Preview and Chat: The Charlotte Bobcats

Emile Avanessian —  February 8, 2013

Records: Lakers 23-27 (10th in the West), Bobcats 11-37 (15th in the East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.1 (8th in the NBA), Bobcats 98.7 (29th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.2 (t-17th in the NBA), Bobcats 108.7 (30th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Bobcats: Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hakim Warrick, Bismack Biyombo
Injuries: Lakers: Pau Gasol (out), Jordan Hill (out for the season); Bobcats:

 

Bag it, Dwight.

Seriously.

I say this, in all sincerity, not as an indictment of Dwight Howard, his toughness or his dedication to the Lakers’ collective (take that descriptor to heart at your own risk) quest for… I don’t know what. As the hits pile up faster than frozen slush on the Northeastern streets, it time – well, the latest time – for the Lakers to assess coldly the predicament in which they find themselves and pragmatically define the best case scenario for what remains of this wretched campaign.

Even before Pau Gasol felt a pop in his right plantar fascia, long gone was the notion that these Lakers will contend for a title. What now? Do we cling dogmatically to the misguided belief that this crew will unearth the grit, determination and shared strategic philosophy necessary to leapfrog at least two team at whom they’re looking up in the Western Conference standings, earning the always fun “team no one wants to see in the first round” title in the process? This would appear to be the least toxic of the Lakers’ venomous options, as (as has been discussed ad nauseum, here and elsewhere) the absence of a first round draft choice through which the team could retool inexpensively precludes the team from mailing in the remainder of this snakebitten season and returning next fall, younger and healthier. Missing playoffs strengthens the division rival Suns with a lottery pick, while a token postseason appearance sends a lesser selection to the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s a lot of work for not a lot of anything.

If you take nothing else from the mildly coherent rant above, understand this: despite the temporary respite afforded by six victories in seven games (including the last three, with Pau, sans Dwight), the 2012-13 Lakers season is an unmitigated disaster. With nearly two thirds of the season gone, this team, anchored by “four future Hall of Famers” (I’m ready to not see that that again for a while), this team that will shell out for its players’ services nine figures this fiscal year, sports an abysmal 23-27 mark and has only just embarked on minimum six-week journey without one of its two remaining serviceable big men.

After some pointed comments by Kobe Bryant that may or may not have been as pointed as presented, Dwight Howard, aggravated labrum packed in Kevlar (or something), suited up for the first time in four games Thursday night in Boston. Despite conspicuously lacking both the aggressiveness and explosion that hallmark his characteristic dominance, Dwight had the Celtics in the penalty a scant 142 seconds into the game and racked up seven first quarter fouls on three of his frontcourt counterparts.

HOWEVAH…

In total, he saw the floor for just 28 minutes – a fourth of them coming during an inexplicable stint in an inconsequential fourth quarter – accumulating nine points, nine rebounds, four turnovers, no blocked shots and six fouls, while connecting on one of six attempts from the free throw line, and was regularly beaten to rebounds and loose balls by the likes of Jason Collins and Chris freaking Wilcox.

Do off nights happen? Sure. This, however, felt like more than a 2008 Game 6 doppelganger. A pair of fading contenders, each without a front line performer, locked horns with pride and the playoffs at stake, and the more desperate, less shorthanded of the two was found wanting. The 116-95 margin by which the Celtics ran the Lakers out of Boston flattered the visitors, who missed 10 of 18 free throws and 10 of 12 3-pointers en route to a 14-point halftime deficit and, despite Kobe going Mamba after the break, were torched to the tune of 37 points in the third quarter and faced a 26-point gap that relegated the starting backcourt to the pine for the entirety of the final 12.

Kneejerk alarmism and defeatism have never figured into my Laker fandom. However, to extricate from the bind in which they find themselves, these Lakers must not only sustain a run of play that has heretofore eluded them, they’ll have to do so without Pau Gasol, while potentially running into the ground the big man to whom they plan to tether their future. All for a first round date with the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder. What’s that thing they say about risk and reward?

Tonight, as the town in which they were last buried is itself blanket with snow, the Lakers roll into Charlotte, the order of the evening their fourth victory in six games on the second night of a back-to-back. Once again, Dwight Howard will accompany his teammates onto a floor on which the Lakers have lost five of seven games all time, as the boys in Forum Blue embark on their latest trek toward .500, against the NBA’s clear-cut bottom dweller. After an encouraging start to the season, the Bobcats have dropped thirty-two of their last thirty-six, including a 101-100 defeat at Staples Center in which they held a double-digit lead.

If the Lakers are unable to take care of business against a squad that ranks in the league’s bottom two at both ends of the floor, they’ll depart Miami Sunday evening have put to rest more than their annual Grammy trip.

Emile Avanessian

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98 responses to Preview and Chat: The Charlotte Bobcats

  1. Kobe Alert: I am hoping that MJ is courtside tonight, so KB will have some added incentive to impress his idle. He needs just 2 defensive rebounds to get 5k, and 6 to catch MJ for 64th. This is not the category that KB wants to catch MJ in however, so I am looking for vintage KB tonight, inclusive of a multiple 3 pointer type game – the likes of which he has not had in a while. He needs 4 more threes to become the 11th player to get 1600 for his career. To catch Wilt the Stilt, Kobe needs 558 puntos. Kobe also needs an extension. So those favoring Scorched Earth, that does not apply to Kobe : )

  2. I don’t see a reason we can’t win this one.

  3. Hey, Warren
    Where are you when we need you?

    Go Lakers

    I’m just not sure exactly where they are going to.

  4. I blame this all on LA FO for compromising our roster with aging players so that Kobe can get a 6th ring.Nash is a great player,but at age 39 what can he really do?We lost our draft picks as well.The hiring of MDA was asinine and Phil was the right coach for team.Kobe is out of control and If D12 had one foot out of door,with his constant calling him out,he will exit next year.Pau should have been traded,because he lacks intensity and he is breaking down.I commend Dwayne Wade,Lebron and Bosh who play as a team,where Kobe fails terribly.Our bench needs better players that are athletic and can shoot.

  5. James

    Thanks for the pep talk! geez you make me sound like Deepak Chopar(spelling ?).

  6. Stop throwing the ball to Mr Bumbles!

  7. MWP is 14-56 in the last 8 games.

  8. Lakers are not just being outplayed right now, they are being outsmarted.

  9. Just a question. Why is it that every time the Lakers get shooters they somehow come to the Lakers and can’t throw a pea in the ocean? Sasha could only shoot in practice, Meeks (I haven’t heard any one say he’s lights out in practice), Metta, and now Jamison. Kapono and Murphy weren’t on the floor enough to judge their shooting ability.

    The Lakers could get the highest percentage 3pt shooter in the league and he’d start clanking after joining the Lakers.

  10. KOOO – it´s Chopra

  11. Nash is shooting like MWP right now. Yikes.

  12. I would bench Jamison after that boneheaded giveaway, can’t be bothered to even try, shouldn’t play.

  13. This team
    This coach
    This year.

    Done.

    Welcome to the Jim Buss years!

  14. Its a curse. Lakers are doomed to have their 3 point shooters lose their shooting touch. Even Kobe and Nash has started missing threes.

  15. Dwight out Lakers score 3 straighht possessions. Doesn’t seem like a coincidence anymore once he’s out the offense runs smoother but it does hurt the defense.

  16. Turnovers. Can’t make an open shot. Poor transition defense. Same problems, different game. I can see being outmanned, but the Lakers don’t have a chance if they continue to beat themselves. Give Cha. credit, but the Lakers are not playing well at all.

  17. This team is just pathetic…

  18. Turnover-itis rears its head again.

  19. Dwight playing like he just got legs and a new pair of concrete boots.

  20. Kobe should have at least 6 assists right now.

  21. And again the defense is…meh.

  22. Has there ever been a worse Laker team on defense. These guards are below D league quality. Way to plan in advance Mitch and Jimmy. Nash, Blake, Duhon is a YMCA Saturday game.

    Mean while Denver 9 in a row is 10 deep with a real coach.

    Hard to watch. Think I’ll play poker on-line instead. Tell me what I missed other then Dwight 2 foot air-balls.

  23. Dwight has had back to back good possessions -yay

  24. 8 turnovers 11 FGs made, not a good ratio. 24 points in the paint surrendered ugly. Jamison hurts his ankle WELP.

  25. Blake is playing AWFUL. Duhon is gong to get those minutes back.

  26. That is the second time Antoine has thrown it right to a Bobcat on an out of bounds play, how is this guy not getting benched?

    Zero consequences that is why they never get any better.

  27. The team needs Kobe to score tonight.

  28. This is bar none the worst game I have ever seen Nash play.

  29. Totally ashamed

  30. Lots if dysfunction here. The Lakers needs Kobe to score. He’s got to shoot.

  31. Kobe needs to shoot, it’s like he is listening to the losers that whine he shoots too much. He has the least shots of any Laker who has played this game.

  32. Joe

    In the current NBA of very fast PGs Nash is in the bottom half of starters. The 20 he gets on points and assists is less then the guy he is playing. Look it up. Not what this team needed this off season. Why you add a old, slow PG to an old slow team is odd.

    But what do I know? Great guy though. Nash/Dwight equals losing record this year.

    By the way that last shot with 12 seconds in the half proves what a giant minus Metta World Mess has become. bonehead!

  33. Have the last posession and MWP decides to shoot a 3 woth 8 seconds left , just looking at him is agravating me to no end. Pathetic disfusting shameful half.

  34. Two really bad plays there by nash. He went too early on offense and then made the mistake on defense getting up in the air and fouling walker.

    Sad times… countdown to a post about this being all kobes fault in 3..2..1…

  35. Not watching the game. I looked at the box score.
    Why Kobe is 0?!

  36. Someone said in the last thread Dwight sucks the energy from the team when it’s supposed to bet he opposite. He’s supposed to be the captain of the defense but takes himself out of so many plays chasing blocks that he won’t get too. More discipline from him is needed on that end.

    vhanz: trying to get others involved and feed mopey Dwight the ball so he plays hard.

  37. Dwight is the cooler, ala William H. Macy. I don’t care what stats he puts up, it ain’t gonna work. Damaged goods. Let him go, stick Pau in the post for a year, or trade him for draft picks, since we don’t have any. What a shame, wasting perhaps the last great year Kobe has in him…

    Nothing lasts forever…

  38. Kobe is triying to get this team to figure it out, and they cant even against a pos team like this.

  39. I hate the way Kobe is playing. The team needs him to try and score. He is THE main offensive threat for his team. 0 points is unacceptable. Way too much deferring to his teammates.

  40. i cant watch the game because of work, but glancing at the box score it seems like turnovers are killing the lakers again.

    and i expect kobe to be aggressive in the 2nd half. and im fine with kobe looking to set up his teammates first.

    and i know this is obvious, but this is a must win with miami looming on sunday

  41. Mike D new winning formula.

    Kobe 0 baskets and 2 shots.

    Nash 4 more turnovers in the first half.

    That should work!

    Looks like this team has quit on the coach and each other. Making reservations for Mexico already?

  42. More the lakers play the way Dantoni wants them, the more they lose. They turn the ball over more and they can make a shot. Dantoni’s offense turns guys into shot creators and play makers instead of finishers. Nash pretty much runs down the court, Dwight sets one screen Nash comes of the screen and passes it to the first person in his sight. And because Meeks, metta, Clark and Jamison are not shot creators, the either launch up 3’s or turn the ball over. Perimeter oriented play just sucks. It leads to inefficient offense and awful transition defense.

    Throwing the ball into Dwight every other play and have him create his own shot is also inefficient because he can make ft’s and he turns the ball over to much. Kobe seriously has to take over and be the teams Chris Paul. Run the offense through Kobe in the post. Dwight will still get his touches but he needs to be a finisher in the paint, not Hakeem Olajuwon.

  43. Pretty sure no one wants to trade Pau now.

  44. Good NEWS.

    A real game is on another channel. Clips and Heat. Ya know playoff teams.

  45. @KenOak, LOL, 3-2-1! POW

  46. Lakers are quitting. No energy and bad body language from everyone.

  47. Well the people who feel bad now at the Celtics – they thought blowing out the Lakers was an accomplishment.

  48. These guys should not get pay checks. Quitters.

    Metta has turned into a joke. Team going through motions.

    Coach just sits there stroking his mustache..

    This team is heading for last place.

    BLOW IT UP!

  49. MWP is incapable of moving the ball.

  50. Just amnesty MWP. Sick of watching the box score showing, MWP bricking 3 pointers.

  51. Ken, just 2 games ago you said this team was making the playoffs. I think you know the real answer now.

  52. @chearn. It’s like clockwork.

  53. Captain Pringles was such the right choice for this team. I mean look at them just knocking those 3’s down. 3 of 19 baby!

  54. chearn youre forgettin ammo too…also metta and jamison were never spot up guys ..more of a bull and a slasher around the hoop games

  55. Joe

    Ya there goes the baloney about positive thinking.

    Good Clipper game going on though. Nice to see teams that care. Especially when it’s made up of ex-Lakers?

  56. To say the team plays better when Dwight’s out is an understatement.

  57. No surprise Laker run has come with Dwight sitting. I honestly don’t think anyone on this team likes playing with Dwight.

    Dwight is all about how you can help him look good.

  58. Wow that last possession was a stunning example of exceedingly low basketball IQ and skill.

  59. Hmm signs of life… I wonder…

  60. Joe,
    Agree with you about Dwight. But here’s the problem. Even as frustrating as Dwight has been, our interior D is absolutely pathetic when he goes out. Of course part of the problem is that our guards can’t stop dribble penetration.

  61. At least it´s down to single digits for the start of the 4th…

  62. Joe

    You nailed it. Prima Donna that ruins the team flow.

    I never wanted a player moved this bad since——-
    Kwame
    Slava
    Walton
    Sasha
    Ahhhh never mind.

  63. If only we can we trade Dwight for Pau….

  64. You would think at some point Meeks would accept how terrible he is on the break and look to pass…even once.

  65. The only reason why our defense is pathetic when Dwight out is because Earl Clark plays the 5.

  66. Better defense at the perimeter is enabling Dwight to be a rim-protector instead of an early helper—first sign of defensive life—no coincidence that LA has made a run

  67. part of the problem with the fast breaks against is that they are running so many different sets, they aren’t well spaced on the transition, imho. Like when Kobe posts there is confusion about what people are doing and they are caught with no one properly spaced to defend a run out. Seems to be happening in other sets as well.

  68. Dwight The run killer Howard.

  69. The best part is that managment thinks they just need more time.

  70. “The Scowl” has just entered the building! Kobe on Mamba mode.

  71. Lakers home crowd?

  72. Nash getting killed on defense.

  73. COME ON LAKERS!!

  74. A shootout with the bobcats doesn’t provide confidence for the fanbase.

  75. M-V-P chants for Kobe in an away crowd, nothing unusual there.

  76. Notice Metta stop shooting! Also team stop searching for Dwight (slowing down Chi!)

  77. Nash gives and Nash takes.

    What woke the Mumba up?

    Never complain about his shots please!

  78. Dwight has been bashed hard these last few days.

    If we’re going to bash, we have to give the man his due when he’s earned it and has he ever in this one. Dwight has been large on the Defensive end in the second half of this game. Win or lose, give the man his props. He’s even been directing traffic and pushing the screened guard where he wants him to set up the D—that’s the Dwight we need and he delivered.

    It would be tempting to direct all of the praise at “Kobe the Closer” in this game–and he did close–but Dwight did too–on the other end of the floor.

  79. Kobe Rules!

  80. Great comeback . What a schizophrenic team!

  81. Biggest and most important come back of the year.

    The solution was to bench Metta Mess
    .
    Good job Mike. Most have been a text from Jerry Buss!.

  82. Lakers out offense’d them tonight.

  83. Jesus what a win, im going to have an aneurysm one of these games, lets carry this momentum to Miami! At least we are going to have a winning record on this grammy trip

  84. Nice comeback and win. Kobe just leaves the ball on the floor with 5 seconds left and walks away.

  85. mindcrime…agreed, we don’t often see eye to eye, but you are correct sir, to quote (another great los Angeles native, Johnny Carson sidekick), Ed McMahon.

  86. Glove: Kobe walking away with 5 seconds left was “swag”. Only Kobe can pull something like that off and make it look cool.

  87. YEAH!!
    @mindcrime – i agree

  88. This is nothing to get excited about; Charlotte is 11-38. But mindcrime is right, and I would add, for those sneering at D’Antoni, that the team didn’t quit, in a situation in which it would have been easy enough to do so.

    This also means that they will have a winning record on the trip, no matter what happens in Miami.

  89. Time to watch the Portland vs. Houston game.

  90. rr

    Miami? A early game on Sunday? Nationaly televised? After a Saturday night in Miami?

    So I am pleased they get a 4 and 3 road trip.

    Good come back buys.

  91. @ RR—No doubt no cause for real celebration–this team let itself get down by twenty again and looked terrible for long stretches of the game. LA is still a so-so team until further notice.

    BUT–Dwight barely sniffed the ball on offense for much of the second half, yet embraced being “the man” on the defensive end — which hasn’t’ been seen much when he’s been frustrated on offense.

    Kobe needs to follow up his earlier challenge with a public compliment of some kind.

    @ Harvey–I didn’t think I ever disagreed wtih anyone :)

  92. Other credit goes to Meeks in particular who was the only one hitting anything for a while and to the rest of the bench and lunch pale guys, Blake, Jamison and….EARL!!!

  93. The win was due to the post in position #1. It was for Kobe !

  94. Robert,

    I actually said last week that the Kobe Alerts should be the #1 post in all game threads now; I think they are either 4-0 or 4-1 when that occurs. I think Warren should be #2 as a nod to tradition.

  95. @mindcrime
    Alright I’ll give him props for todays game but what about miami? Is there any evidence he can consistently perform like this for the rest of the season? The answer is probably no.

  96. @ Gary–Fair enough. I’m not asking anyone to crown him DPOY. MIA? Meh—KOOO and rr are right–let’s be happy with 4 and 3. But I’m infinitely more likely to be in my chair at the start of that game now than I was midway through the third quarter of this one.

  97. You know what i dont like about this Laker team? They wait until you are literally about to give up on them, write off the season, say its over, etc. Then, at the very last possible second, they eke out some victory or some run or a few games in a row to give a faint splinter of hope.. one which will probably be shattered by season’s end. But for now, i still watch. Damn you 2013 Lakers!

  98. Great comeback – when we could’ve quit midway.

    Also, that stat you’re keeping track off that involves me only gets counted if I actually make the 1st post… or atleast someone does try for me… coz the gameday chat thread is usually up before my sun is up.