Preview and Chat: The Boston Celtics

Darius Soriano —  February 7, 2013

Records: Lakers 23-26 (10th in the West), Celtics 25-23 (8th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.3 (8th in the NBA), Celtics 100.2 (T 20th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.8 (16th in the NBA), Celtics 99.9 (T 6th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Celtics: Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett
Injuries: Lakers: Pau Gasol (out), Jordan Hill (out for the season), Dwight Howard (game time decision); Celtics: Rajon Rondo (out for the season), Jared Sullinger (out for the season)

The Lakers Coming in: There can’t be a Lakers’ season without some element of drama, so, in that respect, this season is just like any other. Despite the Lakers winning six of seven and three straight on the road, all the talk coming out of Boston today is whether or not Dwight Howard will play and whether he should play. The media is pitting this question as a battle between Kobe and Dwight and, to a certain extent, there’s some truth in that. I’ve no doubt that Kobe — just like the rest of his teammates and the coaching staff — would prefer Dwight play. There’s an element of “this is what we need, this is what should happen” to this story and, based off the personalities involved, there’s going to be a certain amount of nudging.

However, I also think Dwight’s perspective of *this is his career and only he knows the amount of pain he’s in* has a lot of merit. Ultimately, as I’ve said, it’s Dwight’s call whether or not he plays. This is undeniable and shouldn’t be glossed over as if there’s something wrong with that. There will pressure for him to get on the floor — from his team, from the fans, and probably even from himself — but he must decide what’s best for him. As frustrating as that may be, we’re all better off accepting that.

Of course, one of the reasons the pressure is increasing is the fact that Pau Gasol will be out for an extended period of time with his torn plantar fascia. We’ve gone over this already so we won’t get into how this hurts the Lakers again. But it bears repeating that there’s really no replacing Pau. The best the Lakers can hope for is that Dwight comes back soon and that the other players on the roster (namely Ron, Earl Clark, and Jamison) step up enough to mitigate the loss the best they can.

The Celtics Coming in: Like the Lakers, the Celtics are also dealing with their own injury issues but still finding ways to win games. Five games ago, Rajon Rondo tore his ACL and, with that injury, will miss the rest of the season. It was also recently announced that rookie Jared Sullinger will require back surgery that will also sideline him for the rest of the season. In the face of these injuries, however, the Celtics have won 5 straight games and have climbed back into the playoff race in the East.

For perspective on the Celtics and what they’re doing well recently without Rondo, I turn to Zach Lowe of Grantland:

But while the results of a four-game blip might not matter, the process behind them does, because it tells us how Boston expects to survive offensively without its point guard — and that in turn allows us to make some guesses over whether it will manage to do so.

In a broad sense, Boston is doing two things without Rondo:

• Relying on some tried-and-true sets, mostly involving Pierce and Garnett.

• Constructing an egalitarian, side-to-side offense that involves multiple pick-and-rolls on the same possession, empowers secondary ball-handlers to drive-and-kick, and tries to leverage the elite midrange shooting of Boston’s two healthy core bigs, Garnett and Brandon Bass.

Essentially, the Celtics have been finding ways to be effective on offense even without their all-star point guard while still playing top flight defense. Whether they can continue to play this way as the competition gets stiffer remains to be seen. But the Celtics shouldn’t be counted out yet, just as the Lakers shouldn’t.

Celtics Blogs: Check out Celtics Hub and the very OG Celtics Blog for good info on the enemy in green.

Keys to game: Make no mistake, this is a rivalry game. As Kobe told Jackie MacMullan, these games still matter regardless of the struggles each team is currently facing. Plus, as mentioned above, both teams are actually playing well of late, so there’s the sense that even though both teams are short handed, this game will still have a quality and edge to it.

At this point, I have to assume that Howard will not play. If he does, this changes the match ups dramatically, but with nothing clear coming from him after the shootaround (besides his frustration with his injury and all that comes with it) we need to move on and act as if he won’t be available.

This means the Lakers will need to match up with the Celtics’ small lineups on both ends of the floor. With KG playing Center, the odds are that he’ll either be defended by Earl Clark or Ron (my guess would be Ron while Clark chases Pierce around the perimeter if recent trends hold). KG has become almost exclusively a jump shooter at this point in his career, mostly operating out of the P&R by popping out to the wing to get open looks. The Lakers will need to be aware of KG slipping into open space and be ready to rotate to him when he breaks free after the C’s run this action. Rotations will need to be quick and sharp.

The Lakers will also need to be aware of the C’s ball movement from side to side and try to limit their effectiveness by keeping the ball on one side of the floor. As Lowe intimated in the linked to piece above, the C’s love to run P&R’s on one side of the floor and then pressure the middle of the floor so they can swing the ball to other side and attack a recovering defense. If the Lakers can effectively turn back this action to the sideline and not surrender the middle, they’ll be in much better position to defend the C’s offense.

On the other side of the floor, the Lakers must be as precise as they’ve been all season in how they run their offense. The Celtics start a small-ish back court and that should allow Kobe to work out of his favored spot on the right mid-post. With Kobe working against Bradley, he should be able to back down to find good angles where he can either attack for his own shot or threaten the defense in a way that forces help and opens up the rest of the floor.

When Kobe does pass, his teammates must be ready to act quickly upon receiving the ball. One false step or any hesitation in how they attack the defense will allow a sharp Celtic defense to recover back to the ball. This will only extend the possession and put pressure on the Lakers to create a good shot as the shot clock winds down. Each Laker must be prepared to shoot the open shot or act quickly in moving the ball (either via the pass or off the dribble) to create a good shot for themselves or another teammate.

This is where Nash will be very important. He’ll be matched up against a very good defender in Courtney Lee and will not have many advantages offensively. However, against a very help conscious defense, Nash will have opportunities to attack against defenders that are running out to him and he must take advantage of these chances to create makable shots in the mid-range and at the rim. Remember, the C’s don’t have a lot of rim protection besides KG and they can be taken advantage of when the ball is moved quickly into the creases of the defense. Shots in the paint won’t be easy to come by due to the C’s ability to close down the lane, but once the D is penetrated those shots will be high percentage ones. Acting smartly and with purpose should yield such attempts.

Neither team is operating at 100% and that should mean a knock down, drag out affair where a key play here or there will likely determine who makes a run or who wins the game outright. The Lakers need to seize those chances in a hostile environment against a team who, just by the name on the front of their jersey, are the natural enemy. A win tonight would go a long way in keeping the Lakers’ spirits up — especially in the face of the drama that’s circling. And with a game tomorrow night, a win would also give them that extra boost of energy they’ll need for the back to back.

UPDATE: Andrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has reported that Dwight Howard plans to play tonight. Obviously this affects the game plan, if he does suit up. Having Dwight roaming the middle means the Lakers can play more traditional lineups and adds a great presence in the paint on both ends of the floor. Having Dwight means the Lakers can run more P&R with Nash/Kobe and Dwight. It also means the Lakers may be able to get the Celtics into foul trouble and test their big man depth. Defensively, Dwight can help stifle the C’s P&R attack and, hopefully, aid in the team’s ability to keep the ball on one side of the floor while also helping in the middle should the C’s break containment and get into the paint. Even if Dwight’s not at his best physically, his presence alone would be huge.

Where you can watch: 5:00pm start time on TNT. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Extra: Just to get you in the mood…

Darius Soriano

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128 responses to Preview and Chat: The Boston Celtics

  1. darius: what mr. slim and none should do is come off the bench until he can make up his mind as well as laker following. i’m talking about dwight howard. chop liver needs to make some wide open jumpers and steve nash has to continue to be the steve nash we’ve all dreaded but now love now that he’s in a laker uniform. just got to grow that hair out further so you will be more recognizable and closely resemble the nash of old; i mean young. we expect more of the same from the duke, jamison and of course the mamba. what would be nice and yet unexpected, meeks could be the good streaky self; blake could show us a little something and who knows, someone else can surprise us.

    hoping this will be the case tonite versus them celtics from boston, ma

    Go Lakers

  2. Hello Dwight,

    If you don’t want to learn how to shoot free throws from Nash, and don’t want to learn how to play through pain and injuries like Kobe, then you don’t belong here. Remember how you lost championship games to Kobe and the Lakers back in 2009! You are here to learn from these all time greats. Man up and play like you want to win now. You wanted to be in the center stage of a big market right? This is it. Kobe is telling you Lakers can’t win without you. This is your chance to define your place in the organization. Kobe is not a doctor, but he is a winner. Learn how to win!

  3. In the video, gotta love the lone Laker fan jumping up and down when Gasol is helping Fish up. The type of fan you hate to have in your home arena.

  4. I like others cant see Dwight wanting to stay after this year, if he cant take the heat now. LA is a hard city to play in with expectations at its highest. No matter what DH does on the court he will be criticized, its part of the job in Hollywood. Im just glad the FO was able to see what this guy is all about before they dropped serious coin on him and tagged him as the next. It is become more and more obvious by the day that this town’s bright lights and high expectations are going to make this dude melt into a puddle of wax. Howard has been in the league fo 9 years, had his own team, has maybe 4 or 5 good years left and his sense of urgency is that of a rookie. Get your paycheck D12, hopefully it will be somewhere else next year.

  5. Kobe Alert: Against the Nets, Kobe played in his 1210th game and broke a tie with Dale Ellis for 23rd all time. It’s not about games with KB however it is all about “W’s”. Since 1986 only 5 guys have participated in more winning games (playoff or reg), than KB (1 Laker, 1 Bull, 1 Spur, 2 Jazz). Tonight, Kobes needs 3 Defensive Rebs to catch A Walker for 65th; he needs 6 D Rebs to get 5k for his career; and he needs 10 to catch MJ for 64th (he loves to move by MJ). After 14 more dimes he will be equal to Larry Bird for 34th. He has 585 to go to the Big Dipper. He has also played through an inordinate amount of pain in his career (no official stats on this). He has played through so much that he sees the play/no play decision as binary. If the doctor clears you to play, then you play. Pain is not a reason to not play, only a medical decision is. Kobe is not on the all time list for providing or receiving sympathy. And no – Kobe is not a doctor. However it is also obvious that Dwight is not Superman (ouch – hurt to say that).

  6. Fun fact – Lakers have won 5 of the last 7 Laker-Leper games at TD Garden

    Also – For Warren!

  7. No, Kobe is not a doctor, but he has been through enough medical procedures to qualify and he knows his body better than any other NBA player knows their body. Yesterday Dr Clapper – head surgeon at Cedars hospital – commented he loves hearing Kobe talk about medical issues, because he is so lucid and knows exactly what he is talking about, i.e. he doesn’t make things up on the fly, but knows of what he speaks.

    Perhaps Dwight should talk to Dr. Clapper – he sits very near Jack N. at Staples.

  8. I understand Dwight point of view but i also see Kobe’s point of view coming from all the times he have play injured, the man is a machine, but Dwight its a classic 21st century athlete, rich, spoiled and want everything easy, i wish he saw Larry Bird playing for years with a back so bad he had to lau on the floor when he was on the bench, a bad shoiuder would not stop him from playing there is just no way, if he leaves after the end of the season i say good riddance!! He will have to live forever with the stigma that he didnt cut it when measured against the pressure and tradition of our great franchise.People keep forgeting that after next season tue Laker will have tons and tons of cap space so if Dwight leaves we be reloading in less than 2 years, the FO is gearing up for that regardless. He will be a failure wherever he goes. On to the game tonight, i think we can pull this game off, Boston frontline is weak and i believe Clark and MWP can make Boston remaining big 2 lives difficult tonight, i dont know but despite Boston renowed D our advantage and experience in the backcourt its just too much. I say it again Damn i miss Jordan Hill, lets keep the momentum going, Dwight or not. ( I never ever will call him Superman, there is only one Superman on Lakerland.) This next 3 games are the season.

  9. Howard is a loser plain and simple. Howard says kobe isn’t a doctor but he is a 5 time nba champion. How many rings you got, Howard? None, zilch. I wouldn’t shed a tear if Howard left.

  10. It’s hard to imagine either Dwight or Pau rushing back to play for Mike D’Antoni.

  11. Gary,
    Please take your nonsense somewhere else. I won’t shed a tear when that happens, either.

  12. Per Woj. – Dwight is playing tonight.

  13. LA cant just lose Howard at the end of the year with nothing in return, no sign and trade for the team if Im not mistaken.

  14. Darius, I was just expressing my frustration at Howard and what he says to the media so no need to get angry over one comment. I find it strange that my comment gets a response from you yet commentators like Neil dont even get a mention. Anyway, I’m sorry and it won’t happn again.

  15. Just a word of advice, cussing me out in the comments is a good way to get banned. You know who you are and I hope you enjoy it.

    Gary, my point is, it’s silly to bring up the “rings” argument when it comes to playing with injuries. If Dwight doesn’t think he’s able to play, that’s his call. When Kobe sat out last year with his shin injury, he made a similar call. Of course, not all injuries are the same and, as I’ve said multiple times, it’s frustrating having a player sit out. But, in the end, I would think it’s better to respect the player’s decision on what he thinks is best when it comes to ability to play when hurt.

  16. I too think Howard is somewhat of a spoiled baby, but that doesn’t make him a loser. He is still the most dominant center in the game. This is who Howard is and the Lakers FO should have known this before they brought him over here. He is not Kobe or MJ and we can’t expect him to be either.

  17. Also, Gary, I’ve called out Neil (and commenters just like him) plenty. Doing it every thread would be tiresome. I prefer to ignore most comments like that most of the time. I won’t ignore them all the time, however. And, since it’s my site, I’ll do what I please. No one is forcing people to come here and comment.

  18. If Howard leaves at the end if the year so be it. I rather have the team bite the bullet for a season and reload for 2014-2015 but i bet it be hard to left 30 mill on the table, the Lakers should let him walk away 30 mill poorer thats my opinion no acomodate him with a sign and trade. Would be sad to see Kobe go out line that but with Nash kobe and Gasol it should be an ok team with the right pieces, we be fine regardless. And we all know the team tried to do the right team by Kobe im fine with that.

  19. I’m not really sure kobe did the right thing by putting DH on blast. kobe’s comments were taken a little bit out of context, but still, not sure how that really helps. You know the celts will come out with hammers looking to whack DH on that shoulder. It just adds fuel to a pretty healthy fire.

    i hope we kick the celtics ass. I don’t care if they were a one eyed, one legged team. There’s nothing like beating the celtics.

    And it’s dr. klapper. A very nice guy who fixed my acl several years ago. if you ever have knee issues check out his book. it was very helpful.

  20. Per Rotowrld –

    “After getting a second opinion from team doctors, Pau Gasol (foot) will miss a minimum of six to eight weeks.
    An MRI on Wednesday revealed Gasol has a partial tear of the plantar fascia. There’s been no announcement of whether Gasol will undergo surgery or whether he will try rehab first. If Gasol opts for surgery, he reportedly could be sidelined for up to three months.”

  21. I still share the FO optimism about he staying, too much money on the table and the keys to one of the best franchise in the NBA and in the world of sports. We have to recognize that the media is taking all this out if context. Im so sick of anonymous “sources” and good thing Kobe called him out, if someone can is the Mamba, he is playing tonight so it might had worked

  22. @darius
    Agreed I was clearly not thinking straight.

    @Joe M
    I have been spoiled by the greatness of Kobe Bryant and it was wrong of me to compare Dwight to Kobe. Dwight is a great player, a NBA superstar, in todays league but hes nowhere close to a nba legend like Bryant. Dwight lacks the mentality and the drive to win championships. Since it looks like he might play today, heres hoping Kobe’s comments to the media has led him onto the right path.

  23. and what about coaching. that’s definitely a key to the game. have to think that is definitely in the celts’ favor. They know doc pretty well and while mda has had a brief, rocky and unlucky tenure, he’s several notches below doc. I wonder if the FO would ever hire doc if he left boston…I would in a heartbeat.

  24. Trianglefan, im actually think that MDA at least the last couple of games is getting a better understanding of this team but we will see with Howard back

  25. The Lakers are 19-11 against the C’s in the Kobe era. We are 25-18 counting the playoffs. Since the beginning of the Magic/Bird era through today, we are 38-26 against the Celtics in regular season and 17-15 in the playoffs. Since the beginning of the Magic/Bird era, we have been to the finals 16 times with 10 titles. They have been 7 times and won 4. All 3 of their losses were to the Lakers. We have completely dominated this comparison in the modern era. If you have any friends who are Celtic fans, please make them review the history of the NBA during the era when the C’s won all their titles. Most years there were only 9 teams in the entire league, and in some cases almost the entire league qualified for the playoffs. I do think somewhere during the C’s title run, they did cut a hole in the bottom of the peach basket to allow the ball through. Bottom line – there is a reason there is no film of this stuff. Further unless a C fan is older than 60 years old, they need to look at my stats above, not championships that are gathering moth balls like Yale’s NCAA Football titles or the Cincinnati Red Stockings baseball titles. The Lakers are the most dominant team in the history of professional sports. The Lakers rule the league and Kobe rules the Lakers. Hence: Kobe Rules (not a wild boast – but very logical through Robert’s eyes).

  26. Thanks for the video, there is nothing like lakers beating the celtics, even when they’re not as good a team, feels great every time.

  27. This one is for Ken!

  28. Fern, the class of 2014 is not very good. Unless Lebron, Wade and Bosh all decide to become free agents. Even then only Lebron is worth giving a max contract.

  29. I’m anticipating a win tonight!! Just one side note i hate laker haters like Charles Barkley always nailing the coffin In the grave of the lakers it’s so ridiculous to me that a guy that never won anything has so much to say about kobe and the method’s he used to motivate D12 to play this guy even though i like Chuck alot is a joke!! now let’s go get this win

  30. GO LAKERS!!!!!
    darius, great video!

  31. Very good gameplan… drain all the fouls from Boston’s frontcourt.

  32. Nice, now drain it from the back court.

  33. Dirty play by Boston early. Not surprised at all.

  34. Dwight’s body language right now is terrible. Looks like some kid who just learned that it is tuna casserole for dinner.

  35. Play good defense, especially 3pt-line, and we’ll be alright. And keep attacking the rim on O.

  36. Good to see LA htting the paint on offense, but the defense so far is….meh….have to bring up the energy on the “championship” end of floor. Pierce, in particular, is eating MWP’s lunch so far.

    Meanwhile, seven missed freebies….it’s like everyone wants to make Dwight feel better about his percentage when he plays…

  37. We can beat these scubsm if Metta stops shooting and play any D on Paul!

  38. Need to put Clarke on Pierce like yesterday, MWP is being torched right now. Woul help to see some hustle as well.

    Oh and hit a free throw every now and then.

    This team is so frustrating to watch and it ain’t getting better anytime in the foreseeable future.

  39. It’s too bad Dwight decided to play, he has been awful.

  40. No offense folks, but the “This one is For Warren” charm has not worked in eons…. I think we need to find a new lucky charm…

    I vote for “This one’s for Chick!”

  41. Howard: “See, I’m injured, I can’t play”. It’s your shoulder, you still should be able to use your feet and at least one arm to contest shots. Man!

  42. Looks like the Lakers decided to take a night off. When you have no Rondo and Garnet for almost a whole quarter you need to win that quarter, we lost it by 4 and we had them in the penalty almost the whole time. Just pitiful.

  43. I disagree fellas, DH is playing hurt but he´s out there, logically he´ll be off his game but all the same, props D12!

  44. Not to catastrophise here – but the defensive rebounding has been terrible.

  45. We should move the ball more, trust guys to make shots.

  46. Boston’s played 10 guys already D’Antoni is sticking with 8 on the 1st game of 3 in 4 days. I’ll admit Dwight doesn’t look healthy and if Lakers lose next 3 fo has reason to show him the care by shutting him down. Blake and Ron over dribble and are rhythm killers. Kobe has to put his stamp on the game before the half is over.

  47. Was Pau our best defensive player? Our D has sucked bad against a very average offensive team.

  48. This has almost nothing to do with Pau, this is just a pathetic effort by the Lakers and outstanding execution by Boston. Hard to believe we are winning this tonight.

  49. MannyP, it only works if its the very 1st post on the gameday chat.

  50. Too many given up layups. And as a result, Kobe tries to get us back himself.

  51. No coincidence Lakers are laying an egg. Has some to do with Pau out but also those Kobe comments about Dwight. Tension in the locker room can carry onto the court. Lakers look like the same disjointed team from earlier in the year.

    Also Nash is getting nothing on his PnR’s Kobe should get ball handling duties against a team with good individual perimeter defenders.

  52. Matador Defense, No Rebounding, No intensity, No communication, No unity, No pride…
    Seems like the Lakers are mailing it in again…

  53. Yeah my Pau reference was tongue in cheek, but seriously we look awful on both ends.

  54. The Lakers just can’t buy a bucket right now.

  55. Meeks is like 0 for his last 4000 three pointers.

  56. As much as MDA and Gasol hate to admit it, their styles just fit one another. Dwight Howard, moreso an injured one, not so.

  57. Shooting this bad and defending this bad – it’s good we are not down 25 points.

  58. This game just shows how important Pau Gasol is than Dwight Howard

  59. I live for shots like that – Kobe !!!!

  60. Lee is getting away with two hands on Kobe throughout with no call. Is the referee Bruce Bowen?

  61. Kbe zero assist on the half. Meeks have missed a lot of open jumpers et up by Kobe.

  62. @Joe and Doc Rivers even complained for the 5 seconds violation. #pathetic

  63. Howard helps the Lakers defense, a lot. But seems like he hurts the offense more than he helps it. He gets the ball down low and too often misses an easy layup or gets fouled and bricks 2 at the line. I don’t see how this guy helps our offense.

  64. Too many 3’s and too many missed FT’s. Dwight’s awful FT shooting seems to have spread team-wide. I don’t think we’re gonna show enough heart in the 2nd half to win. It’s time to amnesty Metta after the season if he opts in.

  65. At risk of arm-chair psychoanalyzing from afar—didn’t the team seem to play collectively with more effort on both ends for the games that Howard was out? Tonight Dwight’s body-language, in a word, sucks. If he really wants to be out there—he’s doing a good job acting to the contrary. Attitude is contagious—good and bad. Chemistry matters—good and bad. I think the Lakers have the D12 flu tonight.

  66. How smart is Mike? Meeks missed 7 shots in a row getting killed by Green yet MDdd keeps him in. Jody and Dwight are the wors duds on the court. Release or trade Meeks. Play AJ not terrible Reeks. Amazing!

  67. Kobe should go back to being the ball handler Nash can’t create against these good individual defenders. Kobe’s comments have killed the team chemistry sometimes tension in locker rooms follow to the court. Lakers are disjointed during their best stretch of ball. Has some to do with Pau being hurt but energy and togetherness isn’t there. This is the 1st game of 3 in 4 days and D’Antoni is playing 8 guys. Could go winless the next 3.

  68. Things that were Terrible in the 1st half:

    Free Throw Shooting
    3 Point Shooting

    Just to name a few. We’re playing as if we have the 1 seed in the West locked up. Seems as if we’re stuck in quicksand. Where’s the ‘Urgency’ that Kobe spoke of?

  69. The box score shows only three players off the bench in the first half — it’d be a shame to complicate bad shooting with fatigue in the 2nd half.

  70. Does anyone have access to being in Dwight Howard’s body and playing in an NBA game? Then you shouldn’t pretend you are an authority on whether someone is fit to play. period.

    Kobe stepped over a line with Howard. Questioning the severity of his injury is not how you inspire a teammate. It is how you sever trust.

    Howard has an impeccable record of being healthy throughout his career. He has never really been injured. You have to take somebody’s word when they say they are injured and need more healing time. The only reason he is playing is because Kobe used the media to make him look like less than a man.

  71. Nice to blame MDA over Meeks not being able to hit a shot… or Jamison not being able to defend Jeff Green… or for Africa to still be in hunger… aw.

  72. Shooting-wise, nowhere to go but up in the 2nd half.
    Hope we can stop the bleeding with regard to points in the paint, yikes

  73. James, do you know who the biggest liar is? His name starts with M and ends with A.

  74. Kobe is the only one with any urgency on him, Meeks just stank up all of Mass. Missing wide open 3s, pitiful, Dwight is rusty and hurt but i dont know Shaq would had 20 and 10 by now evem matching Dwight horrible ft shooting, he basically called Dwight a wuss on national tv. Just wow

  75. A few observations…1) feels like the total bad vibes game, perhaps 5 minutes without a public fight would be good…2) agree with many that with Howard makes offence much more clunky, Pau a much better fit…
    3) horrendous shooting out of the blue…feels like that relates to point 1, somewhat.

  76. Good defensive job to start the 3rd.

  77. Kobe is in mamba mode him and Nash are the only reason this isnt a 30 point blow out. What a mess of a team.

  78. Cant blame MDA for guys missing shots and missing defensive assignments. But man he is just using 8 guys on the floor. Maybe we can burn some minutes for ebanks and Sacre

  79. the trust is gone from Kobe’s game tonite.

  80. We played Howard tonite to get Boston into foul trouble. Instead, he gets his 4th halfway thru the 3rd. #goodjob

  81. @James: Kobe would had at least 6 assists tonight if those fools hit the opens shots he served them.

  82. James — Kobe is 8 for 13. His teammates are 14 for 42. Kobe is human. What would most humans do under those circumstances?

  83. Always a pleasure to see Kobe play. Always sad when hes the only one really getting anything done (apologies to Nash & Jamison who also at least showed up to this game).

  84. This game is stil very much within reach if they make some stops. Right after i said that they fell behind by 18. Bah

  85. Yea, it is demoralizing when guys like Meeks just brick wide open 3 after 3 after 3. Kobe is doing what he needs to do right now. Not his fault if guys can’t make shots.

  86. Meeks and Metta missed 13 in a row. AJ played 6 minutes Warren while Meeks played twice as many. Watch a little closer.

  87. Kobe is bringing it not getting much help. Famaliar scene seeing Lakers getting torched by Pierece. Hopefully Boston gasses in 4th.

  88. Lakers offence hasn’t been pretty but they are scoring enough to win (on pace to score close to 100). They are losing this game badly on terrible D. Boston averages 96 points a game, they are on pace to score about 120.

  89. Cant watch anymore Celtics shooting 57% from the field, this game is over, totally disgusted.

  90. Lakers look and play better when Kobe is the lead guard. Too much iso tonight

  91. This is like Game 6, 2008.

  92. Gameover. Time to rest the starters.

  93. This is the most disastrous stretch i seem the Lakers play all season and i seen a lot of them but this take the cake. This team is a disfuntional horrid mess

  94. MDA is too stupid to rest the starters, they will play the entire 4th.

  95. Hope Kobe and Nash sit the fourth quarter. Time to give the starters some rest and get ready for tomorrow night.

  96. We migjt wim tomorrow, MAYBE but we ate toast in Miami playing like this.

  97. When Kobe goes into that mode. The Lakers are easy to defend. They play as less than the sum of their parts. It fuels his teammates playing worse and becoming less active. This also affects the defensive end.

    I would rather have the Lakers stick to playing like a team and losing than Bryant trying to do it himself. At least they would have comraderie and trust that would carryover to the next game. The way you inspire your teammates is to keep trusting them when they aren’t hitting their shots.

    Kobe abandons the trust system when they start losing. (and Lakers have a terrible record when Kobe jacks up tons of shots).

    They are right back down in that hole of isolating when things go wrong. Maybe they would lose anyway, but I would still rather see team ball.

  98. Nice time outs Mike. Embarrised again on national TV. Metta shooting 28 percent last 7 games is 2 for 12.glad Dwight came back. Hay Mitch think you need a SF?

  99. Sorry, I am no Kobe hater, but name any other team or player on which the logic is that nobody else is hitting so I must take all the shots and hold the ball for 19 of 24 seconds almost every time down. even with other superstar teams….This is clearly not the case on Miami, or even OKC, where it is a bit closer. And this in spite of the fact that you have the ultimate pass first guy as your point guard and your coach. It was nice that they won a few games, but their is no chance for this team without some kind of ball movement mentality. This is a team game.

  100. Time to cut our losses and rest the team . Winnable game tomorrow. This one is history. And as I say this, Deight is starting the 4th. What’s the point of that?

  101. good idea to keep an injured Howard in their when they are losing by 30 in the 4th. Way to create trust.

  102. Joe: you were right. Don’t know why Dwight is in the game right now.

  103. Why does metta shoot so much he cant!!!

  104. Good lord Dwight, making a Kwame Brown impression out there

  105. D12 has no post game to speak of wow he is very limited stick to defense and rebounding!! can somebody tell me how he got the magic to the finals all i see him doing is getting ripped!! WTF?

  106. We need to start accepting the notion that this team might not made the playoffs this defeat undo all momentum we had, totally obliterate it, now to start from scratch, again. This team is a mess too hurt, too dysfuntional, wrong coach, we are in a quagmire.

  107. I think is mailing the season end so he can force Kobe to retire early out of disgust and then mitch will surround Dwight with shooters and make him the focal point of the offense next year

  108. @Lewis: the year Orlando made it to the finals Dwight (who was healthy) was a beast on D and the boards, but the offence was throw it into Dwight and spread the floor with at least 2-3 legit 3 point shooters. Orlando shot lights out from 3 (including the record 23 that Houston just tied) that entire playoffs until the finals.

    What we are all learning is that Dwight cannot play hurt at all, even when it was just his back he was sub-par, now he is terrible.

  109. I must say I have never seen a team go from seemingly nice team building chemistry to total dysfunctional mess in like 2 quarters. Nash will follow Kobe, he will not rock the boat, so he can’t seem to influence anything. Having these ongoing squables in public, just are destroying this team…And its not just Kobe/Dwight, but Pau’s article about his unhappiness and all the other stuff early in the season. Notice that Nash has never put anyone down or made any team breaking comments in public all year..

  110. I had a older gentleman tell me after the mavs swept the lakers that kobe would be chasing championships from now on I think he was right kobe should ask for a trade this team and the new ownership is a mess kobe deserves more than this in the twilight of his career

  111. Ireland just did…..


    Ireland isn’t particulary smart, and Kobe is 9/15 from the foor. The Lakers are losing because they are 4/21 on 3s and Boston is shooting 52% from the floor.

    Take it elsewhere, Neil.

  112. It is supremely amusing that some people see this as an opportunity to schill their ‘it’s Kobe’s fault for not passing” b.s.

    Lakers not losing by failing to score (although everyone not named Kobe is shooting terribly and Dwight is turning the ball over every time he touches it).

    They are losing because Boston is scoring like they are playing a grade school team.

  113. I can’t be the only one who saw Dwight snatch off his Lakers jersey before he got up off the bench, right?

    If you have tivo rewind that. I think Dwight’s a for sure goner after seeing that. Shades of LeBron taking off his jersey in 2010 at boston garden. Big moment right there.

  114. I would seriously re-examine any plan where the Lakers build their future around Dwight Howard. Once healthy he is still going to lack drive and heart.

  115. My two cents…

    *Dwight played poorly. Some of that is surely related to him not playing any basketball in a week. Some of it might also be his shoulder or “other” issues. But, obviously, with Pau out the Lakers needed a bit more from Dwight and didn’t get it.

    *Kobe was aggressive in looking for his own shot, but he also did a pretty good job of moving the ball early. Nothing really came from that ball movement though. The ball stuck in other players’ hands (especially Ron’s) and that was that.

    *Nash had a ton of trouble with Avery Bradley’s defense tonight. He couldn’t shake him in isolation and couldn’t escape in the P&R either. That really affected the Lakers’ ability to generate non-Kobe offense.

    *Mostly, this game was about defensive failures. The big men (mostly Dwight) were awful in helping on screens and Pierce got free for his mid-range jumper early and found his rhythm by knocking down some easy (for him) shots. The Lakers wings also were not prepared to guard the quick ball movement the C’s brought to the game. With the ball moving, the C’s generated good looks and the Lakers got down on themselves and it snowballed from there.

    This was basically a team loss. It’s easy to pin this on your favorite whipping boy/topic (Kobe’s selfish!, Dwight’s not a winner!, the coach is a bum!) but really everything that went wrong did and the team, as a whole, played really poorly. Also, this team really does miss Gasol. Especially the version that’d been playing for the past two weeks.

  116. Is it me or im the only one thinking that this team could not do any worse with Brown? I even starting to believe this team would be doing better, he always said that he expected this team to turn it around around the alls star break that it was a long process. I feel like im having dirty thoughts lol. On the other hand with Pau this might had been a totally different game, now we felt the impact of his absense, and with Howard not close to 100% this is going to be rough.

  117. To all the people focusing on chemistry and personality issues, acting like this is about Kobe:

    a) Read Darius’ post.
    b) Realize how the opponent is playing, who they are using, and what they are doing. Boston is now 6-0 without Rondo. I doubt that it will last, but they have been very effective with a ball movement offense and they are hot. Garnett and Bradley neutralized Howard and Nash.
    c) The Lakers are simply not a good defensive team. One more time: the D was based on the idea that Howard would be in DPOY form. He is not close to that.

  118. If Dwight is a goner so be it i dont care anymore. I know he is hurt and all but he should had done better against the Celts front line. I see no heart no guts no desire, maybe LA is too hard for him. He was too used to all the groveling in ORL, when the Dwightmare was in full swing the groveling in ORL became legendary, he is not getting that here and i think his little feelings are hurt.

  119. If the FO isn’t enough that they need a SF and a big then they deserve be a lottery team without a lottery pick.

    Metta Mess now shooting 24% last 8 games.

  120. Its funny…you win a few bad games with bumsand everybody forgets they are bums.

    We will win some games when the bums get hot…we will lose when they play like themselves.

    You havr duhon, ebanks and sacre on your team when delonte west, kenyon martin and even iverson is sitting at home.

    The team staying put while injuries pile up on a talentless team is mind boggling.

    If this is indeed kobes last hurrah…this is a terrible way to go out.

  121. The Lakers are a perfect team to play zone against because they are horrid shooters from distance. I’ll ask the same question that I used to ask players, do you think that there’s a shot in the game that is not a 3pt shot or a layup? Live by the 3pt you die by it. Tonight Boston baited the Lakers into shooting from beyond the arc, and the Lakers complied. No ball movement or player movement.

    Dwight is sealing his own fate by not playing all out and appearing not to care. I hope that Dwight get’s his mobility back, because his career is predicated upon athleticism. The Lakers don’t appear to have much faith in Howard, as it is not a coincidence that they looked tentative on defense. Pounding the ball in the paint early on threw off their chemistry.

  122. These dudes that are saying that Kobe shoot too much they did not watched the game, the first thing Kobe did when the game started was to try to get Dwight going on every posssesion, Dwight wasnt up to the task on the second quarter he passed the ball efectively and Meeks, Dwight and MWP built a apartment complex with all those bricks extra crap points to Meeks for missing at least 5 wide open 3s in that quarter and every time Metta got the ball on his hands he shoot it. In the third Kobe just said ” screw it” and took it ipon himself to keep the team afloat. If those guys hit some of those open shots that Kobe served them Kobe would had finish with at least 10 assists.

  123. If Dwight is still playing Hurt then let Sacre have some burn. It is morefrustrating to see how Dwight cant move (or doesnt want to move) around the court. He is hurting the team more whenplaying than having others guys step up the plate and take the challenge.

  124. Kobe stepped over a line with Howard. Questioning the severity of his injury is not how you inspire a teammate. It is how you sever trust .. You have to take somebody’s word when they say they are injured and need more healing time. The only reason he is playing is because Kobe used the media to make him look like less than a man.

    Well said James, and you just may be right. It’s always a risky proposition when an individual questions the integrity of a teammate. I’ve said it before and I’m still of the belief that Dwight doesn’t like Kobe, can’t stand playing with him and the losing will only exasperate those feelings. This latest back and forth episode between the two might be the final straw for Dwight.

  125. wow…that was disappointing. I don’t know how anybody can defend Howard now. Yes, hes injured but there were several plays where it looked like he wasn’t even trying, especially on defense. Just like Joe said, he has no heart or drive. I still think Dwight is a superstar when healthy , but hes no franchise player.

  126. Howard played because the team doctors cleared him. Also, Nash said some similar things about how people need to play with pain.

  127. At times, every basketball player plays hurt, no basketball player plays injured, there is a difference. No excuses once you put the uniform on. Nash is playing hurt and Pau had to play hurt prior to getting injured.

    Watching Denver destroy Chicago.

  128. Can we have Bynum back?