Preview and Chat: The Minnesota Timberwolves

Darius Soriano —  February 1, 2013 — 185 Comments

Records: Lakers 20-26 (10th in the West), Timberwolves 17-25 (12th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.5 (7th in the NBA), Timberwolves 99.7 (24th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.4 (17th in the NBA), Timberwolves 102.5 (14th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Pau Gasol
Timberwolves: Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, Andrei Kirilenko, Derrick Williams, Nikola Pekovic
Injuries: Lakers: Dwight Howard (out), Jordan Hill (out for the season); Timberwolves: Kevin Love (out), Chase Budinger (out), Brandon Roy (out), Malcom Lee (out)

The Lakers Coming in: Earlier today it was announced that Dwight Howard would not play tonight after hurting his troublesome shoulder in the Lakers’ loss to the Suns. Howard, after being reevaluated, was sent back to Los Angeles today to receive a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection into his shoulder. The injection — which is similar to the injection that Steve Blake received before he returned from his groin injury — will hopefully promote healing. Dwight will rejoin the team in Detroit for Sunday’s game and is listed as day to day. Hopefully he’ll play in Detroit, but that’s not yet known.

Dwight being out is hurts the Lakers on many levels. He’s not had his best season, but Dwight remains the Lakers’ best defensive player and paint presence on both ends of the floor. Him simply being on the floor changes the dynamic in how teams attack the Lakers’ defense and how they defend the Lakers’ on the other end, and that’s before we even talk about his ability to impact the game statistically.

Furthermore, in the last 5 games the Lakers were really starting to jell offensively and we were starting to see some positive trends from Lakers’ lineups that hadn’t been performing that great up to that point in the year. In Zach Lowe’s email back and forth with Bill Simmons, Lowe mentioned how the Lakers’ big 5 lineup (Nash, Kobe, Ron, Pau, and Howard) hadn’t performed that well up to that point in the season, though in a limited sample due to injuries. Well, in 5 games since that article ran, that lineup has performed much better, posting a +14 in 41 minutes, including some very encouraging numbers in the last 4 games (+24 in 39 minutes). Put in different terms, over that 5 game stretch, that big 5 lineup posted an Offensive Efficiency of 111.4 and a Defencive Efficiency of 93.2, both marks that would lead the league over the course of a full season.

The samples are very small and it’s too early to know if these are statistical blips or the start of sustainable trends, but not having Dwight available means we won’t know either way.

The Timberwolves Coming in: If you thought the Lakers have been hit hard by the injury bug, it’s probably time to look at the T’Wolves and understand L.A. has not been alone. As we speak, Kevin Love is out again after breaking his hand for the second time this season. Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger are also out, two players who would certainly be part of their rotation. Add in Ricky Rubio’s continued recovery from tearing his ACL last season (an injury that’s allowed him to play in 17 games this season) and this team has been put through the wringer on the injury front.

The injuries show in their record too. They’ve lost 5 in a row and 10 of their last 11 games. In that stretch they’ve only scored over a 100 points twice but have given up at least 100 in all but 4 of the games. They’re struggling on both sides of the ball and don’t have too many bright spots. Andrei Kirilenko has played very well this year and, when healthy, so has Nikola Pekovic. Add in some solid play from 2nd year pro Derrick Williams and not everything is awful. But, big picture, this team was hoping to make a playoff push this year and that seems like a long shot now. Especially with Love hurt and Rubio still finding his stride.

Maybe in time this team finds its stride and gets hot, but another trip to the lottery may be looming.

Timberwolves Blogs: Check out A Wolf Among Wolves for great insight and coverage of this team.

Keys to game: After the loss to the Suns, Kobe said he’s not worried about his team. He said they mostly played well but didn’t do enough to hold off the Suns, making too many mistakes down the stretch. I agree with Kobe. The team looked good most of the game, but lost because they lost their way and couldn’t get back on track. And while there’s little takeaway from losses at this point (the hole is too deep), the team would do well to remember what they did right against the Suns and try to carry that over against the ‘Wolves.

Missing Howard makes that harder, but not impossible. The Lakers still have the ability to play through Kobe on the wing and would be wise to do so. The Wolves will probably start with Kirilenko on Kobe, but that doesn’t mean Kobe can’t work from the mid-post and then put AK47 in pick and rolls to get the defense to start shifting. If Kobe can find creases in the D, it should open up shots for the other guys around the perimeter and for Pau in the pick and pop game when being guarded by Pekovic.

Furthermore, the Lakers should also be able to attack with Ron on quick duck-ins and on the offensive glass. The odds are hight that Ridnour will be forced onto Ron, and that should mean a huge discrepancy in size and strength for Ron to take advantage of the closer this match up gets to the painted area. It wouldn’t be such a bad idea for Pau to take on a high post role on many possessions and play high-low basketball with Ron as he works the post against the smaller man. And when Pau’s not passing in high-low opportunities, he’d do well to attack Pekovic off the dribble and try to use his quickness to either get to the rim or draw fouls on the brutish Timberwolf big man. The Wolves are not deep on their front line and if Pau can draw some fouls, it will only be to the Lakers’ advantage over the course of the game.

Defensively, the Lakers must concern themselves with the Wolves’ pick and roll. If I were a betting man, I’d imagine Rick Adelman implements a strategy to run the P&R at Nash and Pau as many times as possible in order to create the types of openings that will create shots for Pekovic going to the rim and for Kirilenko and Williams slashing from the weak side. It’s unclear if Nash will guard Rubio or Ridnour, though my guess would be the latter while Kobe guards the young Spaniard. If this ends up being the case, look for Luke to run the P&R a lot with Pek and make the Lakers two slowest footed defenders contain this action. The Lakers need to be prepared to defend this by rotating on the backside to take the roll man away and allow Nash to recover to Ridnour in the process.

What can help the Lakers’ D is the fact that, without Love, the Wolves simply don’t possess a shooter that needs to be respected enough to deter them from collapsing the paint. Kirilenko and Williams are not great shooters and both should be forced to hit from the outside and prove tonight will be different. A sagging D should help contain penetration and allow the Lakers to dig down on Pekovic’s post ups and disrupt him should he try to bully Gasol on the block. Pau has the length to bother Nikola, but it would still be a good strategy to make Pekovic a passer or to at least vary the looks they give him to make his job more difficult.

Where the Lakers need to be a bit concerned is in the play of the benches. The Wolves aren’t an especially deep team but they do have some players that must be accounted for. J.J. Barrea is a nice scoring option off the bench and he too will look to attack the Lakers in the P&R. He must be disrupted by knocking him off the ball and not allowed to find his rhythm. He’s a good driver and can compromise the D off the dribble and that will then feed his outside shot. Give him different looks and make him adjust to a D that keys in on him to make his life harder. The other threat is Alexey Shved. The rookie Russian is a nice combo guard that, in a lot of ways, reminds me of Rubio. He knows how to handle the ball in the P&R and has great feel as a passer. He’s a bit more aggressive in looking for his own offense, however, and mustn’t be treated as a non-threat. He will take and make jumpers and has no fear attacking the paint off the dribble. He’s been part of several of their comebacks this season and if he’s allowed to find his rhythm, he can carry their offense for stretches.

Like the Suns’ game, the Lakers are playing an opponent who doesn’t look threatening but have some ingredients to hurt them. A full 48 minute effort will be needed in this game, especially with Dwight not in the lineup. If the Lakers play hard through the buzzer, they have a good chance to get their first win of the road trip (and a much needed one). If nothing else, Wednesday should serve as a lesson to them tonight.

Where you can watch: 6:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet and ESPN. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

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185 responses to Preview and Chat: The Minnesota Timberwolves

  1. Warren!

    (Hope springs almost eternal…)

  2. “What can help the Lakers’ D is the fact that, without Love, the Wolves simply don’t possess a shooter that needs to be respected enough to deter them from collapsing the paint. Kirilenko and Williams are not great shooters and both should be forced to hit from the outside and prove tonight will be different.”

    how many times have we gotten killed by players who shouldnt be able to shoot from the outside? I dont expect today to be different.

  3. At this point i just dont expect anything from this club. Im still reeling from the Phoenix colapse and im starting to belive we are witnessing one of the biggest flops in the history of the NBA, probably the biggest.

  4. IIRC, they are 2-0 when Robert leads with a Kobe Alert. So, I think we should go to that and move Warren to the 2, sort of like Steve Nash.

  5. What better way to shake a team out of their slump than having the Lakers coming to town? Phoenix was a mess before that game, remember Toronto?Teams in a downward spiral that the Lakers help. If they are consistent in something is that.

  6. I no longer can predict/guess the outcome if Laker games. If I was a gambler my dinner tonight would be food stamp fueled.

    That being said I expect Pau to go all out to show Rubio and the former Minn Lakers that he is ready, willing and able.

    My prediction is that a basketball game will be played in a very cold city. That all.

  7. David Friedman nails it again.

    Stats with zero context often don’t mean very much.

    Go Lakers! New streak starts tonight.

  8. Kobe Alert: rr: Thanks for the props and we will save the KB alert in position 1 for the games that really matter (hopefully there will be some of those). In any case, it does not matter who the coach is, who starts, who comes off the bench, or who is pouting, there is one constant: Kobe Bryant. Against Phoenix, KB tied Shaq for 24th on the all time games list with 1207. Next up – Dale Ellis in 23rd at 1209. KB tied Wes Unseld for 66th in Defensive Rebounds. MJ is now 30 DRBs away. Kobes also moved by KAJ for 35th on the all time dimes list, and is now within 31 of Larry Bird. Tonight should be a big one for Kobes in a number of areas. A tally of 5 FGs will move him past Hakeem Olajuwon for 7th. Just 2 Free Throws will move him by Oscar Robertson for 3rd on that list (seriously third !! – we truly are watching history), while 3 more Free Throw Attempts will put him in 6th there (also moving by Oscar). Special note for Slappy: Please take notice of the fact that Kobe is higher on the makes list than he is on the attempts list : ) And yes – I am still tracking the category you are interested in : ) Another 3 defensive rebounds will move him by Antoine Walker for 65th. Wilt is 641 away.

  9. @KenOak – Friedman´s article is very insightful, thanks for the link
    Go Lakers! Go defense!

  10. Wow first time in a while the Lakers dont start a game flat.

  11. Ummm….has Nash ever blocked a shot before….bad Ridnour…bad…

  12. Steve Nash with the block on Luke Ridnour.

  13. Rubio is soooo overrated.

  14. Pau is doing a great job d’ing up on Pek so far.

  15. Kobe basically acted as a ballboy for Metta there.

  16. Stupendous start!!! Everything’s fallin!

  17. Ball sure moves well without Dwight Bobble-head out there.

  18. Kobe on pace for another almost triple double night.

  19. The best thing about Steve Blake is his smoking hot wife.

  20. Jayz: Sorry the KB Alert is stuck in moderation. As far as KB on the court – there is no moderation – it is all Kobe all the Time

  21. This team needs a back up PG. Blake has never been or never will be it. Bad signing by Mitch.

    Good offense, bad defense.

  22. Robert: in game Chat isn’t the same without your Kobe Alerts.

    Pau is sticking it to Warren right now. Playing really well.

  23. Haha on ball boy comment

  24. Gasol shows again that he is an excellent 5 still, and being improperly played at the 4 to make room for guys (Bynum/Howard) who are not as versatile or good as he can be offensively (although both may be better on D).

  25. Jamison guarding Pekovic wtf?

  26. Lakers bench has de-thawed in the middle of winter in Minnesota…that is how hot they are tonight.

  27. Red hot today. Clark shooting very well on open 3s. 54% this season and already 11 point 2nd quarter. Just wow,what a gem

  28. Lakers have seven 3 pointers already tonight…from seven different players.

  29. HOW in the world did MD bury Clark the 1st 20 games? funny if he turns out to be the best part of that Orlando trade! That guy is a keeper.

  30. Jamison just got fouled…by an afro.

  31. I hope D’Antoni stays with this lineup and gives the starters some rest seeing as they’re being very efficient. Our shooting’s on fire.

  32. This could be the game we hit 200

  33. Minnesota is shooting 50%, has only two turnovers……and is losing by twenty-two….

    Of course 8-10 from three and over 70% overall for the other team will do that to you…

  34. Lakers average 99.9 ppg with Howard. Without 116.3 ppg. 0-3 in those games.

  35. Barrea…worst….pass….ever

  36. Even with a 25 point lead I still think there’s a 50% chance the Lakers lose this game.

  37. Pau´s responded well to start the game tonight, funny enough today is the 5th anniversary of his acquisition by the Lakers!
    wow, we´re smoking hot tonight! hope we don´t let down on D

  38. This thumping would actually be enjoyable if the Lakers had not just **** their pants against Phx – but its always nice to get a taste of what could have been had this team tried hard from the outset

  39. Jayz but those 3 games Pau was also out. Big deference now with no sticking ir stripping with Dwight there. Let’s see how they do with no Dwight a few games. Betting it’s a real offense again.

  40. Save some buckets for the next games guys!

  41. Steve Blake looks like he plays basketball like a drunken master practices kung fu….he is all scowl and herky-jerky movements, always looks as equally likely of just falling over as doing anything productive. Seems to work okay for him.

  42. When you score 60 points at the 6 minute mark of the 2nd quarter, you have a great chance of winning. Looks great with no Dwight in there.

  43. Lakers have fallen in love with the 3, and she is showing herself to be a fickle lover.

  44. Ok….maybe time to try a few shots a little closer to the basket, or LAL will shoot Minny back into this one….

  45. Cant buy a bucket now. Thank God for all those earlier 3s

  46. KB ties Oscar for third all time in Free Throws !!!

  47. funny if he turns out to be the best part of that Orlando trade!

    Wouldn’t go that far Ken, but I definitely knew that he would be a steal.

  48. Kobe !!! 3rd all time in free throws

  49. Ricky Rubio hits like 5% of his jumpers, all you have to do is make him take them, you can literally give him a half a gym cushion, and yet we still let him get in for a layup…sigh.

  50. The wolves are going to come back, just watch. Keep chucking 3s with a big lead, i dont understand why they dont pound the damn ball inside with a huge lead.

  51. Enough with Meeks. Get Metta back in. Missed 4 in a row with zero defense. Watch the game Mike.

  52. Jayz: I have 2 comments about Kobe in moderation. But just like Kobe – I just keep firing – they can’t stop me – the moderation only hopes to contain me !!!

  53. 12-1 wolves run, i want to shoot the damn tv.

  54. There goes Rubio again to the basket, its like all Lakers have vertigo on D, they just stumble out of the way.

  55. Any coaching here. Stop it stop it. No more 3s. Mike can’t ever make adjustments.

  56. This zone defense has seemingly confounded the Lakers.

  57. Minnesota is running the same play, over and over and over and have scored everytime on it this Q.

  58. This team and its stupid dry spells are really annoying. Down to 13 now. Unbelievable.

    After the way we ended that qtr, I’m considering it to be a bad half.

  59. Told you they were going to blow the lead, this team is hopeless

  60. Lakers were saved by half time, with any luck some ‘coaching’ happens at the break and we come out better in the 3rd Q than we were in the 2nd.

  61. Sigh. The downside of D’Antoni’s patented three-for-all style: they build big leads but often give it right back in a hurry.

  62. A 15 halftime lead is well inside of the Lakers capability to blow. Not really optimistic

  63. Hard to believe but the Lakers actually outscored Minny 31-29 in the 2nd Q, just seemed worse than it was because all our scoring was loaded to the beginning and theirs was at the end.

  64. BLAME the coach all you want, the players are the ones playing in there. They keep settling for 3’s the TWOLVES are playing zone defense and pound it INSIDE?!

    Are you kidding me?!

  65. Ok I take back my comments, save some buckets for the 4th quarter instead…

  66. We blew a 18 point lead against the Suns so dont be surprised if timberwolves come back.

  67. Lakers fell in love with the three (10-20) and saw their lead shrink, still up 15 at the half but it could have been a bigger lead. Still have work to do to get the win.

  68. Just amazed at this coach’s inability to stop runs Minn goes to zone and Lakers just keep doing the same thing. You can’t expect to hit 70% on 3s all game. Mike fault in my opinion.

  69. Anyone else see the complete bush league move by Caron Butler tonight where he pretended to be congratulating Valanciunas (who was holding the ball waiting for time to run out as classy teams do in blow outs) and then stole the ball from him for a breakaway with 3 seconds left in the 4th Q as the Clips were getting blown out by 20?

    What a classless d*ck.

  70. Allowed them to get back in the game. Instead of 15, this should be at least a 25 point lead. Have to come out in the 3rd quarter and blitz them from the jump. Take away that confidence that they built up from mid 2nd quarter on.

  71. Joe

    Meeks would have shot a three.

  72. @Joe

    WoW, that was worse than Lillards’ dunk last time when the opposite team was blown also (can’t remember the team) but it was an issue.

  73. @KOOO and miss!

    @vhanz at least Lillard can blame being a rookie

    I may add that Butler’s current form is making Odom look like he trains 24/7, dude is bloated for some reason.

  74. Gotta shore up our D until the final buzzer sounds!

  75. Every player for the Lakers who played in the first half made a 3 but Jamison..

  76. Nash now has 2 blocks…I have seen it all.

  77. Lakers just can not figure out this zone. Mike D really does not know how to make adjustments.

  78. Another blown lead…

  79. so maybe we have Pau go to the block at some point, perhaps, just a thought.

  80. He has moved by Oscar in two categories tonight and now he is pursuing Hakeem. The KB Alert is posted above (I say this – because this is a big night).

  81. I wasnt that enthusiastic when they had a 29 piont lead because i just knew they were going to blow it.

  82. There ‘passing’ Kobe was a bad decision, he had a dunk

  83. I seriously hope we lose this game.

  84. Mike D’Antoni needs a makeover. Shave the stash, die the hair, do something, because the very sight of him does not instill confidence. Quite the contrary.

  85. Im embarrased, cant even keep a 29 point lead, this team just sucks im tired of this. Waste of a payroll

  86. This team is just amazing. No way it’s a playoff team or a playoff coach. This is two crap teams in a row. Worst Lakers team in many years. Clueless.

  87. Lakers are maddening. Their lead is heading in the wrong direction.

  88. Timberwolves are basically the league’s punching bag these days and they are in a brutal free fall, even a victory by the Lakers at this point would be a loss – this is just a brutally bad team and I feel I must watch and suffer because during the good times I gloat like crazy to all my friends who hate the Lakers.

  89. At least their consistent… in blowing leads.

  90. The Lakers are 2 of their last 20, I could call down 20 random fans and get them to each take 1 shot, while guarded, and get better than that.

  91. Lakers jut figured out that the zone buster is Nash for 3….duh

  92. Bad team..bad coach…win or lose…

  93. Enough of this crap. Shoot the ball Kobe. Enough is enough. You have guys like Pau, Metta and Nash that just appear out of shape in 2nd halfs.

  94. If Pau doesn’t get into the post soon I am going to throw my computer through my tv.

  95. Pau is playing good for a change so of course the Lakers are going away from him

  96. Earl Clark is turning over the ball on O like Howard tonight.

  97. Thought Steve was smart. Has he watched Meeks on lay ups this year?

  98. Get Meeks out if there! He is a play ground D meager! Wake up Mike.

  99. FACT: MWP will always be open for 3.

    FACT: The reason is obvious.

  100. Clark loses efficiency when he stays on the court for 17-18 minutes straight. His minutes need to be broken up a bit by playing him 12-14 minutes subbing him and giving him a breather. That goes for all of the Lakers break up their playing time so that they can play at peak level. This team is a bit older and when they stay on the floor for extended periods they turn the ball over, can’t finish at the rim, lose their man on defense, stop moving the ball on offense and stand outside and shoot 3-pt shots.

    For a veteran team they are not very smart continually shooting outside shots instead of going down in the post for layups.

  101. Earl Clarke is making terrible decisions tonight, honestly deserves to be benched at this point.

  102. Mike d’antoni is being outcoached by rick adelman.

  103. 9 pt. lead going into the 4th after just being up 15 like 30 seconds ago! What a joke! Another crappy close to a qtr.

  104. 9 point lead entering the 4th, we all know what that means.

  105. Lakers do not close the third quarter well, only lead by 9, turnovers hurting the Lakers.

  106. Oh and Steve Nash is 3 for 3 from 3 tonight and looks like he could hit them at will, but we will NEVER, I repeat NEVER plan for him to take 3’s to bust up the zone as that would take some semblance of basketball IQ.

    Instead we will keep having MWP shoot them at a 15% clip.

  107. Stupidest coached Laker team, how about using one of those TO to set up a play there Mike. Lakers last in the NBA is uptime outs. Probably because no one can understand the coach mumbles on the sideline.

  108. I just read 6 ways an offense can break and score against a 2-3 zone. I don’t think Mike D knows 1 way to do it. Sad.

  109. Maybe after this game the truth will be evident.

  110. Pau last scored in the 1st Q and has 1 assist tonight. I would quickly point to the failure of the team to play through him/get him involved – but really the problem is he has willingly disappeared.

  111. Season on the line here?

  112. what is this line-up to start the 4th???

  113. oh hey, MDA just woke up and realized who was out there, wholesale changes 1 min into the 4th.

    What an idiot.

  114. Pau is a lost cause under d’antoni. One of the main grips is even with dwight out he can’t find a way to use pau.

  115. Stupid stupid stupid. Can’t believe how clueless this coach is. No idea how to adjust.

  116. what a dish Pau!

  117. alright when was the last time anybody saw jamison dunk?

  118. MWP is 2 of 10 and taking ridiculous bad shots.

  119. Jamison with the slam dunk off a nice dish from Pau.

  120. This is just so sad. This T=Wolves team is so bad, just horrible. And they just can’t put this team away!

  121. What in the world causes Metta to think he should keep chucking up shots? Stupid coach, stupid players!

  122. Dont know what to make of this team, its unbeliavable,

  123. Metta needs to go. Defense stinks and not smart enough to know he can’t shoot anymore. Lakers need one forward that can make a wide open shot. Teams just double Kobe because the entire world knows Metta and Meeks stink.

    Except this coach of course.

  124. I dont know how hard is to give the ball to Pau and let him decide to either pass or try to go the hoop and score or get fouled or pass it out to an open man

  125. Keep chucking 3s thats the ticket

  126. One of the smartest players in the league, Kobe, can’t even figure out a zone. Unbelievable.

  127. Lakers are clueless on both ends right now. We are stifle by a gimmick defence and can’t play any D ourselves.

  128. The announcers can’t even keep up with Kobe’s moves up the all time lists tonight.

  129. Lakers were 9 of 11 for 3s at one time, since they are 3 of 19.

  130. Why did this become a nail biter as soon as the Lakers got a 29 point lead?

  131. Warning!! Collapse in progress!!

  132. Another bad Kobe game. This stupid coach just watches. Do something. No adjustments. Laker announcer can’t believe it either. Worst hire in Laker history. Still no adjustments by Mike Dunce..

  133. Lakers have forever been the team that never plays the hot hand, just not in their DNA.

    Nash is shooting lights out tonight, hasn’t had a shot in about 12 minutes now.

  134. Kobe to Pau for the slam and the and 1, Lakers trying to hang on.

  135. Kobe haters needs to SHUT UP and watch this man right now. He is the only one who wants to WIN and WIN and WIN.

    Again KOBE HATERS, just shut up.

  136. Kooo/Fern: I think we will win this one. I can’t disagree with regard to the MD comments, but our talent is too great to not win this.

  137. It should be a law punishable by death for any Laker other than Nash to shoot a 3 for the rest of the night.

  138. Lakers go back to Pau in the post and the easy baskets flow.

  139. Meeks takes a bad 3 without running any clock…that is why both Brown and MDA have benched him at different times, just low, low basketball IQ

  140. Meeks has missed 8 shots in a row. Can this coach read stats!

  141. MD is supposed to be an offensive genius, so why do his offenses crumble in crunch time? Settling for jumpers on the 3 pt line? Really?

  142. Wow, someone using my name huh?! Not my post on 8:42

    Til then folks.

  143. Robert, our talent was too great to win in Phoenix, in Houston, in Toronto in Cleveland, ect, ect

  144. Kooo eat what?

  145. Can we trade Dwight Howard for Rick Adelman?

  146. @ neil that is just a product of him playing 3-4 mins more than everyone else, lots are hovering near the line. Kobe’s D has been okay tonight, is leading the team in boards. His shooting and passing decisions on the other hands have been sub-standard compared to his recent performances.

  147. Kobe saved the game with that nasty board and putback against 3 T´wolves

  148. If steve nash just stayed on the offensive side of the court he would at least confuse the person he is supposed to be guarding.

  149. @KOOO

    Someones using my name also Ken. LOL

    Better put some trademark signs in your name just like mine.

    Not my post on 8:42 PM.

  150. This game is an awful reminder of how at the end of this road stretch the season is basically over. Do people appreciate just how bad this Minny team is.

  151. Fern: I understand. We are the most under achieving team in recent memory. Perhaps in history. Draw your own conclusions as to why. However the under-achieving is undeniable.

  152. What a stupid possesion

  153. Look I have always been a Big Kobe fan. read stats. The last few games he has been tired and really bad shooting in the 4th quarter. Just played to many minutes. Read the stats.

  154. This ones a wrap! Goodnight folks!

  155. I guess vhanz people want to be like us. 3 posts today were not mine. Thing is they were better then mine!

    This team is gonna give me another heart attck.

  156. Kobe’s 4th double-double in 5 games (with 3 just missed triple-doubles), dude is trying as hard as I have seen him, but all these minutes, hard to believe it is going this well for him.

  157. It’s only a matter of time until lakers start rolling plaing this style of basketball. Til then they’ll struggle but there moving in the right direction.

  158. Kooo: KB is leading the game in dimes and rebounds. Give him a minute he may get there in points.
    Kooo/Fern: I told you – we had this : )

  159. Why we underachieve? Because this team dont play to its strenghts, we have potentially the most devastating front line by far in the league and they are an afterthrought. We are not a good 3 point team and they keep shooting 3 after 3, this team is not a run and gun team this is a slow veteran team that should play a post up heavy offense and destroy teams inside, thats the identity of this team or it should be

  160. If only our last 30+ games were against Minny.

  161. As for the Clippers—if Blake and Co. wonder why they get fouled so hard, and why their games get chippy, they need look no further than low-class crap like what Butler pulled tonight, and thug behavior like Barnes the other night against Minny.

  162. not my post at 8:51 – g´nite folks

  163. Purple clearly 8:45 was not my post either. I don’t ever use that classless type of language. Please give me more credit then that. Darius can run ip address to see that. Laker fan and business man not a nasty low class person.

    Thanks. We needed that one.

  164. Purple

    Not my posts. I never use profanity here or in real life.

  165. Big win. 4-1 in the last 5 games and still counting. They look pretty smooth out there without world peace near the end. Win the style points plus a win. Keep it going!

  166. @KOOO – don´t sweat it K, you´re the man; nice to get a W tonight wasn´t it? have a good one

  167. I can’t remember ever being more disappointed in a double digit win in all my life. Normally, because of where we are in the standings, I would be saying, “a win is a win”. But after allowing a 29 pt. lead to be cut to 4 and having no clue how to solve a zone for like 3/4 of the game, I just can’t bring myself to feeling that way. This team just never ceases to frustrate me.

    The only good thing I can say is that the game is over. On to Detroit. Let’s see what Lakers team shows up on Super Bowl Sunday.

  168. I’ve blocked that commenter’s IP address. Hopefully that clears it up. But he’s obviously obsessed with coming here to impersonate commenters because that’s the 3rd time we’ve had an incident like that this year. I try to get it sorted out as quickly as I can, but it’s sometimes hard. Anyways, it’s done now.

  169. Not happy, we won but the inconsistency rears its ugly head again and im still mad at that Phoenix game. Time for excuses is over, in my opinion we cant afford to lose anymore on this grammy trip.

  170. Here’s to more road wins against lottery bound teams with their best players missing!

    Joking aside, I’m not happy the starters had to play major minutes tonight, which may hurt them with an early start in Detroit Sunday. But I suppose we should be grateful for any win at this point, no matter how ugly.

    Also, thanks Darius for defending this site against all the Internet idiots out there.

  171. Hang in there Fern. We got 4 out of the last 5. We should not be in 10th place, but we are. We just need to claw our way out. We are playing much better now. I honestly think we can still get in the playoffs (incredible that I am making that statement at this point in the season).

  172. I cant think of nothing more pathetic than impersonating comentator on a basketball site, i mean, what that achieve?

  173. Thanks Darius.

    Biggest recent issue is small forward. Metta and Meeks 4 for 18 and it has been that way for a while. Biggest Laker need, must make a move. Rudy Gay killed it tonight with Toronto.

    Thought Pau was excellent on offense tonight.

    Big win but team needs help.

  174. Thanks Darius.

    Next up in Detroot. Man, we really need wins, ugly or not. A win is a win no matter how frustrated we are.

    Til then folks.

  175. Robert

    You’re right the lakers can still make the playoffs. We have to stop looking at it as they have to got 30-8 or whatever it is. The lakers are 3 1/2 games out of 8 with over 30 games to go. They have a really good shot they just have to stop giving away games to the worst teams on the road.

    But the lakers need to mwp to play better and smarter or they will continue to give away leads and games. Over the last 5 games in which they are 4-1, mwp averaged the most shots per game on the team!?!? Mwp is only shooting 30% in that stretch. I don’t expect him to shoot 55% but 45% isn’t to much to ask for when most of his shots are wide open.

    Lastly, Antwan has been a really good player in the league for a long time. He knows how to play and I’m glad he’s showing what he can do with his solid play.

  176. I will say it’s pretty amazing to see a player go from an efficient 29 pts 5 reb 5 ast to 16 pts 8 reb 11 ast at will. Only one player can transform like that and it’s lebron. Kobe still amazes 17 years in.

  177. Truth be told, the Lakers kryptonite for years has been: A) defending the pick and roll; and B) playing offense against a zone. This is nothing new; they just couldn’t hit any buckets to force Adelman to give up the zone.

    The bottom line is that the Lakers are playing hard, and looking like a team. The ebb and flow is incredibly painful to watch, but it’s light years different than before the sitdown in Memphis.

    As a fan, I just want an entertaining team and some heart. They are showing heart, but they obviously are still gravitating from entertaining to nauseating.

    Hopefully, they continue to figure things out.

    For the Pau doubters, the most telling sign with him is that when the game was close, he hit his free throws, made his baskets and grabbed rebounds. He did not shy away from the moment.

  178. I have defended Howard some, but it is worth noting that without him, the Lakers were 21/25 at the stripe. Minnesota was 8/18.

  179. I doubt that the 8th seed will have 48 wins this year looking at Houston and Portland’s schedule. Houston is 2 games above 0.500 and Portland is 0.500. I don’t think Portland will finish above 0.500 this year looking at their schedule. In February and March, Portland will likely play 0.500 but in April, every team they play is above 0.500 except for the Lakers. Houston will probably go 2 games over 0.500 looking at the rest of their games for the year. So they’ll likely finish anywhere from 42-40 to 46-36. So I think the magic number for the Lakers is 46 wins, or actually counting losses, which is easier to predict, they can’t lose more than 10 games to have about a reasonable chance for the playoffs. Looking at the Lakers schedule, some games like the second of back to back on the road in Denver will surly be a loss, and the away game at OKC and Miami will be losses. That’s 3. The back to back away in NO and Atlanta will be tough, so I’ll count those as a losses. 5. Back to back away in Portland will probably be a loss. So that’s 6. There’s another 6-8 games that’s a toss up, such as away games in Boston, home game against Chicago(with Rose probably), the Clippers games, Spurs, Memphis, etc. will be tough. They need to split those. Going 25-10 isn’t impossible, but winning at that rate is difficult. If they had to win at that rate in 82 games, it’s the equivalent of a 58 win season, which is not easy. Hopefully, Houston fades as the season goes on, and they finish closer to 42-40.

  180. D’Antoni’s system is fools gold. It may provide scoring in bunches at times, but eventually, as this game showed, the coaches who know how to win, know that teams will eventually shoot themselves out of the game. Some teams can win this way for a few games, but it’s not a formula to win championships. When the game got tight, the strategy that worked was working the ball inside. Whenever anyone took a quick 3, or went 1-1, it failed. When Kobe or Pau was posted up, they scored almost at will. Also, as terrible as the Wolves are right now with Love out, it shows how much a better coach Adelman is compared to D’Antoni. Going to the zone worked, and D’Antoni had no answer for that. Adelman knew that the Lakers would eventually shoot themselves out of the game, and he weathered the storm and got his team back in the game. PJ did that countless times. There were some games where the opponent ran up a 10-15 point lead by making crazy quick 3s, but ended up losing because PJ told his team to just weather the storm, continue to play good defense, let the opponent continue to take outside shots, and the Lakers would win most of those games. The Lakers are lucky to have won this game, but I can sympathize with all D’Antoni haters. Even my wife asked why the Lakers don’t keep going inside instead of just passing around the perimeter and shooting 3s.

  181. Perfect post Laker 17. Wonder why some of the more experienced coaches ( Weekend at Birneys) don’t corner Mike and offer some adjustments since he seems unable. luckily Nash and Kobe figured it out at the end. Perhaps Steve should just declare himself playing coach and Mike can get the job he always wanted with the Highway Patrol.

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