Preview and Chat: The Detroit Pistons

Darius Soriano —  February 3, 2013

Records: Lakers 21-26 (10th in the West), Pistons 18-29 (10th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.7 (7th in the NBA), Pistons 101.1 (17th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.3 (17th in the NBA), Pistons 103.3 (18th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Pau Gasol
Pistons: Jose Calderon, Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, Jason Maxiell, Greg Monroe
Injuries: Lakers: Jordan Hill (out for the season), Dwight Howard (questionable out); Pistons: none

The Lakers Coming in: The big question heading into this game is whether Dwight Howard will play. Dwight is back in Detroit with his teammates after flying to Los Angeles on Friday to receive a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection into his shoulder to help relieve the pain he’s experiencing. D’Antoni says that if Dwight’s not in too much pain, he expects that he’ll play. And while the pain was considerably more (per Dwight) than the last time he re-aggravated his shoulder, I think he’ll be in the lineup today. The Lakers can certainly use him. (UPDATE: Dwight Howard will not play in today’s game, the Lakers have just announced. Obviously this changes the Lakers’ strategy in this game as Pau will need to man the post against a young, talented front line)

But even without Dwight, the Lakers did win their last game. With Pau back in the pivot full time, he had a nice game. He played all over the floor and was able to move in and out of the post with little encumbrance. Pau looked more comfortable on offense and used his length on defense to defend the post and show solid weak side help. Pau’s good play is just one of several positive trends lately, as the Lakers have won four of their last five games. With Kobe acting as a facilitator, the ball is moving, everyone is getting involved, and it’s also helped spearhead better defensive attentiveness.

All in all, it’s not a stretch to say the Lakers have been playing well. They need to do better at holding onto leads and not getting complacent as games go on. But if I had to choose, give me the team that gets up big and then has focus issues but still holds on to win (mostly) over the team that gets down big and then rallies late only to fall short. The Lakers have been the latter way too often this year, so the former doesn’t seem so bad to me.

The Pistons Coming in: The Pistons were in the news this week because they were the 3rd team in the trade that helped get Rudy Gay out of Memphis and to the Toronto. The Pistons received Jose Calderon from Toronto, sending Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to Memphis in the process.

This trade reshapes Detroit by giving them a pure point guard to help run their team while also allowing the team to skew younger on the wing with Prince out of the mix. Calderon’s presence should only help bolster the front court production of Greg Monroe and rookie Andre Drummond (who has been playing very well this year in controlled minutes), as Jose is great at playing the P&R and picking out his teammates for good looks as they dive to the rim. The trade also slides Brandon Knight over and takes him off the ball full time. Knight is a fine young player, but is more of a combo guard who was placed into the PG spot rather than naturally taking to the role. Playing with and learning from Calderon should only help Knight become more of a playmaker over time and the hope is he can continue his growth and become the third pillar next to the Pistons’ two young bigs.

Pistons Blogs: Check out Piston Powered for great coverage on this team.

Keys to game: One of the reasons I think Dwight will play is because this is a game where his size is needed. The Pistons have a very good front court rotation and with Monroe and Drummond, two young and active bigs that can do damage inside. In a way, Monroe and Drummond are like younger versions of Gasol and Howard. Monroe is a skilled big who can face and post up, score in a variety of ways and is a good passer. Meanwhile, Drummond is an athletic marvel with great size who is mostly raw offensively, but beasts the paint on both ends by dunking a lot and blocking/altering shots.

Having Dwight helps sure up the Lakers’ frontcourt and allows them to better match up with this duo. Dwight also helps contain Calderon in the P&R, something the Lakers know first hand they need to be better about since they were carved up in Toronto just two weeks ago. Dwight’s ability to hedge and recover and be a deterrent at the rim would be a useful trait to have today, to say the least. That said, if Dwight doesn’t play, Pau will have to pick up the slack and I’d hope that we actually see Sacre today, rather than D’Antoni trying to play Jamison at center for even a short stretch. That won’t work against the big boys the Pistons have in their rotation.

Maximizing Kobe will also be a big part of today’s game. If the Pistons start Knight and Calderon, one of that duo will likely need to cover Kobe (likely Knight) and that creates a mismatch that can be exploited in the Lakers’ new offensive attack. Neither of those players can guard Kobe well in the post and that should allow him to either score if single covered or find open teammates when he draws multiple defenders. This will put onus on Ron and Earl Clark to hit jumpers — something that they’ve both struggled with lately — and they’ll also have to pick their spots well on when they should shoot and when they should pull the ball back and look to hit the post with quick entry. Either way, Kobe starting possessions with a smaller man should set up the Lakers’ offense well.

As should Nash working in the P&R. One thing the Lakers should try to do is attack Calderon defensively more. He’s not a good defensive player and he should be forced to navigate screens and chase Nash around for possessions at a time. This would help wear Calderon down and force him to worry about more than simply running the offense — especially since he’s on a new team and will need to put a lot of focus into running new sets.

It would also be good to try to continue to get Pau Gasol going on offense against Greg Monroe. Monroe, for all his promise as a player (and there is immense promise), is still not a very good defensive player and can be taken advantage of on that end of the floor. If Gasol can get some post touches to help create offense for himself and for others, it would go a long way in getting him engaged early and help boost the team’s performance.

Ultimately, this is another game the Lakers need to win if they’re serious about making a strong push this year. Detroit, even though they’re at home, are a beatable team. The Lakers need to string together some wins and can’t have the type of letdown they had against the Suns to start the trip. A win today moves them to 2-1 on their current trip and allows them to continue to build momentum heading into Tuesday’s game against the Nets. And while L.A. can’t afford to look ahead, they need to understand that today’s game is meaningful as part of their continued progression.

Where you can watch: 10:00am start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts Twitter Facebook

148 responses to Preview and Chat: The Detroit Pistons

  1. Kobe Alert: KB is continuing his relentless pursuit of history. Against the Wolves, Kobe moved by Shaq on the Games list for 24th all time; he cruised by Oscar in both Free Throws (3rd) and Free Throw Attempts (6th); he tied Hakeem in all time Field Goals (7th); and he moved clear of Wes Unseld for 66th on the Defensive Rebounds list. What’s next? At tip-off KB will tie Dale Ellis (another one who surprised me by being this far up) for 23rd on the games list; He needs just one FG to break the tie with Hakeem and move into 7th by himself; He needs 26 minutes played to catch Hakeem for 13th (by the way – minutes is not a glamorous category – however it is worth noting that the top 16 players on the list are all HOF or definite future HOF); He needs 13 Defensive Rebounds to equal Antoine Walker for 65th (at Kobe’s current rate this needs to be mentioned). The recent modification to Kobe’s mode of operation has slowed his pursuit of Wilt (624 to go) , but it certainly has accelerated his climb on other lists.

  2. Correction: Pistons are 10th in the East.

    Hard to believe that we are also that low in the West.

    Also Calderon will not be playing today…visa issues.

  3. Per my prior post I will be searching today for “intellect and reason”. Good luck Lakers today. Need ya Pau,

  4. Hola. Here’s to hard work.

    Pistons are an emerging team… that said they aren’t very good on most nights. Hard Work shall get us through. Hard Work shall net us that win.

    Tipoff is 2am Philippines time, approximately 47 minutes from now.

    Go Lakers!

  5. For the record, and from the previous post, all we ask for are filters of “ignore” … if other commenters find it reasonable and intelectually refreshing the comments they make then so be it.

    PS Darius, if you can’t or won’t, just say so. Otherwise, everything else is fair game.

  6. One Piston the Lakers can’t sleep on is Will Bynum. When he plays well, the Pistons are tough.

  7. Even w/o Dwight the Lakers should be able to win this game, but knowing how unpredictable this team is and the hour they playing i just dont know. Nice to see the Lakers moving up on the defensive rankings, very encouraging.

  8. I too, will lower my ranting and will include more intellect and reason, even if the Lakers are getting blown out by 30 points. Never meant to offend any Laker fans on this site. As for now…go Lakers!

  9. @KennyT – good point, he had a nice game in their last win.
    Hope we can dominate the boards and points in the paint,
    & no let-donws on the defensive end today!
    Give `em hell Lakers!

  10. Early start, understood. With that being said, it’s still not a reason why we shouldn’t win this game. The Pistons are a squad that we can’t afford to lose to if we have any aspirations of gaining that 8th or 7th spot out West.

  11. Jamison has been playing really well. Kobe the PG is amazing…creating so many looks for his team. Little bit unsettling to see Ref Bennett Salvatore on the court…he’ll make at least one totally bizarre call this game. Good start for the Show, but their perimeter D needs work.

  12. There it goes again allowing a 9-0 run and giving up the lead.

  13. 2nd unit has to step up. Maybe need to give Sacre some burn vs. the Piston size.

  14. Good sequence by the second unit, great defense on one end great finish on the other side, well done!!

  15. A lot of us bashed Blake in the past me included but since his return he is been a beacon of stability for the second unit, on the other hand Meeks should be fined everytime he put the ball on the floor lol

  16. I too would like to Sacre against the Pistons´ bigs

  17. Ron Artest has become a poor player on both ends.

  18. OMG what an spectacular play by Kobe and Clark

  19. WOW, 0.4 on the clock Kobe to Clark for the slam dunk, nice way to end the first half,

  20. Yes Sir! Now that’s the way to end the half. A din nin nint, din nin nint highlight. SportsCenter top 10 play.

  21. On a side note the Clippers are getting pummeled,AGAIN, good day so far

  22. I love the way Kobe has been playing as of late. It truly shoes off his skill set and is a testament to what hard work(we talking bout practice?) can do.

  23. Nice way to end the half!
    Darius wrote:“…give me the team that gets up big and then has focus issues but still holds on to win (mostly) over the team that gets down big and then rallies late only to fall short.´´
    That´s what seems to be playing itself out so far, so let´s keep it going for the next 24 minutes!!
    Pau & Earl are doing great work –

  24. Every one knows that Pau is a very good offensive player. The problem is that with Dwight out, they suffer defensively. So you need Dwight on the floor as well, especially against decent offensive teams. And then you start to have spacing issues and too many guys who want the ball.

    I think the key for the whole season, will be to develop more sets and a bit of a different approach with both of them on the floor.

    Good movement today, everybody contributing, Nash being a bit more like Nash, and Nash/kobe mix a bit better imho. Only concern is with how well they shot and played on the offensive side, would like them to have a bigger lead now.

  25. I think the sample size is now big enough to officially declare Earl Clark a keeper. Mitch has a real knack for finding diamonds in the rough. Trevor, Shannon, Jordan Hill and now Earl.

  26. neil: Thought I was the only one noticing that. So we can now conclude that Pau plays good in the Olympics, and when his NBA coach realizes how to use him.

  27. Cautiously optimistic about the second half, could be a bigger lead but an 11 half time lead is pretty good, dont let up specially in the opening minutes.

  28. On a side note, Clippers have been terrible without Paul in there, and seemingly, the tremendous shooting and scoring from the bench reverting to the mean.

  29. Robert: I think it helps that Pau is mad at being benched too. Wake up call. He’s a great talent, just needs to remember it more often.

  30. Michael H: Aloha. I would agree that Mitch has found a few. However Trevor (can’t fault him here due to game 7 etc) and Shannon were diamonds that were tossed away like a scene shot on the bow of the Titanic. Hill spent much of the beginning of this year in the “dog house” and Clark was in obscurity until an opposing coach selected him for free throws. So it is not just locating the diamond, but it also must be cut properly as well : )

  31. Other thing about Dantoni/Pau…Pau was clearly a bit compromised early with the injuries…getting him some rest, looks like it has really re-energized his game.

  32. I wish CP signs elsewhere return that team to the oblivion they been their entire history.

  33. Earl Clark was another toss up on the Howard trade no way anybody knew he could be this good, it was a total luck for him that he got the chamce to shine

  34. Kobe with an emphatic fast break slam dunk.

  35. C’mon Lakers dont let go off the gas

  36. NBA teams will make runs throughout a game, no need to worry here –
    Having said that, it seems to me that MD´A is taking timely TOs lately

  37. 5 possessions without a score starting with the 3 second call. minor gut check time here. lets see what the instincts are now…Is it kobe ball?

  38. Here we go again, Jesus man

  39. Same script. Every. Single. Game.

  40. Im astounded at the inability of this team to put teams away when they had them against the ropes. Now we have a war

  41. Keep chucking 3s and forgot what gave them the damn lead to begin with

  42. Here we go again,

    Big lead = check
    Go on a shooting slump = check
    Let the other team back into it = check

    Have we seen this before?

    Seriously need to learn how to kill teams when they’re down, gives the starters a rest if anything.

  43. Sorry, but its a lot less about chucking 3’s and way more about Kobe hero ball. Not only is it low efficiency when he is one on three. that has and will consistently lead to more runs outs.

  44. Jodie “the TO machine” meeks we are losing the lead just watch

  45. Earl Clark was another toss up on the Howard trade no way anybody knew he could be this good ..

    Maybe not this good, but I said on this site, from the time that the deal for Dwight was consummated, that he would be the steal of that trade.

  46. Kobe shot is off and he is back to going iso 2nd half.

    FYI Artest is 20 for 70 last 6 games from field. That is 28%.

    Team must slow the pace this half. Meeks has issues.

  47. Good back2 back 3s IN RYTHIM

  48. Tra: We totally got the better of that trade. We got a guy who plays 80% of the time and we gave them a guy who never plays. Then we got Clark as a bonus.

  49. Kobe Time Incoming!

  50. Another collapse in progress, they blow this game im done with this team.

  51. Unbeliavable

  52. Tie game after another stupid 3 attempt thank God he missed that ft

  53. Im sorry but Pau should be blocking all these Bynum layups

  54. Thats were were missing Dwight but still the ammount of 3 point shooting is what bringing teams back

  55. Nash with the Fisher special 2

  56. Lakers need a Will Bynam type. Kobe is playing bad the last 4 4th quarters. Played to many minutes this year. Clearly.

  57. Kobe killing this team.

  58. I dont know, totally unnnecesary stress at the end of the game, this game should had been over a while ago. Cant keep shooting 3s with a sizable lead if they miss the opossing team will come back. The Lakers are an ok not good 3 point team

  59. “Kobe killing this team”

    Yes – killing the Pistons – you are correct

  60. Re-watch this game and see why this team dearly needs D12 defensively, eyes light up when they see no D12 in the paint. PG’s have a field day with Pau.

  61. Miss both fts can you guys tell where this is going?

  62. My man E-Clark with the Choke Job.

  63. Dodge a major bullet there whew!!!!

  64. Steve Nash missing FTs. I have seen it all! Hope we win this one though! 🙂

  65. this team is torture to watch.

  66. Lakers survive and hang on once again and win by 1 point 98-97. The roller coaster road trip continues.

  67. Battle of 2 10th place teams battling.

    Very, very, very lucky. Lots of Chocking going on here, they deserve to lose.

    What a huge choke Nash. Embarrassing.

    Lucky lucky lucky. Hardly a playoff team out there,

  68. We are on a roll !!! 5 out of 6

  69. nice work, may have just saved the season!

  70. We got lucky, dodged a major one.

    Nearly lost another where we were up by 18 at one point.

  71. Lakers almost choked this game. Steve nash missing free throws? Thebasketball gods must have wanted the pistons to win.

  72. whew!

  73. Ok, so after watching Nash clank 2 “chance to ice the game” ft’s I am convinced this team is just cursed. That is some voodoo right there.

    Another Laker win that inspires less confidence than existed before the game.

  74. Luckiest win of the season and its not even close. Against an 18-29 team again blowing a big lead, this team dont inspire confidence, and again the long ball is killimg this team, i dont know why they keep shooting 3 after 3 after 3 after they stop falling the last 3 games have been the same thing, the love for the 3s keep letting teams back in games that should been blowouts by all rights. This team could had easily been riding a 3 game losing streak. Just dumb luck were are not in a deeper hole. Unbeliavable

  75. What next, the “Hack-a-Nash” defense?

  76. I, for one, will take the W! it´s great to be on the right side of the W/L column
    fyi: Pierce nails a 3 to ice the game & Clippers lose their 2nd straight

  77. I am going to try to say this with intellect and reason. I think this win was a positive win for the Lakers and showed just how great they are. They were up 18, just killing this team, and once again they let a bad team come back. BUT, they still found a way to win. Despite no one making a bucket in the last minute, despite missing all 4 free throws in the last 30 seconds, despite doing everything in their power to ensure they were going to let another pitiful team make a ridiculous come from behind win. Despite all of that, they still found a way to win! That is a sign of a great team geared to make the playoffs.

    Ok in all seriousness, the only intellect I can come up with is, this team is having some serious issues closing teams out, a lot of trouble. I did not see the game, but I would say this team is relying on too many jump shots, which is not a good recipe for success when your team is not a good jump shooting team. Though that is pretty obvious…..hmm….

  78. Great to see the Lakers build big leads, painful to watch the, lose them. But this is all still progress. Getting needed wins. Finding a way to get road wins. Slowly learning how to play together.

    Starters having a hard time getting back in the flow when they come back in the fourth.

  79. Joe the Lakers didnt found a way to win, they did everything in their power to lose this game, it was just dumb luck that they didnt lost.

  80. I really don’t understand why you’d have Nash in the game on the last two Piston possessions. Darius Morris is the team’s best PG defender. With 15 seconds left and a one point lead, why ask Nash to defend the perimeter. Similarly, why wasn’t Kobe guarding Bynum until the last 2 possessions? That’s the one guy who kept Detroit in the game, and our best perimeter defender wasn’t guarding him.

  81. Neil is exactly right about MDA and big leads in Phoenix..But it eventually will be a bit different here where there are more ISO guys in Kobe and Pau to get you an easier bucket or a foul down the stretch.

    This was in no way a major confidence builder for the fans. The bad sign was that Detroit came out with nothing in the second half and the Lakers really had a chance to put the foot down. It all started to unravel with that 3 second call in the third, and the lakers coming up empty on 7 of their next 8 possessions.

    But, you are not going to climb out of the hole they built themselves, with a bunch of easy stress free W’s, not on the road anyway…Just remember the abject despair of where they were after the Memphis game just 11 days ago. That is a major blow to your confidence. and with the record and the expectations, you are going to see a lot of these types of games, with the team playing tight as it has all year. Hopefully, its a bit easier with Dwight back and a bit more of a dominant defensive presence.

    Upsides, overall, there is a bit more cohesion and a better offensive flow, at least early. Looks more like a coherent team, not the mess we have seen. Now they need to keep that going for 48.

    And they won despite no Dwight, Kobe with a pretty poor offensive game and 2 unbelievable clangs by Nash. And the bench while scary had some moments (especially Jamison) and overall a very good game by Pau, Clark and some good stuff from Metta.

  82. I still dont understand why a team with potentially the most devastating frontcourt in the game today and in recent memory insists on being a damn jump shooting team, with the lead we had we should pound that ball inside and let Pau make the read to where the ball should go next. Either take it to the hole make the basket or get fouled or kick it out to the open man not play the other way around. You have Pau Gasol and Dwight freaking Howard on ypur team ypu poind that ball inside every chance you get that opens the rest of the offense This is not a 3 point jumpshooting team damnit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  83. I don’t mind jump shots if they are in the flow of the offense, wide open, etc… It’s annoying when they take those early shots or force the shot. My coach used to make us work the ball inside and see what the offense gives us. I’ll take the win but definitely need to clean up some areas for when we play better teams.

  84. I agree with the idea of pounding it inside more often, though that is an issue when Dwight is on the floor as he is just not that effective in the post and certainly not in comparison to Pau. The thing is you had to install some of the Nash/dantoni offence otherwise you render Nash (and Dantoni) more or less useless. Now that, that is rolling a bit better, I think the key will be to mix in pounding it inside and slowing things down, especially later in the game, when teams tighten up defensively and take away more of the easy buckets Nash is able to generate, earlier in the game.

  85. Great win! Lakers is in the same situation as the new college hoop number one team Indiana. They have a great shooter Hull who cannot defend. After losing a critical game to Butler in the closing minute earlier in the season due to Hull’s weak defense, the fans begged the coach to consider offense-defense substitution for Hull and their coach followed the advice. In yesterday’s classic match with number one team Michigan, Indiana coach did offense-defense substitution for Hull in the last few minutes of the game. As a result, Indiana did not have a weak link in the defense that allows the kind of defense breakdown as Lakers. Wish MD can do the same. A coach has to do whatever it takes to win rather than sticking to a routine substitution habit.

  86. Harvey and nx you guys nailed it, thats exactly what i meant.

  87. When you have a old team with your starters playing too many minutes you can expect to run out of steam in the 4th qusrter. Simple math. You might be shocked to see shooting percentages for Kobe, Metta, Pau and Nash the last 6 games in the 4th quarter.

    Feb 15 had better be youth time for this team. Baltimore by 7!

  88. I’ll take ANY road win right now. Was amazed to see Nash do his best to fill in the gap for Howard at the end there.

  89. The way they play is the same with MB is the head coach last year on the road, Lakers trying to win from the beginning and loosing in the end. Lakers forgot that it’s hard to blow team out on the road, the best strategy is playing close in the first half, and save your energy to knock team out in the second half, it’s the difference between playoff coach and championship coach.

  90. The most atrociously reffed game since Munich 1972. I know Salvatore is a “home team” ref, but come on, man, this game was totally ridiculous. I paused and replayed about 6 times when Detroit took 2 steps and dribbled and no travelling called, or when Lakers players got bumped on shots and no calls.

    And this game cements D’Antoni as the worst coach in the history of any sports. In the 4th with the Lakers up by 4 with 5 minutes left and in the penalty, it’s CRIMINAL not to hack Drummond, the absolute worst free throw shooter in the league. You force Detroit to take him out. I just don’t get D’Antoni. I just absolutely do not get what he’s thinking about in the game. As a coach, you should try every trick to give your team some type of advantage. If fouling Drummond could have given the Lakers a 1-2 point advantage.

    Shows how important that Kobe-Clark lob dunk was.

  91. There was also a stretch in the 2nd period where D’Antoni put MWP on a much larger post player when it was obvious that Clark should have been on him.

  92. IMO, we will truly see where this Lakers team really is and whether or not they make the playoffs after they play Miami at the conclusion of this trip.

  93. Laker 17

    These things seem so obvious to us arm-chair quarterbacks. Just as wearing down older players so they are burned out in the 4th quarter,

    When you have Kobe, Pau, Nash and Metta playing over 36 minutes you can expect losing leads.

    Honestly starting to question Mike D’s understanding of the game. Also questioning why you hire a coach who failed so bad in his last job. Isn’t that like me hiring a salesman who just got fired from one if
    my competitors for non-performance.

    That being said Pau, is so much better then Dwight on offense and Clark is so much better then Pau at PW I wonder how they can go back to Pau on the bench.

    Brooklyn, Boston and Miami are just a bit better then Detroit, Minn
    and the Suns. How has Boston managed to go 4 and 0 without Rondo? Coaching?

  94. That was really a lucky won. Woke up 3am here in the PH and lakers were up 18. I know Pistons will come back. Thats why I didnt get back to sleep right away lol.

    They just need to be mentally tough right now. As long as they win though they keep on blowing the leads. They need to experienced these type of games in order to learn but I hope it will not take longer enough because the schedule is not easy.

  95. Isn’t it interesting that two of the bigger “out of nowhere emerging stars” in recent years, in Lin and now Earl Clark, came out of teams Dantoni was coaching, the last 2 years? Obviously that had nothing to do with him as he is clearly the worst coach in the history of professional sports, and I am told was forced at gun point to insert those players into his rotations. I too am surprised he hasn’t been brought up on criminal charges for fraud or something by now.

    Its simply amazing to me to see people, unable to understand anything even slightly off the beaten track, and not being even able to fathom that great and surprising results can come from unconventional thinking, and that conventional ideas have their own unique set of downsides.

  96. Harvey, you can defend D’Antoni all you want, but they only started winning when they abandoned his system. You can’t argue with results, or lack there of, in D’Antoni’s case. If he were winning championships, or at least getting his teams into the playoffs, then you can make that argument that D’Antoni is some unconventional coaching genius for ‘discovering’ Lin and Clark.

  97. Also, I wasn’t aware that D’Antoni created Clark and Lin. I think you’re giving D’Antoni too much credit for Clark and Lin’s success. He played them because of injuries to other players, not because he had some ingenious idea.

  98. It’s amazing that some still see D’Antoni as some genius coach who has unfairly had his reputation tarnished after he was dealt a bad hand. Often, things are as they seem. He’s just completely clueless. He gets out coached almost every night.

  99. KOOO,

    Rondo was not having a particularly good year, and although I can’t prove it, it is my belief that teams often do well immediately after a big injury. Guys step up. etc. I think a month from now Boston will be missing Rondo.

    Speaking of the Celtics, the Clippers are supposedly trying to get Garnett.

    I was out and missed today’s game. Sounds like the Lakers were a little lucky, but I will take it. That said, I agree with Neil: the Lakers just aren’t a particularly good team, but since the pick is gone, I am pulling for them to get the 8th spot.

  100. Lakers17, I am arguing the intensity of your responses. Go to ESPN and read the number of pretty great analysts who felt Dantoni was the right hire (like Hollinger and Amin Elhassen, to name just two), even above the sacred PJ. There is not really universal criticism of Dantoni coming out of most circles (with the possible exception of the LA press), though I do see a bit of it for sure.

    On top of that just a week ago you predicted they would like 27 games for the whole year, so don’t tell me there is not a fair bit of catastrophic thinking coming from your side.

    I get it though. I think it is quite possible that a more conventional coach would have run a more conventional offence and garnered a few more wins by now. But long term I don’t think that works because then you turn Nash into Derek Fischer= fail. And then have a problem with Dwight who doesn’t have great skills in the post, wanting the ball in the post more. And you don’t experiment with a smaller 4, which has been the key to getting guys like Clark really going, has been pretty good for Metta and is now starting to get Jamison going. And now you are starting to see a least a bit better cohesion from a bench that many viewed as truly awful.

    And you may have noticed that I have actually advocated for some more conventional sets and getting the ball inside particularly at the end of games, and for developing a unit that involves Pau and Dwight and no Kobe or Nash for at least a few mins.

    The point with Dantoni, is that he is actually of the let them play variety. He is not a harsh disciplinarian who coaches more like a college coach (read Avery Johnson, and we all see where he ended up). That has been a big part of his team’s successes as he tends to get a lot more out of unexpected players, by just creating a bit more freedom for his players. But he is not the type who is calling TO’s every 2 mins, (phil didn’t either by the way), and is not huge on situational substitutions. It didn’t work today, but generally keeping Nash in late in games, insures that you have an excellent FT shooter on the floor at all times, for e.g. and is a way of building up the confidence of his players.

    So micro decision making and criticizing him for the small things, is going to be an endless series of frustrations for everybody..bottom line, he had a lot of injuries and no training camp and is starting to get some results now. He does need to pound it inside more, I agree, so lets see what happens as the season progresses and Dwight gets back to health.

  101. ” it is my belief that teams often do well immediately after a big injury”

    Except for the Lakers.

    Although its interesting that Lakers seem to play better with Gasol only versus Howard only.

    Howard’s lack of offensive skill, both in creating his own shots and passing was greatly underestimated. Although Drew had his faults, his post game is faaaar superior to Howard’s.

    I disagree that this team is not a good team. With Kobe at point and everyone healthy, and with D’Antoni getting out of the way, if they can sneak into the playoffs, they can make a run.

  102. The way MWP is playing, I’m wondering if he’s having his plantar faciatis issues again. It may be good to sit him 2-3 games once Howard is back.

  103. The next two games will make or break the season. The two after that, best we can realistically hope for is to go 1-1. So although I’m hoping to go 3-1, I’d almost accept to split the next 4 games.

  104. The Lakers need to win every single game remaining on this road trip to salvage the season, it is what it is. Its not that this team is bad is that this team is being criminally miscoached, is that a word? Anyways this team dont play to its strenghts, like i mentioned earlier we have the most devastating frontline in the league and its not even close, play inside out they have to double Pau or Dwight, if there is nonshot kick it out we know teams have to double our bigs. If we can get both Pau and Dwight at the same page there is no team on this league that can stop the Lakers, Pau is a post player and a great passer he is not a jumpshooter, this team as a whole is not a great jumpshooting team and its just a avg 3 point team, so why in the hell are we playing like that? You pound the ball to either Pau or Dwight run an iso depending who has the mist favorable matchup and let the player make the read. They are going to either get a bucket miss, get fouled or kick it to a open guy, and in the event of a miss we have another 7 footer to box out and hopefully clean up the mess. We are not the Phoenix Suns!!!

  105. Wheres the recap Darius?

  106. Harvey

    Your kidding right? Clark never got off the bench for 30 games in spite of several players saying he was one of the better players in practice. He was on the trading block until Hill went down. This is the same guy who started Morris one day and then gets zero run. Same guy who keep Jamison on the bench for 6 games and now is best bench player. Same guy who has an old team yet is running a 8 man

    Perhaps you should rethink that thought or go back to Knicks blogs
    last year. I did and it’s scary how similar it is to now.

  107. Fern,
    I have a family and a life beyond this blog. If there’s a recap, it will be up later.

  108. Darius – Kick back with your family. You already go above & beyond for us at FB&G.

    Plus if we want to, we can go back & read the recap for the NO or TWolves games…

  109. “Plus if we want to, we can go back & read the recap for the NO or TWolves games”…

    LOL, so true.

  110. MD: I have not commented in this area too much of late. My views with regard to MD are well known and have been negative since the beginning. With regard to evaluating his performance, of course it is very subjective, however I do not think he is helping us as our head coach (please put the words “in my opinion” in front of everything, since some are so sensitive on this topic). MD does not have a good bench presence and he does not instill confidence in the team around him. This can’t be shown with stats, but does anyone disagree here? He also does not seem to have any talent at “working the refs”. Anyone think he does? His in game adjustments are almost non-existent as evidenced by the leads that vanish (yea – yea – I know we are old). He has not created any chemistry between the players. He has not benefited any single player. Let’s review: Pau was benched, demoralized, and poorly utilized. AJ was exiled for the majority of the year. Hill was in the dog house for period before he was hurt. Clark was unknown and buried before a series of flukes discovered him. Metta is at his inconsistent and uncontrollable peak. Dwight – Well does this need explanation? Nash has fallen off considerably, and I believe Harvey informs us that he has not lost a step, so if that is true, then the system has some how done in the one guy it was supposed to benefit. So this leaves Kobe as the only one who is thriving and he thrives anywhere. Now yes – my post is opinion, however, I am not screaming at MD during game threads as many are doing, I am simply stating a case. A negative case is no more/less rational than a positive case. Saying that “Phil could not have done better”, or “there were injuries”, or many people thought it was an OK selection, are just opinions as well. Further, saying that we “already spent the money” on MD is not a good reason for him to be coach either. To close on a humorous note, I will volunteer to coach the Lakers for free. This takes the cost out of the equation. Further, I guarantee you that Kobe will be happy in my system : ) So that is my case to be coach. I would like someone to make a more compelling one for MD (and yes – I want him to finish the year out – but that is all).

  111. Now that the Lakers stopped playing D’Antoni’s system, he’s hurting the team the only way he knows how, by poor substitution patterns. To play this new system, ‘Kobe System’ with Kobe as the point, if Kobe isn’t in the game, you need to at least have Pau in the game so that he can direct traffic on offense from the post and distribute. Yet as soon as Kobe, Nash, and Gasol are out, the Lakers turn back into a run and gun D’Antoni style team. For very rare stretches in the season, they hit all their 3 pointers and that system seems to work, but 90% of the time, it doesn’t work, at it changes the entire flow of the game. I almost think the players should plan their own rotations. D’Antoni should just sit there and do nothing, or prepare his usual sarcastic and disparaging remarks about Gasol. I don’t know how Gasol can take that kind of abuse. I can’t wait until 1 1/2 years from now when D’Antoni is fired. Does it take a genius to intentionally foul Drummond? Other teams have done that against Detroit, and it works. Does D’Antoni watch film? Other teams have done that against Howard, and it’s worked. At the very least, it would have disrupted what Detroit was doing and takes the ball out of Will Bynum’s hands. Lawrence Frank isn’t a genius either, but at least he knew enough to try a zone defense, which worked. He probably saw the Wolves game and how well the zone worked. Geez. Is that asking too much out of a coach? How much of this kind of incompetence am I supposed to take as a fan?

  112. Robert,

    I agree with your ‘opinions’ 100% as those are my opinions as well. I’ve watched 95% of all Lakers games in the last 33 years, and the only other coach that even comes close to showing the ineptitude that D’Antoni shows was Rambis. Rambis actually did a reasonable job with the Wolves, they were just a horrendous team, so it shows that he’s learned over the years. There are probably worse coaches in league, since I don’t watch every game, but he’s by far the worst I’ve seen.

  113. Robert very good post. In my opinion. I will 2nd your job as coach as long as I can be your ass’t. My job will be to:
    1-Yell really loud at refs.
    2-Tie Metta’s right hand to his forehead so he can’t shoot but can still play D with his left.
    3-Send Meeks to get lunch during games across the street so he can’t launch shots.
    4- Convince Dwight he is now a power forward on offense and Pau is
    center and he is the center on defense.
    5-Show Jim/Mitch video’s of Bynam from today’s game and explain having 2 PGs in Steve/Steve of the same slow speed makes no sense.
    6-Make sure cheerleaders are in shape and supply adult beverages for all.

    Do I get the job?

  114. Another way that D’Antoni’s system hurts the Lakers is that in hurrying to try to run to get on offense, I’ve seen the Lakers on multiple occasions run by the ball instead of rebounding it, or expect others to rebound, so that they can run for a fast break. I’ve seen Kobe and Meeks do this time after time. Instead, the other team gets the offensive rebound. The 50-50 balls. Not only that, the Lakers are horrible at finishing fast breaks. However, with Kobe, Nash, and Gasol in, their half court offense is almost impossible to stop for most teams. Does D’Antoni even watch films of even the Lakers games? I’d like Simers to go up to him and ask him that.

  115. The posts bashing D’Antoni for not discovering Earl Clark earlier are a good example of why it is not a good idea to work off narratives and to work backwards from a conclusion, and also a good example of why things are in gray areas. Here are Earl Clark’s per game stats for 2011 and 2012:


    So, Stan Van Gundy, whom I presume KOOO, Robert and Lakers17 do not think is an idiot, basically saw Clark as a 10 MPG guy. Clark also played in only 45 of ORL’s 66 games last year. In the 2011 playoffs, Clark played 6 minutes total. Last year, with Howard out, he got 88 minutes, total, about 17 a game, in their first-round loss. So, if Clark is really a difference-maker, Van Gundy either missed the boat on him or knew it but failed to get that kind of performance out of him. EC’s numbers are far better now than they have been at any time in his career. But rather than giving D’Antoni credit for this, or even just ignoring it,or noting that Brown wasn’t playing Clark either, the anti-MDA guys use it to buttress the “D’Antoni is an idiot” argument. This is, of course, exactly the same thing that the Haters do with #24 and for the same reason: they have made up their minds.

    The reasonable criticism of D’Antoni WRT Clark, OTOH, would be that the Lakers really need energy and athleticism, so Clark should have been a 10 MPG guy from the beginning, rather than a DNPCD guy, and I think that is a very reasonable criticism. As I have said since prior to training camp, and Darius’ Nash post the other day was along the same lines, I think the best way to run this team is a 10-man rotation with a Nash/Howard team and a Kobe/Pau team. Clark should certainly have had a role in that plan.

    The other thing to remember about Clark is that he may regress with more exposure. He may not, as well, of course, since playing with the 4 on a team with Pau is a pretty good role for Clark, and he may have simply worked on his shot and improved it. But the jury is very much out on him.

    As to the big picture, I think what the Lakers are doing now is just what teams in the middle of the pack mostly do: go up and down. If you look at the other teams on the edges of the playoff picture–Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Portland, and Utah–you see the same kind of thing. Boston and Milwaukee have both beaten Miami, just like the Lakers beat OKC. But teams like this can also lose to anybody, lose home games, blow leads, etc, and they all have. The Lakers’ overall numbers indicate that they are about a .500 team or a little better, so that is probably where they will end up.

    And, of course, we have a few people who have decided that the main cause of that, by far, is Mike D’Antoni’s incompetence, and that the Lakers would be a far better team than that with a different coach. That may be, and there are many things that D’Antoni does that I disagree with. But when in doubt, I tend to look for gray areas, rather than scapegoats.

  116. Sorry Darius didnt mean it like that, im sorry

  117. Fern,

    Good show apologizing–shows thoughtfulness.

    When KOOO and Robert buy the Lakers, they can sign Darius to a six-year deal as the team’s official blogger, with a “no editorial control” policy and also hire me for 20K a year and put me in the stat guy broom closet.

  118. In regards to D’Antoni and Earl Clark, it reminded me of how Jordan Hill only got to play last season because of injuries and then as soon as he got in, he played better than anyone expected. I thought at the time, What was he doing in practice that made Mike Brown think he couldn’t play in games? Now, EC gets put in and he’s playing great. But he’s only in because Jordan Hill is out. Why did D’Antoni think he couldn’t play? Why when people were talking about D’Antoni needing a forward who could shoot 3’s was EC on the bench? Do he and Jordan Hill only play well during games?

  119. Why when people were talking about D’Antoni needing a forward who could shoot 3?s was EC on the bench?

    Clark has never really tried many 3s at any time in his career–a few in PHX as a rookie, and now. I suppose that he may have been hitting them in practice. Also, his career high in overall FG% prior to this year was .441; he has been seen as a guy who can’t shoot well enough to play much.

  120. I just watched the late broadcast of the game. We were lucky to get the W, as far as I can see, but the Lakers did get it, and that is all that matters, right? I grabbed Clark for my Fantasy team recently, and he has been doing just fine, as far as I am concerned.

  121. “2-Tie Metta’s right hand to his forehead so he can’t shoot but can still play D with his left.
    3-Send Meeks to get lunch during games across the street so he can’t launch shots.”

    Best intellect and reason I have read so far this whole thread Ken. LOL!

  122. Add: Clark actually played OK, statistically at least, in that series last year. But he was still not getting serious PT from SVG.

  123. Dwight, Pau, and Earl are very similar to Andrew, Pau, and Lamar – the bigs of the las two Lakers championships. The Lakers should play them similarly. Earl should come off the bench when either Dwight or Pau takes a breather. So long as Kobe is the primary point guard, this rotation works.

    Of course the idiot D’Antoni doesn’t know how to use big men.

  124. rr

    If Mike and Mike were worth $4 million a year you are worth far more than $20, thou.

    As for Mike D I offer an old book I once read called “The Peter Principle”, basically explained that people tend to rise in business until they reach a point that is behind their ability. Then they get fired. I feel Mike is a ok coach who never really progressed to learn new things and how to adjust. Another words he is over his head in New York
    and LA where the fans and media are more demanding and knowledgeable then Phoenix. Lakers best chance is for Nash and Kobe to take control..

    Or for the FO to hire Robert and I. Free tacos every night!

  125. Honestly starting to question Mike D’s understanding of the game. Also questioning why you hire a coach who failed so bad in his last job. Isn’t that like me hiring a salesman who just got fired from one if
    my competitors for non-performance.


    Mike Brown succeeded immensely on his last job but he failed terribly on this one.

    Phil Jackson got mopped off the floor by Dallas in 2011 2nd round too so I’m sure he’s the unfaultable choice regardless.

    Comments be comments, but lets make facts be facts as well. Lets get some consistency people.

  126. Earl Clark has emerged in a way that there was a need, his number was called, he produced.

    Linsanity was the same.

    Necessity is the father of invention. Accidents, are its mother. In the case of Jeremy Lin and Earl Clark, Mike D’Antoni happens to be their gay fosterparents. (My attempt to mock MDA).

    However, when our hearts refuse to give credit where credit is due, we just call it “luck” on how MDA discovered these gems.

  127. I just realized we won this game on a 0.4 seconds dunk by the Duke! In the same way we lost by 1 to San Antonio, I say this game is justice.

  128. 1. Letting teams to get back in the game is our old habit, back from our championship years. I don’t know how it is transmitted, maybe through Kobe, maybe through LA lifestyle or something.
    2. I give credit to Jamison for playing center quite well on offense and defense, but we need someone bigger to be our 3rd center as Howard insurance. MDA has no faith in Sacre it seems, who doesn’t get playing time even with Howard and Hill out.
    3. Let’s take it game by game, the next one is in Brooklyn…

  129. The 2014 Free Agent Class
    (honest to goodness unrestricted free agents) list
    Aaron Brooks
    Aaron Gray
    Andre Iguodala
    Andrei Kirilenko
    Andrew Bogut
    Andris Biedrins
    Ben Gordon
    Boris Diaw
    Brandon Roy
    Brandon Rush
    Carl Landry
    Carlos Delfino
    Caron Butler
    Charlie Villanueva
    Chris Bosh
    Chris Duhon
    CJ Miles
    Danny Granger
    Dante Cunningham
    Darrell Arthur
    Dirk Nowitzki
    Dwyane Wade
    Emeka Okafor
    Francisco Garcia
    Greg Stiesma
    Gustavo Ayon
    Hakim Warrick
    Hasheem Thabeet
    Hedo Turkoglu
    Isiah Thomas
    Jameer Nelson*
    Jason Smith
    Jerryd Bayless
    JR Smith
    Kobe Bryant
    Kris Humphries
    Kwame Brown
    Kyle Lowry
    Lavoy Allen
    Lebron James
    Linas Kleiza
    Luke Ridnour
    Marcin Gortat
    Mario Chalmers
    Marreese Speights
    Marvin Williams
    Matt Bonner
    Monta Ellis
    Nando De Colo
    Pau Gasol
    Paul Pierce
    Quentin Richardson
    Ramon Sessions
    Richard Jefferson
    Rodney Stuckey
    Shane Battier
    Shannon Brown
    Shawn Marion
    Spencer Hawes
    Steve Blake
    Thabo Sefolosha
    Trevor Ariza
    Tyler Honeycutt
    Vince Carter

  130. The 2014 Free Agent Class
    (restricted free agents) list

    Al Farouq Aminu
    Avery Bradley
    Cole Aldrich
    Craig Brackins
    Damion James
    Daniel Orton
    DeMarcus Cousins
    Derrick Favors
    Dominique Jones
    Ed Davis
    Ekpe Udoh
    Elliott Williams
    Eric Bledsoe
    Evan Turner
    Gordon Hayward
    Greg Monroe
    Greivis Vasquez
    James Anderson
    John Wall
    Jordan Crawford
    Kevin Seraphin
    Larry Sanders
    Lazar Hayward
    Luke Babbitt
    Patrick Patterson
    Paul George
    Quincy Pondexter
    Trevor Booker
    Wesley Johnson
    Xavier Henry

  131. this is a good recap –

    I like the way he shows the pistons come back in the 4th as well as just laker hi lights

  132. I don’t think we forget to appreciate that the Lakers are finding ways to win. They are still playing banged up and without 2 of their best 3 bigmen. There is another energy defensively and on the insane turnovers are gone.

    I would like to see some spotminutes for Darius Moris, just for change of pace and to keep developing a potential PG-defender for down the road.

  133. Rather than fixate on the blown lead, I will take solace in the fact that the Lakers were able to hold on for a much needed road win. Am encouraged with what I’m seeing from Clark and Jamison, both of whom are being aggressive on both ends of the court. Pau has opened my eyes with his recent play. Frankly, I didn’t think he had it in him. Steve Nash seems to be playing more like his old self as he rounds into better shape and becomes more accustomed to his teammates.

    I’m a bit concerned about Kobe. I think he is sacrificing too much of his offense. When he doesn’t establish an offensive rhythm for himself, it’s hard for him to summon up Mamba-mode when it is needed. He’s been missing a lot of his pet shots lately. It’s hard for him to be in two places at once. But, I have no doubt that his sacrificing some shots has resulted in a much better team dynamic.

    Now, Dwight needs to join the party if his health allows. If he can spearhead the defense and continue to lead the league in rebounding, the Lakers will continue to make progress and become the type of team we’ve all been waiting for.

  134. Warren

    I am sure if I said the sky was blue you would find a way to argue it. Making it to the playoffs, although not the ultimate goal, is not a object failure. If the Lakers make it then Mike D was not a failure, just underperformed. As I said before I think he is limited when it comes to adjustments during games.

    Much is tongue in cheek.

  135. rr: Always interested and appreciate your views and responses. A couple of corrections: In no way shape or form does my post blame everything on MD. You often attribute this to me, but I will state again – it is not all his fault. That is not a reason to have him as coach. Further, you made some good points about Earl Clark. So my second modest correction: I do not think Earl Clark is the second coming, and I don’t think you do either. That said, no, I do not think MD should be blamed for having a superstar on his bench and not playing him. However, I do not think it “helped” EC to be on MD’s team and a different coach might have played him the 10-15 to which you refer. Reasonable? Further, that is just EC. Should we discuss Pau and whether he is better off under MD? How bout DH? Etc. You have taken one player and basically said that MD wasn’t so bad for him. OK – but who has been clearly good for? And – to your credit – you have also questioned MD – so I think your only issue is that it is not all his fault (and no it isn’t). We both picture the causes of the Laker woes as a pie chart. Where we differ is that you (correct me if I am wrong) picture the pie as being a large number of relatively equal sized pieces. I picture the same number of pieces (that is why it is far from being all his fault), but there is one piece that is significantly bigger than the others : )
    WWL: As many have (so I am not picking on you), you mentioned Phil in your response. Some of us did want him, but let’s forget him for now. I want positive things and reasons for MD to be our coach. Saying Phil would not do any better is not saying anything good about MD. True? If you are saying that we are so bad that nobody can coach us, then that makes sense, but I don’t agree. And it also kinda gives the incumbent coach a free ride – true?
    Kooo: You are hired. I especially like 1, 4, + 6 : ) rr: Do not give yourself a demotion. You are the GM (I tried to get you to coach, but much like Jerry West – you are too smart for that now).
    Robert’s case is Getting Stronger: I will work for free; Kobe will be extremely happy, many feel that Phil could not have done anything substantial with this team, I am not related by relationship/blood to any Buss’, I did not fail at my last NBA coaching job, so I do not bring that baggage. I speak pretty good Spanish, so Pau and I could converse in the open about his playing time, without most others understanding. I do not speak Italian, but I could easily learn how to say the word Defense in Italian, so I could shout it at Kobe. The only other case I have heard in favor of MD is that he has Jim’s endorsement. I would say that by definition, that is a reason that he IS coach, not necessarily a reason that he should be – that is not a Jim bash – it is just a logical fact : )
    New Pledge: I pledged a while back to significantly reduce my posts on this topic, and I have honored that. I will now pledge that I will not post anything more about MD until the Lakers are eliminated (or win the championship – I still have some hope).

  136. darius: !!##XYZ!!!F (another game recap) but this time lakers win.

    let’s move on to brooklyn’s nets.

    Go Lakers

  137. the lakers will lose only 8 more games this year

  138. rr, I agree with most of what you are saying, although I do thing SVG is not the sharpest of the VG brothers.

    I like Clark, but lets not give him a Luke Walton type contract. He may regress like you said.

    Lakers, after seeing Blake get a triple double against the Lakers in the last game of the season ended up saddled with a bad contract.

    I honestly want to like D’Antoni, but his philosophy and approach to the game irritates the crap out of me. How come you know enough to think to have a 2 team approach, which would leave 2 stars on the floor at all times and also may prevent the fourth period collapse since that may preserve some of the tired legs, yet D’Antoni can’t see that?

    PJ had his faults too, definitely. But his system worked for these guys, for the most part.

    Anyway, I guess D’Antoni is the coach, he’s not going anywhere, so we have to live with him.

  139. You often attribute this to me, but I will state again – it is not all his fault.

    I actually didn’t say that this time–I simply said that you, KOOO, and Lakers17 appear to believe that MDA is the “main cause, by far”–but specifically not the only one. And I think “main cause, by far” is accurate. If you don’t, please feel free to correct me.

    You often say that you like to focus at the top, so we will. Basically, this team was based on the premise that Nash, Gasol, Bryant, and Howard would

    a) Stay on the floor 65-80 games apiece.
    b) Play at their recent historical levels.

    And, given that three of them are 32, 34, and 39, the other one was coming off major back surgery, and that two of them play the same position, there was definite reason to believe that might not be able to do that. Add that to the fact that the other starter is 33, the bench is weak, and two of the top subs are 32 and 36, there were obvious red flags visible with this team before the season started,

    Did I expect them to be 22-26? No, of course not. Do I think D’Antoni is doing a great job? No. I have offered several specific criticisms of him. But, what I see from a few people is a constant hammering on D’Antoni, while ignoring the numerous other factors that have contributed to the team’s struggles.

  140. Pau notable games at center

    DAL: 8-19 fg 23 pts 13 reb 6 ast 3 blk

    TOR: 10-15 fg 25 pts 5 reb 2 ast 1 blk

    MIN: 8-15 fg 22 pts 12 reb 2 ast 3 blk

    DET: 10-18 fg 23 pts 10 reb 3 ast

    Albeit this isn’t against playoff teams or stout bigs but not every player can do this. Pau’s defense is still weak but this is what he can do at center. We won’t come close to seeing these stat lines with him playing backup pf/c. Teams may take notice and see he can still have these games, his trade value has gone up the past few games now he’s playing center, or Lakers will keep him because he can do these things. But it won’t ever happen if he’s not playing center. And he needs a menace at pf for Lakers to have any kind of chance on defense. It’ll be a serious dilemma whether or not to trade Pau. I can either viewpoint.

  141. The Duke of Earl, deserves a decent contract from the Lakers (if not them, from some one else). He was thrust into the fray of a tumultuous season with the Lakers and has been very, very consistent. Clark has filled five core areas that the Lakers lack: athleticism, rebounds, points, defense, and a Swiss army knife. No, he is not perfect in any of these areas. However, he has shown enough of a sample size that the Lakers can use to determine his viability going forward. Just have to hope that he is not one of those players that plays well in their contract year, and disappears after getting locked in for years.

    A win, is a win, is a win! Next.

    Older teams have a tendency to come out strong in the first half, but eventually their legs falter. Which causes them to miss shots, rebounds, free-throws and defensive assignments. The Lakers are going to have to add one or two other players into the rotation to mitigate this effect.

  142. Just to follow up on IT’s very good summary of the view on this team, I would view this through a slightly different lens. The team is clearly top heavy, with 4 “superstars” and a supporting cast behind them that was clearly quite limited including some players that played serious minutes due to injury that may not be even worthy of playing in the NBA (e.g. Duhon, Morriss, plus add Ebanks as another who didn’t play much but may not be worthy of playing in the NBA), one guy that while having some potential is pretty fringe (meeks) and another guy that is pretty old and inconsistent, but definitely has contributed a bit more recently (Jamison).

    But as for the “superstars” these are all guys, like most, who succeeded with a very particular crew around them. As a big Nash fan, I was very cognizant of the fact that in his latter years, while there was a lot of trade speculation, his success at his advanced age may have been severely stoked by the fact that he was playing for a team designed to highlight his strengths and cover his downsides, and that he was unlikely to find a contender that would be able to showcase his skills as well as the suns did. While not being the exact same thing, I think we are seeing something similar for DH, who is also struggling under a major injury recovery and a new very annoying one. And while Kobe and Pau are still on a team which is optically somewhat similar to a team that won 2 chips, they are 1) both 3 years older and, in particularly Pau’s case suffering a bit from that and 2) they also had a very particular supporting cast, of which it is now abundantly clear really needed Odom (or an Odom type) as a third wheel (perhaps not the MVP of the group, but a very key piece of the fabric). So all of those big 4 needed a very specific supporting cast, and in all cases it is not clear that from the point of view of any one of them, the other 3 provided that exact cast.

    As a result, my point would be that the only way this team reaches the promise land is with either, but possibly both a) a very suture like remake of the roster, that builds on the strengths without sacrificing anything of significance and b) brilliant chemistry and a complex offence designed to be flexible enough to compliment all of these disparate needs. In that context, I find it very hard to say, that Dantoni is by far the biggest problem.

  143. Rusty Shackleford February 4, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I couldn’t believe D’Antoni left Nash out there to defend the last posession. Its the last posession and you are up by 1 point. Best defensive personel needs to be on the floor.

  144. Hou next 10 games: GS, @MIA, POR, @SAC, @GS, @LAC, OKC, @BKL, @ WAS, MIL

    freefalling Portland’s next 10: @ Min, @ Dal, @ Hou, @Orl, @Mia, @NO, Phx, @Lakers, Bos, Den

    LA next 10 games: @BKL, @BOS, @CHA, @ MIA, Phx, Clips, Bos, Port, @DAL, @ DEN (B2B)

    I can’t make any sense of this Lakers team, but I still think we have a reasonable chance to be right in the midst of the playoff hunt by the end of this month and perhaps already in the 8th spot.

  145. The comments about Clark “regressing” would be more accurate if there was anything to regress to. He has never played the minutes he is getting now so this is his norm as a rotation player. As long as teams keep giving him open looks, I expect that he will continue to knock them down.

  146. everybody needs to still keep an eye on Utah. Hollinger’s analysis has them as the way easier team to catch…big problem is they have already won the series between the teams 2-1.

  147. Kevin,

    Good post. My personal opinion at this point is that the Lakers need to keep Pau until they know what is up with D12–is he staying, can he play etc. If he walks, then I would say keep Pau, put him at the 5, play out 2014, and then hit reset when Kobe, Pau, Metta and Blake are off the books.

    If Howard stays and looks like he can play, then I would explore moving Pau.

    Short-term, I would simply minimize Howard’s and Pau’s floor time together, as I have said ad nauseum and explain that they may not be finishing games clsoe games together. They won’t like it, but it is what it is

  148. He has never played the minutes he is getting now so this is his norm as a rotation player

    I hope so, but we simply don’t know yet. His EFG and TS are far above what he has done before, and that is why he is doing well. It may be that playing this role with this team, he can keep it up, but we need to see more of it. The sample size right now is too small to say “This is Earl Clark.”

    Harvey M-

    Nice post. Pau is basically a 5, but to maximize him, you need a certain type of 4 with him:

    good D
    can hit boards
    plays away from hoop on O

    Guys like that are hard to find, but the Lakers had a good one–Odom. Clark is not nor will he ever be Lamar, but he provides some of the same things–length, mobility, not a post-up guy. So I am not surprised that Pau has done well playing two games at the 5 with Clark at the 4.