest between Meeks and Metta who would win?

    Clark is unreal!

  65. This almost looks like the team I thought we had back in September…

  66. Orlando Magic really got screwed in the trade LoL. They didn’t even know this Clark kid is really good.

  67. Clark is looking more and more like Ariza 2.0…with a bit less speed, but with more size….

  68. The duke, duke, duke, Duke of Earl! Mom, I’m going to get paid.

    Dwight’s rebound tally is skewed by the fact that on defense he’s been going out on hedges, switching, and jumping screens. He’s been away from the basket, but that’s why Clark is in the starting lineup. Earl covers the rim and grabs rebounds for Dwight which is something Pau can’t do consistently.

    Howard has been effective in the metric’s that count: He’s playing a good game.

    With Steve Blake back we don’t have to see Duhon on the court. Steve’s played a good game, he has to get his timing down with the players on passes.

    Jamison and Meeks have played consistently.

  69. Lakers have figured out how they want to win. This team if they prove they can implement this style of play the next 7 road games has a chance to make noise in the playoffs. But only if Kobe plays point.

    I compared Clark to marion when he entered the lineup. He rebounds better than Ariza but his defense isn’t on Laker ariza’s level, yet.

  70. Not gonna believe this but!!!

    Laker bench is a PLUS 80 !

    I swear it’s true!

  71. Can we have Steve Blakes defense back please….

  72. Nash Is the worst defender in the NBA. He kills this team and this genius coach waits until game is blown to call time out.

    Terrible. If they lose this Mike should leave town.

  73. Hornets went on run right after D’Antoni brought in cold Kobe and Nash.

  74. Looks like the Lakers moved on to the next game already…maybe finishing this one first would be a good idea.

  75. Can’t believe Pau’s not in. He and Kobe sparked the run in the 1st half.

  76. Jwhete the crap is Pau

  77. Staples is stunned….no tacos…

  78. YES Steve Nash THREEEEEEEEEEEEE.

  79. Earl Clark has 20 and 11….should have traded Bynum for him ages ago.

  80. And why is Jamison still in the game?? Where’s Metta to guard Anderson when he’s getting hot? Supid coaching.

    And this is the drawback to having Kobe the facilitator. He’s not in rhythm to take over the game since he hasn’t been shooting all night!

  81. So proud of Kobe there, could have easily went ISO on that play, instead trusted the team and Toine got a high percentage look that he cashed in.

  82. Jamison runner in the lane might have sealed the Lakers win.

  83. Where is Pau, is he hurt? I dont even see him on the bench.

  84. Runaway from the ball every game, multiple times.

    Fine. Looks like a W.

  85. Lakers D in the 2nd half has been awful, stopped playing hard, almost blew this game.

  86. Pau should be in the game regardless of his efficiency this game.

    A good 6th man sometimes plays more minutes, but he never plays less.

    Pau needs to know exactly how many minutes he’ll play night in and night out. Think Manu, the Beard with the Thunder, and Crawford.

  87. Probably a good thing lakers get tested like this before the trip. Never deviated and pulled through. Lakers are a new team league better watch out.

  88. A win is a win! Is there any way that this team is over .500 after this road trip? How the heck is Earl Clark playing this well?

  89. I was really surprised. No Pau and MWP on the clutch. I guess everything happens for a reason. Jamison was there to put a lay up.

    SMH! What will be the post game comments about Pau and MWP after the game. ~_~

  90. SURVIVED is right, Tra. Only played well in spurts tonight. But with the hole we’ve dug for ourselves, every win counts.

    But we’re gonna have to play complete games, and not just in spurts, on this road trip if we want it to be successful. Our D let us down tonight.

  91. Lakers survive and hang on for the win. Lakers starters -34, Lakers bench +59.

  92. Totally agree with you Kevin, the Lakers of a week ago would had folded Sunday against OKC and would had folded tonight, i can remember at least 5 games that the Lakers lost because they didnt executed down the stretch, this game should had been a breeze but the reason the Pelicans made it a game at the end was because the Lakers relaxed but the way the team is getting stuff squared away lately they be fine, Grammy trip coming up and im positive we should win AT LEAST 5 of them, my optimism is growing by the day, i leave the analisys to Darius lol. GO LAKERS!!!!!!

  93. A win is a win in the situation we find our team in. We played well in the first half, FT’s messed everything up in the 3rd and let the Pelicans come back from 18 down in the 4th. Last week we would of lost that game, we held on to win.

    We’ve got to guard against thinking the game is finished when up by big. Especially the case away from home.

    Oh and one more point, SERIOUSLY HIT THOSE FT’S, anyone not named D12 should be hitting those regularly.

  94. Win is a win is a win.

  95. I watched the game carefully and had to admit that Nash’s defense is indeed not acceptable. Vasquez would set Nash up by dribbling backwards, and Nash would take the bait and moved up, then Vasquez would simply dribble pass him and left him in the dust. This happened over and over again, and it is why they burned LA near the end. Nash should just let Vasquez dribbled backwards and cut off the lane to the basket. Could someone tell Nash stop committing this mistake over and over again? It’s going to cost the Lakers dearly if this continues.

  96. People asking why Pau and MWP were not playing at the end of the game? Because they went 2-12 combined, Pau was doing great passes but he didnt had anything offensively, MWP just stunk tonight.

  97. We have 25 losses right now. 10 more games will be over, so, about that 7 game road trip. No margin of error, we need to go 7-0 or 6-1 (Loss vs Miami is probable).

    So much for that, take one game at a time and we’re good.

    Take every win we could get because WE NEED IT.

  98. Kobe bryant had a near triple double again. 11 assists 8 boards 14 points…is there anything the man can’t do?

  99. You now? The way they are playing i dont think they will lose 34 games, the way they playing, looks like they finally figured out.

  100. Bench plus 60
    Starters minus 33

    So Mike put starters in up 18.

    Odd

  101. Phoned it on defence in the second half and throughout much of the game. this team really has a too cool attitude. But overall, I don’t care. Kobe was really laughing and enjoying this game. After all the pressure and anxiety of the last 3 months, I think this team needed to have a throw away game like this where they really don’t bring any effort or intensity. Too bad they scared the hell out of us, but a game like this with this type of attitude was inevitable. The upside is that without really caring they have enough tools on a roll to pretty much win on cruise control.

    Also, one more comment about Nash’s defence and I am going to lose it. NOOO go to Espn and find the article from a week ago, (written by someone named Beckley I think) where Nash’s D is discussed, and the myths around his D is debunked. I’ll cut to the chase, to save time.

    Nash is a decent though not great man on man defender, has a bad rap, great team defender and does not wonder and lose his man, but in Phoenix, a lot off work was done to cover for the PNR against him and to hedge and shift to cover for the slightly below average, on the ball defence, which is not happening in LA, (at least as of last week).

  102. My cousin told me before the Lakers even started winning that they would go on a ten game winning streak, we both laughed. Now with the way they’re playing it could be a real possibility, what do you guys think they will do on the road trip?

  103. @Hieke, although I agree that Nash isn’t a great defender, he can’t give Vasquez space because he has to respect his jump shot. He did the best he could. There are players like Rondo, although he’s becoming a better shooter, where you give them space and prevent the drive in, but Vasquez would put up 50 if had open jump shots.

  104. Lakers 17, this problem is part of the equation. The defender must move up right at the moment the dribbler stops dribbling to prevent the shooting. We can review all the tapes to confirm that this is what skilled defenders do. If the defender moves up before the dribbler stops dribbling, one will be burned every time. I saw this transpired in front of my eyes twice in a row near the end of the game. It is not good. This is a defensive skill that a basketball player must learn.

  105. True, Heike, you make a valid point, but I don’t think Nash at this age has the foot speed to close the gap to contest the shot since many guards have an really quick release. I don’t know if Vasquez has a decent step back, I don’t think so, but if he did, he’s be unguardable by Nash. I think Nash does the best he can with the tools he has, and considering his lack of speed, I do think he plays his man smartly. It’s better than a guy like Fisher, who was nothing more than just a traffic cone. Having said that, I thought Fisher had more leadership qualities than Nash. I had hoped that Nash and Howard would take charge over the everyone, but I don’t really see that from Nash. But Nash did make some huge baskets tonite.

  106. Lakers17: letting someone dribbling up and down the court is painful to watch. Some basic concepts can compensate the lack of foot speed. A defender should always allow more room when someone is dribbling backwards and close the gap at the last minute. Please watch the last 6 minutes game tape one more time to see why it makes zero gain moving up with the dribbler when he is dribbling backwards — unless one has two times the foot speed as the dribbler when he reverses the direction towards you. How many shots Vasquez made today? How many long range shots Vasquez made? How many Nash blocked? Blocking off the lane should be the first priority for the defender.

  107. Lakers17: one more thing I forgot to say. It is very difficult to shoot the ball when one is dribbling backwards. Most of the time the offensive player is trying to trick the defender to move so that they can get around them. If the defender is not tricked, the offensive player may settle for a long distance shot, but the momentum backwards makes it very hard to shoot the ball. Even if they do, the defender who keeps a nice 2 or 3 steps distance can easily close the gap.