Preview and Chat: The Phoenix Suns

Darius Soriano —  January 30, 2013

Records: Lakers 20-25 (10th in the West), Suns 15-30 (T 14th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.9 (6th in the NBA), Suns 99.7 (24th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.6 (20th in the NBA), Suns 104.8 (24th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Suns: Goran Dragic, P.J. Tucker, Jared Dudley, Luis Scola, Marcin Gortat
Injuries: Lakers: Jordan Hill (out for the season); Suns: Channing Frye (out for the season), Jermaine O’Neal (out)

The Lakers Coming in: And so it begins. The Grammy trip is here and the Lakers are starting it playing some of their better basketball of the season, winning 3 in a row. Offensively, the ball is moving, players are moving, and shots are falling. Defensively, players seem more sure of what they’re supposed to be doing while also exhibiting the type of trust that their teammate will be there for them when forced to rotate. As Dwight said after last night’s win, they are holding each other accountable better now and even though there are still breakdowns, the team is still doing the right thing more often than not.

Of course the other story from the win over the Hornets was the fact that Pau didn’t play in the 4th quarter again. When asked about this (Pau did not bring this up on his own), Pau expressed he didn’t like it. My two thoughts on this are pretty simple. I like that Pau is being honest about this. He was asked a direct question and he gave a direct answer. No need to mince words, answer honestly and move on. Second, Pau should be upset about this. He’s a competitor. He wants to play. I happen to like it when Pau has a bit of an edge to his game and if things like this help bring that out, I’m okay with that.

As for D’Antoni, he went with the lineup that he did and, really, that’s that. I had my concerns about it as it was happening, I expressed them, but the team won and that’s the biggest goal. In re-watching the 4th quarter last night, I got the sense that D’Antoni was going to rest everyone in the 4th quarter but the game started to take a strange turn right under the 6 minute mark. After Nash and Kobe came in, the game continued to slip away and D’Antoni let his guys play through it. By the time there were 3 minutes left, the game was very close and he decided to let the group that was in the game close it out, win or lose. Well, they won. And, in the process, both Pau and Ron sat down the stretch of a game that ended up being close even though it shouldn’t have been. If the Lakers keep their 14-18 point lead, the fact that Pau sat isn’t a story at all. And, since the team still won, I don’t think it is anyway.

The Suns Coming in: The Suns have had a bit of a rocky season thus far. They’re currently last in the Pacific Division and are tied for the worst record in the conference. A summer that saw them trade Nash, acquire multiple new players (Dragic, Scola, Beasley) that were expected to contribute, and draft their point guard of the future (Kendall Marshall) hasn’t produced very good results. So, as most teams do that play poorly and can’t fire all the players, the Suns and Alvin Gentry parted was after 41 games and a 13-28 record. The crux of the parting was that Gentry wanted to continue to play the veteran players who’d been earning their minutes and management wanted to play the young players in order to get them experience. If that wasn’t controversial enough, though, replacing Gentry with player development director Lindsey Hunter instead of one of the coaches that was on staff has also caused a stir. Dan Majerle — who was on Gentry’s staff — spoke out about not getting the job and now he, like Gentry, has moved on from the organization.

So, here the Suns are. A mismatched roster with the hope that the young players on their team will develop, but with little evidence to show that they will this season. Next year they can only hope to get another high draft pick (while also hoping the Lakers miss the playoffs since they’ll also get L.A.’s pick if it’s in the lottery) and then rebuild with youth. Whether this works remains to be seen (I have my doubts), but it’s a plan.

Suns Blogs: Check out Valley of the Suns for great coverage of this team.

Keys to game: Tonight, of course, is about more than just the Lakers trying to stay on track after they leave the friendly confines of Staples. Tonight Steve Nash returns to Phoenix for the first time since asking to be traded to the Lakers this past July. For Nash, a franchise icon who will see his #13 jersey hang in the rafters one day, it will likely be a pretty emotional night. The fans will likely welcome him back with cheers early (and I’m assuming a lengthy highlight clip), but may not be as kind as the night goes on (players wearing Lakers’ jerseys in Phoenix aren’t well liked, you know). Nash can also see first hand what he’s left behind in terms of a team. While the Lakers’ struggles are real, the Suns are even worse and that may also leave him conflicted as he sees some former teammates toil.

In any event, a game will still be played and this is where Nash and the rest of the Lakers must take the emotion of the night and turn it on its head and in their favor. The Lakers enter the better team and it’s better they come out to show that early and not let the home team hang around. The Lakers have been a poor road team this year so a quick start would do wonders for them to get some early momentum.

Offensively that means sticking to the script and making the Suns adjust. It’s unclear whether Tucker or Dudley will start out on Kobe, but the approach should be the same. Let Kobe work foul line and below and try to get good shots for himself and teammates by establishing the mid-post. If the help comes, Kobe can move the ball. If the D stays home, he can attack or reset the offense with Nash up high.

If Nash does reset (or if they don’t go to Kobe in any given set), the P&R then becomes pretty important. Last night the Lakers killed the Vasquez/Lopez duo and their slow feet with high P&R’s. Tonight, Dragic and Gortat offer more of a challenge but can still be taken advantage of. The key is to set a good screen and then get into the roll quickly in order to attack the secondary defender who slides down to help. Last night that was Anthony Davis. Tonight, though, it will be Luis Scola. The difference in athleticism between those two is gulf-like and it should encourage Nash to threaten Gortat with the dribble to occupy them and then throw lobs to Dwight as Scola tries to help on the roll. If the action is working well, Howard should start out hot early or at least set up the types of openings around the wing to get Clark and Ron good looks.

Defensively, the Lakers will likely feel like they’re facing a version of themselves. Dragic and Gortat want to run the high P&R while the other players space out to try and spread the Lakers thin. Scola will serve in the Gasol role as an outlet around the elbow should the action break down and he must be accounted for there since he’s capable of hitting that jumper. Dudley will likely be camped in the weak side corner and be waiting for spot up chances to come his way. Tucker is not a great shooter but can finish well on the move and must also be accounted for.

So the Lakers will need to rotate well and understand their assignments well. I expect some cross matching again tonight with Nash likely guarding Tucker, Kobe on Dragic, and Clark on Dudley. This will leave Ron to guard Scola who mustn’t be allowed to get back to his right hand, regardless of how many fakes and spins he throws at him. Ron will need to have discipline to stay on his feet and shade Scola back to his left. Kobe on Dragic is the other key, of course, and it will be a tough test for Bean. Dragic’s herky-jerky style coming off picks is one that typically gives Kobe issues (think Ginobili and Harden) and with Dragic’s ability to shoot or turn the corner, there will be some cat and mouse action going on. Ultimately Kobe will need to funnel Dragic towards help and then recover in time to make sure the D isn’t compromised. If he can do that without killing his legs, he’ll be in good shape tonight.

The other key will be the battle of the benches. The Suns have an interesting mix of scorers on their pine, including Beasley, Markieff Morris, and Shannon Brown. That trio will likely see a lot of time against the Lakers trio of Gasol, Jamison, and Meeks. Whoever has the better night between those two units will highly influence the outcome of this game. The Suns group must not be allowed to find their stride offensively and must be pressured into taking bad shots. Beasley is more than welcome to oblige on that front, but he can still be dangerous as a shot maker. Just something to be aware of.

Tonight promises to be emotionally taxing. And considering the Lakers just played last night, it could be taxing physically and mentally as well. The Lakers will need to find a way to fight through any sort of fatigue and be the better team early to get momentum on their side. The starts of each half will be crucial in this regard so, here’s hoping for quick starts in the 1st and 3rd quarters to set the tone for each half. Do that, and we could be talking about 4 straight at the end of the night.

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

Darius Soriano

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117 responses to Preview and Chat: The Phoenix Suns

  1. this is for warren!

    on another news, is there a way for us to get Calderon?

    >>>Rudy Gay to Toronto trade getting close with, without third team

  2. Kobe Alert: KB is a really busy guy. He is the point scorer, the primary on the ball defender, and now he is the primary handler. He is also busy on the all time lists. At tip off he will tie Shaq for 24th in games with 1207. He needs only 9 FG’s to catch Hakeem for 7th. He moved by Grant Hill for 67th on the defensive rebounds list and is 5 away from Wes Unseld for 66th. He needs just 5 dimes to catch Kareem for 35th on that list. He needs 658 more to equal Wilt Chamberlain.

  3. Alright, tonight starts the Lakers longest road trip of the season. Seven games. And for one of the few times this season, I’m feeling confident. I think these guys can go 5 – 2 with the Lakers new playing style. Which would be incredible, since their current road record of 5 – 15 is only better than the Kings & Suns in the West. Kudos must be given to Kobe & Gasol for accepting new roles on the teams. But then again, that’s what’s expected, survival of the fittest, otherwise one becomes extinct. And extinct in this case means missing the post-season, being traded…or both.

    I know many are just waiting for “the other Lakers” to “freeze up” on the road, but I’m willing to take that chance. Last night’s late game execution by the team was very encouraging after the Hornets pulled w/i two points.

    While 5-2 on this trip will only improve their record to 25-27, and probable not improve on their current 10th position, it will do a lot for their confidence and put them in much better position for the stretch run.

    Would love to be wrong and see our boys come back at 26-26 (6-1 road trip). 1st stop: Phoenix.

  4. Am I the one who is hoping for 7-0? I mean I didn’t mean to be perfect but in this time of the year that we are 20-25, we should Win every game. Remember when there was a season that a 50 win team almost didn’t make the playoffs in the West?! (I think that was a lock out).

    Tonight, we’re going for 21st W. Is Dragic playing?! I guess we better watch this player because he can run the show against the Lakers.

  5. Critical to set this Grammy Road Trip off correct. A loss, to a team such as the Suns, would set a bad tone for the rest of our travels and probably insure that we’ll end up under .500 for this trip. Sure, we played last night while Phoenix enjoyed a night off, but @ this point of our season and with our current location within the WC Standings, we know what’s @ stake. We can’t use the fact that it’s the second end of a back to back as an excuse. If we’re to fall short tonight (which I sincerely doubt), I don’t want to hear anything about ‘a schedule loss.’ Tonight has to be the night in which we begin to right our ways on the road.

    Over the last 3 games, albeit, all @ home, we’ve been playing excellent TEAM ball on both ends of the court. Particularly on offense. Due to this, we’re witnessing excellent TEAM chemistry and more TEAM camaraderie. Individuals are playing FOR each other instead of WITH each other. There’s been a lot of talk over the last few days within the FB&G Community about whose idea it was to establish Kobe as the facilitator and to have Nash playing more off the ball. Real Talk: Who cares. As long as it’s producing victories, that’s all that matters in my opinion. Hopefully, they can keep it up. Starting tonight in Steve Nash’s old stomping grounds.

  6. Tra, this is a game the Lakers should win tonight. A scheduled loss would be if they had to go to Denver to play or San Antonio. Lakers should win tonight.

  7. On the Grammy road, D’Antoni cannot afford to allow the home team to go on 12-2 or 18-4 runs before calling timeout. If Pau, Kobe, Nash, Jamison, Meeks, Clark, Metta and Howard are expected to adjust their games for the betterment of the team, then D’Antoni must do the same. He has to call timeouts when the offense becomes stagnant or the team’s defensive rotations are lacking. Moreover, Mike has to recognize when his players become fatigued. Howard starts pushing, reaching and does not rebound or attempt to block shots when he extends energy during the onset of the game. Give Dwight a quick blow to regain oxygen intake and then put him back in the game. This will get Pau in sooner and get him involved in the flow of the game. Bring DH back in and sub out Clark or Metta whichever of the two is playing aggressive tough defense and rebounding. Shortening the rest patterns of the players by taking them out of the game, allows them to perform at near maximum capacity, as they know they will get rest; thereby eliminating the need to rest while on the court.

    When Mike Brown was fired, pundits expected the Lakers to re-hire Phil Jackson. Jim Buss and Kupchak went in the opposite direction and hired D’Antoni, a coach so far under the radar that he did not even register a ping. The thought was that he became the Lakers coach to put Nash and the Lakers in a position to be more effective than they had with the Princeton offense. But Nash broke his leg and the Lakers swooned under the SSOL, even though it was not utilized the up-tempo game produced massive turnovers and extended losing streaks. Now Nash is playing the exact same position of Derek Fisher in the triangle.

    Jackson was not the panacea to the Lakers against Dallas in the playoffs as they collapsed under the weight of winning a 10th championship for Phil: Pau’s girlfriend problems and alleged teammate betrayals, and the beginning of Andrew Bynum’s antics. PJ looked burnt out, so a few years away from the game probably rejuvenated him mentally and physically. He might have returned to the Lakers with the fire in his belly to drive the Lakers to another championship. Alas, we will never know.

    To be fair to coach he joined this team without a training camp and does not know the personnel’s tendencies during a 48 min game. Due to limited playing time he has to experiment with rotations and substitution patterns during the game. That being said, I still think that this season with this team, he must disrupt the flow of the game when his team lacks focus. Lakers 2013 are precariously on the brink of not making the playoffs. The Lakers need the extra income from the playoffs to counterbalance the high payroll and penalties.

    Lakers will return home with a 7-0 record because they are motivated to play with and for each other. Go Lakers!

  8. I agree with Joe M with the way the Lakers have been playing lately this should be an easy win. I’m hoping they go 5-2 on this road trip because they’re all winnable games but expect at least two let down games. I think they finally get how to play together and Kobe is finally trusting his team.

  9. No easy wins, only hard work. Hard work leads to the game being easy.

    No easy wins, this is what you need to do. Hard work leads to the stars being stars.

    No easy wins, even against Phoenix. The team is young and its your waterloo. Hard work will lead to a win tonight.

    No easy wins, from hereonin. There is no such thing. You just have to fight, run and work. Thats all we can ask for. Thats all we can ask for.

  10. At game with friends here in land of Suns. Hope to not got yelled at here.

    Lakers by 9 tonight!

  11. Is it true that the Suns are wearing black today, thus LA’s in gold?

  12. KOOO you should be safe considering their beloved Nash is with the Lakers. His first game back the fans will be warm and fuzzy.

    A true triple double for Kobe tonight. Let’s Go!!!!

  13. And just last year, I was following the Suns.. They’ve really crumbled hard post Nash-Grant. I also read that Gortat was playing the finger pointing game like D12 prior Gentry’s dismissal. Seems that this PHX team isn’t playing with much confidence and chemistry. Their bench is highly reliant on the individual scoring of Beasley and to a lesser extent, Brown and Morris. Could potentially be a blowout for the Lakers if they played with good energy and consistent while the PHX bench players having an off night.

  14. Kobe wants the dimes, could have slammed it home but instead dishes it to Gasol for the dunk.

  15. Kobe really wants to changed his game. Silence all the critics. Man, I was surprised he didn’t dunk that ball.

  16. A little concerned that we are over-doing the passing thing a little, any number of things could have gone wrong with that stop on a breakaway and wait for Pau to catch up, dump pass for a dunk play…it didn’t, but sometimes you just need to lay the ball in before you lose the opportunity.

    Still looks like Kobe has legitimately bought in to this so I guess we live and die this way now.

  17. Every time they play in Phoenix, I feel like I’m watching from the nose bleeds. Camera is so far away.

  18. I can understand changing things uPp and running things through Nash early to see if you can catch PHX off-guard–but why completely go away from what has been working for you? The offense is really struggling with turnovers with Nash in the primary-initiator position so far…

  19. Just realized it’s Joey Crawford’s crew working the game tonight. Great. We could be screwed…

    Damn turnovers are killing us so far.

  20. This is starting to feel like a trap game.

  21. Pau looks 3 steps slow. 3 TO for him.

  22. Turnovers really killing us right now. We’re lucky were only down by 4.

  23. Are we trying to break a TO record in the 1st Q or what? Pau looks like he’s sleep walking.

  24. 9 Lakers turnovers (9 Suns points), Lakers fortunate to be down 4.

  25. Both dwight and gasol turn the ball over too much. Why do we have 2 turnover prone big men?

  26. Thanks for showing up so far, Pau. Geez.

  27. Get Pau out of there. He looks intoxicated.

  28. Admittedly, Pau has looked shaky tonight, but he isn’t having any unique problems. The whole team seems a few degrees off-center tonight—not quite on the same page. Frankly, considering LA isn’t “on” and considering they are on the road, I’ll take a one-point lead under the circumstances.

    Meanwhile–what the heck is this lineup–Blake at the two?

  29. Cut down on the TO’s and we’d be up by 20. Terrible half of basketball.

  30. Did Mike Brown told MDA to use the Nash-Blake line up?! He can go small with Jamison out there, right?!

  31. This game so far looks like it might be one where we need agressive Kobe to show up in the 2nd half. No sense passing it to your teammates if they’re gonna brick every damn shot.

  32. That half stunk, how in the hell is this game tied at the half.

  33. alright, i see why kobe doesn’t pass the ball sometimes. His teammates, including Nash, are missing wide open shots.

  34. One of worst offensive half’s of year. Pau, Metta, Dwight were not good. Also never want to see that Blake/Nash lineup again. Really Mike?

    Good news is they can’t play worse. Might have to shoot a bit Kobe. Enough is enough. Not what I flew here for. Nice suite though.

  35. Noooooooo don’t say “This one is for Warren” everytime you say that in an opening we lose.

  36. Downside, they played lousy and are tied at the half.
    Upside, they played lousy and are tied at the half.

  37. Maybe these guys are here to play in this weeks Phoenix Open Golf Drinking festival. Not here to play basketball. Hope they are sampling some of my products at least.

    Get it together guys!

  38. Kobe is ridiculous. Great job by Metta hitting his open shots!

  39. Interesting to see MDA give Earl Clark the early hook for some sloppy “D” — maybe MDA’s way of pushing the “accountability” message from the bench a little bit as well?

    I suppose it could be Clark’s four fouls too though…

  40. 4 fouls on Clark

  41. Gasol has the nerve to complain about minutes? Hit a FT!

  42. Now I know why MDA benched Pau last game. He can’t shoot his free throws. LoL

  43. D12 missing FT’s we’ve gotten used to, Pau missing FT’s? How in the world is that possible.

  44. Pau’s shot has been looking kind of flat lately. He’s not getting as much lift as in seasons past. Maybe his knees are still bothering him.

  45. Another no show, no value game from Dwight. Get Clark in and bench Pau. He is standing around.

  46. Why does Metta keep shooting?? Stop it!!

  47. We’re letting a terrible team stick around, did the same last night and now D12 is hurt again.

  48. The replay looked nasty to Howard’s forearm. He’s holding his shoulder now, but for a second it looked like his arm snapped.

  49. Dwight hurt, looks like his shoulder.

  50. Is there a center in the league who is less protective of the rim than Pau?

  51. Well, Crawford’s crew is in full-on computer-assist mode now….this is a ridiculous stretch of officating….

  52. Pathetic. Letting this sh*tbox team come back and tie it.

  53. Beasely crushing Laker dreams.

  54. Get mwp the hell ou the game. He’s missed his last 5 shots this quarter pretty much all wide open. The suns just aren’t guarding him at all and he’s not making the suns pay. Please put Jamison in

  55. No one could make a shot at all this quarter. Kobe loss trust in his teammates and is trying to take over. That is why Kobe doesn’t like to always facilitate, because his teammates don’t always come through.

  56. Nash please run some offense. Jamsion hot on the bench Clark cold in the game. Kobe doing too much right now.

    Would be a devastating loss.

  57. Ron cant catch the damn ball.

  58. MDA may need to consider trading MWP out for Number 4—at least AJ can hit a shot tonight…

  59. This team looks drunk. Kobe has dropped 5 of the last 7 balls, just horrible.

  60. Why put Antawn instead of Clark or MWP right now. Damn, They need shooting right now.

  61. Nash and MWP are costing us this game right now…when Nash is running the offence he needs to make smart passes, not doing that right now. MWP couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn tonight.

  62. And remember, if the Lakers lose this game there is no tired excuse. They were up double digits in the quarter and let a bad team come back.

  63. Kobe is just looking 1 on 5. No coaching again. Schoolyard basketball?

  64. thanks for that gift Dudley

  65. I don’t understand how a team like ours goes on spurts where they can’t score, we’ve look utterly terrible in the 4th.

    Utterly terrible showing on the road AGAIN.

  66. No one stepped up and hits shots Ken. What choice does Kobe have? You want Kobe to keep passing, make your open shots.

  67. Gameover. This team has turned it around? Think again folks.

  68. Well this was a disheartening loss.

  69. Cant believe we just blew this game and a 13 pt 4th qtr lead .. is this the season?

  70. This team is garbage away from Staples without their bankies.

  71. Kobe has been just a old tired player the last quarter. Turnovers, no defense, missed shots. This team gave it all back. Went back to old ways. This is worst loss of the season and Pau and Kobe are the goats.

    Sad team.

  72. Jim buss fan – not! January 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Wow. We got outcoached by Lindsey hunter.

  73. No defensive adjustment/ game plan on beasley+ 138390 turnovers and a lot of missed free throws = loss. This is a terrible loss

  74. I find it funny that people think this is somehow Kobe’s fault, I can name at least a half dozen Lakers who have contributed more to this collapse, Nash, MWP, Pau, Clark…

    It was nice to see the team play well for a few games, but this team remains horribly flawed.

    While I type this I watch several players (not Kobe) completely F our last possession.

  75. I don’t know what’s worse, losing to one of the worst teams in the NBA or losing a big lead once again.

    Inconsistency is killing this team.

  76. Sad team. Sad season. Sad me. How many people like me thought that this was going to be the beginning of a big road winning streak? Blow this team up and please put me out of my misery. Eight road losses in a row.

  77. Nice collapse to start the road trip. They got what they deserved. If this game kills their season, they deserve that too. Unbelievable.

  78. Its time to agree that we amnesty artest after the season. If mike beasley can do this against him, its over. He has too much irrational confidence. Give earl clark that money.

  79. we´ve got no leeway for a let down so let´s forget this 4th Q. and get the next one -

  80. 5-16 on the road. That is just……pathetic……

  81. Lakers blew this game, had this game in control and could not close it. 20 turnovers. Just a terrible way to start the road trip. All the good from the last three games is gone. They had a chance to gain a game on Houston and Howard might be out. The road woes continue.

  82. KOOO–If you think this one is on Kobe–then you weren’t watching the same game everyone else was watching.

    Don’t understand for the life of me why MWP was in there down the stretch, when he was giving nothing on either end (Beasley ate his lunch) while AJ4 seemed to be hitting his shots.

  83. I almost think D’Antoni left Pau out there the entire 4th to show why he doesn’t dude was terrible.

    Still if I had to pin this loss on anyone it would have to be MWP who was wide open all night and shot 33% on 17 shots and Nash who needs to bring good offence to offset his terrible D – and didn’t – 2 assists, 3 of 8 (including some really bad forced shots)…no thanks.

  84. I TOLD U, “THIS ONE’S FOR WARREN” = A LAKER LOSS

  85. This was simply dantoni trying to prove a point rather than win a game. Last game mwp and gasol on bench. They move the ball execute on both ends of the floor get a win. Mwp and gasol on the floor= standing around and no defense and no offense. This is some bs. They will lose to Miami, so unless they win the other 5 games they blew another opportunity. Gasol couldn’t hold his own at the center position against Luis scola pitiful.

  86. And where the hell was meeks?!?

  87. I guess we know why MWP and Gasol didn’t play in the fourth last game.

  88. season over. time to sell. Pau is hot garbage. Mitch get on the damn phone.

  89. Im crushed, almost to the point to give up on this team.

  90. Suns finished the game on a 19-8 run after Dwight Howard got hurt.

  91. I guess people still havent figured out that we are still a bad team.

    We still have the same players we had before the win streak.

    It was good to win a few…im sure the wizards feel the same way.

  92. Kobe played a role in the loss. He just seemed a step slow, kept trying to run without getting the ball in his hands. You not on offense until you have the ball.

  93. I’ve pretty consistently defended Pau and MWP this year–Pau against constant trade speculation and the usual period of “amnesty Artest” that crops up this time of year—but tonight wasn’t either of those guys’ finest hours, that’s for sure….

    Lakers17–Kobe did play a role—but he wasn’t the leading man on that front—he set his teammates up for plenty of open shots–tonight should help Kobe-haters understand why he shoots as much as he does sometimes—

  94. Seasons is truly over. Need to find a buyer for Gasol, but doubt there will be any takers.

    If Howard is out for 3-4 games, Lakers may be 10 games below .500

  95. Lakers stopped executing and ran out of gas on this back to back. Never had a good rhythm.

    Pau has to hit the weight room. Usually around this time he does. His d rotations stink, he can defend or finish at the rim. He has to step it up especially when he complains.

  96. Well there goes that 7 and 0 road trip. 18 and 2 last night and 12 and 2 tonight. Wonder when Pau, Metta, Kobe looked very tired why that guy on the bench didn’t try Morris, Ebanks or anyone under 34 years of age in back to backs.

    You are what you are. Getting killed by Sun fans right now. Meanwhile Rudy Gay and a very good guard from Toronto are giving away for nothing. And Laker FO does nothing.

  97. This season is some kind of study re how much suffering the hunan body can withstand. That they actually seem to be playing hard at long last makes it even tougher somehow…

    At least I now know I could survive water boarding, I wouldn’t have guessed that 4 months ago.

  98. What a funny thread today, earlier or few hours ago, there were about 5 of us commenting repeatedly and after the loss?! I just said WOW. This might be the blog for releasing frustrations.

    Try to look at the standing. Houston is 25-23 and they’re still reachable. I guess, it will be a battle of 8th seed until the end. This game hurts but fans and bandwagoners who felt disappointed and talking trash to these Lakers right now. Just go to sleep and worry about tomorrows life.

    Next up is in Minny and we’re 20-26 right now.

    @Kevin_

    Pau don’t need to be at the weight room because he will be gone mid Feb, I guess.

  99. Pau and MWP weren’t the main problems. It was the 20 turnovers and shooting 63% from the charity stripe.

  100. I don’t enjoy watching this team much. I can’t recall too many other Laker teams I can say that of..Smush years sucked..yes and there were a few teams featuring Kermit Washington that weren’t my cup of tea. But this team is a mess..they give me indigestion! LOL..That was an epic meltdown in the 4th worthy of a Washington Generals squad but unbelievable for a group of guys who know how to play BB..or at least they SHOULD. In a much younger league, the Lakers and Celts look like infirm oldsters, I’m afraid. This lineup would have been awesome in 08…not so much in 13

  101. one thing i know for sure….Rudy Gay is not the answer!

  102. *can’t defend. Should’ve read Pau can’t defend or finish at the rim. Too much lip service from pau. He played 21 mins last night complained and looked cooked by halftime.

  103. It was partly Kobe’s fault for just trying to be the whole offense at the end of the game, but it is also his teammates fault. He was passing the ball at first, but no one was hitting shots and making plays. We know Kobe is not completely comfortable being a facilitator all the time, yet he was willing to play that role for the better of the team. But when you have guys just continuing to miss open shots, it gets discouraging. Go ahead, blame Kobe, but remember all those open 3′s everyone kept missing. Also remember Howard was not available to finish.

    The season could be over. If the Lakers miss the playoffs by one game, this is the game to look back to. You can’t blow a game like this against a bad team. The Lakers could still come back and win the next few games, but that’s beside the point. You need to win every game you can at this point. Every game is so important. There is no way around this to say, “its only one game, we were tired.” This was a bad loss and probably the most demoralizing loss of not just this year, but the last 2 years combined. I may not be able to sleep tonight.

  104. Too frustrated right about now to put a loss such as this into words and even if I were to try, my comment would be laced with so many expletives that Darius would be forced to delete it anyway. So all I’ll say is that I hope Dwight’s shoulder doesn’t cause him to miss any games. 3 strikes (I’m out).

  105. wow. that was the nail in the coffin. can’t hold unto a double digit lead in the fourth against one of the worst teams in the league. this season is completely beyond salvage. i thought dantoni was a pretty good choice for coach, but he really doesn’t make good in game adjustments defensively. when the inevitable player x from the other team starts looking like an all star, no adjustments are made to try to slow that player down. i’m tired of the team looking completely lost with no real strategy on defense. this is not just a player issue, this really is a coaching deficit.

    allowing mwp to get the most shots attempts on the team just seems like complete folly. i continually think this team can’t possibly disappoint me any more, but boy, am i wrong. i almost believed this team had a chance to turn this season around after the past few wins, but i think even the most optimistic fan is losing hope at even getting to the playoffs.

    the weirdest thing is that the bench seems to be outplaying the starters, the games seem to fall apart in the fourth after the bench builds or maintains a lead and the starters come back in.
    i can’t wrap my head around why we are so incredibly bad, but this season is over. yes mathematically we can still make it, but i don’t think the team even believes they can make the playoffs. this is the most frustrated i’ve ever been as a laker fan.

  106. I am not giving up on this team as yet since 3-1 in the last 4 games is not exactly disastrous, though the lack of passing skill of most Lakers (except Kobe and Nash) surprised me in this game. Can’t remember how many poor and risky passes were made in the first half alone. Maybe we have to face the fact that this is simply not a quality team. The players have mediocre skills. To make a run for the playoff, MD will have to forbid risky lazy passes going inside from now on. Cut-and-dish should still be encouraged however. This team is not blessed with passing talents. Thus the second coming of Magic Johnson in Kobe became a pleasant surprise a few games back. But Kobe and Nash can’t make all the passes. Thus the passes by other players must be disciplined from now on. Otherwise, the season is over.

  107. Well if you look back at the 4th quarter…they brought in the bench to get them home, as they needed to give Kobe and Nash some rest…check nothing wrong with that…Jamison makes a great three but then makes a terrible pass that is a turnover that starts the comeback. Then you still have ball movement, but they take out Jamison (probably a good move as he is such a wild card) but as there is no one really hitting that well, the ball movement is only finding MWP, who keeps missing. Other thing was they had Clark and MWP on Beasely who weren’t effective…this would have been a game where with the outside shooting starting to dissipate, they would have benefitted from running the ball inside with the twin towers but then Dwight got injured. And they are never getting easy baskets as the defence is not young or quick enough to be actually creating easy turnover buckets. they really didn’t go to ISO ball till around the 5 min mark which is not too bad, but that didn’t result in too many made shots, and Nash missed his one and only shot.

    Tough loss, still feel that when they lose, its that too cool for school thing. You don’t see a lot of diving for balls and real crazy hustle plays out of anyone, except the real young kids…I still see Nash really trying, but he didn’t have an otherwise stellar game tonight.

    Backs now really against the wall….they need to win at least 5 of the next 6….will be tough.

  108. Lil Pau, you just summed up how I feel. If they had not gone on that 3 game winning streak and were hopelessly out of the playoffs race, this loss would have been more tolerable. But to be up by 13 that late and to lose to that team is just unbearable. One of the most devastating losses in a long time because this was a winnable game, and a must win game with Nets, Celtics, and Miami still left on the schedule on this road trip. They can’t afford to just play .500.

    On the other hand, this team is not a championship team, and to me, whether they make the playoffs and lose in the first round or finish last in the league doesn’t really matter. It’s either championship or bust.

  109. It was a grand experiment ..that looks like a massive fail at this point. Crap happens..at least the Lakers tried..getting the best center in the league and a HOF point guard were bold moves. Sometimes it pays off handsomely…like getting Pau. This looks to be one of those that does NOT for various reasons. I’m not enough of a student of the game to understand everything D’Antoni is doing with the rotations etc. but he seems to lack that feel which PJ could do in his sleep..that exact time to insert player A to relieve a faltering player B…instead you just watch in horror as the player fails down the stretch and there is no adjustment. Without DH in the middle, this team looks like the Raptors..except not as young…sheesh..I hope they can recover from this one because the next six games are crucial to their playoff hopes. This one has to sting like a b……It surely hurt ME…hope some of the players feel the same.

  110. If Pau was making free throws, the Lakers would not have shot 63% from the line. He was totally outplayed by Scola in the 4th. Pau missed too many wide open jumpers, couldn’t finish at the rim. Suns players were traveling all game long, yet only 3 travels called. Fouls called on Gasol when Beasly was pushing off with his arm. Joey Crawford’s crew needs to be retired. That turkey cost the Lakers two games this year already.

  111. Don’t know why I am not that depressed but I am not…Mostly this was about missing shots. But hopefully they will learn from tonight. The thing that is good that came out of the previous three games is that they developed more scoring weapons, so hopefully next time, instead of just seeing more ISO ball, they will keep working to create more shots for more different people. But we need more hustle and effort.

    They could afford to throw away one game against a bad team on this road trip, so they’ve done that now. Maybe these guys need to have their backs really up against the wall…they do need to learn to close out games, so that is something that will need to come.

    Don’t think Pau’s hissy fit helped. Maybe he can see now, why he was rested yesterday.

  112. If the Lakers make it to the playoffs IF. The extra rest between games will help. They obviously are incapable of playing back to backs. They looked exhausted in the 4th and sloppy throughout the game as indicated by the number of turnovers. And most of those TOs were simple fumbles of passes. Just when I was becoming hopeful for this season, they put up a stinker of a game.

  113. What d’antoni needs to do is if they’re going to continue to run that kobe post up put nash in the corner. Ron missed at least 5 wide open threes.

    Also switch up ball handling throughout the game. Kobe was a second late passing after half. Nash’s homecoming and he was a afterthought tonight.